This post is part 4 of 9 in the series Oprah’s 25 years of lessons learned.

On her final show, Oprah shared her greatest lessons and hopes for her viewers. In this series of posts, Paul high­lights ten lessons Oprah learned, along with his related and unre­lated thoughts and stories.

When I started this show, it was a reve­la­tion to all of us how much dysfunc­tion there was in people’s lives. I grew up with Leave It to Beaver and Andy Grif­fith. I thought everybody’s family life was like that, even though I knew mine was not. Well this show, and our guests, began to paint a different picture and allowed us to drop the veil on all the pretense and do exactly what we envi­sioned in that first show: to let people know that you are not alone.…

People started coming on this show saying things they couldn’t say to their own family members. Little by little, we started to release the shame.” — Oprah Winfrey, May 25, 2011

Read the complete Oprah Show finale tran­script →

Secrets on crumpled paper

In grad­uate school, Geoff Bellman, one of the guest faculty presen­ters, asked our cohort of 40 change agents to each take out a scrap of paper, write down our worst fear, crumple the paper up and throw it across the room. Next we each picked up a crum­pled piece nearby, opened and read what was written. Most of the papers had “I’ll be found out that I’m a fraud” or some­thing similar. I was not alone.