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May 10, 2010

The Oprah Weekend

I’m not a big fan club person, but Oprah holds a particular fascination for me–the empire she’s created, the people she has around her and the message she expounds. So, I plunked down $377 to attend the Live Your Best Life weekend in New York City in anticipation of seeing up-close-and-personal the likes of Oprah, Gayle, Dr. Oz, Martha Beck, etc.

I was not disappointed.

Here is Oprah herself kicking off the event Saturday morning at Jacob Javits Convention Center. There were thousands of women and a sprinkling of men in attendance. At this morning opener, Oprah introduced Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame to set the tone for the day, which she did. My favorite story of Elizabeth’s was about how we are each running life in our own mazes. We peek over the walls of ours to look at each others’ mazes to get clues for our own journey. That, she said, explains the popularity of memoirs (like hers) and also of the Oprah show. We’re all looking for how to do it better or differently. She was wonderful.

The big event was Saturday night at Radio City Music Hall where Oprah captivated us thousands assembled with a monologue of her history, illustrated on a large screen behind her as she spoke. She’s extraordinary. The firsts she’s accomplished, the hurdles she leapt, the people she’s met–totally incredible, enviable and fabulous. (BTW, before the program began it was announced that our presence in the Music Hall gave her production company the usage of our images, voices, etc. throughout the universe in perpetuity. And I feel like I’m intruding when I ask someone to sign a contract for a 6-month coaching commitment!)

My purpose in going this past weekend was mostly to observe the masters at work, which I did. These people are at the top of the field nationally and internationally. I learn so much from watching–the professionalism, stature and grace it takes to stand and speak in front of thousands, how large a village it takes to pull off an event like this, how much discomfort they are willing to put an audience through (i.e. waiting 1 hour and 15 minutes in the cold for the walk to begin) and what sponsors are willing to do if you can reach such a vast market.

I’m also very grateful to be back in my comfortable environment, familiar schedule and among the people I’ve chosen to be in my world.

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  1. Denise Costabile

    Well said – I briefly thought of joining the event and opted out. How wonderful for me to see some of it through your lense.

  2. Wendy Wrzos

    Jane, I love the analysis of Elizabeth Gilbert the best…It seems that you, yourself, peeked out of your own maze to see and learn how others were managing their lives 🙂
    I’m sure it was inspiring and thought provoking to see such “greats” at work.

  3. janepollak

    You would have loved it! And, your pal Martha did a great job.

    I love seeing the pros up close and personal. I tend to glorify these icons, so it was good to see Gayle grimacing and Suze looking confused while waiting for Oprah to take the stage on Sunday. They’re human, too…


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