“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
– Rosa Parks

This just in!  Oprah Winfrey’s Network OWN has finally made a profit! This all occurred sooner than expected due to the contribution of Tyler Perry shows: “The Haves and Have Nots” and “Love Thy Neighbor.”

Oprah has a history of not giving up when things are going bad in her life–from childhood until now. How audacious is she? Now what about you?

It takes audacity to stand up for yourself when it feels like the world is against you; when your decisions are not popular and when there is fear about the consequences. To be audacious is to be fearless and daring, to not be intimidated, to be unrestrained by convention. This includes asking for help when you need it.

It takes audacity to believe in yourself, to start a business, to follow your dreams, to start a new relationship or, for that matter, to end old relationships. Having audacity means having enough nerve to say, “I’m here, my life matters, and I am going to do something about it.”

No one woman may embody audacity more than Oprah Winfrey, who literally created a network called the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) to spread positivity and to help people live their best lives. Not to mention that for 25 years she had the top-rated self-titled talk show, the Oprah Show. She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and was, for a time, the world’s only black billionaire. According to some assessments, she is the most influential woman in the world. I dare say that she is indeed audacious.

In describing her decision to start her own network, Oprah said in an interview, “I have never felt such fear in all my life. When it struck me that, okay, this is what I’m really gonna do…?” She asked herself, “Why are you doing it? Then I went through how hard it was going to be.”

But before all of the awards and accolades, Oprah had to see the possibility for herself when no one else did. There is nothing about where she came from and some of the challenges that she experienced growing up in the South, having been molested, living in a broke home, getting pregnant as a young girl and more; none of that painted the phenomenal picture of success that we see today. But she was audacious.

Even in recent history when her OWN network was in financial and ratings trouble, Oprah came out of retirement and went back to work. So you see, even after you’ve had success, the challenges you face and the need to be daring and fearless will continue; but it will be on another level.

Oprah is someone that most women cheer on and admire. She clearly exudes power and positivity. Nevertheless, the characteristic of audacity works even for the most controversial personalities.

Consider actor Charlie Sheen, who beyond his talent and work in movies such as “Platoon” and “Wall Street” or sitcoms such as “Spin City” and “Two and a Half Men”; is also known for his tumultuous personal life. It’s one filled with reports of alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence and a very controversial firing from his hit TV show.

From the moment he enters a room, let alone opens his mouth, one thing is clear, he is indeed audacious. “I’m tired of pretending I’m not a total bitchin’ rock star from Mars.” That is my favorite quote from Charlie Sheen! This was the period where the world was watching him go through what seemed like a complete mental meltdown. He was fired from his hit TV show at the time, “Two and a Half Men.” All the entertainment television shows, blogs and radio shows were on “Charlie Watch.” We all had comments and questions about his state of mind, and his substance abuse. Many still do.

He never failed to entertain us and give us fresh content to discuss, laugh at, judge and even worry. He claimed he was completely sober and said in his now infamous quote that he was indeed “Winning!” Was he delusional?

I am not a mental health expert, but unfortunately I’ve had the displeasure of watching someone who is brilliantly talented lose everything as a result of how drugs impaired their mental health.

Why would this man say that he was winning when to the normal eye it seemed he was crashing fast? Unlike Charlie, people tend to speak negatively about themselves.
For instance, when we look in the mirror we are more likely to point out our flaws – the need for a haircut, bad skin, too fat, too skinny etc. Or, when we make mistakes we’re so hard on ourselves, we may even think things in our heads and within our hearts such as: you’re dumb, incompetent, a mean person, a push-over, etc.

What we think and feel on the inside are not necessarily what we project on the outside. Furthermore, we would never let anyone else speak to us in that manner. If they did we would totally defend ourselves, if not take their head off verbally or even physically, depending on when you catch us.

Here’s where “embracing your inner Sheen” comes in. The irony about Charlie Sheen and what he expressed about himself is that he knew his value and refused to pretend that he wasn’t special. True, his life seemed to be falling apart and he was on full public display. Yet that didn’t seem to deter him one bit.

His talent had been capitalized upon; entertaining millions while simultaneously making him and many others millionaires. What he brought to the table used to work for people. Charlie was no longer an asset for the production that he was the star of, but his talent was not any less valuable – at least not in his mind.

What about you? When you make a mistake or your flaws are exposed on display for others to see, how do you handle it? Do you let gossip and judgments about you stop you from what you know you’re really good at doing? Do you get depressed or embarrassed; or worse, do you start buying into the negativity? If so, that’s not winning.
Are you any less valuable because you got laid-off from your job or because your relationship didn’t work-out? Of course not. Aren’t you still you? If you were good enough before, you are just as good, if not better now, because you have more experience.

Yes, Charlie’s indulgence and bad behavior finally caught up to him and he’s suffered some consequences. Nevertheless, even if he is as crazy as a bed-bug, everything that he’s said in the midst of that media frenzy is not wrong.

Embrace Your Inner Sheen
What I like about his quote, “I’m tired of pretending I’m not a total bitchin’ rock star from Mars;” is that he believed in himself. He refused to let other people define him. And because he believed in himself, he decided to take matters into his own hands and he changed the game on his terms. During that time, the whole country was talking about Charlie Sheen. Why?  Because he embraced his “Inner Sheen” and today, he’s starring in a new show ‘Anger Management.’ He capitalized on his personal drama. By most accounts, the subsequent show was a hit.

Who’s talking badly about you? Are the negative voices in your own head? I dare you to become your best PR machine. Tell yourself how great you are for a change. Concentrate on what you do well instead of always criticizing yourself. If you don’t like how you’re being treated at work, in a relationship or even how you look. Guess what? With audacity, you can change things. Do something different. Don’t just lay down and take it. Stand up for yourself. So what if people talk about you, some things will be good and some won’t. But at least you’ll have your say. In the words of my sister-friend Crystal Taylor-Hurt, “A person can only do to you what you allow them to do. If you feel like you are someone’s yo-yo, then remove yourself from their hand. Life is too short to allow someone else, to dictate your destiny.”

DEYA DIRECTIVE: As any woman knows, we like for our hair to shine. So what do we do? We put “sheen” in it so it can stand out. Stand out and stand up for yourself. If you made a mistake, life goes on. If one opportunity ends, create a new one. Once you have the experience, no one can take that from you. The concept I want us to embrace, if you dare, is – winning!

Deya “Direct” Smith is a lead producer on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and host of Girlfriend FM & Beyond the Studio celebrity interviews. She is also the best-selling author of Touch Yourself, 30 Ways to Live, Love and Let Go (www.touchmebooks.com)! Deya is a life-style and inspirational speaker.

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