oprah winfrey quote with open book on table

Need career inspiration? My top 10 career quotes

I love a good quote! Every now and then you find one that really resonates. And when it does it can give you the motivation and inspiration you need right there and then.

Here are my top 10 quotes for career inspiration:

1. ‘Sometimes what you are most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.’

This inspirational quote is all about possibilities.  With the advent of a new year you contemplate how things could be different – a different role, career, location or way of working. The possibility of change is there …… and then the fear creeps in and you’re paralysed by it. But if you can draw on your strength and look beyond that fear to where the possibility could take you it can be very powerful.

2. ‘Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined’
(Henry David Thoreau)

Confidence is a wonderful thing and, career confidence especially, feels very precious. Sometimes a change in your work situation such as redundancy, having a break from work, a poor manager or bullying work colleague can really damage your career confidence. That’s why it’s really important to build your career resilience so you can navigate any difficult work situations and live the life you’ve imagined for yourself.

3. ‘The future depends on what you do today.’
(Mahatma Gandhi)

We don’t think about the future enough for a whole variety of reasons – fear, indecision, distraction, but when we do turn our thoughts into plans and then into actions we can feel great. So whether it’s decluttering your desk or looking for a new job take inspiration from Gandhi and do something today.

4. ‘Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage’
(Anais Nin)

If we could bottle that courageous feeling we could expand our life, including our work life, everyday. Imagine how it would feel to be brave and to grab hold of all those opportunities gladly, knowing that every time you say ‘yes’ you are enabling yourself to grow and develop –  hold onto that feeling because with a bit of practice you can learn to be more courageous.

5. ‘It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.’
(Charles Darwin)

When you hear the word change used in relation to your work life it can evoke mixed emotions – despite living in a constantly changing world you can still find change scary and sometimes threatening. If you reposition it as evolution then you can consider embracing it. The definition of the word evolve is ‘To develop and change gradually especially from a simple to a more complex form. Transform.’ I love the idea of transformation and becoming the best that we can be – don’t you? And to do that we have to change.

6. ‘If we did all the things we are capable of doing we would truly astound ourselves.’
(Thomas Edison)

Reflecting on how to fulfill your own potential can be challenging – it’s very easy to get stuck, especially at work, repeating the same patterns, being good at what you do, yet knowing deep down that you are capable of so much more. Get inspiration and challenge yourself to do something new?

7. ‘I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.’  (Michael Jordan)

When I work with clients on career change, one of the things I notice is that fear of failure can be a real block, and actually this isn’t limited to thoughts of career change but any kind of change at work – new role, new project, return to work.Let failure become an inspiration to keep you growing, learning and becoming even better than you already are.

8. “If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.”(Anon)

Be in charge of your own destiny. It can be tempting to sit back and wait for things to happen in the way you want them to, but there is a big risk they may not happen at all or you may be waiting a very long time. The only person really interested in your development and progression is you so you need to be clear about what you want, whether that’s more opportunity, flexibility or a change, and you need a plan to go out and make it happen.

9. ‘It is never too late to be what you might have been.’
(George Eliot)

I love this quote because it can give us inspiration that, despite society’s preoccupation with youth, we can change our lives, our careers, our way of being at any stage of our life in order to truly live the way we want to and to be the person we were meant to be. This might mean small changes to how you approach your work that allows you to be true to your values, or, it could be bigger changes involving finding a new direction, but whatever it is don’t ever think it’s too late!

10. ‘One day you will wake up and there won’t be anymore time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Do it now.’ (Paulo Coelho)

The thorny issue of procrastination gets in the way of real change even when the desire to change is strong. You can even label yourself as someone who procrastinates about decisions and actions, reinforcing the view of yourself as someone who puts things off. This is obviously  not helpful as it ‘legitimises’ this approach. You probably know that deep down you procrastinate because of fear. Fear of making a mistake, of being exposed, of failure, etc and, admitting what it is you fear can be the first step to conquering it.

I’d love to hear what your favourite inspirational career quote is.

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