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 can say with certainty that had I not read Gary Tsoukas book The Seat of the Soul, there would be no Super Bowl Sunday, there would be no own TV. And The Oprah Winfrey Show would probably not have been on the air for 25 years. It would have ended sooner. Anyone who knows me knows the principle of intention that I learned from Gary, changed the way I approach everything. In fact, I talk about the importance of intention so much that people often recite my own words back to me.
Just hearing intervention rules, every outcome makes me want to stand up and cheer. The lesson I learned from my conversations with Gary may sound simple, but it is the universal truth behind all relationships. The energy we put out in the world is the energy we get back. So if you want more love in your life, set your intention to be more loving. If you see kindness, focus your energy on empathy and compassion. Conversely, if you wonder why there's so many angry people in your life look no further than the resentment you hold in your own heart.
Anyone who's on the path of a spiritual awakening needs to know that it's sometimes difficult, it's challenging when you declare I want to grow, I want to be better than I've known myself to be. But I don't see the opportunity to craft our own lives as a burden, I see it as one of the gifts of being alive. For so many years, I suffered from what I call a disease to please. I worry that if I ever said no to something, people were going to think I was a nice or they might think I was selfish and ask, why wouldn't you do that?
For me, the power of intention cured me of that. I stopped listening to that little voice in my head that was trying to convince me of what other people thought. I made the shift to listen to the truth of who I really was telling me what I really wanted. This shift can happen for you, too, before you agree to do anything that might add even the smallest amount of stress to your life.
Ask yourself, what is my truest intention? What's the real reason I'm doing this? Give yourself time to let the answer resound within you when the intention is right and the answer is yes, I guarantee your entire body will feel it.
Up first, Gary Zuckoff.
Now you know the most exciting chapter to me. And see this. What's that? It is the principle by which I rule my company and the principle by which I rule every action in my life. And that is in danger.
Yes. Yes. Intention. That's at the heart of it. That's at the heart of creating authentic power. Yes. Intention to the right. Now, people make jokes about it. I mean, everybody I've said it so often, you know, when I first learned about intention from you and this is what everybody needs to know, who's on the path of spiritually opening yourself up awakening is that it's difficult. It's challenging. When you say, I want to grow, I want to be better than I have known myself to be.
So I used to have the disease to please and intention cured me.
An intention is a quality of consciousness that you bring to a deed or words. It's an energy.
So it's a quality of consciousness. Got it. It's your reason for speaking. So the real motivation is the one that creates consequences. For example, when someone says I want a bigger home, it could be because I want to impress the neighbors, or it could be because we've adopted four children and I want to give them more space. So it's the why beneath the Y o the Y beneath the Y, you might say that the first intention, like I want to get another job so that I can have more money.
This could be called an out tension because it's really what you want to do to change things in the world. But your intention is the bedrock bottom. This is it. Real intention. I want to support my wife. She needs some support now. I want to send my children to college. I want to have room for my newly adopted children.
And what you're saying here is that the consciousness or energy behind the motivation is going to determine the effect that occurs.
Precisely, precisely. So powerful and profound.
And now, Joel Osteen, I heard a sermon that you preached probably 2012 on the power of I am. And that sermon literally changed how I spoke power into my own life. So I think I remember telling you the story. I was shooting the butler. I had heard that sermon. I was so exhausted. I was like trying. We've been shooting and shooting and shooting. And I remembered hearing that sermon. Your voice came into my head that whatever follows I am will determine what your experience will be.
And so I literally thought, OK, I'm going to just try that because this all exhausted and I started saying, I am getting my second wind.
I am going to feel so much better by midnight. I'm going to want to shoot all night. I am. And I'm telling you, I started to feel differently and I couldn't believe that that had happened so quickly. I know it's an incredible principle. I don't think we realize that, you know, like you said, what follows that I am we're inviting into our life. You say I am, you know, tired. I am frustrated. I am lonely.
I think you're inviting more of that in that. So the principle is to turn it around, invite what you want into your life.
OK, so this is it. Whatever follows I am will eventually find you.
Those were your exact words in the sermon. I think a lot of times we want to say, I feel, you know what? I am lonely, I am tired. And I think there's a there's a balance to it. And I don't think you're denying the facts otherwise. Hey, well, I'm just had my head in the sand. It's not so much that it's just not magnifying the negative. And like I talk about in the book, that I am a masterpiece.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am strong. I am talented. I think that is speaking to the core of what God's put in each one of us, that he has equipped us. He's empowered us. We have what we need to fulfill our destiny. But I do think that we have to bring it out and you can't bring it out being against yourself. A lot of people, they may not say it out loud as much, but in their mind, it's I am not that talented and I'm not as smart as my sister and just all the negative I am.
And I think that keeps us from our destiny.
So we've heard that phrase speaking truth to power.
It feels like when you understand that whatever follows I am is going to eventually find you, that if you start speaking all the positive aspects of yourself, I am secure, I am valuable. I am approved. I am determined. I am. Generous, whatever that is for you, when you start allowing what you want to be your truth, even if it isn't at this moment, you begin to speak truth. The truth of I am to the power of what can be.
I just love that, don't you? Now, let's listen to David Brooks.
I love it in the book where you talk about we should rank our loves and highs and lows. Tell me what that does.
That's a concept from this great theologian, Augustine. And he said, what is sin? Hmm. And so when we heard the word saying, now we only use the word in the context of fattening desserts, but in traditional morality, it's a sense that we have something broken. And I don't like the word sin when it's meant to suggest we're dark and depraved inside. But he had a beautiful formulation. He said, we sin when we have our is out of order.
And what he meant by that, this is good.
Slow this down a little bit. That's good. All right. Sin, when we have our loves out of order, know we all love a lot of things.
We love family. We love money. We love a little affection, status, truth. And we all know that some love a higher we know there are lower family is higher than our love of money or a love of truth should be harder than I love money. And if we're lying to get money, we're putting our lives out of order. And so sometimes we just by some nature, we get them out of order. So, for example, if a friend tells you a secret and you blab it at a dinner party, you're putting your love of popularity above your love of friendship.
And we know that's wrong. That's the order. And so it's useful just to sit down and say, what do I love all the things I really love and what order do I love them? Am I spending time so I'm spending time on my highest love or am I spending time on a lower love? Such a good lesson and reminder. Next is Bernie Brown. What does it mean then, to dare greatly? To me it means the courage to be vulnerable, it means to show up and be seen to ask for what you need to talk about, how you're feeling to have the hard conversations.
When we asked people in the research what is vulnerability to you that most people think vulnerability is weak. Right. And you know what? After reading Darren greatly, what I realized, first of all, is I live in the space of vulnerability. And that is what has made me so successful is my vulnerability with the audience. And I think that vulnerability is sort of the cornerstone of confidence. I think it's the cornerstone because I believe that because unless you can allow yourself to take the risk to be open, to live as a whole hearted person, when you can do that, you recognize that you're really just like everybody else.
And that gives you the confidence to be yourself, which is all you really need in life is to be more of yourself.
And I do believe coming from vulnerability is weakness. When we ask people what is vulnerability and they said things to us like. The first date after my divorce. Oh, I'm trying to get pregnant after my third miscarriage. Sitting with my wife, who has Stage four breast cancer, making plans for our young children, you know, the biggest examples that came up from the research was picking up the phone and making a call to someone who's just had a great loss.
Oh, yes. And I thought about that in my own life, like, you know, there's the phone. I walk up to it. I'm like, what am I going to say? What am I going to say? That's what everybody fears. It's going to make it better. There's nothing I can say except I'm here. I'm hurtin with you. You're not alone, but you. And I'll call in an hour and then I come back an hour.
I'm like, Oh, man, it's dinnertime. I'm a baker Castra.
I'm a mechanical dumbass. All done that, right? Yeah. And then. What happens when an hour turns into a day, turns into a week, you know, it's a month later and you run into that friend at the grocery store?
Well, you know what? I'm just to show up. That's all people want is for you to show up and say, I don't know what to say, but I'm here. I can't fix this. But I'll walk through the pain with you. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. But then what is the feeling that we get when we make the call and we hang up? To me, that feeling is when I'm aligned with my values and courage is my value.
Absolutely. And you can't get to courage without walking through vulnerability, period.
Sue Monk Kidd, I marched into the kitchen where my husband was getting our two toddlers to either cereal and I made my big enunciation, I'm going to be a writer. And I was getting in touch with that creative desire inside of me. And I began to understand that I was going home. I was going to write because that had been an innate desire in me as a child. You find this little light in yourself and then of course, you lose it and you have to refined it and you lose it.
I mean, that's part of finding a place of belonging.
Yeah, but I walked and for you it was writing. It was writing, of course. And when I made this announcement in the kitchen, you know, my husband said, oh, that's that's great. And continued to get them to eat their cereal. And that was it. So I didn't know anything about writing.
I called it so I couldn't imagine writing all along. You hadn't been writing little things?
No, I kept a journal from time to time. That was something I had done as a child when I was a little girl. I used to write little stories in newspapers and all kinds of things, but until I was 30, I really had not pursued it. I had walked away from it.
Were you afraid to make that announcement? And did you think by making such an announcement, such a pronouncement, that that would then propel you into doing it?
Actually, I think it does help when we make that kind of statement. It's an annunciation to ourselves, to the powers that be to the divine. This is my intention. So I think it helps to say our intention out loud. And then the moment I said it, of course, I thought, what do I know about this? It is a great absurdity, but everybody needs a great absurdity, at least one of them writing.
Devon Franklin, so one of the things that you say that really struck me is that if we look at our life as a movie and God as the director. Yes. Of our movie, yes. Then we use our faith to help propel us forward. And trusting in the director, correct?
Yes, absolutely. Because what I realize is that sometimes we in the most difficult times in our story, we begin to lose faith.
OK, listen to listen to what you said. OK, I love this part.
The trouble is, is that when you are a character, a story, when you are immersed in it, you can't see how things will progress in the future that you lack perspective. It's tough to lose the job you love, shrug and say, oh, well, God is obviously putting me in a position for something better to happen in a few weeks. That's normally not what we do.
We go, oh Lord, it's all over. All over. Why did this happen to me? OK, it becomes very easy to assume that things will always be the way they are today. Here's what I love.
The truth is, you and I are in control of only two things. How we prepare and get this, everybody. We're in control of only two things. How we prepare for what might happen and how we respond to what just happened. The moment when things actually do happen belongs to God and man. Brilliant, brilliant. It's true. It's true. Because what happens is the moments when things happen in our life we don't control. In a moment, life can change for the better or what in the moment may seem for the worse.
Yeah. So our job is to prepare to read for only two things.
That's right. Prepare for what might happen. Right. And then how we respond. That's right. What has happened because so many times what keeps us in the valley of depression that keeps us in the valley of frustration is our response to a moment and not recognizing that it is exactly that. It's a moment. It's one scene of your movie. Yeah. You know, what makes a great movie are scenes that are put together of great conflict.
OK, the key is remembering your story.
The spiritual career journey parallels the steps involved in bringing a movie from the initial idea to theatrical release. You start with the kernel of a process known as development and production. You say in the book is that development begins when you have the first vision of what you can be correctly.
You can't write a movie unless you know what the movie's supposed to be about. That's what development is. Sometimes we get so frustrated in our lives, but we have to go back and say, wait a minute, do I understand what the big idea of my life is supposed to be? If my life is a story, then I have to know the point of my story. And sometimes what happens when we start developing a movie. The producers may have one vision of what the movie's supposed to be, and the studio has another version.
And then the movie becomes nothing because there's not clarity of idea. So with our life, we have to have clarity of what we're supposed to do. What do we believe were called to do in this life? And in that way, it gives our whole development process more space.
I am getting goosebumps right now. You know why? Because I know that the way that landed with me, in the way I heard it, that anybody who's hearing you also can hear that can feel the kernel of if you are not in control of the development of your life or aware that your life needs developing and are just waking up every morning, going to a job, going through the motions, getting your paycheck, then you are really it's I always say it's sort of like being the walking dead, that you're not in control.
You're not helping to create your life with the ultimate creator. You have to define success. And I define success as piece meat.
You're my kind of guy, right? Amy Purdy, I was born a daydreamer, so I think daydreaming just turned into visualizing. Yeah, especially when I understood the power of it in my worst moments, in my darkest moments is when I've done my most visualizing. And even being here today with you was part of that vision. And when I lost my legs, one of the toughest periods was when I stood up in my legs for the first time because they were so painful and they were so confining that I thought, how am I ever going to live this life of my dreams?
How am I ever going to travel the world? How am I ever going to snowboard again? And that day, this was the first day I'd stood up in my legs. I was so emotionally and physically broken that I crawled into bed and I didn't get out for a good 15 hours. I just laid in bed completely exhausted. Could not wrap my head around the fact that this is my life and I have to navigate my life with these like hunks of hardware as my legs that barely move, that are so uncomfortable.
And I'm sure there is a part of you that you're anticipating. OK, I'm going to get my legs and my legs. My legs are coming. Yeah.
Yeah. And I thought these these are my legs that I'm living in the rest of my life. So emotionally, physically, mentally, just broken, drained. And it was times like those though, like times where I think I just hit a point where I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired and I didn't allow myself to sit in that spot too long. I'm just not that type of person. I have to keep moving somehow. So I hit this point where I realized my legs are not coming back.
I mean, they're not coming back. And there is nothing I can do about this situation right now. And it was that moment that kind of prompted me to ask myself this question. If my life was a book and I was the author, how would I want this story to go? And I thought, well, I don't want to see myself as this sad, disabled girl. I know that. I don't want other people to see me as that either.
I thought, what do I want to see? I want to see myself walking again gracefully. And I wanted to see myself somehow sharing, somehow helping other people through this journey. And I saw myself snowboarding again. And I visualized it so strongly in that moment that I didn't just see myself carving down this mountain of powder. I could feel it. I could feel the wind against my face. I could feel the beat of my racing heart. I could feel my muscles twitching as if it was happening in that very moment.
And I didn't know how I was going to do it, but I knew that I was going to do it. That's incredible. That's incredible. That is incredible. And now I try to live my life with that knowingness that if you can see it and you can feel it and you believe it, then it is completely possible. Diana Nyad, so I started thinking my mom died at 82, does that mean really I have 22 years left and maybe those last two or three or four aren't going to be too vital?
I don't know. But the clock is like choking me now. And it wasn't so much what did I want to do? It was who I want to be. Whoa. That's what it was. It's like that I really don't have it in front of me. But there's a Henry David Thoreau quote that really grips me hard. And it says, When you achieve your goals in life, it's not what that gets you, but it's who I am, right?
It's who I am. And I and I needed at 60, I needed to say, forget about the ledger. Are you in the halls of fame? Did you make some kind of money? I don't care about that anymore. As you know those things just as you get older. That's right. Am I living the life that I can admire? Am I going to leave this earth, maybe as you do, leaving at a place where it's a little more just than it was and human rights have been fulfilled more than they have?
Those are my values. And never giving up and finding a way through your obstacles and finding your grit and your will. Those are what I value. And at 60, it wasn't about swimming. And the swim for me has never been about swimming. And I don't think to anybody out there, it's about swimming. It's about those values. And you know what? I am that person swimming or not. And I proved it to myself and that's why I did this swim.
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.