“There’s no such thing to me as an embarrassing moment. No such thing. If I tripped and fell, if my bra strap showed, if my slip fell off, if I fell flat on my face, there’s no such thing as an embarrassing moment.”
“When you think about what it means to be a human being on the planet Earth right now, that’s pretty awesome.”
“Money’s worth nothing if it can’t buy you the opportunity to love more.”
Evan: She’s best known for her talk show, which was the highest rated TV program of its kind.
Several assessments rank her as the most influential woman in the world.
She’s been ranked as the richest African American of the 20th century.
She’s Oprah Winfrey, and here’s my take on her top 10 rules for success, volume two.
Rule number five is my personal favorite and I’m curious to know which one you guys like the best. And as always, guys, as you’re watching the videos, if you hear something that really resonates with you, please leave it down in the comments below and put quotes around it so other people can be inspired as well. Also, as you are writing something down, it’s much more likely to stick in your head, too. Enjoy.
Rule #1: Be Authentic
I think that success is a process and I believe that my first Easter speech in the Kosciusko Baptist Church at the age of 3 1/2 was the beginning and that every other speech, every other book I read, every other time I spoke in public was a building block so that by the time I first sat down to audition in front of a television camera and somebody says read this, what allowed me to read it so comfortably and be so at ease with myself at that time was the fact that I’d been doing it awhile.
“Success is a process” – Oprah Winfrey
If I’d never read a book or I’d never spoken in public before, I would have been traumatized by it. So the fact that we went on the air with the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986, nationally, and people’d say, oh, but you’re so comfortable in front of the camera, you can be yourself, well it’s because I’ve been being myself since I was 19. And I would not have, I would not have been able to be as comfortable with myself had I not made mistakes on the air and been allowed to make mistakes on the air and understand that it doesn’t matter.
You know, I, there’s no such thing to me as an embarrassing moment. No such thing. If I tripped and fell, if my bra strap showed, if my slip fell off, if I fell flat on my face, there’s no such thing as an embarrassing moment because I know that there’s not a moment that I could possibly experience on the air that somebody hasn’t already experienced. So when it happens, you say, oh, my slip fell off! And it’s no big deal.
“There’s no such thing to me as an embarrassing moment.” – Oprah Winfrey
I mean, like, I was on TV the other day and somebody says oh, Oprah, you have a run. Have you not seen a run before in your life? Well I get them, too, let me tell you. So I mean, yeah, I can’t be embarrassed. I can’t be embarrassed. Now, when I first started out, that was not true because I was under the, I was pretending to be somebody I was not. I was pretending to be Barbara Walters. So I’d go to a news conference and I was more interested in how I phrased the question.
And how eloquent the question sounded, as opposed to listening to the answer. I was so, which always happens when you’re interested in impressing people instead of doing what you’re supposed to be doing. And it took me awhile. It took me messing up on the air on, during a live newscast. I was doing a list of foreign countries and I, there was all these foreign names and then Canada was thrown in and I called Canada Ku-na-dah. And I got so tickled that I called Canada, I go, that wasn’t Ku-na-dah, that was Canada.
“You can laugh at yourself and you can make a mistake and it’s not the end of the world. You don’t have to be perfect.” – Oprah Winfrey
Excuse me, that wasn’t Canada, that wasn’t Ku-na-dah, that was Canada. And then I started laughing. Well, it was, it became the first real moment I ever had. And the news director later said to me well if you do that then you should just keep going, you shouldn’t correct yourself and let people know.
Well I know, well who’s ever heard of Ku-na-dah? So that was for me the beginning of realizing that oh, you can laugh at yourself and you can make a mistake and it’s not the end of the world. You don’t have to be perfect. Biggest lesson for me for television because then it didn’t matter. Didn’t matter, oh, sorry, bra strap’s showing.
Rule #2: Do It All
What inspired me was and is, continues to be, what continues to inspire me is a primal and fundamental desire to fulfill the highest expression of myself as a human being. I don’t want to die… Not having completely burnt out every single possibility of my humanity. I just, I just want to, when I leave this planet, I want everybody to say you did that, used it all up, not another thing I could do. There wasn’t another person I could have given of myself to, there wasn’t another deed I could have done.
There wasn’t another, that you just want to, you want to say I want to fill it up! You want to take this whole human existence, which, when you think about it, Godfrey, is really pretty damn miraculous.
Godfrey: It is.
“What inspired me was and is, continues to be, what continues to inspire me is a primal and fundamental desire to fulfill the highest expression of myself as a human being.” – Oprah Winfrey
Godfrey: It is.
When you think about what it means to be a human being on the planet Earth right now, that’s pretty awesome. So I just want to, I want to take that to the max. I want to say no need to come back as a human. Angel status.
Rule #3: Love More
Piers: I know you hate this phrase, but what is your brand, do you think?
I’m the love brand.
Piers: Aren’t we all, darling?
No, I’m the love brand.
Piers: Aren’t we all?
“Money’s worth nothing if it can’t buy you the opportunity to love more.” – Oprah Winfrey
Oh, I’m the love brand.
Piers: You like to shower love around?
Yeah, it’s really, that’s what it is, I’m the love
Piers: Love that!
And connection brand. That’s what I am.
Piers: You’re a bit like Barry White was the love god, you’re the love brand.
I’m the love brand. ‘Cause ultimately, everything that I’m saying, whether it’s in my magazine, whether it’s Gayle on the radio or whether it’s the Oprah Winfrey Show and now everything about the channel OWN, it’s about opening your space, your heart space, so that you can love more. You know, that’s really all money is for. Money’s worth nothing if it can’t buy you the opportunity to love more.
Rule #4: Always Give Your Best
You can’t call in sick. You can’t ever give less than 100%. And if you are sick, which I have been a couple of times, that’s when you got to pull up to 110, 120 because people have come from all over the country and this is their moment.
They’ve saved their money, they’ve bought the airline tickets, they got new outfits, they called their sisters, their cousins, their aunts, their mother-in-laws, their mothers, and that is why they’re there, to see you. So I feel a sense of responsibility, a sense of obligation, a sense of respect, reverence, honor for those people.
Rule #5: You Are What You #Believe
First day I went to school, I was in a classroom. By the time I was, you know, six years old, didn’t go to school until I was six years old ’cause I was living with my grandmother at that time.
But she had taught me how to read, read the Bible, Bible stories. So I went into the classroom knowing Nicodemus, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I could spell all of those words. I thought I was, you know, I was preaching to the, to my kindergarten teacher.
Godfrey: You learnt all that?
“The fundamental key to success is what you believe is true for yourself, not what you want, not what you desire. It’s what do you believe” – Oprah Winfrey
So she’s like who is this girl? So I was never placed in an environment where I was ever made to feel inferior. I always felt like I’m the smartest kid in this room. And because I was never placed in a, never put in a position where I was made to feel less than, I didn’t grow up feeling less than, you know?
Godfrey: Right, and the rest, as they say, is history.
And the rest is history.
Godfrey: ‘Cause we know from there-
And it’s all about what you believe, you know? I say this to, and I do something on my network now called Life Class, the fundamental key to success is what you believe is true for yourself, not what you want, not what you desire. It’s what do you believe, you know? You could say I wanted, I want to be the most successful person in the world, but if you believe that there’s a glass ceiling and you’re going to have a hard time kicking through that glass ceiling-
Godfrey: You’ll keep yourself down-
You will be defined by the glass ceiling. And the great beauty and gift of my life is that I was never defined by the box that other people tried to put me in.
Rule #6: Find Your Core Self
Fame comes with the mission and purpose. You know, you cannot define me or try to put me in a box and you can’t look at my life unless you look at the whole life. So I am a negro, formerly. Born in 1954 in Mississippi at a time when it was an apartheid state.
“If I had been what I thought I was going to be and that is a great fourth grade teacher, I would have also liked that because at the core of me, I am a teacher and I am happiest when I feel that people are getting something, learning something, enhancing themselves in a way that they’d never thought of before.” – Oprah Winfrey
And to be sitting here with you as your first guest in 2011 is a miracle that is beyond anything I could actually do for myself. So there’s something greater at work here. And the thing that’s greater at work, the force that has, enforces, that have made this happen in my life, along with me working as hard as I have, is it’s bigger than I am and fame is the vehicle from which I get to have this platform. So do I like that? I appreciate it.
If I had been what I thought I was going to be and that is a great fourth grade teacher, I would have also liked that because at the core of me, I am a teacher and I am happiest when I feel that people are getting something, learning something, enhancing themselves in a way that they’d never thought of before. And that’s really truly one of my favorite moments on television or in any experience, when I’m just one on one with a friend or somebody I don’t even know, being able to share something with them and they think I never thought of it, gee!
Rule #7: Provide Value
Stedman and I were in a hotel watching some bad television and I was complaining about the state of television, talk shows in particular. And he said why don’t you change it? Why don’t you just get your own network? And I thought that that was a ridiculous idea. And then he started to talk about it and he wrote some things down and I saw the word OWN, and I thought OWN, O-W, oh, that’s my, those are my initials. And I said wouldn’t it be something if I could create a network that was really about mindful, and I underlined the word mindful, television.
Barbara: 15 years later, those scribblings came closer to reality when she was approached by David Zaslav, the president of the Discovery Network.
David: My view was if we want to do this, you have to be all in. She paused and then she said to me, “It’s meant to be.” And we shook hands and that’s how our journey began.
“The reason why I made the decision to go forward is because I believe that people deserve to have value-centered inspirational programming for themselves.” – Oprah Winfrey
At first I thought oh great, a network, oh gee, this is the dream I had, oh, and I actually showed him the piece of paper where I’d written it down and Stedman said, and as that started to settle in with me, I thought whoa, what is this I’ve gotten myself into? This is a lot more work than I ever imagined.
Barbara: Are you scared?
Very scared. I was very scared. And I would wake up in the middle of the night, literally like clutching my chest. Like what have I done? What have I done?
Barbara: What if you fail?
That’s what I was afraid of. That’s what I was afraid of. The reason why I made the decision to go forward is because I believe that people deserve to have value-centered inspirational programming for themselves. I believe that television has become, in many ways… Banal, it has become… Insipid. And not every, not all of it, but I think that I have something to offer.
Rule #8: Don’t Give Up
I did this at the end of my show. I did my favorite guest of all time, and that’s hard to do out of literally thousands and thousands. They supposedly estimated that there’s like 35,000 people I interviewed over the years, but… There was one woman, out of all the celebrities, out of all of the… Famous, non-famous, infamous people. One woman-
Godfrey: Who was she?
Who was she? Her name is Tererai Trent. Listen to this story. I’m going to try to shorten it for you, Godfrey.
Godfrey: Please do, please do.
Okay, Tererai Trent, born and raised in a village in Zimbabwe. 11 years old, she’s doing her brother’s homework. She wants to go to school, her father says no,
‘Godfrey: Cause you have to-
You’re a girl.
Godfrey: You have to educate the boy first.
Yep, that’s right.
Godfrey: That was the tradition.
That’s right, the boy has to go to school. You can’t go to school. So she starts doing her brother’s homework. She does her brother’s homework, he goes to school. He gets all As on his homework yet he doesn’t know the answer to the question. The teacher comes to the village to say what is going on here? This boy doesn’t know the answer but his homework’s perfect. She finds out that Tererai, his younger sister, is doing his homework. She begs the father to let Tererai go to school. The father says no, she can’t go to school. Finally, he marries her off. She marries at 11 1/2 years old. She gets married. She has three children by the time she’s 18 years old. A woman comes to the village from an NGO, Heifer International, and asks what are your dreams. This is going to make me cry. Finally you’re going to make me cry!
Godfrey: Got it.
Asks her what are your dreams? This child has never thought about what her dreams were. She says write down your dreams. She writes down her dreams on a piece of paper and she folds ’em in a tin can and she buries them under a rock. The first dream was to be able to go to a school in the United States of America and get a college degree. She ends up, through some miracle of the NGO, going to the United States.
She gets a college degree.
Yeah. She gets a four year degree in three years. Tererai Trent. She goes back to the rock in Zimbabwe. She writes her next goal on the piece of paper. She buries it under the rock, she writes I want to get a masters degree. She goes back to the United States, she gets a masters degree! By this time, she now has five children. She’s married to a man who still beats her.
Godfrey: Oh, incredible.
Incredible. She goes back to the United States. She gets her masters degree. After the masters degree, she goes back to the rock in Zimbabwe. She writes down her final goal is to get a doctorate degree. And last year, she became Dr. Tererai Trent.
Godfrey: Where did you find it?
“I was trying to give to every single one of my viewers. You can, you can. Keep trying. Don’t give up.” – Oprah Winfrey
Where did I find it? I found her in Nicholas Kristof’s book called… Something the sky, underneath the sky or the sky. I found her in Nicholas Kristof’s book.
And I was reading the story. I had Nicholas Kristof on the show, Nicholas Kristof, the famous New York Times writer. And she wasn’t there. She wasn’t a part of the show. I’m reading this story, I can’t believe this book, this story of this woman, as I’m reading the story. So when we go to do the show, the producers have Nicholas Kristof on. They bring on other guests but this woman isn’t there. I go how could you not have her there? So we tape another show with Nicholas Kristof, we go back, I go find, we’re going to find that woman, Tererai Trent. And this time, by this time she’s living in the United States. We followed her back to Zimbabwe to the rock. We pulled the tin can from underneath the rock. And that is my favorite guest of all time.
Godfrey: And the worst?
I don’t have a worst. I don’t have a worst. But the reason why she, and as I said this on my show, the reason why Tererai Trent is my favorite guest of all time is because she represents, in that one story of the little girl in a village in Zimbabwe who had a dream and the heart and depth and discipline to pursue it. She represents everything I tried to say in every show in 25 years. She literally, through her life story, sums up the message that I was trying to give to every single one of my viewers. You can, you can. Keep trying. Don’t give up.
Godfrey: You have to believe.
You have to believe.
Rule #9: Live In The Now
The thing that I do best, Piers, you didn’t ask me that question. Oprah, what is it you do best?
“The thing that I strive to do best is be here, be now.” – Oprah Winfrey
Piers: Oprah, what is it you do best?
The thing that I strive to do best is be here, be now. Right here, right now, with you. The reason why we’ve had such a good time is ’cause I’m not thinking about if somebody else is. But I’m not thinking about how much time do we have left and how many questions you ‘re going to have and what are you going to ask me. Just be here, be now. So that I can enjoy this experience.
And so I don’t have a lot of, I don’t live in the past. I don’t carry the past into this moment ’cause I do the Oprah Show. I learned how not to do that. That’s what all of those years of non-therapy but paying attention to the guests on the show, the way they live their lives, what the experts had to say, what I’ve learned from paying attention.
Rule #10: Have Fun
Have you ever seen her before?
Oprah: We’ve been driving for a long time.
Gayle: Does she look like Oprah Winfrey to you?
Gayle: That’s her.
No, you’re not.
Gayle: She doesn’t look like herself?
But you really are?
Really. Staying in the tipi. Tipi one.
But don’t tell anyone we’re here.
Okay, what’s the ZIP code for me?
I know you are, honey. But you really are you.
I’m really Oprah, I really am, I really am.
No, you’re not.
Yes, I am, I am!
You be the penis.
All right. It’s limp, it’s limp.
Nobody has ever said that to me in my life. I have been talking to people my whole life and nobody has ever said, “You be the penis.” This is a letter I wrote to Anthony Otey. I was such a geek. It says, “On today, June 22nd, 1971, “I’ve decided to voice my thoughts on paper “to prevent my brain from becoming disrupted.”
Oh my god. Voice my thoughts on paper? That was in high school?
That was in high school, June 22nd, okay. Today-
She’s always been very dramatic, don’t you think?
“Today is my ninth anniversary with Anthony. “Nine months today. “Never thought I’d make it this far. “My father says,” oh, there we were. There’s me with the flip. That was the Marlo Thomas That Girl flip. “My father says stay at home and rest. “Doesn’t he know that love knows no rest?”
Gayle: Nice vest, Anthony.
“That for those who love, time is not. “I love Anthony, I really, truly, truly love him”-
Gayle: Truly, truly, truly.
“And I don’t give a blank.” I used the blanks in case my father ever found the letters. I wouldn’t be cursing. “Whether or not people think it’s proper “or whether I’m too aggressive or flipped for him “because I don’t think God will mind. “There’s so much hatred in the world, “I should think God would be happy to see “a little love flowing every now and then.”
Evan: Thank you guys so much for watching. I hope you enjoyed this volume two edition. If you liked it, you might want to check out volume one as well. It was pretty spectacular. I’d also love to know what did Oprah say that had the biggest impact on you and why? What are you going to take from this video and immediately apply to your life or to your business? Leave it down in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do.
I also want to give a quick shout out to Maria Pasca. Thank you so much for picking up a copy of my book, Your One Word, and for making that really fun and interesting promo picture for it. I really appreciate the love that you put into it. Thank you guys again for watching. 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.
Live The Dream
This is what people don’t know. ‘Cause you can’t tell everybody. I am who I am, one black woman, my hand in God’s hand, trusting in that word ’cause that word never failed me. And I got to where I am and I stand as I am as Maya Angelou often says, and often said, and says in her poem, too, Our Grandmothers every time you see me, I come as one but I stand as 10,000. Every time you see me.
I come as one but I stand as 10,000. So it’s just not me standing up here, it’s every, it’s my mother, my grandmother, her mother, the mother before her, her grandfather, every uncle who prayed. Every sister who cried. Every aunt who sacrificed. Those whose names made the history books, those whose names never could make the history books who allowed me to come as one and stand as 10,000.
So oftentimes when I walk into a room just as cool as you please and I can’t see another black face in a 50-mile radius, I stand and sit at the boards as one but I’m bringing the 10,000 behind me. Because I not only know who I am but I also know Whose I am. And so anything you hear about me that feels good, sounds good, you think about. I wonder what Oprah’s doing. How’s she doing? I am living the dream. And I want you to live the dream.
Because I’m not living the dream because I’m special. I’m living the dream because I was obedient to the call of the dream. So I want you to leave here today thinking about what is the dream for you. What is God’s dream for you? What does the Creator’s dream hold for you? So often, we spend our lives wishing and hoping and hoping and wishing and desiring things. This is what I know for sure. You don’t get what you wish for.
“I’m not living the dream because I’m special. I’m living the dream because I was obedient to the call of the dream. ” – Oprah Winfrey
You don’t even get what you hope for. You get what you believe. So what is it you believe and know to be God’s dream for you? So I’m living the dream. I’m living in the space of the dream. And the dream’s good, dream’s good. The dream is greater than anything that I could have imagined. You know, when I was a little girl, my father, on Sunday mornings, after church, he was a deacon so he thought he had to say goodbye to every single person.
We were the last car leaving the parking lot in the green Oldsmobile. And we would drive through the white people’s neighborhood. And I used to dream the dream, driving through the white people’s neighborhood. We’d drive through the white people’s neighborhoods and you’d see their fancy houses. Some of ’em had gates. But all of ’em had trees. And I remember when I first came to Baltimore, I met a friend… Hello, Baltimore in the house!
When I first came to Baltimore, I made friends with a wonderful woman named Arlene Weiner. She was the wealthiest person I’d ever met. And I went to her house and parked in the driveway there was a Corvette and there was a BMW and there as a Mercedes. I went whoa, Arlene’s rich. And at Arlene’s house, once I got inside, I could see from her kitchen window six trees in the front yard. I thought oh rich people have trees.
When I get rich, I’m going to get me some trees. I’m not just going to get me, everybody want to get cars and pocketbooks and shoes. But I want me some trees. So as life would have it, I was standing in my kitchen window about three years ago in California, making coffee in the morning. And I was looking out the window and I saw the six trees. But listen to me. I was making, making, making the coffee. I saw the six trees.
I went out on the porch. To actually count the six trees. And this is what I noticed. That I could dream the six. But beyond the six trees in my kitchen window, are 3687 trees. How do I know? ‘Cause I had ’em counted. I had ’em counted. ‘Cause I said I want to know how many trees out there. I dreamed the six. That’s as much as my small mind and my imagination could hold for myself. I dreamed the six but God can see beyond the six.
Can see beyond the six because there was a bigger dream for me. And I’m here to tell you, there is a bigger dream for you, Essence. There’s a bigger dream. And so the key, the secret, the magic is to surrender to God’s dream for you. To quit fighting against and pushing against and disallowing against and resisting against and trying to tell the Creator, the Universal Forces, Divine Intelligence what you are supposed to do and get still and know for sure what His dream, The Dream is for you.
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