Michelle Obama on a Forward Motion Mindset

For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.” -Michelle Obama

Before reading Michelle Obama’s memoir, I looked at becoming as a place of arriving at my best and most complete self. What she taught me is that becoming is a “forward motion.” I love this wording because it is simple and yet conveys a powerful way to live.

For a while, I was striving to get to a place where I am wholly who I want to be and wholly myself. A place where I have fully become who I was made to be. However, looking at Michelle’s story she did not learn about many aspects of who she is and what her passions are until later in her life. And even after eight years as First Lady, she is still journeying forward and continuing to grow.

I have been in a place where all I want to do is learn and know and acquire knowledge about the world around me. So much so that there are an endless amount of books I want to read and topics I want learn about that I feel this need to rush and learn everything right now. The desire for knowledge can be wonderful and healthy. However, like anything else, wanting to acquire knowledge in extremes can lead to unhealthy habits and the stunting of enjoying the growth I am experiencing currently.

Slowly, I am becoming me and that is not an overnight project, but a slow process of building bricks, stones, and details over time. Becoming wholly who I want to be and who I was created to be is not a one and done action because each day I learn new aspects of the world and continue to evolve. Now, I can breathe, learn, and grow where I am now and let the course of life take me where it has me and continue to become in each new endeavor.

There is so much beauty to be had in this world that was created for each of us to experience. And there is so much that could be missed if I choose to narrow my views because of uncomfortable feelings and fear.

Some characteristics I admire in Michelle Obama are her humility and strength to change her career trajectory to more so live out her gifts and passions. She went to law school, became a successful lawyer, learned more about her passions, and chose a completely different direction for her life. We each have the power and capabilities to do that, but convenience and pride so often stop us from stepping into different opportunities. But what is “forward motion” if we are settling for the place that is more comfortable and secure? We all have the freedom to take any path in front of us and then choose to completely change it.

If I am not willing to step out in freedom and fight to become more of myself, how am I ever going to be able to empower others to do the same?

Fighting for myself and fighting for others is intertwined. As I learn more about myself, I learn more about how to step out into the world and share my gifts and passions with others. As I interact with others, I learn more about myself and directions I want to go and I grow in freedom of living an authentic life. It is not a stop and go sort of act where I learn about myself, stop, and then go out and interact with others. Or where I stop and settle once I have reached one goal and go when the situation seems convenient. Rather, life as a whole is a forward motion of growing, learning, changing, and becoming.

I am in awe of women like Michelle Obama. Who, when looking at her story, gives me so much hope for each of us to embrace who we are as humans and move forward in love. Her life also give me so much hope and vision for my own life and a push to never stop growing and becoming.