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Tuesday, February 1,2011


By Liz Sterling  

All her life, Oprah has known she was born to greatness.

Yet she says, "Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity. "Her philosophy … doing your best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment."

Raised in abject poverty, Oprah, whose name was originally "Orpah," after the biblical figure in the book of Ruth, had her name changed to Oprah because others had difficulty pronouncing her name. She has Native American ancestry and believe it or not, received her first pair of shoes in 1959 at the age of six. We all know Oprah is an avid reader. She learned to read at age 2. In fact, when it was time for her to start kindergarten, she wrote a note to her teacher insisting she should be in first grade. The teacher agreed and after finishing that grade she was then skipped to third grade. In 1999, she was given an honorary National Book Award for her "influential contribution to reading and books". "Some women have a weakness for shoes," Oprah acknowledges," I can go barefoot if necessary. I have a weakness for books." Thanks to the Oprah Book Club, which began in 1996, many obscure titles have become popular bestsellers increasing sales in some cases by as many as several million copies; this occurrence is widely known as the Oprah effect.

Her broadcasting career began in Nashville while still in high school. At the age of 19, she became the youngest person and the first African-American woman to anchor the news at Nashville’s WTVF-TV. She then relocated to Baltimore’s WJZ-TV to co-anchor the "Six O’Clock News" and later went on to become co-host of its local talk show, "People Are Talking." In 1984, Oprah moved to Chicago to host a morning talk show, AM Chicago, which became the number one local talk show—surpassing ratings for Donahue—just one month after she began. In less than a year, the show expanded to one hour and was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show. It entered national syndication in 1986, becoming the highest-rated talk show in television history. In 1988, she established Harpo Studios, making her the third woman in the American entertainment industry (after Mary Pickford and Lucille Ball) to own her own studio.

The Oprah Winfrey Show has remained the number one talk show for 23 consecutive seasons. Produced by her own production company, Harpo Productions, Inc., the show is seen by an estimated 42 million viewers a week in the United States and is broadcast internationally in 145 countries. In 2008, Oprah and Discovery Communications announced plans to create "OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network." The new multi-platform media venture liberates Oprah who felt it was time to venture out on her own and produce programming that would feed the spirit and nourish the soul. It is designed to entertain, inform and inspire people to live their best lives. OWN debuted on January 1, 2011, and is seen in approximately 80 million homes. Thank you Oprah!

The best way for me to represent Oprah is to share with you the inspiration she gives me. I always say, take what you like and leave the rest. It’s my guess that from the list below, you’ll have everything you require to live your best life!

•The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.

•Energy is the essence of life. Every day you decide how you’re going to use it by knowing what you want and what it takes to reach that goal… and by maintaining focus.

•You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at once.

•The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance - and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.

•For every one of us that succeeds, it’s because there’s somebody there to show you the way out. The light doesn’t always necessarily have to be in your family; for me it was teachers and school.

•Lots of people want to ride with you in the Limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the Limo breaks down.

•The essential question is not, "How busy are you?’ but ‘What are you busy at?’ ‘Are you doing what fulfills you?’

•The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.

•Everyone is a keeper of a dream - and by tuning into one another’s secret hopes, we can become better friends, better partners, better parents, and better lovers.

This month, the month of Valentine’s Day, remember to let love lead…. This way, you are sure to be, in the very best moment of your life!


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