Iyanla Vanzant, an influential American treasure and renowned speaker, has left a lasting impact through her work as an author, life coach, and television personality. With a large following on social media and a successful career, she is affectionately known as “auntie” by many. She has received numerous accolades, including six New York Times Best Sellers, an Emmy for her work on Starting Over, and multiple NAACP Image Awards and Gracie Awards.
Reflecting on her early life, Iyanla shares, “For the first 30 years of my life, I experienced mental and emotional suffering simply because I was never taught ‘the business’ of life and living. Like any other business, there are skills, tools, practices, and principles you must follow in order to live successfully; in order to find satisfaction in life. I knew how to struggle to survive. I knew how to manage a crisis. I did not know how to create what I desired. I did not know how to create and hold a vision. I did not know how to recover from a setback using self-awareness and self-reflection as tools for success.” She recognizes that many individuals face similar challenges and emphasizes the need for guidance and resources to navigate and master the “business of life.”
In her teachings, Iyanla emphasizes the power of truth. Quoting Lesson 107 from A Course in Miracles, she affirms, “Truth will correct all errors in my mind.” This highlights the transformative potential of truth in dispelling misconceptions and guiding one’s path. Additionally, she draws inspiration from Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Iyanla stresses the importance of aligning vision and intention to achieve success. She asserts, “You must be able to see it in your mind (vision) and feel it in your heart (intention) in order to know what is right for you.” This highlights the significance of a clear vision and a heartfelt intention to manifest one’s desires and make informed choices.
As a person of influence, Iyanla upholds three core principles: culture, character, and community. She emphasizes the importance of honoring her ancestors and parents through her actions and how she shows up in the world. She shares, “Everything I do is meant to be a positive demonstration of my ancestors and my heritage.”
Emphasizing character, she teaches that talent may open doors, but it is one’s character that sustains success over time. She explains, “My talent has taken me many places, but it is my character that has kept me there for 30+ years.” By consistently pursuing excellence and approaching everything with a consciousness of love, she strives to honor those who trust and support her.
Regarding community, Iyanla recognizes that her life, gifts, and resources are not solely for personal gain. She sees them as tools to facilitate positive change in her community. She explains, “My work is offered to facilitate the emotional and spiritual evolution of those communities.” This encompasses the communities of women, people of color, and humanity as a whole.
As Iyanla Vanzant continues to inspire and uplift through her teachings, she remains committed to equipping individuals globally with the tools and knowledge they need to navigate life’s challenges and find fulfillment.
This article feature is from our annual special edition issue, the L.A. STYLE Magazine Most Influential of 2023.