Yesterday, Oprah Winfrey ended her show's 25-year run. (And she never missed a day of work!) Her final show was devoid of fanfare, free stuff, and celebrity guests. It was simply Oprah. Sadly, I didn't get to watch it (hoping one of the local channels would show it some time), but I did get to read her love letter to us, her viewers. Some of the things that struck me:
"What I knew for sure from this experience with you is that we are all called. Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it. Every time we have seen a person on this stage who is a success in their life, they spoke of the job, and they spoke of the juice that they receive from doing what they knew they were meant to be doing. We saw it in the volunteers who rocked abandoned babies in Atlanta. We saw it with those lovely pie ladies from Cape Cod making those delicious pot pies... We saw it every time Tina Turner, Celine, Bocelli, or Lady Gaga lit up the stage with their passion. Because that is what a calling is. It lights you up and it lets you know that you are exactly where you're supposed to be, doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing. And that is what I want for all of you and hope that you will take from this show. To live from the heart of yourself. You have to make a living; I understand that. But you also have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world."
It made me realize that anyone, no matter what his or her background, has the capacity to do something magical. When one finds what he or she is meant to do, and embraces it fully, amazing things happen. Oprah happens!
"Each one of you has your own platform. Do not let the trappings here fool you. Mine is a stage in a studio, yours is wherever you are with your own reach, however small or however large that reach is. Maybe it's 20 people, maybe it's 30 people, 40 people, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your classmates, your classroom, your co-workers. Wherever you are, that is your platform, your stage, your circle of influence. That is your talk show, and that is where your power lies. In every way, in every day, you are showing people exactly who you are. You're letting your life speak for you. And when you do that, you will receive in direct proportion to how you give in whatever platform you have.
"My great wish for all of you who have allowed me to honor my calling through this show is that you carry whatever you're supposed to be doing, carry that forward and don't waste any more time. Start embracing the life that is calling you and use your life to serve the world."
I think today, I have a greater understanding of my job and my responsibility. I am at the helm of a magazine that reaches thousands and thousands of women every month, part of the bigger Good Housekeeping family that reaches 25 million readers a month. While I've always known that I have this amazing platform, today I have a renewed commitment to "use my life to serve the world."
Perhaps one of the most touching things she said involved feelings of unworthiness--a common thread among viewers and guests throughout her 25 years.
"There is a difference, you know, between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing you are worthy of happiness... We often block our own blessings because we don't feel inherently good enough or smart enough or pretty enough or worthy enough... The show has taught me you're worthy because you are born and because you are here. Your being here, your being alive makes worthiness your birthright. You alone are enough."
I teared up as I read her words. Like many, when we ask for things, or long for things, or have secret dreams of what we want our lives to be like, it doesn't come without some guilt. How could such good things possibly come into my life? Have I done enough to deserve them? But today, I know: I am worthy. We are all worthy. Thank you, Oprah, for showing me that.
And now, on to greatness.