Next, I've always felt a deep sense of obligation to make the biggest impact possible with this incredible platform.
So I took on issues that were personal to me — issues like helping families raise healthier kids,
honoring the incredible military families I'd met on the campaign trail,
inspiring our young people to value their education and finish college.
Now, some folks criticized my choices for not being bold enough.
But these were my choices, my issues.
And I decided to tackle them in the way that felt most authentic to me
in a way that was both substantive and strategic, but also fun and, hopefully, inspiring.
So I immersed myself in the policy details.
I worked with Congress on legislation, gave speeches to CEOs, military generals and Hollywood executives.
But I also worked to ensure that my efforts would resonate with kids and families
and that meant doing things in a creative and unconventional way.
So, yeah, I planted a garden, and hula-hooped on the White House Lawn with kids.
I did some Mom Dancing on TV. I celebrated military kids with Kermit the Frog.
I asked folks across the country to wear their alma mater's T-shirts for College Signing Day.
And at the end of the day, by staying true to the me I've always known,
I found that this journey has been incredibly freeing.
Because no matter what happened,
I had the peace of mind of knowing that all of the chatter, the name calling, the doubting — all of it was just noise.
It did not define me. It didn't change who I was.
And most importantly, it couldn't hold me back.
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.