If you have been a long time reader, you know lawyers I have coached write guest posts. Melissa Lyon has written several guest posts. Here is her latest.
I took many valuable lessons with me from my client development coaching with Cordell – one of those lessons was the importance of sharing *takeaways* from books that truly influence you. This tool allows us insight into what another person finds important in a book, but also gives us a snapshot of a story if we don’t have time to read the whole thing!
Another great lesson from Cordell was the importance of time management…
I have always been an avid reader, but when a recent move added a 45 minute commute (at least) twice a day to my already busy schedule, reading fell by the wayside for me. However, a true time management revelation has been utilizing my commute time effectively. Enter – books on tape. Cordell is also a huge advocate of listening to books and I have to tell you, I am hooked!
My first audiobook, listened to while utilizing my commute, was the #1 New York Times Bestseller, “Becoming,” by Michelle Obama. This book is chock full of wonderful reminders on how important it is to not let where you come from govern where you can go.
The best part of all is that the audio version is read by the former first lady herself! This made the experience of listening to it even more moving and truly made it feel like having a long conversation with her over a glass of wine. Hearing the story of Michelle Obama in her own voice is an absolute must – people keep saying this book is a must read, I say it is actually a must listen to.
Becoming is not about politics – it is about family, perspective, insight and grace.
It is about inviting one another in, just as Michelle Obama does when she tells us these stories. She shows you first hand the value of your story as you listen to hers, and she teaches you how to figure out how to use your voice. She shows you that there is power in your story and value in your voice.
In addition, her story is honest and heartfelt. The book paints a picture of Michelle’s life – from childhood to present – and to say that I found it oddly relatable and inspiring would be a total understatement.
I had no idea how much I have in common with her! For starters, Michelle Obama’s father worked as an operator at a water treatment plant; much like my own father who still works as an operator at a trona mine in Wyoming.
He worked hard to provide her with opportunity, the same that my father did. She tells a story about a school trip to Paris that she did not tell her parents about because she assumed they could not afford it. When they found out, they said those decisions were for them to decide, not for her to shoulder alone – and they scraped up the money and set her to Europe. This is exactly the kind of grit and work ethic that I was raised with. Her story is about family.
I also found her story relatable because she is an attorney. She talks at length about her legal career at Sidley Austin and perfectly describes the challenges innate in the nature of the practice of law – the billable hour implications, the sometimes isolating nature of this career and the feeling of being in an office alone with her documents. In fact, The American Lawyer wrote a fascinating commentary on this portion of her book entitled, Why Michelle Obama Disliked Working at Sidley – and the Lessons that Still Apply. Her story is about hard work and diversity in a challenging environment and also the strength to change jobs and leap into the unknown.
I also related to her story because she juggles multiple roles and wears a number of hats successfully – she was a practicing attorney, wife, mother, volunteer and social advocate all at once before she became the First Lady. She recounts sitting in her car on her lunch break and taking a moment of peace to herself, feeling accomplished after running errands during the noon hour and getting things done for her family during that brief window, before going back to her desk. Needless to say many of us, myself included, have been there! Her story is about versatility.
She also provides us with invaluable insight into her time as First Lady and how she used something as simple as a garden to bring nationwide attention to childhood obesity and the need for access to healthy foods. I also found myself admiring that she scheduled girls weekends with her friends at Camp David to not only keep her friendships thriving, but also to have a workout camp and wine retreat with her closest girls. Her story is about focusing on what is important to you, even when you are busy.
Overall, Michelle Obama’s story is inspirational because it describes transitioning – and using passion, dedication and hope to get you through these periods, and also because it shows her humanity and strength. She is and has been a successful woman and she has accomplished many things – this is truly the story of a role model.
I ask you…how are you using your commute? If you listen to one audiobook this year, I’d recommend Becoming…