An Oprah Story

I scored a seat at a swanky breakfast recently where Oprah received the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award from the Hollywood Reporter.  So fun!! The setting was the Beverly Hills Hotel and the experience was so "LA," I both loved and laughed at my homeland at the same time.  The Ridiculous, The New, and The Profound were all strangely twisted together.

The Ridiculous

The breakfast was at 8 am and everyone showed up so perfectly coiffed; I'm sure makeup and hairstylists started their day at 3.  The crowd was a scene, and, I noticed, my tired white rental car was whisked away before I knew what was happening.  Of course, my full attention was on the red carpet where the paparazzi were screaming at stars to,


These guys (I saw no gals) were so stinking aggressive, I'm convinced  fame truly is a curse.

It. Was. Nuts.


Oh - I was also told I couldn't take pics with my phone right after I took this picture.  The camera guys don't want to compete with smartphones!

The New

What in the world is in my fruit cup?

The LA crowd all recognized the fresh Lychee, but it was new for me.  This "fruit" comes from an evergreen tree mostly found in China.  The fruit part surrounds a real nut and both are delicious.  I find it funny how the prickly "packaging" is so unattractive that it scares the unadventurous away.

Not me!  I ate mine and though I stared at my neighbors untouched fruit, I restrained myself from eating off of their plates.  I'd definitely enjoy this again!


Three cheers for brave caterers!!!

The Profound

When the award portion of the breakfast started , the accolades for Oprah were sticky sweet nice.  Oprah was gracious in accepting the attention and then went on to tell a few stories.  If you know ANYTHING about Oprah Winfrey, you know she can get an audience to eat out of her hand.  She certainly worked her magic with the Hollywood Reporter crowd.

She told stories about Nelson Mandela, her childhood, and leadership.  She wooed the audience to a swooning state.


Impressive.However, the stories didn't stick with me nearly as much as one very astute observation she made.

Oprah said in her 25 years of hosting her national talk show, every person has done ONE thing reliably.  In fact, ONLY one thing unites all of her guests.  From politicians, to Tom Cruise, to serial killers, to Beyoncé, everyone has ended the show and asked one question:

"Did I do O.K.?"

Four profound words asking for assurance that they did well.  Her insight:

Everyone wants validation. Everyone wants approval. No matter who they are.

This thought has stuck with me for weeks.

As leaders, whether on the job or in the home, people are seeking acceptance. People are drawn toward approval and repelled by judgment.  And not "people" in a general sense, but in a specific, EVERY person you know kind of way.

Your spouse. Your child. Your neighbor. Your barista.


You have the ability to walk through today and express an attitude of approval or disapproval. One position draws others to you like a magnet, and the other does not.

You get to choose.

You decide if you "need" to let people know why you disagree with them, why they are slackers, why they haven't EARNED your approval.  You can try and "fix" them by telling them exactly what you think.

You can make a point with this behavior, but you won't make a difference.

Alternatively, you can skip the judgment and accept people as you find them.  Even if they are screaming at you from the Red Carpet...