50 Motivational Quotes From Disruptive, Trailblazing, Inspiring Women Leaders

50 Motivational Quotes From Disruptive, Trailblazing, Inspiring Women Leaders
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The climb to the top can be tough going -- for anyone.

But as women, there are particular hurdles that can make the journey upward toward positions of power and influence -- in myriad spheres -- especially challenging. 

Here, in 50 inspiring quotes, businesswomen, role models, activists, entertainers, authors, politicians and more share their thoughts on leadership and success -- and what exactly those mean to them. 

Whether we're forging our own paths or following in the footsteps of those who've gone ahead, these trailblazers, innovators, explorers and disrupters can encourage, motivate and push us to reach new heights -- in business and in life. 

Related: 6 Innovative Women to Watch

  1. “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.” -- Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady
  2. “’Restore connection’ is not just for devices, it is for people too. If we cannot disconnect, we cannot lead. Creating the culture of burnout is opposite to creating a culture of sustainable creativity. This is something that needs to be taught in business schools. This mentality needs to be introduced as a leadership and performance-enhancing tool.” -- Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post
  3. “The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.” -- Faye Wattleton, Alvarez & Marsal
  4. "Strategic leaders must not get consumed by the operational and tactical side of their work. They have a duty to find time to shape the future." -- Stephanie S. Mead, CMOE
  5. “The way to achieve your own success is to be willing to help somebody else get it first.” -- Iyanla Vanzant, speaker
  6. “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” -- Dolly Parton, singer-songwriter
  7. “There are two kinds of stones, as everyone knows, one of which rolls.” -- Amelia Earhart, aviator
  8. “I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” -- Estée Lauder, Estée Lauder companiesgraphic-quote-estee-lauder
  9. “If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.” -- Maya Angelou, authorgraphic-quote-maya-angelou
  10. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” -- Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologistgraphic-quote-margaret-mead
  11. “We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat; they do not exist.” -- Queen Victoria, Former Queen of the United Kingdom
  12. “Leadership should be more participative than directive, more enabling than performing.” -- Mary D. Poole
  13. “Leadership is a series of behaviors rather than a role for heroes.” -- Margaret Wheatley, writergraphic-quote-margaret-wheatley
  14. “My father had a simple test that helps me measure my own leadership quotient: When you are out of the office, he once asked me, does your staff carry on remarkable well without you?” -- Martha Peak, AMA magazines
  15. “We treat our people like royalty. If you honor and serve the people who work for you, they will honor and serve you.” -- Mary Kay Ash, Mary Kaygraphic-quote-mary-kay-ash
  16. "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
  17. “My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” -- Oprah Winfrey, media proprietorgraphic-quote-oprah-winfrey
  18. “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” -- Helen Keller, author
  19. “My best successes came on the heels of failures.” -- Barbara Corcoran, businesswoman
  20. “I wake up every morning and think to myself, ‘How far can I push the company forward in the next 24 hours?’” -- Leah Busque, TaskRabbit
  21. “Surround yourself with a trusted and loyal team. It makes all the difference.” -- Alison Pincus, One Kings Lanegraphic-quote-alison-pincus
  22. “As a leader, it’s a major responsibility on your shoulders to practice the behavior you want others to follow.” -- Himanshu Bhatia, Rose International Inc.
  23. “Don’t waste a single second. Just move forward as fast as you can, and go for it.” -- Rebecca Woodcock, Cake Health
  24. “You manage things; you lead people.” -- Grace Murray Hopper, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral
  25. “I am endlessly fascinated that playing football is considered a training ground for leadership, but raising children isn’t.” -- Dee Dee Myers, former White House Press Secretary
  26. “Good leaders organize and align people around what the team needs to do. Great leaders motivate and inspire people with why they’re doing it. That’s purpose. And that’s the key to achieving something truly transformational.” -- Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin
  27. “I just love bossy women. I could be around them all day. To me, bossy is not a pejorative term at all. It means somebody’s passionate and engaged and ambitious and doesn’t mind leading.” -- Amy Poehler, actress
  28. “Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want.” -- Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senator
  29. “Presenting leadership as a list of carefully defined qualities (like strategic, analytical and performance-oriented) no longer holds. Instead, true leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed… Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.” -- Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook
  30. “Professional intellectuals are the voice of a culture and are, therefore, its leaders, its integrators and its bodyguards.” -- Ayn Rand, novelist
  31. “True leaders understand that leadership is not about them but about those they serve. It is not about exalting themselves but about lifting others up.” -- Sheri L. Dew, author
  32. “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” -- Mother Teresa, religious sister
  33. “Is there a better quality in a leader than humility when he might soon be granted enormous power to do good for his country and the world -- or harm?” -- Jane Fletcher Geniesse, author
  34. “Leadership is hard to define and good leadership even harder. But if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader.” -- Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo
  35. "We're here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark." -- Whoopi Goldberg, comedian
  36. “You have to look at leadership through the eyes of the followers and you have to live the message. What I have learned is that people become motivated when you guide them to the source of their own power and when you make heroes out of employees who personify what you want to see in the organization.” -- Anita Roddick, businesswoman
  37. “Many women live like it’s a dress rehearsal. Ladies, the curtain is up and you’re on.” -- Mikki Taylor, Essence magazine
  38. “I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.” -- Ginni Rometty, IBMgraphic-quote-ginni-rometty
  39. “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 Mayer, Yahoo
  40. “Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” -- Anne Sweeney, Walt Disney
  41. “I work really hard at trying to see the big picture and not getting stuck in ego. I believe we’re all put on this planet for a purpose, and we all have a different purpose… When you connect with that love and that compassion, that’s when everything unfolds.” -- Ellen DeGeneres, comedian
  42. “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, Spanxgraphic-quote-sara-blakely
  43. “It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” -- J.K Rowling, authorgraphic-quote-jk-rowling
  44. “Sometimes you can gradually improve things. But sometimes, they don’t work, and you’ve just got to just say: Let’s grind this baby to a halt.” -- Abigail Johnson, Fidelity Investments
  45. “I don’t go by the rule book. I lead from the heart, not the head.” -- Princess Diana, Princess of Wales
  46. “If this is something that you really want to do, if you believe in it … simply keep forging forward because success will come.” -- Cassandra Sanford, KellyMitchell Group
  47. “Don't let being a woman hold you back from the leader that you're destined to be.” -- Jamie Farsnel, Due
  48. “No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.” -- Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States
  49. “Do not wait on a leader...look in the mirror, its you!” -- Katherine Miracle, speaker
  50. “Leadership is not about men in suits. It is a way of life for those who know who they are and are willing to be their best to create the life they want to live.” -- Kathleen Schafer, Leadership Connection

Related: 5 Powerful Rules for Women Entrepreneurs to Live By