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“When there is breakdown in a relationship, you must have the hard conversation. It may not be pretty and it may not feel good. But if you are willing to listen and tell the truth, it will open up.”―Iyanla Vanzant

I just returned home from St. Louis from the first leg of a three-city tour with Oprah and her Oprah’s Lifeclass. We met with Oprah for thirty minutes and her presence is beyond words. She is such a beacon of light. We sat across from each other and when she spoke to me, it felt like she looked and spoke right into my soul. I was in the entertainment business for ten years. I was a talent agent representing celebrities, so being in the presence of a star is something I am accustomed to. But I must say, chatting with Oprah was different. This experience with such an inspiring icon was a dream come true that I will always remember.

We also had the opportunity to have breakfast with New York Times Best Selling author, inspirational speaker, and talk show host, Iyanla Vanzant. Iyanla is such a powerful, authentic,and inspiring woman. I have two young daughters whom I love dearly. Since Iyanla is such a strong voice for female empowerment, I asked her advice in raising my daughters. Her answer made me tear up. Her two main points to me were:

1. Be the example. ALWAYS treat your wife the way you would want men to treat your daughter.

2. Tell your daughters how beautiful they are inside and out—a lot. (Her Dad NEVER told her that).

The below video is an exclusive Positively Positive treat from our breakfast. Iyanla talks about getting real, telling the truth, and “doing the work.”

“You’ve got to be willing to be wrong. About what you thought. What you judged. What you said. What you did. You’ve got to be willing to see another’s perspective.”―Iyanla Vanzant

Iyanla taught the live Lifeclass that evening with Oprah on the topic of “Stopping the Pain” (watch the replay HERE). It was electrifying. At one point in the show she brought up Steve Dorsey, a forty-eight-year-old photographer, who was using drugs and alcohol for more than twenty years. For the last ten years he’s been trying to change his life but believes his pain is holding him back. By the middle of the segment, Oprah and Iylana asked people to stand with Steve. The entire audience of 3,000 in the Peabody Opera House was on their feet and in tears. By the middle of it #StandingWithSteve was trending on Twitter worldwide.

After the show I ended up having dinner with Steve and my good friend Mastin Kipp, the founder of The Daily Love. It was an incredibly inspiring dinner, after Steve had poured his heart and tears out in front of millions of people. I actually shot some exclusive video of him after dinner, which I will be posting shortly—stay tuned.

What I love about Oprah’s Lifeclass, it’s not just television. It’s entertainment with a purpose. It transforms lives. I know this because I was there. With 3,000 others. I saw it. I felt it.

Iyanla will also be hosting an upcoming show on OWN, tentatively titled, Iyanla Fix My Blank.

Next up in the Oprah’s Lifeclass: the Tour, we will be traveling to New York and then Toronto. Oprah’s Lifeclass: the Tour will continue to air live every Monday night at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. Central on OWN for the next five weeks. It can also be viewed online. Next week’s episode features Anthony Robbins.

* Above photo by Amy and Nancy Harrington, PopCulturePassionistas.com


Eric Handler is the co-founder of Positively Positive. He recently spoke at TEDx. Follow Eric on TWITTER.