Sunday, August 15, 2010

Just Like Oprah

When Oprah Winfrey was in her twenties she knew she was going to be a millionaire by age 32. And look at her now! She's the world's first Female African-American Billionaire. And how did she make her fortune? She set clear and ambitious goals on both the professional and personal levels. “Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”

Oprah was my inspiration when I set that stretch goal of making my own Alien Abduction Lamp this week. I get goose bumps just thinking about it.

Do you see the similarities? Oprah was born to an unwed mother and survived an unimaginable childhood to achieve her fame and fortune. I, too, had roadblocks to success. You see, I was born with no 'handy' genes. Although never officially tested, experts believe my mechanical IQ to somewhere between 20 and 24.

I've tried. How I've tried!

Who could forget the (so called) "easy to assemble" patio rocking chair I assembled back in 1986? It looked great when I finally finished, about 8 hours after I started the project. It wasn't until my neighbor rocked a bit too enthusiastically, toppling backwards and hitting her head on the cement that I had the epiphany. The long ends of the rockers should be on the back, not the front. (Thankfully no stitches were required.)

One could argue that making an Alien Abduction Lamp was too big of a project for someone like me. Sure, there were only "9 easy" steps and 5 ingredients, but my history did not support the  attempt such an endeavor and the odds of success were infinitesimal. But, like Oprah, I refused to listen to skeptics.  What do they know?  I had a goal. 

Oprah had to overcome many hurdles to reach her goals. I, too, had many hurdles. My first was that I needed a Dremel. Since I had no idea what a Dremel was, I posted the question on my Facebook status update and within a couple hours my friend Tiffany told me I could borrow her Dremel. Hurdle # 1 eliminated. Oprah would be proud.

Next hurdle was finding a Touch Light. My question stumped 3 employees at Lowes before I found it on my own sitting near the light bulbs. Hurdle # 2 eliminated. But if I thought finding the Touch Light was difficult, disassembling it was even harder. I took a deep breath, thought of Oprah, persevered, and hurdle #3 was over-come.

At the risk of boring my readers, let's just say that the hurdles outnumbered the "9 easy steps" by a factor of 3 to 1.

But just like Oprah, I set my goal, followed the plan, overcame obstacles and achieved success.

It's a lot like the movie Hoosiers, which is based on a true story, where a high school coach and the town drunk lead a small-town basketball team on an improbable run to the Indiana high school championship game, despite all the odds.

I'm thinking someone should make a movie about my Alien Abduction Lamp project. The true story of a small-town geek with limited abilities tackling a project of unimaginable scope and magnitude. And succeeding.

Despite all the obstacles I encountered, my Alien Abduction Lamp shines brightly on the suspended cow. 

Now If I could only get Kevin to stop barking at it.

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