Today is Oprah’s birthday.
For those of you who are big readers of this blog, you know that Oprah is my hero, my queen, my inspiration. I’ve met her, I’ve attended her LifeClass taping, the Weekend with Oprah, I’ve filmed 5 episodes of The OWN SHOW on OWN TV, etc…
Heck, she even tweeted me. 😉
So, to honor O’s birthday, I have rerun an old post of all the life lessons that I learned from Oprah. I hope you will enjoy it the second time around, and if you are a new reader, well, enjoy it for the first time.
May 25th, 2011
Today is a very sad day for me, and for millions of people around the world. Today, after 25 years, we will watch The Oprah Winfrey Show for the very last time.
It feels like just yesterday, I rushed home from college to watch The Oprah Winfrey Show. There was no Tivo, PVR, DVR then, and recording it on VHS was bloody annoying, so I did my best to make it home on time every day. Well, I haven’t stopped watching since.
I have always felt, in a strange way, connected to Oprah at such a profound level. It is odd after all, we were nothing alike… I grew up a fairly charmed life, lots of love and support, travel, good self esteem, I had never been abused, I was not a child of divorce, and I wasn’t African American. In fact, I was the polar opposite of Oprah. But there was just something about her that I identified with so deeply, and so therefore, I decided I would learn from her. I literally spent my most impressionable years with Oprah, and it is her that I credit much of my success to.
Twenty five years, O. What a perfect number to go out to. Thank you for all you have given us. All the lessons you have taught us.
To honor your 25 years, these are 25 life lessons I have learned from you:
1. Create the vision of what you want to become, and never stop working for it. Never be afraid to DREAM BIG, and put it out into the universe. If you work hard enough, the universe will listen.
2. It’s not weird to be passionate, it’s the ONLY way to be. If you do what you love, and love what you do, success will follow.
3. “I am enough just as I am”… big nose, cellulite, imperfect skin and all. With all my flaws and faults, I am enough for my husband, my children, my family, myself… just as I am.
4. Change, while scary, is necessary to grow. We must adapt to change, and swim with the flow of the current, not against it.
5. It’s always important to have fun and be silly.
6. Every one of us was put on this earth for a purpose. Find that purpose. Whether you’re a trust fund baby or a homeless man living on the streets, we all have a purpose.
7. You can’t just live off the fat of the land. It’s crucial to give back. Give back in any way you can… with time, with ideas, with suggestions, with money, with WHATEVER. Give back. Give what you can, and much more will be received.
8. Inspiration comes in the rarest of forms. I have learned much from my little children, much from people I don’t particularly like, and much from severely troubled souls. Inspiration comes in many forms… find it.
9. Be present. Be in the moment. Oprah, you have that gift– whenever you are with someone, you are always right there. It’s easy to get distracted or anxious about tomorrow, but when you live life in the moment, it is the most peaceful and serene way to live.
10. Push the limits and never take no for an answer. This has honestly been the leading factor in my success. I have never taken no for an answer if I believed in something, and it has served me well.
11. Always give 100%. Give 110, 120 whenever possible. Always gotta step up your game.
12. Success comes at a cost- there is no free lunch. I will leave it at that.
13. You taught my children just how fortunate they are. By watching the devastation and dilapidation of Trent’s school in Zimbabwe, they now have a greater appreciation of their own house of learning. It taught them that they should never take their life for granted.
14. I know this is Maya Angelou’s saying, but I feel like it has also become yours… When You Know Better, You Do Better. That is what mistakes are for… to let you do better the next time. Which leads us to…
15. Don’t cry over spilled milk. Learn the lesson and then move on, but don’t stay stuck in the past. It’s a sure way to live the most unfulfilled and immobilized existence. “So, ask every failure—and this is what I do with every failure, every crisis, every difficult time—I say, what is this here to teach me? And as soon as you get the lesson, you get to move on. If you really get the lesson, you pass and you don’t have to repeat the class. If you don’t get the lesson, it shows up wearing another pair of pants—or skirt—to give you some remedial work.” ~Oprah.
16. We all have to be accountable for our own actions. It’s easiest to blame others and not take personal responsibility for our own actions. But at the end of the day, it’s the only way to live free.
17. Don’t hold a grudge. Forgive. Holding a grudge is equivalent to you taking the poison and waiting for the other person to die. What a powerful concept. I learned that we drag our emotional state around with us wherever we go. So, if we are dragging anger, hurt and resentment, then this is who we become.
18. If you prepared, worked hard, did all the grunge-work, and it still doesn’t pan out, it simply wasn’t meant to be. God’s plan is sometimes different than our own, and that is in no way, a bad thing. “When you’ve worked as hard and done as much and strived and tried and given and pled and bargained and hoped…surrender” ~Oprah
19. Always know your financial situation at any given time. Know what you have. Know what you need. Knowledge is power.
20. Be authentic. It’s why my brand has become what it has. I’m simply… ME. Every day. All the time. It ain’t always pretty, but at least it’s real.
21. Engage. We can learn much about the world and ourselves by asking questions, and by listening. But the minute you stop engaging, it’s all over.
22. Remain the eternal student. Even the experts don’t have all the answers. When you live like a sponge, and soak up knowledge, greater success is the result.
23. Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves. Represent them. Help them.
24. Success is completely worthless if you cannot look at yourself in the mirror. Never compromise your integrity.
25. Life is best lived out on the branches… outside of our comfort zone. “Life is about growth and change. When you are no longer doing that—that is your whisper; that is your whisper that you are supposed to do something else”~Oprah.
So long, farewell, Oprah. Good luck as you begin your next chapter. Thank you for all you have given me, and given the world. I will miss you more than you know.
But on the bright side, I still have my O Mags coming every month! And of course OWN!