What I Learned at Oprah’s Live the Life You Want Tour

Written By: Kim - Sep• 28•14

When a good friend approached me this past spring about going to the Oprah’s Live the Life You Want Tour, the timing wasn’t exactly great. I had just started my consulting business the same month and every dollar mattered. But, I decided that it was too good of an opportunity to turn down.

2014-09-26 18.09.16The weekend was really about self-development, be it personal or professional. While we were not in the most glamorous location, here’s what I learned in Newark, NJ.

  • People love Oprah, especially women. Brave men came along with their significant other or partner. Hats off to you men for sharing this experience with someone in your life who matters to you.
  • The lack of basic self esteem is astounding in people. I don’t mean someone who criticizes their feet or hair, but deep-seeded feelings of despondency, whether they are successful or not. Oprah brought a woman up on stage who had four children and a master’s degree (she looked so young) and she was beating herself up because she wasn’t using her master’s degree in her job.
  • Women really do support other women, despite all of the negative headlines. When this woman was on stage, Oprah pointed out that she had accomplished quit a feat: she had four young children and had completed her master’s degree. As she continued to cry (Oprah really is the best therapist) someone in our section yelled out as it became quiet, “We believe.” We believe in you. What support.
  • People make a difference in this world, even with the small resources they have available. One of this tour’s sponsors was Toyota. On this tour, their foundation hands out grants to deserving organizations during the day that is called a Toyota Standing Ovation. On our stop, the Camden Sophisticated Sisters received not only $25,000 from Toyota, but a $25,000 match from a woman in the audience. I realize that all causes are worthy, but this particular story was riveting. A 15 year-old single mother, challenged by her grandfather, kept this organization going after the funding dried up. Thirty years and three more children of her own, the CSS students have a 100% high school graduation completion record in a city that has a 50% drop out rate. Making a difference in so many lives – one at a time. Wonderful.
  • You have to own your destiny. Look, you can’t control who your parents are or where you came from, but you can control where you are going. You are the only one who can decide what is best for you; what your quest is; where you belong. It may not always fit into a nice idea that other people have and you will encounter plenty of naysayers. Screw them. You get on your quest and follow your dream. And, quite frankly, the naysayers may have to be cut out of your life if they can’t support you. Remove the negative language from your life and replace it with phrases like: I’m on my way, I can do anything, I know my life has meaning, I listen to my heart, I am taking steps to be healthier. You get the idea.

2014-09-27 09.08.57So, if I am going to share this small amount of feedback about this tremendous experience, then I should share my new vision that I created this weekend. Yeah, Oprah gave us homework.

My New Vision

  1. I am becoming a financially-secure business owner.
  2. I will be more present during family moments.
  3. I will speak gently to myself and others, removing negativity so that those words do not get left in my couch cushion (per a story Oprah told about Maya Angelou).
  4. I have a mission to make sure that my family knows how much they matter to me and how beautiful my life is because of them.
  5. I’m on my way to traveling more with my family so that we all can experience what the world has to offer.

Let me know if you create a new vision so that I can find out if there is any way that I can support you (other than cheering you on)!

A Birthday Ode to Mom

Written By: Kim - Aug• 27•14

Yesterday would have been my mom’s 88th birthday. Sadly, she passed away in 2002 at 76 from heart disease. She is one of the reasons I am on a quest for optimal health.

What you do not know about her is that she was the first born child of Italian immigrants long before Jersey Shore gave us caricatures. Her parents owned a grocery store in Long Beach. Her father could not get over the fact that his first born was not a son and mistreated her until the day my grandmother divorced him.

2014-08-27 07.02.56My Catholic mother was married twice, survived the Great Depression, WW II, Korea, Vietnam, being a military wife and five children. Despite the weird policies about divorced Catholics prior to Vatican II, she never lost her faith in God.

She welcomed all of my friends into our home, but if she did not like you, she had a reason. The reason was not always apparent to me. But, she would always let me know. And damn, she was always spot on. She could read people easily and she passed that along to me. Luckily, she loved my husband.

Our home was open to everyone, and I mean everyone before it was en vogue to be ok with your gay friends. One of her dearest friends and side business partner was gay. If you know anything about small towns and the south, you know that she was a rebel. She was a social butterfly who would have loved FB. She was a good cook and an even better baker.

I was the first of five kids to graduate from college. Neither one of my parents had a college degree. I believe that she was most proud of me on that day and six years later when I received my masters.

She lived long enough to see me be pregnant and birth two children, but sadly did not live long enough to get to really know them. She instilled in me many things but the greatest was my faith in God, love of family and the secret to making a great, moist cake. I feel some sense if relief that she is buried in Arlington.

Mothers are not perfect and I could list all of the things about her that drove me insane. Call your mom and tell her that you love her. Today