21 of Michelle Obama's most inspiring quotes on work, success, and relationships

  • Former First Lady Michelle Obama turns 55 on Thursday.
  • With a history of impressive jobs, efforts to create change nationwide and worldwide, and memorable advice, Obama has become a role model to many.
  • In honour of her birthday, we collected some of her most inspiring quotes throughout the years.

Michelle Obama is a modern-day revolutionary woman.

She’s encouraged education for girls, championed for equal rights, advocated for American families in poverty, and pushed for healthy living. And that’s not to mention the history of titles she’s held that make for an impressive resume: First lady, lawyer, mum, style icon, and bestselling author, thanks to her recently published memoir, “Becoming.”

As husband Barack Obama said in his presidential farewell address, she’s done everything “with grace and with grit and with style and good humour.”

It’s easy to see how Michelle has become a role model for girls and women everywhere, especially when you consider the advice she’s given over the years. Her words have served as soundboard on everything from work and success to relationships and identity.

In honour of her 55th birthday, we’ve rounded up some of her most inspiring and memorable quotes and wisdom, both serious and lighthearted.


On success

Donn Jones/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
Oregon State University Commencement Speech


On creating global change

Susan Walsh/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
“Becoming”


On learning to love yourself

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
Interview with Oprah Winfrey for the United State of Women


On making a difference

Ed Andrieski/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
Young African Women Leaders Forum


On having it all

Dario Lopez Mills/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
Interview with Oprah Winfrey for the United State of Women


On the power of time

Winslow Townson/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
“Becoming”


On creating opportunities for yourself and others

Gerald Herbert/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
2012 Democratic National Convention


On marriage

Annie Leibovitz/White House;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
2011 White House luncheon


On the value of women

Alex Brandon/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
2009 State Department Women of Courage Awards


On carving your own path

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
“Becoming”


On decision-making

Morry Gash/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
“Michelle Obama in her Own Words: The Views and Values of America’s First Lady”


On speaking up

Gerald Herbert/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
“Becoming”


On achievement

David Zalubowski/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
2008 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address


On believing in yourself

Charles Dharapak/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
“Becoming”


On growing up

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
“Becoming”


On accepting failure

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
Glamour’s 2015
“The Power of an Educated Girl” panel


On boys

Ivan Sekretarev/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
Glamour’s 2015
“The Power of an Educated Girl” panel


On being the bigger person

Danny Johnston/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
2016 Democratic National Convention


On female friendships

Evan Agostini/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
“Becoming”


On authenticity

Jae C. Hong/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
Marie Claire


On the future of youth

Susan Walsh/AP;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source:
Final Speech as First Lady

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