She’s worth over $3 billion, she covers every Oprah Winfrey magazine, she has her television network and she started one of the biggest book clubs ever. Not to mention all the Oprah merchandise and events like her Life You Want tour which I was so blessed to be able to attend in Washington, DC last year. So how does she keep it all together and manage to be so successful?
Seize the day
In her Fast Company interview with J. J. McCorvey, Oprah says “I am aware that there is a finite amount of time and energy in every day, [and] now I’m in a position where I only do what I want to do.”
Oprah shares that one of the hardest things to do after leaving her talk show was getting accustomed to managing her own time. Most of her days were spent indoors working or at home, but now she enjoys the tweeting birds and shining sun.
A team for the task
Another key to Oprah’s success is structuring OWN so it can run without her constant oversight. Along with Oprah, copresidents Erik Logan and Sheri Salata make up the second and third leg of what they call the “three-legged stool” that supports OWN’s organization of 200 employees.
“I try to surround myself with people who really know what they’re doing and give them the freedom to do it,” said Oprah.
Choose your battles aka meetings
When I was in the corporate world I spent a lot of time in meetings and then had to spend my evenings working, which is why I totally understand when Oprah says she “really, really, really try’s to avoid meetings” and instead gets detailed summaries emailed to her by her staff.
Know your audience
One of the first rules of writing is to know your reader and in Oprah’s case it was about knowing her audience and figuring out what they wanted without compromising her values. Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav who created OWN with Oprah says: “the choices Oprah’s making are purpose-driven.” To find her footing, “she spent more time looking at content and talking to the audience, learning what’s different between the cable business and the syndication business. Every week the network got a little bit better.”
After getting educated about her audience, her new platform and after a collaboration with Tyler Perry, earlier this year OWN became the No. 1 cable network among women on Tuesday nights, when The Haves and the Have Nots airs, and the No. 1 network overall among African-American women.
Operate in the moment
Oprah’s big productivity secret, is to be fully present. “I have learned that your full-on attention for any activity you choose to experience comes with a level of intensity and truth,” she says. “It’s about living a present life, moment to moment—not worrying about what’s going to happen at 3 o’clock and what’s going to happen at 7 o’clock.” In other words: focus. “That whole thing about multitasking? That’s a joke for me. When I try to do that, I don’t do anything well.”
Never stop learning
Although it may seem that Oprah has it all together, Director Lee Daniels says that what makes Oprah spectacular is that she’s aware that she doesn’t have all the answers and that she’s in search of them in a space of humility.
Acknowledge a higher power
Oprah says “”My belief and understanding that there was a force—a presence, a power, a divine entity, a being, that loved me, and the very idea of being loved into being—is what has kept me grounded, what has kept me centered, what has kept me strong.”
“Through the grace of a force I call God,” Winfrey says, “I have been privileged to live this exquisitely inspired life. Daily, it continues to astound me that I’ve come from where I come from, and I am where I am. I feel that my role here on earth is to inspire people, and to get them to look at themselves. My genuine wish is to do better and be better to everybody. That’s not just some kind of talk for me. That’s who I am.”
Click here to read the full interview. Also, click below to get your Fast Company subscription for just $12.99!