Today I was reading some of the tweets of people I follow. Brian Wong tweeted ” Must watch – Steve Jobs: How to live before you die | Video on TED.com” I was wondering if it was a new address by Steve Jobs.
I have been searching for some career motivations and another one of Jobs’ speeches had motivated me. It turned out to be the same speech and I re-watched it trying to get re-energized for the decisions I need to make about my future. For my coworkers who read this I am not necessarily looking for a new job but definitely looking for a new focus.
After watching the address it showed a link to Oprah’s commencement address. I was curious so I watched it.
I am not a big fan of Oprah. I never understood what she was about. I have always blamed it on the fact that I am a man and she was a woman. Today I watched her give the Commencement address at Stanford for the class of 2008.
Winfrey drew on experiences from a career that began in 1976 when she co-anchored a television newscast, and she shared three lessons about feelings, failure and finding happiness. She also touched on the message of education.
I think that the three lessons she shares with the graduating class are priceless and should be shared.
She gave away some great gifts of wisdom about life.
One of her messages was that life is an educational experience and the more you learn and share that knowledge with others the better your life becomes.
The world has so many lessons to teach you. I consider the world, this Earth, to be like a school and our life the classrooms. And sometimes here in this Planet Earth school the lessons often come dressed up as detours or roadblocks. And sometimes as full-blown crises. And the secret I’ve learned to getting ahead is being open to the lessons, lessons from the grandest university of all, that is, the universe itself.
It’s being able to walk through life eager and open to self-improvement and that which is going to best help you evolve, ’cause that’s really why we’re here, to evolve as human beings. To grow into more of ourselves, always moving to the next level of understanding, the next level of compassion and growth.
I think about one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received: I interviewed with a reporter when I was first starting out in Chicago. And then many years later, I saw the same reporter. And she said to me, “You know what? You really haven’t changed. You’ve just become more of yourself.”
And that is really what we’re all trying to do, become more of ourselves. And I believe that there’s a lesson in almost everything that you do and every experience, and getting the lesson is how you move forward. It’s how you enrich your spirit. And, trust me, I know that inner wisdom is more precious than wealth. The more you spend it, the more you gain.
One of her messages was this after being fired from what she thought was a dream job. .
And after eight months, I lost that job. They said I was too emotional. I was too much. But since they didn’t want to pay out the contract, they put me on a talk show in Baltimore. And the moment I sat down on that show, the moment I did, I felt like I’d come home. I realized that TV could be more than just a playground, but a platform for service, for helping other people lift their lives. And the moment I sat down, doing that talk show, it felt like breathing. It felt right. And that’s where everything that followed for me began.
And I got that lesson. When you’re doing the work you’re meant to do, it feels right and every day is a bonus, regardless of what you’re getting paid.
It’s true. And how do you know when you’re doing something right? How do you know that? It feels so. What I know now is that feelings are really your GPS system for life. When you’re supposed to do something or not supposed to do something, your emotional guidance system lets you know. The trick is to learn to check your ego at the door and start checking your gut instead. Every right decision I’ve madeâ€”every right decision I’ve ever madeâ€”has come from my gut. And every wrong decision I’ve ever made was a result of me not listening to the greater voice of myself.
If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. That’s the lesson. And that lesson alone will save you, my friends, a lot of grief. Even doubt means don’t. This is what I’ve learned. There are many times when you don’t know what to do. When you don’t know what to do, get still, get very still, until you do know what to do.
And when you do get still and let your internal motivation be the driver, not only will your personal life improve, but you will gain a competitive edge in the working world as well. Because, as Daniel Pink writes in his best-seller, A Whole New Mind, we’re entering a whole new age. And he calls it the Conceptual Age, where traits that set people apart today are going to come from our heartsâ€”right brainâ€”as well as our heads. It’s no longer just the logical, linear, rules-based thinking that matters, he says. It’s also empathy and joyfulness and purpose, inner traits that have transcendent worth.
These qualities bloom when we’re doing what we love, when we’re involving the wholeness of ourselves in our work, both our expertise and our emotion.
So, I say to you, forget about the fast lane. If you really want to fly, just harness your power to your passion. Honor your calling. Everybody has one. Trust your heart and success will come to you.
The bottom line is her speech gave me a new perspective about her but it also given me something to think about with my career and my daily life. I think by sharing this maybe more people can put life into perspective. The focus of my blog is to become a place to help other people and not necessarily tear down but to build up. The lessons of which Oprah taught in her address have been on my mind for months. Creating a business that gives value instead of just taking money.
The 30 minutes you spend watching her speech will be time well spent even if she goes off topic a few times especially at the beginning.