Lessons from Becoming by Michelle Obama

Lessons on Michelle Obama's Becoming Documentary on Netflix | Cocktails and Ambition

Michelle Obama ‘s documentary “Becoming” on Netflix was such a pleasant experience. I confess that although I have the book, I never made it past the first chapter. Not because the book was bad in fact it was the opposite. However, as a grad student with lots of paper to write/read, I  couldn’t shake the guilt and self admonishment that came with reading a book unrelated to class. So, for me being able to have an insight to her story through the 84-minute documentary was great!.  In those 84 minutes, I  left feeling motivated and inspired and I’m sharing some lessons I learned with you

Question who you are becoming

Self-reflection is an important part of growth. It is crucial that at all phases in life we are taking a deep and honest look at ourselves and questioning if we are becoming who we truly want to be. Are you someone you like? Are you someone you can respect?  And if the answer is yes, then stand in that decision, become more comfortable being that person, and standing for what  you believe in

Be your own cheerleader

A common theme in the documentary was the importance of believing in yourself and believing in the value of your dreams regardless of outside validation. Michelle Obama  recalls a story where she wanted to go to Princeton and her guidance counsellor said that she was not Princeton material. Knowing what we know now,  She was not only Princeton material but Harvard’s as well.  What this  shows is the importance of being your own cheerleader and believing in yourself and your skills when other people don’t. 

See yourself first and see yourself as deserving

While in a room of black students she mentions that as black women we can’t wait for the world to be equal to start feeling seen. Often women, especially women of colour, are  made to feel less than. This is evident in the ways we’ve witnessed imposter syndrome within this demographic. Michelle Obama mentions that the way to overcome the feeling of being less than is seeing yourself first and seeing yourself as deserving. It is important to answer the “why me?” question and realize why not you? Especially when you were hired for that position or spot It’s important to focus on you and your skills and really see yourself as deserving. 

Focus on your story and share your story

Michelle Obama touched on the importance of defining yourself before anybody else does.  You define yourself  by telling your own story and being vulnerable. As someone who frequently shares the stories of women, I know that there is power in sharing your story and owning it. You can define yourself as more than your GPA or job title. It’s important (especially if you are a woman of colour) to see yourself as more than a statistic and focus on the things you care about, and the things that bring you joy.  

The realities of being an ambitious woman

Finally, One of the things that I really loved that she touched on was the realities of being an ambitious woman and the sacrifices that women are often expected to make. I know there is the notion of being a “superwoman”   and “the  do it all woman”. This idea of womanhood is not sustainable and it’s not realistic. In fact it’s often the quick lane to burnout and exhaustion. The realities of being an ambitious woman and having a family sometimes means struggle, and making decisions that might slow the pace of your career.  However,  in light of all this, she mentions that its important to ensure that your happiness  is not dependent on your partner  or kids and to ensure that you are taking time to care for your self and your dreams and making sure your happiness comes from you 

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