Iyanla Vanzant's personal experiences have given her profound insight into life. Born in Brooklyn in the back of a taxi, Vanzant was given to her grandmother at age 2 after her mother died. A troubled and abusive childhood was followed by teen pregnancy, abusive marriages, and welfare. But it is from this less-than-inspiring background that Vanzant has built the foundation for transformation. Vanzant put herself through college and law school and practiced as a public defender for three years. She later became an ordained minister, committed to a message based on the principles of divine power and self-determination.

Some of her best-selling books include Tapping the Power Within, Acts of Faith, The Value in the Valley, Faith in the Valley, In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want, and One Day My Soul Just Opened Up. She was named one of the "100 Most Influential African Americans" by Ebony, one of "100 Leaders of the New Millennium" by Vibe, and one of the "Women of the New Century" by Newsweek.

"My greatest desire is for people to know who they are from the inside out and to use that knowledge as a tool of empowerment and love," says Vanzant. The founder and executive director of Inner Visions Spiritual Life Maintenance Network, in Silver Spring, Maryland, she conducts workshops and lectures to thousands around the country hoping to inspire each listener to take a stand and create a better life, a better community, and a better world.

Explore Beliefnet's Iyanla Vanzant page, and hear her answer a new question each week.

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