In her intimate memoir, Michelle Obama chronicled her journey from a young girl on the South Side of Chicago to a woman earning degrees from both Princeton and Harvard. From landing a job at a prestigious law firm to taking steps to find her true calling. From marrying a man of big vision with personalities so different from her own to managing the relationship through tough times. From struggling with conceiving to raising two daughters in the White House.

While campaigning in Iowa during her husband’s first presidential campaign, she found that stories about her life resonated with voters.

“What really connects us isn’t race. It isn’t party. It’s not religion. It’s the stories that we remember. It’s those conversations around the dinner table. It’s the kind of baloney sandwich you had at lunch. It’s the kind of furniture you’re used to sitting on. It’s the relationship with your grandfather. It’s values. It’s the life you’ve lived that you remember up here. It’s those memories. And if you know that’s in you and you can tap into that and share that with people, that’s what connects us.”

-Michelle Obama

Most of us won’t live a remotely similar life to Obama’s, but still, so many of us have found profound value in her book, in her words, in her story. The ability to tell her story, it turns out, is the former first lady’s gift, one that helped her husband get elected president and led her to the East Wing of the White House.

We all have that gift within us, discovered or yet to be uncovered. Our own subtleties, struggles, and stories- our past fills us up. The ability to harness the so-called time capsule of our lives lies within us and strengthens our power of connection.