The fastest hour you can imagine was the hour spent with the fabulous Michelle Obama at the recent USA Mind Body Conference.
More than 2 000 people sat spellbound as Michelle did what she does best … mesmerising story telling! Her new book “Becoming”* is due out in mid November and I cannot wait to read it.
Rick Stollmeyer is the co-Founder of Mind Body and he asked the questions and Michelle told the stories. One of my personal favourites was when Rick asked about how they all “held it together” on that night in November 2008 when they walked out onto the stage as the President and First Lady. “How do you do that?“
One of the ways Michelle Obama answered the questions was to tell the story through her daughters.
I’ll attempt to paraphrase what she said in answer to “how did you hold it together that night in November?“:
Michelle Obama: Well, there are a lot of big nights where we walked out onto a stage with confetti falling out of the roof and loud music playing and we would all walk out onto the stage holding our hands up and waving and smiling.
People cheer and we waved and smiled. This goes on week after week for the whole six months leading up to that night in November. The Primaries, all the votes, all the cities.
Each time we’d walk out Malia and Sasha would wave and smile and it would be exciting and it’s really important to remember how old they were back then. They were only 10 and 7 years old and they would ask “So are you the President now daddy?“
And we would have to say “Well, no, not quite yet. This is part of the process.” And then daddy would go away for another week and we’d meet up with him and go to another city where there would be more banners and more confetti coming out of the ceiling and loud music and we’d all walk out waving and smiling and they would ask “Now are you the President?’ and we’ve have to say the same … “not just yet“
THEN, on that night in November, we’re staying in a hotel in Chicago and the car picks us up and again everyone is in their best clothes and we all get into the car and we’re heading to this park in Chicago – and you may remember it was warm that year. Crazy having the celebration outside in November … we were so lucky it was warm that year in November.
So we’re driving through Chicago and the streets are cleared because now he finally is ‘the President’ and that’s what happens – the streets are cleared – no cars, no people.
Sasha looks out the window and turns to face Barack and she says:
“Daddy, there’s no-one here. The streets are empty. No-one is coming to your party!”
And we crack up laughing and that’s how it went on that night in November. “It was like swimming in a tidal wave. But we made it.”
I’ll share more of Michelle Obama’s stories on my blog and in future newsletters.
She also had a lot to say about the role fitness and health plays in life and I was extremely inspired by her take on how we get people to be more active.
While in the White House she established Let’s Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids! Totally inspiring! I really liked what she said about never wanting to be “the scold” and how encouraging is always so much more effective than scolding.
She pointed out that some people have never done any exercise in their entire life and find even the thought of participating in activity extremely intimidating. How to address this? Stay tuned for more from me on this topic as I channel my inner Michelle Obama!
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