What Oprah knows for sure about starting OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.
At first it was scary, the idea of moving on and undertaking a big new challenge. I wavered not over 'Should I end the show?' (I knew it was time) but over 'What to do next?' Sit back, relax, and rest on my laurels? Cruise the world? Garden and read for 12 months? Have lunch with friends every day? Or take what I've been blessed to build over 25 years and use it to keep building, reaching, and teaching?

I chose the latter because, as I said in O's November issue, it is my calling. (Though I confess that I hesitated briefly, in the midst of an especially exhausting week, and reconsidered becoming one of the ladies who lunch and lounge. All my friends said, "Don't do it. You'd be miserable without a mission." They were right.)

In July I read a Vanity Fair article about the making of Michael Jackson's album Thriller. The piece quoted some of Michael's friends saying that one of his biggest mistakes was never realizing that Thriller's becoming the number-one-selling album in history was a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. And because he didn't realize that, he spent the rest of his life chasing that success.

Reading that was a big aha for me. The reason I had wavered was fear: I was afraid I wouldn't be able to duplicate what I've done. But as I thought about Michael Jackson, I began to see that not only can you not duplicate success, you're not supposed to. Every new endeavor is created out of the quality of the energy you bring to it and is meant to be its own thing.

So here I go. I'm in the countdown to the end of the great phenomenon of my life. Headed off to launch a network of shows intended to do what The Oprah Winfrey Show and this magazine have done for years: inspire and entertain.

Everything you've ever done prepares you for all that you can do and be. So I move forward to start a new chapter with the lessons I've learned and the strength I've gained. OWN debuts January 1; in its kickoff year, we've planned more than 600 hours of new programs. To fill the time 24/7/365, you need close to 9,000. We have a lot of work ahead.

You can see why I hesitated for a moment. Do I really want to take this on? But the launch is just the beginning of what will eventually be a channel filled with creative, meaningful, and mindful programming.

What I know for sure: Fear comes from uncertainty. Once you clarify your purpose for doing something, the way to do it becomes clear.

Let this be the year you release your fears about what you can achieve. Know for sure what you want and be willing to give yourself what you need to get it.

Cheers to new beginnings!

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