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Think Like Oprah

think like oprah

Do you think Oprah Winfrey started out saying, “It would be nice to be on television every once in a while”? Or “It would be nice to write a book.” Most likely she had greater ambitions. She believed in herself, and today is a well-known personality with enormous influence in television, radio, and self-help.

Oprah is an excellent role model, and by that I don’t mean that you should audition for a job as a talk show host. Rather you can emulate how she thought big, took risks, and remained persistent. Popular author John Grisham was rejected by twelve publishing houses and sixteen agents before landing his first book contract. Originally The Beatles were turned down because a recording company “didn’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out.” Beethoven was told by a music teacher that, “as a composer, you’re hopeless.” And finally, Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected one hundred forty times. Today the anthology series has sixty-five different titles and has sold eighty million copies all over the world.    

Continued inspiration is critical to fuel your commitment to the process of finding that dream career. An exercise I always do with clients is called “Career Future Self.” It’s adapted from Co-Active Coaching by Laura Whitworth, Henry Kinsey-House, and Phil Sandahl and is a brilliant way to help people tap their inner strength and confidence to define who they want to be when they grow up. Imagine yourself in ten or twenty years — whichever time frame works best for you — and ask: “Who do you want to be then?” What qualities do you want to have… courage, confidence, sense of peace, balance in your life, passion, financial success?

Next think of people you know personally or through the media who seem to possess those qualities. They can be friends, next-door neighbors, historical figures, politicians. Think about what you admire. Is it that they’re living a full life? That they are generous and kind? That they never seem to be rushed? The point of this exercise is three-fold. First, you identify the strengths you want to develop. Working on those strengths helps you find your way and grow personally.

Second, focusing on those you admire helps inspire you to move forward through the tougher times in your transition. Third, envisioning yourself in ten to twenty years can be incredibly motivating because you begin to tap into your future self here and now.       

Action step: After you’ve thought about the exercise described above, commit it to paper. Write down the the qualities you want to have in the future. List the people that you admire and note what you admire about each one. Look for a connection between your future self and the people you list.

Need help with your career?

Certified Career Coach Hallie Crawford and her team of coaches specialize in helping professionals identify their ideal career path, navigate their transition and nurture their career. To schedule a complimentary consultation and find out more about the career coaches at visit our website: