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Here’s the ‘No. 1 signal’ you’re stuck in your career


Oprah Winfrey is a media mogul worth $2.5 billion, but even she has felt stuck and confused at different points throughout her career. 

“I have been off course — I mean, in my 20s,” Winfrey, 69, said in a recent interview with Caroline Wanga, the president and CEO of Essence Ventures. “I just say the 20s are about figuring it out.”

Like many young people, Winfrey held jobs early in her career that did not bring purpose or meaning to her life. 

In the late ’70s, Winfrey worked as a news anchor and reporter at Baltimore’s WJZ station. But, as she’s said on her eponymous network, she disliked interviewing people in times of tragedy as she felt she was “exploiting people.” 

“I used to be exhausted all the time,” Winfrey said, “because I hated it.”

You might not realize you are stuck in your career until you burn out, Winfrey told Wanga. 

But there’s a telltale sign you can watch out for: “It looks like giving your power over to somebody else,” Winfrey explained. “It looks like following somebody else’s lead and listening to what other people are saying your life should be, instead of paying attention to that still, small voice that is within every one of us, that is undeniable if you are still enough to listen.” 

Whenever you have to stop and ask other people what you should do, “that is the number-one signal to yourself that you need to get still and hear what the true voice is saying to you,” Winfrey added.

In order to step into the most powerful version of yourself, you need to have clarity of intention, Winfrey told Wanga. 

She first learned about the power of intention in 1989 when she read Gary Zukav’s best-selling book, “The Seat of the Soul.” It soon became the guiding principle of her life and career.

“I spent many years talking to my audiences after the show, and I would always say, ‘Tell me what you want. Tell me what you want,'” said Winfrey. “People always just say, ‘I just want to be happy.’ Well, what does that look like for you? Most people haven’t actually given it real thought.”

Before you make a big decision about your career or agree to do anything “that might add even the smallest amount of stress to your life,” Winfrey said in a 2020 Super Soul podcast, ask yourself these two questions :

  • What is my truest intention?
  • What’s the real reason I’m doing this?

Winfrey’s defining moment — when she got “unstuck” in her career — happened on Aug. 14, 1978, her first day working on the WJZ talk show “People are Talking.” 

“I felt like this is what I’m supposed to do,” Winfrey said on OWN. 

She launched “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 1986, leveraging it into a booming media and entertainment empire.

Winfrey now wears many hats, from journalist and host to actress, author and entrepreneur — all of which helped her become the first Black woman billionaire in the U.S. 

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