|Oprah Winfrey - Courtesty www.people.com|
Women want change. By nature, we are rarely perfectly satisfied with ourselves or with our circumstances. By that I don't mean to imply we are complainers but rather that we have a strong tendency to push boundaries, are keen to improve our situation for ourselves - and for others. Perhaps this is because, by instinct, we are care givers. Oprah is no different from the rest of our gender in this; by exposing her weight journey, for example, she connects with women, most of whom wrestle with this area of 'general dissatisfaction'. But Oprah is a woman of influence, unarguably one of the most influential women of our times.
Oprah Winfrey is a gentlewoman. In spite of her popularity, she is gracious, poised, and kind. She honours others, by deferring to them; yet she does this without making herself subservient, without any lack of self-confidence. She reveals herself through candour and humour, showing that she has much in common with her female target audience.
Oprah is dignified, intelligent; she stands up for what is important to her - her values toward humanity and her programming mesh together as she features compassion and respect for others in the topics she chooses, the guests she hosts and her sensitive interviewing style. Though unmarried and without children herself, she promotes the value of education. Further, she unveils abuse issues by hosting survivors, celebrating their recovery rather than sensationalizing their trauma. She gels with her audience and her guests, and brings in specialists when her own credentials are insufficient on particular matters; she demonstrates humility.
Oprah is positive and assertive, and an encouragement to others. By using vocabulary that inspires and builds others - talking about someone else's courage, for example - she offers hope.
Why am I writing about Oprah? She is a successful woman, popular and influential, without sacrificing integrity or authenticity. I wonder, as an entrepreneur and creative person myself, how she has achieved it and how I can learn from her.
Although Oprah is on her own journey, and is no template for perfection, she has also testified that there is one reason for her 'success', which is to be found in Acts 17:38: 'I know in whom I live and move and have my being.' She has stated on air that from the age of five, she has known that it is through Jesus Christ that she has been successful. Many people who follow Jesus may not think Oprah is the ideal Christian; but such is her testimony, which demonstrates her character - her ability to connect with others - without judgment or fear - placing herself on the same level as her audience.
So, I suggest that, being true to oneself, caring and loving others, knowing our strengths and limitations and operating out of that, are keys to success - not necessarily a recipe for financial gain or fame, but for a thriving and meaningful life.
Best to you until next week... Please note, however, that this blog will soon stop issuing posts. I expect it will be kept live for a long time to come for readers to find and enjoy. But soon my website: www.laruspress.com will feature my blogging - I still have much to share.