Famous Entrepreneur Quotes
Oprah Winfrey’s Quotes
“It was very difficult for me to figure out where my boundaries were, Because I’d grown up poor and didn’t have anything.”
“What we all want is to be able to live out the truest, highest expression of ourselves.”
“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”
Oprah Winfrey’s Top 10 Entrepreneurship Rules For Business and Success
Today, we’re going to learn from entrepreneur, talk show host and philanthropist, Oprah Winfrey and my take on her top 10 rules for success, volume three. Rule number six is my personal favorite and I’d love to know which one you guys like the best.
Rule #1: Set Boundaries
You know, because when I first started making money and it was, you know, my salary or my earnings, were published all over the place. I mean, the first year I was like really? Did I make that much money, oh, my God.
It was very difficult for me to figure out where my boundaries were because I’d grown up poor and didn’t have anything. So it’s easy when you don’t have anything and people ask you for money.
They say I need 500 and you say I don’t have it, because I’m just trying to get my rent paid. It’s harder when you’re multi-billion dollar salary is now in the paper and you get a lot of friends and cousins you didn’t have before.
So, how do you set boundaries for yourself? I was having trouble setting boundaries for myself for even strangers.
People would just show up at my door in Chicago and say Oprah, I left my husband, please help me and I would because she knows I have it.
So, don’t try that now, though, okay? Don’t try that now. I figured it out.
So what I learned was is that oh, the reason why people keep showing up is because my intention is to make them think that I’m such a nice person that you can ask me for anything.
Understanding that really changed the meaning of my life
You can get me to do anything. I’m going to say yes, I’m going to say yes. So when Stevie called me this time, I thought I’d try out my first no on Stevie.
Let’s start big. He wanted me to donate some money to a charity and I didn’t want to donate to the charity because I have my own charities and I care about a lot of people, but the problem is when you have money, everybody thinks you just want to give to everything.
So, every letter I ever get starts with we know you love the children. Yes, I do love the children, but somebody else is going to have to help the children.
So I said to Stevie, I said to Stevie, no. And as a person who has that disease to please, I was waiting for him then to say I will never speak to you again, I will never call you, I will never sing a song for you.
And he didn’t. He just said, okay. Okay? Okay, it’s okay? He said, okay, check you later. What I learned from that is many times you will have angst and worry about things and put yourself in a state, like someone said this morning, because they’re phone went off, they were mortified over a phone I said, really?
You will put yourself in a state when the other person really isn’t even thinking about you. So, learning that I could specifically determine for myself what the boundaries were for me, what I wanted to do, give my money, give my time, give of my service to who I wanted to give it to when I did, that I get to make that a decision and just because you get 100 requests a week doesn’t mean you have to try to fulfill all of that.
Just because you have all of these demands on your time and on you doesn’t mean that you have to say yes. You get to decide because you’re the master of your fate, the captain of your soul as William Ernest Henley said in Invictus.
And understanding that really changed the meaning of my life in that I was not no longer drive by what other people wanted me to do, but took charge of my own destiny, making choices based upon what do I feel is the next right move for me.
Rule #2: Create The Life You Want
Quincy Jones had, I would not even say an important role, I would say the role in my acting career. Quincy Jones discovered me and it’s so interesting to me because when I was working as a television newswoman in Baltimore and really all I wanted to do was be an actress, but I was doing television and I felt at the time, well, I can’t quit this job because this is what everybody else wants to do and if I quit this job, what am I going to do? And I was going to a speech coach at the time that the station had sent me to.
The broadcasting school, they send everybody to the same woman, and I was telling her, you know, I really don’t want to do this. What I really want to do is act. And she said my dear, you don’t want to act because if you wanted to act, you’d be doing it. What you want to be, my dear, is a star. Because if you wanted to act you’d be waiting tables in New York.
And I thought, now why am I going to work tables if I’m already working in TV? So, I said, well, what I think is going to happen is I will be discovered because I want it so badly, somebody’s going to have to discover me. And she said you just dream. You’re a dreamer. So when it happened, I called her up. I said you will not believe this. I got discovered.
Everything begins with thoughts.
And it really was a discovery. It’s like one of those Lana Turner stories, only it wasn’t a drugstore. He was in his hotel room, saw me on TV. It was unbelievable. The interesting thing about that is that I truly believe that thoughts are the greatest vehicle to change power and success in the world. Everything begins with thoughts. I mean the chairs that we’re sitting in, the room that we’re in all started because somebody thought it.
So, I thought up the Color Purple for myself. I know this is going to sound strange to you, I read the book, I got so many copies of that book. I passed the book around to everybody I knew. If I was on the bus, I’d pass it out to people.
And when I heard that there was going to be a movie, I started talking it up for myself. I didn’t know Quincy Jones or Steven Spielberg or how on earth I would get in this movie. I’d never acted in my life.
But I felt it so intensely that I had to be a part of that movie. I just, I really do believe I created it for myself. I wanted it more than anything in the world and would have done anything to do it. Anything to do it.
Rule #3: Turn Your Wounds Into Wisdom
Turn your wounds into wisdom. You will be wounded many times in your life. You’ll make mistakes. Some people will call them failures, but I have learned that failure is really God’s way of saying excuse me, you’re moving in the wrong direction. It’s just an experience.
Just an experience, just an experience. I remember being taken off the air in Baltimore, being told that I was no longer being fit for television and that I could not anchor the news because I used to go out on the stories and my own truth was, even though I’m not a weeper, I would cry for the people in the stories, which really wasn’t very effective as a news reporter to be covering a fire and crying because the people lost their house.
And it wasn’t until I was demoted as an on-air anchorwoman and thrown into the talk show arena to get rid of me that I allowed my own truth to come through and the first day I was on the air doing my first talk show back in 1978, it felt like breathing, which is what your true passion should feel like.
It should be so natural to you and so I took what had been a mistake, what had been perceived as a failure with my career as an anchorwoman in the news business and turned it into a talk show career that’s done okay for me.
Rule #4: Live Your Life To The Fullest
Interviewer: What drives you to keep working so hard? You could, you know, you and I are in the 60s category and so when you’re 60s, you’ve lived more than you’re going to live. Realistically, so when you realize you’ve lived more than you’re going to live, you can say why not relax a little bit, why not just ease up, why have you decided to work even harder than you did before?
Because it think, David, that everybody, you know the thing that worked for me all these years whether it was the magazine or, which I still have, or whether it was the show, I understood that there’s a common denominator in the human experience and I want the same thing you want, which is the same thing you want and you want. What we all want is to be able to live out the truest, highest expression of ourselves as a human being.
That doesn’t end until you take your last breath. What is the truest, highest vision that you hold for yourself? No matter where you are in your life, there’s always the next level. There’s always the next level till the last breath.
So I feel that I always knew that I would be done with the show when I felt like oh, I’ve said as much as I could say here on this platform and then how will I be used? If there were a theme song to my life, Amazing Grace would be one of them and Keep On Using Me Till You Use Me Up would be another one.
You know that Bill Withers song. Da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da. So I feel that until you have used your value as a human being, you’re not done.
Rule #5: Demand Respect
When I first started as a broadcaster, I was 19, very insecure, thrown into television, pretending to be Barbara Walters, looking nothing like her and still going to college.
So I do all my classes in the morning from 8 to 1 and then the afternoon I work from 2 to 10 and did the 6:00 news. And would stay up and study and all that stuff until 1, 2, 3:00 in the morning and then just start the routine all over again.
And my classmates were so jealous of me that I remember like taking my little $115 paycheck and at the time I thought it was really a lot, and taking $115 and trying to appease them.
I would like oh, any time you guys need any money I was always offering, oh, you need $10? Or taking them out for pizza, ordering pizza for the class and things like that, trying to, that whole disease to please.
That’s where it was the worst for me I think because I wanted to be accepted by them and could not be because first of all, I didn’t have the time. They wanted me to pledge and I didn’t have the time to pledge.
I didn’t have time to be a part of all the other college activities or a part of that whole lifestyle and it was very difficult for me socially. Really, one of the worst times of my life because I was trying to fit in in school and be a part of that culture, but also trying to build a career in television.
I demand only the best for myself.
It’s very difficult for me to even see myself as successful because I still see myself as in the process of becoming successful. To me, successful is getting to the point where you are absolutely comfortable with yourself and it does not matter how many things you have acquired.
The ability to learn to say no and not to feel guilty about it, to me, is about the greatest success I have achieved. The fact that I have, you know, in the public’s eye, done whatever is fine.
It’s all a part of a process for growing for me, but to me to have the kind of internal strength and internal courage it takes to say no, I will not let you treat me this way is what success is all about. It’s the same thing that prevents you from being abused as a child, that prevents you from being abused as an adult, that allows you to build success for yourself.
I will not be treated this way. I demand only the best for myself. You are worthy to say no. It’s okay if you say no. It’s okay if you say no and then people don’t like you. That’s really okay. The important thing is how you feel about what you’re doing, how you feel about yourself. It’s a long struggle, though. It’s a long struggle.
And I’m just hoping that, you know, in the work that I do on the show and the speaking that I do around the country and that young people who are watching this can get the lesson sooner than I did because it’s painful because you keep repeating it over and over and over until you get it right and what I found is that every time you have to repeat the lesson, it gets worse because I call it God trying to get your attention, the universe trying to get your attention.
So we didn’t get your attention the first time, so we’re going to have to hit you a little harder this time. So, I’m still doing it, I’m still learning.
Rule #6: You Become What You #Believe
Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life because you become what you believe. When I was a little girl, Mississippi, growing up on the farm, only Buckwheat as a role model, watching my grandmother boil clothes in a big iron pot through the screen door because we didn’t have a washing machine and made everything we had, I watched her and realized somehow inside myself and the spirit of myself that although this was segregated Mississippi and I was colored, and female, that my life could be bigger, greater than what I saw.
I remember being four or five years old, I certainly couldn’t articulate it, but it was a feeling and a feeling that I allowed myself to follow. I allowed myself to follow it because if you were to ask me what is the secret to my success, it is because I understand that there is a power greater than myself that rules my life.
And in life, in life, if you can be still long enough in all of your endeavors, the good times, the hard times, to connect yourself to the source, I call it God. You can call it whatever you want to, the force, nature, Allah, the power, if you can connect yourself to the source and allow the energy that is your personality, your life force, to be connected to the greater force, anything is possible for you.
I am proof of that. I think that my life and the fact that I was born where I was born and the time that I was and have been able to do what I’ve done speaks to the possibility, not that I am special, but that it could be done.
Rule #7: Touch Lives Every Day
I remember when I started the school and I said to my beloved friend Maya Angelou, I said, Maya, I’m so, I’m just so proud that I was able to create this school. I said this is going to be my greatest legacy and Maya said to me, you have no idea.
You have no idea what your legacy will be, she said to me, because your legacy is every life you’ve touched. And that shifted the way I saw legacy or what you leave behind or what you do, because Maya was explaining to me that, you know, over all the years of watching your show, everybody who decided that they were going to go back to school or lose weight or no longer hit their children or get out of a bad marriage, all of those people who have seen and experienced your voice and the same thing with everybody here. You have no idea what your legacy will be.
Your legacy is every life that you’ve touched and we like to think of it, I know you have done amazing things with your philanthropy. We like to think that these great philanthropic moments are the ones that leave the impact or will make the huge difference in the world, but it’s really what you do every day. It’s how you use your life to be a light to somebody else’s. And it’s how you use your work as an expression of your own art, whatever that is.
Rule #8: Own Your Life
My intention in creating master class came from the understanding that everybody’s story is the same, all stories are connected and there is nothing that anyone who’s living on earth has ever felt or known or experienced on a soul level that hasn’t been felt or known or experienced by someone else. One of the most difficult things in life is feeling that you are the only one. You are the only one who’s traveled this path, who’s felt this way.
Who’s experienced such devastation or joy or triumph or victory. So, for me, I define a master as someone who has fully stepped in and owned the full progress and trajectory of their life.
But hearing stories told from the mouths of people who know how to live, how to course correct, how to keep going, how to never quit, how to rejoice in the good times and have faith in the bad, those people are masters. Anyone who can do that is a master and their ability to share their stories only helps the trajectory of others who listen.
Rule #9: Live A Truthful Life
What I learned, going to a beauty salon and asking them after the news director had told me that my hair was too thick and my eyes were too far apart and I needed a makeover and sitting in a beauty salon, in a French beauty salon, and allowing them to put a French perm on my black hair and having the perm burn through my cerebral cortex and not being the woman that I am now, so not having the courage to say this is burning me and coming out a week later bald and having to go on the air, you learn a lot about yourself when you’re black and a woman and bald and trying to be an anchorwoman.
You learn you’re not Diana Ross and that you’re not Barbara Walters trying to be I was at the time. I had a lot of lessons. I remember going on the air many times and not reading my copy ahead of time and I was on the air one night and ran across the word B-A-R-B-A-D-O-S. That may be Barbados to you, but it was Barbados to me that night. And telling the story as an anchorwoman about a vote in Abstentia, California. I thought it was located near San Francisco.
And one of the worst, one of the worst, this is when I broke out of my Barbara shell, because I’m sitting there crossing my legs trying to talk like Barbara, be like Barbara and I was reading a story about someone with a blaze attitude, which if I had gone to Wellsley, I would have known to was blase.
I had the instinct
And I started to laugh at myself on the air and broke through my Barbara shell and had decided on that day that laughing was okay, even though Barbara hadn’t at that time.
And it was through my series of mistakes that I learned that I could be a better Oprah than I could be a better Barbara and I allowed Barbara to be the mentor for me as she always has been and I decided then to try to pursue the idea of being myself and I am just thrilled that I get paid so much every day for just being myself, but it was a lesson long in coming, recognizing that I had the instinct, that the inner voice that told me that you need to try to find a way to answer to your own truth was the voice I needed to be still and listen to.
Get this, remember this because this will happen many times in your life. When people show you who they are, believe them, the first time, not the 29th time. That’s particularly good when it comes to men situations because when he doesn’t call back the first time, when you’re mistreated the first time, when you see someone who shows you a lack of integrity or dishonesty the first time, now that that will be followed by many, many, many other times that will at some point in life come back to haunt or hurt you. When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.
Live your life from a point of your truth and you will. Live your life from truth and you will survive everything. Everything, I believe even death. You will survive everything if you can live your life from a point of view of truth.
Rule #10: Say “Thank You!”
Close your eyes for a moment will you please. And breathe with me. Just close your eyes and if you will put your thumb to your middle finger and gather your other fingers around and let’s feel the vibration and pulse of your personal energy as you take three deep breaths with me. Inhale.
And as you exhale, just feel the vibration, energy, blood pulsating through your body, through you. And another inhale. And another inhale. And keep your eyes closed. And let’s just think about this day. This day that you have been graced to breathe. In and out. Thousands of times. This day, where many of those breaths were taken for granted. You just expected the next one to come.
Open your heart
But the truth is there is no guarantee that the next one comes. This day, how you started your day, what your thoughts were this morning, how you’ve carried yourself through this day. How you’ve been allowed to have encounters and experiences, some challenging, some more life enhancing. That pushed you forward another day of being here on the planet earth as a human being.
Let’s just think about that, after all you’ve been through in this day alone, and the many days and years passed, how you got here to this prestigious esteemed university, the choices you made that have brought you to this day.
Open your heart and quietly to yourself say the only prayer that’s ever needed, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You’re still here. And you get another chance, this day, to do better and be better, another chance to become more of who you were created and what you were created to fulfill. Thank you.
Thank you guys! I made this because Charlene Benton asked me to. If there’s someone you’d like me to profile in our future Top 10, please let me know.
I also want to give a quick shout-out to Megan Lofton. Megan, thank you so much for picking up a copy of my book Your One Word and doing the review and posting it on the YouTube channel as well. I really, really, really appreciate the support and I’m so glad you enjoyed the book.
Thank you guys again, I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself and whatever your one word is, much love. I’ll see you soon.
Become The Best Version Of Yourself
I have paid attention to my life because I understand that my life just like your life is always speaking to you where you are, in the language, with the people, with the circumstances and experiences that you can understand and interpret if you are willing to see that always life, God, is speaking to you.
Now it took me a while to actually really get this and to understand it, but once I did, I started paying attention to everything and one of the reasons why I can now accept the fact that I can offer my gatherings of information and wisdom and call myself a spiritual teacher is that every single person who ever came on my show and I hear there was like 37,000 guests I’ve talked to, a lot of them came from dysfunction and a lot of them wouldn’t appear to be teachers, but every one of them had something to say that was meaningful and valuable and that I could use to grow myself into the best of myself, which is what all of our jobs are. Your number one job is to become more of yourself and to grow yourself into the best of yourself.
Connect With People
Interviewer: How have you start fresh and how have you, what can you attribute staying in the biz for so long?
I think every you’re trying to reinvent yourself and you’re staying in touch with what other people are doing, thinking, feeling. I have always felt that my instinct and ability to connect with the audience was what carries us every day.
Every day after the show now I do something called After the Show, which airs on Oxygen, I have spent for the past 16 years half an hour, an hour just talking to people so my audience comes from a cross section around the country, so I stay connected to what people are thinking and doing and want and so forth.
Keep A Grateful Journal
As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to appreciate living in the moment and I ask that you to, too. I’m asking this graduating class, those of you here, I’ve asked all of my viewers in America and across the world to do this one thing. Keep a grateful journal.
Every night list five things that happened this day and days to come that you are grateful for. What it will begin to do is to change your perspective of your day and your life. I believe that if you can learn to focus on what you have, you will always see that the universe is abundant and you will have more.
If you concentrate and focus in your life on what you don’t have, you will never have enough. Be grateful, keep a journal. You all are all over my journal tonight.
Rule number six is my personal favorite, and I’d love to know which one you guys like the best.
Oprah Winfrey’s Rules
- Set Boundaries
- Create The Life You Want
- Turn Your Wounds Into Wisdom
- Live Your Life To The Fullest
- Demand Respect
- You Become What You #Believe (Evan’s Favorite Rule for an Entrepreneur Mindset).
- Touch Lives Every Day
- Own Your Life
- Live A Truthful Life
- Say “Thank You!”
I hope you enjoyed this article, make sure to check my Oprah Winfrey video on his Top 10 Rules For Success as well.
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