Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oprah Talks About Life Lessons

The day has finally come. Today marks the ending of an era and the turning of a page. The Oprah Winfrey Show is ending. She talks to us about about life lessons and "Callings" and "Worthiness." In my personal opinion, today's episode is the most poignant and prominent, special and inspiring episode of all. I am proud to say I am truly a fan of Oprah and I recognize that while I may not have seen many episodes she has somehow still managed to reach through my tv screen over the years and touch me and change me for the better. Thank you Oprah. This blog entry is dedicated to you and the lessons you have taught us all and will continue to teach us. Here are some of the words of wisdom the great Oprah Winfrey shared with us today as she called it a "love letter" to us, her fans. Enjoy everyone and feel free to comment even if you are not a member of this blogging platform. This will also get posted to networkedblogs, my facebook homepage and fan page, and my twitter too.

As she came out on stage, Oprah said "After 25 years, I am still saying thank you America. Thank you so much. there are no words to match this moment. Every word I have ever spoken from the stage of The Oprah what this moment is all about... When I came here I was about to turn 30 years old. I didn't have a vision, or a lot of great expectations that we talk about all the time. I didn't have one. I just wanted to do a good job and cause no harm... I wanted to encourage you to be yourselves just as you all encouraged me and cheered me on... Soon after I started this show something shifted for me. I started this show as a job. It was not long before I understood there was something else going on here- more than just job satisfaction. Something in me connected with each of you in a way that allowed me to see myself in you and you in me. I listened and grew and I knew you did too. Sometimes I was a teacher and more often, you taught me. It is no coincidence that I always wanted to be a teacher and I ended up in the world's biggest classroom. And this, my friends, will be our last class from this stage.

"This last hour is really about me saying thank you. It is my love letter to you. I want to leave you with the lessons the have been the anchor for my life and the ones that I hold most precious." She explains how she never missed a day in 25 years simply because it is what she was called to do. "Every day that I stood here I knew that this was exactly where I was supposed to be... I showed up because I knew that you were waiting- you were waiting for whatever we had to offer. That is why I never missed a day in 25 years, because you were here."

Even if you never read another blog entry of mine ever again I hope you find something you can learn from this. I just want "to do a good job and cause no harm," as Oprah said.

(Oprah's commencement speech to Standford U-quotes)

“Walk through life eager and open to self-improvement,” she told the audience. “I believe that there’s a lesson in almost everything that you do and every experience, and getting the lesson is how you move forward.”
She advised graduates to follow their “emotional guidance systems” and to trust their hearts. At 22, Winfrey endured a news anchor job that left her feeling miserable. A forced move to talk show hosting, she recalled, was like coming home.“The moment I sat down, doing that talk show, it felt like breathing,” she said. “It felt right…When you’re doing the work you’re meant to do, it feels right and every day is a bonus, regardless of what you’re getting paid. You want your work to be meaningful,” she said. “Because meaning is what brings the real richness to your life.”

Winfrey’s second lesson to graduates emphasized learning from failures. She described her founding of a school for girls in South Africa last year. Heralded by the media upon the school’s opening, Winfrey’s hopes were dampened when one of the dorm matrons was charged for sexual abuse last fall. Winfrey said she was devastated, but took the setback as a lesson to reassess her priorities. “I understand now the mistakes I made, because I had been paying attention to all of the wrong things,” she said, citing her focus on the school’s physical appearance. “I’d built that school from the outside in, when what really mattered was the inside out.”

Finally, Winfrey implored graduates to stand for something larger than their individual selves in order to find happiness. "To move forward, you have to give back. And to me, that is the greatest lesson of all,” she remarked. Whatever the graduates’ callings, Winfrey emphasized, operating from the paradigm of service would bring more value to their lives. “If you choose to offer your skills and talents in service,” she said, “it turns everything you do from a job into a gift. And I know you haven’t spent all this time at Stanford just to go out and get a job.”


Oprah talks about having passion and everybody having a calling. "What I learned from this experience with you is that we all are called- everybody has a calling- and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about doing it...That is what a calling is. It lights you up and lets you know that that is exactly where you are supposed to be, doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing. And that is what I want for all of you- and hope that you will take from this show to live from the heart of yourself. You have to make a living, I understand that, but you also have to know what sparks the light in you so that you in your own way can illuminate the world."

Her "Live Your Best Life" pitch continues: "Each one of you has your own platform. Do not let the trappings here move you.Mine is a stage and a studio, yours is wherever you are- within your own reach...[We can influence co-workers, friends, etc.] Wherever you are that is own platform... That is your talk show and that is where your power lies. Every way and everyday you are showing people exactly who you are. You are letting your life speak for you. And when you do that you will receive in direct proportion to how you give on whatever platform you have. Of course, I know the circumstances are all different for all of us but the power I know is all the same."

So, I thought to myself, is this really going to be an hour of Oprah giving an empowerment seminar? Personally I'm kind of glad that this is how she ended it. Truthfully, I may have been hoping for more of her usual...but it was after all just about her embracing her fans.

People don't have to do things that make them famous to be of service, she notes. "We're all confused about fame versus service in this country," she says. Don't waste any more time, Start embracing the life that is calling you, Oprah urges.