Even if one has only the smallest of interest in famous people or is content to read just the headlines in the media, it would have been hard to miss the news that The Oprah Winfrey Show was ending after a remarkable run of 25 years on television.
So recognizable was the face and image, her last name – Winfrey – became redundant as millions of viewers throughout the world embraced and referred to her only as – Oprah. No-one else so successfully leveraged the power of modern communications to fulfill a mission of making the world a better place for all.
My own four daughters grew up watching Oprah with their mother. Their view of their place in the world as women, the encouragement and inspiration they received to move confidently toward their dreams, their desire to understand rather than judge others, all, I believe, was greatly influenced by what they witnessed and learned watching “Oprah.”
Her very last show was a speech dedicated to expressing her gratitude towards her loyal audiences throughout the years and, even more emphatically, to express the beliefs upon which each show’s content had been built. There were two key themes.
The first is that Oprah believes that each person has a calling – a purpose to fulfill. We are not accidents of nature, we are here to express the very best of who we are and, in doing so, ensure we leave this planet in better shape than when we arrived.
The second theme is – personal responsibility. No matter what has happened in our lives we are responsible for what we create in the future. Transcendence – the ability to overcome the most challenging circumstances, obstacles and difficulties – was the story told by so many of her guests.
Perhaps, I became an Oprah fan because she reinforced what I had been writing and speaking about for many years. In my first book, Even Eagles Need a Push, I wrote: “To be true to ourselves a career should be planned within the context of our vocation or calling. You will discover that your career goals are much more readily achieved when you are working – on purpose.”
In The Eagle’s Secret I wrote: “Every day is filled with defining moments, opportunities for our courage to be demonstrated and our characters to be built. Taking responsibility for themselves and their role in the world is, unquestionably, a key characteristic of – Thrivers.”
So as Oprah begins the next chapter in her life, I express my gratitude for the extraordinary contribution she has made and I visualize that she will continue to use her gifts, her knowledge and her wisdom to inspire all of us to soar to new heights of achievement.
“You have to move up to another level of thinking. Everyone has to learn to think bigger, to be open to possibilities.”