Paths to Success: 5 Career Lessons to Learn from Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey rose from a childhood of poverty and abuse to being the host of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the highest-rated talk show in American history. Here are five career lessons you can learn from the inspiring ascent of “The Queen of All Media.”

Keep a positive attitude.

Although Winfrey’s youth was extremely difficult, she claims that she always knew she was destined for greatness. Regardless of her circumstances, Winfrey’s inner strength put her on the right track to achieve her goals.

Do the grunt work.

Winfrey spent years working as a news anchor to gain experience and pay her bills, a job which she greatly disliked. To obtain her dream career, Winfrey was prepared to spend a few years building up the necessary media experience to get her foot in the door.

Get a job that fits your personality.

Winfrey’s talk show success is largely due to her friendly and empathetic nature, which allows her to connect with guests on a personal level. When deciding on your own career path, consider which jobs fit your personality; for instance, an extrovert may be well-suited for a career in communications.

Ask for advice.

When making career choices, don’t hesitate to gain multiple perspectives by asking your mentors or peers for advice. When Winfrey was trying to decide whether to syndicate her show, she asked for advice from television star and film critic Roger Ebert. Ebert convinced her to move forward, resulting in The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Fight the glass ceiling.
As an African American woman in the talk show field, Winfrey believes that the best way to fight racism and sexism is through personal excellence. Winfrey did not allow her outsider status to deter her from pursuing a job that she loved, and consequently inspired others to follow their dreams, as well.

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