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Innovation Insights
by Stephen Shapiro

My O-The Oprah Magazine Article

As readers of this blog know, back in November 2005, I was on the cover of O Magazine.  No, my face was not on the magazine. But an article talking about my Goal-Free Living philosophy was featured on the cover. The picture to the right is the actual cover from back then. You will notice an article titled, “What the Happiest People Know for Sure (page 87).”  That is my article.

And now, after over 6 years, the article is online for everyone to read.

Some of you may remember an article I wrote for the American Express OPEN Forum, the title of which implied being in O “hurt” my business.  Yes, I chose a very provocative title to stimulate interest and discussion, and I succeeded.  For quite some time it was the most commented and viewed article on the entire AMEX site.  It was controversial. And yet I am convinced that many people did not really read the article and immediately jumped to conclusions.  I made it VERY clear that being in O Magazine had nothing (or at least very little) to do with the downturn of my business over a half dozen years ago.

My good friend Jane Atkinson often says, “Pick a lane and stay there.”  That is, choose an area of expertise and stay hyper-focused on that.  At that point in my career, I was operating my business like a drunk driver: changing lanes and confusing my clients and prospects.  I was an innovation expert featured in The New York Times. And at the same time, I was writing about not having goals (my Goal-Free Living book) and was featured in Oprah’s magazine.  My corporate clients began to question my dedication to innovation and big business.  And my prospects were confused by my lack of focus.  As Jane also says, “A confused buyer never buys.”  And so my business suffered at that time – not because of a magazine article, but rather a lack of focus on my part.

I want to make it clear: I am SO proud of being featured in O-The Oprah Magazine.  And I am thrilled that my article, after all of these years, is now available for everyone to read.