Oprah Winfrey – More Than Meets the Eye
Oprah Winfrey is a name that is heard and praised far and wide! We all know Oprah from her show, unsurprisingly called, “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. But do you know the story behind the fame that makes Oprah well and truly a G.O.A.T, not only in her industry but life in general? From the ashes of poverty to the heights of fame, Oprah Winfrey is about to teach us the art of grit, passion, and purposeful living! Let’s dive in!
So, What Don’t We Know About Oprah Winfrey?
Okay, so we think we know Oprah…but do we? Oprah was born in Mississippi to parents who separated shortly after she was born, leaving Oprah in the care of her grandmother on a farm. From a young age, Oprah was an entertainer, playacting in front of the animals on the farm. At six, Winfrey was sent to live with her mother in the Milwaukee ghetto, living in poverty and among violence. At twelve she was sent to her father in Nashville, where she began to make speeches at social gatherings and churches, so well that one time she was paid $500, and that was her lightbulb moment. At that moment, Oprah recalls thinking “I want to be paid to talk”. Oprah was sent back to her mother, where she experienced unspeakable adversities which resulted again in her relocation to her father.
After years of turmoil, Oprah says her father saved her life. He implemented routine and gave her guidance, which led her to find her drive and reignited her passion. During her university years, Oprah worked a few jobs on the radio and as a news presenter on CBS. After moving to Chicago, Oprah took over as anchor on ‘AM Chicago’, which would be renamed as “The Oprah Winfrey Show”.
Oprah is now a billionaire using her space of fame to share vulnerable stories and stand for important messages! So, the moral of the story? It is never as it seems! What does this have to do with deep performance and The Greatest of All Time you ask? Well, the answer is…everything! Deep performance is all about creating long-lasting and meaningful success where we are and being a G.O.A.T is about rising above and creating difference where you are, and Oprah has done exactly that! Now that we know a more rounded version of Oprah and not just the highlights, let’s see where she finds her purpose and meaning to keep creating success!
ON life & Purpose
“Follow your passion…it’ll lead you to your purpose” (Oprah Winfrey). And Oprah is the embodiment of her words. I mentioned before that Oprah just knew she wanted to get paid to talk, her passion was connection and influence, and she followed this which has led her to where she is now. There is something different about a person who is truly living out life’s purpose! They reach success with ease, but not without adversity, the ease comes from how they handle adversity in the pursuit of their purpose. Oprah Winfrey is now one of the greatest of all time in influence, history-making and philanthropy, all because she followed the spark that led to her flame.
Something that Oprah has mastered and is essential to deep performance is grit. “Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term goals.” (Angela Duckworth). Goals, especially the ones that align with our ultimate passion and purpose, bring meaning into everything we do, the small and the big. Deep performers know this well and understand that without goals, short and long-term, they are getting nowhere quickly. Oprah had a million reasons from childhood, enduring poverty and abuse to her adult career, battling being an African American female anchor with a dream, to give up and settle for less than her goals. But her grit and determination to achieve what she set out to conquer is the attitude of a deep performer!
But what does that mean for the average joe? Well, every deep performer and success creator is an average joe with goals and grit! In fine Oprah form, find the spark that makes you feel most alive, set goals in that direction, and work hard till you make it! I know that it is much easier said than done, but it's people like Winfrey that show us it is not impossible to build an empire from the ruins!
A day in the life of Oprah Winfrey
You may know by now that I love to look at a day in the life of the Greatest of All Time I write about, and in case it isn’t clear, here is why I do it: They are the greatest of all time for a reason, and they didn’t get there by accident. So, they must be doing small things in their day that leads to big differences! I am passionate about people and deep performance, and it is the small habits that lead to big success! Let’s join Oprah for a day…
Unlike Tom Brady whose day begins at the crack of dawn, Oprah starts her day at just after 7 am. She spends time among the nature of her own backyard before doing anything else, to feel energised for the day. She then will take her (5!) dogs outside and walk them around the yard, with a hot cup of coffee. Oprah then partakes in meditation and observes her thoughts before a busy day, creating space for what she values. On a Thursday, its harvest day, collecting the goods from her homegrown garden. Winfrey and her family value health and so if they can’t grow it, they don’t eat it.
In the afternoon, she will run errands and do tasks that are on her to-do list, before heading out to her sunspot and reading and gaining inspiration to then pour out to others. Dinner is once again following the ‘no-grow, no-eat’ rule, before taking time to relax in the evening. While Oprah’s day seems like our idea of a perfect day, we can’t forget the years of intense work that have led her to where she can mostly enjoy time with her family and filling up her cup. This is the reward and the result of her deep performance over many, many years.
Deep Performance is within your reach!
From a childhood of turmoil to a career of immense success, Oprah Winfrey is proof that it’s not what you have that matters, it is what you do with what you have that matters! Find that spark, dig your feet in deep, walk with grit and create meaningful success, right where you are! Deep performance is within your reach!
Encyclopedia of World Biography. (n.d.). Oprah Winfrey Biography. Encyclopedia of World Biography. https://www.notablebiographies.com/We-Z/Winfrey-Oprah.html
Harper’s Bazaar. (2018). A day in the life of Oprah. Harper’s Bazaar. https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a15895631/oprah-daily-routine/
Angela Duckworth. (n.d.). FAQ. Angela Duckworth. https://angeladuckworth.com/qa/
AZ Quotes. (n.d.). Oprah Winfrey Quotes about Purpose. AZ Quotes. https://www.azquotes.com/author/15820-Oprah_Winfrey/tag/purpose
Schwartz, B. (2019). In Oprah’s new book, ‘a path made clear’, she shares her biggest lesson yet. Oprah Daily. https://www.oprahdaily.com/life/a26930708/oprah-path-made-clear/