The next in the series on finding your focus – click here to subscribe and never miss another post.
Oprah Winfrey is one of most focussed people on plant. From humble origins she has built a one woman media machine. Over the last 25 years she has logged over 4,000 hours of the Oprah Show, speaking to audiences in over 100 countries. Her empire includes a magazine, book club and one of the world’s most popular websites. Oprah is the only person to have appeared on every Time Magazine list of the 100 most influential people in the world every year since its inception. When Oprah speaks, the world listens.
So how does Oprah stay so focussed. Here are 4 of her secrets:
1) Be Authentic – Find your Vocation
“The Biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams”
Oprah walks her truth. Her personal drive comes from the feeling that she was put on earth for a purpose. We all have a unique set of skills, strengths and abilities and personal values to serve. Finding a vocation – what you were put on earth to do – creates massive personal focus. Think about what you were put on earth to do – it needn’t be as grand an ambition as Oprah, Gandhi or Martin Luther King – perhaps it is to be a great parent, to care for others in your community, or to design a new technology to help mankind. If you can find your purpose, you’ll feel the urge to use every second on earth to achieve this.
2) Work Smarter – be more effective than everyone else
“The Big Secret in life is there is no Big Secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you are willing to work”
Oprah is renowned as one of the hardest working people on the planet – she never stops. Yet her secret is that she has learned to work effectively – to put her energy and attention into the most important activities and let the less important things go. Learning to work smarter is a key way to find more personal focus – it will free up energy and help you feel more fulfilled. Later in this series, I’ll share some key ideas on how to work smarter and be more effective.
3) Never give up – don’t let them drag you down
“We are each responsible for our own lives – no other person is or even can be”
Oprah could have given up before she even started. What are the odds of a girl born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage mother becoming one of the most influential people on the planet. Early in her career many media insiders were scathing of her rise, Time Magazine writing “In a field dominated by white males, she is a black female of ample bulk. As interviewers go, she is no match for, say, Phil Donahue.” Her secret is the ability to live in the moment and to face triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters the same. Oprah doesn’t’ operate in a rose-tinted wonderland where everything is wonderful. She takes a realistic, pragmatic approach to success and failure. She looks for the learning in every success – how to be better next time. Think about how you can cultivate a realistic determination to achieve your vocation.
4) Help others – Follow a Higher Calling
“What I know for sure is that what you give comes back to you”
Oprah is a woman on a mission. Everything she does is designed to help other people to make the most of their lives. By putting the welfare of others above that of herself, she has selected a motivation beyond serving her own ego and needs. Finding a motivation that goes beyond ourself is powerful way to increase our focus. When others are depending on our actions, it is harder to find an excuse or wimp out of helping. To increase your focus, consider the motivation behind your actions and look for opportunities to serve the greater good where possible.
Of course, there is only one Oprah. Finding your focus is a very personal process, yet we can learn from her example. One way to this is to try modelling Oprah. Pick a day, think about the focus needed to achieve what she has and then try being her for the day. Concentrate on acting authentically, being as effective and focussed on your priorities as possible, being indomitable and genuinely helping others. What did it feel like to be Oprah for the day? Please leave a comment and let everyone in the Less Ordinary community know.