When you think of successful women, Oprah Winfrey is (or should be) at the very top of the list. Consider a few of her accomplishments:

  • The Oprah Winfrey Show, nationally syndicated for 25 years, is the highest-rated talk show in history.
  • She’s the richest living African American, with a net worth of nearly $3 billion.
  • She’s donated over $300 million to various causes (she’s considered the greatest philanthropist in American history by many).
  • She is the only black multi-billionaire in North America.
  • She’s a 2013 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.
  • She has honorary Doctorate degrees from two Ivy League Schools: Harvard and Yale.

“Don’t worry about being successful but work toward being significant and the success will naturally follow.” – Oprah Winfrey

So, yeah, Oprah has accomplished pretty much everything. It’s natural, then, that we commence a “woman and success” article featuring the great businesswoman, philanthropist, and overall tremendous human being.

What makes Oprah’s success so astounding is her early lot in life; by rising above circumstances that few others are capable of. She was immediately at a disadvantage, being born into poverty to a single mother in the deep south. Winfrey was a victim of sexual molestation during her childhood and adolescent years, becoming pregnant at the age of 14. Tragically, her son died in infancy.

This article, no matter how well-deserved, is not about Ms. Winfrey. Well, not by intent, as Oprah contributed to many of the tenets of success listed below. Instead, this article is about rules of success applicable to women.

Rules the Most Successful Women Usually Follow


We present six simple rules of success for women to follow:

1. Understand the next right move

This advice isn’t the same type of rhetoric too often spewed by “motivational speakers” or their ilk. Instead, to “understand the next right move” is allowing your mind to become still without consideration to what or what doesn’t “need” to be done.

Oprah says something poignant in this regard: “Make the next right move, and the next right move, because you know that your life is bigger than that one moment.

Forget about trying to accomplish what others think you “should,” choosing instead to follow your heart and intuition.

2. Successful people prepare for the “moment to come.”

Regardless of what may have been perceived as an obstacle in life, we all can drive on – and to forget the misfortunes of the past. Those who believe in destiny will brush aside life’s obstructions and ultimately move onward.

Things that have happened in your life – good or bad – have prepared you for exactly what you need to be at the exact moment you’re experiencing.

“Planning” is an anomaly to this method of thought. “Consciousness” and awareness are preparatory advantages; not strategy or meticulousness.

3. Forget your mistakes.

Sincerely…forget every mistake you’ve ever made. Your future is not – and never will be – defined by your past. Don’t limit your capabilities simply because of some mistake. Everyone makes them. It’s how you choose to respond to said mistakes that determine success or failure.

Don’t hold grudges, and don’t give up your power. You’re better than that…and only you decide what transpires.

4. Align your personality and gifts with a real purpose

We see it every day, whether we realize it or not; people that have succumbed to the pressure within themselves, society, family, etc., to settle for a “normal” way of life (e.g. ” a job”) for which they were never suited for.

Forget that type of bologna. Nobody will ever, ever, bring forth a persona and set of abilities that match your own. Empower yourself, follow your passion, and forget “predestination” while allowing things to unfold as they may.

5. Overlook limitations

As far as we’ve come as a society, women are (sadly) not perceived as “capable” as men. Think about this for a second – and realize how dark and disgusting this fact is: We’ve had 45 U.S. Presidents – and not one has been a woman.

Successful women cannot – and will not – be restrained by any perceived “weakness” or limitation; they refuse to be a “subject” to such conspicuous disenfranchisement. Ursula Burns, another powerful African-American and the CEO of Xerox, put it this way:

We all need to be more impatient with the status quo…we need to shift the emphasis in our thinking…from why hunger and poverty and injustice exist in the world to how they can be eliminated…In other words, we all need to be a little more impatient.”

Women must be persistent when attempting to achieve success. They must reach out and grab the opportunities that come along. There’s no shame in doing so…men have been doing it for countless years.


6. Remain grounded

We all possess gifts and limitations, and we all have different aspirations. We may even experience some confusion to what such “aspirations” are or ought not to be. The (not-so-simple) solution is to remain true to yourself.

Forget about everyone else; forget how those around you perceive you. Understand what is important to you, continue to be humble, and keep both yourself and others in mind.

If you achieve some modicum of success, do not gloat. Understand the importance of humility – a noble trait lacking in today’s “dog eat dog” world. The beautiful thing is that by maintaining this dignified perspective, more people are willing to follow your guidance.

People will follow you, not out of a need of authority, but of your human approach to how others should be treated. By remaining an equal.

Our society needs women with an unflappable determination to be successful.