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Oprah’s Most Important Piece of Advice for Achieving Extraordinary Success

Looking to build a powerhouse personal brand? Oprah dishes her advice.

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BY Betsy Mikel - 23 Jul 2018

Oprah's Most Important Piece of Advice for Achieving Extraordinary Success

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Oprah recently Googled herself for the first time.

In an interview with British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful for the magazine's upcoming cover, she said she was impressed by what she learned about herself.

"I was the first African American self-made billionaire. Didn't know that. Donated more to charity in the 20th century than any other African American."

As one of the most successful media personalities on the globe, everyone wants to know how Oprah got to be Oprah. She has a sweet spot for sharing her wisdom with young people, as she did in her recent commencement speech to journalism grads.

Oprah again touched on this topic in the Vogue interview, sharing important advice about achieving success that she feels all young people need to hear. It can be summed up in these four words: Overnight success doesn't exist.

"My biggest frustration with young women and young men is that they think it's supposed to happen like that," Oprah explained while snapping her fingers. "They think that there isn't a process to it."

On building a powerhouse personal brand

Oprah started in television at 19 years old. She didn't yet have a brand. It wouldn't be until a decade later that she fully embraced being unapologetically herself.

She expressed her frustration with young people who think the path to success is a straight shot and in any way instantaneous. The students she mentors are eager and driven, but tend not to realize that developing a successful personal brand is something that evolves over time. "They think that they're supposed to come out of college and have their brand."

Here's how Oprah said she built her brand: But not trying to build a brand. She says she was hesitant to even call herself a brand until she realized it was true.

"How I got to be a brand was every day making choices that felt like this was the right move. Now that's the right move. Then that was the next right move. And that was the next right move." It was making small decisions every single day that eventually built up her success.

She says young people need to realize this and be realistic about the journey. Success is possible. But it takes a heck of a lot of work to get there.

Do the work, over and over again

This advice ties back to the commencement speech Oprah recently gave at University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

"Your job is not always going to fulfill you," she told the graduates. "There will be some days when you just might be bored. Other days you may not feel like going to work at all. Go anyway."

She told Enninful that she loves the theory that anyone who is successful has invested 10,000 hours in learning their craft. She used her interviewer as an example: "You do not get to be the editor of Vogue magazine by not working and working and working and working and working to get here."

Enninful turned the tables and asked Oprah what advice she'd give her younger self. She paused, thought about it, then in true Oprah form shared wisdom we can all learn from: "It would be relax. It would be stop being afraid. It would be everything's going to be alright. No matter what, you're going to be OK."

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