Imposter Syndrome Where? Oprah Winfrey Knew Nothing About This Common Insecurity

While many might feel self-doubt or imposter syndrome when engaging with high achievers, media mogul Oprah Winfrey never had those issues.

The billionaire OWN creator is sharing her secrets to success in a just released book co-authored with Arthur C. Brooks called Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier. Winfrey and Brooks invite readers to change their way of thinking and perspective, particularly when dealing with challenges.

Weeding out negative emotions is the book’s central message. One negative emotion Winfrey, 69, has never struggled with is imposter syndrome. The concept is so foreign to the decorated TV star, that she had to research its meaning.

“I don’t have any of that imposter feelings that so many people have,” Winfrey told People. “I didn’t even understand it, I had to look it up.”

It’s a mindset she credits to her upbringing, particularly how her father raised her.

“I remember as a young girl being a strong orator in the national competition for speaking and winning the local championships, then the state championships. And then placing, I think it was No. 3 or something, in the nationals,” she shared. “And I remember after every contest, the families whose kids were just in the contest were going to celebrate and their families were all excited. My father’s thing was, ‘Get your coat.'”

The experience served as an early lesson that “nobody’s going to be excited about it, so you might as well just get your coat and go,” she said. From the success of her talk show to her flourishing media empire, Winfrey has never experienced “high highs or low lows” about her wins and losses because she learned “the ability to live in the space of true appreciation for a life, not just well lived, but well-earned.”

Now as she approaches the age of 70, Winfrey can look back with pride at a life she built for herself and by herself.

“I didn’t have a grandfather, a great-grandfather who could give me land. But now…I can have my own and to know that I work for it,” she said.

“And it wasn’t a husband that did it. It wasn’t a brother or an uncle, or whatever did it, but I did it.”

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