Mindset & Confidence

4 Things You Can Learn From Oprah to Be a Better Person + Professional

BY Christina Nicholson

collage of Oprah magazine covers

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So, Oprah and I are basically best friends… in my mind.

Oprah Winfrey and I share the same birthday. The year she landed her first TV job in Chicago, I was born. Years later, I grew up to be a TV reporter and anchor. Today, I’m an Oprah Magazine Insider.

During Women’s History Month, I can’t think of anyone better to write about. 

The Oprah Winfrey Show ran for 25 seasons and received 46 Daytime Emmy awards; her book club made reading popular again and she authored the New York Times best-selling book, What I Know For Sure; she has acted and produced many blockbusters; her OWN television network is a must-watch; her face appears on the cover of O, The Oprah Magazine each month; with her involvement, The National Child Protection Act was passed; she’s created and donated to countless charities and foundations, including The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls – a girls-only boarding school in South Africa.

I could go on, but this is not a novel. It’s an article dedicated to the ultimate Boss Babe.

4 Things You Can Learn From Oprah to be a Better Person Today

1. How Oprah Deals with Public Scrutiny

When she let her magazine readers interview her, one asked about public scrutiny – something that is prominent today with social media being at everyone’s fingertips. She said it made her cry years ago because she was a “pleaser” and that is her greatest character flaw – the importance she puts on wanting to be liked.

“That comes from having been abused as a child,” she said. “I was trained to believe that other people's feelings were more important than my own and that only through pleasing somebody could I be loved.”

Oprah said it’s taken her 56 years to overcome that.

2. What Oprah Learned After Interviewing 37,000 People

37,000. That’s a lot of people, but Oprah told CNBC that everyone shares this one trait. 

“Everyone you meet just wants to be seen and heard,” Oprah said in February during Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus. “That is what every person you encounter is looking to know. Did you see me? Do you hear me? And every argument is about that.”

Because of this, Oprah says she has made a conscious effort to validate people by being more present. To help do this, she practices mindfulness every day. 

3. How to Have More “Aha” Moments

In a word, listen.

On the Goop Podcast, Oprah told Gweneth Paltrow that a big misconception is that she likes to run the show. Today, she prefers others to run things so she can be free with her thoughts. 

At one time, she thought she needed to do everything herself. When she started working in TV, she wanted to know how to do everything to get a job, then as she grew and had her own show, to understand what everyone else was going through on a daily basis.  

Then, she realized she was terrible at some things and didn’t want to or need to do everything. The power of her being able to move forward was based on her paying attention.

Her mentor, Maya Angelou, told her, “Listen, then decide for yourself if it is for you.”

Oprah said she didn’t just have a talk show. It was also a listening show. 

“All of that listening has come to fill a space of knowing for me that I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t listen,” Oprah said.

Whether it was Tom Cruise or a woman who lost everything she owned, she was able to find the thread of hope in it and one thing that would connect to the audience. 

“The’ aha moment’ is the vibrational frequency that’s touching what’s already there,” she said. 

In other words, an “aha moment” is, “Aha, I knew that!” or “Aha! I just wasn’t able to express it in that way.” 

The only way to have that moment is to listen.

4. Use Your Voice the Way Oprah Uses Hers

Two of my fellow Oprah Magazine Insiders had the privilege of interviewing Oprah when A Wrinkle In Time was released. Before they had a chance to fire off a question, Oprah said:

“Isn’t the blogging world fantastic? This world that we are living in where everybody gets a voice, and the power and authority to speak. And have what you say mean something? It’s incredible.”

When Oprah started her career, she needed a radio and TV station to give her the platform to become what she is today. Now, you just need WiFi.

3 Fun Oprah Facts You Didn’t Know

  1. Her name is spelled wrong. She was supposed to be named Orpah from the Bible. It was misspelled on her birth certificate. The p got put before the r.

2. When Oprah was 17, she won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant.

3. Having interviewed almost everyone in the world, who does Oprah say it the one who got away? Elvis.

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