I'm Oprah Winfrey, welcome to Super Cell Conversations, the podcast, I believe that one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself is time taking time to be more fully present. Your journey to become more inspired and connected to the deeper world around us. Starts right now.
I created Super Bowl Sunday in part because of my own yearning to talk to people who have the ability to open both hearts and minds through the wisdom of their life experiences. Beyond the joy it brings to me, I see the show as an offering to anyone in search of a connection to all that is greater than themselves. Even during the Oprah Winfrey Show years, I always felt a hunger from the audience, a deep desire to nourish not only their mind and body, but also to create a more meaningful, authentic life.
Most people say the biggest dream they have for themselves is happiness. Contentment and a sense of peace are absolutely elements in the equation. But ultimately, I believe what we're all truly seeking is freedom. We long for a life without constraint, free from conflict, fear or judgment, where our relationships, career, health, finances coexist in perfect flow with our spiritual center. This is what Michael Singer described during our super soul conversations as an absolute state of well-being.
As you think about what lasting fulfillment looks like in your own life, I know that the divine force at work within all of us has a bigger dream for you than you could ever imagine for yourself. Success comes when you surrender to that dream and allow it to lead you to the next best place. Just outside the door of my office at Harpo Studios in Chicago, there was an elevator. Every day I rode it to the studio to take the show, it was only one floor down and I could have easily walked, but those precious moments alone were my opportunity to set my intention to bring the very best of myself to both the guests and the audience.
I said the same prayer then that I say now before every Super Bowl Sunday interview: Use me, God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be and what I can do and use me for a purpose greater than myself. The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success, but on service. Ask yourself, what are the gifts and talents you can share to raise the collective consciousness of all that you encounter? Making that shift from self to service will bring an immeasurable amount of fulfillment to your job, your relationships and the vision you have of your own best life.
Gary Zuckoff brilliantly describes this as the moment you discover your authentic power, he says, when your personality comes fully to serve the energy of its soul. That is authentic power. Fulfilling your purpose with meaning is what gives you that powerful spark of energy unique to only you. The result is an electrifying current of clarity, rising from the deepest part of yourself. By tapping into that source, you will no longer feel like salmon swimming upstream. Instead, people will finally see the highest, truest version of you and stand in wondering how you achieved your dreams.
As you listen to this chapter, my hope is that you will find the courage to tune out the negative voices, telling you all the reasons to give up, make the choice to turn up the volume to your unique calling the glory that is your own life, beginning with Gary Zuckoff.
The soul is your mother ship. So when you're sailing in the same direction that it wants to go, your life fills with meaning and purpose. And when you sail in another direction, it empties of meaning and purpose. You can look at it this way. You are a personality. That means you were born on a certain day and you'll die on a certain day. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. But your soul won't die. Your soul is you.
Also, we're on a journey to the soul. You could put it that way while we're here in this span between birth and death, think of yourself as a body in a soul. And while we have this precious opportunity to walk on the earth, the question becomes, what will we do with this personality? What will you do with you now? Here we can define you in a couple of ways. One is you with a little why the personality that was born and that will die.
The other you is the you with a big Y, that's your soul. And if you use your time while you're on the earth to align the little you with the big you, your life begins to fill with meaning, fill with purpose filled with joy. And you know why you're alive following what you know your soul wants you to do. One of the things that impressed me the most, it really just stayed with me forever, is when you say when the personality comes fully to serve the energy of the soul, that is authentic power.
And this is a relatively new copy, a seat of the soul. My copy by my bedside is so dog eared and I started highlighting it and then I realized the whole book is highlighted. So what's the point of highlighting anymore? But that was one of the first things I highlighted in that book 13 years ago, and that awakened a spark of knowing in me that I never knew existed.
I mean, I now call them aha moments, but I realized, oh, when my personality comes to fully align with the energy of my soul and I allow my soul to be the guide, that is when I am the most powerful, that is when I am in what I call now my sweet spot, my sweet spot where you were born to live in the sweet spot. Hmm. That is the creation of authentic power. Yes. That's how we're all evolving now.
Next up, Mastin, Kipe, Joseph Campbell was a legendary American writer, mythologist and lecturer. His work was brought to millions of viewers in 1988. And Bill Moyers popular PBS series, The Power of Myth.
I watched the power of myth once a year, every year like clockwork, not because it changed, but because I changed. But he says that we are not looking for the meaning of life as much as we are looking for the experience of being alive. And Campbell's coined phrase that sums up his whole life's work of everything he ever studied. Just follow your bliss and it's turned into this kind of like trite tattoo. But yet, understand, this guy studied all the human stories and mythologies and religions and everything.
And this is his advice to us. Yes, a lifetime of work. Follow your bliss. Yeah. So that means pay attention to those moments when you're lit up, when time just flies by, when you're in sort of that field of just joyful expression, which is generally in contribution and being of service and some kind some sense of connection in your life. And then to be able to take action in that direction and trust that as you step something will come to support you.
Right. So it's really about instead of what can I get? How can I take, how can I manipulate? The question is what can I give? And when you look at what makes you happy, what makes you come alive, as in following your bliss, you look at those patterns because if you look back over there and you step out into that, what makes you happy? What makes you come alive? What is your bliss? Yes, you can talk to people.
What am I most happy? Ask your friends. Ask your parents. I'm most happy in these conversations. Yes.
Yeah, that was great. Now let's hear from Paulo Coelho. One of the running themes throughout the book is one of my favorite all time quotes, and that is when you want something, all the universe conspires and helping you to get it. I think the universe actually conspired in helping me to be here today, been trying to do this interview for 10 years. But where did that idea, those words, that theme come from?
Well, what I experienced in my life. Is that when they really wanted something? I always got get. Huh, positive and negative, because the universe does not think you have just subconscious mind that sometimes is attracting tragedy, right, attracting bad things, you know, because you want to be a victim, because to be a victim is to justify a lot of frustration and failures in their life. The universe is helping you.
You want to be successful.
The universe is helping you based on how you think, how you truly. Yeah. How you think consciously about your project. Yeah. Do you believe every person has has a personal legend?
I'm 100 percent convinced that which is totally different, that I believe that every person is going to fulfill his or her personal OK.
I would agree. Every person has a personal. First of all, what is a personal issue in the book follows the shepherd boy, Santiago. He experiences this recurring dream and then starts on a journey to realize his personal legend. What is the personal legend? It is the reason that right here it is simple as it is. Oh, you are here to honor something called the miracle of life.
You can be here to fulfill your hours and days with something that is meaningless. Yeah, but you know that you have a reason to be here. It is the only thing that gives you enthusiasm, right?
And, you know, when you betray your personal legend, when you're doing something without enthusiasm and worse. You know that you have this good excuse. I'm not ready, which is just an excuse. No, no, I'm not ready, I have to wait for the right moment now. I have to feed my family. Come on. Your family wants to see you happy. Yes.
Your daughter, your husband, your wife. They don't want to see you. They're sitting in the work that you hate.
Right? Even if it gives you tons of money.
OK, so you've just given a really key clue to how to know you're pursuing your personal legend.
It is that which in life gives you enthusiasm.
I call it personal legend. I call it your personal calling. Everybody has a reason why you're here. You're called here.
And, you know, if you're on the path to it, whether you're enthusiastic about what you're doing or not, that's how you understand 100 percent OK. And we all have one. Absolutely. We have a reason to be here. Yeah. No reason to be here. We don't know if we are taking the right steps towards it, but if we are honest enough. God is going to guide you, even if you take some wrong steps or God will recognize that you have a pure heart.
Yes. And you put it back on track because the universe rises up to meet you.
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Today's episode is supported by Chopra, Your best you is waiting inside wellbeing is a journey. Let Oprah and Deepak Chopra be your guide. Over the past seven years, Oprah and Deepak have produced over 300 meditations that will last a lifetime, transform every aspect of your life with a complete 21 day meditation collection from the pioneers and well-being for a limited time. You will also get a year of the Chopra app putting a comprehensive guide to well-being in the palm of your hand.
Unlock the full 21 day meditation library now before it goes away forever. Visit Choper dot com, slash Oprah and start your journey today. Welcome, Sue Monk Kidd, do you believe everyone has the small to light? I do. I think we all have something that pulls the soul and that we can give and contribute, something that lights us up. And when we talk about it, you can often see the lights come on in people and we have to stop sometimes pause, hit the stop button and really listen to ourselves, listen to the yearning in ourselves.
It's talking to us. I was in Greece in nineteen ninety three. I made this trip to Greece and I was on the island of Crete and we went to this a little Greek Orthodox convent, very old.
There's a tree there that is sacred to these nuns and this little nun, about 411 came over and she was trying to explain to us that there's a tradition that you go up to the tree and you ask for the thing.
And she described it like this in the bottom of your heart, the bottom.
I think what she was trying to say was, is for the deepest thing in yourself. But it came out as were the thing that lies in the bottom of your heart. And I never forgot that. And I thought, how many women have this thing that lies in the bottom of their heart that they aren't paying attention to, that wants to be there, that wants a place in their life? Yeah. And so we all took a turn. The women I was traveling with and we went up under this tree where there's this amazing icon of Mary, and we asked her the thing in the bottom of our hearts, and I blurted out, I want to be a novelist.
It kind of took me by surprise. I want to be a nun. I want to be a novelist.
Sometimes it's that simple that you take a moment and you ask yourself, what's the thing that lies in the bottom of my heart? And then it it just comes up. Sometimes it's like that. Yeah. Courage is is another important component in all of this. The courage to ask that question, what lies at the bottom of my heart, the courage to set that intention, to announce it, to make the Annunciation somewhere. And even if it takes our own breath, we should take our own breath once in a while.
Pastor Wintley Phipps. You were telling me that God has for all of us that there was a supreme moment of destiny.
Yes, yes, yes. Tell me about that. You know, all along I like you. I look at your life and I look at my own life. We have been chasing moments of destiny when the things that you dream of as a kid and you watch them come to reality, those are moments of destiny. But then I began to realize that and God showed me the moments of destiny and moments for which you were created. But they're not the reason for which you were created.
The reason for which we were created is to grow every day to more resemble, reflect and reveal the character of the one who created us.
And what we're talking about here is aligning with that, which is the reason why you really came back, and that is pursuing whatever is your best destiny.
Every person who pursues that with the idea to resemble, reveal and reflect that which is the character of your creator. Absolutely. You are then on the right path. Absolutely.
And whether you are tall or short, whether you are poor or wealthy, yeah.
You can achieve the destiny for which you were created, which is what we're all trying to do.
Right. Nate Berkus, a lot of people have asked me over the years, is design a spiritual endeavor? And I've always believed that it was I've never really had the language to describe why I felt that way until I sat down to do this book, that freedom to actually create and design my own world in my own timeline was something that I knew. That was the single thing that propelled me to start my design firm.
Just the thought that you can stop and start to create for yourself what it is you want. Absolutely. That's a that's a big leap. It was powerful and it was it was scary to start my own company at twenty three years old. I had to also know myself, I guess, as well as I thought I could at that stage of my life.
Diana Nyad, the will is so undefinable and can push you so far beyond I've had sports scientists, the best of them write me to say I'm sorry to tell you this is humanly impossible. And I write back and say to them, you have no idea. Then you're just doing your little studies on what the heart can do and what the what the lungs can do. I'm talking to you what the spirit can do, and that's not measurable. Didn't everybody say it couldn't be done?
All of them. All of them cannot be done. Go somewhere else, swim something lesser. It just it just cannot be done. And I just said, I still believe call me crazy. I don't want to go to 90 keeping trying this every year, but I believe we're going to make it across. Find a way if it's important to you, we can all we can get there. And so that was my thing this year. Jellyfish, sea sickness, pain, cold, find a way.
India, R.E. The way I visualized it was I had built this big building and it was pretty from the outside. It was shiny and pretty and yeah, in my mind it was round like those round high rises.
Yeah. But inside it was just stuff all over the place and people just, you know, running amuck. That's how it showed up in my meditation. And when I decided I was going to tear that building down. Yeah. It was because I had the clarity that 10 years from now. I'm going to be in my mid 40s, yeah. And I can't have that shiny building on the outside, that's a mess inside. It almost makes me want to cry just thinking about it, because I didn't know how I was going to do it.
I was afraid. I didn't know how to run my business.
I was afraid, but I knew that I couldn't keep doing the same thing or I was really going to I was going to be off the path of my destiny. And that's really not it's not even being alive if you're not doing what you're here to do. Janet Mock.
So the reason why this is to me, a deeply spiritual conversation is because the search for your authentic self is the search that all of us hold as the pathway on our journey to becoming the highest vision of ourselves. And I think it's so interesting that it took you the time that it took you to become comfortable with telling your story. And when you finally did for Marie-Claire 2011, very few people knew at the time that you were trans and you kept it quiet because you said you didn't want to become other.
Other and now we're sitting here on Super Bowl Sunday talking about what that all means, do you feel that you've now been covered or have you transcended that?
I don't know if I've transcended it yet. I still think that for most people, the most interesting part about me is my trans ness. And so for me, I still feel like there is an other thing about that. But I think there's a lot of power in saying that I will proudly and unapologetically embrace that part of my identity. For once, the one part of my identity that I was taught growing up to be silent and ashamed about. Right.
And so to own that label and to say that it is mine and I will stand here in that complicated mess of like existing as a trans person, as a trans woman, I think that there is power in that. But there's still an othering attached to any kind of labels. I think that that kind of qualifies personhood or human.
But I do think that your book Redefining Realness.
Is the beginning, we're on the verge of a new way of thinking about sexuality and gender and not just sexuality and gender. The reason why I think this book applies to any person who is human is because we get others in multiple ways throughout our lives. And your desire to redefine realness, I think, is what everybody is really looking for, for themselves, do you not?
I do. I think that we're all searching for truth that there is there's so much that people are telling you about who you are. Yeah. And I think that's where the other incomes and I was constantly as a person going through the society trying to figure out who I was in relation to what people were telling me I should be. And so for me, redefining realness was about tapping into my most authentic self. Who am I to me? And I think that for me, realness is about authenticity.
It's about searching and seeking truth. It's about.
Being OK and the nuance of the messiness of figuring out who you are when you may not have the answers you oh and that no matter what your gender is, no matter what your sexuality is, no matter where you are on the path, right.
Yeah. You talk in the book about the first time you looked in the mirror after your surgery. You said you felt authenticated and closer to hold for the first time in your life. Was that an overwhelming moment?
It was. I was 18 years old and I made so many sacrifices and compromises. And I got my girl. I went out in the world and I got her and I liberated her and I went through a whole underground railroad of resources to get to that space where I could stand in that mirror for the first time naked and lay bare. And my truth, this is who I am. And I did that on my own. And so to have that at that gift, nothing could stop me after that.
Jack Canfield, I believe we all have unlimited possibilities to become pretty much anything we want because I believe you're not given a dream unless you have the capacity to fulfill it, you won't be allowed to have it.
Now, you may need to learn new things, maybe to get mentored.
You may need the team. That's a powerful, super solid message. You don't even have a dream. That you're not allowed to fulfill exactly you have the capacity, you won't be allowed to have the dream if you don't have the ability, the talent, the skills that you may need to develop more skill, but you have the capacity to do anything you can dream up whatever the mind can conceive and believe the mind can achieve here.
T.D. Jakes. We are busier than any other generation we have seen in the last three to four hundred years. We are so busy we are busier than a one on wallpaper hanger. We're just busy. Busy. You'll get it later. Don't worry about it. It'll hit you in a minute. We are just as busy as we can be. And we think because we're busy, we're effective. But I want you to challenge your schedule for a minute and ask yourself, are you really being effective or is your life cluttered with all kinds of stuff that demands you and drains you and taxes you and stops you from being your highest and best self?
And are you substituting busyness and all the chaos that goes along with business from being effective? Daniel Pink, I just always want to get better, and that question I ask myself, am I better today than I was yesterday?
It's a profoundly important to my better today than I was.
This is this I mean, I think it's a great question. We have an exercise in this book where we have these two parts, one, which you ask yourself, what's your sentence? Yes. This comes from a famous story of Clare Booth Luce, who asked President Kennedy said, hey, a great man is a sentence. You don't have a sentence, you've got a paragraph. And that doesn't work. And Lincoln, if you really want to be great, Lincoln had a sentence.
He preserved the union and freed the slaves. What good sentence. FDR had a sentence. He lifted us out of a Great Depression and helped us win a World War. Awesome sentence. And she she wanted to Kennedy and said, listen, a great man is a sentence, a great person is a sentence. And I find that really useful and sort of orienting our lives toward purpose. And, you know, we ask or ask ourselves, what's your sentence?
What? And I think that's really clarifying for people.
But, you know, I mean, is what your line was, was I was thinking about this last time. I was thinking, well, what I wanted to be is that I teach people to lead their best lives by leading my own. Whoa. That's a good sentence.
That's a good start. Yeah, I like that you keep her as a keeper. What's your sense, man?
I don't I don't want to follow that. One of my sentences I thought about this was he wrote books that that help people understand the world a little more clearly and lived their lives a little more fully. Well, that's good. The second question is, and I found this really useful for myself, is ask yourself at the end of the day, was I better today than yesterday? Because that's really all we can ask for. And what I have found in my own.
This has been really helpful to me. This one what I found when I ask myself at the end of the day, was I better today than yesterday is that many times the answer is no. But what I find is which is interesting and I'm curious to see other people's reaction to this, is that I find that the answer is rarely no two days in a row, that if the answer is no, the answer is no.
When I go to sleep, I'm just a little ticked off and you wake up the next morning with a little bit more resolve to make it better.
Yeah, because you're not here forever. It's like, oh, great. I wasn't better today than yesterday. That was a waste. Let's not do that again. Absolutely. And that's how we make progress.
We do it slowly, step by step by step. Daniel Coleman, I once was giving a talk to a roomful of CEOs and I said, how many of you were valedictorians like smartest kid in your class? Two or three hundred people, three hands went up in the room. It's not related. This is the big, I think, myth that the book shatters. And there was an eye opener for me is that your IQ, your academic abilities, your cognitive brilliance is not what's going to matter the most.
Actually, that's kind of threshold get you in the game.
But once you're in the game, it's how you get along with the people, how you handle yourself so your IQ can tell you what you can do, but it can't tell you how to do it.
And it's not going to tell you if you're going to emerge as a team leader, as a star, it's not going to tell you how good a parent you're going to be, how good a spouse you're going to be. Sean iCore, when we started learning, was that intelligence only accounts for twenty five percent of our job success. Seventy five percent of our successes in life and not just about jobs, but within the working world. Seventy five percent of what causes our kids to be successful causes us to be successful, is not about our intelligence and technical skills.
It's how we process the world. It's our optimism, the belief that our behavior really matters.
Jeff Weiner. The least compassionate thing you can do when someone is not equipped to be doing what they're doing is to leave them in that role and all you need to do is watch and observe that person and you'll understand how little compassion is being shown to that individual because of the body language, the slumping of the shoulders, the fact that they're their voice, their inflection starts to lose and they lose confidence and self-esteem by the day. They're taking that back to their teens.
People are seeing that you're leaving them in the role, which is undermining your ability to lead. And the worst of all is that individual that no longer believes in themselves, that's losing their sense of self. They take that energy home. They're taking that energy home to their family.
Wes Moore. I just come back from Afghanistan and he was like, so what are you planning on doing next with your life? And I went to tell him I was going to go work on Wall Street and I expected him to be excited. And he was like, Really? And I told him, I said, that's not the answer that I thought you'd give me. And he said, Why are you going to do that? And I started giving all these reasons.
I said, I want to help my grandparents, grandparents, I'm helping financially. My family can be around really smart people, all this kind of stuff. And he said to me, you know, you just explain to me for the past three minutes why you're doing it and not once did the words because I'm passionate, come out of your mouth. And he said, listen, I'm never going to judge you and I'm never going to judge the decisions that you make, particularly if you feel like they're in the best interests of your family.
The only thing I ask is this the moment that you feel that you can leave that place, leave, because every moment you stay longer than you have to, you will become extraordinarily ordinary. Wow. That felt like an indictment because I feel like we all spend our time trying to be extraordinary in some way, shape or form. Yes, yes, yes, yes. And the idea that you think you're doing, what is the right thing to do.
Yes. And this person is telling you. But the longer you do it, you will become extraordinarily ordinary, because if you're not passionate about it, then you'll never be able to fall into your own truth. Absolutely.
When you were first told about going to Wall Street, though, you said in the back of my mind, I heard the rattle of expensive handcuffs.
I love that line. Those things are real, right?
It's like, well, you know, now my kids are going to this school or I have a second car. I take care of whatever it is, those those things that we're now making decisions based on.
How do I now I got here. I have to keep doing this to maintain the life as I now know it. That's exactly right.
Had you been feeling a sense of unease or unhappy? Were you all the way to unhappy or just a sense of what am I doing?
It was actually, I think, an interesting marriage of both that I was having a difficult time understanding which one was which, where I felt like I knew with everything going on that this wasn't where my joy lasted and I knew was incredibly risky. I know was incredibly risky to go out. But I think I had to make a very conscious decision that I would rather flirt with failure. Yeah. Than never dance with my joy because I felt like I was constantly searching through an occupation to find my my joy.
And I realized it's not about your occupation, it's about your work, because there are two different things. My work was where my greatest joy actually started combining with the world's greatest need. And that's when I said real services. That's what real services. Yeah. Shonda Rhimes. When I was a kid, my father used to say to me all the time, the only limit to your success is your own imagination. And I took that as not just being, you know, financial success or work success.
I took that as being every kind of success, love and family and emotional and everything. The only limit to your success is your own imagination. I really do think that that is true. Whatever you can imagine is possible. That is true.
I'm so proud of you as a very successful woman, a single mother of three who constantly gets asked the question, how do you do it all? The answer is this. I don't if I'm accepting a prestigious award, I'm missing my baby's first swim lesson. If I'm at my daughter's debut in her school musical, I am missing. Sandra was last seen ever being filmed on Grey's Anatomy. If I am succeeding at one, I am inevitably failing at the other.
That is the trade off. And yet I want my daughters to see me and know me as a woman who works with an example set for them and like how proud they're on. They come to my office and know that they come to Sean to land. There is a land and it is named after their mother. Devon Franklin. You are feel when you get up in the morning, you know, so many times, wake up in the morning, we're depressed, we're down, we're angry, frustrated, and you can wake up saying, I'm glad to be alive.
There is purpose to this day. To me, that is success. And I would argue that once you have that internal success, then externally it's just a manifestation of what happens internally in the best possible way.
I'm Oprah Winfrey and you've been listening to Super Soul Conversations, the podcast. You can follow Super Soul on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. If you haven't yet, go to Apple podcast and subscribe rate and review this podcast. Join me next week for another super soul conversation. Thank you for listening.