I’ve never been one who enjoyed meetings. I hated staff committees when I was a teacher. When I was in politics, my assistants complained we never had enough time to hammer out strategy. Now that I’m in the retirement center, I avoid meetings with the passion of one threatened with circumcision. A few residents frown at my attitude, but honestly, do I care where the bike racks are located when I don’t own a bike?
Oprah Winfrey, that powerhouse of industry and the only African American, besides Michael Jordan, to be eligible for the billionaire’s club, doesn’t like meetings, either. (“I only do what I want to do,” by J. J. McCorvey, Fast Company, 11, 2015, pg. 120.) She already knows what she hopes to accomplish in life. True, she rescued her floundering network by listening to her customers, but that only makes sense. They suggested doing away with the many self-improvement programs and adding more content. Oprah wanted to help her viewers lead healthier and happier lives, so she found a way to do both. (Ibid pg. 120.)
A question Oprah likes to ask when being interviewed is, “What’s your intention here with me?” By being direct yet friendly, she cuts to the chase, something committees can’t do. Once she has her answer, she finds a point of compatibility. Discovering that point allows her to move forward with the cooperation of others.
Does her success stem from her wealth? No. Oprah had to know herself well to pull herself up from modest beginnings. Confidence and direction wasn’t the consequence of money. They grew from being open to experience and creating goals broad enough to be inclusive of many. In Oprah’s case, making the world a better place is both ambitious and inclusive and, no doubt, she’s up for the challenge
In this year of the leap, Oprah Winfrey shows us the difference between having a purpose and being busy. We’d be wise to follow her example and on this extra day in February, we might pause to ask of Life, “What’s your intention here with me?”