Saturday, May 23, 2009

Creating an “Oprah Moment”

I receive hundreds of emails every day, many from people who are soliciting me for money, ideas or something else that they are in need of.

Many of the solicitation emails are from complete strangers and most of those get deleted pretty quickly.  We can’t help everyone.

Some time ago, I received a message from a complete stranger and as I read the message, I did not experience the desire to automatically hit delete.  In fact, as I read it, something in the back of my mind told me to sit up and pay attention to this.

It wasn’t the way it was written.  It had nothing to do with the subject.  However, something in the message resonated with me and I decided to dig deeper.

The author of this email tells an incredible story.  It is a story of a woman living in Germany in the 1960’s who was in a situation of relationship battery.  She was rescued by a knight in shining armor whom she fell in love with.  Her knight, who was stationed in Germany with the US military, was transferred out of Germany and went to serve in Vietnam.  She never heard from him again.

However, she discovered that she was pregnant and gave birth to a son. 

It was her son who reached out to me.  He is now a strong family man himself who runs his own company in the US. 

He is hoping to find his father, to say thank you for being there for his mother during her time of need.  He seeks nothing other than to express gratitude for giving him life, a life that he expresses gratitude for on a regular basis.

Why did he reach out to me?

The man he seeks is Harry Tucker.  He has been reaching out to all the Harry Tuckers he can find with the hopes that he can find “the one” to whom he can express his gratitude to.

Something told me not to delete this email.  I did my own check of this person and found that his story appeared to be legitimate.

I felt a strong calling to help this man and a friendship ensued.

I think he was just as surprised to find a complete stranger who wanted to help him as I was that I felt so strongly to help him.  :-)

In the course of using my network to find the other Harry Tucker, I have become reconnected with people I haven’t spoken to in over 30 years.  I have also been connected with other incredibly passionate people who are adding to my life in so many ways as we all become gripped with the desire to find the other Harry Tucker. 

As we make progress towards finding this guy, I am witnessing something else.

I am watching love and kindness develop between a bunch of complete strangers over a story and a group of people who could just as easily mean nothing to us.

We are creating what I like to call an “Oprah moment”, the type of thing we often see on shows like Oprah where a bunch of people find their heart seized by a purpose-filled calling and they go for it for reasons they can’t explain.

Sometimes the story is the classic reunion of long-separated people that causes the viewers to cry and laugh as they watch and listen to the story of seemingly impossible odds that were overcome in order to create the Oprah moment.

Are we heading for an Oprah moment with this story?  I sure hope so.  Nothing would make me happier than to see these two men embrace and to tell their story.  All I can say for now is that the sequence of events that have transpired since this gentleman and I have connected are beyond simple coincidence.

I believe we are being guided by a Higher Authority who seems to be guiding us in an interesting direction.

The way this manifested makes me realize that there are many Oprah moments developing all around us.  In some, we are being invited to answer someone else’s call.  In others, we are hoping someone will answer ours.

In either case, there is an unlimited pool of connected, intelligent, kind, loving people waiting to help manifest these Oprah moments.

In a world where the media wants us to believe that everything is falling apart, including human values and virtues, I believe that the reverse is true.  I believe that human values and virtues are alive and well.

What stands out is what we choose to focus on.

If we believe the world is filled with hate, violence, disrespect, distrust, lack of faith and people focused on destroying everything of value, then we are right.

However, if we think that the world is filled with love, kindness, faith, respect, trust and people committed to offering a helping hand to those in need, then we are right also.

We attract and create that which we believe in and embrace.

The Universe is constantly sending us signals of potential Oprah moments.  Whether they manifest or not depends in large part to how receptive we are to these signals and whether we take action once we have received the signal.

Remember how those Oprah moments always make us feel good when we see them or read about them?

Imagine how they’ll make us feel when we are participating in one.

C’mon …. make the rest of us cry and laugh and feel good about humanity by embracing or creating one.  Let’s open ourselves to feeling the love that envelops us when our heart is seized by an Oprah moment.

Right now.

Our beautiful world has an infinite supply of potential Oprah moments.

There is at least one within each of our spheres of influence right now …..… waiting.

We need to be alert and receptive to them.

Once we are there, we just need to step up and participate in them.

Yours in service and servanthood.



  1. Random Acts of Leadership--

  2. A great call to action - to make the ordinary extraordinary and to help people find their purpose.

  3. Harry,
    I was truly touched by your story. The fact that you signed on to help this man find his father IS the Oprah Moment. It doesn't have to go any further. You reached out and created fellowship out of anonymity. That, my friend, is an Oprah Moment.

    I have been a therapist for close to 40 years now and have been blessed with many of these poignant moments - an estranged father reconnecting with a son, a couple on the verge of divorce finding the true meaning of love, a bitter woman opening her heart.

    In reality, there are plenty of Oprah Moments. All we have to do is listen to our inner voice and reach out when called just like you. Oprah would be proud.

  4. Hi Leonard,

    Thank you very much for your very kind words.

    I really resonate with the examples you provided - it is true that those moments are all around us if are open to receiving them.

    As for me creating an Oprah moment already by responding to this gentleman, that is really kind of you and I thank you for saying that.

    That being said, I am shooting for the ultra-Oprah moment - true closure on a story that has been incubating for 40 years. :-)

    Take care and create a great day, Leonard.


  5. Harry,
    You live your life as ultra Oprah Moments! Inspire on!

  6. Dear Leonard,

    Your comments deeply humble me - thank you.

    I believe we are all surrounded by phenomenal opportunities to give back to people. While I participated in "giving back" during my many years on Wall Street, it wasn't until I left Wall Street that my heart was literally seized by the need to give back constantly and to implore others to maximize their giving back to the greatest of their potential while within the constraints of their circumstance.

    Sometimes I feel like I am insane. :-) I believe that when we give back, it has to be measurable - meaning that it has to be action and not just talk.

    I have worked with a lot of groups over the years who pat themselves on the back and congratulate themselves on the great meetings they are having about giving back. Meanwhile, the hungry grow hungrier (or die), the diseased suffer, children die from war, pestilence and disease and the abused and battered suffer in silence.

    Strategic planning and the creation of tactical plans is key to maximizing impact. However, I wonder sometimes if many of us spend too much time planning the perfect execution when what people need right now is love, support and action and not a "perfect plan".

    I have offended a few people on the way, who feel more comfortable scheduling conferences, writing beautiful documents and creating beautiful pictures with no action resulting from those conferences.

    However, when it comes to creating "Oprah Moments", I believe we fall into three categories as "the giver".

    - those that do
    - those that inspire others to do
    - those that support the do'ers, either financially or with other resources

    If one doesn't fall into one of those three categories, then they should stop clapping themselves on the back when they call big conferences announcing nothing. :-)

    Sorry - a raw spot got touched there. :-)

    Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision and Samaritan's Purse described it best when he described "The Great Compassion" - “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”

    You are a manifester of Oprah Moments, Leonard and you fuel the passion of others to do the same. It is a privilege to have you as a friend and a source of inspiration.

    Take care and create a great day!


  7. Faith without works is dead. Plans without actions is dead.

    Vision without actions is merely a dream.
    Action without vision just passes the time.
    Vision with action can change the world.

    Joel Baker

  8. Harry,

    What a wonderful story. I can definitely relate to his desire to find the person who fathered him. I searched for years and discovered at the age of 40 that I will never know.

    I hope that one day he does find his father.

    This young man may not have found the correct Harry Tucker, but he difinitely found the right one!


  9. Ah shucks - you honor me very, very deeply.

    Thank you for your kindness, Terri.

    Take care and create a great day!