THE BLOG

This Much I Know: What I Learned from Oprah's Finale

05/26/2011 04:28 pm ET | Updated Jul 26, 2011

As I write this, it's I'm wrapping up a fifteen-hour hour work day and at 9 pm, it's an early night.

In those hours I've attended four market appointments with fashion brands, spoken to high school students from East New York, read a chapter of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, produced a feature on Emilio Pucci for Essence.com where I'm fashion editor, and researched another on Michelle Obama. But the most productive thing I managed to do today? Dedicate some time to watch the finale of the Oprah Winfrey Show.

As she floated on to the set in her peach ensemble and perfectly coiffed hair, I braced myself for a star-studded extravaganza. But the Queen of Daytime had a more dazzling presentation in store: a tete-a-tete with me "and you and you and you too."

In her hour long "love letter," Winfrey emphatically stated something that struck me: "Find out your calling and stick to it." For those who have yet to find it, Oprah's call to action must have been akin to dim light on a dark road. For many, finding what one was meant to do is an undertaking as dazzling to the ear as it daunting to the soul. Yet for others like me, who have been crystal clear from youth about what that calling and passion was, the road can be equally difficult.

After years of working in media and earning the title of Fashion Editor, I find myself in an interesting place: the very place I started. Just like the years I spent as an intern, I am always the last to leave, always working on weekends, always trudging through mountains of mail and always focused more on perceived failures than apparent successes.

On nights like this I'm besieged by questions: am I working too much? Am I working too little? Am I totally not efficient? How do I find balance? And if all this doesn't have the direct service aspect as say, volunteering at a shelter would, is it even worth it?

Yet reflecting on Oprah's hour-long monologue puts some of these questions to bed. As she showed in her review of her 25-year journey, nothing but dedication, persistence and an unrelenting desire to make others better is what helps you walk the talk.

So as I pack up my bag and head home, I -- like millions of people who watched the finale -- am inspired to continue Oprah's legacy by remembering not just what she said on that finale, but how she lived it for twenty-five years.


Zandile Blay is Fashion Editor for Essence.com. She is founder of The Blay Report and the newly launched Africa Style Daily.