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

  • Former First Lady Michelle Obama turned 56 on Friday.
  • 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 honor of her birthday, we collected some of her most inspiring quotes throughout the years.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

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, mom, style icon, and bestselling author, thanks to her 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 humor.”

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 honor of her 56th birthday, we’ve rounded up some of her most inspiring and memorable quotes and wisdom, both serious and lighthearted.


On success:

Source: Oregon State University Commencement Speech


On creating global change:

Source: “Becoming”


On learning to love yourself:

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


On making a difference:

Source: Young African Women Leaders Forum


On having it all:

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


On the power of time:

Source: “Becoming”


On creating opportunities for yourself and others:

Source: 2012 Democratic National Convention


On marriage:

source
Annie Leibovitz/White House;Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Source: 2011 White House luncheon


On the value of women:

Source: 2009 State Department Women of Courage Awards


On carving your own path:

Source: “Becoming”


On decision-making:

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


On speaking up:

Source: “Becoming”


On achievement:

Source: 2008 Democratic National Convention Keynote Address


On believing in yourself:

Source: “Becoming”


On growing up:

Source: “Becoming”


On accepting failure:

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


On boys:

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


On being the bigger person:

Source: 2016 Democratic National Convention


On female friendships:

Source: “Becoming”


On authenticity:

Source: Marie Claire


On the future of youth:

Source: Final Speech as First Lady