You can’t browse the Internet for a single day without a Steve Jobs quote flashing across your screen. Don’t get me wrong—I think Steve is great. But there might be a day when the ladies in the business world are looking for inspiration from other ladies. And there might also be a day when a hard-working fellow needs some inspiration, and he sure doesn’t mind if it comes from a woman.
I wanted to dig into the online quote farms and see what I could unearth from some of the smartest women in history. Some of them are our contemporaries, while others blazed trails so all of us could do what it is we do and love today.
I do hope you enjoy this collection of inspiration drawn from a handful of women who changed the world as we know it.
On Getting Going
Starting a business is a rough business in itself. So how can you find the gumption you need to power through yet another day of startup—and ongoing—challenges? One word: Start. And then, just keep going. You’ll probably have to dust yourself off a time or two along the way as well.
"I got my start by giving myself a start."—Madame C.J. Walker, civil rights activist, entrepreneur and the first self-made female American entrepreneur
“If you’re clear on what you believe, you have a great foundation to go make a market.”—Ginni Rometty, current chairman, president and CEO of IBM
“One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.”—Marie Curie, physicist and chemist, and two-time (1903 and 1911) Nobel Prize winner
“My best successes came on the heels of failures.”—Barbara Corcoran, real estate mogul, business consultant and one of the "sharks" on ABC’s Shark Tank
“The road to success is always under construction.”—Lily Tomlin, actress, comedian, writer and producer
On Making a Difference
Of course, money is always an acceptable fruit in exchange for labor. However, wouldn’t an equally sweet fruit be the knowledge that you’ve made a lasting impact on the world you live in?
“Organize, agitate, educate, must be our war cry.”—Susan B. Anthony, American social reformer and activist for women’s rights
“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”—Coco Chanel, founder of Chanel
On Getting It Done
You’ve tried to do it all. You ended up burnt out, used up and on your last ounce of patience for this thing called a business. What does it take to thrive when the chips are down, needs are up and you can’t find more than 24 hours in a day? You clear the roadblocks to getting things done … and find people to do the doing.
“If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.”—Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop chain of stores selling body-care products
“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.”—Sara Blakely, founder of shapewear company Spanx
“Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers.”—Elizabeth Arden, founder of cosmetics empire Elizabeth Arden Inc.
“Surround yourself with a trusted and loyal team. It makes all the difference.”—Alison Pincus, co-founder of flash sale home goods site One King’s Lane
“Know what you bring. Know what you don’t bring. And build a team that covers everything you need.”—Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, a consumer-rated list of local service providers
Plans are powerful guides and can give you a place to begin. However, it’s important to know when to deviate from a plan. Opportunities will arise—your head just has to be up to see them.
“There is nothing like a concrete life plan to weigh you down. Because if you always have one eye on some future goal, you stop paying attention to the job at hand, miss opportunities that might arise, and stay fixedly on one path, even when a better, newer course might have opened up.”—Indra K. Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi Co.
Now, I know I wasn’t able to cover all the unforgettable sayings from a world filled with women who have changed, well, the world. So if there’s a quote you love, why not share it here? Leave us a comment below, as we’d all do better with some words of wisdom on days where nothing goes right.
The truth is, we’re all quotable. We just have to get to the transformational moments that bring those unforgettable words to surface as we fight the good fight.
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