Michelle Obama’s speech to the 2015 graduating class at Tuskegee University made waves. Some media only aired the portions of the speech that highlighted the prejudices she has experienced as the first African American First Lady. It may have appeared that her comments were a show of solidarity with those protesting on behalf of the Freddie Grays and Michael Browns of the world. They showcased her references to unflattering public images of her and the President, the unseemly questions posed to her as an African American First Lady, and the use of phrases like “Obama’s Baby Mama” or “terrorist fist jab,” which was used to describe the onstage fist bump after President Obama winning the primary.
Other media outlets took the time to allow the true meaning of her speech to reign. Her message was critically important to anyone who ever has wanted anything, but felt crushed beneath a wave of negative feedback. Her sleepless nights ended after she learned to, “ignore all of the noise and be true to myself…”
She went on to say, “And at the end of the day, by staying true to the me I’ve always known, I found that this journey has been incredibly freeing. Because no matter what happened, I had the peace of mind of knowing that all of the chatter, the name calling, the doubting – all of it was just noise. It did not define me. It didn’t change who I was. And most importantly, it couldn’t hold me back.”
What noise is trying to define you? Whose criticism or well-meaning advice is fueling your self-doubt? What media messages are shaping your self-perception? Today is the day to start pushing that noise away. Not sure where to start? Try my simple 5-step process for silencing the voices of others in your head:
- Look within and analyze yourself or your current condition
- Reflect on the content of your mind and emotions
- Make conscious choices
- Test the sincerity and credibility of your commitment
- Hold yourself accountable for achieving your goal(s)
You’ll always have detractors – people who toss obstacles in your way as you strive for something they don’t think you’re good enough to have. It doesn’t take aiming for and winning the White House to bring out the naysayers. All of us have felt their sting.
Michelle Obama may be First Lady, but she’s no superhero. She lives on the same planet we do, where there is no shortage of people with opinions. Her critics may be more numerous and more harsh than yours, but by taping into her inner truth, she found freedom and peace – even while being under the most intense microscope in the world.
Imagine what that frame of mind could do for you.