Words of wisdom drive all of us forward. We feel empowered to go the extra mile, even when it feels like there are many hurdles ahead, when we reflect on great advice from influential women. In triumphant and challenging times alike, these quotes will inspire women across all walks of life to reach for the stars and seize their big dreams.
1. “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” — Julia Child
“I love this quote not only because I admire Julia Child and I feel somehow close to her (same as her I am into culinary and I started developing my passion in my 30st years). It always reminds me how important it is to have a passion in life.
It doesn’t really matter what is your passion. What matters is that you keep developing it and don’t get discouraged when you find challenges. Almost nobody has succeeded in life without being persistent: you just need to choose in what and it better be your passion.” — Daniela Lambova, Food Photographer, Blogger, and Cookbook Author, Dani’s Cookings
2. “Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” — Madam CJ Walker
“This quote inspired me to pursue my passion. I recently lost my job, and this gave me the courage to put all of my energy and effort into my blog. I read this quote every morning when I am contacting marketing directors, brands, and other influencers to make our blog known.
Opportunity rarely finds you; you have to find it.” — Corritta Lewis, Content Creator from It’s a Family Thing
3. “When they go low, we go high.” — Michelle Obama
“As a young female founder of a non-profit advancing gender health equality, this quote has kept me grounded when tackling difficult issues of discrimination and bias within medical care.
It has reminded me to keep my head up and thrive in all situations when advocating for justice and change.” — Tori Ford, Founder and CEO, Medical Herstory
4. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” — Marianne Williamson
“My favorite quote is an excerpt from an amazing poem authored by Marianne Williamson. ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.’
I am deeply inspired by this quote because it reminds me that the world needs me to show up and be my best self, each and every day. When I start to fight imposter syndrome, as so many of us do, this quote reminds me that I must get over myself and the insecurities that threaten to minimize my impact. I have to push through, embrace my unique gifts, talents and strengths, so that I can best serve others.
When I read this quote, I am reminded that the question should not be why me? Rather, why not me? Each person brings unique value to this world that only they can contribute. In this quote, our value is affirmed, and we are inspired to take action. Being bold with my life also allows others to do the same.” — Caitlyn Scaggs, Associate Vice President for University Relations at Radford University
5. “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” — Anaïs Nin
“This quote is a beautiful reminder that the good things in our life come when we take the leap, put ourselves out there, and follow our truth. It encourages me to open up.” — Olivia Bowser, CEO and Founder, Liberate
6. “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring in a folding chair.” — Shirley Chisholm
“These words spoken by the great Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm are truly inspirational and I wish I had understood them better as I was growing up. It wasn’t until well into adulthood that I realized I needed to stop waiting on permission to try new things and allow myself to enter spaces where initially I would not be invited to or welcomed.
When an ex co-worker put out a call for help to get board members for her charity organization 10 years ago, I answered it. Normally, I would never dream of applying since it is not something that I have ever done in the past. Then, I remembered Ms. Chisholm and what she stood for. She was fearless and didn’t let ‘firsts’ stop her. From being the first African American woman elected to Congress to being the first woman to run in a major party for President, she put herself out there and did what she had to do. I applied to be a board member and was accepted. Ten years later, I am now the current President of the Board of Directors of the Sierra House. Eventually I would join my community board (CB17) where I sit on the land-use committee and was just made the new chair for the housing committee.
I also recently made a pretty bold move by registering as a candidate to become the first woman elected as the Brooklyn Borough President in Brooklyn, New York. I am no longer asking for permission to enter these new spaces I initially thought were not for me. If necessary, I will bring my own folding chair to stay involved. Because of Shirley Chisholm’s ‘first’ many who came after her ‘can’ and that is truly inspirational indeed.” — Pearlene Fields, President, Sierra House BOD
7. “If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” — Dolly Parton
“This quote has been a powerful motivator for me when I was transitioning from a full-time job to my new career as a freelance writer and editor. It’s also helped me during health problems I’ve had and when pursuing new fitness challenges. It reminds me that I’m in the driver’s seat. I can sit there and complain about how my life isn’t what I want it to be, or I can start doing something about it.
Hearing that quote is always a reality check for me. Instead of complaining, I should be taking action to change things.” — Shannon Serpette, Chief Editor, Mom Loves Best
8. “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” — Amelia Earhart
“After years in an unfulfilling career, I decided to just take a leap of faith and ‘do it’ by launching my own brand. I had no experience in this industry. I just had a dream. But, I went for it and now Hair Dance has helped me support my family and employees and it has helped my dreams become a reality.
I love this quote because it encourages you to take risks. As a business owner, you may not have all the answers, but if you have the bravery to keep moving forward, you will always find a way to make it happen.” — Anna Kerutis, Founder and CEO, Hair Dance
9. “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” — Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“Sometimes, when we look at the problems around us, we are overwhelmed by their sheer sizes. We wonder what insignificant beings like us can do to make a difference.
But this wonderful quote form Ruth Ginsburg has always been my guiding principle. I can enact a great a change as I desire, if I take things one step at a time. You just have to take that step. That one little first step. And then the second. And on and on until you realize you’ve walked for several miles!” — Jane Flanagan, Lead Project Engineer, Tacuna Systems
10. “For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” — Audrey Hepburn
“What I love about this particular quote is that it highlights all the different ways our inner beauty can shine through when we focus on the positives in life. When I’m not feeling my best, I read this quote again and it prepares me for taking on life and grabbing everything it has to offer. Without reminders to stay positive, it is too easy to fall into bitterness!” — Laura Chawke, Owner and Founder, Makeup Scholar
11. “The Young are at the gates.” — Lavinia Dock
“This phrase was coined by suffragette Lavinia Dock in a powerful essay she wrote in 1917. It closes with ‘The old stiff minds must give way. The old selfish minds must go. Obstructive reactionaries must move on. The Young are at the gates.’
As a parent of two young kids, and a person that wants to remain hopeful despite the world feeling upside down and backwards, these words strike a deep chord with me.
It is not hyperbole to say that it will fall to our children to lead us forward; it is truly the only way out. The future absolutely belongs to our youngest and we need to give them the tools, free thinking abilities and skills to affect change.” — Brigid Kelly, Co-Founder, Thinking Caps
12. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” — Maya Angelou
“I love this quote because happiness to me is all about your perspective and how you choose to look at things in your life. You can literally choose to look at the same situation from a different view and instantly feel better about it.
I always have the mindset that everything bad or good happens for a reason and I try to find the positives and beauty and lessons in every situation or relationship that I have gone through in my life. Happiness is a state of being that you choose, and we all have the ability to choose how we handle situations that come our way in life.” — Laura Grier, Travel Photographer, Writer, and Founder, Andeana Hats