Listen to the Whispers: Career Advice from Oprah (and Me)

what to do if you're under-utilized

“Your life is always speaking to you,” said TV’s favorite teacher, Oprah Winfrey, as she closed out her 25 years of daytime television.

Of all the lessons she’s shared over the years, my favorite has been to listen to the whispers, the murmurs, the soft messages that we all have and hear–but don’t always notice.

I tried to listen to the whispers for years.

At first, they were soft, so soft that the buzz of my Blackberry (at the time) would drown them out.

Then they got louder and louder, and while I tried to cover them up with a busy life,  a much needed books-and-beach weekend with no TV or technology made them show up bigtime. The whispers became screams.

And so I had to act.

First, I hired a professional coach.

I had no idea what one really did or how to choose one, though. (I’ve learned, and I’ve always had a coach since–sometimes two!)

That first coach led me to recognize other whispers I’d been hearing, and helped me get clear on the actions that needed to happen to change the whispers in my head to the spoken words in my mouth.

Then, I did the work.

As the saying goes, “wishin’ don’t make it so.” I had to act on the whispers, talk to others about the whispers, answer their questions, answer my questions, and answer the questions the answers raised. It took time, and focus, and energy–all while still living my “normal” life and doing my “normal’ work. But I was far from normal.

And the work (we’ll save that journey for other time) led me here, to you, and to our little movement to proudly put on our red capes and bring our superpowers to work.

QUESTION: What are your whispers? Take a listen and you may be surprised at what you hear. Oprah and I can’t be wrong.

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