Michelle Obama‘s Becoming book tour kicked off last year in Chicago and Michelle does­n’t dis­ap­point. She has so far cov­ered­ every­thing from her early dates with Barack Obama to her view of the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion.

According to Now To Love, 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.”

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.”

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