Michelle Obama FTW
This weekend I'm dedicating my newsletter to the one and only Michelle Obama because of her ability to share stories that move and inspire, her willingness to be vulnerable and her perfect blend of humility and confidence.
As a role model and inspiration to millions of girls and women around the world, she had to jostle with discrimination – both racial and gender – while making her way up the world and, when she became First Lady in 2009, and the first woman of colour to occupy such an influential role, The Princeton University-educated, Chicago-born lawyer was thrust into the spotlight where everything she did or didn't do fell under scrutiny.
Given her incredible experiences and what she has had to deal with, the life experiences and lessons she shares are invaluable. Here are five of my favourites that I would have valued hearing at these moments in my life:
When I dropped out of my Computer Science degree after 6 months:
The ex-FLOTUS sharing life advice with 1,000 school girls: "Failure is an important part of your growth and developing resilience. Don't be afraid to fail."
Realising that my oldest "best" friend always left me feeling down and drained:
MO says: “You have to fill your bucket with positive energy, and if you have people hanging around you that are bringing you down and not lifting you up, whether that’s your ‘boo’ or your best friend, you have to learn how to push these people to the side.”
Being teased by colleagues about leaving the BBC to start my first venture
When asked, during her time at the White House, how she felt about the media attacks on her and her appearance in particular. She said: "Always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you form your goals."
When I felt sick with nerves the first time I presented my business on stage
Michelle Obama revealed that she sometimes still struggles to believe in herself saying: "I still have a little imposter syndrome, it never goes away, that you're actually listening to me. It doesn't go away, that feeling that you shouldn't take me that seriously."
Being the only girl among 30 founders pitching to 100 male investors
Addressing girls in Africa as part of the White House initiative, Let Girls Learn: “Nobody wants you to act like a boy. People want and need to value you because of who you are, because of your story, because of your challenges. That’s what makes you unique.”
Getting run down being a mother of two with two businesses to run
Championing self-esteem at a United State of Women summit: "If you do not take control over your time and your life, other people will gobble it up. If you don't prioritize yourself you constantly start falling lower and lower on your list."
We all have our moments through life where we could do with some wise words, and if I had to pick one person to guide me, Michelle Obama would be my go-to wise owl.
Michelle, we salute you.