We’ve selected these inspirational leadership and business quotes from some of the most powerful and most successful women ever.
We hope they strike a chord!
Inspiring Quotes to Motivate Women in Business
1. “I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse.” – Florence Nightingale
One of the great humanitarians of the 19th century, Florence Nightingale was the founder of modern nursing.
The Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses and the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve, were both named in her honour.
The annual International Nurses Day is also celebrated on her birthday.
In a letter she wrote in the 1860s, she herself said:
I have had a larger responsibility of human lives than ever man or woman had before. And I attribute my success to this:—I never gave or took an excuse.
And taking a look at her life, it’s not hard to see why. Living in a time when women did not have too many opportunities to express themselves, Nightingale must have come across multiple reasons to stop trying.
Her decision to ignore all of these and keep striving to achieve her goal is the foundation of her success – and can be yours too.
2. “Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that, so it goes on flying anyway.” – Mary Kay Ash
Thriving in the 1980s and 90s, Mary Kay Ash founded a cosmetics company in the United States that eventually grew global, and by the time of her death in 2001, was raking in over $200 million in sales every year.
There was no doubt that Ash was ahead of her time – she was a trailblazer. And she wanted nothing more than to see women compete at the very top.
These words of hers pass a very strong message to women all over.
Nothing hinders you more than your beliefs. If you believe that you don’t have the ability to be somewhere, then how could you possibly get there?
Mary Kay ignored the beliefs in her time about the capabilities of women and pushed for her breakthrough. As a result, she was able to rise to the very top – and she’s still celebrated today.
3. “When it comes to doing my job, I keep my ego in my handbag.” – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a top global economist and the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (March 2021 – date), being both the first woman and the first African to lead that organisation.
Through this quote she reminds women in business all over the world that sometimes your ego can be a major barrier to your success.
There’s nothing wrong with kneeling in the mud if it means that you’re building an edifice.
When you’re too self-important to do the work that is required of you, or neglect your duty because of a certain image that you think you should have, then you cannot possibly rise to the level that doing that job will take you.
Do what you’re supposed to do.
4. “Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” – Anne Sweeney
Anne Sweeney has worked in many top executive positions on famous television networks such as Walt Disney and Nickelodeon.
This quote from her reminds you that people will always have opinions about everything, including about you and what you do, and at many points in your life, you will feel pressured by what most people believe. You will begin to second-guess your journey.
But the fact that something is a popular opinion doesn’t mean it’s correct.
If you really, want to thrive, then you have to define your own success terms and pursue them no matter what.
They might not appreciate you now, but they certainly will when you’ve succeeded.
5. “Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” – Michelle Obama
This is the last but probably the most important quote here for women.
Michelle Obama is an American lawyer as well as the First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. Through this quote she challenges women all over to redefine their conception of success.
With more and more women making their way onto the business and political stages, there is the slight worry about them attuning themselves to the traditionally male emphasis on gathering personal wealth rather than caring for people.
Women are mothers. They nurture life. As a woman in business, do not forget that success is about changing lives – not gathering wealth for yourself.
If you understand this, it becomes far easier to make giant strides.
Ready to rise and lead the next generation? The world awaits.