I’ve long been a fan of Oprah Winfrey’s unique talents. Through her keen observations of the human condition, the strength of her conviction, and her effectiveness as a communicator, Oprah has positively impacted the lives of millions of people around the world.

Additionally, having successfully navigated the transition from the Oprah Winfrey Show (one of the most successful television shows in the history of the medium), to running her own cable network, and eventually generating tens of millions of followers through social media, Oprah could lead a master class on modern business leadership.

As a result, when I was invited to the premiere of her new series, “Belief,” I didn’t hesitate. While watching the pilot, I was struck by the power of the message that certain beliefs, e.g. the enduring power of love, kindness, and tolerance, are universal regardless of race, religion, or creed. The other thing that became readily apparent was how reminiscent the show was of the extraordinarily well-received “Planet Earth” series in terms of the visual ethos and scope.

The analogy was so clear that when Oprah asked me for my initial impressions of the show, I remarked that it felt like “Planet Earth meets spirituality.” Upon hearing that, Oprah let out one of her trademark exclamations and said, “That’s what we were going for!” It turned out that Planet Earth had made an indelible impression on Oprah, and she had wanted to do the same for the concept of belief globally.

I recently had the chance to interview Oprah about why this series was so important to her. We also covered some of the most meaningful and consistent themes throughout her career, e.g. the power of intention, using her platform to amplify only positive messages, how she was able to successfully transition from one platform to another, and the power of “a-ha” moments and the joy she takes in sharing those with her audience.

Interviewing one of the world’s greatest interviewers could have been a daunting task. However, Oprah couldn’t have been more open and gracious. We were originally scheduled to tape for 20 minutes, but it ended up lasting roughly 45 minutes, so we decided to share the interview in three parts. Here’s the first segment, in which Oprah talks about her early career objectives, her evolution in terms of recognizing the power of TV as a platform, and using that platform to only amplify the messages she believes are most valuable.

I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did. “Belief” debuts on OWN this Sunday, October 18.

One of my favorite parts of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” came after the cameras stopped rolling.

I would spend time with the studio audience in Chicago and open up an ongoing Q and A. Inevitably, the conversation would move toward honest and sincere talk about their lives. In almost every session I’d ask:

It’s a deceivingly simple question — and one I’ve found most people can’t answer. Yet it’s profoundly important. What do you really want in your life? And where are you on the path towards what you really want?

What I’ve come to know is that so much of our lives is controlled by our intentions and our beliefs. It matters what I believe, and what you believe, and what we as a community come together and believe. Our intentions become thoughts … our thoughts become beliefs … our beliefs become words and actions. From inception, our intentions and beliefs carry power; what we believe is often what shows up for us.

A few days ago, I met with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner to talk about all of these ideas as part of my new series, “Belief.” Some highlights from our interview:

One day I was at my farm in Indiana. It was a rainy day and I was thinking, “Gee, I sure would like some tomato soup.” Soon after, the caretaker who lived across the street came in with a pot of tomato soup. I asked her: “What made you do that?" She said: "Well, honey, I had these tomatoes. So I thought maybe you’d like some tomato soup.” So I was like, Wow, if you can get tomato soup like that, what else is possible? What else can I manifest? So I started trying it with other things. I have seen it happen over and over and over again. You control a lot by your thoughts.

The conversation that taught me about life in the simplest and most powerful way

I did an interview in the late '80s with a mother who had watched her son die. She crawled into bed with him as he was dying. And his last words were, “Oh, it was all so simple.” And then he smiled. When she said that, I got chills. We’re going to take our last breath and say, "Why were we struggling all that time? Why were we swimming upstream? Where all we had to do was just look at each other and accept each other for who each of us represents on the planet.” I thought back to that quote. Ah, it was so simple. I didn’t have to fight that hard. It didn’t have to be that hard. That show, along with many others, had a powerful and calming impact on me in terms of the way I led my own life.

In speaking to the audience after my show, I kept hearing people stand up and say, "You know, I did the thing I was supposed to do. I went to school. I got the degree. I even got my master’s. I did the work. And now what? I feel like that there should be something more.” And so that became one of the tenets of our show. How do you give and help to fulfill that something more that people are looking for?

Oprah Winfrey presents “Belief,” a groundbreaking seven-night television event exploring humankind’s ongoing search to connect with something greater than ourselves. Tune in to the Belief starting Sunday, October 18, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.