24.07.2023 Today’s inspiration from Study International: Oprah Winfrey-The First Black American Female Billionaire
There are few Americans with a more inspirational backstory than Oprah Winfrey. As the article below highlights: “Winfrey’s hard work and resilience have led to a successful career across several industries — a reminder that no matter where we come from, we can make it too.” (underlining mine)
A snapshot of Winfrey’s challenging beginnings: Although raised on her grandmother’s farm and born to unwed parents, Oprah learned to read by the age of three. A move into her mother’s home in a bad Milwaukee neighborhood led to years of childhood abuse by two individuals she’d thought she could trust, including a cousin. Fortunately, the tide turned when Winfrey went to live with her strict father, who instilled academic discipline. She credits her father for literally “saving her life” through his “strong hand.” During this time in Nashville, Oprah literally and figuratively “found her voice,” realizing a passion for public speaking, participating in debate, etc. in high school.
A few years later, before graduating from Tennessee State University, Winfrey received an offer from CBS, becoming Nashville’s first African American female co-anchor of the evening news. And the rest, as they say, “is history.” While Winfrey has received too many accolades, and had too many accomplishments to describe here, she’s not only succeeded personally but has also admirably established educational institutions, while working against child abuse so others could advance without the challenges she had personally faced (though it took her a few years to return to finish college, leaving one credit short of graduation to launch her career). By the time she was 32, Winfrey’s talk show (launched in 1986) would be syndicated to 120 stations nationwide.
In this blog post, we will take a look at Oprah’s struggles, her beginnings in the media, her philanthropy, her business ventures, and the lessons we can learn from her.
In the late 1990s, Winfrey established her own production company, Harpo (Oprah spelled backwards) Productions,through which she produced her own television shows, films, and books. Radio shows followed. She then launched a clothing line. A skincare line. And her own line of books.
What has made Oprah Winfrey (known simply as “Oprah”) so successful? Without a doubt, her mindset and approach to life, which focus on self-awareness and empowerment, gratitude and positivity. She is credited with the following quotes:
On self-awareness and empowerment:
- “The biggest lesson I have learned in life is to be true to yourself.”
- “The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but on significance – and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.”
- “The most important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself.”
- “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.”
On gratitude and positivity:
- “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”
- “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
- “The more you are grateful for what you have, the more you will have to be grateful for.”
Our coaches hope to inspire ambitious international students like you to adopt similar beliefs, to support your dreams of global business leadership and/or excellence in other fields. While you, as the aspiring talent we coach, do not need to become media moguls, nor reach a net worth of $2.5B (as Oprah does, according to CNBC), there’s truly nothing stopping you from accomplishing the goals you set if you are determined and resilient enough to pursue them diligently.
If Oprah Winfrey could do it, why not you?