The Web     
Powered by
powered by Yahoo!
Return to Transcripts main page


Interview With Stedman Graham

Aired October 3, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Stedman Graham -- been Oprah Winfrey's man for some 17 years now. She calls this best-selling author and businessman her "life partner." We're going to take your calls. Stedman Graham for the hour is next on LARRY KING LIVE.
He was last with us in January of 2001. Time goes fast. Stedman Graham, the businessman, public speaker, "New York Times" best-selling author. His books include, "Build Your Own Life Brand," "You Can Make It Happen: A Nine-Step Plan for Success." He's an industry. "Teens Can Make It Happen (ph). Got a new book coming next spring called "Move Without the Ball," a great basketball term.

Does it bug you to be -- that you're known as Oprah's guy? Does that drive you up a wall, or is it incidental?

STEDMAN GRAHAM, AUTHOR, "BUILD YOUR OWN LIFE BRAND": Well, it used to, you know, and now I just realize that you have define yourself. Most people are defined by their titles, their cars, their house, where they came from, their color, their race, their religion. And so it's up to you to take control of your own life and define you. As long as you understand who you are and you have a solid foundation of understanding what your talents are, what your skills are.

KING: So how the public portrays you is how they portray you.

GRAHAM: That's how they portray you. It's how you feel about yourself. And so that allows you to build a strong foundation and be with someone who reaches 20 million people a day.

KING: Let's clear up some facts and myths, and then I want to get to the books, and we'll talk about a lot of things. Going to take your phone calls, too, for Stedman Graham. The new book will be out when, by the way?

GRAHAM: September of next year.

KING: Oh, not till that long?

GRAHAM: Right. Right.

KING: So it's still being written.

GRAHAM: It's finished.

KING: Why so long? Why are we...

GRAHAM: Well, just...

KING: The timing.

GRAHAM: The timing. That's right.

KING: OK. "The National Enquirer" said back in 2002 that you were planning a secret Caribbean wedding and honeymoon. What happened? We all were waiting.

GRAHAM: I don't read "The Enquirer," so...

KING: Oh. There was no...



KING: Why don't you marry?

GRAHAM: Well, I think Oprah explained it pretty good, you know, in an article. And you know, she travels and I travel and it's -- you know, she has her life and I have my life, and it's a big life.

KING: Yes.

GRAHAM: And so trying to fit marriage into that has been somewhat difficult. And you know, we love each other and care for each other, and that's important. And we haven't -- we don't really think about it or talk about it that much.

KING: So children are not in the picture.

GRAHAM: No. No, not really.

KING: Don't want to be a father?

GRAHAM: Well, I have a daughter from a previous marriage and -- so, you know, just -- just hasn't worked that way.

KING: How did you deal when scandal hit you, when they accused you of having a child out of wedlock?

GRAHAM: No. 1, it really...

KING: Clear it up for me.

GRAHAM: It was a lie, so they obviously paid somebody. And they took a picture one time and they used the picture. And that's a great way to, you know, find your father, through the tabloids. And then, you know, I didn't hear anything about it. But it was a lie. And most of the things that you read about are lies. And the fact that we broke up here, I guess it was a tabloid story about two weeks ago or three weeks ago -- that was a lie.

KING: How do you react to reading a lie?

GRAHAM: Again, it goes back to...

KING: And have you trained yourself to react to that?

GRAHAM: No. No. You don't train...

KING: You can't train...

GRAHAM: You train -- you train yourself not to be defined by the external. Define yourself, is the message. Understand who you are, so that you can be the same, whether you're talking to a homeless person or the president of the United States. You're the same person. And you don't react to the external. That's what's so great about -- about having a foundation.

KING: I want to show you how Oprah dealt with this. "The Globe" screamed that Oprah had -- was dumped, that you had moved out after a huge fight, and Oprah had run home to her father. Here's how Oprah dealt with that on her own show. Here's a clip.


OPRAH WINFREY: I found out I got dumped by Stedman! OK, again, not true. But this is what's funny. We were in Africa, and somebody had faxed me this story. And Gail (ph) was there and Stedman was there. Gail was there. So I was reading this story, and Gail was saying, Look, you just can't believe these things. Nobody believes these things. Nobody believes these things. And then I opened it up and I said, It says I'm dumped because of you! It says I'm dumped because of you! And Gail goes, Because of me? Well, you need to sue those people!

OK, not true. As a matter of fact, Stedman and I have been a couple now 17 years. Not true, OK?


KING: You like the way she handled that?

GRAHAM: Oh, yes. She's a class act. I mean, she is just an extraordinary woman, and I'm very fortunate to be with her. And I hope she can say the same thing about me.

KING: It's just -- it's absurd when you read things in these magazines that are not true. And sometimes they're true. Sometimes "The Enquirer" has broken some stories that turn out to be correct.

GRAHAM: Well, you know, everybody says, Oh, you can handle it, until your name is in the paper. If we find Larry King's name is in the paper...

KING: Oh, yes!

GRAHAM: ... it's a different ballgame. But we handle it.

KING: Is everyday life hard in that kind of fast lane with that well-known person? GRAHAM: You know what? I'm...

KING: Is it hard?

GRAHAM: I'm pretty grounded on my own passion -- writing books, you know, doing programs, speaking around the country. And I love what I do.

KING: I know you do.

GRAHAM: And that's the most important thing for me.

KING: So the writing and lecturing is -- that's...

GRAHAM: That's it for me. And so when you find that passion, when you find out what you love to do, which is what I talk about in the nine-step plan, check your ID, you have a foundation for development. And when you have a foundation for development, you can begin to think. Because most people do the same thing over and over, every single day. If you did the same thing you did yesterday as you did today as you will do tomorrow, what have you done? The same thing.

KING: Can people help -- really help themselves? You know, we talk about self-help books. Can they work?

GRAHAM: Well, self-help -- you know, a lot of it's motivation. But if you don't have a foundation based on talent, skill and passion, you can't develop, you can only be average. So you end up, you know, going through the educational process of learning how to memorize, take tests, forget the information. Then you come out with a grade and a degree, and then you have to go out and get a job. Stay on the job for 30 years, and you look back and say, What have I done? You probably have no more in the bank than you had when you started. So the idea of working and doing the same thing over and over doesn't allow you to grow, based on your potential as a human being.

Now, if you can get that, then what you do is you get past the label of race, you get past the label of gender, you get past the label of class because you're a perfect example of being able to tap into your own passion, which is radio and now television, and build your life, regardless of what your past circumstances are. And when you find that, that's -- that allows you to grow. You can't grow -- you can do OK, but you really can't grow and think and develop without having that foundation.

KING: But I was lucky enough to have some ability to do something. And that I had nothing to do with.

GRAHAM: You took what you loved...

KING: Correct. Took a passion.

GRAHAM: ... and you...

KING: Oprah does that every day, right? GRAHAM: ... self-actualized -- well, it's the same...

KING: Every day.

GRAHAM: ... process for every single person who maximizes their potential as a human being. And when you find that, you don't turn your power over to somebody else to determine your existence -- not a newspaper, not a tabloid, not a person, not a government. You determine your own existence based on what you create by self- actualizing your potential, based on how you believe in yourself and what you see for yourself.

And when you get that, that's the second step, which is vision. Where there is no vision, the people -- people perish. And so when you have an image and a vision of who you want to become and you believe that and you can work on that every single day, then you can be anything that you want, if you have a plan, which is the third step. You got to have a plan. And so putting a plan together -- but being able, Larry, to take your heart and your soul, attach it to your mind, the intellect, and then apply that to the American free enterprise system -- this is the greatest country in the world -- and build whatever you want to build, based on the world's resources and let those resources apply to your own development, that is freedom.

KING: But there has to be (UNINTELLIGIBLE) concerning black/white. People like you, Oprah -- there has to be a level playing field, doesn't there, or you have to climb?

GRAHAM: The level playing field is based on your talent. Life is not fair.

KING: No, it ain't.

GRAHAM: So it's based on what you do and it's based on your accountability and based on how you see yourself and it's based how you develop your potential and based on your -- it's how you develop your love for life. We're talking about living, we're not talking about a job. Anybody can get a job. We're talking about life. How do you build a life based on who you are?

KING: We'll be right back with Stedman Graham. We'll be taking your calls. You can ask him about lots of things and a lot of self- help things because he does it as good as anybody. The book "You Can Make It Happen: A Nine-Step Plan for Success," also "Build Your Own Life Brand." We'll talk about what he means by that, what he means -- applying a basketball term to the title for his next book. Stedman Graham is our guest.

By the way, Sunday night, we'll be live with Governor Gray Davis, taking your phone calls. Governor Gray Davis -- the election is Tuesday -- will be our especially guest Sunday night. We'll be right back.


Now, everyone is interested, so I might as well ask it. It's not my normal are of -- are you going to get married or what?

WINFREY: Or what.

KING: Or what? Well, it's either yes or no or what.

WINFREY: I don't know. I don't know the answer to that question. For the past 15, 16 years, the answer has been no. I will say that our relationship has gotten, you know, increasingly better over the years, in terms of us bonding and supporting one another. I think I'm more in love with him today than I was even five years ago.




WINFREY: America's obsessed with getting married. What America's obsessed with is not actually the marriage itself. America doesn't care if I'm happily married. They want a wedding! They want a wedding.


KING: "People" magazine...

WINFREY: They want the doves to fly!

KING: ... wants a wedding!

WINFREY: They want some doves to fly. They want a pretty Oscar de la Renta gown. They want to know what I wore, how much you spend on the cake and who came. Was Larry there? They don't -- they're not interested in my life. Is it meaningful? Or you know, is there a real intimacy there. Is there a connection. They just want to know, was it a nice wedding.

KING: Oprah's...

WINFREY: And then the next thing will be, Where are the children?

KING: Yes!

WINFREY: Well, I think my eggs are getting too old for that, Larry.



KING: This book, the newest of Stedman Graham's many books, the author of "You Can Make It Happen," is "Build Your Own Life Brand: A Powerful Strategy to Maximize Your Potential and Enhance Your Value for Ultimate Achievement." What do you mean by "brand"? GRAHAM: Well, companies spend -- you know, Nike spends, I think, about a billion dollars a year on branding. And so if you can take the same techniques -- I used to be in the advertising business. If you take the same techniques that we use in the advertising business and apply them to your own personal life, then you can build your own life brand. And so the idea of "You Can Make It Happen: A Nine-Step Plan for Success" is the internal peace.

See, once you find out who you are as a person, then you need to apply the brand name to the external. Most people try to do the external first and don't have the internal right. So they end up, you know, not being able to connect the dots. So the idea of personal branding is about taking your own personal brand -- Larry King is a brand. The question is, is how do you maximize your potential, based on your reach? You reach all around the world. So what do you do with that? And so the idea of branding yourself in the marketplace and leading people is a novel concept.

KING: Do many, Stedman, like, let's say, Oprah and others, do this naturally? Have they something in them created their own brand?

GRAHAM: Well, they do it because they love their business. You do it because you spent 45 years in radio doing the same thing over and over every single day. So you branded yourself in the marketplace, and you're good at it. And Oprah's good at what she does. And Michael Jordan plays basketball. So he branded himself based on that. And I think that's OK...

GRAHAM: What can a bus driver do, though?

GRAHAM: The bus driver can find out what his talents are, where his talents are.

KING: Everybody has something.

GRAHAM: Everybody has something. The question becomes, is that what are you going to -- everybody's equal because we have 24 hours. The question becomes, What do you do with your 24 hours? You can drive a bus. You can do this or you can do that. So being able to self-actualize your potential, based on your own talents and the time that you have allotted to you because you -- everybody has the same 24 hours. So what do you do with that? You first find out what you love and what you care about and what you're passionate about and then you apply that to the American free enterprise system to brand yourself, so people understand that you're unique in what you do.

KING: What do you think of Dr. Phil, by the way, and the way he administers to things? I mean, Oprah made him famous, and now he's an entity himself.

GRAHAM: Well, that's...

KING: He branded himself pretty good!

GRAHAM: That's exactly right. He took control of his own life and he took what he's been doing for a number of years. He's been a psychologist for a number of years, and now he does it on television. And so he's branding himself into the marketplace, based on what he does, and he has control of his life. And everybody can do that. See, Dr. Phil and Oprah is no different than anybody else. Everybody's the same.

KING: So when they say it's simplistic, that's a mistake.

GRAHAM: It is being able to find out what you do that makes you unique and to be able to self-actualize that or build that into our American free enterprise system and allow yourself to be good at what you do because the value that you give yourself is the value the world gives you. And when you give yourself no value, that's exactly how the world sees you. So it's all about talent, development. Everything is about talent and development.

KING: What part does money play in all this? Now, you, for example, you're involved with one of the richest women in America, right? I think the richest person...

GRAHAM: It doesn't have anything to do with me. But it doesn't have anything to do with me.

KING: But you are also a very successful...


GRAHAM: Yes, right. It doesn't have anything to do with me. It's hers. I don't get it confused.

KING: You don't?

GRAHAM: Other people may get it confused, but I don't. And so what's hers is hers, and what's mine is mine. And as long as you -- long as you keep that separate, long as you understand that, you don't buy into the illusion of thinking that something is real when it's not. So in order to understand who you are, you need to understand what you're capable of doing, operate at the level that you can operate at, and don't try to be somebody else.

KING: You can let money control you, though, can't you.

GRAHAM: Well, money's the tool.

KING: Money's your drive.

GRAHAM: Money is the result of what you do well. That's all it is.

KING: Just -- that's right. It's a sidebar.

GRAHAM: That's all it is. So it's a tool to be used to develop and enhance what you do. You can't take it with you, but you can leave a legacy based on the talent that you have and based on the passion that you bring to the world.

KING: We'll be right back with Stedman Graham. His new book, "Build Your Own Life Brand." I'm going to ask about "Move Without the Ball." We're going to go to calls at the bottom of the hour. Don't go away.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How much did Stedman encourage you to continue or (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

WINFREY: Stedman was terrific because I -- you know, I'm up at 5:00 in the morning and out and training. And he's been really supportive because he's done it before.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did he tell you afterwards?

WINFREY: He said he was proud of me. He said he was proud of me (UNINTELLIGIBLE)



GRAHAM: Larry, I think Oprah produced this show.


KING: She produces everything, doesn't she?

GRAHAM: Oh, she's...

KING: It's Oprah's world.

GRAHAM: She had to produce it. No.

KING: It's Oprah's world. We live in it!

GRAHAM: It's her world. It's her world.

KING: We live in it. Maybe she'll call in, take over the calls.

GRAHAM: Good for her. Good for her!

KING: Why not? What the heck.

GRAHAM: Good for her.

KING: Did you go to South Africa with her?

GRAHAM: Absolutely.

KING: What was that like?

GRAHAM: It was fun. We had a great time. I'm introducing my teens program over there.

KING: Oh, really?

GRAHAM: Yes. So it's great.

KING: Great country.

GRAHAM: It's a beautiful...

KING: Great people.

GRAHAM: ... country, and I've been over there a number of times, so -- at least eight or nine times.

KING: You're going to call a new book, which you'll come back for, "move Without the Ball." Now, for basketball fans, the great coaches, the people who judge basketball don't look at a player when he has the ball, they look at him -- what he does when he doesn't have the ball, how he reacts, where he goes, how he gets open. What do you mean by that in life?

GRAHAM: Well, you know, 67 percent of African-American boys in this country believe they're going to be Michael Jordan, 35 percent of white boys in this country believe they're going to be Michael Jordan. So there's a lot of folks that believe they're going to be a professional athlete without understanding the process of how to do that. So they want to go straight from here to there without filling in the middle. So "Move Without the Ball" gives them a sense of understanding of how to move without the ball and realize that they're a whole person, they're not just a ballplayer, that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole, that they're made up of all these wonderful things. And so what we want to be able to do is showcase their strengths based on other areas.

KING: So the ball isn't always in your hands.

GRAHAM: Just not about being a professional athlete because you end up losing your life, if that's what you focus on, and you miss your education.

KING: Did you play ball?

GRAHAM: Absolutely. All my life.

KING: All right. Did you think that this was a way out, as a black man -- I can be an athlete, professional athlete?

GRAHAM: No question. For me, it was -- basketball was my saving grace.

KING: So that's a normal thing to think, then.

GRAHAM: It's a normal thing to think. And I -- luckily, I discovered education. But you know, my career -- I played in the European Pro League for a number of years, but it was a short career. And so I had to rely now on my education. Luckily, I went to school. Luckily, I finished and I had something to fall back on. But if you don't have anything to fall back on and you have the dream of playing basketball every single day and that's all you do all day long and you don't even get a high school education, you're probably going to end up, you know, in jail, having -- you know, selling drugs or being involved in something that allows you to go to jail.

KING: Is athletics a level playing field now? Do you think we're judged purely on talent in the world of sport?

GRAHAM: Well, I think that we are -- it's an opportunity for everybody to have a -- you know, most kids that don't have a chance see athletics as a way out. And so they get involved in athletics because they're not discriminated upon, they're not -- you know, they can feel good about it, they can perform, you know, they can showcase their talents. And that's OK. You know, there's nothing wrong with being a ballplayer. But that's not the only thing that you can do.

KING: Why is race still -- Rush Limbaugh makes a statement, blows a job over a statement that the media helps black -- helps a black quarterback who's not as good as he -- apparently, they think. How'd you make of that?

GRAHAM: Well, I made it out because -- you know, I was a good ballplayer, so I too my talents. And I think with Rush, it's being able to understand what your talents are and understand what you do best and stay in that area. Don't try to move it into an area where you probably shouldn't be in.

KING: So he shouldn't have done the NFL show.

GRAHAM: Well, he should understand his audience and understand that sports is a very integrated, you know, game and that we all play sports and that we -- you know, this is a place where we can go where we don't have to think about race. So when you bring up race, it doesn't fit, you know, in the psyche, and so we reject it.

KING: In other words, we don't watch a football game and say that that's a black running back running with the ball.

GRAHAM: That's exactly right.

KING: He's just a running back.

GRAHAM: We're rooting for our team. And so it's a great place for all of us to come together to celebrate winning.

KING: So people don't like us, they like what we do, right?

GRAHAM: People love your talents. They don't care anything about you. They don't care about Larry King, they care about what Larry King does. So they care about your value. So this is a development issue. And so when you look at yourself as talent and say, How do I develop my talent as a person, how do I develop my talent as a human being -- you know, can I get more education, can I focus on what I love to do, can I work harder, can I do all those things that will give me as much value as possible, and then people pay you for the value that you bring to the table. It's not personal. None of this is personal. KING: How do you handle it when you goof publicly, though, when you're embarrassed publicly?

GRAHAM: You have to go back to the core base of what makes you strong, all the way back to the strengths of what you do. Nobody care about your weaknesses. I could care less about your weaknesses. Focus on what you do. What do you bring to the table? What can the world celebrate with you?

KING: You can apply this to running a country, to running a country store.

GRAHAM: Let's get rid of the labels. You've got millions of people who believe they can't make it because of the color of their skin. They've been programmed to believe they are second-class citizens. Wrong. You got millions of people who believe -- millions of women around this world who believe they can't make it because they believe that it's a man's world and that they are second-class citizens. Wrong.

KING: All right. But can't you use -- let's take Oprah. Here's a black woman...

GRAHAM: So what I'm saying is...


GRAHAM: We're programmed to believe...

KING: Right.

GRAHAM: ... based on somebody else's definition.

KING: Gotcha.

GRAHAM: So you got to take your power back and stand up for yourself and by yourself back from the plantation and say, You know what? I'm no longer going to be a slave to the world, and I'm going to think for myself. That's called education and making education relevant to who you are, as a person.

KING: But the opportunity has to be equal, doesn't it?

GRAHAM: The opportunity is not going to be equal because nobody wants you to have the power. They want to take everything away from you. And so the world's not going to let you have your power base. You got to take that. You got to own that. You got to -- you got to build your own life brand. You got to understand who you are as a person. Nobody's going to give you that. Nobody's giving anything away. You got to own it. You got to take it. You got to control it.

KING: But the door has to be open to let...

GRAHAM: You got to knock the door down because nobody's going to give it to you. See, you -- we turn all of our power over to the external -- the house, the car, the money, the title, all the -- you know, all those things that decide for us who we are as a person. And then we're controlled. And so the idea of being able to now say, You know what? I'm going to think about who I am as a person. I'm going to begin to think about what I can do, based on my talents. And so that's your freedom. The greatest gift in the world. When you can buy yourself back and say, You know what? I'm Larry King. You know, I'm Muhammad Ali. You can't take this from me. I'm going to self- actualize my talent. I'm going to go around the world and do radio. I'm Oprah Winfrey. I'm going to do television. I'm going to be a billionaire.

You know, I came from a small place in Mississippi, small town, you know, had a tough background. You can't stop me, despite the obstacles. Not supposed to be on television. She's there because of what? Because she's good at what she does. That's the message. And if you get that, if you understand who you are as a person, you can bypass the obstacles that come your way. You can bypass the race. You can bypass where you came from. You can bypass the community deprivation that you have.

KING: Our guest is Stedman Graham. We're going to break and go to your calls. The book is "Build Your Own Life Brand: A Powerful Strategy to Maximize Your Potential and Enhance Your Value for Ultimate Achievement." We'll be right back with your calls for Stedman Graham. Don't go away.



WINFREY: The whole issue of him wanting to define himself as not being Oprah Winfrey's boyfriend, I completely understand. Wanting to have his own identity, wanting his own work, his own business and not, you know, just be identified as somebody who was, you know, a walker. For me, I thought was very important for him and has been very important in the relationship.


KING: We're back with Stedman Graham, businessman, best-selling author, "You Can Make it Happen: A Nine-Step Plan for Success." His new book out, which will be out next year, will be called "Move Without the Ball." He's devoted a lifetime to the cause of education and life-long learning. And -- by the way, you -- before we go to calls -- you served in the military, right?

GRAHAM: Right. I was in the military for a number of years.

KING: Can you imagine what it's like being a troop in Iraq?

GRAHAM: I know it's very, very difficult, especially this time with the heat and having to wear all the gear, because I used to have to wear it. And so it's very uncomfortable.

KING: Yes. We think...

GRAHAM: And also -- you know, you know -- your life, you don't know when you're going to lose your life. That's a tough one.

KING: Tampa, Florida, as we go to calls for Stedman Graham.

CALLER: Yes, Larry. My question for Mr. Graham is, what do you think can be done to perhaps get our schools, businesses, churches and government to work together and getting our school systems geared toward teaching real life skills coupled with education to, perhaps, you know, get this generation and the next ones more geared towards workforce?

GRAHAM: That's a great question.

You know, I spent a number of years -- about 15 years working in my own community and organizing my community. And really, it's about leadership and having somebody who the people can buy into who understand how to put things together.

Number one, the churches have to come together, which is big in communities and teachers and being able to have a way to bring resources back into the community. What often -- often happens is the resources go out. So what we have to do is give our young people a sense of vision based on showing that we care about them, which is the reason why so many young people are losing opportunities because there's no care. And leadership is a big part of that.

KING: Do you need a leader-type, then, to pull it off?

GRAHAM: Absolutely. I mean, leadership is everything. So the idea of being able to -- to have a -- a town or a city that is successful, it comes back to leadership. It comes back to the leader.

KING: Magnolia, Arkansas, for Stedman Graham.

CALLER: Enjoy your show, Larry.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: And I -- and glad to talk to Stedman. I was born in Texas and I was just wondering, since you graduated from Hardin- Simmons, were you -- are you from Texas? Were you and born and reared there? And what influence did your family have to make you the man you are?

GRAHAM: Well, I was -- I was I was born in New Jersey.

KING: Far cry from Hardin-Simmons.

GRAHAM: Right, and so I got a scholarship to Hardin-Simmons and played ball there and graduated from and then went to Ball State. which...

KING: Ah! Teacher's college.

GRAHAM: Right. Teacher's college. And got a master's in education.

KING: How good a school was Hardin-Simmons?

GRAHAM: Good school. It was a Baptist college and we had to go to chapel twice a week, and so that helped me graduate.

KING: They recruited you out of New Jersey?

GRAHAM: They recruited me from Detroit. I went to the University of Detroit for a semester and didn't like it and then transferred.

KING: Didn't like it?

GRAHAM: No. Didn't like it. Then transferred down to Hardin- Simmons.

KING: Columbia, South Carolina, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Good evening. Thank you...


CALLER: ...Larry. We're enjoying your show.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: Mr. Graham, I have a question for you. How do I help my black 15-year-old son with -- to get his brilliant creative writing published?

GRAHAM: Well, the first thing I would do is find out whether he has a passion for writing.

KING: Does he, ma'am?

CALLER: Yes, he has a great passion for writing.

KING: Great start.

GRAHAM: What we missed mostly is the ability to process and understand how to do things. And that helps a lot, is when you go to a library, you find out how to do it on your own. Instead of asking people, do the research first. And then take that -- take the how-to and then apply that to -- to our system and figure out how to get to the next level. So let him learn on his own as much as he possibly can.

KING: Las Vegas, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Good evening, gentlemen. Thank you for taking my call.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: I wanted to know, what kind of -- Mr. Graham, what kind of relationship does Oprah have with your daughter?

GRAHAM: A very good relationship.

KING: How old is your daughter?

GRAHAM: She's 28. And she graduated from Wellesley College.

KING: Not bad.

GRAHAM: Yes. She's good. Very smart.

KING: What does she do?

GRAHAM: Very proud of her. She's in the advertising business.

KING: Not married?

GRAHAM: Not married, no.

KING: To Houston, Texas, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Mr. Graham. How do you plan to continue deliver your plan to the public in the future?

GRAHAM: Well, what I like to do is....

KING: Just writing books?

GRAHAM: Write books, I speak and I have programs. So we put programs in the schools. We're currently working Job Corps to be the training before the training. We're in Carlsbad High School as a pilot program. We're in West Batomic (ph) with the team program. We're moving into Dallas.

And, so what we do, we're the missing piece. We're kind of the training before the training and we enhance the belief system. So we understand who you are. You're better able to take education and make it relevant. So many young people go to school. they'll go to school and don't have a sense of self. And so they study the technical material, but it doesn't -- it's not relevant to their own passion. And when you can connect it to, when you connect the passion with the technical material and then American free enterprise system, you have a holistic approach to living.

KING: And you're going to do what in South Africa?

GRAHAM: Well, we're taking our program and applying our program to South Africa to give them self a sense of self to remove the labels, "I'm not good enough." And so when you, again, self-actualize your talent, you find your passion, you're able then to show them how to process and take the nine-step process which shows them how to organize their life around their passion and apply that process to their own environment.

KING: Those labels, though, are culturally understandable, aren't they? I mean, culture brought it upon (ph) -- I mean...

GRAHAM: Well... KING: They were born into it.

GRAHAM: But you have to buy into it, too, also. So you have to be reprogrammed. You were programmed in the first place and now you have to be reprogrammed. So the nine-step process, which is -- first step is check your I.D., understand who you are. Second step is create a vision for yourself. Who do I want to become? Third step is how do I do that? Develop a travel plan. Master the rules of the road, your value system. Step into the outer limits. Build your own dream team, win by decisions.

So it's a process. When you understand how to process, you understand how to think. Once you understand how to think, now you can think about your passion and how to self actualize that in the world that you live in every single day. Now information becomes real. Otherwise you just forget it. You read it and you forget it.

KING: Toronto, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Mr. King.


CALLER: Mr. Graham. My question for you is, who has had the greatest impact on you spiritually? Have you met the person? I know the pope was here recently and I didn't get a chance to meet him, but just being near him was really something. How about yourself?

KING: You have a role model? A...

GRAHAM: Oh, yes. I have a -- you know, the thing I learned is that -- is that we're all human beings and what I try to do is take a little bit from everyone. And you know, everybody I meet, I just take a little bit of from them and realize that -- you know, that everybody is -- has issues and nobody's perfect.

I've had some good role models in my life.

KING: Starting young, too?

GRAHAM: Very young. Absolutely. So I was very involved in the community. And...

KING: Do you have strong family?

GRAHAM: Strong family. And ...

KING: Brothers...

GRAHAM: Large family.

KING: Large?

GRAHAM: Very large family. Very large. So, very large immediate family and also extended family.

KING: Long Beach, California, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: How are you?

KING: Fine.

CALLER: Great.

My guest is -- Mr. Graham, are you a member of Oprah's Book Club?

GRAHAM: No. That would compromise my material. People ask me that all the time and they joke with me. So I don't know if you're joking or you're just being serious.

KING: No, she didn't sound like she was joking.


No. No, I'm not. I'm just -- that's kind of a -- that would be a joke to me.

KING: You never take advantage of...

GRAHAM: I'd develop no credibility. I mean, you don't see her picture on the front of any of these books.

KING: Yes. Of course.

GRAHAM: So the idea is to build your own. When I say build your own life brand, build your own life brand.

KING: And you are in a unique position to prove that.

GRAHAM: Well, I try to talk to them.

KING: Yes.

GRAHAM: Absolutely.

KING: Stamford, hello.

CALLER: Hi....


CALLER: Mr. Graham?

KING: Yes.

CALLER: How are you today?

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: I wanted to know....


KING: Go ahead. Ma'am? We heard something -- I'm sorry -- we heard -- we hear something happen with the phone call, for which we apologize.

We're going to take a break and come back. Back with more calls for Stedman Graham. The book, "Build Your Own Life Brand."

Don't forget, Sunday night, Governor Gray Davis of California. The election is next Tuesday. The governor will be live and take your phone calls.

Don't go away.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Emmy goes to Oprah Winfrey, "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

WINFREY: Thank you, too, Stedman, for putting up with all the long hours. It's our sixth anniversary.


KING: How did you meet, by the way?

GRAHAM: We met at a charity. We knew each other two years before we started dating.

KING: Really?


KING: She was on television in Chicago, Illinois.

GRAHAM: She was local.

KING: Local in Chicago?

GRAHAM: Nobody knew who Oprah was nationally, but she was local and we knew each other and we were friends.

KING; To Gillford, Connecticut, hello. Gillford are you there?

CALLER: Yes, hello?

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: My question is. I have a product that I'm trying to come up with that would be of help to seniors and elderly people for the chronically ill. I'm a little bit -- I'm not sure in how I should go about that. Maybe you can help me. GRAHAM: What I would do, again, if you have a product, find out someone who has a similar product and create a model like they have. Look for the model. And when you're able to -- you know, this stuff is not rocket scientist. Being able to figure out what works and do what somebody else has done and be able to sell your product to the marketplace based on how to do it. So, most people don't take the time to research it to find out how to do it.

KING: Can a senior adopt a new philosophy? I mean, can a 75- year-old person suddenly...

GRAHAM: You still have to live. You still have to eat. And at 75, you may live to be 85 or 95. So the idea of being able to re- create yourself. I think the idea of re-creating yourself over and over every single day is really the challenge, because we fall into this comfort zone.

The idea of being able to get out of your comfort zone and figure out how you're going to be a better person today or tomorrow than you were yesterday is based on utilizing the resources around you and thinking what you can do.

KING: Do you also have fun? You're very serious about what you do. Do you have fun?

GRAHAM: My whole life is, you know, as long as I love what I do, work is fun. I'm having a great time. Work is fun.

KING: Jacksonville, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: Yes. I'd like to ask Mr. Stedman, at what point did he realize the changes in himself? I'm 50 and I have just realized many things about myself and about to promote a talent that I have and -- what changed in him to realize that the things he did about himself.

KING: You weren't born with this.

GRAHAM: No. Really searching within yourself to find out what is your base for development. How do you develop basing your talents and basing your skills. How do you do it right? So, the idea of educating yourself and reading. I read a lot to find out how other people have done it and try to apply the same principals to my own life.

So, if you just research, research and research and educate yourself on how you're going to do it, then, in fact, then do it. You know, that's very helpful.

KING: Morana, Arizona, for Stedman Graham. Hello.


KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: This is Arizona.

KING: yes, go ahead.

CALLER: Stedman, I have watched Oprah and I don't read the tabloids, I never knew what you did for a living. I'm so grateful for this program. How do you cope living with such a high-profile woman? Like going out to dinner and shopping, that must be very difficult.

KING: Seriously, the focus is on the person you're with.

GRAHAM: I'm happy for her. And I'm happy for her life and I want her to be the best person she can possibly be. The beautiful thing about that, is when you're happy with your life, you don't really care about all the other external things.

KING: The trappings.

GRAHAM If you're happy with your life, you want other people to be happy with their life. So, I want her, she wants to run for president of the United States or whatever she wants to do, I want her to be happy.

If she's happy, I'm happy.

KING: When you go out to eat, you enjoy her recognition.

GRAHAM: Whatever he can do for herself to bring more value to this world, she's a special human being. So, what she brings to so many people around this world, that's a gift, that's a blessing. I don't want to get in the way of that.

KING: Does she enjoy yours?

GRAHAM: Absolutely. She's happy with her life and I'm sure she's happy with my life, no question about it.

KING: Stanford, Connecticut, we got the call back, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Mr. Graham. Hi, Larry. I wanted to say, Larry, my boyfriend loves your show.

KING: And you, you're sort of quasi (ph) Go ahead, what's your question?

CALLER: I wanted to ask Mr. Graham, I saw a show with Madonna on it -- on her show. And she had mentioned she always though about having children. I just want to know, have you guys ever considered adopting maybe.

GRAHAM: It could be a possibility. I don't...

KING: Doesn't Oprah love children?

GRAHAM: Yes, she does. KING: Adoption is very popular. A lot of people do well with it.

GRAHAM: That's right.

KING: You never know. Don't commitment yourself. Minneapolis.

CALLER: Hi, Mr. Graham. I don't have an Oprah question. Actually, I wanted to know, how do you begin to even realize what your passion is?

GRAHAM: Well, you know, that's a great question. What you do, is you take a piece of paper and you write down all the things that you love and you build a life around everything that you love. And that is who you are. And what you try to do is develop that based on the 24 hours that you have and the education that you learn from the world that you're in every single day, apply that education to everything that you love and just grow.

KING: Make a list.

GRAHAM: Make a list of everything you love and build a life around everything that you love.

KING: Las Vegas, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: Stedman, I loved your book "Build Your Own Life Brand." I have one question I have been curious about. Why you and Oprah use the language "life portraits" to define your relationship, instead of traditional marriage.

KING: Life partners, she said life portraits.

GRAHAM: I see. We haven't thought about it.

KING: It's a pretty good term.

GRAHAM: It's a pretty good term.

KING: In other words, you're comfortable in that term.

GRAHAM: That's probably appropriate for us.

KING: Do you like the concept that society places on marriage, the idea of marriage?

GRAHAM: No question about it. I'm pretty traditional.

KING: It just doesn't enter into your sphere.

GRAHAM: Your right. Absolutely. KING: Back with our remaining moments with Stedman Graham, the author of "Build Your Own Life Brand" and other books as well. Next year, the book will be "Moving Without The Ball." And we'll be right back with our remaining moments and more phone calls. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with our remaining moments with Stedman Graham. Virginia Beach, Virginia. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. This question is for Mr. Graham.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: I wanted to know how does Oprah impact your life, Mr. Graham.

KING: Impact your life.

GRAHAM: Well, she serves as a great example in my life. She -- I get to listen to the shows, you know, in terms of her coming home and talking about the things she learned. We get to share a lot of conversations. She's really doing in the air -- when I say in the air, on television -- what I do on the ground. So we're really doing the same work.

KING: Which is?

GRAHAM: Which is helping people maximize their potential as human beings. And so it really is helpful that we get a chance to share those kinds of experiences.

KING: With all your traveling, do you get to watch her much?

GRAHAM: No, not that much. So I'm busy pretty much working and don't get a chance to do that.

KING: Tampa, hello.

CALLER: Hi, I would like to ask Stedman a question. Being the first to graduate from college in your family, do you find that that has caused some distance? In my personal situation, that has. I have been the first one to graduate from college myself and find that the more educated I became, the farther away that I became from my family.

GRAHAM: No, for me, it really is a leadership opportunity, to be able to encourage members of my family to try and educate, to help educate themselves. And I think they see me as a role model to be able to say, you know what, if he can do it, I can do it. And also, I try to get very involved with my family in the community, in terms of showing them that you can be anything that you want and do anything that you want, and education is the part of that process.

KING: So there was no division over jealousy?

GRAHAM: Absolutely not, no. KING: Ottawa, Ontario. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: Mr. Graham, I was just wondering, it is my first year in university, and I'm the only person in my family to continue on with secondary education, and everything has been quite stressful, and so, I was just wondering if you had any motivational tips for me, because it -- yeah.

GRAHAM: I would find out what you really are passionate about and then try to take courses that build on your strengths, so that what happens -- you feel, and you feel more empowered because of the things that really resonate with who you are as a person, as opposed to taking courses and then, you know, after four years of college find out that this is not what you really want to do.

KING: And finally, Canfield, Ohio. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, I was wanting to know if Stedman could say a few words about what I can do to find myself. I found my identity, I know what I am, I just don't know how to apply that to everyday life. I had to let go of everything around me to continue. So, I was just wondering, what he can add to try to help me to...

KING: Less than a minute.

GRAHAM: Well, I think the important thing is to move out of our history, bring the good things up. Live in the present and also in the future. A lot of times, we're so programmed by our parents and programmed by our environment. So we can move out of our history into our imagination and focus on innovating and creating opportunities, as opposed to holding -- holding -- going back to that historical storyboard that we have in our head all the time. It helps us a lot. And we realize we're separate from our parents, even though our parents raised us, that we don't have to be our parents. You know, if you have -- take the good experiences, but also leave the bad experiences behind.

KING: You're well within yourself, right? That's what you're trying...

GRAHAM: That's the core base. That's the core base. That's the foundation for development. And when you get that, then you can be comfortable with yourself.

KING: And your message is that you can get it?

GRAHAM: And anybody can get it, that's the message.

KING: Thanks. Always great seeing you.

GRAHAM: Thank you. My pleasure. KING: Stedman Graham, businessman, public speaker, best-selling author. "Build Your Own Life Brand," the newest, "You Can Make It Happen," of course the author of that nine-step plan for success. Move without the ball is a basketball term that he applies to life.

And we'll tell you about the weekend coming ahead right after this.


KING: Tomorrow night, master negotiator Herb Cohen will be with us. And Sunday night, live with Governor Gray Davis and your phone calls.

Right now, live to "NEWSNIGHT" in New York, with our man, Aaron Brown.


International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.