Oprah Winfrey is an American television producer, talk show host, author, actress, and philanthropist. She is probably best known across the world for “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, the talk show which was broadcast from Chicago. It was the highest-rated television program of this type in history and was broadcast in national syndication for 25 years from 1986. Labeled as the “Queen of All Media,” Oprah is the U.S.’ first black multi-billionaire and the 20th century’s richest African American. She was also often seen as the most influential woman in the world and has been rated as the greatest Black philanthropist in America’s history.
What sets Oprah’s success apart from so many other successful individuals is the fact that she came from an impoverished background. She was raised in a poor urban neighborhood by her single mother who depended on government welfare payments. Despite this, Oprah rose swiftly to host the most popular talk show on television in a field dominated by white males. She became a millionaire at age 32 when her talk show received national syndication.
Let’s have a look at the 10 most important rules Oprah feels has helped her achieve phenomenal success against the odds.
Understand the Next Move
According to Oprah, the best way to manage any challenges is to become still and then only consider what the next single logical move would be.
When faced with challenges, it does not help to think about the mountain of things you will have to do to overcome the challenge. Simply focus on the next right move.
Once you have managed to get into that space, you can make the next right move and the next one, and so on.
This will help you not get overwhelmed by the challenge because you’ll know that your life is much bigger than that one single moment.
You will also know you’re won’t be defined by what somebody else thinks is a failure because failure is simply there to point you in another direction.
Seize Your Opportunity
- Oprah is very adamant that nothing about her life is due to luck. Nothing at all.
- She doesn’t believe in luck but says she is where she is to a lot of divine order, a lot of blessings, and a lot of grace.
- For her luck is getting ready to meet a moment of opportunity.
- There is no luck if you are not prepared to handle the many moments of opportunity that will appear in your life.
She says of herself that because of a force greater than her own and her own hand, she had been prepared in ways that she didn’t even know she was being prepared for.
For her, the truth is that for every person, including herself, everything that has ever happened in your life has helped prepare you for a moment that will come sooner or later.
Have No Embarrassment
This is an interesting rule that I have not come across before. Oprah says that there is no such thing as an embarrassing moment. No matter what happens – if she fell flat on her face, if her bra strap showed, if her slip fell off, or if she tripped and fell, there is no such thing as an embarrassing moment.
This is because she knows that whatever happens, somebody has already experienced it on air.
So when something does happen, she would simply say, ‘Oh, my bra strap is showing!’ and it’s not a big deal.
Work On Yourself
Oprah thinks that the number one thing everyone has to do is to work on themselves and fill themselves up and keep their cup full.
She often tells her girls that their real work is to find out where their power base is and then to work on the gifts that they have to give, the alignment of their personality, and the real reason why they’re here.
Keep yourself full
Oprah was previously afraid of that, especially when people said that she was so full of herself.
This has however changed and now she embraces it. When people now say that she is full of herself, she sees it as a compliment. She explains this philosophy by saying that when you’re full, you’re overflowing, and your cup runneth over. She has so much to give and so much to offer and she is no longer scared of honoring herself.
When you think about it, it’s miraculous.
Run as Hard as You Can
Competition in the talk show business is tough. Since Oprah started with hers, more than 100 talk shows have started. Every season new ones were coming out. One talk show, two talk shows, three talk shows. Every time this happened, Oprah felt that she had to step up their game. The way anybody can step up their game is by not worrying about their competition in any situation. This is because it’s simply not possible to control the competition. You can only control yourself.
Oprah compares this to running a race. The energy that it would take to look around you to see where the completion is, only serves to take energy away from you, and if they get too close to you, it will only scare you. She tells her team all the time not to waste their time in the race to look back to see where the competition is or what they’re doing. The race is not about what the competition can do, but it’s about what you can do. All you need to focus on is to run your own race as hard as you can. You have to give it everything you have got for yourself all the time.
Oprah tells a story that her grandmother was a maid and that was all she ever knew. This meant that the only real expectation her grandmother held for Oprah was that she would also one day become a maid. Her grandmother hoped that Oprah would one day ‘Have some good white folks.’ With this, she meant people who would be good to her, who would allow her to take food home, and who would not speak negatively about her.
Although that was Oprah’s grandmother’s dream for her, Oprah had another dream for herself. Not only did she have a dream, but she also believed in herself. Oprah remembers one day watching her grandmother hang out clothes on a line and saying to her that she had to watch what she was doing because one day she would have to do that for herself. At that moment, she knew inside herself that that was not going to be her life.
Oprah says that she didn’t know how she knew this other than intuition or instinct. She told her grandmother that her life would not consist of hanging washing on a clothesline in a backyard somewhere.
Oprah was around four or five years old when this incident happened and she held onto the belief that that would not be her life for a very long time. No matter what happened, she believed that there was something more, greater, and bigger for her.
We’re Seeking the Same Thing
During her career as a talk show host, Oprah has always understood that there was no difference between her audience and her. Sure, there may have been times when her shoes were better, but at the heart of what really matters, we are all the same.
Oprah knows this because she believes that all of us are essentially looking for the same thing. Everyone goes out into the world and pursue their dream, based on what they believe their skills are, what their talents are, and maybe what their gifts are.
Essentially however, we all look for the same thing. Everybody wants to fulfill the highest truest expression of themselves as human beings. That is what everyone is seeking, the highest truest expression of themselves as human beings.
Oprah understands that if you for example work in a bakery, and that’s where you love to be, and what you’ve always wanted to do is to bake for people and offer your gifts, then that’s meant for you and there is no difference between Oprah and you except for the fact that the platform is different.
The bakery is your show every day.
This understanding has allowed Oprah to reach everyone and there’s no way that this wouldn’t happen because that’s what she truly feels.
Find Your Purpose
According to Oprah, many people don’t know what their purpose is and if you don’t know what it is, your first goal needs to be to figure out what that is. If you don’t know what your purpose is, you’re simply wandering around out here.
The sooner you can figure out what you’re supposed to be doing with your life, the sooner you will be able to go out there and do what you’re here for.
Oprah’s life is fueled by her being, and the being provides fuel for the doing. She says she comes from a focused and centered place.
She comes from compassion, it’s in her basic nature. She also comes from a willingness to first be understand and then to be understood and finally, she comes from a desire of wanting to connect.
The secret of her show for 25 years was that people all over the world could see themselves in her.
As she became ever more successful from a financial perspective, it was a huge surprise to her, but she also found it incredibly exciting.
Throughout the whole process she realized that as she is grounded in her own self, although she could afford to have more shoes, her feet always stayed on the ground, even though the shoes she was wearing were better.
What Oprah does to this day is to consciously work on staying grounded and staying awake.
Relax, It’s Going to Be Okay
Oprah uses an image of talking to her much younger self. Looking at an old photo of when she was about to turn 20 and posed outside a television station where she had recently been hired as a reporter, she addresses the image as her dear beautiful brown-skinned girl.
She uses the word ‘beautiful’ deliberately as she knows that she would never have referred to herself as that at that stage of her life.
Although the younger image looks calm and happy that day, Oprah knows how scared she really was. When she looks into her eyes and sees the light and hope of herself.
If Oprah could have said anything to her younger self at that stage, it would have been ‘Relax, you’re going to be okay.