First Lady Michelle Obama made 7 statements that stood out to me as a musician, as a creative and as a female in the music industry. Here are the magic 7 and what I feel is useful information to us as female musicians who are often pushed to the sidelines, often not taken seriously or not considered ‘good enough’.
1). Your Values Are An Important Foundation For Success
“I looked at our girls… and said “what have we done”? See, because at that moment I realized that our time in the White House would be the foundation for who they would become and how well we manage this experience could truly make or break them”.
We may not choose how we are brought up or how we are raised but being aware of the impact that our foundations and core values have on our destinies and purposes is important. Not only must we remember where we came from, but we must be grateful for the people who have instilled strength, courage and wisdom to succeed at the highest level.
2). Silence The Naysayers By Being Better
“When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is “When they go low, we go high”...”
Nobody is everybody’s cup of tea. The more known you become, the more you will have haters and the real test is how you react and move forward with your goals. When haters stoop so low to drag you down with them, the best revenge is getting up and going higher.
3). Step Into Responsibility
“Every child who needs a champion…Kids who look to us to determine who and what they can be… Hillary has spend decades doing the relentless, thankless work to actually make a difference in their lives.”
I don’t care what anybody says. Once you become a public figure, you have to acknowledge that there are eyes on you constantly and decisions you make in your career or lifestyle will influence the generations to come. We must be aware of what we sing about, what we talk about and what we teach the kids who are watching our every move. Now more than ever, every child needs a champion.
4). Your Purpose Is Bigger Than Your Personal Agenda
“When she didn’t win the nomination 8 years ago, she didn’t get angry or disillusioned. She didn’t pack up and go home. Because as a true public servant Hillary knows that this is so much bigger than her own desires and disappointments.”
Our dreams, our aspirations, our purpose are not just for us to revel in and enjoy the outcome on our own. We are here on this earth to affect change around the world and sometimes we have to realize we must go above and beyond to serve others even when we are knocked down or disappointed. These days, I consider failure an incentive.
5). Persevere Even When Under Pressure
“What I admire about Hillary Clinton is that she never buckles under pressure. She never takes the easy way out.”
The music industry is very pressurizing for various reasons especially when it comes to being a female musician. There are pressures to be extreme or pressures to succumb to selling sex etc. And the only way to push through is to not take the easy way out but keep working hard to be heard and known for your ideals, your values and your good intentions.
6). Be Brave And Make History
“…Leaders like Hillary Clinton who has the guts and the grace to keep coming back and putting those cracks in that highest and hardest glass ceiling until she finally breaks through, lifting all of us along with her”.
There are 3 things I love about this statement. First, it talks about guts and grace – 2 things that you would rarely see in a sentence but is so true of the most successful women in the world. You need guts, you need to be strong and stand firm and the best ammunition we have as females is grace. We see that from the likes of Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Adele, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight. Secondly, having the combination of guts and grace helps break glass ceilings one crack at a time. You don’t need a sledgehammer the first time to shatter it completely – acknowledging that patience will eventually help you to breakthrough the toughest challenges of your life. Thirdly, ‘lifting all of us along with her’. This is so profound – after you have done all you can to make a difference, don’t forget that you have to bring other musicians, other girls, other women along with you so that they can enjoy what you have put your heart on the line for and be inspired to break glass ceilings of their own.
7). Work Hard.
“We cannot sit back and hope that everything works out for the best. We can not afford to be tired or frustrated or cynical… So, let’s get to work.”
We hear this all the time and I think we could still hear it more. To work hard is hard work especially when you get tired of seeing your peers surpass you, or you get frustrated when you’re doing all you can and nothing is working, or you become cynical when you see that people are furthering their careers with the wrong intentions and through the wrong methods. But the only way to get to their own levels and surpass them is acknowledging that you might have to work even harder to be heard and accepted for the values that you possess. Own your worth and keep pushing till you’re seen and heard.
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