“Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise.”
Maya Angelou continues to soulfully place inspiration in many women’s hearts with her famous poem “Still I Rise.” For centuries, women everywhere find connections with those they’ve never met through their fight to reach equality in every aspect of life.
From Maya Angelou to Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, women have warriors — past and present — fighting for greater equality in the workplace. The continuing presence of strength and courage put forth by women of all generations is uniting us all on this journey.
When you’re experiencing those especially trying days at the office, here are five inspirational quotes from powerful women through the decades to build you back up:
“Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down. And trust your instincts… good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt. They’re not painful. That’s not just with somebody you want to marry, but it’s with the friends that you choose. It’s with the people you surround yourselves with.”
Our former First Lady had it absolutely correct — surrounding yourself with good people is the best way to rise. No matter where you are in your career, find mentors who have been through similar career struggles to help you reach your next step.
Look for people in your office or network who you’d be comfortable sharing your trials and triumphs with. Find people who you feel happy around and always have a positive vibe, even when tough times hit. These are the people who will be able to guide you through the wheelworks of a challenging career path.
2. Mae Jemison
“Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination.”
Talk about reaching new heights. Mae Jemison was the first African American woman to travel into space. You don’t have to dream of being shot into orbit in order to follow Jemison’s advice. No matter where you hope to take your career, it’s important to set expectations for yourself and never let anyone bat them down.
If you want to one day be a leader at your company, but they’re currently all male leaders, sit down with management to understand what you need to do in order to reach your goal. Make a list of goals you’d like to hit each quarter until you reach your final goal — and don’t let anyone stand in your way.
“In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman.”
This British stateswoman was a powerful woman who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. Her powerful quote is an expression of the life she lived — always doing. Moving forward can only happen if you get up and make it happen.
Take advantage of any learning and development or mentorship opportunities your company has to offer. Whether it’s shadowing another job, joining webinars, or even giving your input on how to make a process more effective, you need to put yourself out there to be noticed and taken seriously.
“Never let anyone ‘scare’ you out of a job.”
Vice President of Strategic Customer Management at Johnson & Johnson Medical DevicesCompanies Caitlin Pappas understands the intimidation that comes along with being in a male-dominated field. My company, MedReps, interviewed Pappas as part of our Top Women In Medical Sales series and found out how brave you must be in your career.
However, being brave and pushing through is worth it when you reach your destination. No matter who doubts you along the way, don’t let their words discourage you. Remember, you got to the position you’re in now based on your merits, skills, and experience. You can keep growing until you say stop.
“Forget about the fast lane. If you really want to fly, just harness your power to your passion.”
We all know Oprah Winfrey didn’t become one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in America by taking shortcuts. Having your career goals in mind is perfect motivation, but expecting to reach them immediately may result in disappointment.
Find a career you’re truly passionate about. If you’re not currently in one, don’t be afraid to make a change to find your true calling. There’s more power and productivity behind passion than there will ever be in a desire to move up the chain of command.
Powerful women don’t always bring in top dollar or even reach vice president of their company. Being a powerful means you’re truly happy in what you’re doing and feel you’re reaching for all the goals you can imagine. Because, as these women have shown us, anything is possible.
What do you think makes up a powerful woman? Let us know who inspires you!
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