Nobody understands the unique obstacles you as a woman face in today’s business world quite like the women who’ve gone before you. That’s exactly why female entrepreneurs and executives have a lot to gain from listening to one another — that’s why together, we rise.
So are you ready for a kick in the pants and fresh boost of motivation? Want to hear from powerful women who know what it takes to successful? We’ve gathered 10 quotes from powerful women leaders to inspire you through whatever challenge you’re facing today. You’ve got this, girl. Keep striving, keep climbing, and keep growing with these tips.
- “You were born to create and contribute.” — Marie Forleo, American life coach, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and author. Step one in succeeding as a woman today: Get rid of the self-limiting beliefs and hesitancies holding you back in your business life. Listen to Forleo’s point: You’re made to contribute, your voice needs to be heard, and you shouldn’t be afraid.
- “Often we don’t even realize who we’re meant to be because we’re so busy trying to live out someone else’s ideas. But other people and their opinions hold no power in defining our destiny.” — Oprah Winfrey, talk show host, producer, philanthropist, and icon. If the only reason you’re pushing toward a goal is because it’s what someone else thinks you should do, you’re missing something. Listen to the billionaire born into poverty: You do you.
- “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” — Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO. Want to make a difference? Think bigger than your own experience, and think longer than the present moment. Take Sandberg’s advice and focus on bettering the people on your team, and you can make an impact for the long haul.
- “I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” — Estée Lauder, American businesswoman and co–founder of renowned cosmetics company. If it’s success you’re after, quit dreaming and start doing. Like Lauder says, the only way to keep growing is to hustle. Make up your mind to put your head down, work hard, and keep doing it day after day.
- “Don’t cut off your career branches too early. Don’t step away from your career based on what ‘might’ happen.” — Mary Barra, chairman and CEO, General Motors. Stay open to new opportunities, even when you aren’t sure if you’re ready or you feel a little uncomfortable. You never know what’s going to present itself to you, so keep bridges available as you move throughout your career.
- “We need to understand that there is no formula for how women should lead their lives. That is why we must respect the choices that each woman makes for herself and her family. Every woman deserves the chance to realize her God-given potential.” — politician Hillary Clinton, to the UN 4th World Conference in 1995. Feel freedom to follow your own path, as Clinton suggests, and let other businesswomen around you do the same. Each woman is on her own journey.
- “I talk a lot about taking risks, and then I follow that up very quickly by saying, ‘Take prudent risks.’ ” — Irene Rosenfeld, former chairwoman and CEO of Mondelez International. Nothing ventured, nothing gained — at least according to Rosenfeld. So you need to be willing to step out in faith, within reason. Do your research, weigh the pros and cons, and when it makes sense, be willing to leap if you want to move forward.
- “My best successes came on the heels of failure.” — Barbara Corcoran, American businesswoman, investor, speaker, and television personality. If you’ve hit a wall in your business or recently experienced some kind of professional defeat, take heart. View your failures as an opportunity to learn, and keep moving forward. As Corcoran says, success may be just beyond your next idea.
- “I don’t follow trends or try to compete with anyone. Everything I do stems from following my passion and my love for design.” — Guo Pei, fashion designer. You don’t have to work in the clothing industry to appreciate Pei’s point: Comparing yourself to all the people around you is fruitless. Focus instead on your journey and what you do well. Skip the distraction of worrying about the other guys.
- “When they go low, we go high.” — Michelle Obama, lawyer, writer, and former First Lady, in her 2016 Democratic National Convention speech. You can always keep your dignity, no matter what the business world throws at you. When other companies or professionals lack integrity, you don’t have to join them. Take Obama’s advice and be the one to “go high.”
To female entrepreneurs, executives or business leaders: No woman operates in a vacuum. By heeding advice from the strong voices who’ve gone before you, you can gain insight and wisdom into which path to take, which choice to make, and how to seize each opportunity. So take the advice of these seven powerhouses, and move forward with confidence!
Shanna Mallon is a contributing writer for Straight North, a leading Internet marketing agency in Chicago providing SEO, web development and other online marketing services. She’s been a freelance writer since 2007.