As kids, we’re told to dream big. Never give up. Pick ourselves up when we fall down.
But then life happens, and we learn that accepting failure is never easy – whether it’s being passed over for the school netball team or for a big job promotion. And accepting failure time and time again? That’s something most of us are still struggling with in adulthood.
There’s no better antidote to give you a new perspective on how to achieve your goals than seeing some of the incredible women who persevered, who overcame all kinds of adversity and who made huge cracks in the ceiling to achieve their dreams – no matter how much rejection or ridicule they faced along the way.
These uplifting quotes from some of our favourite women in history (and the present) are just what you need to feel inspired to challenge the status quo.
Or at least to dust yourself off and get right back up again.
“Whether you come from a council estate or a country estate, your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude.” Michelle Obama
“Take criticism seriously but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you.” Hillary Clinton
“For a long time there, I was a bit of a laughing stock. And while everybody was busy laughing, what was I doing? I was laying the foundation to what I have in place now.” Victoria Beckham
“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat.” Sheryl Sandberg
“I decided I can’t pay a person to rewind time, so I may as well get over it.” Serena Williams
“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Agatha Christie
“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me?” Ayn Rand
“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.” Anita Roddick
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“I used to think as I looked out on the Hollywood night – there must be thousands of girls sitting alone like me, dreaming of becoming a movie star. But I’m not going to worry about them. I’m dreaming the hardest.” Marilyn Monroe
“Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore.” Lady Gaga
“The reality is, sometimes you lose. And you’re never too good to lose, you’re never too big to lose, you’re never too smart to lose, it happens. And it happens when it needs to happen. And you have to embrace those things.” Beyoncé
“Have no fear of perfection: you’ll never reach it.” Marie Curie
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Helen Keller
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Maya Angelou
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“You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” Brené Brown
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Harriet Tubman
“No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” Virginia Woolf
“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country. Anaïs Nin
“I raise up my voice – not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” Malala Yousafzai
“Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.” JK Rowling
“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” Estée Lauder
“We should be arming ourselves and bettering ourselves. Educating ourselves. Pushing ourselves. I don’t believe we are anywhere near our potential.” Jameela Jamil
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