Although the technical definition of success is “the accomplishment of one’s goals” or “the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like,” every woman has her own idea of what being successful actually means.
For some, the notion of success is somewhat vague and involves simply being able to hold down a full-time job while still taking good care of a family. For others, success is much more specific and requires achieving a particular job title or earning a certain amount of income per year.
To make matters even more complex, it’s not uncommon for our individual definitions of success to change over time. For instance, when I was younger, I thought that success was only attained if you were able to help large numbers of people. Yet, now I feel that if you can help even one person improve his or her quality of life, that’s a success too.
And some days I feel more successful than others. On days such as these, I like to sit and read success quotes for women. I use these words of wisdom to help me change how I’m feeling about my situation. To change my perspective and help me see things in a new, different, and more positive way.
With that thought in mind, here is my favorite success quote for women, as well as a few others by women who appear to also share my propensity for words that inspire.
Well-behaved women seldom make history. ~ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Originally when she wrote this, Ulrich—a Harvard professor and Pulitzer Prize winning historian—was referring to how there are many women in history who’ve made positive impacts, yet somehow been completely overlooked.
This reminds me that, even if I am not getting the recognition I want or feel that I deserve, that doesn’t mean that I’m not making an impact on those around me. Even something as small as smiling at someone on the street or extending a nice gesture may be enough to help them turn around their day.
Also when I think about this statement, I like to take it one step further and tell myself that sometimes you have to step out of the box and do things in an unexpected or unorthodox way in order to get better, more life-enhancing results.
This quote lights in me a fire to be creative in my professional pursuits, whether I’m writing a piece for a healthcare provider, helping a coaching client reach her nutrition goals, or speaking to a group about how to overcome adversity in more healthy ways.
This quotes also reminds me to not fall into a situation where I set my definition of success based on what others think it should be. Instead, it is up to me to pave my own way in this life and if that means that I have to take a path that has never before been traveled, so be it. I will find my way in the end, as long as I don’t worry about what others think and spend more time being true to me.
Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives. ~ Michelle Obama
Dr. Ana Ortiz, dentist and owner of Madison Green Family Dental in Palm Beach, Florida, says that this quote resonates with her because “I truly have a passion for my patients and enjoy helping them receive the results they are looking for.”
Ortiz goes on to say, “Whether it’s correcting something they don’t particularly enjoy about their appearance or if it’s solving an actual oral health concern, providing someone with tangible and intangible benefits is so rewarding.”
Isn’t it so true that sometimes we feel more successful when helping others than we do when achieving our own goals? Therefore, if you’re not feeling as successful as you’d like to be, maybe the issue isn’t that you’re not working hard enough for yourself. Maybe it’s that you’re not focusing enough on others.
“I love the fact that I get to enjoy the work I do each day, which provides me with so much, but I also get to help so many patients,” says Ortiz. “I can only hope that more business owners find the enjoyment in their craft that I do today.”
You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So…get on your way! ~ Dr. Seuss
“Just the rhythm of these words energize me to push forward and continue to discover the challenges and adventures that await me in my work and life,” says Jane Finkle, career consultant and author of The Introvert’s Complete Career Guide: From Landing a Job to Surviving, Thriving, and Moving on Up.
Part of what makes this particular success quote so inspiring to Finkle is, “I think about my clients who are facing their own hurdles but have willingly embarked on an adventure to find their true career path,” she says. That makes this two great lessons in one.
First, it is motivating to remember that, as Dr. Seuss says, “Today is your day!” So, take it by the horns and own it. Make a plan and take action so you get as much out of today as you possibly can.
Second, when you feel like throwing in the towel and giving up, keep in mind that others have walked hard paths too, yet succeeded because they found the strength to continue to move forward. Use their strength to help you do the same. Who knows? Maybe you’ll inspire someone to overcome their own obstacles and succeed too!
A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want.” ~ Madonna
“This quote from the ‘Queen of Pop’ resonates with me because I feel it does a good job of conveying what it’s like to be a female business owner in a primarily male-driven industry,” says Lisa Tadewaldt, owner of Urban Forest Pro, a tree service out of Portland, Oregon. What does she mean by this?
“Fortunately, I’ve had a really good experience with our arboriculture company and our team is really a pleasure to work with,” says Tadewaldt, “but I did learn that I needed to be confident in my voice and my desires as I was growing this business.”
Perhaps you’ve experienced this same type of situation, afraid to speak up about what you want or need in your life? To this, Tadewaldt says, “At the end of the day, if you’re dissatisfied with your situation but you haven’t voiced your concerns, can you really blame anyone for not helping you or remedying the situation? Not really.”
She goes on to say that “you need to be confident enough in yourself to speak up and, 9 times out of 10, speaking up is most the battle.” In other words, once you say what’s on your mind, the hard part is done. Now you can do what you need to do.
I always believed that one woman’s success can only help another woman’s success. ~ Gloria Vanderbilt
This quote strikes a chord with Dr. Nerissa Aquino, dentist and owner of Palm City Family Dentists in Palm City, Florida, because “I strongly believe in woman empowerment,” she says, adding, “I would not be the successful woman that I am today without the empowerment of successful women before me and around me along my journey.”
Do you have one or more women in your life who have given you a hand, helping you become a better parent, spouse, business leader, or employee? If so, you understand why this success quote is so important to Aquino and the benefit it can be to have a strong woman help you blaze your path.
But, why not pass this same effect on and help others achieve their own definitions of success? You can, says Aquino. And here’s how.
“The only way we can provide that opportunity to the next class of female leaders is to lend a hand when asked, offer sage advice when needed, and focus on encouragement over competition,” says Aquino.
Women today can truly do anything and everything they can dream of — just not all at once. ~ Marilyn Quayle
“In the early 90’s, I was in graduate school at the Indiana University School of Music,” explains Linda Brice, speech consultant, voice teacher, and founder of Transformational Voice, “when Marilyn Quayle, wife of Vice President Dan Quayle in the George H.W. Bush administration, came to give a speech. As a life-long Democrat, I assumed that I would disagree with just about everything she might say, but I attended anyway.”
Soon, Brice realized that, while she was correct that she didn’t see eye-to-eye on everything, when the vice president’s wife made this statement, “I’m not sure I heard the rest of the speech,” says Brice. “I was stunned. That day, a woman I’d never met, who led a life so different from my own, and who held many values with which I disagreed, taught me some of my greatest life lessons.”
“Over the years, this quote has been a guiding principle for me that I remember every time my stress goes through the ceiling,” says Brice. “From her, I began to practice patience. From her, I learned to prioritize. From her, I learned to be strategic and take one step at a time. From her, I even learned to say ‘no’ to seemingly great opportunities because, in fact, they were someone’s else’s dreams to pursue. From her, I learned to drop hubris, listen, and feel gratitude for knowing wisdom when I heard it, regardless of the source.”
While all of these lessons are great, Brice says that there is one additional lesson she learned from hearing Marilyn Quayle speak that day. “Lastly, from her, over the years, I experienced the life-changing power of words and intention in a great speech. And that has made all the difference!”