Are Women Finding Mentors to Model Their Success On?

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Success gurus like Tony Robbins say you need to find a mentor who did what you want to do in life and model what they did.

It’s a way of short-cutting the process to success by not trying to re-invent the wheel yourself.mentor-2063045_1920.png

There are some outstanding female mentors like J.K. Rowling and Oprah Winfrey, but there are way more male mentors to model career success on.

Men can be mentors to women to a degree, but there are unique aspects to being a successful woman that relate to biology that men haven’t experienced so women are better at teaching us about those things.

Tony Robbins says you need to immerse yourself in the lives of your mentors on-line and find out what they did, because success leaves clues. By reading their books and listening to their interviews you can see and feel what makes them masters at what they do in all the little details, and you can model your behavior on that.

One ‘mentoress’ I have in the field of media and publishing is Ariana Huffington.

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Say what you want about the tactics of Ariana Huffington, she is one of my mentoresses.

She is one of the most influential people in the media – male or female. She launched The Huffington Post, one of the most popular websites on the internet, She transformed journalism into engaging, personality driven entertainment. She was guilty of playing favorites with people like the exiled Dalai Lama, but to be fair all the male news-moguls likely had a code to protect their friends in the past as well.

Leadership is tough for everyone, and she is one tough female cookie, who has been burned many times.

She is now 66 years old and makes me forget about the worship of youth in our culture, as she rocks her age and combines it with the eye of experience.

She gives me hope to carry on with blogging in middle age.

After she resigned from ‘The Huffington Post’, she headed up ‘Thrive Global’, a wellness media company focusing on helping people get enough sleep, and sells pillows with the quote: “sleep your way to the top”.

What I most admire about Ariana is her style. Mixing the vulnerability of a woman and a mother, with a warrior role in the competitive ring with the big boys takes balls.

Her curiosity helps her grow, and her determination to turn her failures into a part of her future success is why she continues to thrive.

Some of her quotes resonate with me and likely the other 50 percent of the female population that she speaks to:

“Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.”

“Trying to be Supermom is as futile as trying to be Perfect Mom. Not going to happen.”

“I think while all mothers deal with feelings of guilt, working mothers are plagued by guilt on steroids!”

Thanks for reading!

Please follow me@annhoyblog

Images pixabay, giphy, and google free images

How Tony Robbins Made Good Morning America Great Again

On March 23, 2016, this tweet from Tony strikes panic into my heart!

Are You An @TonyRobbins Super-fan and in New York  next Tues? Get Tix to see him live

I am flying from Vancouver to New York the next day, my itinerary is full, and now I want tickets to see Tony live on March 29th!

But wait! I’ve never been to New York! I don’t know my way around, and I am staying in Brooklyn, not Manhattan, and “GMA” sets up before sunrise.

Focus on Where You Want to Go, Not on What You Fear

~ Anthony Robbins

Every day I do something that scares me, so I email Good Morning America for tickets.

“DECIDE!” I can hear Tony say in my mind.

A while back, I wrote down the five people I would most like to meet, and Tony Robbins was one of them. Tony always advises to take massive action and pursue your dreams.

I admire his work because he refused to let his pain define him, turned his life around, and used his knowledge to help so many others, including me and my son.

In the 1990’s I bought his cassette tapes at a library book sale and I wore them out listening to them. By association, I also wore out my youngest son’s tender ears. He has been listening to Tony unleash the power since age 3, during the long trips in my mini-van to visit his Nana. He turned 20 today.

“GMA” replies and asks me why I want to be in the audience. I write that I am a blogger, and my son and I have been Tony super-fans since the 1990’s, and it is my son’s 20th birthday today. They email me two tickets (the maximum)to print off! We are in! I am soooo excited!

But wait! The fine print says we are not guaranteed to get in. I don’t care! Even the chance of getting in is so exciting! I tell da birthday boy he has a chance to see da man himself! He is more excited about seeing Tony than The Lion King on Broadway later that evening.

This son started his own business at age eleven, teaching fourteen year old kids how to play drums. He began negotiating business deals with adults to produce music shows by the age of sixteen. I am convinced his confidence and ability came from all those hours of listening to Tony Robbins on cassette. Tony instilled an entrepreneurial mindset in him. We joke that he was raised by Tony Robbins.

“The only person holding you back is YOU. No more excuses. It’s time to change and take your life to the next level.” Tony Robbins

It feels like Tony is on the 102nd floor view deck of The Empire State Building of self-actualization, extending a hand down to me, on the ground floor, to pull me up to learn how to live my dreams like him.

We arrive in Times Square to scout out GMA’s location a few days ahead of the show so we are prepared.

“The meeting of preparation with opportunity generates the offspring we call luck.” — Tony Robbins

We find a door marked stage door on 44th Street, but there is no Toys ‘R’ Us nearby.

At the Wax Museum, I ask where Toys ‘R’ Us is located and nobody knows, then I ask an employee at The Star Wars Exhibit, who says the store has moved, and there is construction where it used to be. My best guess is that we line up at the stage door across from the construction. I wonder why GMA hasn’t updated their tickets.

To look sharp for the show, I buy pants and a top at The Loft in Times Square and new make-up at Sephora. I will wear the sweater and shoes I have in my suitcase, and my son will wear the clothes in his luggage.

On March 29, we wake up at 4 am, shower, and catch the subway train to Times Square. We arrive at 6:30 am and are relieved to find a small line-up outside the stage door. Last check in for the show is 7:15 am. Nobody greets us, or checks us in, or asks to see our tickets or passports. We stand in line for two hours until 8:30 am.

In the shade of the high rises, it was 46 degrees Fahrenheit, but it was freezing in the narrow wind chill tunnel. My hands turn white from the cold. I push past the cold and imagine Tony immersing himself in freezing cold water. His morning ritual is to plunge into a cool 57-degree Fahrenheit pool of water upon waking. But I am dreaming of going to a Tony Robbins firewalk instead.

After an hour or so, the production assistant, I think her name is Julie, announces that anyone who received a special email from her can step to the side. I hear “What the?!” muffled in the crowd, as she ushers the VIPs into the studio.

Julie comes back out and says they are reducing the filming space and only half of those with tickets in line will get in. “If anyone wants to leave now, they can” she says. Her blasé tone, prompts the guy behind me to call out: “Welcome to New York!” He was wearing a long wool coat and ear muffs. My son and I name him the heckler. He told us he was from New York. Some people leave the line at this point.

The Assistant comes back out about 20 minutes later and says 20 people of the 40 who remain in line will get in, and we are mid-line. She leaves us dangling, however, when she says she might take the first 20 people in line or she may do a draw, she hasn’t decided. What??? This is a fast paced New York live television production where snap decisions are made faster than a ball can drop in Times Square. I imagine Tony in his deep voice, gone hoarse from talking, telling her to “Decide!” We take a leap of faith and stay.

A security guard with a K9 sniffer dog walks past the line and asks us to open our purses and empty the contents of our pockets into our hands. The dog sniffs all of us and finds nothing.

Another twenty minutes pass, and a black SUV pulls up, and David Hasselhoff steps out! The line erupts into cheers and my son takes a selfie with “The Hoff.” David signs autographs, chats to the crowd, and poses for photos. He is super nice, tanned and flashes a big white smile. My son will gloat later about seeing The Baywatch star to the four people back at our apartment in Brooklyn who are asleep.

Then Geraldo Rivera’s black SUV drives by, and he waves at us from the passenger’s seat! I watched him so many times on the show 20/20! My son doesn’t know who he is. He was on GMA talking about getting ousted from Dancing With the Stars. My adrenaline is pumping so fast I want to dance, but like Bob Dylan’s Tamborine Man: my toes too numb to step.

Then Tony Robbins steps out of a silver SUV, and criss-crosses the sidewalk towards us. Some Wall Street types brush him off their shoulders as if he is a pest. Tony is unfazed. He seems humbled by the little scream that erupts from the line-up. He smiles warmly, and bows his head almost bashfully. Then all 6 foot 7 inches of him confidently enters the studio wearing a sharp blue suit. No time for a selfie with him, but great to see him.

Tony’s humble presence and warm smile deliver up the essence of why he does what he does — he cares about the people he helps. The little guys like us, braving the cold, leaving home in the dark to stand on the sidewalk to see him. Helping people fires up his soul more than fire walking. I saw it all on his face. He loves the people in line with all his heart. And, they love him back ten times more.

I am so happy we came! We have already seen Tony and the show is going to be great!

ALL LOVE TONY

I am showing my bloodless fingers to my son, when the heckler gives me a hand warmer. He is friendly and engaging, and asks us to play Tony Robbins trivia.

His first question is: “what is Tony’s wife’s name?” “Sage!” I say, and then share my own trivia that she is from Langley, BC, next to Cloverdale, where we live.

Then the heckler answers that Tony’s step dad was a semi-professional baseball player. In a New York nano second, my excitement about the show turns to a sinking feeling in my stomach. I remember the quote: “never mistake an at-bat for a hit.” We are only “at bat” to see Tony on the show, no guarantees.

I can’t put a numb finger on it, but something is wrong. GMA’s ratings are down this year, and I see the desperation from ratings pressure in Julie’s eyes. I Google GMA’s target audience, and it is measured by AGE. It is age 25–54, much younger than what I suspect is their actual audience of 45–65 yrs old. Their actual audience is nostalgic for the good old GMA days when they got their children up for school, and sat them down to eat a bowl of Fruit Loops in front of the TV to watch GMA.

Fox News Reports:

“Television’s top morning show is in its first prolonged slump since overtaking NBC’s “Today” in popularity three years ago. “GMA” is losing viewers, most rapidly among a younger demographic that advertisers eagerly seek, where NBC has wrested back the lead from its rival.”

They have 3 great guests on the show today, all baby boomers. Tony is 57, The Hoff is 63, and Geraldo is 72. The Production Assistant is 30 ish, and she picked a studio audience aged 35–40 years old. No one in the studio audience is even as old as the average age of the guests.

25–35 year old millennials watch their phones more than their televisions. The generation that watched GMA since 1975, is aging faster than their marketers know. They are bucking the headwind of the aging baby boomers in search of younger fans. Their actual fans are now grandparents who are retiring, and tuning back in to the show more regularly.

The Assistant comes out again: “I’m picking some really CALM people to go in,” she says.

I feel like my frozen hands were slapped with a wooden stick. We are all calm, we have been sedated by the cold. She chooses 20 people between 30 and 40 years old — ten from in front of us, then she passes right by us, and picks another ten from behind us, including the heckler, and a lady who recently cut in line beside us from the back of the line. They all go into the studio.

Then in a glacial tone the Assistant says: “The rest of you don’t get in. That’s it!”

I observe that GMA issued 80 tickets for 40 spots, picked 20 local media/bloggers, then cherry picked from the line-up.

I feel like a giant ice sculpture of a fist has punched me in the face. It stings doubly as a parent, because it is a one two punch, one for my son and one for me.

My son is an adult, but a mother’s love doesn’t age.

His disappointment amplifies mine. I am supposed to bandage his wounds, not salt them, especially for his birthday! I am sorry for getting his hopes up to see Tony on the show, and I hope he doesn’t get bronchitis from exposure to the unrelenting cold.

Then I imagine what Tony would say to us if he were walking beside the line:

“Give me a break — You’re not in Somalia — Get over it already!”

I scramble for something to be grateful for, to instantly change my emotions.

“We saw Tony!” I say.

“Seeing ‘The Hoff’ was a total bonus for me,” my son says.

“We learned how to do a live TV show,” I say.

Then my son speaks the truth, as always: “we learned how NOT to do a live tv show”, he says.

Then we bust our guts laughing!

But our laughter is silenced by loud shouting ahead in the line-up. A couple in their 60’s who were first place in line, didn’t take Julie’s news delivered coldly as well as we did.

They are shouting at her in British accents: “We’ve been standing here since 6 am!” said the lady.

“We were the first in line! And you pick people from the back of the line!!!?” she said loudly.

Julie’s face started turning as red as the rest of ours. I felt bad for her. She was only doing her job, the way she has always done it, and getting the same results and not understanding why. GMA wants to improve their ratings, but they are “too busy sawing to sharpen the saw” as Steven Covey would say.

I feel worse for the British people than I do for anyone, including my son or myself. They are older than us, colder than us, and have stood outside longerthan us. As Tony says: “pick someone who is ten times worse off than you and help them.” I wonder how I can help them. The couple are part of GMA’s global audience, and Tony’s global audience. The show airs in Canada, so it likely airs in Britain too. They aren’t GMA’s target audience, they are theiractual audience. This is too weird.

New York is not only an American city, it is a global city, where 171 languages are spoken. The guests on GMA are global stars. Back in 1984, when I was in Ireland, I bought a ‘Knight Rider’ car for my young nephew in Ireland who was a huge fan of the show ‘Knight Rider’ (starring David Hasselhoff).

Nobody cares about your little problem in the BIG APPLE. Everyone is moving forward. Stop on the sidewalk to salt your wounds and you will get trampled.

But we learned in kindergarten how to treat people better than this.

A girl on The Brooklyn Bridge yesterday was wearing a donut t-shirt that said:

I Donut Care

We traveled 3800 miles from Canada, and the Brits traveled further, and lined up in the dark, but they donut care that we braved the wind and didn’t get in.

To Be #1 You Gotta Care

I learned how resilient my son is. He waved me over to the front window of the studio. We are stunned that we can see the show being filmed from the front window in Times Square.

Tony Robbins and David Hasselhoff are being interviewed 20 feet in front of us. I hear Tony say:

“I have failed a million times, but it’s not failure if you ask — what can I learn from this experience?”

On the subway back to the Airbnb, we discuss what we learned from the experience. We think of ways GMA could improve:

  • They could omit the Toys ‘R’ Us reference from their tickets.
  • If they ask people to arrive early and line up, they shouldn’t surprise them by picking people from the back of the line. The people at the back aren’t expecting to get in, the people at the front are.
  • Pick the audience members once the deadline to line up has passed. Don’t drag out the suspense for two hours. It isn’t wise to release frustrated customers into the world to tell their friends about their bad experience.
  • This is show business, not the justice system, and life isn’t always fair, but in the race to the top, GMA is missing out on marketing opportunities. They could connect with their fans and the line-up on social media. Tweeting Tony trivia would have equaled ratings gold. They could have held a draw for Tony’s new book ‘Money-Master The Game’(see link here:http://goo.gl/LI1fTF), or handed out swag bags to be photographed for Instagram, or offered cups of coffee with a GMA logo on them.

As Seth Godin says: “your best customer is your best marketer.” He also says: “People don’t like surprises…if you give them your word, keep it.”

I wonder what Tony would say to us about the experience?

I think he would chunk it down into parts. We took action and were prepared. We planned our trip from Brooklyn and arrived early. We dressed as sharply as we could from a suitcase, and we didn’t give up.

We did our best, and found something to be grateful for and learned something.

We saw Times Square at dawn.

My son got a picture of David Hasselhoff. I saw Geraldo Rivera.

We both saw Tony Robbins up close and he smiled at us.

We stuck it out despite the odds. We committed, and we learned something about ourselves.

And as always, my son got an education from this Tony experience. He dreams of one day being interviewed by a show like GMA as a music producer. The experience crystallized for him: the goal is not to line up outside the arena, but to work so hard that people line up outside the arena to see you. “Well said, Tony Jr.”

My son and I have a great amount of respect for those who are in the arena — whatever their arena is. They have faced a million disappointing experiences, and they keep rising higher and higher above them, and set a better example.

I was proud to be part of the line-up to show Tony our gratitude. He has given so much of himself to so many for so many years, that showing up, and showing our appreciation is the least we could do to thank him. We are the reason he does what he does.

Tony says to find someone worse off than you and help them. To honor that, I dedicate this story to the couple who were first place in line. I hope it makes them feel better, whoever and wherever they are.

They were true Tony fans. Tony says: “you get what you tolerate,” and they refused to tolerate what happened in line. They bravely expressed what twenty other people were feeling, but didn’t express. “If you want something better than what you are getting, you have to raise your standards,” says Tony.

Tony’s fans were exactly what GMA needed. He has taught his fans to expect something better, and to take massive action to make the change. The Brit’s actions may lead to changes in the way they treat their future line-ups. If Good Morning America can put down the saw for long enough to listen.

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  • Go to the profile of AnnHoy

    AnnHoy

    Welcome to my blog annhoy.com — #loveyourself. Writer for The Writing Cooperative and BeYourself on Medium.com

  • Oprah’s Garage Sale and Vancouver Visit

     

    Ann and her sister with Faux-prah at Oprah in Vancouver Photo courtesy of Virgin Radio Vancouver

    Ann and her sister with Faux-prah at Oprah in Vancouver
    Photo courtesy of Virgin Radio Vancouver

    You don’t usually find a pair of $700.00 French country nightstands at a garage sale, but Oprah Winfrey’s garage sale isn’t your usual garage sale. She is selling off many of her former favorite things in Santa Barbara this weekend, to fund a college education for girls at a school she set up in South Africa. You can shop in person in Santa Barbara, or bid on-line.

    When Oprah came to Vancouver last January, she spoke to us in the audience about the underprivledged girls, many of whom had lost one or both parents, and many of whom were staying at Oprah’s house with her until they went off to college in the United States. Here is a re-post of my blog about the day I saw Oprah in Vancouver last January.

    My sister and I were fortunate to count ourselves among the 16,000 fans at Rogers Arena in Vancouver last night, who gave Oprah Winfrey a standing ovation, to thank her for being an inspiration in our lives for the past 25 years.

    She started the evening’s show by asking the audience: “Why are You Here?”

    She says we all have a calling, and our job is to figure out what that calling is.  To figure out our calling, she says we have to look at the common thread that runs through our lives.  What have you done for yourself and others that makes a difference?  She says we must use our purpose in life to help ourselves first, and then to serve others, as the ultimate purpose of life is to serve others.

    – Getting Paid:

    Oprah says we must answer our calling, to realize our potential and to help others, even if we don’t get paid for it.  But, if we CAN get paid to do our calling, that’s even better.

    – How Do You Know When To Act?:

    Listen to the whispers in your head, as they are telling you what you should do.  If you ignore this inner voice, it will become like pebbles hitting your head, and if you continue to ignore it, it will eventually become a tsunami. Your thoughts create what you become, and you are responsible for your thoughts and your own life, so don’t wait for others to make things happen for you.

    – How To Paint The Canvas That is Your Life:

    She says your thoughts are creating who you want to become.  To become what you believe you must work hard, to prepare yourself to grab opportunities when they arise.  Oprah believes there is no such thing as luck – everything happens for a reason.  You create your life with your thoughts, actions, and intentions.

    Oprah entertained the crowd for two hours by taking them on a guided photo, video and speaking tour of her life, which was sometimes sad, sometimes funny, sometimes thoughtful, and mostly inspirational.  She described how she discovered her life’s calling – “talking to crowds”, as a child, by speaking to the congregation in her church.

    She said she always saw her calling as being a “teacher”. But, like her garage sales, her classrooms are not your usual classrooms. In Vancouver, she was talking to a stadium classroom with 16,000 students.

    Sign up here before bidding: http://t.co/zKlFNSPn5n
    For Oprah’s garage sale info: http://www.kaminskiauctions.com/

    10 Myths About Introverts – blog post by Eli Bishop

    Introvert Image

    I found this blog post by Eli Bishop really interesting, so am sharing it. I like the distinction between “shy” and “introvert”

    10 Myths About Introverts (As a graphic designer, a list I can really get behind…)

    Edit 08/07/2013 – Due to the insane amount of traffic from this article, I thought I’d address a few questions:

    1. I did not write these, they are linked / reblogged from the links above each section below. Please try and credit the original sources as well.

    2. The photo is from the internet, I did not take that photo myself. I believe it’s from a Mir brand wool detergent advertisement. The photo credits are:

    Advertising Agency: TBWA\PARIS, France
    Executive Creative Director: Erik Vervroegen
    Creative Director: Erik Vervroegen
    Copywriter: Pierre-Louis Messager
    Art Director: Ingrid Varetz
    Photographer: Vincent Fournier

    3. I do not know where you can purchase or find the pattern for that sweater.

    Definition of introverts via Wikipedia:

    Introverts are people whose energy tends to expand through reflection and dwindle during interaction. They often take pleasure in solitary activities such as reading, writing, music, drawing, tinkering, playing video games, watching movies and plays, and using computers. The archetypal artist, writer, sculptor, engineer, composer, and inventor are all highly introverted. An introvert is likely to enjoy time spent alone and find less reward in time spent with large groups of people. They prefer to concentrate on a single activity at a time and like to observe situations before they participate. Introverts are easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation from social gatherings and engagement. They are more analytical before speaking.

    Introversion is not the same as being shy or being a social outcast. Introverts prefer solitary activities over social ones, whereas shy people (who may be extroverts at heart) avoid social encounters out of fear, and the social outcast has little choice in the matter of his or her solitude.

    Great list of myths about introverts via Carl King Creative:

    Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
    This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

    Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
    Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

    Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
    Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

    Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
    On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

    Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
    Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

    Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
    Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

    Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
    Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

    Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
    Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

    Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
    Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

    Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
    A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

    http://elibishop.com/2011/07/27/10-myths-about-introverts/

    Seeing Oprah in Vancouver – Thurs Jan 24th, 2013

     

    Ann and her sister with Faux-prah at Oprah in Vancouver Photo courtesy of Virgin Radio Vancouver

    Ann and her sister with Faux-prah at Oprah in Vancouver
    Photo courtesy of Virgin Radio Vancouver

    You don’t usually find a pair of $700.00 French country nightstands at a garage sale, but Oprah Winfrey’s garage sale isn’t your usual garage sale. She is selling off many of her former favorite things in Santa Barbara this weekend, to fund a college education for girls at a school she set up in South Africa.

    When Oprah came to Vancouver last January, she spoke to us in the audience about the underprivledged girls, many of whom had lost one or both parents, and many of whom were staying at Oprah’s house with her until they went off to college in the United States. Here is a re-post of my blog about the day I saw Oprah in Vancouver last January.

    My sister and I were fortunate to count ourselves among the 16,000 fans at Rogers Arena in Vancouver last night, who gave Oprah Winfrey a standing ovation, to thank her for being an inspiration in our lives for the past 25 years.

    She started the evening’s show by asking the audience: “Why are You Here?”

    She says we all have a calling, and our job is to figure out what that calling is.  To figure out our calling, she says we have to look at the common thread that runs through our lives.  What have you done for yourself and others that makes a difference?  She says we must use our purpose in life to help ourselves first, and then to serve others, as the ultimate purpose of life is to serve others.

    – Getting Paid:

    Oprah says we must answer our calling, to realize our potential and to help others, even if we don’t get paid for it.  But, if we CAN get paid to do our calling, that’s even better.

    – How Do You Know When To Act?:

    Listen to the whispers in your head, as they are telling you what you should do.  If you ignore this inner voice, it will become like pebbles hitting your head, and if you continue to ignore it, it will eventually become a tsunami. Your thoughts create what you become, and you are responsible for your thoughts and your own life, so don’t wait for others to make things happen for you.

    – How To Paint The Canvas That is Your Life:

    She says your thoughts are creating who you want to become.  To become what you believe you must work hard, to prepare yourself to grab opportunities when they arise.  Oprah believes there is no such thing as luck – everything happens for a reason.  You create your life with your thoughts, actions, and intentions.

    Oprah entertained the crowd for two hours by taking them on a guided photo, video and speaking tour of her life, which was sometimes sad, sometimes funny, sometimes thoughtful, and mostly inspirational.  She described how she discovered her life’s calling – “talking to crowds”, as a child, by speaking to the congregation in her church.

    She said she always saw her calling as being a “teacher”. But her classrooms, are not your usual classrooms. In Vancouver, her “classroom” held 16,000 of us students.

    For Oprah’s garage sale info: http://www.kaminskiauctions.com/

    Shelley Fralic’s Favorite Things – Oprah coming to Vancouver

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    In honor of Oprah coming to Vancouver next week, Shelley Fralic, columnist with “The Vancouver Sun” newspaper wrote a column today Sat. Jan 19th, asking readers to send in a list of their favorite things.

    Shelley is one of Ann’s muses as I have admired her writing for years, and would be happy with half of her writing talent.

    Oprah is one of Ann’s inspirational people because of her amazing story of self-realization and because she uses her wealth and power to benefit so many people on earth.

    Shelley notes that Oprah is famous for telling us her “favorite things” which can include luxurious items that our out of the price range of most of us. Shelley is asking for some of the best things in life which are free. Or as she says: “what will I miss when I die?”

    Shelley’s list is in Saturday’s paper at www.vancouversun.com. I sent in my list to her, will you send her yours? Email it to: SFralic@vancouversun.com, with “Favorite Things” in the subject line, and they will publish the best ones.

    Here’s Is My List:

    – My dog Rocko asleep at my feet at night, a warm, peaceful, snuggly foot warmer full of love and loyalty.

    – Opening my husband’s Christmas gifts – small elegant packages of scarves, perfume and bracelets I would never indulge myself with.

    – Drinking my herbal tea recipe for what ails me, combining:
    one bag of licorice root tea
    one bag of spearmint tea
    one bag of green tea.

    – Eating a bowl of my labor intensive spaghetti. Its’ tomato sauce with sliced peppers, celery, onions, garlic, with a big dash of sinus-clearing curry powder.

    – Hearing my three sons jamming in the basement – one on bass, one on guitar, and one on drums – music to my ears!

    -Planting hanging baskets from starter plants in the spring, and nurturing them till they bloom and spill over the pots in trails of vibrant colors and shapes.

    – Escaping the stifling heat of the house in August and laying suspended in my hammock in the back yard in the dying evening sun, with only me and the birds, and a gentle breeze to cool my skin.

    – My fur lined winter boots to keep my feet warm and dry in the Canadian winter.

    – Making all the green lights when I’m late.

    – Looking at the twinkling stars and planets in the night sky after many days of rainfall when the air is spotlessly clear.

    Photo credit:http://www.flickr.com/photos/h_dwight_beers/3385236760/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/h_dwight_beers/3385236760/