As featured in Businessing Magazine:
Success. It’s one relatively simple word, yet it is large in concept because it signifies what every entrepreneur wants to achieve. To attain. To sustain.
The problem with success is, no matter what your definition, it isn’t always that easy to find. The path is long and winding, and the temptation to give up can be found around every corner.
So how do you keep going when all you really want to do is quit? You continuously seek to find motivation. And one place that I regularly find mine is in success quotes.
The Power of Success Quotes
Have you ever heard or read something someone else has said (“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure,” Marianne Williams) and had that light bulb go off above your head, that “a-ha moment” where the fog lifts and everything suddenly becomes crystal clear?
That’s the kind of power success quotes behold. But that isn’t all.
They also provide energy when you feel lethargic (“The worst times can be the best if you think with positive energy,” Domenico Dolce), focus when you’re finding it difficult to concentrate (“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light,” Aristotle), and a renewed meaning in life that is capable of pulling you out of whatever funk you’re in (“There is only one meaning of life: the act of living itself,” Erich Fromm).
Success quotes also have a way of inspiring you to live up to your potential (“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential…these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence,” Confucius).
They remind you of the strength you possess (“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts,” Eleanor Roosevelt), and the skills that you have that will carry you further (“Learning how to learn is life’s most important skill,” Tony Buzan), and the stark reality that you don’t have to execute things perfectly to achieve the things you want (“We never taste happiness in perfection; our most unfortunate successes are mixed with sadness,” Pierre Corneille).
Some success quotes even direct the way you deal with others (“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” Maya Angelou). Others serve as the foundation of how you feel about business (“Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people,” Steve Jobs)
Apparently I’m not the only one who finds these types of statements and phrases helpful to surviving—and thriving—in the world of business. Here are just a few that have had a huge impact on success-focused entrepreneurs like me (and maybe even you).
On Persistence, Self-Trust, and Productivity
David Dye, founder and president of Trailblaze, Inc., a Denver-based leadership development business, and co-author of Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results Without Losing Your Soul, has three success quotes that help push him forward. The first is, “Persistence is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did,” a statement made by Newt Gingrich. “Whether you love or loathe his politics, the notion of ‘stick-to-itiveness’ in this quote is fantastic,” says Dye.
Another of Dye’s favorites is attributed to Abraham Lincoln:
If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”
Dye says that this reminds him that “it’s easy to get caught up in worry about what other people are thinking and that will paralyze you from taking action. Trust yourself, learn from experience, and keep moving.”
Finally, Dye finds great value in a quote by French philosopher, Albert Camus. Camus once said, “They say I’m active. But being active is still wasting one’s time, if in doing one loses oneself. Today is a resting time, and my heart goes off in search of itself.” To Dye, this means that “productivity does not equal happiness or health. It is too easy to be consumed by the achievement of conquered to-dos and forget that life is meant to be lived. Keeping perspective, health, and relationships is vital.”
About Challenges, Obstacles, and Adversity
Rich Allen, business advisor, weekly radio show host, and author of The Ultimate Business Tune Up: A Simple Yet Powerful Business Model That Will Transform the Lives of Small Business Owners, also has a couple of success quotes that help him, and these deal specifically with challenges, obstacles, and adversity.
The first is a quote from Peter Diamandis, author of Bold, who once said,
When faced without a challenge, make one!”
This resonates with Allen because, “If you want to excel, you must ALWAYS be challenging yourself to make improvements in yourself or in your business. Status Quo is the enemy. If I find myself without a challenge, I take Peter’s advice and go make one up.”
On the flip side, when faced with some type of adversity, Allen remembers something Ryan Holiday, author of The Obstacle is the Way, said, which was: “The obstacles and adversity we face in life are not to be avoided but embraced.”
How do these words help?
“It is easy to be diverted from our primary goal or purpose by the obstacles that we encounter,” says Allen. “As entrepreneurs we must view each obstacle as an opportunity to grow, learn and expand the way we think about our business and our life. Those who win chose to tackle the obstacles head-on rather than allowing them to define our path forward.”
And Even More Success Quotes to Embrace for Ultimate Motivation and Growth
When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade.” Dale Carnegie
Marcy Hoffman, president and founder of 13hats, says, “When I opened my first business, I hired an employee that, over time, became a trusted partner. Or so I thought. One day I came to work to find office equipment, files, and client information taken. I sat stunned and speechless but realized I had to decide how I was going to deal with this setback. I took out a sketch pad and drew a pitcher of lemonade next to a pile of lemons with this quote underneath, hung it on my wall, and never looked back. This drawing has hung in every office I have occupied and I still stare at it when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, professionally and personally.”
Success is about making your life a special version of unique that fits who you are—not what other people want you to be.” Mark Cuban
James Philip, founder and managing director of JMJ Phillip, says that this success quote “always set well with me because of where I came from. I went from the lower-middle class to the tech world to becoming an entrepreneur with over a dozen brands in my holding company. Along the way, I never forgot where I came from. I still have that ‘from the street’ edge where many in my world conform to social norms, otherwise their failure is imminent. I never wanted to become what other people wanted me to be, so I had to turn into a version of me that was real, while operating in the business world in ultracompetitive markets.”
Focusing is about saying no.” Steve Jobs
Hope Brookins, personal branding strategist at HopeBrookins.com finds great value in this success quote because “the only way that I have been able to achieve my goals, and ultimately find success, is to say ‘no’ to opportunities that don’t align with my end goal. I’ve found that focusing is more about what you’re not doing than what you are doing. This quote expresses my sentiment succinctly.”
Jason Wasser, LMFT, CAP, CHT, owner of The Family Room Wellness Associates, says, “By striving to live through Values Based Decision Making, Rick Sapio taught me you can change the results of your destiny. The basis of this is to identify your core values (my business values are compassion, enthusiasm, growth, authenticity, and self-awareness) and then streamlining your choices and decisions through that lens to determine who or what should or shouldn’t enter your life or business. Since applying this rigorously, the quality of my clients have improved, my practice income has increased, and there has been less drama in my office with regards to the staff I would hire.”
“If there is a will, there is a way.” Julia Drechsler’s Parents
Julia Drechsler, founder of Zeitgeist Gifts, says that these words of wisdoms from her parents impact her success in that, “I remember my first sale to somebody I didn’t personally know, someone out there in the big world of the Internet. The thrill of this very first order reminded me that you can surprise yourself with what you can do. And indeed, it’s one of the mottos that I have always believed in and what my parents have told me. Missions have to be completed, after all. I guess that may also have something to do with my German background. Doing things properly and being held accountable for what you do and what you say matters very much to me.”
“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” Albert Ellis
“As a therapist and business owner, Albert Ellis’s quote is inspirational not only because he was a true pioneer of evidence-based mental health treatment, but also because he focused on perseverance, personal resiliency, and tenacity,” says Courtney Rodrigue, LMHC, NCC at GroundWork Counseling. “This quote speaks to our ability to not only identify our challenges, but also take personal responsibility to make the changes necessary to control our trajectory; both in a personal and business sense.”
“Get mad, then get over it.” Colin Powell
Stanley Tate at Tate Esq LLC, feels a connection to this success quote because, “In business, in life, you’ll get mad. A client will do something unwanted. A decision will go against you. An avoidable cost will appear. Someone will say something, do something, to offend. You’ll get mad. And you should. But not forever. Not for long. One day. That’s all you get. Get mad, then get over it. Or else you’ll spend your time angry about what was instead of moving on to what is.”
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 & CEO of Maria Shireen, Shireen Thor, says that this quote by Sara Blakely is important because “going against the grain or being different than the rest of the crowd has always been a philosophy that has helped make me successful. This was instilled in me by my grandfather who I watched do the same when growing his small business into a large company. He taught me never to be scared to do things differently in my personal and professional life. With his recent passing, this quote is now more important than ever in my daily life.”