I don't even know where to begin. I am still on a high after a magnificent weekend with my mom in Toronto attending Oprah's Lifeclass Tour. So many of you have tweeted me and Facebooked me asking for all the juicy details. So today will be a mixed bowl of those details, life lessons, and what I learned. Hold on tight, and come along with me on a ride of fun and education...
It all started Sunday. My husband was leaving on a business trip, and I was leaving for Toronto. We kissed our two boys goodbye, and headed to the airport for our respective flights. Walking in, I had to laugh. My mom and I showed up at the airport in the exact same outfit, completely unplanned. Quite typical of us. We were excited, and off on our first mother-daughter trip in almost a decade!
Mom and I at the airport en route to our mother-daughter getaway
After being delayed two-and-a-half hours, we finally touched down in Toronto. No kids for two days. Only one person to care for -- myself. I gotta admit, it was nice. I missed afternoon tea with the OWN Network. They had graciously invited me, but my delayed flight prevented me from attending.
Mom and I had dinner and went to bed early Sunday night, knowing that the doors opened at 7 a.m.
We woke up Monday morning EXCITED! We were goin' to Oprah, baby!! I tweeted to Miss O that morning.
If I tell you, I tweet Oprah ALL.THE.TIME to no reply. But all of a sudden, BING, Twitter reply.
OPRAH TWEETED ME!!
And with that tweet, we were off to the convention center. It was 6:50 in the morning, and we walked down the street to Starbucks for a quick breakfast to go. It was as if Oprah Winfrey owned Front Street. Women EVERYWHERE, all going to see Oprah.
At Starbucks before Lifeclass
After a lineup around MANY blocks, we were inside. My mom was immediately snapping pictures. She couldn't get enough.
We then entered the auditorium -- 8,500 women in one room is nothing to sneeze at. We were guided to our seats -- fourth row center. GULP!
The electricity, the synergy, the buzz in the room was palpable. Everyone was there by choice, not out of necessity, to learn and to self-improve. It felt as if this was a sacred place, a place to be your authentic self. That was the bond that connected all of us. And you could feel it -- 8,500 women thirsty for a better life. Thirsty for transformation and change. How cool.
And with that feeling, the day began. They called the first speaker to the stage -- a great Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist, and star of the hit show, Dragon's Den. Lo and behold, it was my buddy Brett Wilson! I had no idea he was going to be there, so when he took the stage, I waved to him. Next thing I know, he called out in front of the entire crowd, "Oh wow, there's Erica Diamond!" In the words of Fifty Shades of Grey, I flushed scarlet. I ducked in my seat.
Next we heard from four incredible teachers, for about 30 minutes each: Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Iyanla Vanzant and Bishop TJ Jakes. Alright, I expected Tony Robbins to be like a used-car salesman. But if I tell you, HIS TALK WAS LIFE-CHANGING. He was by far my favorite speaker. If you haven't read his books or attended his conferences, I urge you to do so. This guy is the real deal.
All four speakers taught us some incredible life lessons. I wanted to share them with you. Here they are, in no particular order:
- "We're all born with infinite potential and creativity. We all have it in us. Each and every one of us. That's the only truth" - Deepak Chopra
- "The three things you can offer your children to change them: attention, appreciation and affection." - Deepak Chopra
- "None of us are imprisoned emotional or mentally unless we allow ourselves to be." -Iyanla Vanzant
- "Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes for you." - Tony Robbins
- "Change your state, change your happiness. We use drugs, sex, eating, smoking, drinking to change our state. You don't need to this." - Tony Robbins
- "Wanna keep your marriage in that same state of bliss you felt at the beginning? Then, DO you what you did at the beginning of your relationship -- you gave everything to this person. Do those things again and you will see the change and the reconnection with your partner." --Tony Robbins
- "Your story is what blocks you from your breakthrough. We believe the stories we tell ourself over and over again." - Tony Robbins
- "We all have our own story. And we stay attached to our story. This can stop us from growing and living. You wanna make your life better? Change your story, change your life." - Tony Robbins
- "When you fail at something, you say you've tried everything cuz that makes you feel better. How have you really tried everything? If you had, you woulda found a solution. Bullshit!" - Tony Robbins
- "You get what you tolerate." - Tony Robbins (ONE OF MY FAVORITES OF THE DAY!)
- "Success leaves clues. Go figure out what someone who was successful did, and model it. Improve it, but learn their steps. They have knowledge." - Tony Robbins
- "No one talks about failure. Let's talk about it. Why did you fail? I always hear 'resources' as the excuse -- not enough time, money, energy, technology. People blame resources as the excuse for failure. It's not the lack of resources that cause failure, it's the lack of resourcefulness that causes failure. Resourcefulness is the cure to failure. Successful people are resourceful and find a way to make it work." - Tony Robbins (MY SECOND-FAVORITE OF THE DAY).
- "Decisions and not conditions determine your destiny. Your biography is NOT your destiny. Rather it's your DECISIONS that create your destiny." - Tony Robbins (And he used Oprah as a powerful example that her past, her story, did not get in the way of her destiny. Rather it was her life choices that changed her course. ANOTHER ONE OF MY FAVORITES.)
- "The path of least resistance is the path with no joy, no growth." - Tony Robbins
- "Common sense is not common. If you're not doing it, it's not common." - Tony Robbins (SO TRUE.)
- "Leap and the net will appear." - Oh, I so believe this!!
- "How well you manage problems determines how far you go." - Bishop TJ Jakes
- "It's the things that go wrong that make you better." - Bishop TJ Jakes
- "Act like you know you're golden." - Iyanla Vanzant (as she danced down the aisles -- loved her).
- "Embrace the truth. Speak the truth. Be the truth. When we welcome the truth, we live our lives like it's golden." - Iyanla Vanzant
- "Tell the truth to yourself, about yourself. No one ever died from telling the truth. We often don't tell the truth. You gotta tell the truth as soon as you know it. - Iyanla Vanzant
- "Tell the truth in a way that's kind." - Iyanla Vanzant
- "Challenges are there to make you more aware of your inner purpose." - Deepak Chopra
She began telling us how thankful she was for all her fans, how she had been reading all the tweets and Facebook postings. She then said, "One girl wrote to me this morning that she just got out of the shower and was excited for Lifeclass." I don't know what made me blurt out -- and LOUD -- "THAT WAS ME!!!!!" Oprah then laughed and said, "Are you serious? WAIT, YES, IT WAS YOU! And you look just like your picture!" Again, I flushed scarlet.
And then, my Twitter was a buzzing: "Did Oprah just call you out from the stage?" and "Was Oprah just talking to you?" Then Adam Glassman, creative director of O, The Oprah Magazine tweeted me, "Was that just YOU xoxo?" Andrea Wishom, EVP of Harpo Studios wrote, "Hey! Just saw your cute moment with @Oprah just now!" "You look JUST like your picture!" "Have fun!" or "Saw you on the live streaming of Lifeclass. So cool!!! Is it as great as it seems?" Or "Oprah is talking to Erica Diamond. She must be on cloud 9!" They kept coming in.
All fun stuff.
Then, it was time to film Lifeclass. Our episode of Lifeclass on gratitude was about to be broadcasted live around the world. The curtain went up, and there they appeared.
From left to right: Iyanla Vanzant, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Bishop TJ Jakes, Oprah Winfrey
It was a brilliant hour. Our episode will be the season finale, and will air on April 30.
Here were some other great highlights of the day:
Me and Maya Watson, Marketing Manager of Harpo
The brilliant Tony Robbins
Iyanla Vanzant dancing!
Erik Logan and one of my favorites, Sheri Salata sharing some OWN news
This photo was shot one minute after I met Oprah. Hello, bucket list!
By the stage
On stage, flashing one of my tweets
People Skyping in to speak to the experts
Me and Mom in the audience
Oprah in my row, watching the stage
Thank you all for tuning in!
So after a heavy six hours of learning, my mom and I walked back to our hotel, put on our running shoes, and explored Toronto. It was almost 90 degrees, and we ended up at a great Italian restaurant outside -- wine, pasta, and lots of conversation and reflections about the day. About our lives. About expectations, disappointments, celebrations, breakthroughs, and challenges.
We walked back to our hotel, showered, and there we were -- both in our own beds, on our own Macs watching Lifeclass, in our matching hotel bathrobes. It was quite the sight.
As I laid in my bed, I came to two real realizations: Those experts were really just preaching to the converted. It's funny, I find in life that the people who don't subscribe to spirituality or self-improvement, are usually the ones who need it the most. So, I urge you, if you are suffering in any way, to stop complaining, and take action. Movement, no matter how small, in the right direction, is game changing.
And second, Tony Robbins' concept is really one to embrace. There are really no excuses to failure. Resourcefulness and tenacity will win, every time. I speak from experience. You want something? Stop making excuses why you can't have it, and start getting resourceful. You'd be surprised just how resourceful and resilient women are.
When we arrived home yesterday, as I got out of the car to run in and see my boys for the first time in 48 hours, my mom took my hand, kissed it gently, and said to me, "These last two days were magical."
And they really were.
Tell me -- I'd love to know if any of the 23 lessons hit home, or if you have any of your own secrets that have improved your life. This is a broad community of women, always looking to get off the fence, and take the jump to their happiness. Share your tips and thoughts.