Get Out Of Your Own Way

Updated: Apr 27, 2021

I really want to share these inspiring words from Michelle Obama featured in the Irish Times without getting into any trouble for doing so. I have cited the source and a link to her book at the bottom of this article to give due credit to those who deserve it.

“I was always the student who wanted to get As, who wanted to do well. Being one of those kids in a community where not everybody had those goals I found myself having to contend with ‘how do I get my education when I am surrounded by people who have different expectations of me?’ When I told my high-school counsellor I wanted to go to Princeton that counsellor told me: ‘I don’t think you are Princeton material.’

That cut me in a way that even though I continued on and got into Princeton, I remember that feeling of doubt of another adult placing a barrier on me . . . I, like many others, walked into that school with a stigma in my own head.

More young people nowadays call it imposter syndrome. Kids like me feel like they don’t belong, so they feel like they are faking it. I started to realise that the doubts I had in my head were all mine.

I had to work to overcome that question I always ask myself: ‘Am I good enough?’ That’s the question that has dogged me for a good part of my life. Am I good enough to be the first lady of the United States? Many women and many young girls from all backgrounds walk around with that question in our heads.

How did I overcome it? Hard work. I put my head down and I let the work speak for itself. I still do that. I still feel at some level I have something to prove because of the colour of my skin, because of the shape of my body, because of how people are judging me.

It takes some time and it takes some maturity to start having some successes under your belt where you realise, yes, in fact I am good enough . . . so I had to get out of my own way first of all and realise I belonged just as much as anyone else.”

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