Every now and then we’re lucky enough to encounter a human being that inspires us so much that we want to model our behavior after them. For the sake of argument, I could start listing a litany of individuals who changed the world or even better changed the way we think about our existence here on earth but that’s not the point of this. I’m going to focus on Oprah because she has achieved something so rare that it is noteworthy and is incomparable. Rarely do you find an individual who embodies the business savvy of a person from such humble beginnings with that of a cultural influencer. That’s why I’ve decided to look at what makes this media mogul’s success in business and by extension life, so intriguing. If you live on this planet you are aware of Ms. Winfrey’s many accomplishments; too numerous to mention here and besides its not germane to my point. What I want to explore here are the subtle and maybe not so subtle things that she hasn’t done that are – in my humble opinion equally responsible as the things she has done that catapulted her to unrivaled success.
1. She didn’t believe her critics. When she was told she wasn’t suited for television, she didn’t let that stop her. She held within her a belief about herself that she could do whatever she had a mind to do! You should feel the same about yourself.
2. She didn’t ignore her instincts. Some of you may or may not remember the days when daytime talk shows focused almost exclusively on negative drama, so much that it was dubbed “Tabloid Talk!” Shows like Geraldo, Jennie Jones & Rickie Lake were all the rage! And who can forget the infamous Morton Downey, Jr.? The guy who cursed out his guests and smoked incessantly? May he RIP. Oprah knew instinctively that being brutal to others, displaying the worst in human behavior, and making people feel bad about themselves would not keep her on television. This was a fad and Oprah knew it! She was right and didn’t follow the leaders. I think what’s more important is that it didn’t feel right within her soul and it conflicted with her personal values. First lesson: if it doesn’t feel right deep down inside don’t do it. Second lesson: don’t compromise your personal integrity.
3. She didn’t forget to bring people along with her. Many of Oprah’s inner circles have been with her since the beginning. Her best friend Gayle King now is the Editor of O Magazine and is an anchor on CBS because of Oprah. Her hairdresser now has his own name line of products; and she still has her same makeup artist. Not to mention her longtime companion Stedman Graham with whom she has had a relationship since 1986. Unlike many Hollywood couples who once they make it big want to “trade in” the person who stood by them when their dreams were just that, Dreams! Oprah was once quoted as saying; “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” All of us should be that kind of friend and in turn, we’ll attract this same kind of friendships into our lives.
4. She didn’t let unforgiveness take root. When Oprah and Iyanla Vanzant sat down and told the world their story about how they miscommunicated about a previous discussion on offering Vanzant her own talk show, Oprah proved the power of forgiveness. As a result, her OWN network now produces Vanzant’s highly rated show Fix My Life and she sits beside Oprah as a master teacher on Oprah’s world-renowned series Life Class. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself and the effects are freeing and lead to greater blessings!
5. She didn’t forget about the “have-nots” nor did she grow weary in doing well. With all of the wealth Ms. Winfrey has amassed, she could have easily gone on with her life relishing every ounce of fame and fortune. She could have flashed her cash on Instagram, styled and profiled on Facebook, and bought every single style of shoe ever made! However, she chose to give people houses, struggling single Mom’s cars to get to work, and create her Angel Network which has risen over $51,000,000 to help Hurricane Katrina victims, build a school for girls in South Africa as well as, other charitable organizations. She’s also been one of the most effective children’s advocates; getting a bill signed into law for establishing a nationwide database for convicted child abusers. Let’s not forget how she’s touching millions with her LifeClass, Super Soul Sunday, and other special programming that makes us want to be our best. To live a meaningful life, you need only to look at Ms. Winfrey’s living example of sowing and reaping. It’s the classic case of what you sow you reap!
6. She didn’t crumble under pressure. When she was faced with a lawsuit and public scrutiny from the cattle ranchers in Texas over comments made on her show, she didn’t budge from her position. The mere fact that she was up against a well-funded, heavy hitting industry and battling them on their turf didn’t make her apologize, retract, or go into hiding. Instead, she was like David fighting Goliath. They came after her with a sword, spear and javelin! Oprah’s weapon of choice? Truth. Always stand for your truth or you’ll fall for anything.
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