When thinking about the leaders of today the first thing that came to my mind was…well…Donald Trump. This made me actually worry for our country for a moment. Then, I really thought about it. Who is someone that we all know and why do we know them? I came up with people like Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Bill Gates, and even Miley Cyrus. While I truly believe that all of these people are leaders in their own way, I then thought of Oprah Winfrey. I’m not sure why Oprah popped into my head but I’m glad that she did. We all know Oprah. You don’t even have to know her last name and you know who we’re talking about. When I was six years old watching Drake and Josh on Nickelodeon, I knew who Oprah was. I was then hit with the big question: why is she a leader?
To be honest, I did not know how to answer that question. I thought “well she’s inspiring, the richest African American in the world, and I always hear about her giving to charity”. Cool. Then I realized that a lot of people do things of that nature. What makes Oprah so special? So, I did some research. I learned that Oprah grew up in poverty to a single teen mom. I learned that Oprah was molested at a young age and became pregnant due to this at age 14. I learned that Oprah Winfrey’s son then passed away during infancy. Let’s stop there; at age 14, Oprah Winfrey had gone through more tragedy in her life than most people ever do. I’m not saying that makes you a leader by any means but I think that if you look simply from where she was then to where she is now, she had to do something pretty terrific to come back from that.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” -Oprah Winfrey
So let me tell you about all of the things that she did in the middle that make her a leader. Oprah decided to move in with the man that she calls her father in Chicago after losing her son. By age 19, Oprah had landed a job at a radio station co-anchoring the local evening news. From there, her career prospered due to her childhood story and she became the talk-show host at a local talk-show in Chicago. After becoming a third-ranked local talk-show host, Oprah decided to launch her own production company and begin her most famous talk-show, the Oprah Show.
“What I know for sure is that what you give comes back to you” -Oprah Winfrey
What makes Oprah special to me is that she did not stop there. Oprah continued to work hard and help others as much as she could. She didn’t say “I made it, I’m done”. Oprah now is also a producer, actress, and philanthropist. Oprah Winfrey has made her way into everyone’s lives. Oprah Winfrey is such an influential person that she brought almost one million votes to Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008 solely for giving him her vote. Oprah Winfrey is the face of Women and African American rights.
One thing that Oprah Winfrey did that inspires me the most was the Oprah Angel Network Katrina registry. This was a network that Oprah created following Hurricane Katrina which raised more than $11 million dollars for relief efforts. On top of this, Oprah personally gave the cause $10 million dollars.
Let’s flash back to where she was in the beginning; poverty. Oprah rose herself up. This is what makes her a leader to me. I and so many others are inspired by Oprah Winfrey because she was not given some kind of miracle. Oprah wasn’t just picked up by some famous celebrity. Oprah saw the things that she wanted to do and give to this world and she found a way to make it happen. The fact that she once had nothing and still shot for dreams of where she is solely to help people who need it. Solely to make her mark on this world. I am inspired by this because that is all that I want out of the life I am living.
I might not be shooting for dreams of being the richest women in the world or starring on Drake and Josh, but I want to change something. I want to leave this world better than how I found it and if Oprah can live the life and make the impact that she has from what she has been given, so can I.
“The essential question is not, “How busy are you?’ but ‘What are you busy at?’ ‘Are you doing what fulfills you?” -Oprah Winfrey