No one knew quite what to expect as we entered the Toyota Center for day one. Whether your reason for attending was to see Oprah herself, to be inspired by one of her trailblazers including Iyanla Vazant, Rob Bell, Elizabeth Gilbert and Deepak Chopra, or just to figure out how one would actually go about “getting the life” you really wanted, we were all filled with anticipation for what we would experience during (and after) the weekend. Here we are four weeks post Oprah’s Life You Want Tour and can we just say we are still on our high! If the research and statistics say it takes 30 days for something to become a habit, then we aren’t coming down anytime soon.

Those that were fortunate enough to attend both days of the weekend are still filled with excitement and optimism as we continue to share our stories and promises to live in the “new”. And although everyone may have watched, listened and learned with a different goal, one thing was consistent. The sole purpose was to help us see the possibilities of a new life-the life we want. To say Oprah and this dream team were inspiring is an understatement. The weekend was all about us and coming to the realization that what is next for you…is completely up to you.

Takeaways and Aha Moments

Swanky Girl

I’m not sure where to start because there were so many takeaways and aha moments for me. I’ll start with one of my most poignant and a powerful aha moment of the weekend, and that was realizing that The Life You Want Weekend was the exact place that God wanted me in! I had looked into getting tickets months before and the floor seats with the meet and greet had sold out. So in my mind it was over and done with since things did not go exactly how I had planned. Fast forward to the week before the event…we received media passes that included pretty kick-ass seats. There is no way that Urban Swank was not going to attend, and so began the first steps of my new me. “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Not only was it what I wanted, but clearly it was what I needed. Many times we get so busy with the details and ideas of what something should be, we miss the beauty and opportunity of what is actually in our presence.

You see guys that weekend gave me life, because it was the final piece of my journey back to me. The last several years have not quite gone according to my plan, and somewhere along the way I missed a memo that said God had a different plan than me (don’t you hate when that happens). So I’ve spent the last year doing the work of healing and soul searching. The Life I Want Weekend put it all out there and let me know that I was ready to start my new book-yes my stuff is more than a chapter! A few of the things I took away that I would like to pass along to you all:

  • Make sure you are living life on your own terms. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Be aware of the words that are coming from you and that are being manifested daily. ~ Oprah
  • Life always tells us the truth…our job is to recognize & accept it. ~ Iyanla Vanzant
  • The mind is a conversation that happens in the presence of your soul. ~ Deepak Chopra

Urban Girl

Several times following the event I had someone ask “So what was it like?” After providing a quick recap of the weekend and showing off videos (that did no justice to the good vibes that pierced through every corner of the arena), I eventually said “I was basically given a virtual mirror and spent some one on one time with myself.” Talk about self therapy! I left with a better understanding of who Shanna was and finally came to a point where I was okay with checking myself (and my ego) at the front door. But even with the bad came the good. It was motivation to understand what I was doing right and to shine a light on what I was doing wrong. Things can become a bit cloudy when you have tunnel vision (yeah, I am the person who thinks I am right most of the time :)).

My takeaway: Elizabeth Gilbert said, “Keep around the people that can live within your truth with you”. Checking myself does not always require me to change myself. When I am evaluating my life (in hopes of getting the life I want), I have the remember to live my life with passion, intent, and most importantly, purpose. I am grateful to have both witnessed and experienced this moment. With that said, I would like to pass this on to you:

  • Be true to yourself first and foremost.
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself and don’t take yourself for granted.
  • Understand the power of the spirit that lives within you and listen to it.

In between the tears, the 15-minute workout by SoulCycle and the many moments of self reflection, there was just as much taking place outside. Directly across the street, attendees were pampered at the Renewal and Reinvention lounges, shopping in the O Store, taking pics and selfies, and even getting a chance to meet and chat with Oprah’s BFF, Gayle King. From 3-minute scalp massages to their beauty bar and skin consultations Olay and PG had you covered. “O Town” quickly became the place to be.

And in closing…

And Oprah drops the mic.

The Urban Swank Girls


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