I started watching Oprah twenty-five years ago when my son was three years old, he’d have a nap and I would chill on the couch with a cup of tea in one of my good cups and saucers and watch Miss Oprah Winfrey. She was a breath of fresh air on any given day in my stressed out life.
I was newly separated from my husband, living alone with my son, struggling to make ends meet, uncertain of where I was headed, and downright scared about the future.
Oprah gave me hope every day to keep fighting the fight, to stand up for what I believed in, and to soldier on.
Many of her shows felt as if she’d read my mind and addressed issues that I was struggling with. Some shows made me laugh, others cry, and many just gave me hope to get off the couch and try my best to make it through that day.
One show changed my life.
It was about goals.
She gave a list of questions that could help focus your life, and I had one of those famous Oprah light bulb moments, I know it sounds corny, but that show made a huge difference in my life.
The pivotal questions to ask yourself were:
- What do I want to be?
- What do I want to do?
- What do I want to have?
- What do I want to give?
- What am I afraid of?
I hauled my big old butt right up off the couch, grabbed a piece of paper and started writing. And there in black and white was my life’s path.
Instead of dealing in a negative mode I was suddenly propelled towards positive choices. I knew what I wanted to do with my life, who I wanted to be, what I wanted to have and what I wanted to give. Up until that moment I was so bogged down with just getting by, I had lost sight of the bigger picture.
I wrote for days bearing my soul and my life’s dreams.
I knew for sure that I wanted to be the best mom I could be, regardless of being alone. I wanted to pursue my career as an actor and as a professional home economist, and I wanted to help others find a way to eat healthy foods.
What was I afraid of? I knew right away. I was afraid of being a failure; of having all of those dreams and never accomplishing them. And then I had my second light bulb moment – how would I ever know if I could be a success, I didn’t try.
I remembered a quote that a dear friend had given me. It suddenly hit me with new clarity.
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
Theodore Roosevelt addressed failing. But not in a negative way, it was in a positive way. There was no shame in failing, the shame was in never trying.
I took those words to heart and they have become part of my modus operandi.
I’ve failed on a regular basis, but what I’ve learn from each set back is monumental, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Those failures have helped me to succeed.
That goal list became my blue print and my map. All I had to do now was to figure out how to make it so. That has been the creative fun part.
Knowing what I needed and seeing it on paper kick started me on the life’s journey.
This plan of action has worked for me. Maybe it’s because I’m goal driven, that it helped so much. I’m not sure whether it was timing, serendipitous, or a gift from heaven, but I clicked that day.
I still have that paper I wrote my goal list on and I look at it once and awhile to make sure I am on the road that I want to be on. It’s a road less traveled but it’s my road and I’m owning it.