Oprah’s net worth is $2.7 billion and as an entrepreneur she’s earned an impressive annual salary of $290 million – enough said – let’s listen to her advice.

Be True To Yourself: Exactly right. Oprah talks about her childhood giving examples of how she was almost born a talk show host. Similarly, embrace your strengths and skills that you know you are good at. Don’t be untrue to yourself.

If you haven’t fallen down, then you haven’t walked: Of course! In life you have to take some risks, not frequent and foolish ones, but some calculated risks have to be taken. And you will fail. People have failed many, many times. Look at Colonel Sanders; he didn’t find business success until he reached his 70’s.

Finding the good in the bad: I struggle with this all the time. It’s easier to be hypercritical of others, pointing the finger, and blaming outside circumstances to every day woes, but Oprah didn’t do that. Through tremendous childhood and adolescent struggles she chose love over fear, love over hate, love over helplessness.

Status Quo – Challenging it and following your gut: You have got to look at things differently and bring your creativity to the workplace or in anything that you do. This truly separates you from the pack. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or invent the next billion-dollar idea, but you can be creative in the little things you do every day. Example: challenge or engage a customer differently, send a hand written thank you card, try a new approach with a service or offering that nobody else is doing.

In my sales career, I have been successful, and part of this reason is that I follow my gut all the time. It might mean that when I connect with the right personality I know that a partnership might be important. Or, reaching out to a customer at the right time with the right approach. Sometimes, I feel as though I’m being “guided by a hidden hand.” I do things that I don’t even think about, don’t even fully digest, and then the next moment I’m closer to closing a deal or have developed a great new strategy after a tactical approach that I know will lead to career changing business success. 

You Make Your Own Luck:  

This is so resoundingly clear, but I don’t think people embrace it. In fact, I’m not sure I would be mentally ready if that customer with a huge budget suddenly opened the door and said “I’ve got millions to spend, what you got?” I have my playbook already, but lifting the mental block believing that it could never happen to you will only hold you back. Practice envisioning where that customer or account might be and then focus on what you’d do if you had to give the “big pitch.” Making your own luck also means hard work. Starting early in the morning and going beyond what the competition might be doing. In my business it’s all about “who you know,” and since I wasn’t born a Kennedy or a Rockefeller it means I have to get to know the right people, get them to like and appreciate me as a person, and provide value in whatever I do. Do likewise.

Help others, you help yourself, and saying thank you:

I can’t imagine that we’re on the planet just to satisfy ourselves and make our own lives as comfortable as possible. I think everyone feels a certain sense of satisfaction, a certain joy, and a certain sense of purpose by helping someone else no matter how big or small. Love is the fabric of the universe so help others whenever you can. And appreciate everything that you have. There will always be someone out there that has more than you, but probably many that have less. Be thankful for every second of small joy, whether it’s a visit to a friend or relative, or if you’re lucky enough to be able to drive by or visit nature, the mountains, a park, or the beach as an example. Everyone experiences challenges or suffering, but everyone can probably find a few moments to be grateful for something. Be grateful and give to others.

Slow down and choose friends carefully: Certainly my life isn’t as hectic as Oprahs. So, take fifteen minutes for yourself and appreciate some peace or some joy and live in the moment. Everyone can take fifteen minutes to themselves every day. Whether the toddler is napping or a few minutes during a lunch break, take a moment to slow down and observe. Life is beautiful if you take a minute to look at it.

On friends, and I know this well, especially in my business. Make someone money and…….tada… have an instant friend! Make some more money and……..tada………. more instant friends! It’s amazing how many friendships will be extended from bosses, coworkers, and business partners when you’re good at what you do and making them money. “Are they going to take the bus with you when the limo breaks down?” Most won’t. I’ve learned that the hard way. Choose good people, real people, people that are helping others and making a difference to spend your time with. It’s amazing what terrible lifestyle or good lifestyle habits will end up rubbing off on you.

Own everything you do, you’re in charge, and do what you love:

Never allow others or outside circumstances to define you. You define you and you are in charge. You can do what you love and be really successful doing it. Create a plan, focus on what you want, and execute knowing that it may take a while, even many years, before you truly reap what you sow.

Tony Bilby