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10 life lessons to take from Michelle Obama

Former First Lady Michelle Obama has revealed her best advice - and it's remarkably relatable.

Michelle Obama's Becoming book tour kicked off in November in Chicago, and since then we've heard some rather interesting snippets about what goes on at the shows. We're calling them shows because the atmosphere at the event is supposedly more like a rock concert than a literary event.
And the general consensus from the show?
Michelle does­n't dis­ap­point. She has so far cov­ered­ every­thing from her early dates with Barack Obama to her view of the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion. Michelle spoke sur­pris­ingly can­didly about tough times – and why she now wants her life mis­sion to be helping ed­u­cate girls world­wide.
"I hope this book will plant the seed that we can change lives," she said. "That it will change the minds of peo­ple who feel it's not a good move to send their daugh­ters to school."
Here's what else we learnt:

1. Choose your partner carefully

"Barack does­n't play games – and that's a very at­trac­tive qual­ity. Let's em­pha­sis that," she said, nod­ding in agree­ment to Chi­ma­man­da's mantra that love should­n't have to be painful. "Choose some­body who is full formed be­cause love does­n't form some­one, that's not what love does. Love does­n't fix bro­ken­ness."

2. But be careful not to lose your sense of identity in a relationship

"I knew the force of Barack's mind and the vi­sion he had for what kind of life of ser­vice he wanted to have. He had a clear sense that he had a re­spon­si­bil­ity to use his tal­ents and gifts to help peo­ple. So he was very fo­cused and very self-aware. And when you fall in love with that kind of pas­sion, I knew that I needed to an­chor my­self," she said. "I had to know who I was, what I cared about, how I wanted to di­rect my life, what kind of mother I wanted to be so I could stake my claim in this re­la­tion­ship. So when I knew that this was real I did a lot on work on my­self."

3. And don’t expect a relationship to be easy all the time

"When I talk to young peo­ple just start­ing to get mar­ried, I say: there are go­ing to be huge chunks of time where you want to push him out the win­dow," she said. "Many peo­ple look at my mar­riage as #re­la­tion­ship­goals. 'We want to be like Michelle and Barack.' Ok, let me tell you about Michelle and Barack…"

4. Take a career pivot if you’re not happy

Michelle says it was meet­ing Barack that made her re­alise she had to walk away from the law. "I was­n't in a ca­reer that brought me joy or touched any points of pas­sion for me at all. I had to fi­nally ad­mit that to my­self, which was a hard thing to do af­ter in­vest­ing the amount of time and re­sources. To get a Har­vard law de­gree, I was in debt. And to walk away from that and to look my par­ents in the eye and say 'I'm not feel­ing this'," she laughed, trail­ing off at the mem­ory.

5. Don’t let fear stop you achieving

"Learn­ing how to over­come fear, or learn­ing how to live with fear and work through it is one of the keys to suc­cess and growth. I grew up in a neigh­bour where be­cause of fear – fear of go­ing out­side, be­ing stopped by po­lice, fear of leav­ing what you knew – kept peo­ple stuck in one place," she re­called.

6. Fight against imposter syndrome

"My ad­vice to young women is that you have to start by get­ting those demons out. The ques­tion I used to ask my­self and still con­tinue to ask my­self is, 'Am I good enough?' That haunts us be­cause the mes­sages that are sent from the time when we're lit­tle are, 'Maybe we're not.' Don't push too hard, don't talk too loud…" she said. "So when you're walk­ing around with those demons in your head that's the first dragon that you have to slay."

7. Don’t assume those in power know more than you

"Here's the se­cret. I've been at prob­a­bly every pow­er­ful table that you can think of… I've served on cor­po­rate boards, I've been at G sum­mits, I've sat in at the UN. They're not that smart," she said. "There's a lot of things that folks are do­ing to keep their seats be­cause they don't want to share power. And what bet­ter way to do it than to make you think you don't be­long? I'm not say­ing that there aren't tal­ented peo­ple out there. But I'm here to tell you that their ideas are no more ex­cit­ing."

8. Use fashion that works for you

"My pri­mary goal with fash­ion is to wear some­thing that makes you feel good," she said of the lessons she'd learnt from be­ing a woman in the pub­lic eye, know­ing her im­age would be scru­ti­nized con­stantly.

9. Learn how to like yourself

"It takes time; it's a process. So for young peo­ple out there, es­pe­cially in 20s and 30s you may not like you yet be­cause you haven't ex­plored enough, you haven't seen your­self pushed through the hard times. It takes time," she said, be­fore shar­ing her key trick. "You have to elim­i­nate the peo­ple who do not add value in your life."

10. Stay hopeful – even in the current political climate

"Change is not a straight line," she said. "We mis­tak­enly thought that Barack Obama was go­ing to erase hun­dreds of years of his­tory in eight years. That's ridicu­lous. To think that that would hap­pen. We're putting down mark­ers and we make progress. Go­ing back­wards does­n't mean the progress was­n't real; it just means it was hard. What we're try­ing to do is shift cul­ture, we're try­ing to over­come hun­dreds of years of racism and seg­re­ga­tion born out of slav­ery and in­jus­tice."
Via our sister site Grazia.