Author: Michelle Obama
||How I came across the book
As the book went viral, a good friend who knows my love for books recommended it and sent me a copy.
If I’m being honest, before reading this book, I didn’t pay so much attention to Michelle Obama as a person.
Michelle Obama: If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s the power of using your voice. I have tried my best to speak the truth and shed light on the stories of others who are often brushed aside.
On Owning Your Story:
Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.
– So many of us go through life with our stories hidden, feeling ashamed or afraid when our own truth doesn’t live up to some established ideal. We grow up with messages that tell us there’s only one way to be American-or anything else. That is, until someone dares to start telling that story differently.
– To make impact you must know your own voice and not be afraid to use it.
On Failure, Self-doubt and Success:
– Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It is a vulnerability that breeds self-doubt and is then escalated by fear.
– There’s no hurrying a bus ride. You get on and either choose to endure it or enjoy it. So it is with life.
– With every steady accomplishment the doubts about our competence ebbs away.
– The noise doesn’t go away but the most successful people in life have figured out how to live with it.
– To succeed you must lean on those who believe in you, have faith in your story and push onward with your goals.
– Most successful people in life know how to manage a state of constant calibration, tweaking one area of life in hopes of bringing steadiness to another.
On the difference between men and women, and navigating motherhood:
– Men are not innately smarter than women, they are simply emboldened, floating on an ancient tide of superiority buoyed by the fact that history has never told them anything different.
– There’s no real formula for motherhood. No single approach is 100% right or wrong. Knowing the balance for your unique needs is what matters.
– There are tradeoffs every working mother has to make to maintain enough energy for life at home.
– Home is wherever we don’t feel the need to prove a point to anyone.
On Inspiration, Hope and Hardwork:
– In life there are truths we face and the ones we ignore, but ignoring the truth doesn’t change it from being true.
– It hurts to live after someone else has died. But death reminds us that there’s no time to waste time.
– The future is promising not to those who make plans, but to those who believe.
– A person who sees his opportunities as endless doesn’t waste time trying to figure out if they will ever dry up.
– Inspiration on its own is shallow; you always have to back it up with hard work.
On Resilience, Preparation and Vulnerability:
– To make impact you must be strategic about how you apportion your time and energy.
– When we unbury our past struggles, we help to steady others who still struggle. But when we hide our past struggles, those in a similar journey suffer in silence, pain and loneliness.
– Sometimes the right decisions will cost us more than we bargained for.
– We often don’t know what exactly life would throw our way – whether rain or sunshine, our responsibility is to always live prepared.
– It is possible to be more in charge of our own happiness than we have allowed ourselves to be.
– Set your own rules. Those that truly matter will stick to it.
On Priorities, Uncertainties and Perspectives:
– The adventures that life brings our way often force us to hold on tighter to our priorities.
– Sometimes we are too obsessed with life as it should be, that we are discontent with life as it is.
– The uncertainty life brings our way can serve either as a fuel or as a threat. When life seems out of control, the best we can do is focus on things we can control.
– People who understand how fortunate they have been, have an obligation not to be complacent.
– When you put in the right effort to a cause, even if you don’t end up winning, you’ve made progress. Sometimes that’s all that matters.
– We often prematurely assume we know all there is to know about life, whereas we don’t yet know a thing.
– Sometimes no one takes responsibility for looking out for you unless you push for it.
– No matter how exhausted we feel, there are people making more sacrifices than we are.
– For most things in life, it’s a matter of perspective, how we decide to look at what is right in front of us.
On Confidence, Criticisms and Purposeful Living:
– Authentic confidence has to come from within.
– Authenticity focuses more on going deep than broad.
– To make a difference you must be intentional about your dreams.
– Everything we do matters. So we must be intentional the most about the little things. The world always needs an example, maybe that example could be us.
– If you don’t work at defining yourself people will incorrectly define you.
– No matter how enormous your responsibilities are, if you consider yourself blessed, you’ll live with gratitude.
– At all times our focus shouldn’t just be to do the proper thing, but to do the human thing.
– There are pieces of public life that can significantly strip away part of your identity. But if you keep your focus, your public office will align with your purpose.
– The critics will always be there. Judgemental people will always have their opinions. No matter who we try to please, there will always be those who won’t be pleased.
– Some people want us to fail whether what we are doing is right or wrong.
– We are constantly being watched by people and regardless of what we choose, we are bound to disappoint someone.
On Leadership, Opportunities, and Perseverance:
– With a garden you never know for sure what will or won’t happen- whether anything, in fact, will grow. Sometimes all we can do is to put our faith into the effort, trusting that with the sun, rain and time, something half-decent will push up through the dirt.
– Each time something goes awry in a garden, as in life, we must make small adjustments and focus on the bigger picture.
– We can choose to use the power we find inside a situation we didn’t choose, to our own advantage.
– A leader is supposed to stand out without overshadowing others, to blend in but not fade away.
– Dominance, even the threat of it is a form of dehumanization. It’s the ugliest kind of power.
– Life teaches us to be always prepared and to sometimes imagine worst case scenarios, before we take certain decisions.
– As life gets busier, there are many details that can’t be planned for. No matter how much planning we do, we can’t be sufficiently prepared for everything life decides to throw our way.
– If you’re the first woman at something, your legacy should be not to be the only one.
– Every woman should feel the ease and get the encouragement to speak and be heard.
– As a woman, even without brute force, you can find ways to be strong.
– Life teaches us that progress and change often happen slowly. We plant seeds of change, the fruit of which we may never see.
– To make a long lasting impact, it’s important to connect your message to your image.
– The truth is that the future will arrive with its own surprises, some joyous, others unspeakably tragic.
– The more we understand purpose, the more emboldened we become to speak honestly and directly about our Assignment.
– In the world we live in, we must learn to be resolute, to keep our feet pointed in the direction of progress.
– Becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim, it’s a forward motion, a means of evolving, continuously reaching toward one’s better self. The journey doesn’t end. It’s a process, many steps along a path.
– Becoming requires equal parts of patience and rigor. Like children we must wake up each day believing in the goodness of things, in the magic of what can be.
– We need to remain both tough and hopeful, to acknowledge that there’s more growing to be done.
I am an ordinary person who found herself on an extraordinary journey. In sharing my story, I hope to help create space for other stories and other voices to be heard. For every door that’s been opened to me, I’ve tried to open mine to others. And here’s what I have to say, finally: Let’s invite one another in. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.
I found this book to be brilliant, inspiring and mind-blowing. I love the author’s unique perspective about life and thorough enjoyed how she weaved the stories from her childhood and from her tenure as the First Lady into the book.
For Wives, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters, Female Executives and Every Woman in her journey to becoming.
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