That Time I Met Oprah

Written by on April 1, 2024

Tracy Spears Meeting OprahWhether you like Oprah or not, how can you not appreciate someone who came from nothing and now has the level of success she has achieved? Personally, I am in awe of her. Not because of the money and the fame but because I think she “gets it.” She is what the Greeks call an Arete. The meaning is striving for excellence or seeking to express the best version of yourself. She certainly embodies that – and I find it inspiring!

I signed up for a weekend immersion of all things “Living Your Best Life.” I booked my ticket, flew to California, and anxiously awaited her arrival on stage. First, a DJ got the crowd going with an amazing playlist, and then she appeared on stage and brought the house down. She had one powerhouse guest after another talking about how to be more intentional in how you move about the world.

As amazing as the day was, I still couldn’t wait to meet her.

As we moved into a room backstage after the conference, Oprah came out to explain what was about to happen. She said we would all have a few minutes to meet her and take a picture, but then she said this: “I want this to be whatever you want it to be. Say what you want to say, ask what you want to ask, but be intentional when you walk in the room to meet me.” NOW, I was nervous. I repeatedly played in my mind what I really wanted to say. I judged myself on how it would sound to HER. What would she think? How could I convey how important she was to me as a kid watching her on TV? Would she like me so much we would become friends? Would she say she’s read one of my books? (She is a reader, and I may or may not have sent her a few.)

The curtain opened, and I was summoned to meet Ms. Winfrey. I almost blacked out but kept moving forward. I walked in scared to death. I said exactly what everyone else said: something like thank you for all you’ve done, and your life matters.


Who says that stuff? Your life mattered!?

Oh, yeah, Oprah says it. ALL THE TIME.

When I started breathing again, I realized I just wasted an amazing opportunity to truly connect with her because I was too curated. I kept thinking so much about how I wanted her to like me that I completely did the exact opposite of everything that was said that day.

I didn’t ask one question. I actually hurried in and out of the room, as to not take too much of her time. I didn’t want to stay too long. I blinked, and it was over.

What just happened! How did she think it went? What did I even say? What did she say to me? I have no idea.

I was so self-focused that I missed out on a more profound exchange. I had an opportunity to talk to someone who is full of wisdom and experience—I could have asked her anything, but I froze.

Have you found yourself doing the same thing?

The sad part is that I have done that so many times in my life. I’ve worried so much about how I would be perceived, whether someone would like me, whether my hair looks good, whether these are the right clothes, etc. that I missed out on being “present.” Being self-focused robs you of connection. It keeps the energy and focus on you, and that is zero fun for the other person.

Making the shift to consciously being more present allows you to get more out of every encounter and, more importantly, give more.

I now enter my exchanges with more intention and even say to myself “best possible outcome” before I open my mouth. I think about noticing what color their eyes are just to force me to look a little deeper into who I have the pleasure of talking to. I’m still working on this, as imposter syndrome creeps up often but I now know that it is my loss when I focus on my own insecurities instead of the gift of the exchange.

Whether you meet your Oprah today or anyone else, be more focused on them than you. Nobody really cares about your hair or clothes as much as they care about you and how you make them feel.