I know why she does it. I finally figured it out, and it makes so much sense.

Let me go back.

Many years ago I can recall standing in the grocery line with my haul. Due to a glacial-paced checkout employee, I found myself perusing the magazines: People, Us, In Touch. “But wait, what is this? Oprah has a magazine? What? And it’s thick, and meaty and full of really decent articles.” I was taken. I thought, “How cool that she put herself on the cover for the inaugural issue?”

Ya, I was wrong about that last part.

Since the magazine’s inception in 2000, Oprah has “shared” the cover only two times, once when she posed with Michelle Obama and once when she buddied up to Ellen. Other than those two exceptions, Oprah has graced the cover close to 180 times. Not kidding.

I was standing in that same line up one month later, and there was the latest issue. Oprah, on the cover, again. Are you kidding me?

As the years went by I would see “Dame Oprah” in the latest couture, gracing the cover and I would, without fail, “theatrical eye-roll” anyone who would pay attention.

I can get a little “judgy” from time to time. For some reason, Oprah’s monthly cover hit all my “judgy” buttons. I even had a spiel. When I would see the magazine, I would spout off to a friend or family member my opinions about how puffed up she must she be to insist on being the only cover model. (I know, pleasant.)

Then one day it hit me. I knew why she did it.

Her insistence on being the” cover art” didn’t have to do with wanting to be a monthly model. It was about a personal goal she had struggled to keep for decades. Oprah is a smart woman. Getting dressed up in front of a camera every month had everything to do with accountability.

Now, I know I am stating the obvious. Oprah is in front of the camera, like ALL the time. A cover is different. A magazine cover has a whole different set of rules and expectations that go along with the deal. Also,  the fact that “A” cover is one thing but 12 a year?  Every two weeks she was either starting to prep for another photo shoot or she had just finished one. She knew that the photo-shoot was a deep motivator to hold true to her personal nutrition and fitness goals. Her monthly cover was a little voice saying “one more rep” and “one less cookie.” It would be the cornerstone on her quest to stay healthy and the firm framework she needed to keep her from wavering off track. Suddenly what I had judged as arrogance was about the coolest illustration of self-motivation I had ever seen. 

I think of Oprah often when it comes to goal setting. I consider how fiercely she set the bar for herself. All those times she failed to maintain her weight caused her to proclaim, “If I want a different outcome, it is going to require a different line and level of thinking.” No, it is not like she is a personal friend, but I can just see how those wheels must have turned when the whole magazine concept was birthed. She saw an excellent professional opportunity and a personal one too. 

She is not perfect at it, none of us are. But setting a stronger framework of accountability around our goals will translate to a greater level of success in reaching our dreams.



This week I want you to think about a goal that you have had, one that you have tried, and failed. What levels of accountability and motivation could you build so that failing is less of an option?


(This is purely a work of fiction. All opinions expressed herein were my own and not my good friend Oprah’s. No animals were hurt or even chastised during the writing of this post.)

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