“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.” ~Oprah Winfrey
There’s no doubt that that Oprah Winfrey is inspirational to millions of people around the world. Her story, in many ways, is the definition of success and the American dream. Oprah shows us what’s possible for someone who works hard, uses their natural talents, and is persistent enough to overcome any obstacles in her path.
Oprah had humble beginnings, growing up in poverty in rural Mississippi and later in an inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood. She experienced considerable hardship during her childhood, including being raped at age nine and becoming pregnant at 14, although her son died in infancy. But Oprah didn’t let her circumstances stop her, she followed her calling from radio, to television, to her own 25-year successful television show, and eventually to owning her own media empire.
Oprah has been called the most influential woman in the world, a great philanthropist, and at one time was the only black billionaire. In the final episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, which aired on May 11, 2011, Oprah reflected on her career, her guests, and what makes them a success. In her own words:
“What I knew for sure from this experience with you is that we are all called. Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it. Every time we have seen a person on this stage who is a success in their life, they spoke of the job, and they spoke of the juice that they receive from doing what they knew they were meant to be doing.
To live from the heart of yourself. You have to make a living; I understand that. But you also have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world.”
“My great wish for all of you who have allowed me to honor my calling through this show is that you carry whatever you’re supposed to be doing, carry that forward and don’t waste any more time. Start embracing the life that is calling you and use your life to serve the world.”
So, how do you go about finding your “calling”? In a great article on Tiny Buddha, called Find Your Calling, 5 Steps to Identify Your Purpose, Amy Kessel lines out the five steps to finding your calling:
1.) Notice What Captivates You
2.) Take Your Life Inventory, Reflect Past Callings.
3.) Journal on What Your Calling Is.
4.) Ask Others.
5.) Use Your Values as a Guide.
In her article, Amy also mentions an exercise that you can do that is described by Steve Pavlina for Discovering Your Calling in 20 Minutes:
- Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type (I prefer the latter because it’s faster).
- Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”
- Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.
- Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.
What is your calling? Are you working on it right now? Share your thoughts below.
Photo by Alan Light.