Oprah Winfrey was born on this date – January 29 – 62 years ago. She is among the most successful entrepreneurs of all time with a net worth of $3 billion. Life magazine has named Oprah the most influential woman of her generation. Business Week has named her the greatest African-American philanthropist in American history.
Oprah was was born in poverty to an unmarried teen mother. She was sexually abused throughout her childhood and became a troubled, rebellious adolescent. She ran away from home at age 13.
Despite her difficult upbringing, Oprah did not allow her past to determine her future.
She demonstrated that regardless of the obstacles we face, we can achieve anything through passion, determination and hard work.
Here are 24 of her greatest quotes on life and success to inspire and empower you.
1. Find your calling
“Everybody has a calling. And your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you were meant to be, and to begin to honor that in the best way possible for yourself.”
“The key to realising a dream is to focus not on success but on significance – and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.”
“I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.”
“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.”
5. Make a difference
“You have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world.”
6. Do your best
“My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”
7. Know your purpose
“You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”
“The reason I’ve been able to be so financially successful is my focus has never, ever for one minute been money.”
9. Celebrate life
“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”
10. Follow your own path
“Often we don’t even realise who we’re meant to be because we’re so busy trying to live out someone else’s ideas. But other people and their opinions hold no power in defining our destiny.”
11. Choose excellence
“The choice to be excellent begins with aligning your thoughts and words with the intention to require more from yourself.”
12. Keep good company
“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”
“Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possibility.”
14. Do what you love
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
15. Be the artist of your life
“With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice.”
16. Leave your comfort zone
“I believe that one of life’s greatest risks is never daring to risk.”
17. Make a difference
“What material success does is provide you with the ability to concentrate on other things that really matter. And that is being able to make a difference, not only in your own life but in other people’s lives.”
18. Stay positive
“I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become.”
“I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.”
20. Be limitless
“Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.”
21. Take risks
“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.”
“Turn your wounds into wisdom.”
23. Follow your passion
“What I know is, is that if you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come.”
24. Take action
“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.”
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Successful People Always Chase the Impossible – Here’s Why
Achieving perfection may never happen, but the attempt can lead to results you never imagined.
Vince Lombardi said it best: “We will chase perfection, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence.”
Successful people are always in the chase for perfection. As Lombardi knew, however, and as I’ve discovered more than once myself, what we chase is often very different from what we catch.
Early in my career, I planned on being a pharmacist, then making partner at a PR firm. Both goals were within reach, but I never caught them — as they came close I found myself rethinking my ambitions, then changing direction. I had to let go of the goals that had motivated me for years, and find different ones, chasing perfection in new and often unexpected ways.
If you are looking to catch the best in excellence, while not letting yourself get boxed in by chasing perfection, it is important to remember a few key guidelines.
Changing your path isn’t failing
Successful people – and entrepreneurs especially – are driven by their goals. It’s a fine line, though, between goals that inspire and goals that trap. The best stories about entrepreneurs are full of fresh starts and unexpected detours. If you find yourself disliking what you’re doing, or feeling frustrated even when things are going well, think about making a new plan.
Changing your path isn’t bad or wrong or failing – it’s simply a new choice, and often the right one.
Never perceive anything as a setback
Circumstances can spiral out of control – plans tank, products fail, companies come apart. When something is running off the road you can be consumed by it, or you can realise that what you took to heart before isn’t your reality anymore, and the seeming chaos around you disguises a new reality. Don’t beat yourself up about it, don’t mourn the wasted time and the discarded mission. Negative experiences aren’t a setback, they’re a chance to make new decisions that are right for you.
However bad the situation, there’s always an angle
When things get rough, take five minutes and give free rein to let it all out. Find a private place, get mad or cry, let whatever’s struggling inside you get out. Then get to work finding the angle. There’s always an angle, and a path forward to success. Usually, it involves getting over yourself. Whatever your emotions, stop thinking it’s about you.
Recognise that you’re in service to something larger than yourself – your company, your staff, the people who depend on you. That’s where you’ll find the angle you need, beyond your emotions, and outside of yourself.
Success looks different to different people
We can all relate to the true believer who challenges conventional wisdom and beats the odds. When we make these challenges, our parents, bosses, society at large – insert appropriate authority figure – sometimes just won’t see it our way. But often it’s our own internal schoolmaster that’s the barrier we need to overcome. We persist in judging ourselves by standards that once seemed essential, but have outlived their usefulness. In fact, there are many different ways to succeed. The important thing is being comfortable with knowing there is more than one right answer.
It’s a never-ending experience
Is it ever time to stop chasing perfection? No. Chasing perfection is the opposite of a hamster wheel or rat race. It’s about your never-ending pursuit of happiness. The sooner in life that we master the flexible mindset needed for continuous evolution, the better.
My career has had enough twists and turns all ready to make a running back proud. At those times when I had no control over my external situation, I could see that the one path I thought I would take wasn’t the only path – or even the right path.
I’ve never come close to attaining perfection, but Mr. Lombardi was right. By chasing it, from my days studying to be a pharmacist to my current role as VP of Marketing and Communications at Intel, I’ve caught excellence again and again along the way.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Why Grit Is The True Determining Factor Of Success
How grit and determination helped Bertus Albertse take control of his destiny and build an award-winning franchise brand.
- Player:Bertus Albertse
- Company: Body20
- Contact:+27 (0)872310359
- Visit: body20.co.za
What does it take to open a successful business, franchise it, and then take it global? In many instances, the answer is grit, determination and the ability to get back up when life knocks you down.
In fact, Angela Lee Duckworth, an academic and psychologist based at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies concepts such as self-control and grit to determine how they might predict academic and professional success, believes that the single biggest predictor of success isn’t social intelligence, good looks, physical health or even IQ.
The single biggest predictor of success is grit.
According to Duckworth, grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. It’s having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week or the month, but for
Years. It’s about working hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
To find the epitome of grit, we need look no further than Bertus Albertse, the founder and CEO of Body20 Global, a local franchise that is now making international waves.
As a youngster, Bertus was used to living in the unpredictable. His parents divorced when he was just nine months old and his mother, walking with both him and his sister on her hips, moved from house to house whenever his alcoholic grandfather took to the rod.
He realised early in his life that material things come and go as his mother had to return worn clothes and used toys not long after they have been purchased.
In fact, it happened so often that at some point even Bertus and his sister had to return items at retail stores at a young age in order to have money for food or petrol.
“To this day I’ve never forgotten where I come from and how retailers looked at me and my sister with pity and shame in their eyes,” he recalls.
Going the distance
Instead of letting the experience bow him down, Bertus learnt to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, taking control and responsibility over his own life. As an excelling young sportsman, he soon realised how he could control his own destiny by consistently putting in huge effort.
One of his favourite quotes is “You are what you repeatedly do, therefore excellence is not an act but rather a habit.”
It’s a mantra he lives by. Through pure grit and determination, he went from a small, skinny kid from the ‘platteland’ in the West Coast to be the first Head Boy of both the school and boy’s residents at the prestigious high school, Jan van Riebeeck, situated in the heart of Cape Town.
Stay hungry and make a real impact
Bertus also has numerous sports achievements, including national and international Body Building and Fitness titles. With his passionate and optimistic outlook on life, he soon realised that people are drawn to the ideas and things that inspire him and this has given him a flair for business, enabling him to share that passion with his community.
He started his first business in his second year of University in Stellenbosch with a R20 000 loan from his father, which he subsequently paid back three months later.
Today, Bertus is the founder and CEO of the award-winning global fitness franchise network, Body20. He strives to impact those around him by inspiring them to take control of their lives and encourages people to believe in the impossible, but to always remember to take consistent, daily actions to make it possible.
“A rabbit will always outrun the fox, because while the fox runs for its lunch the rabbit runs for its life.” He likes to be reminded of how hungry you have to be to truly make an impact in the world.
4 Success Lessons From The Entrepreneur Who Quietly Grew Pinterest Into A $12 Billion Company
Ben Silberman left a safe and lucrative job at Google to start a company. When it failed, he started another one that succeeded big time.
When Ben Silbermann, CEO and creator of Pinterest speaks at an event, the audience hangs on his every word. Soft-spoken and introverted, Silbermann launched the visual idea sharing service in 2010. Since then it has exploded. It’s currently estimated to be worth more than $12 billion and has more than 200 million users logging in at least once a month.
People who don’t use the platform much often assume Pinterest is, like Twitter or Facebook, a social media service for people to share with their friends what they’re doing. That’s not the case.
Pinterest has morphed into much more of a place for people to find ideas for their life, while brands can insert themselves into that process in a less intrusive way than they do on a Facebook wall. This different approach is proving successful – the company made almost half a billion dollars last year.
Just how did Silbermann become the private holder of one of the most successful social media channels in existence? He has more or less shared his life story over the years, and here’s some of what we can learn from that.
1. Completely commit, even to the unknown, because passion is paramount
Before Silberman went to college, he intended to be a doctor. He studied at MIT’s Research Science Institute, before pursuing a degree in political science. After graduation, Google hired him to produce online advertising.
As he worked with his friend, Paul Sciarra, at Google designing iPhone apps, his mind went back to when he was a child. He loved collecting, categorising and organising things. The two partnered with Evan Sharp to use that as inspiration for an online pinboard.
Ben’s girlfriend and later wife encouraged him to go all in. He decided to quit his job at Google and devote himself to building the startup. He said at first it was nerve-wracking to give up Google’s resources and the promise of predictable income for a future that was wholly unknown.
At first, Silbermann and Sciarra raised funds for Tote, a shopping app that never took off. While developing the app, Silbermann noticed people saved photos of items they wanted to purchase so they could return to them later. He connected that idea with his love of collecting.
2. Keep learning, even if you’re the boss
Silbermann tells audiences he reads continually to stay on trend. Every weekend he soaks up information from a book about business, technology or marketing and uses that knowledge to offer added value.
He recommends learning from mistakes too. The Tote app was a failure, but as is so often the case, that failure proved to be a blessing. The creation experience led to the germination of a successful idea.
The entrepreneurs that rise to the top are often the ones who refuse to quit when people tell them “no.” Instead, they patiently listen and sift through situations to find what knowledge they can glean to create a more positive outcome in the future.
If you’re in a situation like this right now with a struggling business, what are the biggest lessons you can learn from it?
3. Surround yourself with talent, even if you don’t quite know their role yet
Pinterest started as an invite-only community. The first users were design bloggers Silbermann recruited. He advised these invitees to only extend admission to people they knew with unique ideas and creative minds. The exclusive community grew slowly until 2012 when the site removed the invitation requirement.
In the early days of Pinterest’s explosive growth, the company’s CEO hired people for their strengths, even if he didn’t have an immediate role for them. It was more about who they are than completing a specific set of tasks. Those key hires infused the company with innovative thinking and repeatedly found solutions to problems that seemed unsolvable.
4. Prioritise customer experience, even if the metrics don’t agree
Instead of focusing soley on page views and other metrics, Pinterest seeks to enhance the user experience. While the number of clicks or the time each user spends on page provides insight, it doesn’t always give an accurate measure of user engagement.
Pinterest was one of the earliest websites to incorporate infinite scrolling so users could view thousands of ideas without having to navigate to a different page. He stopped caring so much about clicks and ad loads, and concentrated more on what would cause people to fall further in love with the experience he offered.
Silbermann says what users want is always changing. This year users are pinning things like tattoo images, woodworking ideas and classic car photos, subjects that weren’t as popular a year ago. He recently incorporated (AI) to enhance that experience, with people being served up more of what they like after they express preferences.
Silbermann points out how competitors like Amazon are copying successful features Pinterest has been using for a long time and says his success is largely due to offering users a way to pursue their passions.
It looks like Silbermann’s success will continue into the future, especially with talk of an IPO in the coming years. Many of the lessons he has shared are timeless. Applying them to any career or company will probably help yield success.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
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