05 May Living Your Soul Signature
To live your soul signature means having the courage and clarity to live a life that is uniquely yours and reflects your greatest potential. This series of posts focuses on people who inspire me in the way they live their lives and have found their most authentic expression.
Iyanla Vanzant is living her soul signature.
“Each of us was born to fulfill a divine purpose. As we open our hearts and minds to a new way of being, the purpose of our lives unfolds organically.” –Iyanla Vanzant
Life coach, author, and spiritual advisor, Iyanla Vanzant became famous in the 1990s after making numerous memorable appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show. In time she brokered a deal for her own daytime talk show, The Iyanla Show. On the verge of supernova stardom, her show was canceled. Iyanla was crushed. Little did she know this professional disappointment was just the beginning of a long road marked by death, divorce, depression, and ultimately, sublime transformation.
Iyanla was no stranger to hardship. She was born in the back of a taxi cab in Brooklyn in 1953; at age 3 she lost her mother to breast cancer; she barely knew her father; and she was molested by an uncle at age 9. She had three children by the time she was 21. After fleeing an abusive husband, she gathered her kids and set out on her own. She enrolled in the City University of New York Law School at Queens College where her oratory skills won her a job with the Philadelphia Public Defender’s office – no interview required.
After leaving the law, Iyanla found her true calling, teaching women who were moving from welfare to the workforce. She knew she had a gift for deeply connecting with women in need and helping them to “fix their lives.”
“I’ve always wanted people to know who they are from the inside,” Iyanla said. “Then they can create the life they desire and deserve. I’ve always believed that my job was to facilitate the evolution of human consciousness.”
Her ability to know people from the inside catapulted Iyanla to fame and fortune. However, when her show was cancelled and her world collapsed, she discovered how strong she could be deep within herself.
Iyanla watched her marriage unravel and her million-dollar book deals vanish, but when her daughter, Gemmia was diagnosed with stage four cancer, her struggles took on truly dire proportions. She did everything she could—she kept up Gemmia’s mortgage payments, paid her costly medical bills, and raised her grandson. She lost her own home and retirement fund in the process. Sadly, her daughter lost her battle with cancer, but the searing heartache and sorrow that followed helped Iyanla understand what truly mattered in life. It was not the house, money, or fame that were important. What mattered was recognizing her resilience after unthinkable loss, finding the courage to face another day, and deeply cherishing the love that remained.
Iyanla has a nurturing heart that is second to none. Her strength of spirit, her resilience, and her compassion amaze and inspire me. I am honored to call her my dear friend.
Just as the phoenix rises from fiery ashes, Iyanla Vanzant is rising again as an even stronger embodiment of fierce grace, authenticity, and love. This is a woman living her soul signature.