Photo: Art Streiber
"Everyone has the power for greatness—not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service." Even before I first heard my all-time favorite quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I knew in my heart that the message was true. As far back as I can recall, my prayer has been the same: "Use me, God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself."
All of us need a vision for our lives and even as we work to achieve the vision, we must surrender it to the power that is greater than we know. It's one of the defining principles of my life that I love to share: God can dream a bigger dream for you than you could ever dream for yourself. Success comes when you surrender to that dream—and let it lead you to the next best place.
What I know for sure is that if you want to have success, you can't make success your goal. As my friend Wintley Phipps, the gospel singer and minister, once told me, the key is not to worry about being successful but to instead work toward being significant—and the success will naturally follow. How can you serve your way to greatness? When you shift your focus from success to service, your work as a teacher, clerk, doctor, or dot-comer will instantly have more meaning.
What Oprah Knows for Sure
From the September 2001 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!