The Design Business Show 013: A Lesson from Oprah on Letting Go + Surrendering

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | February 13, 2019
Learn from the queen herself, Oprah, about what to do when you’re having doubts in your business.

“Your real job in life is to figure out what it is that you’re called to do.” – Oprah Winfrey

That quote is really resonating with me right now – as I experiencing a lot of doubt and confusion about what I’m really supposed to be doing and who I’m supposed to be doing it for.

It’s one of those moments you have as an entrepreneur that no one tells you you’re going to have. Well I’m right in the middle of one, and I thought why not just be real and honest with you.

I know the designs I create are awesome.

Not many designers can say that their designs have helped their clients make 7 figures in one promotion.

Not many designers can say that they meet people at events who remember the sales pages they worked on four years ago – who literally stop them mid sentence to tell you how much that course has impacted them.

I can.

But why do I doubt? Because I was a born worry wart.

It doesn’t scare me to not know where my next client is coming from.

It scares me to know that maybe this isn’t all I’m supposed to be doing and I worry about maybe doing the wrong thing.

I worry about my son riding the bus home from school when the roads are bad.

I worry about what college my older son is going to go to.

Sometimes the thoughts in my brain move too fast for their own good, and sometimes I forget to tell them to shut up.

I’ve done some fun new projects, and I even spent a week teaching college level design courses. Yet, for some reason I’m not feeling as fulfilled as I normally do.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t hit my January sales goal. Which was really high

Maybe it’s because seasons in my life are changing. I went from always momming to finding myself with more time and not knowing what to do with it.

I started my business with young kids and now one drives and the younger one is too cool for his mom.

Maybe it’s because my design clients have all hired internal teams and I feel left out because I was one of the original people who helped them get to where they are now.

Maybe it’s because my design mentees have moved onto new mentors because I don’t have an offer that’s always open designers to work with me.

Or maybe it’s because I’m meant for bigger things, and they just haven’t come to fruition yet.

Or maybe it’s really because I need to let go. And practice more gratitude. And do what Oprah says. More on that in a minute.

No matter where you’re at in your business & life journey, it can feel like you’re behind.

Everyone has their own journey, so it’s best to stay in your lane and enjoy the process.<— That’s easier said than done, right?

I know it’s not easy, but letting go of what doesn’t serve you (when you can afford to!) will open up so many more doors for you.

That sounds like a line from a Hallmark card or a quote on social media, I know. BUT, when you get there, you’ll know. 🙂

Since starting my design business 8 years ago, I’ve had several potential design clients tell me no.

But I also just found 2 new leads without even looking. One was in my spam folder and the other was in my “other” Facebook messages.

What I’m trying to say is that my business is not perfect, but I do my best to focus on my wins instead of drowning my sorrows in every loss I’ve had.

There’s always an upside.

There are always better clients, better projects and better opportunities out there.

You just have to be open to looking and become unattached to the outcome.

Being open is one of the hardest things in entrepreneurship, but if Oprah can do it, you can too.

I watched a video recently where Oprah talks about how she got the role in The Color Purple.

After her audition, and not hearing back from them, she called them. They told her “You DON’T call me, I call you. We have real actresses auditioning for this part.

At that moment, she decided to let go, and surrender to whatever was supposed to happen. As soon a she did it, she got a call saying she got the part.

It’s only 10 minutes, and it’s a really great watch.

Letting go of any attachment of the outcome is not easy. But it will get easier with practice. It’s a new month, a new day, and you can totally do this!

If Oprah can do it, you can too. I believe in you, your business, and whatever it is you’re creating over in your parts of the world. You’ve got this!

Do me a quick favor, and send me a message on Instagram over at @thedesignbusinessshow or @melissaburkheimer and tell me what you’re excited about these days. I’d love to hear.

If you like these shorter, biz-life lesson type episodes –  make sure you let me know because there’s more where that came from.

We talk about mindset in episode number 2, and episode number 7. Episode 7 has been one of the most popular episodes, actually so make sure you check them out.

And if you’re not on the waitlist for The Design Business Accelerator, make sure you head on over to to get on the waitlist. We talk a lot about mindset inside my mentorship programs for designers because it’s so important!

Thank you so much for listening – and stay connected! If you like what you heard – be sure to subscribe, leave us a review on iTunes. And if you want to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs who are just like you, head on over to and sign up to join our FREE community.

Remember – there is totally enough room for all of the designers out there to create a business they love – so keep going for it. 
Because you totally can do this. You don’t have to be perfect – you just have to start somewhere and when you do, we’ll be here cheering you on.


Links mentioned:

Oprah’s Video on Surrender

How you Know You’re Doing What You’re Supposed to be Doing


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