According to Michelle Obama, that decision is simple — yet it makes all the difference.
Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming was released last November and sold over 700,000 copies in one day. If that’s not impressive enough, almost 10 million copies have been sold to date.
And if that’s not impressive enough, Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe said, “We believe this could become the most successful memoir ever.” (Bertelsmann owns Penguin Random House, Michelle’s publisher.)
None of which is surprising. She’s extremely smart, extremely accomplished, and extremely successful.
This is what Michelle Obama believes sets successful people apart:
I’ve been lucky enough now in my life to meet all sorts of extraordinary and accomplished people — world leaders, inventors, musicians, astronauts, athletes, professors, entrepreneurs, artists and writers, pioneering doctors and researchers.
Some (though not enough) of them are women. Some (though not enough) are black or of colour. Some were born poor or have lives that to many of us would appear to have been unfairly heaped with adversity, and yet still they seem to operate as if they’ve had every advantage in the world.
What I’ve learned is this: All of them have had doubters. Some continue to have a roaring, stadium-sized collection of critics and naysayers who will shout “I told you so” at every little misstep or mistake.
The noise doesn’t go away, but the most successful people I know have figured out how to live with it, to lean on the people who believe in them, and to push onward with their goals.
Read stories about successful people and it’s easy to think they possess some intangible something — talent, ideas, inspiration, connections, etc. — that you don’t have.
But that is rarely the case. While it’s easy to look back on a path to success and assume that every vision was clear, every plan was perfect, every step was executed flawlessly, and tremendous success was a foregone conclusion, it wasn’t.
Each successful person had their doubters. Each had their naysayers. Each had their critics.
Success is never assured. Only when you look back does it appear that way.
If you’re willing to work hard, persevere, and take a chance on yourself, who you are is more than enough. Even if you’re on the extreme downside of advantage. Even if you feel you have nothing going for you. You no longer have to wait: to be accepted, to be promoted, to be selected, to somehow be “chosen.”
Now, as Seth Godin says, you can choose yourself.
You can do almost anything you want. And you don’t need to wait for someone else to discover your talents.
The only thing holding you back is you. And your willingness to try.
You may not become the next Michelle Obama.
And that’s OK. That’s more than OK.
Because you can be the first you.
Reposted with permission.