What Oprah Knows for Sure About Giving (and Getting) Advice
By Oprah Winfrey
September 11, 2012
In all my days of interviewing people, and sharing and receiving advice, and listening to experts give advice, and creating shows so they'd have a place to give it, I gotta tell you: I have never experienced anything like the new program Iyanla Vanzant is doing for OWN.
When Iyanla first walked onto the Oprah set in 1998, I could see she had a gift for connecting with people. After a year and a half, she decided she wanted her own show. We weren't ready to produce one, so she went in her own direction. Iyanla and I didn't talk for more than a decade, and then we reconciled in front of millions of people (which was very uncomfortable for me—I felt like a guest on my own show).
You know the saying "God works in mysterious ways"? It's the perfect description of the evolution of our relationship. Since day one of OWN, Iyanla has been my biggest supporter. She told me, "I'm going to do what I can to help you birth this baby. I';m here to help you push!"
Well, Saturday, September 15, is the delivery date. Iyanla, Fix My Life is, hands down, the best thing we've produced on OWN. The most authentic, raw, emotional, humorous, entertaining, hopeful, and healing hour of its kind I've ever seen. Ever.
The best advice touches the part of you that knows it's true. That is for sure the kind of advice Iyanla gives. She has a gift for hitting exactly the right nerve. She helps people discover and recover the truth for themselves.
When I showed the first edited tapes to Gayle—who watches everything that's made to be watched; sees every comedy, every drama, goes to every movie, and is a true student of pop culture—her response was, "I've never seen anything like this on TV." She was LOL for real and talking back to the screen.
And recently, when I was shooting in New Orleans with the photographer Keith Walker, who had just finished filming a segment with Iyanla, he told me, "I'm a better man for having witnessed what she's doing. I've started applying what I've seen to my own family." That's my dream for everybody who watches: Know good advice when you hear it. And use it!
In 2011, when I was completing the final season of the Oprah show, Lorne Michaels, the producer and creator of Saturday Night Live, gave me great advice. He said, "The network is not going to work until you get there, and even then you're going to be on a huge learning curve. You've got to have the heart and determination to stick with it, because I don't think you have any idea how enormous this is!" Who knew Lorne Michaels was a sage and a prophet?!
Here's what I know for sure: To be able to create the kind of programming that helps other people do their real life's work and realize their potential is the reason I said yes to the network. Iyanla, Fix My Life is everything I know great television can be. This baby is ready.