3 Life Lessons for Women From Michelle Obama’s Becoming


3 Life Lessons for Women From Michelle Obama’s Becoming

Life Lessons Michelle Obama's Becoming

For smart and ambitious women, there are a number of practical life lessons to pick from Michelle Obama’s Becoming. This well-written memoir achieves many of the things you’d have expected: it’s the right degree of revealing while being inspiring and as candid as possible. 

You don’t have to have your career all figured out

Many of us will relate to Michelle’s words about wanting grown-ups’ approval of her future career. Now, as an adult she says, “I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.”

One of the most surprising revelations for me in this memoir was discovering Michelle’s feelings about her career as a lawyer. Even after excelling at university and scoring a well-paying job, she hated being a lawyer. She felt little fulfilment and admits to having “taken the wrong road.” The former First Lady triumphs in the end though because she allows herself to try something different.

So whether you’re fresh out of school with a degree you’re not sure what to do with, or in an uncertain career or business path, don’t throw your hands up just yet. Be open to trying something else, and switching things up  until you find what works. After all, in the end, all you have is your story, whether or not it’s perfect to anyone else.

Life Lessons from Michelle Obama's Becoming
Photo by Alex Nemo Hanse on Unsplash

Take control of your happiness (and outsource too!)

If you’ve read the book, chances are high that your favourite section of the entire book was “Becoming Us”—Michelle and Barack’s love story. It was clear that despite the beautiful friendship that Barack and Michelle approached life differently. Even in the midst of his most busy schedule, Barack made time to go the gym and made time to write — two things that mattered to him. On the other hand, Michelle highlighted that she often found herself looking up to Barack for her happiness, until she realised that she alone was responsible for her happiness and decided to take charge making space for the little moments she enjoyed and treasured. This meant getting her mum to help out with her girls and also hiring a chef.

Even as their family grows, she also makes a small but important change to their dinner routine, noting that dinner and family time with the girls didn’t have to be ruined if Barack couldn’t make it in time. It was up to her to make sure that she enjoyed dinner time on her own and Barack’s presence was a plus. 

Women need female friends

For some reason, it takes some women forever to realise the power of female friendships. Michelle, however, is not one of such women. In Becoming, she hails friendships between women and introduces us to as many of her friends as possible. I cannot help but agree that such friendships “are built of a thousand small kindnesses…swapped back and forth and over again.”

Women need each other. Whether it’s for a mood lift, a girls’ trip, to share miscarriage stories or introduce each other to fertility specialists as Michelle’s did. If you have girlfriends, try to stay in touch as much as you can. We all have busy lives, but these are the things that keep us going and feeling less alone in our struggles.

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Have you read Becoming? What lessons did you pick out?

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