Oprah and Courage: Lessons in Leadership From A Powerful Woman

“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.”
– Oprah Winfrey

Oprah. A force of a woman with such a powerful voice to effect change. The billionaire broadcaster, philanthropist, life-changer has undoubtedly strived to practice what she preaches about courage.

Courage. What does that look like? For Oprah, it meant overcoming barriers of color, gender, appearance, and working hard every day to make a positive difference in her communities. Think about it. She started with nothing and using dogged determination, rose through the ranks of her profession and became the first African American female billionaire in 2003. She has provided education for African girls. She is committed to civil rights, gender equity, pay equity, gun safety. She uses her voice in ways she believes will help society. She is a leader and she is not afraid.

Do you have to have courage to be a leader? Most certainly. It’s not an easy job to take risks, lead others, voice strong (sometimes controversial) opinions. It’s not easy to do the right thing every day, making the right business decisions, the right people decisions, the right strategic decisions.

Oprah says if you want to be successful, you have to surround yourself with people who, by their very presence, force you to be better and bigger than you are. It takes courage to do that, to put yourself into a zone of discomfort with people who may be smarter than you, who may be more skilled, who may have greater talents, and to listen to what they are saying, to what they are being courageous enough to ask of you. When you have the courage to ask the universe how you can serve, you have to be prepared to listen to the answers you get

It takes courage to be open to continuous learning, whether that’s individual coaching or team training or mentorship, but leaders must be willing to do that, for themselves and to provide those opportunities for their teams.

It takes courage to commit to a mission, even if your heart knows fully that it is what you dream of. It takes courage to take the first step to your future. But every courageous baby steps increases confidence, zeal, passion, and commitment to your personal growth and development.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.