LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM FIRST LADIES

You are not going to believe this! I have been speaking for 20 years and this was a first!

A week ago, I got to speak at a women’s conference where two former first ladies, Maria Shriver and Michelle Obama, shared some wisdom and dropped some #TruthBombs.

I love a good knowledge nugget, and these two ladies had them in spades. I literally could not write fast enough. Below are some of my favorites.

DITCH THE WORD “JUST”

I can’t count the number of times I hear, “I’m JUST an administrative assistant”, or “I’m JUST a nurse, not a doctor”, or “I’m JUST a stay at home mom”. We have to get the word “JUST” out of our vocabulary. We all have unique gifts. Celebrate yours.

WHAT’S YOUR IDENTITY?

Tying your identity to your job leaves you with no identity. Know what you want for your life and work to craft and build it. Create a vision for your life that involves things other than work.

TACKLE SELF-DOUBT & FEAR

Self-doubt and fear can be paralyzing or motivating.  Maria Shriver said that she gave up self-doubt for lent. People who are successful have self-doubt, fear, and uncertainty. If you feel like that, you are in good company. But you can choose your thoughts and perspective to move forward anyway.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH UPLIFTING PEOPLE

Life is challenging and full of struggles. Make sure the people you surround yourself with make you laugh, celebrate with you, and elevate you. Michelle Obama said, “Who do you want in your foxhole with you? You know you are going to be in a foxhole.” Surround yourself with people who have your back.

THINGS ARE GOOD!

The world is full of compassion and care. Most people don’t care about race, socioeconomic status, and education level. We hear all of the negatives and the hate. Choose to focus on the good. It’s easier to be altruistic when you see goodness in yourself.

RE-FRAMING WHAT CAN HAPPEN

What’s the best that can happen? We often say to ourselves, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Reframe it. Take risks, be bold, and think about the best possible outcome.

PUT YOU FIRST

Michelle Obama joked about calling her daughter’s school on the first day so she could get all of the pot luck lunch dates on her calendar. She schedules time with friends, kids, exercise, etc. first and then puts everything else on her calendar. Focus on what’s most important. The other stuff just fills in the blanks.

I was thrilled to hear both women talk about the importance of resilience. I have found that when faced with challenges, ambiguity, and adversity, those who practice resilience refuse to let fear hold them back, and they break through the barriers keeping them stuck to not only survive difficult times, but thrive as a result.

This is your time to thrive!

Strong Enough Anne Grady Keynote Speaker

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2 Comments

  1. Excellent takeaways Anne. I had lots of “insiders” taking notes for me and I hear you were off-the-charts a first-lady of keynoting yourself! Thanks for this article, it’s awesome, just like you. Can’t wait to hear about your next big speaking adventure.

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