Select Page 12 Lessons on “Becoming” FIERCE from Michelle Obama
It was such a blessing to watch Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” Documentary on Netflix.
Michelle in all of her beauty is a brilliant and prolific woman that is honestly no different than the rest of us on a journey to becoming the best version of yourself. As I watched, I couldn’t help but think what I would share with my younger, less FIERCE self, but I enjoyed watching and reflecting. There are a few “spoiler” alerts but if you have read the book and/or watch the documentary, you will find what resonates with you…..
Here are the greatest lessons that I took from the documentary:
- Your STORY is your POWER but also take the time to get to know other people’s stories
Michelle emphasizes this lesson when a young girls expresses that her life is so ordinary. Michelle informed the girl that her very story was the power that made her extraordinary. It is so important for us to own the stories we tell ourselves but also the narratives that have shaped us. Remembering that we have the power to not only embrace them, but to reshape them as we grow.
- When becoming in a new chapter, it’s not about getting back on track, it’s about creating a new track
As Michelle left the White House, she recognized that she was not going back to her old life, but recreating the next version of herself. Often we try to get back to our old “normal” when in reality we are being called higher to our next dimension and next version of self.
- It takes times to process who you are
Michelle highlighted to the many young women she encountered on the “Becoming” tour as she visited high schools the need to take time to “PROCESS” self so that you can make the right next best moves in your life. There is no need to rush the “becoming” process.”
- Don’t ever let anyone deter you from your dreams
Michelle remembered a guidance counselor who deterred her from considering Princeton University as an option. She proved her wrong and obviously defied the odds. This resonates deeply as my academic advisor in my undergraduate program deterred me from minoring in Psychology since it would not yield a certification. However, eight years later, I am getting my degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling which many of my peers got their undergraduate degree or have experience in “psychology” already. It’s like a full circle moment because I’m back to my initial nudge I felt for the field then. It never went away and like Michelle, I can listen to this advice and never let anyone else deter me from my dreams and vision.
- We can’t wait for the world to be equal to be seen, time won’t allow it. Find the tools within yourself to be visible and find your voice
As Michelle shared with a young girl during a round table discussion, you are not only responsible for your story but for making yourself and your voice visible. The world does NOT equally and equitablely make room for women of color especially black women to be seen. It is our job to do that Michelle asserts eloquently.
- We should have high expectations for our young people and raise them to be independent doers and thinkers
Just like in her book, Michelle shared about her grandparents, in particular her grandfather was instrumental in really instilling hard work into her and her brother. She shares that we must have high expectations for the young and make them independent doers and thinkers. It was refreshing to hear that she emphasized this as a mom to Sasha and Malia in the White House when they were suddenly whisked into such a privileged position with maids and butlers. She made it known that the girls still had to learn independent skills such as making their beds since they would not leave there forever. This was admirable.
- You deserve a seat at the table. You are just as smart and enough
Michelle not only learned this at Princeton as one of the few minorities on campus, but as the wife of a politician she has sat at so many tables that many of us would assume are not suitable enough for us because we often find we aren’t good enough. Michelle found that many of the folks at those tables weren’t even as bright or brilliant as she was. We have to stop second guessing ourselves and acting as if we have imposter syndrome when really we are qualified, and sometimes overqualified.
- Take control of your own happiness in your relationship
One thing I enjoyed about this documentary was that it did NOT rely heavily on Barack Obama. It was delightful how he was infused as a part of the journey and not the center of her story. She learned so many lessons while being married to such a powerful man such as the power of equal partnership and being clear on your own vision and values so as she says the “Tsunami” of his power would not overtake her. Ultimately, one of the biggest lessons she learned was in finding HAPPINESS within herself and not making Barack Obama responsible for it. Therapy helped her achieve this which was beautiful to hear, too!
- Going home. Keeps you grounded!
In part of the documentary, Michelle and her mother take a visit to where she grew up which was a sheer reminder of the need for us to physically go home sometimes but to spiritually stay plugged in as well so we remain grounded in who we are.
- You are more than your status
One of the young women Michelle encounters on tour, asks her about this idea of developing your story vs. focusing on becoming a stat. The story that we tell ourselves about who we are and who are becoming is more important than the titles we carry, the social media status, and even the bias/stereotypes others try to put on us. Michelle knew this firsthand as she experienced so much scrutiny as the first African American First Lady of the United States.
- Become more strategic of how you present yourself
Since she was scrutinized so much, Michelle ultimately learned how to own who she was more and then create self awareness and a self-image that worked for her in the process. The presentation of your style is as much about becoming as the inner work you do to become the fiercest version of yourself.
- Let your job and your life speak for itself
Last but certainly not least, Michelle made it clear that no matter what other people may say. She let her work and her life be the greatest message and motivation to others. This was deeply profound and moving!
Overall Michelle Obama’s Becoming was emotional, moving, and beautiful. It was so divine to see her mentor young women and want to continue this legacy as I do the same with my mentoring group called, Girls Empowered. It was also amazing to see how she overcame tremendous pressure to BECOME the most unstoppable and unapologetic version of herself beyond the titles she holds but simply as a woman.
- What parts of Becoming resonated with you deeply? What lesson(s) above speak to you most?
- Have you read the book already? Which did you enjoy better?
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You never find yourself until you face the truth
— Pearl Bailey
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