Leaders with Influence – Oprah Winfrey

10 years ago, I wrote a best-selling book on Millionaires and Billionaires, and that book revealed the secret to their success! I am current doing a re-write of that book – here is what we published about Oprah Winfrey … 

Ms. Winfrey stresses passion for what you are doing as the key to success. She has governed her life by doing and talking about the things that she strongly believes in. She seems to hardly have made a misstep, given the number of people who hang on her every word. Doing the things that she believes in has made Oprah billions. 

Oprah says to do what you love, “and the rest will come” 

Following one’s passions is a recurring theme throughout this book, but Oprah just might be the prime example. This is due to the fact that her beliefs and passions have not only guided the building of her empire, in one sense, they are her empire. Ms. Winfrey has made a career of expressing what she thinks, and of coaxing others’ thoughts out of them too. 

She also says, “You know you’re doing the right thing when you would do what you do even if you weren’t getting paid for it”  

This is true passion. If you would do what you do as a hobby, and turn it into a career, you will always have passion behind your work.  

The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if youre willing to work. 

Is it possible that the great achievers of the world don’t possess some secret knowledge that the rest of us are not privy to? Over and over again, we see that the world’s entrepreneurs and other giant success stories speak in very simple principles when they are asked about how they succeeded. Perhaps the big secret is that they can, and do, break their goals down into simple principles, and they never lose sight of them. 

Winfrey touches on a very important thought here.  

There is no big secret. Instead, she mentions two ideas here that apply to every big success story. One idea is goals, and the other is hard work. 

These are the keys to achievement. A goal or vision, one that remains unchanged and important in its essentials, provides focus. The work is what brings us closer. Being successful and wealthy is the end result of focusing on one clear goal and working toward it every single day.  

Energy is the essence of life. Every day you decide how youre going to use it by knowing what you want and what it takes to reach that goal and by maintaining focus.  

This, once again, highlights those simple ideas—energy (to put in the hard work), having a goal and focusing on that goal. 

Looking at her story, and listening to Oprah, one can easily get the impression that nothing she does ever really fails. How is this possible? She says, “I do not believe in 

failure. It is not failure if you enjoyed the process.” This is yet another way of saying to do what you love and the rest will follow. No matter what mistakes are made, or what short-term obstacles might rise in a person’s path, enjoying the process will provide motivation to keep going until success is the result. 

The key to realising a dream is to focus not on success but significance, and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning. 

By now, it is more than clear that Oprah Winfrey is driven every waking moment to do things that she believes in. She does things that she thinks are important, and success is the result, not the motivation. 

Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it. 

So, it’s not that Oprah has some magic power that protects her from failure. She simply keeps trying until she succeeds, regardless of what happens on her first try. 

In fact, this points out the importance of risking failure. Success is not possible without it. People who achieve big things do not do so by avoiding failure. They achieve by trying, failing, and trying again until they can make it work. 

My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.  

We can see a recurring theme in statements, not just from Ms. Winfrey, but from other people who have made it big. No matter what they do, they do something. They simply put in their best effort toward their goals, day in and day out. 

They do not postpone, they take action. 

You can have it all. You just cant have it all at once. 

Oprah Winfrey’s own ideas about having it all are goals, not wishes. She doesn’t try to do everything at the same time, but she does achieve ever greater goals, and reach higher and higher things. She understands that accomplishments come only when you work for them, and it’s all right if they come singly. 

We are each responsible for our own life  no other person is or even can be.  

This is not the only time that Oprah has made a statement about this important idea. She says that she realised from a very young age that only she was responsible for her own life, and that she knew that she had to make good. It is significant that we never hear a self-made person make excuses or place blame on others for failures. They simply take responsibility for everything. This notion is what allows them to be in control of their own success, because they take responsibility for every action. 


So, what are the main lessons that we can learn from Oprah Winfrey’s story? She has been such a spectacular success that there are many lessons to be gleaned about building both wealth and self-fulfillment from her. But, as always, we can break things down into some simple concepts. 

One of Oprah Winfrey’s lessons from her earlier life is to know that there is always more out there. Just as she did when she was younger, knowing that there is more out there can provide the motivation to do the necessary work until you get where you want to be. 

More than motivation, this tip highlights the importance of education. The reason that young Oprah knew about the whole other world that she wanted to reach for was that she read about it. She concentrated on her education. She was able to get out due to that same education, which afforded her a scholarship. 

Another important lesson is that obstacles don’t deter someone with passion. Winfrey came from a background that many would consider disadvantaged, but these obstacles did not stop her. 

She says that she could not have done what she did without the advantages of her education. Finally, do work that you love and that fulfills you. Oprah knew what she wanted from an early age. She pursued her ideals throughout her career and carried them over into her philanthropic work. 

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About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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