Oprah Winfrey on Career, Life, and Leadership

Oprah Winfrey on Career, Life, and Leadership

What Sparks the Light in You (00:01:52)

  • Oprah wanted to take the time to talk about finding what sparks the light in each individual and how they can use that to illuminate the world.

Early Career (00:02:00)

  • Oprah initially thought she would become a teacher, but she started working in radio at the age of 16.
  • She received a call from a local station offering her a job in television, which she accepted despite knowing nothing about it.
  • She discovered that she was not good at writing, but excelled at standing up and talking about what had just happened.
  • She became an anchorwoman and felt that reporting was not the right fit for her, even though it was seen as glamorous by others.
  • Despite the pressure from others to stay in her job, Oprah knew deep down that reporting was not her true calling.
  • She got demoted to a talk show, and sitting on that talk show interviewing the Carvel ice cream man made her realize that talk shows felt like home to her.
  • Oprah always followed her instinct and listened to what felt like the next right move for her.

Discovering Talk (00:02:52)

  • Oprah started doing talk shows and found them to be more natural for her compared to reporting.
  • She felt uncomfortable reporting on tragedies without being able to express empathy.
  • When she received a call to come to Chicago and be on a talk show, she knew it was the right thing to do, despite everyone else saying she would fail.
  • Oprah believed in being prepared for opportunities and felt ready to step into the world of talk shows.

Being a Minority (00:05:08)

  • Oprah often found herself as a minority in her career, being the only woman, only black person, or only person from a poor family.
  • These experiences affected her professional path, but she navigated them by staying true to herself and following her instincts.
  • Oprah's own experiences as a minority have shaped how she leads and her desire to help others who may be feeling the same way.

How Did You Navigate Situations in Which You Might Have Felt More Alone (00:12:27)

  • Oprah enjoys being the only woman and only black person in a room full of white men.
  • She does not let color affect her perception of people.
  • She draws strength from Maya Angelou's quote and calls upon the ancestors who came before her for support.
  • She recalls a situation in which she confronted her boss about unequal pay, but was dismissed because she didn't have the same financial responsibilities as her male colleague.
  • Rather than filing a lawsuit, Oprah knew it was time to leave and prepare for her future.
  • Eventually, she encountered the same boss years later and felt a sense of vindication.

Oprah Winfrey's Career and Life Journey

  • Oprah Winfrey believes that true success comes from being connected to oneself and something greater than oneself.
  • She emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and knowing one's purpose in order to fulfill their ultimate calling in life.
  • Oprah's true contribution and purpose is to help connect people to themselves and raise consciousness.
  • She had a realization during an interview with the Ku Klux Klan that she did not want to be used by television but rather use television as a force for good.
  • Oprah's leadership qualities include being centered, focused, compassionate, and willing to understand and be understood.
  • Her grounded nature has allowed her to stay connected to herself and maintain her humility despite her financial success.
  • Oprah believes in the importance of staying awakened and engaged in spirituality, which she defines as a personal practice of self-care and maintaining centeredness.

Why the Show Worked (00:30:25)

  • The success of Oprah Winfrey's show was due to her understanding and connection with her audience.
  • She recognized that there was no difference between herself and her viewers, as they were all seeking the highest expression of themselves as human beings.
  • Oprah's understanding allowed her to reach and connect with everyone, regardless of their background or experiences.
  • She believes that everyone wants to be heard, seen, and have their words and actions mean something to others.

Making Logical Decisions (00:38:04)

  • Oprah states that both emotion and logic are necessary in decision making.
  • In the early days of her philanthropic work, she made emotional decisions which led to mistakes.
  • She shares an example of how her decision to build a school in South Africa was an emotional one based on her own personal experiences with education.
  • She believes that philanthropy should come from a genuine place and align with who you are as a person.

Lessons Learned from Philanthropy

  • Oprah's attempts to change lives through philanthropy (buying homes, Big Sister program) failed because she realized that real change starts with changing the way a person thinks and sees themselves.
  • It is important to create a sense of aspiration and hopefulness in order for someone to have a vision for a better life.

Using Philanthropy to Help Others and Self

  • Oprah uses her philanthropy to serve her own sense of fulfillment and to make a real impact.
  • It is important to set boundaries and make decisions about how to use your resources (money, talent, time) in a way that serves your own well-being first.
  • Emotional and logical decisions are necessary when it comes to philanthropy. Oprah chooses to focus on education, but in a way that benefits the person being served, rather than just helping people without a purpose.

An Unfulfilled Destiny

  • Oprah believes there is still a supreme moment of destiny awaiting her.
  • She understands that she still has more to accomplish and has not yet done what she ultimately came to do.

Raising Consciousness through Media

  • Oprah owns a network and uses it as a platform to raise consciousness.
  • She hosts a show called Super Soul Sunday where she talks to thought leaders and asks questions that get people thinking about what really matters in their lives.
  • The responses she receives from people regarding the show indicate that she is moving in the right direction.

Aligning Personality with Purpose

  • Oprah encourages graduates to align their personalities with their soul's purpose.
  • When your personality serves the energy of your soul, that is authentic empowerment.
  • Figuring out your purpose and aligning your personality with it allows you to wake up every day with excitement and passion.

Favorite Interviewees

  • Oprah finds the most impact from interviews with people who have faced tragedies and defined triumph for themselves.
  • These interviews have shaped Oprah and made her a better human being.

Years Before and She Couldn't Get past It and She Just Wanted To Come On on the Oprah Show and Talk about It and Phil Said to Her Why Do You Spend All Your Time Lamenting All these Years of Lamenting the Death Instead of Celebrating the Life You'Ve Let the One Day Define Your Daughter's Entire Life and She Looked Up at Him and She Said You Know I Never Thought about It that Way Before with Tears I Could Feel that that the Shift in Her so the Most Important Moments for Me Have Been When Literally I Can See that Somebody Has Made a Shift in the Way They See Themselves in the World (00:51:11)

  • Important moments are when someone has a shift in the way they see themselves in the world.

However That Occurred for You that Your Being Here Is Such a Miraculous Thing and that Your Real Job Is To Honor that Is To Honor that and the Sooner You Figure that Out Oh Wow Wow I'M One of the Lucky Ones I Got To Be Here So How Do You Continue To Prepare Yourself To Live Out the Highest Fullest Truest Expression of Yourself as a Human Being and I Just Want To End with this Yeah There Are no Mistakes There Really Aren't any because You Have a Supreme Destiny (01:00:16)

  • Your job is to honor your being here.
  • There are no mistakes, as you have a supreme destiny.

So How Do You Continue To Prepare Yourself To Live Out the Highest Fullest Truest Expression of Yourself as a Human Being and I Just Want To End with this Yeah There Are no Mistakes There Really Aren't any because You Have a Supreme Destiny When You'Re in Your Little Mind in Your Little Personality Mind Where You'Re Not Centered You Really Don't Know Who You Are that You Come from Something Greater and Bigger and that We'Re Really all Are the Same You Don't Know that You Get all Flustered You Get Stressed All the Time Wanting Something To Be What It Isn't There's a Supreme Moment of Destiny Calling on Your Life Your Job Is To Feel that To Hear that To Know that and Sometimes When You'Re Not Listening You Get Taken Off Track You Get in the Wrong Marriage (01:00:34)

  • When you're in your little mind or not centered, you don't know who you are.
  • There's a supreme moment of destiny calling on your life, your job is to feel, hear, and know that.
  • Sometimes when you're not listening, you get taken off track.

You Get Stressed All the Time Wanting Something To Be What It Isn't There's a Supreme Moment of Destiny Calling on Your Life Your Job Is To Feel that To Hear that To Know that and Sometimes When You'Re Not Listening You Get Taken Off Track You Get in the Wrong Marriage the Wrong Relationship You Take the Wrong Job Yeah but It's all Leading to the Same Path There Are no Wrong Paths There Are None There's no Such Thing as Failure Really because Failure Is Just that Thing Trying To Move You in another Direction so You Get As Much from Your Losses as You Do from Your Victories because the Losses Are There To Wake You Up the Losses Are To Say Oh that Is Why You Go to School (01:01:04)

  • There's no such thing as failure, it's just something trying to move you in another direction.
  • You learn as much from your losses as you do from your victories.
  • Losses are there to wake you up.

It Really Is GonNa Be Okay because Even if You'Re on a Doody Tour Right Now and and that's How You Know When You'Re Not at Ease with Yourself When You'Re Feeling like Oh No to Me that that Is the Cue That You Need To Be Moving in another Direction Don't Let Yourself Get all Thrown Off Continue To Be Thrown Off Course When You'Re Feeling off-Course That's the Key How Do I Turn Around So When Everybody Was Talking about When I Started this Network if I Had Only Known Good Lord How Difficult It Would Be the Way through the Challenge Is To Get Still and Ask Yourself What Is the Next Right Move Not Think about It Oh I Got all of this Stuff What Is the Next Right Move and Then from that Space Make the Next Right Move and the Next Right Move and Not To Be Overwhelmed by It because (01:02:27)

  • It's important to recognize when you're not at ease with yourself and need to move in another direction.
  • Don't get thrown off course when you're feeling off course.
  • When faced with challenges, get still and ask yourself what is the next right move.
  • Take one step at a time and don't be overwhelmed by the situation.

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