72 Inspirational Quotes to Motivate Women

Inspirational Quote Art decorates a desk with a plant and mug

Quotes from Literature, Famous Figures, and Athletes to Inspire Strong Women to Succeed at Work and in Life

 

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We all need a little inspiration sometimes. I’m a big believer in using the words of others to give me a boost when I need it. That’s why I have motivational quote art displayed in my office.

When working towards success, it can be helpful to learn from those who came before us. Inspiring athletes, historical figures, celebrities, and writers often share the secrets to their success.

Quotes from famous figures can give us insight into what made them successful. They can also give us confidence when we’re struggling. 

Some of my favorite quotes are about overcoming failure. Many working women struggle with imposter syndrome, and small failures can make those feelings worse. If you’re facing doubts, use inspiring quotes to remind you that even the most successful people went through these same difficulties.

We can all use reminders of our strength and power once in a while. I hope this collection of quotes will help you when you’re looking for an extra boost of motivation or inspiration. 
And if you’re looking for daily reminders of your strength from inspirational quotes, consider adding motivational quotes to your desk. It’s one of my favorite tips for setting up your workspace, and it’s made a world of difference in my daily outlook.

Quotes to Inspire Strong Women

Every woman is strong. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need a little motivation at times! These quotes are perfect to inspire strong women like yourself. From quotes about failure and success to quotes about positivity and happiness, these are sure to brighten your day and make you think.

I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.

“I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.” ― Charlotte Bronte

She is clothed with strength and dignity; and laughs without fear of the future.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; and laughs without fear of the future.” ― Proverbs 31:25

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”― Robert Frost

Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.

“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” ― Maya Angelou

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” ― Proverb

I was never afraid of failure; for I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest

“I was never afraid of failure; for I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest.”― John Keats

We know what we are, but not what we may be.

“We know what we are, but not what we may be.” ― William Shakespeare

I didn’t fail the test. I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.

“I didn’t fail the test. I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.” ― Benjamin Franklin

But he who dares not grasp the thorn Should never crave the rose.

“But he who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.”― Anne Bronte

Never give up. No one knows what's going to happen next.

“Never give up. No one knows what’s going to happen next.” ― L. Frank Baum

Knowing Is Not Enough; We Must Apply. Wishing Is Not Enough; We Must Do.

“Knowing Is Not Enough; We Must Apply. Wishing Is Not Enough; We Must Do.” ― Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” — George Bernard Shaw

There is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.

“There is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” ― Virginia Woolf

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves

“Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” — J.M. Barrie

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” ― William Wordsworth

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Short Inspirational Quotes

Sometimes you need your inspiration in small doses. These short quotes may not take up much space, but they have a big impact. In fact, these might be my favorite quotes in this entire list!

These short quotes come from philosophers, strong female authors, poets, and world leaders. What they’re missing in length, they make up for in significance. Many of these quotes are deep and really make you think, but I challenge you to not be inspired by their message.

What is now proved was once only imagined.

“What is now proved was once only imagined.”― William Blake

I exist as I am, that is enough.

“I exist as I am, that is enough.”― Walt Whitman

You are your best thing.

“You are your best thing.” — Toni Morrison

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.

“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.” ― Alfred Lord Tennyson

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” — Confucius

It always seems impossible until it's done

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” — Nelson Mandela

If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” — Milton Berle

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” ― Lao Tzu

If there is no wind, row.

“If there is no wind, row.” ― Proverb

Success is a collection of problems solved.

“Success is a collection of problems solved.” ― I.M. Pei

A weed is but an unloved flower.

“A weed is but an unloved flower.” ― Ella Wheeler Wilcox

In dreams begin responsibilities.

“In dreams begin responsibilities.” ― William Butler Yeats

Impossible is just an opinion.

“Impossible is just an opinion.”― Paulo Coelho

Life is a journey, not a destination.

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Motivational Quotes by Female Athletes 

Who knows more about winning than athletes? These famous female athletes certainly know what it takes to succeed.

These super strong women faced adversity in their careers, but still made it all the way to the top. From Olympic Track superstars, to World Cup-winning soccer players, to groundbreaking tennis players, the women quoted below are some of my personal athletic role models.

I hope you find these quotes from women athletes as powerful and helpful as I do!

Champions keep playing until they get it right.

“Champions keep playing until they get it right.”Billie Jean King

I learned a long time ago that there is something worse than missing the goal, and that’s not pulling the trigger.

“I learned a long time ago that there is something worse than missing the goal, and that’s not pulling the trigger.” ― Mia Hamm

The only one who can tell you “you can’t win” is you and you don’t have to listen.

“The only one who can tell you “you can’t win” is you and you don’t have to listen.” ― Jessica Ennis

I believe in the impossible because no one else does.

“I believe in the impossible because no one else does.” ― Florence Griffith Joyner

This journey has always been about reaching your own other shore no matter what it is, and that dream continues.

“This journey has always been about reaching your own other shore no matter what it is, and that dream continues.” ― Diana Nyad

Rather than focusing on the obstacle in your path, focus on the bridge over the obstacle.

 “Rather than focusing on the obstacle in your path, focus on the bridge over the obstacle.” ― Mary Lou Retton

Don't try to rush progress. Remember—a step forward, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction. Keep believing.

“Don’t try to rush progress. Remember―a step forward, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction. Keep believing.” ― Kara Goucher

I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall.

“I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall.” ― Serena Williams

“If I stop to kick every barking dog I am not going to get where I’m going.” ― Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Inspirational Literary Quotes 

Many of the quotes on this list are from the biggest names in literature. From Jane Austen, to William Shakespeare, to Walt Whitman, there are famous poets, playwrights and authors featured in almost every category. 

It’s no surprise that literary quotes are so prevalent in this list. Writers have a unique insight into the world, and can certainly express themselves better than the rest of us!

The quotes below are pulled directly from some of the most famous works of literature to give you a little inspiration. You may recognize quotes from your favorite literary characters, like Glinda the Good Witch from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz or Amy March from Little Women. While these quotes are attributed to the author, they were brought to us through the lens of legendary book characters. If you’re an avid reader, these might be the most impactful quotes on the page.

You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.

You’ve Always Had The Power My Dear, Your Just Had To Learn It For Yourself. ― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.

Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.” ― Roald Dahl, Matilda

Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.

“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.” ― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”― Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables 

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” — Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho

I dream. Sometimes I think that’s the only right thing to do.

“I dream. Sometimes I think that’s the only right thing to do.” ― Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

Just because we don't understand doesn't mean that the explanation doesn't exist.

“Just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean that the explanation doesn’t exist.” — Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

Inspirational Quotes by Historical and Famous Women

These quotes are from some of the most impactful historical figures and famous women of all time. From game-changing actresses like Katherine Hepburn and Lucille Ball, to activists like Rosa Parks, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Malala Yousafzai, to moguls like Coco Chanel and Oprah Winfrey, the women quoted below know what it’s like to break barriers and accomplish more than you ever thought possible.

These quotes are from the very definition of strong women. Learn the secrets to their success and be inspired by their words!

If you obey all the rules, you miss all of the fun.

“If you obey all of the rules, you miss all of the fun.” ―  Katherine Hepburn

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain!

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain!” ― Dolly Parton

I'd rather regret the things I've done than regret the things I haven't done.

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” ― Lucille Ball.

Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.

“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” ― Coco Chanel

A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.

“A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition

”Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.” ― Marilyn Monroe

The best protection any woman can have...is courage.

“The best protection any woman can have…is courage.” ― Elizabeth Cady Stanton

We never know how high we are till we are called to rise.

“We never know how high we are till we are called to rise.” ― Emily Dickinson

My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.

“My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.” ― Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Have no fear of perfection; you'll never reach it.

“Have no fear of perfection; you’ll never reach it.” ― Marie Curie

Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning

“Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” ― Gloria Steinem

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 been opened for us.

“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 been opened for us.” ― Helen Keller

When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.

 “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” ― Malala Yousafzai

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.” ― Helen Keller

If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” ― Dolly Parton

Knowing what must be done does away with fear.

“Knowing what must be done does away with fear.” ― Rosa Parks

Passion is the log that keeps the fire of purpose blazing

“Passion is the log that keeps the fire of purpose blazing.” ― Oprah Winfrey

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ― Anne Frank

The Value of Inspirational Quotes

Inspirational quotes aren’t magic bullets. They’re not going to radically change your life overnight. But when you need a little inspiration, when you’re feeling lost or demotivated, learning from the words of others can make a world of difference.

It’s easy to feel alone when you’re struggling at work or in achieving your dream. That’s why it’s helpful to read inspirational quotes from famous figures. Although these quotes are short, you can tell by their words what these inspirational women and men have overcome. 

Words can be super powerful. Use them to inspire you, and who knows? Maybe you will be the woman sharing your secrets to success in lists like this next year.

Which quote inspires you the most?

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