How Oprah starts her day

Oprah Winfrey, the ‘Queen of all media’ has used communication as a powerful tool for change and connecting with the world as well as herself. She begins each day by grounding herself in nature, taking her dogs out for walks, meditating and focusing on her spirituality.

Nothing quite compares to the experience of facing a blank page and filling it with the thoughts, feelings, and ideas of the day. Journaling, especially about her gratitude, has been a great way for Oprah to connect with herself and others.  

Becoming the richest African-American woman

Being a media icon, executive, actress, talk show producer, host, and philanthropist, Oprah Winfrey is said to be North America’s first African-American multi-millionaire.

She was the richest African-American woman of the 20th century, with an estimated net worth of $2.8 billion.

The Oprah Winfrey Show’ aired from 1986 to 2011 and reached an audience of 10 million. The show grossed $125 million, $30 million of which went to Winfrey.

At the turn of the millennium, she also started O Magazine, mainly consisting of paid subscriptions, crossing a circulation of 2.4 million per year. Her “Oprah’s Book Club”, as part of her show, has been called “the greatest force in publishing todayby TIME.

How Oprah Winfrey keeps her journal

So, how did a poverty-stricken child of a teenaged, unwed mother become such a big celebrity?

It was self-reflection through regular journaling that helped her to appreciate and understand what could drive her in life. As she once wrote:

Jotting down the events and noting the progress of life through every hour of the day made Oprah Winfrey fill every moment with positivity.

Jotting down the events and noting the progress of life through every hour of the day made Oprah Winfrey fill every moment with positivity.

How long has Oprah been doing it?

Journaling and expressing gratitude became a constant in her life, mostly from the 1990s. According to a November 2012 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, Winfrey had written:

I kept a gratitude journal for a full decade without fail—and urged you all to do the same. Then life got busy.

However, although she dropped the practice for a while, she did keep returning to her earlier entries, in order to savour the experience of self-reflection.

She added that she was particular about getting back to documenting her life and going back to journaling, even though it was just electronically.

Although she had a busy schedule, she took enough time to help her plan out her life, and see how much she could interweave it with events through self-reflection.

How self-reflection helped her success?

Oprah Winfrey noted every moment of life. Her intense self-reflection made her positive about her privileges as well as successes. It has also helped her to assess and remain reminiscent of its simple pleasures. For instance, she once expressed her delight for a day:

1. A run around Florida’s Fisher Island with a slight breeze that kept me cool.

2. Eating cold melon on a bench in the sun…

These were the beautiful breezes that wafted through her life’s hectic schedules and actions. While gratitude could not be only a decision, it was writing and jotting down her feelings that made her determined to experience gratitude and thankfulness as part of life.

It was her experiences and self-reflection that made her empathetic and adopt an intimate, confessional form of communication. Through her approach, she revolutionised the tabloid talk show genre. It made her break 20th-century barriers and bring in celebrities as well as marginalised, underprivileged and LGBT groups to mainstream conversation.

A path that few would have expected

Winfrey’s unique talk show was the outcome of a severely challenged childhood.

She was born to a teenaged, single mother who was a maid in rural Mississippi. Winfrey later confessed to having been sexually molested by relatives and becoming pregnant at 14. Her son was born prematurely and passed away.

She was then sent to live with a barber whom she calls her father, Vernon Winfrey. Winfrey’s high school days were her turning point in life when she decided to host a radio show.

She carried her emotional baggage into her work, and her ‘90s focused on literature, mindfulness, and spirituality. Her talk show addressed these topics with emotion and self-reflection.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

What does the future hold?

Oprah’s whirlwind career continues to roll. The Oprah Winfrey Network’ sold  24.5% of the company to Discovery Communications for $70 million and she also has a 10% stake in Weight Watchers, which is worth an estimated $344 million.

Through self-reflection, she continues to grow her career. As she once wrote:

Oprah Winfrey grateful for having the stamina to keep going

How can you get started with self-reflection?

Oprah Winfrey’s self-reflective life is indeed an inspiration.

Carrying her wealth of gratitude has generated success in her professional as well as personal journeys. Taking a leaf out of her book can kickstart a self-reflection habit in your life towards gratitude and greatness.

Looking for an easy way to get started with your self-reflection practice? Daylitude can help shift your mindset, increase positivity, and discover a greater connection with yourself.


Interested in other self reflection and gratitude practices?