When Michelle Obama’s memoir “Becoming” was released, we raved about it for months. You know how people like gist, or as some put it, insight into the life of such an acclaimed public figure. Imagine the buzz when people learned her biography now had a documentary. And that it was available on Netflix!! I don’t intend to spoil it for you, but just know this: In the documentary, she gives us more insight into her life as the first lady of the United States.
Here are the five lessons that stuck with me.
On believing in yourself
“I have been at, probably, every powerful table there is in the world. I’ve been at G-summits, I’ve been in castles and palaces, in boardrooms and academic universities. And I’m coming down from the mountaintop to tell every young person that is poor and working-class and has been told, regardless of the colour of your skin, that you don’t belong, don’t listen to them. They don’t even know how they got into those seats” I love this quote because as women we are fond of dismissing ourselves from spaces we clearly deserve to be at. Remember this quote the next time you dismiss yourself or permit someone to dismiss your dreams and ambition. You are just as worthy.
“I sacrificed my ambitions for my children.” When I watched the documentary, Michelle said this without any regrets in my opinion. She said it as a matter of fact. I don’t know the small details in her marriage or what the arrangement was, but what I learned was that in life we all have to make tough decisions that will impact heavily on our future. It is important to understand our decisions and the sacrifices we make to avoid regrets.
“You reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.” Giving back doesn’t have to be on a large community scale. Can you help a young child in the village go to school? Just one child? I think when we consider giving back in such small measures, we see just how much impact we can make in the world around us. Little drops make the ocean.
“If we can open up a little bit more to each other and share our stories, that’s what breaks down barriers.” This is one of the things I like about social media, the space it gives us to share our stories. We see that we don’t live in a vacuum with our problems and challenges, people have gone through it, and they’ve found solutions. When you share, you open up for opportunities and change.
“Success isn’t about how your life looks to others. It’s about how it feels to you.” I learned early to define what success means for me. Otherwise, you’ll end from running from post to post comparing your life with others. We are all on a different journey. What does success mean for you?