The Oprah Winfrey Legacy – What is Yours?

oprah winfreyThis month brings to a close to 25 years of the Oprah Winfrey daytime talk show  in which she entertained, informed and inspired women and men around the globe.

I taped and watch the two-day Oprah star spectacular a few times already.  I have such gratitude and admiration for her and the impact she has had over the years.  I am not surprised by the statistics they shared that outlined her impact on the world since I was with her every step of the way but the volumes are tremendous. Oprah leaves us with so much more than we can ever thank her for in this lifetime.

Here is just a small sampling:

Halle Berry, Queen Latifah and Katie Holmeswere all there to celebrate how Oprah has inspired each one of them and her viewers to change the world. “The true beauty of your show is that your viewers haven’t just been sitting in front of their televisions being entertained or merely informed,” Halle says. “They have risen up to literally change the world.”

Halle tells Oprah about Debbie, a viewer who was inspired by The Oprah Show to become a foster mother to 29 newborn babies.

Katie shares the story of Lanny, a viewer who was so moved by Oprah’s ChristmasKindness in South Africa, he started a charity that has helped more than 100,000 Kenyans build homes, clinics and water wells.

Queen Latifah introduces Mollie, a viewer who helped 56-year-old Samija from Bosnia start her own vegetable farm. Now, Samija is able to feed her family and most of her village.

“There are countless Debbies, Lannys and Mollies walking around this world because of The Oprah Show,” Katie says.

Over the years, Oprah Showviewers have donated more than $12 million to the charity Women for Women International and helped 37,161 women in countries like the Congo, Rwanda, the Sudan, Nigeria, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Iraq. 

As I watched and listened to the impact this one woman has had on the world, I thought two things:

  • What legacy am I leaving?
  • Who turns to me when they need guidance on their life journey?

It is truly amazing what one woman can do. One woman with a passion for helping, informing, encouraging, and making a difference in the lives of others. In one segment, Tom Hanks talked about the impact she has had on reading  (responsible for the sale of more than 30 million books!) thanks to the Oprah Book Club. Each of the 10,000 people in the audience of the star studded, two-part farewell, brought along a book to be donated to one of the 25 school libraries that Target is refurbishing in Oprah’s honor around the country. True Inspiration!

Yes, she is amazing. I am sure many of us have read a book she recommended, tried a new diet she tried, laughed or cried with an interview, smiled as she sang along with a musical guest. But she started with a single step. A single act. Each small action added to the next and to the next to create a legacy that will live on far beyond this show. Her new endeavour should be again, a first, as she turns her focus to the OWN Network.

We all know what an amazing inspiration she has been and yet I think even she was surprised by the impact she has had on so many lives as it was presented to her during her two-day Oprah star spectacular

If your community or network of friends were invited to share the impact you have made on their lives, who would appear and what would they say?   Who have you touched or inspired that has gone on to a more purposeful life journey? Think of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life?

Take another moment to think about the legacy are you creating.  Who are you helping to enable their lives?

We talked the other day about mentoring – paying it forward. A few of you said on Facebook that you don’t really set out to mentor or have a plan for mentoring but I know you are helping in your own way. 

Share with us: What will you be known for?  How have you already made a difference?  What do you have in the works and how can we cheer you on?