Yesterday, Iyanla Vanzant returned to Oprah’s stage for part two of their public reconciliation. Last week, Vanzant and Winfrey sat down to hash out why the two fell out over a decade ago and have not spoken in years.
On her last appearance, Vanzant revealed that she was overwhelmed by her sudden rise to fame. After appearing on Oprah’s show as a spirituality and relationship expert, Iyanla’s star quickly rose and it was clear that Oprah was grooming her for her own show. But Iyanla wanted to assume the spotlight sooner than Oprah planned, and the two parted after Vanzant accepted an offer from Barbara Walters to headline her own production.
Well, all that glitters isn’t gold. After Vanzant left the cover of Oprah’s protective wing, her show completely fell apart and she faded from the spotlight.
Yesterday, Vanzant recounted the dramatic decline her life took in the years since skyrocketing to fame. In the span of a few short years Vanzant went from pulling in millions of dollars, to burying her daughter, splitting from her husband, losing her house, being sued by her publishing company, and filing for bankruptcy. Today, Vanzant says the money’s gone she is apart of the “working poor” and doesn’t have health insurance.
Watching Iyanla and Oprah discuss Vanzant’s sudden fall from fame was sort of painful. Hearing that someone who has spent her professional career attempting to help others went through so much personal adversity wasn’t always easy to watch. However, listening to their conversation, I found that there were some lessons many of us can take away from the show.
Here are four things that stuck out while watching:
You Can Always Bounce Back: After losing her daughter, her husband, her show, and all of her money, Vanzant says she decided to kill herself. With pills in one hand and a gun in the other, Vanzant just wanted the pain to stop. While contemplating suicide, she says she heard a voice tell her to stop being “so dramatic.” It reminded her that if she could get through the pain of burying her daughter, she could get through anything. When adversity strikes, many of us just give up. We wallow in the pain and complain because we want to get back to the place we once were. Picking yourself back up can be hard, but oh so necessary.
Don’t Be Afraid To Let People Go: One of the main things that struck me while watching the show was Oprah’s stance on letting people go. Oprah said, “If you don’t want me, you’re free to go.” How powerful is that? So many times we try to hold onto to people who—through their words or actions—have proven time and time again they don’t want us. And yet we hold on because we love them, are emotionally attached, or can’t picture our lives without them in it. But those days are over, if someone proves that they don’t want your time, attention, love, and effort…keep it pushing. Because clearly, they don’t deserve you anyway.
Mind Your Money: After earning millions of dollars, Iyanla lost it all. She said, “I had a millionaire lifestyle with a welfare mentality.” Instead of educating herself on the ins and outs of money, Vanzant left accountants and lawyers in charge of her fortune. Wrong move. She ended up bankrupt and owing the government back taxes. Although it wasn’t the first time I heard about the importance of minding your own money, watching Iyanla talk about going from cashing seven-figure checks, to being “working class poor” served as a good reminder to always write my own checks, and keep my eyes on my bank account.
Make Peace With the Past: In order to move forward, you have to not only know where you come from, but also be ok with it. Although many people run from their past, this is futile because not dealing with past mistakes/hurts can come back to wreak havoc on your relationships and in your professional life. Vanzant spoke at length about needed to recognize past patterns and pathologies and learning how to breaking them.