Happy Black History Month, Passionistas! I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve teamed up with Coca-Cola to celebrate. The Pay It Forward campaign is about being inspired to give back and encouraging young people to think ahead for future generations.
Whoo hoo! It’s a beauty-us day in the neighborhood…
This bodacious blog, my delicious web TV series, luscious advice videos and everything I do is about living The Passionate Life. What does that mean? It means that our focus is on how to live the most fully realized, juicy, purposeful, fun, joyful life possible in all of the areas that matter the most – love, relationships, wellness, true beauty, creativity, community and the authentic self.
My mentor Iyanla Vanzant, the embodiment of living on purpose, has been a powerful love and lifestyle teacher for me for exactly 20 years. She is proof that tuning in to ourselves and tapping into our Source will teach us everything we need to know!
Who is Iyanla?
Iyanla Vanzant, the author of “Peace from Broken Pieces,” and she coaches women, men and families on her OWN Network TV show, “Iyanla, Fix My Life.” The first time I saw this lightworker speak in person, it was at the Hayhouse “I Can Do It Conference” in New York City in 2011. Last year, I was invited with a powerful group of women to watch Iyanla’s OWN show premiere in Manhattan. Iyanla was interviewed live by my sister-friend, Demetria Lucas. Iyanla was honest, raw and electric as she shared funny, private moments such as hanging in bed, bra-free and watching “Law and Order.” For me as a love and life coach, she is proof that you don’t have to be perfect to fulfill your destiny as an inspirational teacher.
Paying It Forward.
Just like Iyanla has positively influenced my life, I am paying it forward. A large part of our tribe here on this site includes unmarried women. To pay the love forward, I am offering free coaching scholarships to any single woman who has served in the armed services and needs support. My new “Operation Sister Soldier Freedom” will provide 3 hour gratis coaching programs for these courageous women.
Here are the Top 4 Ways that Iyanla Vanzant has inspired me to be better.
1. “Tapping the Power Within.”
“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.” ― Iyanla
My introductions into self help and personal development came via Zig Zaglar, Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Wayne Dyer and Iyanla Vanzant. While all of those inspirational men have motivated me to be better in one way or another, Iyanla looked like me! I read her book “Tapping the Power Within” when I was in college and it blew my mind.
2. Face Your Fears Head On.
“The only way to get what you really want is to let go of what you don’t want.” ― Iyanla
I have spent the last 12 years making media to empower women around self esteem, personal image, perception of strength and relationships. At that time, I really wanted to work one-on-one with women but lacked the courage to do so. I hosted free empowerment groups called “Goddess Circles” in my East Harlem bachelorette pad and used my TV hosting gigs and art films I directed to give a voice to the voiceless and empower in that way. Thanks, Iyanla!
3. Talk It Out.
“Your willingness to look at your darkness is what empowers you to change.” ― Iyanla
When Oprah and Iyanla had an obvious falling out, no one knew what happened. We (her fans) missed Iyanla’s presence from TV and flocked to her many books. A couple of years ago, the guru and teacher emerged from her personal shadows to have a live conversation with her ex-BFF, Ms. Winfrey on air.
That took guts! Iyanla was honest about everything from her grief and financial situation to her insecurities. She told Oprah, “I thought that you wanted the work, not me.” She reflected for me patterns of fear and self-sabotage that I’ve seen in my own life. This continues to be a fight.
Thank you, Iyanla, for showing us that (as Marie Forleo says), “Everything is figure-out-able.”
4. Love is Not Perfect — and Neither is Life.
“Remain open. There is something bigger than you know going on here.” – Iyanla
Iyanla has put it all on the table. As I go into my 40s, she continues to inspire me. Her late daughter Gemmia Vanzant was my age so I see Lady V as an aunt as well as a teacher.
When she said about her ex-husband, “He simply changed his mind,” it helped me to revise the way I was viewing my own wasband. Relationships often complete themselves and although it hurts, it’s part of the cycle of life. Letting go of a broken relationship can be haaaard but it’s doable and we do emerge triumphant and grateful if we look for the lessons. (Note to self – again! lol) I’ve been called ”The Breakup Whisperer” and this lesson is at the core of my teachings in this area.
Thanks for teaching me, Ms. Vanzant, to make your mess your message. You’ve been many things: a survivor, attorney, single mom and wife but most of all, you are an inspiration to Pay It Forward!
Don’t forget to watch the Iyanla Vanzant “Why You Should Put Yourself First” video below. She talks being “self-full” with Oprah. This is the woman who said, “When you see crazy coming, cross the street.” How many of us have to keep learning this over and over again?
The Real Deal.
Iyanla’s one of my mentors. Who are yours?
Because a great mentor can make all the difference, Coca-Cola has teamed up with Magic Johnson, Common and Debra Lee of BET Networks to give four young people the apprenticeship experience of a lifetime. Visit MCR.com/PayItForward to nominate an aspiring youth and help pay it forward to the next generation. You’ll also be automatically entered for a chance to win $5,000 for each nomination you make (up to five nominations per person).
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Coca-Cola via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Coca-Cola.
Credits: All Iyanla quotes from GoodReads.com. Featured Image: Abiola Abrams, all rights reserved. Photo by Kristal Mosley. Iyanla Vanzant Promotional Photo from Flickr. Affirmation Card, copyright Abiola Abrams.