If there’s someone worth aspiring to be, it’s Oprah. She is a self-made billionaire and a self-aware visionary. A woman with generosity, authenticity and integrity her influence is responsible for healing women and raising girls all over the world.
I love Oprah. There, I said it. I love her. But even more so after spending an evening with her in Adelaide recently.
I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. I grew up watching her and so, of course, I know what she’s all about. Her shows were some of the best examples of entertainment and inspiration I had seen so I guess I expected those things at least. But she got a bad wrap for her Melbourne show and so I just didn’t know I was in for.
Well, I was in for a treat. And is turned it out – We were ALL treated.
The audience in Adelaide loved An Evening With Oprah and let her know with applause, cheers and a long, standing ovation. It seems she hit the sweet spot for us South Australians.
And as for me, well I haven’t been able to stop thinking about everything that woman said. I was fixated for the entire time that she was on stage, looking away only to furiously record her greatest moments. Which meant I was taking a shitload of notes. An almost constant stream of affirmations that I’m doing some stuff right and light-bulb moments that I thought I already knew were filling up my head at a rapid rate and my heart was filling up just as quickly.
It was like a keynote address on ‘How to Be Your Best Self’ peppered with hilarious anecdotes, some pretty cool old Oprah footage and a couple of poems I’d never read before. A great believer in spirituality and universal laws, Oprah implores us all to listen to our instinct and remember that everyone always deserves a second chance. Seriously, it was like gems were falling out of her mouth and I have spent almost every minute since then working out how to be my best self.
She told us of her childhood, her hankering for long words and how she used her cheeky and determined spirit to make her way through school, well ahead of her peers.
And I’ve broken it down to these key things [plus I’ve thrown in those poems she recited because they’re AWESOME.]
1. Live your best life
“Every new day is another day to live your best life.” Had a shit day yesterday? Start again today.
2. What is your calling?
“Your calling is your offering to the world.” What really makes you feel most like yourself? You are here to offer THAT to the world.
3. Trust your instinct
“Your instinct is your spiritual GPS.” You know that feeling in your gut? Listen to it and let it guide you.
4. Be you
“There is no better you than you.” We KNOW these things but we forget. Which is why we end up trying to look like, talk like, act like someone else. Someone we think is better than us. DON’T DO THAT.
5. Be generous
“Your life gets validated by what you do for others.” I really feel this already.
6. We all want to matter
“Ultimately everybody wants the same thing – Did you see me? Did you hear me? Did what I say mean anything to you? Is what I’m saying reaching you? Does it matter?” Once you understand this about people, apply it to your dealings with your family, friends, colleagues and even critics.
7. Actions and consequences
“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This is the 3rd law of motion in physics and Oprah swears by it. So I do too now. Actually I have been for a while, since having kids at least. Parenting seems to be a lot of ‘if you do that, this will happen’ conversations.
8. Disease to Please
“We have to cure our Disease to Please.”
This is predominantly a woman’s ailment and we need to eradicate it.
“No is a complete sentence.” This is the treatment for the Disease to Please
10. Be Excellent
Jesse Jackson once said to her “Excellence is the best deterrent to racism,” he said. “Therefore, be excellent.” She went on to say that excellence is, in fact, the best deterrent to everything. BE EXCELLENT.
“You become what you believe not what you want.” Your wants and beliefs need to align or you’ll self-sabotage yourself every day.
12. You can't control others
“You have no power or control in any other territory than your own.” SO IMPORTANT. You have no control over anyone else’s feelings, actions and behaviours. You can only control your own. Own it and be responsible for it.
Poem 1: Invictus - William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
Poem 2: Love after Love - Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Oprah’s message was strong. Pay attention to your life. Believe in the greater power that lives in spirit and find your passion. Purpose is the thread that connects the dots in your life and all power comes from the great power that lives in spirit.