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28 Inspirational Quotes to Get You Out of Your Work Funk

Wise words to get you out of the slump and into the groove

Abbey Slattery
Contributor

Shonda Rhimes red carpet gif

Sinking into the winter blues a little early? Feeling discouraged with work lately? Hitting a brick wall made of some pure, unexplainable funk? Sometimes, all you need is a little boost from a few wise women to pull back yourself up. 

Next time you need a mantra to write on sticky note by your desk, use these inspiring words from other hard-working women.

On Confidence

1. “People respond well to those that are sure of what they want.” 

—Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue and artistic director for Condé Nast

2. “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” 

—Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

3. “No matter how senior you get in an organization, no matter how well you’re perceived to be doing, your job is never done” 

—Abigail Johnson, CEO of Fidelity International

4. “[My mother] told me that fear was not an option. I was always told that women are stronger, so I believed it.” 

—Diane Von Furstenberg, fashion designer

5. “Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” 

—Anne Sweeney, former co-chair of Disney Media, former President of the Disney–ABC Television Group, and former President of Disney Channel

Read more: 38 Powerful Quotes from Women Who Don’t Mess Around

6. “I’ve always been a bit of an introvert, but just because you don’t fit the classic mold doesn’t mean you can’t be a leader. You just need to find your own style and someone with a similar style who you can learn from.” 

—Jess Lee, CEO of Polyvore

7. “I’ve never thought of myself as a female engineer, or founder, or a woman in tech. I just think of myself as someone who’s passionate.”

—Leah Busque, CEO of TaskRabbit

8. “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a b*tch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” 

—Maya Angelou, poet and civil rights activist

Read more: 34 Quotes from Women Writers Who Speak the Truth

9. “I realized that if I was willing to step up and be in the spotlight, I’d be able to make everyone else around me much more powerful as well.” 

—Alaina Percival, CEO of Women Who Code

10. “A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. A woman must do what he can’t.” 

—Rhonda Hansome, comedian, writer, director, and actress

11. “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be." 

—Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady of the United States 

On Passion

12. “Dream are lovely but they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.” 

—Shonda Rhimes, television show creator, producer, and writer 

13. “What I do for my work is exactly what I would do if no one paid me.” 

—Gretchen Rubin, author, blogger, and speakers

14. “Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming after all, is a form of planning.” 

—Gloria Steinem, writer, journalist, and activist

15. “There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.” 

—Indira Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India and first woman to hold this office

16. “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 Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo

17. “Do what you love and success will follow. Passion is the fuel behind a successful career.” 

—Meg Whitman, CEO of Quibi and former CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise

18. “If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction. Remember also that you are indebted to life until you help some less fortunate person, just as you were helped.” 

—Melinda Gates, American philanthropist, former general manager at Microsoft, and co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

19. “On my own I will just create, and if it works, it works, and if it doesn’t, I’ll create something else. I don’t have any limitations on what I think I could do or be." 

—Oprah Winfrey, media executive, talk show host, TV producer, and businesswoman

Read more: 5 Great Female Directors to Add to Your Weekend Queue

On Doubt

20. “If you have an idea, you have to believe in yourself or no one else will.” 

—Sarah Michelle Gellar, actress, producer, and entrepreneur

21. “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.” 

—Marissa Meyer, young adult novelist

22. “Lean in, speak out, have a voice in your organization, and never use the word, ‘sorry’.”

—Trish Bertuzzi, founder and CEO of The Bridge Group

23. “Doubt is a killer. You just have to know who you are and what you stand for.”

—Jennifer Lopez, actress, singer, dancer, fashion designer, producer, and businesswoman

24. “Growth and comfort do not coexist.” 

—Ginni Rometty, president, chair and CEO of IBM and the first woman to hold that position

25. “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 Spanx

26. “Buckle up, and know that it’s going to be a tremendous amount of work, but embrace it.”

—Tory Burch, CEO of Tory Burch LLC

Read more: 13 Quotes on Achieving Work-Life Balance from Successful Women

27. “My unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this: When faced with sexism, or ageism, or lookism, or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: 'Is this person in between me and what I want to do?' If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you.”

—Tina Fey, actress, writer, and comedian

28. “There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success...but if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you’re going... you’ll know that it was you and the people who love you that put you there.”

—Taylor Swift, singer and songwriter

Read more: 13 Busy Women on How to Stay Organized

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