23 Secrets To Improve Your Life

I don’t even know where to begin. I am still on a high after a magnificent weekend with my mom in Toronto attending Oprah’s Lifeclass Tour. So many of you have tweeted me and Facebooked me asking for all the juicy details. So today will be a mixed bowl of those details, life lessons, and what I learned. Hold on tight, and come along with me on a ride of fun and education…

It all started Sunday. My husband was leaving on a business trip, and I was leaving for Toronto. We kissed our two boys goodbye, and headed to the airport for our respective flights. Walking in, I had to laugh. My mom and I showed up at the airport in the exact same outfit, completely unplanned. Quite typical of us. We were excited, and off on our first mother-daughter trip in almost a decade!

23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
Mom and I at the airport en route to our mother-daughter getaway

After being delayed 2 1/2 hours, we finally touched down in Toronto. No kids for two days. Only one person to care for- myself. I gotta admit, it was nice. I missed afternoon tea with the OWN Network. They had graciously invited me, but my delayed flight prevented me from attending.

Mom and I had dinner, went to bed early Sunday night, knowing that the doors opened at 7am.

We woke up Monday morning EXCITED! We were goin’ to Oprah baby!! I tweeted to Miss O that morning.

“Show day! Out of the shower and getting ready for #OinTO at 7:30! Woo hoo!! @Oprah @IyanlaVanzant @tonyrobbins @DeepakChopra exciting!” – @WomenOnTheFence

If I tell you, I tweet Oprah ALL.THE.TIME to no reply. But all of a sudden, BING, Twitter reply.

23 Secrets To Improve Your Life


And with that tweet, we were off to the convention center. It was 6:50 in the morning, and we walked down the street to Starbucks for a quick breakfast to go. It was as if Oprah Winfrey owned Front Street. Women EVERYWHERE, all going to see Oprah.

23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
At Starbucks before Lifeclass

After a lineup around MANY blocks, we were inside. My mom was immediately snapping pictures. She couldn’t get enough.

We then entered the auditorium. 8,500 women in one room is nothing to sneeze about. We were guided to our seats- 4th row center. GULP!

The electricity, the synergy, the buzz in the room was palpable.  Everyone was there by choice, not out of necessity, to learn and to self-improve. It felt as if this was a sacred place, a place to be your authentic self. That was the bond that connected all of us. And you could feel it. 8,500 women thirsty for a better life. Thirsty for transformation and change. How cool.

And with that feeling, the day began. They called the first speaker to the stage– a great Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist, and star of the hit show, Dragon’s Den. Low and behold, it was my buddy Brett Wilson! I had no idea he was going to be there, so when he took the stage, I waved to him. Next thing I know, he called out in front of the entire crowd, “Oh wow, there’s Erica Diamond!” In the words of Fifty Shades of Grey, I flushed scarlet. I ducked in my seat. 😉

Next we heard from four incredible teachers, for about thirty minutes each: Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Iyanla Vanzant and Bishop TJ Jakes. Alright, I expected Tony Robbins to be like a used car salesman. But if I tell you, HIS TALK WAS LIFE CHANGING. He was by far my favorite speaker. If you haven’t read his books or attended his conferences, I urge you to do so. This guy is the real deal.

23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
The set

All four speakers taught us some incredible life lessons. I wanted to share them with you. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. “We’re all born with infinite potential and creativity. We all have it in us. Each and every one of us. That’s the only truth”- Deepak Chopra
  2. “The 3 things you can offer your children to change them:  attention, appreciation and affection.” – Deepak Chopra
  3. “None of us are imprisoned emotional or mentally unless we allow ourselves to be.” –Iyanla Vanzant
  4. “Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes for you.” – Tony Robbins
  5. “Change your state, change your happiness. We use drugs, sex, eating, smoking, drinking to change our state. You don’t need to this.” – Tony Robbins
  6. “Wanna keep your marriage in that same state of bliss you felt at the beginning? Then, DO you what you did at the beginning of your relationship -you gave everything to this person. Do those things again and you will see the change and the reconnection with your partner.” –Tony Robbins
  7. “Your story is what blocks you from your breakthrough. We believe the stories we tell ourself over and over again.” –Tony Robbins
  8. “We all have our own story. And we stay attached to our story. This can stop us from growing and living. You wanna make your life better? Change your story, change your life.”  –Tony Robbins
  9. “When you fail at something, you say you’ve tried everything cuz that makes you feel better. How have you really tried everything? If you had, you woulda found a solution. Bullshit!” – Tony Robbins
  10. “You get what you tolerate.” –Tony Robbins (ONE OF MY FAVORITES OF THE DAY!)
  11. “Success leaves clues. Go figure out what someone who was successful did, and model it. Improve it, but learn their steps. They have knowledge.” – Tony Robbins
  12. “No one talks about failure. Let’s talk about it. Why did you fail? I always hear “resources” as the excuse- not enough time, money, energy, technology. People blame resources as the excuse for failure. It’s not the lack of resources that cause failure, it’s the lack of resourcefulness that causes failure. Resourcefulness is the cure to failure. Successful people are resourceful and find a way to make it work.” –Tony Robbins (MY SECOND FAVORITE OF THE DAY).
  13. “Decisions and not conditions determine your destiny. Your biography is NOT your destiny. Rather it’s your DECISIONS that create your destiny.” – Tony Robbins (And he used Oprah as a powerful example that her past, her story, did not get in the way of her destiny. Rather it was her life choices that changed her course. ANOTHER ONE OF MY FAVORITES).
  14. “The path of least resistance is the path with no joy, no growth.” –Tony Robbins
  15. “Common sense is not common. If you’re not doing it, it’s not common.” –Tony Robbins (SO TRUE).
  16. “Leap and the net will appear.” – Oh I so believe this!!
  17. “How well you manage problems determines how far you go.” – Bishop TJ Jakes
  18. “It’s the things that go wrong that make you better.” – Bishop TJ Jakes
  19. “Act like you know you’re golden.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant. (as she danced down the aisles. Loved her).
  20. “Embrace the truth. Speak the truth. Be the truth. When we welcome the truth, we live our lives like it’s golden.” -Iyanla Vanzant
  21. “Tell the truth to yourself, about yourself. No one ever died from telling the truth. We often don’t tell the truth. You gotta tell the truth as soon as you know it. –Iyanla Vanzant
  22. “Tell the truth in a way that’s kind.” –Iyanla Vanzant
  23. “Challenges are there to make you more aware of your inner purpose.”  –Deepak Chopra

And after 2 hours of incredible learning, my Oprah took the stage. Chills. Goosebumps. Tears.

23 Secrets To Improve Your Life

She began telling us how thankful she was for all her fans, how she had been reading all the tweets and Facebook postings. She then said, “One girl wrote to me this morning that she just got out of the shower and was excited for Lifeclass.” I don’t know what made me blurt out, and LOUD, “THAT WAS ME!!!!!” Oprah then laughed and said,  “Are you serious? WAIT, YES, IT WAS YOU! And you look just like your picture!” Again, I flushed scarlet.

And then, my Twitter was a buzzing… “Did Oprah just call you out from the stage?” Or “Was Oprah just talking to you?” Then Adam Glassman, creative director of Oprah Magazine tweeted me “Was that just YOU xoxo?” Andrea Wishom, EVP of Harpo Studios wrote, “Hey! Just saw your cute moment with @Oprah just now! “You look JUST like your picture!” Have fun!”” or “Saw you on the live streaming of Lifeclass. So cool!!! Is it as great as it seems?” Or “Oprah is talking to Erica Diamond. She must be on cloud 9!” They kept coming in.

All fun stuff.

Then, it was time to film Lifeclass. Our episode of Lifeclass on Gratitude was about to be broadcasted live around the world. The curtain went up, and there they appeared.

23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
From left to right: Iyanla Vanzant, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Bishop TJ Jakes, Oprah Winfrey

It was a brilliant hour. Our episode will be the season finale, and will air on April 30th.

Here were some other great highlights of the day….

23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
Me and Maya Watson, Marketing Manager of Harpo
23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
The brilliant Tony Robbins
23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
Iyanla Vanzant dancing!
23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
Deepak Chopra
23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
Erik Logan and one of my favorites, Sheri Salata sharing some OWN news
23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
This photo was shot was 1 minute after I met Oprah. Hello Bucket List! 😉
23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
By the stage. 🙂
23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
On stage, flashing one of my tweets
23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
Oprah talking' to us
23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
This woman's story had everyone in tears
23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
People Skyping in to speak to the experts
23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
Me and mom in the audience
23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
Oprah in my row watching the stage
23 Secrets To Improve Your Life
Thank you all for tuning in!

So after a heavy 6 hours of learning, my mom and I walked back to our hotel, put on our running shoes, and explored Toronto. It was almost 90 degrees, and we ended up at a great Italian restaurant outside- wine, pasta, and lots of conversation and reflections about the day. About our lives. About expectations, disappointments, celebrations, breakthroughs, and challenges.

We walked back to our hotel, showered, and there we were- both in our own beds, on our own Macs watching Lifeclass, in our matching hotel bathrobes. It was quite the sight. 😉

As I laid in my bed, I came to two real realizations… Those experts today were really just preaching to the converted. It’s funny, I find in life that the people who don’t subscribe to spirituality or self-improvement, are usually the ones who need it the most. So, I urge you, if you are suffering in any way, to stop complaining, and take action. Movement no matter how small, in the right direction, is game changing.

And second, Tony Robbins’ concept is really one to embrace. There are really no excuses to failure. Resourcefulness and tenacity will win, every time. I speak from experience. You want something? Stop making excuses why you can’t have it, and start getting resourceful. You’d be surprised just how resourceful and resilient women are.

When we arrived home yesterday, as I got out of the car to run in and see my boys for the first time in 48 hours, my mom took my hand, kissed it gently, and said to me, “These last two days were magical.”

And they really were.

Tell me, I’d love to know if any of the 23 lessons hit home, or if you have any of your own secrets that have improved your life. This is a broad community of women, always looking to get off the fence, and take the jump to their happiness. Share your tips and thoughts.


  1. AMAZING!! I felt like we were right there with you. Such incredible lessons I might have to print them up and post them in my office. Thank you for sharing such a magical day with all of us. I also love Oprah.

  2. Great post. It sounds like it was a great day. You and your mom look like twins! My favorite one is #15. I always say that common sense isn’t so common or everyone would be doing it. It’s really true.

  3. “I find in life that the people who don’t subscribe to spirituality or self-improvement, are usually the ones who need it the most.”


  4. I held my breath throughout the entire post. I could feel your heart beating. How magnificent that shared this experience with you mom. You’ll never forget it. I absolutely love your website.

  5. luv the way you express yourself, the part that moved me the most is your mom kissing your hand gently.
    there`s always room for improvement and I luv it when improvement comes knocking to my dooy :),

    I try to open the door with a smile

  6. I felt like I was sitting right there. You really captured the day. I recently found your blog through a friend on Twitter and I’m so glad I did. I have a lot of reading to do. 🙂

  7. Love the whole post Erica! You captured the energy and power of the day so perfectly! Can’t wait to see how the energy carries you forward!

    Love to you! So glad you had your Oprah moment! It’s so fun to recount the story later! Hope to see you soon! xoxo

  8. Thank you for sharing your experience with us Erica, and these 23 Secrets…God knows we can all improve our lives.

    I am one of those people who need self-improvement; I do subscribe to many spiritual, motivational, and thought-provoking sites/blogs, but have yet to get to a point in life (I’m 51) to know why I am on this planet or what I need to do to find happiness. With that said, the quotes that speak to me are: “You get what you tolerate.” by Tony Robbins (I have learned to tolerate a great deal); and, “None of us are imprisoned emotionally or mentally unless we allow ourselves to be.” by Iyanla Vanzant (again, I have been weak and allow myself to be). I have made SIGNIFICANT changes in my life in the past year, and am currently struggling to maintain my sanity and strength; and to NOT give up only to revert back to my life of tolerance.

    I am grateful and thankful for you, Oprah, Deepak Chopra, Joel Osteen, etc. for sharing your guidance and insights with me and the rest of the world. Thank you and may God bless you always!

  9. Great read – great experience. Tony Robbins is to me, what Oprah is to you. So lucky! I have all his tapes, newsletter feeds, etc… now there’s a guy who has done him homework and is AWE inspiring! The real thing as you say. Glad you shared this moment with your mom too – she shaped you to inspire us, as you will your sons. Congrats.

  10. Erica this was an amazing post! You had me hanging on every word. I attended the afternoon taping of the show so thank you for sharing your experience and the inspiring lessons that were shared at your session.

    I also wrote a blog post documenting my experience and the best way that I could sum it up was that it was my ‘joy rising’ moment. The biggest lesson from my session that I will always carry with me is that I must be ‘Pregnant with Possibility’. In order bring every dream, passion and vision that we have to fruition, you must nurture it, protect it and push through the hardship to give ‘birth’ to it. You can check out my post here: http://chivonjohn.com/oprah-lifeclass-tour-in-toronto/

    Thanks again for sharing these powerful lessons from the day!

  11. Hey girlfriend, I was waiting for Oprah to pull you up onto the stage at one point! It was fabulous to FINALLY meet you and your article here sums the day up well for me. I’d love to grab coffee next time you’re in town, we really must plan these travels better to get more time together when we’re not exhausted.

  12. “You want something? Stop making excuses why you can’t have it, and start getting resourceful.”
    Oh boy, finally. I’m not sure how I came across your blog but I love it. Finally. A blog for ball busting women who aren’t afraid to go after it.
    After watching your video on your about page and reading several articles, I’m now dying to submit a guest post. High quality material on this blog so need to take some time to think on it!
    So glad I found your community.

    1. Welcome Kathryn! So happy to have you join our community! Let me know if you have any questions about anything.

      Thank you for visiting!! 🙂

  13. OMG what an amazing day! And to spend it with your mom! I hope my daughter and I will do this one day too! Love the lessons!

  14. Thanks for sharing Erica! “Appreciate” your kids to change their lives really hit home for me. I run through life like its a marathon and I should stop and appreciate my beautiful babies 🙂

    If I could share something that has helped me, especially since becoming a mom, is to process only positive energy. Solutions come from being positive!


  15. While I liked all of them, number 10 resonates with me the most. I am in the process of separating and realize I am getting what I have tolerated over these the past five years. So I am moving forward into a more positive environment.

  16. Today, I went to the beach front with my kids.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear
    and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

    my web-site :: seo

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