Earlier this month, my fellow New York-Londoner friends and I spent an amazing week in New Orleans to attend the Essence Music Festival. We went to various ‘Empower U’ sessions during the festival, including ones hosted by spiritual teacher, Iyanla Vanzant; professional matchmaker, Paul Carrick Brunson; and comedian Steve Harvey.
Below are the three key life lessons I learned from their Empower U sessions:
- You are the star of your own show – Iyanla used the metaphor of a film director to illustrate how each of us is responsible for casting the people we allow in our lives. “You are the star of your show. You have to set the standards for all aspects of your life. What is the contract you have with yourself about how you’re living your life? Successful people don’t hang around with extras, they surround themselves with the highly paid co-stars.”
- Look beyond your immediate circle – “Your biggest opportunities in life will come from your weakest ties,” was my key takeaway from Paul’s session. This means whether you’re looking for a new job opportunity or a potential mate, you will have more luck with distant contacts since there is already a level of trust and your closest friends will most likely have already exhausted all potential avenues.
- Imagination is real – Steve spoke about the importance of not being afraid to think big, because so many people limit themselves by thinking on too small a scale. “Don’t be afraid to imagine, it’s the preview of life’s manifestations. So when you imagine something, go with it.”
After the festival, I had a good catch up with Paul, his lovely wife Jill and our mutual friend, Andre over lunch. Paul and Andre have given me so much support and encouragement since I moved to New York from London a few years ago – so it’s always great spending time with them.