More from and about
Iyanla Vanzant
(biographical info at bottom of page)


Challenges come so we can grow and be prepared for things we are
not equipped to handle now. When we face our challenges with faith,
prepared to learn, willing to make changes, and if necessary,
to let go, we are demanding our power be turned on.


Joy is what we are, not what we must get.  Joy is the realization that all we want or need in life has been etched into our souls.  Joy helps us see not what we are "going through," but what we are "growing to"--a greater sense of understanding, accomplishment, and enlightenment.  Joy reveals to us the calm at the end of the storm, the peace that surpasses the momentary happiness of pleasure.  If we keep our minds centered on joy, joy becomes a state of mind.
Your willingness to look at your darkness is what empowers you to change.

Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem.  We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.
When you need to be loved, you take love wherever you can find it.  When you are desperate to be loved, feel love, know love, you seek out what you think love should look like. When you find love, or what you think love is, you will lie, kill, and steal to keep it. But learning about real love comes from within. It cannot be given. It cannot be taken away. It grows from your ability to re-create within yourself, the essence of loving experiences you have had in your life.

The road of life is strewn with the bodies of promising people. People who show promise, yet lack the confidence to act. People who make promises they are unable to keep. People who promise to do tomorrow what they could do today. Promising young stars, athletes, entrepreneurs who wait for promises to come true. Promise without a goal and a plan is like a barren cow. You know what she could do if she could do it, but she can't. Turn your promise into a plan. Make no promise for tomorrow if you are able to keep it today. And if someone calls you promising, know that you are not doing enough today.


The only way to get what you really want is to let go of what you don't want.


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You have set standards for how you want to be treated
and what you expect from yourself and for yourself.


One way to eliminate self-negating thoughts and behavior is
by gaining more understanding through realizing that you
cannot force others to see that what you feel is real.


The process of living encourages you to leap and to fly, to run and to soar,
to meander and to piddle, to embrace and to release.  What you tell
yourself about your ability to do one or all of these things at any
given time determines how hard life will be for you.


Iyanla (pronounced Ee-Yan-La) Vanzant, hailed as among the "most dynamic African-American speakers in the country" by Emerge magazine, is a nationally recognized inspirational speaker devoted to showing others the way to transform their lives.  A bestselling author, her books include Tapping the Power Within, Acts of Faith (the 1994 BlackBoard Book of the Year), The Value in the Valley (the 1995 BlackBoard Book of the Year), Faith in the Valley (the 1996 BlackBoard Book of the Year), and two new guides to self-awareness and spiritual fulfillment:  In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want (Simon & Schuster Hardcover) and One Day My Soul Just Opened Up:  40 Days and 40 Nights Toward Spiritual Strength (Fireside Books/A Simon & Schuster Trade Paperback Original).

Vanzant's personal experiences have given her profound insight into life. After she left her abusive husband, Vanzant went to Medgar Evers College and City University of New York law school.  She moved to Philadelphia with her children and practiced as a public defender for three years.  She later became an ordained minister, committed to a message based on the principles of divine power and self-determination.

Vanzant has received numerous awards and accolades for her work.  In 1992, Los Angeles Mayor Thomas Bradley named October 21 "Tapping the Power Within Day" in honor of Vanzant and a workshop she presented in the city for African-American women.  In 1994, Vanzant was named "Alumnus of the Year" by the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Education, an organization comprised of the presidents and administrators of the 117 predominantly Black colleges in the United States.  She was also awarded an "Oni" by the International Congress of Black Women as one of the nation's unsung heroes.  She currently serves as a national spokesperson for Literacy Volunteers of America.

"My greatest desire is for people to know who they are from the inside out and to use that knowledge as a tool of empowerment and love," says Vanzant.  The founder and Executive Director of Inner Visions Spiritual Life Maintenance Network, she conducts perennial workshops and lectures to thousands around the country hoping to inspire each listener to take a stand and create a better life, a better community, and a better world.

The mother of three and grandmother of four, Vanzant lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her husband, Adeyemi, and Mr. Coco, the cat.



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Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.


Other people: 

Alan Watts
- Albert Einstein - Albert Schweitzer - Andy Rooney - Anne Frank
Anne Morrow Lindbergh - Anne Wilson Schaef - Annie Dillard - Anthony Robbins
Ari Kiev - Artur Rubenstein - Barbara Johnson - Benjamin Disraeli - Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Hoff - Bernie Siegel - Bertrand Russell - Betty Eadie - Booker T. Washington
Charlotte Davis Kasl
- Cheryl Richardson - Cristina Feldman - C.S. Lewis - the Dalai Lama
Dale Carnegie - Dawna MarkovaDeepak Chopra - Don Miguel Ruiz - Earl Nightingale
Elaine St. James - Eleanor Roosevelt - Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross - Ralph Waldo Emerson Emmet Fox - Frederick Buechner - George Bernard Shaw - George Santayana
George Washington Carver - Gerald Jampolsky - Harold Kushner
Harry Emerson Fosdick - Helen Keller - Henry David Thoreau - Henry James
Henry Van Dyke - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Henry Ward Beecher - Hugh Prather
Immanuel Kant
- Iyanla Vanzant - Jack Canfield - James Allen - Jennifer James - Jim Rohn
Joan Borysenko
- Joan Chittister - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - John Izzo John Ruskin
Joni Eareckson Tada
- Joseph M. Marshall III - Julia Cameron - Kent Nerburn
Khalil Gibran Leo Buscaglia - Leonard Jacobson - Leslie Levine - Lucinda Bassett
Lydia Maria Child - Lynn Grabhorn - Marcus Aurelius - Marianne Williamson
Martin Luther King, Jr. - Maya Angelou - Melody Beattie - Michael Goddart - Mitch Albom
Mohandas Gandhi
- Morrie Schwartz - Mother Teresa - M. Scott Peck - Nathaniel Branden
Nikos Kazantzakis
- Norman Cousins - Norman Vincent Peale - Og Mandino - Oprah Winfrey
- Orison Swett Marden - Pau Casals - Peace Pilgrim - Phillips Brooks
Rabindranath Tagore
- Rachel Carson - Rachel Naomi Remen - Rainer Maria Rilke
Ralph Waldo Trine - Richard Bach - Richard Carlson - Robert Frost - Robert Fulghum
Robert Louis Stevenson
- Russell Baker - Sarah Ban Breathnach - Shakti Gawain
Soren Kierkegaard - Stephen Covey - Stephen C. Paul - Sue Patton Thoele - Susan L. Taylor
Sylvia Boorstein - Thich Nhat Hanh - Thomas Carlyle - Thomas Kinkade - Thomas Merton
Tom Walsh
- Victor Cherbuliez - Wayne Dyer - Wilferd A. Peterson - Willa Cather
William James - William Wordsworth - Zig Ziglar - Rhonda Byrne - Neale Donald Walsch
Carl Jung
- Desmond Tutu - Paulo Coelho - Jon Kabat-Zinn - Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Walt Whitman