Oprah Winfrey’s beginnings, as she likes to remind people, were decidedly unpromising. The unwanted result of the chance meeting of Vernon
Winfrey and Vernita Lee under an oak tree, she was born into rural Mississippi at a time when black women were second-class citizens. But she always knew she was destined for a different life to that of her mother and grandmother. Now, Oprah is one-woman proof that self- belief and determination can give you wings with which to rise above circumstance and become something great. In her working life, she celebrates the hard-won lessons learnt by celebrities, by ordinary people who’ve achieved the extraordinary, and by herself along the way.
Here’s what she DISCOVERED…
- Listen to your whispers.
“What you should be doing with your life comes to you in a whisper, then a message, then a crisis, then a disaster,” Oprah once told an audience in Johannesburg, South Africa. How often have you looked back at a relationship that turned abusive, a job that left you drained, an investment scheme that seemed too good to be true, and thought, ‘Deep down, I had doubts all along?’ One of Oprah’s mantras is 2 ‘Doubt means don’t’: when something doesn’t feel right, don’t rush forward. Listen instead.
2. Find your passion.
Oprah tells the unusual story of an American woman who discovered that her true passion in life was…plucking eyebrows. Now a sought-after eyebrow guru who charges substantial dollars to pluck imperfect brows into shape, she uses her talent to the service of others and makes thousands of women feel like movie stars. Which just goes to illustrate one of Oprah’s core beliefs: not everyone can be famous, but everyone can be great. We all have a God-given gift and a passion, and it’s our job to find out what this is and use it.
3. Powerful thoughts.
One of the reasons Oprah Winfrey is a household name today is because, deep down, she always believed she was worth more than the package life initially offered her. You become what you believe, she says. Growing up in Mississippi in the 1950s, she was expected to grow up poor, with few prospects, but, she says, “I never believed that would be my life.” When she was four, her grandmother told her to watch and learn how she boiled clothes in a giant pot and hung them out, because she’d have to do this too one day. Oprah remembers thinking, ‘No, I won’t.’ If you believe you’ll never be happy, never be a success, never find a job you love, you’ll inadvertently make that your reality. Your beliefs can either propel you forward or hold you back, Oprah maintains. Pay attention to your thoughts and beliefs, and create a vision for what you want.
4. Stay in the moment.