It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE Oprah fan. For the last 25 years, I have rushed home every day to watch her show and discover the latest and greatest she had to offer. (Of course, with the advent of DVR or PVR, I could watch at my leisure.) I always thought of her as the best interviewer on television. But she was so much more than that…she was really the best “influencer” on television.
Oprah was able to connect with her audience (which was billions of people, in 150 countries around the world) and encourage people to be their best selves. As for her influencing skills, she changed what people read (and got people reading again), what clothes they bought, the gadgets they needed, and, some would argue, played a part in electing the current US president!
But what was I going to do without my daily dose of Oprah? It didn’t really hit me until her final show, where Oprah delivered her most inspirational and impassioned message, to date. It was these words, in particular, that resonated with me:
“But what I want you to know as this show ends: each one of you has your own platform. Do not let the trappings here fool you. Mine is a stage in a studio, yours is wherever you are with your own reach, however small or however large that reach is. Maybe it’s 20 people, maybe it’s 30 people, 40 people, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your classmates, YOUR CLASSROOM, your co-workers. Wherever you are, that is your platform, your stage, your circle of influence. That is your talk show and that is where your power lies.
In every way, in every day, you are showing people exactly who you are. You’re letting your life speak for you. And when you do that, you will receive in direct proportion to how you give in whatever platform you have.”
So there was my answer. I could continue Oprah’s work, show people who I am and let my life speak for me. I could continue influencing others, in my own small way. As trainers, how lucky we are to have this platform, this stage, this circle of influence!
How ironic that I was teaching our workshop, “How to Influence People and Events,” just five days after the final show aired. In that workshop, we discuss the importance of managing your sphere of influence on a daily basis, to always think about enhancing your image, increasing your power base, and improving your relationships.
I have always loved teaching that class and now I understand why. Perhaps for those three days, I was able to channel Oprah, in my own small way, and convince others to think about their circle of influence. My own “AHA moment” is that I can influence others every day, in every workshop, to be their best and do their best! And my fellow trainers, you can do the same. Now if only we could give away our favorite things!