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Yesterday the world said goodbye to The Oprah Winfrey Show. I didn’t watch the celebrity-filled shows from Monday and Tuesday but I knew I needed to see the final one. I remember the first show back in September 1986. I had just started college and the late afternoon timeslot made it the perfect thing to watch after class as I got started with homework. I didn’t watch everyday since the topics weren’t always of interest, but I kept up with what she was doing. And even though some of those early shows were among the birthplaces of reality TV, you knew there was something different about Oprah.

She noted in Wedenday’s final show that she was “glad we grew out of that.”

The next time I consistently watched Oprah was in the fall of 1998. I was laid off from work in September, just as Oprah’s season was starting. That was the year Oprah began spreading the message about leading your best life. I learned a lot that fall while I went about the business of the job hunt. It was about finding peace, figuring out what your true calling was, being graceful, the power of listening and remembering your spirit. Iyanla Vanzant was on the show frequently during this time and I learned a lot from her and her book One Day My Soul Just Opened Up: 40 Days and 40 Nights Toward Spiritual Strength and Personal Growth.

I’m grateful for the lessons I learned in those shows. They taught me how to be calmer, to sharpen my focus and to work towards creating the best life I could possibly have rather than just settling for what was. It was (and still is) powerful stuff.

Oprah talked of these lessons often in the final episode:

  • “You also have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world.”
  • “You have the power to change somebody’s life.”
  • “Everybody has a calling.”

I’m certainly not perfect in practicing these things I learned from Oprah and her guests over the years, but I know I’m more aware of what makes me tick, what makes me happy, what I truly value,  and how I want to be in this life.

I’m looking forward to what Oprah does with OWN. Now that she gets to devote all of her time to it, I expect it will become a great platform for helping people find their ah-ha moments and to find the path towards their true calling and best life.