By Eileen Shoals


Some time ago, Oprah Winfrey did an interview at Stanford Graduate School of Business highlighting her 40 year career. She discussed lessons she had learned about life and business during her time as a television personality. Whether you like Oprah or not, most of us would agree that she has managed to create huge success in her life, as well as establish a platform to discuss the issues that are important to her. Her years of success, consistency and presence in American culture has basically provided a space for her to discuss anything she wants to discuss. She has also achieved the power of influence across the globe. When she talks about her success, she often highlights her painful past as well. She never discusses the past from a “poor me” perspective. She highlights the ways that her past experiences were shaping her and molding her for future success. She truly has a resilient winner’s attitude.

So, is Oprah just a unique phenomenon…or do we all have such capability? What do you think?

I believe we can have what we think we can have. We achieve what we believe we are capable of achieving. Despite hardships, challenges and obstacles, we have the capacity to be resilient. Our life experiences have the potential to be our greatest lessons, but not only that…they may just be the platform that allows us to influence others in a positive way. Painful situations never feel good while we are going through them. I have had my fair share, and they are not my favorite things to go through. However, after the dust settles…and I am able to reflect on the experience, I tend to notice some consistent outcomes:

  1. I grew up from the experience
  2. I allowed myself to get still and quiet any unnecessary chaos in my life.
  3. I practiced self-care and nurtured my own soul.
  4. I listened to my gut more closely.
  5. I became introspective.
  6. I learned some things about myself, the situation and others.
  7. I had more empathy for myself and the world.
  8. I changed for the better.

These are just my consistent experiences derived from pain or challenges. I am sure you could create your own unique list that is consistent for you. Change is inevitable and we are becoming better human beings with each life experience. Despite what we may think, our experiences not only impact us, but they are often far reaching and affect others significantly. We are all flames from the same fire. Another’s story may be the flame that lights a spark in us. You don’t know until you share your life lessons. They could be the very inspiration someone else needs to move from lethargy to motivation.

It takes courage to share your truth with others. There is always the possibility that others may not care about what we have to say. Yet, I believe that some truths are just universal truths…no matter who is speaking them. These truth messages need to be heard across the globe and they are far reaching to those who need to hear them. As you look at your past or current experiences, what do you value? What did you learn about yourself, life and the universe? How did you grow? How did you become better? Where did you find your resilience? What changed? How were you inspired? How are you becoming better and stronger? Most important, how were others impacted by your experience? The answers to all of these questions not only help you locate your source of strength, but they also may really inspire and empower an observer.

Our lives are living stories…real life messages from the universe being depicted “LIVE”. We are creating historical events every moment that we breathe. We are also acting out scenes from life that depict lessons on every subject that ever existed. We are living epistles read of men (so the Bible says). Our stories are not in vain. They are palpable. They have meaning. They leave lasting effects. They can change the course of our lives and impact the course of other lives. We are incredible beings with incredible stories emanating from unique experiences of pain and triumph. Let’s not forget the triumph! Who wants to listen to stories of pain without the reward of victory at the end? The only point in discussing pain or challenges, is to create the expectation and final climax of victory. So get to the good stuff quickly and don’t dwell on the negative!

With the right perspective, we are always triumphant…always victorious. Regardless to the outcome of a situation, when your thinking is healthy, you see how everything always works out for you. Yes! Everything is always working out for you always at every moment!!! This is good news. If you believe this, then you can see how incredible your life experience is and how you have the capacity to influence others in a rich and powerful way.

So what is your story? What lessons has life taught you by your experiences? Is any part of that worth sharing with others for their growth, reflection and inspiration? Think about it. I have a feeling, if you are open and willing, there are a multitude of lessons inside of your experience that you could easily share and teach the world.