How I Got on the Oprah Show

DBA Goal Setting

& How I Got on the Oprah Show


Hello, friends! Thank you for visiting my website and reading this post. I’m excited to announce that my new book, Communication Secrets for Success is now available on! It has been over twenty years in the making and I’m so happy to share it with you.

I wanted to write a book that offers the most important lessons I’ve learned about communication and relationships in over two decades of work as a university lecturer and consultant. One of the subjects I’m most passionate about is goal setting, whether it be reaching for our own dreams or coaching others to do it successfully. My simple but powerful goal-setting method is the DBA approach.

DBA Goal Setting

Here are 3 simple steps to achieving any goal:

  1. Decide exactly what you want.
  2. Believe it’s possible.
  3. Act to make it happen.

I considered many personal experiences to share with you, such as finding my wonderful husband-to-be twenty-seven years ago, getting to travel the world with expenses paid by my clients, maintaining a healthy weight, or moving into the house of my dreams. But I wanted something to prove that even your most challenging goals are within reach.

So, here’s a true story about how I tested DBA with an against-all-odds goal: being on the Oprah Winfrey show in its final season.

The Oprah Show on My Bucket List

*Please be sure to watch the video of me on the Oprah show at the end!

It all started long ago when I was asked to create a bucket list in a goal-setting workshop. I promptly tucked it away in a folder and forgot all about it. Many years later, the list was unearthed during one of my rare but manic organizing frenzies. I was pleased to see that I had actually accomplished a few of the smaller items.

Then I spotted a goal that sent chills down my spine because it was now near impossible to achieve. “I will be on the Oprah Winfrey show.” This was just after Oprah had announced that she was calling it quits after 25 years. I had a number of writing projects underway but was far from being a person of interest for Oprah. My first thought was that there was no way I could achieve this bucket list item. Then I decided that I had nothing to lose by giving it a shot, just for fun.

I started by entering my name for any opportunity to get tickets to the Oprah show. Every entry felt like a mini audition. I had to explain why I wanted to attend each particular show, writing lengthy and often highly personal essays to prove that I genuinely cared about the topic I was vying with countless others to get tickets for. I spent months dedicating a few hours a week to the effort.

One evening my cell phone rang and I almost didn’t answer because the area code was unfamiliar. When the caller announced that she was an Oprah show producer, my heart rate soared and I jumped up and down in my living room. She said something about how the producers liked what I had written about how profoundly I was impacted by the book Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth. I put a lot of time into that entry because the book was a game changer for me, shedding new and liberating light on my lifelong struggles with weight and body image issues. To my delight, I was invited to attend the taping of Oprah’s interview with Geneen, along with one guest of my choice.

I’ll spare you the endless details of arranging flights and lodging, getting coverage for the classes I teach at California State University, Northridge, making childcare arrangements, etc. Suffice it to say that leaving my insanely full life in Los Angeles for a mid-week trip to Chicago was no small task. Still, I was ecstatic and had this strange premonition that somehow I would be on the show, not just in the audience. The icing on the cake was that my mom was able to go with me, which allowed us to share the mother-daughter bonding experience of a lifetime.

About a week before the show, I received an email saying that a handful of the 300 audience members would end up on camera posing questions to Oprah and Geneen. Our questions were to be emailed immediately and selections would be announced the day of the taping. Trusting that this was a sign that I still had a chance to actually be on the show, I spent hours going over my highlighted sections of the book, trying to formulate questions I thought had a shot at being selected. My husband and kids must have thought I had lost my marbles.

Our first night in Chicago was a blast. We ate delicious food and sang along to the live music in a fun underground nightclub. We made sure to get to bed early though, to ensure full alertness and energy for the big day. Doing your hair and makeup for what could either be just hanging out with 300 fellow Oprah fans or being viewed by millions of people all over the world messes with your mind a bit, I must admit. But I did my best, thankful that my mom was there to keep me grounded.

After waiting for hours in line outside the famed Harpo studios, we finally made it inside where someone announced that we were to write out any questions we might want to ask during the show. It felt like a kick in the gut. What about the questions I labored over endlessly and emailed? I berated myself for not having a copy of the questions with me. I did my best to recall what I had written and with trembling hands, turned in my new questions.

A few more hours later, after being provided with a surprisingly tasty boxed lunch, we were told that the names of those who had been chosen to ask their questions on the show would be called to go in early for instructions. After what seemed like an endless list of names was called and there was a long pause, I figured it was over and let out a huge sigh of relief, telling myself I could just relax and enjoy the experience more this way. But then the speaker started reading more names. I kid you not… the very last name called was mine.

It turned out that the question they wanted me to ask was one of the ones I had originally emailed rather than any of those I wrote that day. Not only did I get to ask my question, but Oprah actually responded herself and gave me one of her beautiful lectures about loving myself, with her eyes locked on mine for almost the entire minute or so. Having watched and loved her show for all of its 25 years, to say this was a surreal moment is quite the understatement. After the show aired, it was great fun to have so many people, including some I hadn’t seen or spoken to in decades contact me to ask, “Was that you on the Oprah show?!”

So, I ask you, what do you think the odds are that one could decide, in the last season of a show viewed by millions every day, to figure out a way to be on the show? And more importantly, what are you capable of achieving if you decide to go for it? Ready to finally meet the love of your life? To let go of the extra weight that compromises your health and energy levels? Maybe double your income? I know you can do it. But do you believe you can? And will you take the actions necessary to make it a reality? I’d love to hear from you about how it goes.

Finally… please take just 3 more minutes to watch my moment with Oprah on YouTube:






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About the Author

Bridget Sampson, CEO of SCC, has been designing and delivering cutting edge professional development programs for over 20 years. Having earned her Master’s Degree with Distinction in Communication Studies, Bridget’s areas of expertise include presentation skills, leadership, influence, team-building, managing change, conflict resolution, coaching skills, and more. Bridget is certified in the popular True Colors personality identification system, which increases collaboration and reduces conflict on teams.

As a complement to her work in the private sector, Bridget has served on the faculty of California State University, Northridge (CSUN) for 25 years. She is passionate about helping students connect theory with practice and apply the skills they learn to their professional lives after graduation. The courses Bridget teaches include Organizational Communication, Advanced Public Speaking, Intercultural Communication, and Interpersonal Communication. Bridget was honored to be the 2012 recipient of the Don Dorsey Excellence in Mentoring Award, presented by the Educational Opportunity Program at CSUN.