She is a woman who needs no introduction, and even though she’s a former First Lady, Michelle Obama is still beloved by millions.
If you’re in search of uplifting words that will inspire you to reach your full potential, then this collection of Michelle Obama quotes is perfect for you.
Michelle Obama is an American lawyer, university administrator, and writer who’s also the wife of former U.S. President Barack Obama.
She was the First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017, becoming the first African-American to serve the role.
During her tenure as First Lady, Obama played a key role in advocating for poverty awareness, education, health, and women empowerment.
As an educated, intelligent, and independent-minded woman, she served as a Role Model for women and is also considered a fashion icon.
Born in 1964 in Chicago, Illinois, Obama is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School.
Following her graduation from law school, she worked as an associate in the Chicago branch of the firm Sidley Austin, where she met Barack Obama.
She married Barack in 1992 and the couple has two daughters.
Michelle played a major role in her husband’s presidential bid, scaling down her own professional work to attend to campaign obligations.
In 2018, Michelle published “Becoming“, her autobiographical memoir where she writes about how experiences from her childhood in Chicago helped guide her life path.
The inspirational book quickly became one of the hottest titles of the decade.
A successful lawyer who juggled the roles of being a wife, mother and a professional, Obama has clearly tapped into her Everyday Power.
In that respect, here are some powerful and inspirational Michelle Obama quotes and sayings.
If you enjoy this article, check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily motivation.
Browse our entire collection of inspirational quotes for more motivating ideas and concepts.
Watch first lady Michelle Obama’s final White House speech
Don’t forget to also read these powerful quotes from black women that will keep you motivated.
Michelle Obama quotes from her speeches and interviews about life, success, love, and education
1. “Being president doesn’t change who you are – it reveals who you are.” – Michelle Obama
Everyday Application: People always assume that fame and the spotlight changes people. Or power changes people. However, it just reveals the things that were already within you; whether that is your capacity for greatness or your twisted ego and need for control.
2. “How hard you work matters more than how much you make.” – Michelle Obama
Everyday Application: How much money you make matters for practical reasons. However, the real satisfaction comes from pushing past your challenges and working hard to make your dreams come true. At the end of the day, if you are pleased with the way your contributions impact the world that is all that matters.
3. “Success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.” – Michelle Obama
Everyday Application: Winners never cheat and cheaters never win. It might look like it for a little bit, but ultimately, being unjust and deceitful in order to succeed will eventually come back to bite you. Also, it is just bad for your soul. Do the work. Play fair.
4. “My job, I realized, was to be myself, to speak as myself. And so I did.”– Michelle Obama
5. “You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.” – Michelle Obama
Everyday Application: Fear and worrying about what might happen often holds us back from doing what we are truly meant to do. Instead of worrying about what you might lose, ask yourself what you have to gain!
6. “Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”– Michelle Obama
7. “Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result” –
8. “We needed now to be resolute, to keep our feet pointed in the direction of progress.” – Michelle Obama
9. “Time, as far as my father was concerned, was a gift you gave to other people.” – Michelle Obama
10. “I am so tired of fear. And I don’t want my girls to live in a country, in a world, based on fear.” – Michelle Obama
Everyday Application: Fear is paralyzing. There are many things going on right now that are beyond the scope of control that many of us have. However, instead of fearing these things, learn more. What can you actually do? Live your life. Don’t fear your dreams, thoughts, or ideas. Live life fully and help those around you.
Also check out these quotes about immigration exploring each side of this social issue.
Michelle Obama quotes about life, America and our future
11. “You see, our glorious diversity—our diversity of faiths, and colors and creeds―that is not a threat to who we are, it makes us who we are.” – Michelle Obama
Everyday Application: Diversity is important because it exposes us to new ideas and perspectives. It enables us to learn from one another. Diversity also aids in increases our creativity and problem-solving skills. You do not have to fear those that are different for yourself, but rather embrace it!
12. “If you are a person of faith, know that religious diversity is a great American tradition, too. In fact, that’s why people first came to this country: to worship freely. And whether you are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh―these religions are teaching our young people about justice, and compassion, and honesty. So I want our young people to continue to learn and practice those values with pride.” – Michelle Obama
Everyday Application: There are differences among all of these religions that Michelle Obama speaks about. However, there is some consistency as well. They all teach us about sacrifice, peace, and justice. They also each speak to a relationship with God. You do not have to believe in any religious teachings if you do not want, but could take a moment to appreciate the things that connect believers, rather than the things that divide them.
13. “Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down, and trust your instincts. Good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt. They’re not painful. That’s not just with somebody you want to marry, but it’s with the friends you choose. It’s with the people you surround yourself with.” – Michelle Obama
Everyday Application: Some people are not great people to include in your circle. Not all of these people are obviously ‘bad’ people. However, if you feel like they are draining your energy, it might be time to take a hard look at the people you surround yourself with.
14. “We should always have three friends in our lives. One who walks ahead who we look up to and follow; one who walks beside us, who is with us every step of our journey; and then, one who we reach back for and bring along after we’ve cleared the way.” – Michelle Obama
Everyday Application: Each of these friends brings something to our lives. That friend that goes ahead and inspires you is reinforcing your belief that people can achieve what they set out to. The friend that is with you every step of the way provides you with support when you need it, as well as encouragement, balance, and perspective. The one you help bring along will achieve great things because you inspired them.
15. “My father’s life is a testament to that basic American promise that no matter who you are or how you started out, if you work hard you can build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids.” – Michelle Obama
Everyday Application: We do not all have the same starting point. To those who started out with more obstacles than most, this can seem unfair. However, it is important to remember that we all have the same potential. You may have to climb more hills and struggle, but you will learn valuable lessons from each of your obstacles.
16. “To the young people here, and the young people out there: do not ever let anyone ever make you feel like you don’t matter, or like you don’t have a place in our American story—because you do. And you have a right to be exactly who you are. But I also want to be very clear: this right isn’t just handed to you. No, this right has to be earned every single day. You cannot take your freedoms for granted.” – Michelle Obama
17. “When you are struggling, and you start thinking about giving up, I want you to remember something that my husband and I have talked about since we first started this journey nearly a decade ago—something that has carried us through every moment in this White House and every moment of our lives—and that is the power of hope. The belief that something better is always possible if you’re willing to work for it and fight for it.” – Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama quotes about the American dream
18. “It is our fundamental belief in the power of hope that has allowed us to rise above the voices of doubt and division, of anger and fear that we have faced in our own lives and in the life of this country. Our hope that if we work hard enough and believe in ourselves, then we can be whatever we dream, regardless of the limitations that others may place on us.” – Michelle Obama
19. “It’s the hopes of folks like my dad, who got up every day, do his job at the city water plant; the hope that one day his kids would go to college and have opportunities he never dreamed of. That’s the kind of hope that every single one of us—politicians, parents, preachers, all of us—need to be providing for our young people. Because that is what moves this country forward every single day: our hope for the future and the hard work that hope inspires. So that’s my final message to young people as First Lady. It is simple.” – Michelle Obama
20. “I want our young people to know that they matter. That they belong. So don’t be afraid. Do you hear me? Young people, don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourselves with a good education. Then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise. Lead by example with hope, never fear, and know that I will be with you, rooting for you and working to support you for the rest of my life.” – Michelle Obama
21. “For all the young people in this room and those who are watching, know that this country belongs to you—to all of you, from every background and walk of life. If you or your parents are immigrants, know that you are part of a proud American tradition—the infusion of new cultures, talents and ideas, generation after generation, that has made us the greatest country on earth.” – Michelle Obama
22. “I love that for Barack, there is no such thing as “us” and “them” – he doesn’t care whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or none of the above…he knows that we all love our country…and he’s always ready to listen to good ideas…he’s always looking for the very best in everyone he meets.” – Michelle Obama
23. “Make no mistake about it, whether it’s health care, the economy, education or foreign policy, the choice we make in this election will determine nothing less than who we are as a country — but more importantly, who we want to be. Will we be a country that tells folks who have done everything right but are still struggling to get by, “tough luck, you’re on your own”? Is that who we are?… Or will we honor that fundamental American belief that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper and if one of us is hurting then we’re all hurting? Who are we? That’s what this election is about.” – Michelle Obama
24. “Barack and I were both raised by families who didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions but who had given us something far more valuable – their unconditional love, their unflinching sacrifice, and the chance to go places they had never imagined for themselves.” – Michelle Obama
25. “We’re here because we believe that everyone in this country should do their fair share, plain and simple. Which means that teachers and firefighters shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires. Not in America. We believe that if you work hard, you shouldn’t go bankrupt because someone gets sick. You shouldn’t lose your home because someone loses a job. Not in America. And after a lifetime of hard work, you should be able to retire with some dignity and some security. That’s what we believe.” – Michelle Obama
You might also like these wise Barbara Bush quotes for understanding the complexities of life.
Michelle Obama quotes about success
26. “We have this window of opportunity; we have a chance to make something real happen. Something possible happen, to live beyond our fear — think about that, and help us. Help lift us up, help us fight this fight to change — transform — this country in a fundamental way…. This chance won’t come around again.” – Michelle Obama
27. “You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” – Michelle Obama
28. “One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.” – Michelle Obama
Everyday Application: Improving your self-awareness will help you navigate this life much better. Knowing you are means that you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses and use this information to create goals that are aligned with your mission. When you truly know who you are, it is easier to not put stock into who other people think you are.
29. “The arts are not just a nice thing to have or to do if there is free time or if one can afford it. Rather, paintings and poetry, music and fashion, design and dialogue, they all define who we are as a people and provide an account of our history for the next generation.” – Michelle Obama
30. “If your family doesn’t have much money, I want you to remember that in this country, plenty of folks, including me and my husband. We started out with very little. But with a lot of hard work and a good education, anything is possible—even becoming President. That’s what the American Dream is all about.” – Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama quotes about education
31. “Changing the big picture takes time.. and the best things to do is focus on the things that we can make in our lives if we’re doing all that. That becomes the collage of real change” – Michelle Obama
32. “It’s easier to hold onto your own stereotypes and misconceptions, it makes you feel justified in your own ignorance. That’s America. So the challenge for us is, are we ready for change?” – Michelle Obama
33. “Studying in countries like China isn’t only about your prospects in the global marketplace. It’s not just about whether you can compete with your peers in other countries to make America stronger. It’s also about whether you can come together and work together with them to make our world stronger. It’s about the friendships you make, the bonds of trust you establish and the image of America that you project to the rest of the world.” – Michelle Obama
34. “The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more.” – Michelle Obama
35. “Women in particular need to keep an eye on their physical and mental health, because if we’re scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don’t have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.” – Michelle Obama
36. “Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values, like you work hard for what you want in life. That your word is your bond; that you do what you say you’re going to do. That you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them and even if you don’t agree with them.” – Michelle Obama
37. “I come here tonight as a sister, blessed with a brother who is my mentor, my protector and my lifelong friend. And I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president.” – Michelle Obama
38. “Although the circumstances of our lives may seem very disengaged, with me standing here as the First Lady of the United States of America and you just getting through school, I want you to know we have very much in common. For nothing in my life ever would have predicted that I would be standing here as the first African-American First Lady.” – Michelle Obama
39. “Being your First Lady has been the greatest honor of my life, and I hope I’ve made you proud.” – Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama quotes from her memoir, Becoming
40. “We need to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation. We have lost our way. And it begins with inspiration. It begins with leadership.” – Michelle Obama
Everyday Application: Inspiration and leadership can go a long way in helping you find your way when you are lost. Your body and soul knows when it is on the wrong path. Work with a mentor, follow your dreams, and make the changes necessary to right the ship.
41. “My most important title is still “mom-in-chief.” My daughters are still the heart of my heart and the center of my world.” – Michelle Obama
Everyday Application: Remember that no matter what accolades or titles you chase in life, it is the relationships we have that really matter. The love we share with one another is more important than anything. Form bonds and relationships in this life and you will be truly successful.
42. “If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”– Michelle Obama
43. “This may be the fundamental problem with caring a lot about what others think: It can put you on the established path.”– Michelle Obama
44. “Am I good enough? Yes I am.”– Michelle Obama
Everyday Application: You are enough. You are just as worthy as anyone else. When you believe in yourself and are aware of who you are it is easier to feel this way. Self-esteem and self-worth play such a big part in our lives. If you don’t feel like you are enough check out this article.
45. “I hate diversity workshops. “Real change comes from having enough comfort to be really honest and say something very uncomfortable.” – Michelle Obama
Everyday Application: Be honest with yourself and others. One way to be honest with yourself is to understand the concept of implicit bias. Implicit bias is a barrier to diversity. This form of bias occurs automatically and unintentionally. However, it still affects our judgments, decisions, and behaviors.
46. “Everyone on Earth, they’d tell us, was carrying around an unseen history, and that alone deserved some tolerance.”– Michelle Obama
47. “I think that people are tired. They’re tired of the same old kind of politics. People want a new tone to politics.” – Michelle Obama
Everyday Application: Election (and political) fatigue is real. Many of us are tired of watching the political game show. Nothing gets done, there is always someone to point the finger at, and it all just seems ugly and disrespectful. We can start really working on our nation’s problems if there is a shift in the overall structure and way we treat those who have different opinions than we do!
48. “The easiest way to disregard a woman’s voice is to package her as a scold.” ―
49. “Together, we can help make sure that every family that walks into a restaurant can make an easy, healthy choice.” – Michelle Obama
Everyday Application: What we choose to put in our body matters. It is the fuel we need to do anything. Drink lots of water. Eat your vegetables and make sure to get enough protein. Take a multi vitamin too, and you will be amazed at how much better you feel!
50. “No one, I realized, was going to look out for me unless I pushed for it.”
Other inspirational Michelle Obama quotes to empower you
51. “Don’t ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions based on hope and possibility. Make decisions based on what should happen, not what shouldn’t.”―
52. “If I died, I didn’t want people remembering me for the stacks of legal briefs I’d written or the corporate trademarks I’d helped defend. I felt certain that I had something more to offer the world. It was time to make a move.”― Michelle Obama
53. “Instead of letting your hardships and failures discourage or exhaust you, let them inspire you. Let them make you even hungrier to succeed.”― Michelle Obama
54. “Every girl, no matter where she lives, deserves the opportunity to develop the promise inside of her.”―
55. “If my future were determined just by my performance on a standardized test, I wouldn’t be here. I guarantee you that.”―
56. “The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are valued.”―
57. “When girls are educated, their countries become stronger and more prosperous.”― Michelle Obama
58. “I am an example of what is possible when girls from the beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity.”―
59. “The one way to get me to work my hardest was to doubt me.”―
60. “Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own.”― Michelle Obama
61. “People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together.”―
62. “Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar.”―
Everyday Application: You don’t know if you will like an activity unless you try it. You don’t know how good you could be at something if you do not attempt it. Just because your comfort zone is familiar does not mean that is where you are meant to be! Give something new a try and you might just discover a new part of yourself.
63. “I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values – and follow my own moral compass – then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.”―
64. “Just do what works for you because there will always be someone who thinks differently.”―
More Michelle Obama quotes and sayings
65. “As women, we must stand up for ourselves. As women, we must stand up for each other. As women, we must stand up for justice for all.”―
66. “Most people were good people if you just treated them well.” – Michelle Obama
67. “Most of us lived in a state of constant calibration, tweaking one area of life in hopes of bringing more steadiness to another.” – Michelle Obama
68. “When I thought I had a good idea about something, I didn’t like being told no.” – Michelle Obama
69. “Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done.” – Michelle Obama
70. “It challenged me and humbled me, lifted me up and shrank me down, sometimes all at once.” – Michelle Obama
71. “Life was teaching me that progress and change happen slowly.” – Michelle Obama
72. “We had no choice but to stay positive and carry on.” – Michelle Obama
73. “You belong. You matter. I think highly of you.” – Michelle Obama
74. “Even if we didn’t end up winning, we were making progress that mattered.” – Michelle Obama
75. “Kids wake up each day believing in the goodness of things, in the magic of what might be.” – Michelle Obama
Which inspirational Michelle Obama quote was your favorite? What other Michelle Obama quotes would you add to the list?
Michelle Obama is a strong and intelligent woman.
During her husband’s presidential bid, Michelle diligently campaigned on his behalf, traveling across the country, giving talks and making public appearances.
Besides, Obama offered her support for Hillary Clinton during the later’s 2016 presidential campaign.
She made several high-profile speeches in favor of Clinton and appeared multiple times on the campaign trail.
Even after leaving the White House, Michelle remains highly sought after for her words of wisdom.
Hopefully, these Michelle Obama quotes have inspired and motivated you to reach your full potential.
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June 28, 2022 5:00 AM EST