So there’s been a weekend and a day for me to digest the events of Friday, one in which my Game Plan column about Oprah’s Lifeclass went live on FoxBusiness.com.
It seems that while I was punching a bag at the gym in the morning, feeling my power and gloriously sweating after a week of hard work, the folks at Harpo were trying to locate me. Specifically, the office of Harpo/OWN president Sheri Salata.
We eventually connected around noon and had a delightful conversation. She enjoyed the column and so appreciated that I understood what the network was striving to do with Lifeclass. That evening, when I returned from dinner with friends, there was a voice mail message waiting from Oprah Winfrey herself. It was a lovely expression of gratitude for “getting” what she’s trying to do and she said she was profoundly moved by my column.
While I admit it was all a bit surreal, what has dominated my thoughts is that all the gratitude talk on The Oprah Winfrey Show and in O, The Oprah Magazine that we’ve heard over the years is more than platitudes or inspiring quotes. They embody it.
I just wrote my 400th Game Plan column last week and I can count on one hand (maybe two) the people who have taken the time to call to thank me for what I wrote about them. To be clear, I don’t write for the reward of gratitude. I write because I must. But when someone tells me I “nailed it” or they’ve “never felt so understood,” it lets me know I am capturing them authentically. That is priceless.
Hearing from Sheri and Oprah was also a stirring reminder that no matter how much success one has enjoyed, the next venture is still new and risky. They are putting themselves out there with each hour, each show, an entire network. It is yet another example of practicing what they preach.
So very special.
Hello and Many Congrats (once again) Nancy,
This is Carlos (surreal moment enthusiast of the sports club kind). Hi.
I preface with a quote from my own favorite book:
“We teach best what we most need to learn” – Richard Bach, Illusions
First, I thank you So very much for sharing your “surreal” but nonetheless wonderful bit of writer’s bliss and good news with me the other day.
Having read your article/review about/of Oprah’s Lifeclass, it seems clear why the folks involved should want to express directly their gratitude about your insightful understanding of their “mission”.
On the theme of “walking the walk” as people say, there is no better way than that as an instrument of teaching. It is essential, even, as we seek to teach children (and perhaps adults too) that there be little to no contradiction between the message we seek to convey and our actions. In your writing, you caught that very important point about how Oprah sought to live her lesson. There seems to be a thematic consistency here and with that lovely acronym OWN that takes on another relevantly inspiring meaning. We find the idea that it is up to us to “own” and accordingly “let go” of what serves or does not serve each of us and our relationships to others at the heart of it all. Your drawing attention to such efforts and such messages makes you a rather good teacher too.
Second, I admit to genuinely and thoroughly liking the particular and insightful “voice” of your writing rife with distinctions and a much invested sense of how valuable it is to use language consciously about and for others. It is like your “listening” flows through your words, a gift that does allow readers to “get” what you “get” if they but listen too. Your blog is a welcoming place that I look forward to revisiting often.
Best to you,
postscript: Additional congrats on achieving your milestone 400th Game Plan column!
Thank you so much for this thoughtful and insightful feedback and commentary. I really appreciate you taking the time to listen and respond. And to think it all came from a conversation at the gym!
You are truly welcome, although my bit of somewhat verbose commentary was an attempt to express my own gratitude.
It was a terrific pleasure speaking with you and getting glimpses of your journey (literal and in a more profound sense), as well as your observations and insights. I think that when we are engaged and a set of perspectives is put forth in a way that resonates with what we too are seeking as human beings, our listening can lead to much good learning. As to the locale of our convergence (…the gym), that is in itself a lesson for us to remain open to the possibilities.
It’s terrible, I am atheistic in my lack of belief that such a place exists as one where good conversation is “off limits”.
There’s a librarian somewhere in Maine that can attest to this…
Thanks again for your thoughts.