Women's Empowerment

Five Empowering Life Lessons From Michelle Obama (That You May Have Missed)

 Five Empowering Life Lessons From Michelle Obama (That You May Have Missed)

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."

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Get into your growth groove

Get into your growth groove

It was the official rentrée, the first chaotic day of reality after a long summer break. 


We were walking among perfectly-coiffed kids with their new backpacks and outfits on their way to school when I glanced over and saw my toddler hobbling along with his heels hovering in the air. 

 

“Shit!” I said to my husband. “We forgot to get him new shoes.”

 

My son was so obsessed with his red suede Adidas we conveniently overlooked him busting out of them. 

 

Next day at the shoe store, we embarrassing learned he had grown, not one, but two shoe sizes! Needless to say when he put his new sneakers (Adidas, again!) he was born-again.

 

Ripping his beloved pacifier out of his mouth big-boy style, he started running — down the ailes, down the street, to the park, around the park. Tirelessly, enthusiastically, like he had a new set of Duracell batteries on full blast.  


You Should Be Talking Business With Your Besties

You Should Be Talking Business With Your Besties

So it turns out that Edith Wharton didn’t care much for her female peers.


In the copy of Old New York that I borrowed from my mom, the author of the introduction, Marilyn French, says that Wharton was “stubbornly disinterested” in the successful female writers of her era. A dismissive attitude French calls “horizontal hostility.”


The term “horizontal hostility” was coined in the 1970s by lawyer/activist/feminist Florynce Kennedy to describe destructive power dynamics between women. Be it shaming, attacking, belittling or flat out denying each other’s potential and talent. 


Women have come a long way since.  

Wonder Women: Lean In, Lean Out, Toughen Up, Soften Up, Be Your Best or Just Be?

Wonder Women: Lean In, Lean Out, Toughen Up, Soften Up, Be Your Best or Just Be?

My coaching is focused predominantly on women. I coach high-potential, creative women in multicultural environments that have a special spark in them that hasn’t been fully nurtured yet. Maybe they know their spark well, maybe they don’t, but they feel it bubbling under their skin like spaghetti sauce at a slow simmer. They feel its presence, can smell its aroma, but they haven’t plated it, tasted it and shared it with the world yet. And they know that if they don’t start facing, listening, and stoking that spark with the nourishment that it longs for they will regret it forever. And who wants to die with those kinds of regrets?