I MET OPRAH – WAS IT AWESOME?

Yep, I met Oprah face to face. Talked to her and got a private photo.

The short story is – Oprah came to Australia and I spent $2500 on a ticket to meet and greet her. Was it worth it?

In a word – YES. It was awesome and in this post, I’m sharing all. What it was like, what Oprah asked me, what was in the VIP gift bag and my aha’s from the night. The breakthroughs I received before, during and after were PRICELESS.

(Yes, I’m pregnant in that photo, I’m not super bloated from free VIP champagne)

First – here’s what I previously wrote on The Carousel about why I spent the money.

One hundred and sixty one packets of cigarettes, a Chuck Liddell signed UFC belt, a photo with Oprah. All of these things cost roughly $2500.

I’m only interested in one of them, however.

I gladly paid it for my VIP ticket to see Oprah in her Australian show and honestly, I’d have paid double.

My story isn’t unique. Every day I see women talking about how Oprah changed their lives. Women like me from single family homes, or from small towns, who say that Oprah has been our best teacher, showing us how to live our best lives.

Just because it’s cliched, doesn’t mean it’s not true.

It’s Oprah who encouraged me to go to university, not my family. It’s because of her influence that I married the nice guy, not the idiot who cheated on me multiple times.

It’s safe to say that my moral code was shaped more by Oprah than anyone else.

I became a mini-Oprah in high school, dishing out solicited and unsolicited advice to anyone with a problem, including a bed-wetting cousin and my best friend who wasn’t allowed to pluck her mono-brow.

Friend’s parents thought I was a negative influence until they realised I was pushing self-help books and second-hand Oprah-isms instead of drugs and alcohol.

A friend started calling me “Dr Phil” for my harsh, tell-it-like-it-is ‘wisdom’. It was a fine line between bossy and inspirational in those days.

And now, as a coach and mentor for women, it’s safe to say that my career was shaped in those afternoons watching the The Oprah Show after school.

Even now, Sunday is Oprah day in our house. She’s still teaching me how to live my best life.

I know I’m not alone in the debt I owe this remarkable woman, so I jumped at the opportunity to thank her in person.

I had a stellar seven-figure year in business in 2015, and I couldn’t figure out a memorable present for myself to mark the milestone.

A fancy pen? Nah, my toddler would likely break it. A trip away? Not that fun with a small child and a pregnant belly.

So when the VIP tickets became available, I didn’t hesitate. I was in the back of a car on a family trip with one per cent phone battery and sweaty palms, worried I’d miss out on the chance to get up and personal with Miss O herself.

I reminded my hubby how much he’d spent on football games over the years including going to the World Cup in Brazil. Oprah is MY David Beckham. My Rooney. But way better!

I read Bec Sparrow’s piece on why she bought a VIP ticket, and the comments were dismissive. “More money than sense”, “That’s why Oprah is so rich” and “The money would be better off going to charity”.

I do value money and donate to charity and Oprah doesn’t ‘need’ my money.

I don’t need a ‘return on investment’ from this event, or even the photo. I already have it. She’s been teaching me for years… for free.

This isn’t about the price of the ticket. This is the chance to pay homage to a woman who has greatly influenced the woman I am today.

If Oprah has taught us anything, it’s that our dreams are important. And we’re worth it.

Here’s the longer story.

I bought the ticket months before and as the day got closer, I could feel myself getting anxious.

Pressure. Like, I had to MAXIMIZE the experience. Get my money’s worth. MAKE IT COUNT. What could I do to make Oprah notice me, and like… immediately want to put me on her show or be best friends or something….?

Hubby was like “Take her a copy of your book – this is your chance!

So, I was getting mega stressed about the whole thing. Then one day, I woke up and was like, “I literally can’t fuck this up. I’m just there to enjoy and soak it all in. I don’t HAVE to do anything”.

I don’t have to manifest this just so I can tell a good story on my blog. There’s time to meet Oprah. There’s time to create a relationship with her – this doesn’t have to be THE MOMENT.

Funnily enough, I was flipping through my diary from a year ago. I had a session with a business intuitive and she said “Don’t stress, 2016 isn’t a big platform building or travelling year for you. You’ll do more between babies #2 and #3”

Pressure gone.

I had actually bought a second VIP ticket because the first allocation of photo opps went quickly. So after they released more meet and greets, I had TWO tickets for the same event (one worth $2500 and one worth $850) and I had that same thought – maybe I should auction it off to a Lucky Bee? Maybe I could bundle it into a coaching VIP experience, so someone can have dinner with me afterwards? How can I maximize this? 

And again – the same pressure. Experiencing it for someone else. Not for me. Squeezing the juice out of the experience.

So instead, I donated the extra ticket to my friend Mel Histon’s charity fundraiser. Pressure gone. Right decision, and a HUGE reminder that I’m allowed to experience things for myself. Not for business. Not for PR purposes.

This is a recurring theme for me at the moment. Because I realized how often I live my life for business. I often just get my hair done JUST because I’m doing videos. I think about taking pictures for my blog, instead of just BEING there. I do my make up just good enough to look okay on Skype – so who cares if my foundation is blended in properly. I certainly wasn’t doing it for ME.

Once I gave away the ticket, and knew I was just going by myself (lots of friends there and my mum was going too – but I only had to worry about ME), I just relaxed even more.

Yes, I bought a cool new outfit (a Camilla caftan), got my hair and makeup done (for ME, not just to document it on Instagram) and booked in two nights at a hotel so I could chill.

I told the hair and makeup artist that I was going to see Oprah, and for once, I was being really assertive in what I wanted. Not for Oprah, but for me. I got lots of “HOW are you seeing her?” and it was awesome to say “I bought a ticket”. I didn’t have to win it or manifest it for free. I just bought it.

The VIP stuff started around 4pm, and I immediately met TWO of my Lucky Bees (who had both come to retreats recently) in the meet and greet room – out of 100 people –  what are the chances?! 

After security and signing a waiver (including an agreement not to give presents, gifts or cards to Oprah), we headed into the stadium for the Oprah Q&A. Officially this was her sound check (which she had to do anyway) – why not make it a premium experience?!

The funny thing was that she just kinda wandered out on stage with no fan fare or big intro, and was like “hey y’all”. There was no standing ovation or anything, our group of 100 was just like “hey Oprah“.  Super casual.

It was just like “oh, there she is – and she’s EXACTLY like on TV”

But with the smaller group, she was even more casual. The first thing she said was “I heard you guys have spent a lot of money to be here. WHY? Why would you do that?” 

One guy spoke and then Oprah pointed straight at me. “You – why are you here?” and then she said “Are you wearing a Camilla?”

I said “Um, yes, I wasn’t going to wear Target to OPRAH”. She was like, “Excuse me, TAR-JAY”

Me: “I’ve been watching you a long time for free, so I wanted to come and meet you. It was a no-brainer”

Oprah: “How long have you been watching?”

Me: “Since Primary School”

Oprah: “Ah, so I ‘raised’ you?”

(By the way, she said this to a few people in the audience. I love how she just accepts it. She KNOWS that she’s made a bigger impact on us than most of our teachers and even parents. She owns that we are “her girls”.)

Oprah: “What was the biggest thing I taught you?”

Me: “Simply – to break the cycle. And I did”

So, that was my interaction with Oprah! After that, she started taking questions from the group, and at first I didn’t want to raise my hand. I had “my turn” and it would be “greedy” to have another chance.

Another great aha. I actually realized how much I’ve been holding myself back on things, because I’m already lucky. I often don’t apply for competitions or think I deserve extra special experiences because I have a great life. I was even thinking it on the way in … What if she gives away a CAR?! Well – I’d have to give it away to charity because I already have one.

Then I was like – no, it’s actually ok to win a new car. And if I sell my old one, I could put the money off my mortgage OR give it to charity. I can choose.

So I was sitting there thinking – who am I to get TWO interactions with Oprah?? That’s greedy.

So, I actually started tapping, and affirming to myself, “It’s safe for me to have two questions”. 

I didn’t get selected for another question (I had a great one lined up around money*) but for me, that aha was PRICELESS.

I’m allowed to have MORE than I need.

It’s safe for me to be SUPER lucky. 

It was really related to this BIG money block I had in December. I really resisted doing a big launch and I realized it’s because I was saying to myself, “I don’t really NEED the money”, like I’m not broke or anything, in fact, I’m doing really well. It would be greedy to make EVEN MORE.

I know it’s a total #luckybitchproblem but I’ve had that thought before. I’m not allowed anymore because I’m already lucky.

She answered questions really honestly and with practical down to earth advice. About how if you’re setting up a charity in a developing country, partner with people who know what they’re doing, because in her words “starting from the ground up is a BITCH”. About how you need to trust your gut on getting the right people to help you run your company.

I didn’t take any notes (UNHEARD of for me) because I just wanted to soak it in.

BTW – the question I was going to ask what how to get motivated for bigger financial goals when you already make great money. (Honestly, what’s going on for me right now – just a temporary money block which I know I’ll smash through using the same techniques I’ve done every other time and I teach in my Bootcamp)

The photo!

We lined up on the stage and one by one got a photo with her. As I walked towards her, she said “hello darling”, we got the photo, she squeezed my arm (HARD) and I was ushered off stage.

A minute of my life – but holy crap, I will treasure that photo for a LONG time (until I meet her again!)

Now, if you read my newsletter, you’ll read about how when I got the photo, all I could see was…

NIPS

Well – just one in particular. My pesky left one. My right one was firmly fan-girling Oprah.

Yep – the lead photo up top is the photoshopped image. The original had a big preggo erect NIPPLE out and PROUD (but maybe a trifle lower than you’d expect).

My hubby was like “UM, you can’t share that”

Seriously? My big moment with Opes and I was a little too excited….

So luckily yesterday I found an emergency nip photoshop artist and she fixed it for me (thanks to photographer Michelle Swan).

I’m sorry, I’d share the original with you, but there are just too many weirdos out there and I’ve already written too many words about my pregnant nipples that might attract some weird fetish people (I learned that when I wrote about “shoe porn” – oops did it again)

The gift bag

I chuckled when I got the gift bag because it was filled with the most random STUFF. Not that Oprah had anything to do with it, but without a doubt, when my clients put together an event, we have to resist the urge to over-GIVE just to fill those damn bags.

I’d show a photo but I gave away all the bits to my mum and her friend so I didn’t have to bring anything home. I’m not at all sentimental, sorry! I KonMari’d that shit pronto!

Here’s what was in it:

  • A signed copy of her wonderful book What I Know For Sure. This is a fave of mine, and even though I don’t keep physical books anymore thanks to the KonMari method, I’m going to put this by my bed – KEEP!
  • A grey scarf with sequins on the end.
  • A mug with “I spent a night with Oprah” on it
  • An Oprah branded pen and blank branded notebook
  • A beautiful program (really nice but I never keep programs)
  • A branded universal charger. Totally random but handy I guess!
  • A plastic hair twist thingy that you can create french rolls out of – definitely the most random!
  • A sample pack of Swisse cleanse, tone, face oil. I actually thought they were sprayable vitamins (had no idea they went into skin care, luckily I checked before I sprayed them into my mouth!)
  • A very cool pair of Shhh Secrets CZ stud earrings. I already have a pair that I love from the same store, so mum got these!

So – during my event in London, I had to stop myself filling the gift bags. At one stage, there was going to be nail polish, fake money and all sorts of plastic crap. As it was, people got branded notebooks, pens, calculators, etc. It’s overkill.

I know sometimes sponsors have to have stuff included, and some poor production assistant probably had to run all over Sydney sourcing the stuff and second guessing herself the whole way…

One of my Lucky Bees Tina Bangel (who asked a question to Oprah during the Q&A did a video so you can see what’s in it.

 

Please people – resist the urge to over give in your gift bags just for the sake of it. Or give edible presents. Nobody wants this branded crap and it goes straight to landfill in so many cases. I would have been thrilled with the program and the earrings. Maybe some chocolate!

The cocktail party

This was a private drinks reception for the hundred or so VIPs. It was in a private room with an open drinks bar, a buffet of snacks, a sweets buffet and canapés. Oprah wasn’t there but there were Oprah quizzes!

One of the funniest moments was when this waiter kept coming past with canapés, and our group refused every time. The look on his face was hilarious, like “It’s free food man, TAKE IT”. And it reminded me of when I was in my twenties and how I’d go to random business meetings and networking events, just for the free food.

At Uni, there was a pub that had free cheese cubes and pickled onions and that’s where we’d go for dinner. We’d save our money for beer and pool. Why pay for dinner when you can have FREE bar food!? AHA – I can refuse free stuff!

Here’s another aha. The actual designer Camilla was there (in fact, Oprah name checked her not just with me, but later in the VIP Q&A, she was like “Oh hi Camilla!”.

I NEVER EVER EVER ask for selfies with people. I get really weird and nervous.

I just walked up to her and said “Can I please get a photo with you?” and she was like, of course! I mentally kicked myself for not asking other cool people I’ve met in the past because I was nervous.

I asked her how she got so involved with Oprah and she said “The Universe, luck and a LOT of hard work from my team”. How awesome. Total lucky bitch answer.

I also congratulated her for how many women in the audience were wearing her designs. How cool would that feel? To look out into a sea of women and see your actual designs everywhere.

The actual show

Again, I didn’t take any photos of Oprah on stage because I was making an effort to experience it for me. Through my own eyes, not though my camera. Challenging but awesome.

The show started 50 minutes late because of ticketing problems, and I was really struggling with the size of the crowd after the quietness of the cocktail party. I just wanted to see Oprah again, but without all the screaming! Imagine tens of thousands of women (and a few guys) dancing, singing and LOSING THEIR SHIT about seeing Oprah.

Was the event itself life-changing? I’ve had many friends text me since “OMG, WAS IT AMAZIIING?!”

I do believe one moment in time can be a catalyst but for me, it felt like it was a continuation of the “conversation” I’ve been having with Oprah for years. She’s already changed my life and will continue to. The one night was a highlight for sure, but it felt pretty normal to see and meet her.

Like, cool, it’s Oprah. No biggie. I was super calm and just enjoyed it. It definitely WAS everything I expected though.

What did Oprah talk about?

If you’ve watched her show, then you know her stories. Growing up with her grandmother, getting pregnant at 14 after being molested for years, becoming an anchorwoman, getting her own show, building schools, etc etc.

You’ve heard the stories. I’ve heard the stories, but it was still awesome seeing and hearing them just meters away from her. The best thing was seeing how she owns herself. She is smart, and she’s always been smart – ever since her grandmother taught her to read at a young age. It’s no accident that she’s become Oprah.

It made me feel good about owning my own skills and talents. I didn’t just wake up a few years ago and went, “ooh, I think I’ll be a coach and mentor”, I’ve been this way my whole life. On the way home, my mum mentioned that one of her favorite parts was when Oprah said that her assistant wanted a filing cabinet as a kid. I reminded my mum that I got a typewriter when I was 9, and I was like “now, my business life can begin”

I’m giving myself permission to claim myself – like Oprah did -and I give you permission if you need it too.

My biggest ahas came from not just meeting Oprah, but by observing how I felt before, during and after. What I made meeting Oprah mean for myself and others.

Even writing this blog post, I’ve second guessed it. I didn’t take notes, so I can’t tell you everything she said. Did I say enough? Did I share enough? Will you be disappointed that I’m not sharing every single second? That I didn’t do a live Periscope before and after? That I forgot to take a picture of the gift bag?

Fascinating right? But I do feel like I want to leave some of the experience for myself. For me. Hope that’s okay 

The most amazing thing, and the thing I’ll leave you with…

When I ran my life event in London earlier this year, I said to everyone. “I’m only going to tell you one thing – but in different ways. You are enough”

And that’s exactly what Oprah said. A billionaire philanthropist, incredible business woman and someone who has “raised” millions of women, including myself. The message is so simple.

You are enough.

That’s all to say! Everything else is filler! (sorry I took over 3000 words to say that). And you didn’t need to be there to understand and absorb that message.

You are enough.

It’s time to transform your relationship with money.

I’m hosting a free live workshop to help you make your Biggest Money Breakthrough in 2018 WITHOUT Selling Your Soul, Burning Out Or Breaking Your Business.

If you want to earn more in 2018, reserve your spot here.

xx

Denise

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