I’ve had Michelle Obama in my ears for the last month. In the morning as I walk to work, doing my groceries on the way home, heading off to meet friends for dinner, on the park bench while watching my kids play soccer.
She’s become a trusted advisor. A wisdom whisperer. A funny pal. Her impeccably articulated stories now etched into my day-to-day memories.
In the fifteen hours that I’ve listened to her a few key moments stand out. Not the rousing moments woven into her sold-out live book tour performances (that I loved, BTW!), but softer moments.
Subtle and quiet, they show shifts in perspective as Michelle takes more and more responsibility for her own happiness and fulfilment.
Learning how to take charge of your own happiness and fulfilment is a theme that means a lot to me. Why? Because it’s the bedrock of the coaching journey—the springboard that creates big leaps forward.
So in a celebration of subtle springboards, I present you with:
Michelle Obama’s Five Discreet Life Lessons On Taking Charge Of Your Own Happiness and Fulfilment (That Didn’t Make It To The Book Tour)
Lesson 1: If You Want To Find Your True Self You First Have To Stop Worrying About What Other People Think Of You
Michelle Obama lived the first 28 years of her life as a happy control freak, following a strict recipe of hard work and determination. Even her stuffed animals were stiff. When the question “Am I good enough?,” regularly popped up in her head, she pushed herself even harder to prove her worth to others. Following a success-driven path on a straight-and-narrow road landed her in the corner office of a swanky law firm with the prospect of climbing even higher up the lawerly ladder. But then she met Barack, a late to meetings, unpredictable, out-of-the-box thinker with a wild drive and no clear path. Falling for Barack was a challenge ideologically and emotionally. It meant rebelling against predictability. Against the establishment. Against the perfection impression she hoped to project. Allowing herself to fall in love with him was the start of her swerve off the predictable path into a windy, challenging, imperfect, but deeply more satisfying one.
In Michelle’s Words:
"This may be the fundamental problem with caring a lot about what others think: It can put you on the established path—the my-isn’t-that-impressive path—and keep you there for a long time. Maybe it stops you from swerving, from ever even considering a swerve, because what you risk losing in terms of other people’s high regard can feel too costly."