Oprah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi to Vernita Lee and Vernon Winfrey. Her parents separated shortly after her birth and as a result Oprah experienced a difficult childhood spent primarily in the care of her maternal grandmother.
Later in life, Oprah earned tremendous success as a news anchor, eventually becoming the owner of a multimedia production company called Harpo, Inc. Her TV talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, also became very popular. The former talk show queen and media mogul conducted interviews and shared inspirational stories including self-help advisors and celebrities in the talk show. Oprah was named one the richest African Americans of the 20th century and North America’s first black multi-billionaire.
1. Focus on the Good in Bad Situations
Oprah’s past was a difficult one having been sexually abused as a child and raised in poverty. She lost her son when she was only 14. The philanthropist however admitted that the challenges helped her relate more to the pain of others and find her calling in life to help others.
Oprah tells of how a botched hair treatment left her totally bald and how that impacted her life. At first, the famous TV show host felt devastated because the good head of hair she had was no more! Oprah knew that every cloud has a silver lining and she decided to focus on the positive side of things. After several years, she opened up to Ms. Magazine outlining the introspective lessons she learned about herself while she was bald and was able to help many others who also suffered from similar ailments.
2. Speak Your Truth
Oprah advocates for every person to speak their truth and she lives by this credo. Winfrey spoke about this belief while receiving the Cecil B. de Mille Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The organization gives honorary Golden Globe Awards to actors and actresses that make important contributions in the entertainment industry.
Oprah encourages everyone to have the courage to speak their truth. She gives the example of the American civil rights activist Rosa Parks famed for sparking the Montgomery bus boycott and other civil right movement activities.
3. Don’t Quit
Just like everybody else, Oprah has had her low moments in life. For instance, she started a TV network called OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network) which failed during its early stages.
However, Winfrey didn’t admit defeat and instead doubled down and dug deep to turn things around. Not only did she turn things around, as a result of the success of OWN and her subsidiary businesses, Winfrey has become and iconic figure and role model to women around the globe.
4. Listen to Your Inner Voice
On this point, Oprah emphasizes that we should all know what we stand for deep inside. She says that throughout her career her focus has been about using her unique gifts to empower others rather than build a brand. Oprah calls upon everyone to focus more on serving others than on the need to generate a lot of money.
5. Be Ready and Willing To Learn At All Times
Winfrey understands that as humans we all make mistakes at one point to another. However, she thinks that there are lessons we can learn from the mistakes we make. The business and media mogul believes the lessons we learn from our mistakes, if well utilized, help us become better people when all is said and down.
These lessons and others can help lead us down the road to success in business and in life. She has given us the blueprint, now let’s level up.
PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.