45 Inspirational Quotes That Will Change Your Professional Life

by Don Yaeger


For the past 25 years, I’ve compiled meaningful quotes I come across that are especially impactful not only in my personal pursuit of greatness, but to those that I’ve had the pleasure of working with.

I have always marveled at the ability some people have to say something profound in just a few words and I’ve long found myself pulling these quotes up – or using them in conversation – to help think through a moment.

My hope is that as you read over some of these you will feel compelled and inspired to implement them into your daily practices as well.

The first five quotes listed below are my personal all-time favorites.  Check out the complete list, and leave me a comment below with your favorites!

  1. Make each day your masterpiece. – John Wooden
  2. Every saint has a past… every sinner has a future. – Oscar Wilde
  3. To retain the loyalty of those who are present, be loyal to those who are absent. – Stephen R. Covey
  4. The role of most leaders is to get the people to think more of the leader but the role of the exceptional leader is to get the people to think more of themselves. – Booker T. Washington
  5. People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily. – Zig Ziglar
  6. In life, adversity only visits the strong.  It stays forever with the weak.  We have to decide whether we’re going to be strong or weak. – Dale Brown
  7. In business, successful people reach goals, not quotas. – Stephen Jermyn
  8. How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong.  Because someday in your life you will have been all of these. – George Washington Carver
  9. Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally. – David Frost
  10. If people are doubting how far you’ll go, go so far that you can’t hear them anymore. – Michele Ruiz
  11. Failure is the condiment that gives success it’s failure. – Truman Capote
  12. I decided a long time ago that if I was going to hold grudges in business, it would turn into a full-time job. – LaVell Edwards
  13. The only place where success comes before work is in the dictonary. – Vidal Sasson
  14. Success is not the key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success.  If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. – Herman Cain
  15. You always pass failure on your way to success. – Mickey Rooney
  16. The best revenge is massive success. – Frank Sinatra
  17. A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness.  It is an expression of humility.  It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being. – James E. Faust
  18. Always reward your long hours of labor surrounded by your family.  Nurture their love carefully, remembering that your children need models, not critics.  And even if you have failed at all else in the eyes of the world, if you have a loving family, you are a success. – Og Mandino
  19. Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek. – Mario Andretti
  20. Ability is what you’re capable of doing.  Motivation determines what you do.  Attitude determines how well you do it. – Lou Holtz
  21. It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. – Harry Truman
  22. Have a fierce resolve in everything you do.  Demonstrate determination, resiliency, and tenacity.  Do not let temporary setbacks become permanent excuses.  Use mistakes and problems as opportunities to get better-not reasons to quit. – Jamie Dimon
  23. Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self esteem of their personnel.  If people believe in themselves it’s amazing what they can accomplish. – Sam Walton
  24. Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision.  The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives.  It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. – Andrew Carnegie
  25. It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them.  They went out and happened to things. – Leonardo da Vinci
  26. Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. – Robert F. Kennedy
  27. Be not afraid of greatness.  Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. – William Shakespeare
  28. I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down. – Abraham Lincoln
  29. All possibilities are on the other side of Yes.  You have to have a Yes mindset to get to Greatness. – John C. Maxwell
  30. You have to be willing to get your heart broken to be a champion, and you have to do it over and over again. – Doc Rivers
  31. It’s not a sin to get knocked down; it’s a sin to stay down. – Linley Wartenberg
  32. We are surrounded every day by people who do thankless but important work. – Brian Kilmeade
  33. Discipline is the highest form of love.  If you really love someone, you have to give them the level of discipline they need. – Tom Izzo
  34. I can accept failure, everyone fails at something.  But I can’t accept not trying. – Michael Jordan
  35. The hardest habit to develop is to win.  The people who develop this habit never take winning for granted, they never feel entitled to victory. – Mike Krzyzewski
  36. Being a great teammate is work, hard work.  It requires intention and discipline, just like becoming a better hitter or a better salesperson.  But it is a skill set that I believe others, like me, can learn. – David Ross
  37. When you’re good at something, you’ll tell everyone.  When you’re great at something, they’ll tell you. – Walter Payton
  38. The secret is to have eight great players and four others who will cheer like crazy. – Jerry Tarkanian
  39. Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.  Small people always try to do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, are great. – Mark Twain
  40. If it’s important you’ll find a way.  If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse. – Ryan Blair
  41. It’s not about working hard, it’s about working together.  You have to care more about the team than you do about yourself. – John Calipari
  42. If we study what is merely average, we will remain merely average. – Shawn Achor
  43. A winner is someone who can look in the mirror at the end of the day and say in pursuit of my goal and dreams I gave my best. – Dick Vitale
  44. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. – Jimmy Johnson
  45. Every day we have an opportunity to create a living masterpiece. – Michael Gervais

Which of these quotes most impacted you?