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Oprah Winfrey’s secrets to success
Oprah Winfrey is royalty among the world of celebrities—highly-respected, the image of grace and class, and a true role model. As a TV host, CEO, author, actor, producer, and philanthropist, it seems she’s won every outstanding achievement award under the sun, and luckily she’s also one of the most relatable and accessible billionaires out there, having shared so much of herself with the public over the years.
Beginning as a low-income woman of color, she’s had a tumultuous ride filled with hardships and breaking points. Check out the most valuable pieces of advice that have paved her path to success.
When people show you who they are, believe them
Winfrey has said that this is her favorite piece of advice—a lesson she learned the hard way about a partner, with the help of Maya Angelou—that if someone shows you they are untrustworthy, selfish, etc, believe them the first time.
Winfrey is someone who constantly seeks self-improvement through a relentless examination of her own life, but it took her some time to first realize that people just wanted her as she is. “I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.”
Fight prejudice with excellence
In a field of white male news anchors, a black woman who didn’t fit beauty standards was an easy target for prejudice. But she was the best at what she did, and made her talent impossible to deny: “Excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism.”
Find the good in the bad
Winfrey’s past is full of unimaginable struggle—she grew up poor, was sexually abused as a child, and had a son at the age of 14 who died in infancy—but she credits these events for giving her more capacity to relate to the pain of others. “Turn your wounds into wisdom,” as she says.
The “power of service”
For her commencement address at Smith College, she advised students to focus on how they can serve. She wants you to ask yourself, “How can I be used?”
There’s no such thing as failure
“Go ahead. Fall down. The world looks different from the ground.” Winfrey looks at what most people consider failure to be a chance at seeing things from a new perspective, learning a new lesson, or finding a new route. She told Harvard’s 2013 graduating class that “failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”
Challenge the status quo
Obedience we learn in school is sometimes the antithesis to success in business, and Winfrey is a great example of that. At her first job as a news anchor, she didn’t read the news in a dry, objective tone as everyone else did, but rather delivered emotion and empathy. It was a risk, but producers and audiences loved it.
Believe in the “why”
If you don’t know why you’re doing your job, it will not give you fulfillment. Understanding the “why” behind the “doing” gives both you and the work meaning, which is why Winfrey advises you only do things in alignment with your truth.
Try, try again
Winfrey encourages everyone to run head-on towards the thing they’re scared they cannot do, and to keep trying after they fail. “Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better.”
This article by Stars Insider has more Winfrey advice here: