60 Inspiring Quotes from Women Leaders and Entrepreneurs

"Life is too short to live the same day twice." - Jennifer Lopez A prospective client sent me his power point deck for his upcoming presentation. He asked for my feedback and I shared my opinion that it would be more effective if he had a better balance of quotes. He asked, “What do you mean?”

I said, “Good for you for featuring intriguing quotes to illustrate your points.. The only thing is, they’re almost all from what my interns call ‘triple name dead white guys” like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. They were wise men, but there are wise women you can quote who would add value and diversity.”

He said, “Sam, I looked, but I couldn’t find any great quotes from women on my topic.”

I told him I’ve been collecting and curating profound quotes from women to feature in my upcoming book SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week, and promised to share them here. Hope you find them as intriguing and inspiring as I do.

Feel free to share this post with others – and use these quotes (with attribution to their originator) to get people’s eyebrows up. Read ’em and reap (and credit).

"Life is too short to live the same day twice." - Jennifer Lopez

"Life may give you a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it." - Joyce Meyers

"In a world where you can be anything, be kind." - Connie Schultz

"You have to make mistakes to figure out who you aren't." - Anne Lamott

“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”- Malala Yousafzai

"When you learn, teach. When you get, give." - Maya Angelou

"I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list." - Susan Sontag

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than the things I haven’t done.”Lucille Ball

"Dream long, plan short." - Sheryl Sandberg

"The life you've led doesn't need to be the only life you have." - Anna Quindlen

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver

“You can’t give up! If you give up, you’re like everybody else.” - Chris Evert

"Stop wearing your wishbone where you backbone ought to be." Elizabeth Gilbert

"We are better than we think and not yet what we want to be." - Nikki Giovanni

"We repeat what we don't repair." - Christine Langley-Obaugh

"Action is the antidote to despair." - Joan Baez

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” - Ayn Rand

"You have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” - Jane Goodall

"When you can't keep up; connect." - Mary Loverde

“A surplus of effort can overcome a deficit of confidence.” - Sonia Sotomayor

"Perhaps we never really appreciate anything until it is challenged." Anne M. Lindbergh

"Love is within reach of every hand." - Mother Teresa

"Our life is our lab." - Sam Horn

“I choose to make the rest of my life the best of my life.” - Louise Hay

"The moment of change is the only poem." - Adrienne Rich

"It's the second act that has the happy ending." - Lisa Alter Mark

“I firmly believe you never should spend your time being a former anything.” Condoleezza Rice

"Be brave enough to be your true self." - Queen Latifah

"Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning." - Gloria Steinem

"When someone shows you who they are; believe them the first time." Maya Angelou

"The next road is always ahead." - Oprah Winfrey

"The world is not made up of atoms; it's made up of stories." - Muriel Rukeyser

"It is the ability to choose which makes us human." - Madeleine L'Engle

"The best teachers show you where to look; they don't tell you what to see." - A. K. Trenfor

"She was twice blessed. She was happy. She knew it." - Jan Struther

"We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our to-do list."- Michelle Obama

"Fear is borning." - Olympia Dukakis

"The cure for boredom is curiosity." - Dorothy Parker

"I want adventure in the great wide somewhere." - Belle in Beauty and the Beast

“Cherish forever what makes you unique, cuz you’re really a yawn if it goes.” - Bette Midler

"I get nervous if I don't get nervous. You just have to channel it into the show." - Beyonce'

"The way we do anything is the way we do everything." - Martha Beck

"I want to be a spy for hope." - Katherine Patterson

"Mistakes are doorways to discovery." - Sam Horn

"If you don't like my book, write your own." - Rita Mae Brown

"Every creative project needs a spine. What's yours?" - Twyla Tharp

"Blessedness is within us all." - Patti Smith

"Don't tell it like it is. Tell it like you want it to be." -Esther Hicks

"We must all make the choice between what is right and what is easy." - J.K.Rowland

"All I know is my life is better when I assume people are doing their best." - Brene Brown

"You become what you believe." - Oprah Winfrey

"Joy is a net by which you catch souls." - Mother Teresa

"People can't jump on your bandwagon if it's parked in the garage." - Sam Horn

"I don't think my story is over yet." - Serena Williams

"If you can laugh at it. You can live with it." - Erma Bomback

"The most courageous act is still to think for yourself." -Coco Chanel

"Anything is possible if you have the right people supporting you." - Misty Copeland

"Growth isn't pretty, but it can be beautiful." - Sonia Choquette

"You carry the passport to your own happiness." - Dianne von Furstenberg

"Keep your face to the sun and you cannot see the shadow." - Helen Keller

"We were made for these times." - Clarissa Pinkola Estes

"It's not selfish to put yourself in your own story; it's inspiring." - Sam Horn

You can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them.” - Shonda Rhimes

"It is a luxury to combine our passion with our contribution." - Sheryl Sandberg

“If there were a rehab for curiosity; I’d be in it.” – Diane Sawyer

"I believe life loves the lover of it." - Maya Angelou

"Don't let them tame you." Isadora Duncan

"Go on. Do your work. Do it well. It is all you can do." - Ursula LeGuin

"No one can figure out your worth but you." - Pearl S. Buck

"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim." -Nora Ephron

"Let me listen to me, and not to them." - Gertrude Stein

"Life expands or contracts in proportion to your courage." - Anais Nin

"Knowing what must be done does away with fear." - Rosa Parks

"The most important things in life aren't things." - Ann Landers

"I no longer accept what I can't change. I change what I can't accept." Angela Davis

"Dreams in your head help no one." - Sam Horn

“The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get less than you settled for.” Maureen Dowd

“What a wonderful life I’ve had. I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” – singer Colette

“Guard your good mood.” – Meryl Streep

“To do what you love and feel it matters; how can anything be more fun?” Katherine Graham

"My happiness depends on me, so you're off the hook." - Esther Hicks

“It’s never too late – in fiction or in life – to revise.” – Nancy Thayer

“The present we’re constructing should look like the future we’re dreaming.” Alice Walker

"Exhaustion is not a status symbol." - Brene Brown

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"I'm not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I'm the first Simone Biles." - Simone Biles

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Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency, has helped thousands of clients create quality books, brands and presentations that scaled their impact - for good. Her TEDx talk and books Tongue Fu!, POP!, and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? have been featured in New York Times and on NPR, and presented to YPO, Intel, NASA, Capital One, Nationwide. Want Sam to share her inspiring insights with your group? Contact Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com


I Am a Woman. What's Your SuperPower?

Did you know International Women's Day is today, March 8th? Who is a woman you will you reach out to today to say "Thank you" for your support, wisdom, advice, encouragement, leadHership, mentoring?

How will you celebrate this day in your organization?

You are welcome to use this article at a staff meeting as a conversation-starter for how women have made a positive difference for you - and how they can give and get the recognition and respect they want, need and deserve on and off the job.

I was speaking for a Silicon Valley company and interviewed one of their executives to get his input on what I could cover to make our LeadHership workshop maximally useful. He shared a story about how, in his opinion, some women don't help themselves when it comes to career advancement.

I asked, “What do you mean?”

He said, “Last year, we opened an office in Paris. A woman in my department had lived in France as a foreign exchange student, speaks fluent French and is still in touch with her host family. I thought she'd make an excellent addition to our team there so I recommended her when we discussed possible staff selections.

The other executives at the table just looked at me with puzzled expressions. No one knew who I was talking about. I went to bat for her and tried to explain why I thought she could help us ramp up this new location.

One of my colleagues finally recognized her name. He said, “Okay, I know who you’re talking about now. She sits in on some of my meetings. But she never says anything.’

She ended up NOT getting that position, and it wasn’t because she didn’t deserve it or wouldn’t have done a good job. It was because those decision-makers hadn’t personally witnessed her adding value and wouldn't take a risk on someone they didn’t know.”

I asked, “Did you talk to her about this missed opportunity?”

“I did. When I asked why she doesn't speak up in meetings, she said, ‘I tried to, but everyone just talked over me. I suggested a way to streamline one of our systems, but no one listened. In fact, a few minutes later one of the men said pretty much the same thing and everyone went, ‘Great idea!’ I finally just gave up.’

I told her, ‘Don’t you realize, if you don’t say anything at meetings, the people in the room conclude you don’t have anything to contribute?"

I shared this example during my workshop and suggested several ways to contribute at meetings so decision-makers witness us adding value and have first-hand evidence of our LeadHership abilities. Here are those six ways

Six Ways to Add Value and Get Heard, Seen and Respected in Meetings

1. Contribute at least one ACTION-oriented suggestion at every meeting. Not an opinion, an action. Instead of simply sharing what you think or feel, contribute specific pragmatic options of what can be done to move a project forward, turn an idea into reality, or achieve a company objective.

2. Don't point out what’s wrong unless you immediately follow up with how this can be corrected and done right or replaced with something more efficient and effective. In other words, become known as a problem solver, not a problem reporter.

3. Instead of deferring compliments, graciously honor them. If someone praises you, instead of saying, “It was nothing.” or “My team deserves the credit.” say “Thank you. Your feedback means a lot.” Then, add a detail, e.g., “Our goal was to exceed our sales quota this quarter, so we identified three high-profile clients, reached out and were able to turn them into new accounts.” Then, talk about an upcoming initiative so executives are aware of how you plan to continue to produce results.

4. Keep comments to two minutes or less. No one likes a windbag. Richard Branson said, “Time is the new money.” As a presentation coach, I believe time is the new TRUST. By keeping your remarks purposeful and to the point, people will always listen to what you say because you’ve proven you'll be a good use of their time and attention.

5. If someone interrupts, speak up instead of letting them talk over you. Jack Canfield says, "People treat us the way we teach them to treat us." Look at the interrupter, use his or her name, and say, “Mark, let me finish” or “Bev, one more minute and then it’s your turn.” Then, be brief, but conclude your remarks. You’re not being rude, just clear and confident that you as much right to speak as anyone else.

6. Tower, don't cower. If you tuck your head or use a tentative, high-pitched voice, people will doubt your clout. Instead of slouching, roll your shoulders up and back and sit up or stand up. Speak with a voice of authority by ending sentences with downward (not upward) inflection and project so every single person can hear every single word.

A program participant chased me down in the parking lot after that Silicon Valley workshop to thank me.

She said, “Sam, I wasn’t getting credit for my work and I was really resentful. I realize I can’t blame my boss for not giving me the recognition I deserve if I’m not giving him evidence of all the ways I’m making a difference for our clients and company.”

Her feedback reinforced the premise of my LeadHership program. It's idealistic to expect managers to know all the ways we’re contributing and to initiate on behalf of our career goals. They’ve got at lot on their plate. We're just one of their many priorities.

It’s up to us to give our decision-makers real-world evidence of our LeadHership in action. Only then will they be able to trust we're adding tangible bottom-line value because they’ve personally experienced us doing just that. Only then will we receive the projects, promotions and pay raises we want, need and deserve.

The career ball is in your court. How will you be a LeadHer at your next meeting? And how will you THANK the leadHers in your life for their support, encouragement, wisdom, LeadHership and mentorship?

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Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency, is on a mission to help people create a quality life-work that adds value for all involved. Her books - Tongue Fu!, POP! and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? - have been featured in New York Times, Forbes, INC and on NPR. This is excerpted from Sam's LeadHership keynote which she's presented to professional women networks at Intel, Capital One, Amgen, National Geographic, CA Governors Conference for Women, and Women in Consumer Technology. Want Sam to share this your group? Contact Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com

Day Right Quote #54: Stop Trying to Make Everyone Happy. You're Not Chocolate

I’m working on a chapter in my new book – Chase Meaning Not Clicks – about the futility of people-pleasing. One of the unexpected themes from my Year by the Water was how many people are taking themselves out of the game of life. They are neglecting their own needs and taking care of everyone BUT themselves. These are good people who are putting aside their own priorities because they have “responsibilities” to take care of.

I believe it’s important to be responsible; to think of others, to care for others.

I also believe that, taken to an extreme, trying to make everyone happy can become our Achilles Hell. (Not a typo). Self-sacrifice doesn’t serve anyone.

Please understand, I’m not suggesting we think only of ourselves and what we want. That is an equally unhealthy extreme.

But putting everyone else first - every time, all the time - is a prescription for regrets.

This insight “Stop trying to make everyone happy. You’re not chocolate” (or pasta, or pizza, take your pick) makes the point with humor.

Trying to make everyone happy makes no one happy. (This post shows an example of how I learned this.)

Are you a team leader, parent, project manager, caretaker, writer or creative? Are you trying to make everyone happy? As Dr. Phil says, "How's that working for you?"

Put yourself in the mix. You have value. You have your own voice, talents, contributions, experience, expertise, perspective and unique take on the world.

It is FAIR and NEEDED for you to honor and contribute your own abilities, insights and gifts. This is true on and off the job – at work, at home and in your community.

We serve best when we serve others AND our self. The goal is to keep things in balance, always in balance.

chocolate - best

Day Right Quote #29: You Can Fail At What You Don't Want; So You Might As Well Take a Chance Doing What You LOVE

Have you seen Jim Carrey's commencement speech for Maharishi University of Management? In it, he talks about his dad always wanting to be a comedian, but instead he took a SAFE job as an accountant to be "responsible" and support his family.

Then, his dad got let go and their family fell into financial hard times.

Jim's lesson from that?

"You can fail at what you DON'T want; so you might as well take a chance on doing what you LOVE."

Do you know someone who is making a career choice? Have they been told it's unrealistic to expect to make a living doing work they love? Are they about to make a "safe, responsible" decision to take a job that will pay the bills but that will kill the light in their eyes?

Share Jim Carrey's quote with them. They will never regret betting on themselves and choosing to do work they're good at that adds value and that lights them up.

jim carrey