Me and Oprah (or for the grammar folks Oprah and I)

Well today was the today that I had been waiting for for a long time…yes, I was on Oprah. It was dream like to say the least. Here was one of the most powerful women in the world asking me questions! It was surreal and it was completely natural.

Now, it wasn’t my first time on Oprah. I had been on years before sharing my story. I didn’t have any books back then, had no idea I would become a Life Coach. I was just at a place in my life where I had to tell somebody, in reality, I wanted everyone to know my story because I couldn’t keep it a secret any longer. It was killing me.

So I wrote a letter to Oprah all those years ago and miraculously, a few weeks later someone called me and within a day I was talking to Oprah. Now, back then Oprah was a talk show host and not the icon she is today. I wondered if this time, I would be intimidated or nervous or scared. I mean, now, Oprah is OPRAH!

This time the call came from the producers Sunday night (yes, they work on weekends) asking about my availability for an upcoming show. We chatted Sunday night and then off and on all day Monday. At 7 pm the call came in: they wanted me to come to Chicago to tape an Oprah show where I would share my story and be the expert on Resilience.

Well, it was Monday night all right, the night before the huge snowstorm in Chicago. I received a call again from the producers at 10 pm telling me I had to catch an earlier flight in order to beat the storm. Well, not only did I have to catch an earlier flight, a limo had to pick me up at 3 am in order for me to catch a 6:30 am flight to Chicago. Sleep? About 2 hours. I mean, I had to pack and call Andy Paige.

Andy Paige, for all of you who remember Starting Over, was not only one of the original six women in the SO house but also turned into the Beauty and Style Expert on the show for Season Two and Three.

Andy and I discussed what I should wear and quickly decided she also had to fly to Chicago. Remember, it was about 11 pm in Colorado which means it was 1 am in NY and the storm was coming. I might have slept two hours, Andy slept about twenty minutes.

When we got to Chicago, we were both exhausted but of course we had no time to sleep. Andy went shopping for Oprah appropriate clothes and I prepared for my meeting with the producers. Of course, we also had to meet up with one of our producer friends, Jennifer Bryne, from Starting Over at the new hot Ralph Lauren restaurant. It was delicious. Yum! (When is Body Bootcamp again?!)

And let’s not forget the blizzard we were in the entire time we were in Chicago. Take a walk down Michigan Avenue which I love to do? No way.

Shooting the show was scheduled for 9 am Wednesday morning, Feb 14th, Valentine’s Day. I thought that was a good omen. Not that I am one who believes in luck but it was nice nonetheless. My number one intention was to be Oprah’s equal. I didn’t want to go in as someone who believed she was less than her, which could be easy to do. Again, she is OPRAH. I set my intention.

Intention: I wanted to know I could hold my own with her, that she and I were the same. She has fears, I have fears. She is a woman, I am a woman. She went through hell, I went through hell. She built a successful business from nothing, I built a successful business from nothing. I thought I was nothing at one time, as I am sure she did as well. What I kept knowing to be true was Oprah and I were cut from the same cloth and we just were in different places in our lives. She was no better than me and I was no better than her. That’s what I said to myself. Over and over again.

It was still a lesson in Fearless Living to walk into the studio where the woman herself was holding court with her audience. I sat down. Smiled at her. And waited. Waited for my segment to begin. Waited for her to speak. Waited for something to happen. I didn’t have to wait long. Within seconds, she was introducing me and we were off….

What I saw on the television today held little memory for me. As I watched in gratitude, I realized the outcome of my appearance was much better than I remember actually feeling after the event itself. And that’s how fear tricks us. We compare ourselves to what ‘could’ have been. I started to beat myself a tad after I exited stage right but caught myself by the time I hit the limo door taking me back to my hotel. Sure, I had to vent to Andy and ask her a few dozen times what she thought. But when all was said and done, ultimately, I had to decide what this meant to me and my life. What I thought of myself before and after Oprah.

Yes, I was on the Oprah show. Yes, it was an experience I will never forget. Am I changed? Absolutely. I wanted to believe I was Oprah’s equal and unless I had the experience of being in her presence, it was all a guess, a game. I didn’t know for sure how I’d actually be. Now I know….

I know my life is completely changed. Not for the reasons you’d think. But for more important reasons, for soul reasons. Now I truly know that the most important gift I can give to myself and the world is to be myself at all times. It affirmed that my beliefs about who I am do kick-in no matter what is at stake. And most importantly, I finally know at the core of my being that I am worthy. Not because I was on the Oprah show but almost in spite of it.

I am no better now than I was before February 14th. I am still who I am with all my principles intact and the truth still my most cherished value. I am who I am with or without Oprah. Sure, she can impact my bottom line but that isn’t why I do what I do. I do what I do because I was meant to do it. I was made to do it. I AM Fearless Living.

I have been waiting for twelve years for the Oprah call to come. And when it did, and after I lived the ‘dream’, I still wake up next to the man I love, I still love supporting people in being Fearless, I still am Rhonda. I am proud of myself before, during and after Oprah. That’s how she changed my life. I know that I can count on me no matter what.

Thank you Oprah. You gave me the opportunity to face my deepest fears of failure, of rejection, and comparing. It was all in my face after the call came from your producers. My mind was reeling with ‘what if’s.’ What if you read my book? What if you liked my book? Could I be myself in your presence? All the fear stuff I talk about day in and day out.

Thank you for the opportunity to affirm my worth, my value, my very purpose. Thank you for being you so I could practice being me. Thank you for calling so I could get out of waiting for you to ‘help me set the world free’ mode. (I didn’t even know there was a part of me that was actually doing that.) I realize now that I have been holding a little piece of me back in order to give you the space to ‘help’ me. WOW! What a revelation. No more waiting. I am on it, Oprah.

Oprah, you allowed me to practice Fearless Living on an international stage. Yes, I had some practice on Starting Over but a talk show is very different than a reality show. And I did great. I did more than great. I was who I am. I was, and am, Rhonda Britten.