If you’ve spent any time with me at all (yes, reading this blog counts…sort of) you’d know that Oprah Winfrey is one of my biggest role models. I aspire to achieve her level of success and share it with the rest of the world. My friends have even nicknamed me “Shoprah” as a result. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? 🙂
During an episode of one her early Lifeclasses, she talked about the concept of whispers of the universe. Sounds pretty fluffy, pie in the sky, new agey right?
Hear me out…
She simply means that the universe, god, or whatever you believe in that is greater than yourself, gives us subtle hints in the form of “whispers.” These are little clues or omens that make us raise an eyebrow and go “hmm, that’s interesting.” A little more than a coincidence, but not a full blown miracle or spiritual awakening. Make sense so far?
An interesting quality of these whispers is that the longer you ignore them, the louder they get. The clues become less subtle, until eventually they turn into shouts. If you ignore them for too long it hits you like the infamous belly-flop. Seriously, don’t try it at home.
To illustrate further, here is an example of a recent whisper in my life:
Last spring I had been teaching on Skillshare for almost a year, and everything was going incredibly well. I had a regular stream of new students signing up for my classes, I was making good money, received overwhelmingly positive feedback, and overall I was doing what I loved and knew that I was genuinely helping people in the process.
Then came the whispers.
- Skillshare changed the interface on their site which forced me to update my an Excel web query that I used as part of a demo of one of my classes. Annoying, but manageable.
- The website become more confusing to use in general. I wasn’t the only one who thought so.
- Skillshare began diverting resources away from in-person classes and focusing on promoting hybrid classes (part online, part in-person).
- When hybrid classes didn’t work, Skillshare promoted their new project-based, purely online class format.
- The option to search for local classes got pushed so far down on their website home page that my students had a hard time finding it. Serious problem.
- Significantly less students were signing up for my classes.
Finally, the brick wall came crashing down on me.
- I received an email announcing the resignation of their community manager who was an integral part of their team and personally helped me develop my classes. They also announced the end of the Master Teacher program, which I was a proud member of for many months.
I felt as though the entire universe was coming together to tell me to stop teaching on Skillshare. That is precisely what I did. I taught my last class on May 1st, 2013, and have since shifted my focus to online classes.
Here’s another more subtle example, which led me to sign up for a free meditation program
My first whisper was hearing my friend tell me about the Deepak Chopra and Oprah 21 Day Meditation Challenge. I thought that was cool, but didn’t take any further action.
Then I got an email that my mother forwarded to me of the announcement of that program. Finally, I was watching OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network for those of you who don’t know) and saw a commercial for the same free meditation program.
Hmm, how interesting.
By this point I was already quite adept at listening to the whispers, and taking immediate action. After all, if I ignored it, it would keep coming back anyway, so I might as well save myself the time and the hassle and get on with it already, right?
By the way, this concept reminds me of affirmations, in the sense that it made me aware of certain things, and helped me seize opportunities that I would have otherwise ignored. *Sad face*
So I signed up for the 21 day challenge on Perfect Health! More details on that in the next post…
I believe the answers are out there, and it is up to us to quiet our minds (something meditation has helped me with significantly), pay attention to them, and then act on them.
Do me a favor, and take a look at your own life for a few minutes.
Was there a time in your past in which you were ignoring all the signs? Looking back, could you have saved yourself a lot of struggle had you merely paid attention to, and acted on those signs early in the process?
Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments! 🙂