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23 Leadership Tips From Oprah Winfrey

By: John Greathouse via Forbes


Oprah Winfrey is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of her generation. Raised by her grandmother in rural Mississippi until age six and then by her mother, who worked as a maid in Milwaukee, Ms. Winfrey was an unlikely candidate to become one of the most dominant media personalities of modern America.

The tremendous challenges she overcame make Oprah’s career especially inspiring. The fact that she has handled her success so adeptly, despite her impoverished childhood, is astounding.

When I began gathering examples of Oprah’s wisdom, I expected to identify a handful of quotes relevant to entrepreneurs. To my surprise, I identified dozens of worthy bits of wisdom. From these, I collected 23 insightful missives of interest to aspiring entrepreneurs. Oprah’s thoughts are group into four general categories: Fear, Failure, Success and Humility.

1. Fear – Channel It

“The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.”

Ms. Winfrey’s big break was an accident. An accident which Oprah’s hard work and dedication had more than adequately prepared her to exploit. Channeling the Roman Philosopher Seneca, Oprahlater characterized her lucky break by saying, “I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.”

In 1982, Oprah was the co-host of the local television news in Baltimore Maryland. As part of their job search efforts, one of the station’s producers created a montage tape of their work and sent it to a number of major-market stations, including WLS in Chicago. Coincidentally, one of the on-air personalities on the tape was Oprah Winfrey.

The WLS executives were immediately impressed with Ms. Winfrey and asked her to audition for A.M. Chicago, a glorified cooking show. Did Oprah know anything about preparing food on live television? Heck no. Did this slow her down? Of course not.

It was natural for Oprah to be apprehensive about assuming an unfamiliar role in the US’s third largest media market. However, she balanced her trepidation with a lifelong desire to face and conquer her fears, later stating, “I have a lot of things to prove to myself. One is that I can live my life fearlessly.”

Contrary to conventional wisdom, entrepreneurs are typically not blind to risk. However, they tend to view what most people consider to be “risky situations” as opportunities to be exploited. Oprah description of risk is typical of entrepreneurs: “I believe that one of life’s greatest risks is never daring to risk.” Read full article>>