Oprah Winfrey was born into poverty to an unmarried teen mother in rural Mississippi. Sexually abused in childhood, she ran away from home at age 13 to live with her father in Nashville, Tennessee. In those early days, Oprah loved to read and found early success as a top honor student. She began college but left at 19 to pursue a media career.
As the first female, African American news anchor, Oprah transformed AM Chicago from the lowest- to the highest-rated talk show in Chicago. Three years later, the show was named The Oprah Winfrey Show. According to CNN, the new show was one of the highest-ranking shows in American history. Yet Oprah’s first boss told her she was too emotional for television. She showed him. In 1986, she founded Harpo Productions and the rest is history. Along the way, she produced her own magazine, created a radio channel and launched a cable TV network.
What distinguishes Oprah from all the rest is her unwavering authenticity. “Turning wounds into wisdom,” she never let her past determine her future. Throughout the years, she let people know her deepest emotions and spoke to the vulnerability inside all of us. Says Oprah. “I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.”
As Life magazine’s most influential woman of her generation, Oprah has become an inspirational friend to many of the world’s citizens. Her messages of “listen to your guy, keep moving forward, and you are the driver’s seat” have become mantras for folks as they struggle to overcome difficult life experiences. Reflecting on her own life, Oprah shares her wisdom: “Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a different way to stand.” Nowhere is this more apparent than in Oprah’s own public struggle with her weight. By humanizing the topic, she made it safe for us to become comfortable with being imperfect.
Oprah models the principle of Going Deep. Aware of herself and others, we see her open mind and heart in action. Through her successes and struggles, we learn from her passions and vulnerabilities. We have watched her ditch the suitcases of her past and observed her pursuit of a full and conscious life. As Forbes magazine observes, “her momentum builds with time.”
Oprah’s core message tells us all about the power of love over fear. Be more conscious today than you were yesterday. Check your bags, detach from the noise and go deep every day.