Because today is International Women’s Day, and because I had the absolute privilege of hearing Oprah Winfrey, an international treasure of a woman, speak yesterday at a conference I attended, I felt compelled to share some thoughts with you!
I’ve always respected and admired Oprah as a woman and entrepreneur, particularly for her emotional intelligence, her desire to help others, her grace, and her authenticity. But until seeing her and hearing from her in person yesterday, I didn’t understand the depth and wisdom of her experiences. Her words were not only beautiful, but deeply meaningful and inspirational.
Below are some of the things I took away from her speech, which was full of good life advice. And honestly, I’d take life advice from Oprah any day. She seems to be doing okay.
Note: Her message is NOT just for women, but applies to men, too! These words are true for everyone. And if for some inexplicable reason you don’t like Oprah, then pretend these words are from your favorite professional athlete and internalize them anyway.
Be Intentional With Your Life
Oprah talked a lot about intentionality and how everything we do should be done with intention.
With everything we start, we should ask ourselves, “What do we want to accomplish? What truth are we trying to tell? What do we want others to know or do?”
Asking these questions gives meaning to our lives and to everything we do.
“I don’t do anything that I don’t intend to do.”
People Want to Be Heard and Seen
She shared something very eye opening that I think is important for everyone to recognize. Years of hosting a talk show allowed her to interview thousands of people, and in that time she said that after each interview, no matter who it was with, everyone asked a version of the same question. Whether it was Beyonce’ or Obama, or completely unknown people, they all asked, “Was that okay?” Meaning, “Did you hear me? Did what I say mean anything to you?”
Her takeaway is that everyone wants validation. We want to know that we are seen and heard. No matter who we are. That we had the chance to speak our mind and that it got through to someone.
“All human beings want the same thing. To be able to live out the fullest, highest, truest expression of themselves as a human being.”
Live a Life of Service
I can’t summarize this one better than she said it herself, so here are my favorite quotes:
“How do you live your life in service to the world? And in service to what you have been called to do? Ask yourself, “How do I use my work in service to something greater than myself?”
“When you use what you have been called to do to serve others, it comes back to you tenfold. 100 fold. Living in service to others will bless you in ways that you can’t even imagine right now.”
“Everybody has a calling. Be obedient to yours.”
“Your legacy is not any one big thing you do. Your legacy is every life you touch.”
Oprah is all about the practice of gratitude, one of my personal favorite topics and practices. I’ve said before that you get out of life what you put into it. The more you practice gratitude, the more you have to be grateful for.
She shared that just yesterday morning, she was grateful for the smell of the lemon soap in her hotel, and the high water pressure in the shower, and the rain coming down as she walked to her car. It’s all about the little things.
“What you focus on is what comes back to you all the time. When you focus on what you have instead of what you don’t have, that’s what you start to get back.”
Make Time for Stillness
This is where Oprah talked about “stillness being her greatest partner.” There’s so much noise in the world. We’re inundated with advertisements, the latest Netflix shows, endless social media channels. We’ve succumb to the need to constantly be doing something, and we’ve forgotten how to be still and appreciate the quiet.
This is also where she talked about her faith in God and practicing prayer and stillness beneath twelve trees in her backyard, which she refers to as “the apostles.”
“Give yourself the gift of quiet time and stillness. That’s where the creativity comes. There is true power that comes from being still.”
This reminded me of a favorite scripture to reflect upon during this Lenten season:
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
Happy International Women’s Day to the countless women who keep me sane, encourage me, laugh with me, cry with me and love me wholeheartedly every day. Oprah has incredibly inspiring words, but nothing compares to the real, true, honest relationships I have with the women who surround me in this life!