Inspirational quotes can be more than slogans on a Hallmark card. For high performers, they can be spiritual mantras, rallying cries, or guiding beacons. Leading entrepreneurs and advisors from The Oracles share the time-tested truisms that changed their lives.
1. “Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
This quote speaks to the one trait all successful entrepreneurs share: the ability to pivot when things go wrong. High achievers don’t break their stride, even when failure is staring them right in the face; instead, they realize their setback only brings them one step closer to accomplishing their ultimate goal. All my best successes have come on the back of my greatest failures. —Dean Graziosi, multiple NYT-bestselling author, 16 years daily on TV, and one of the most watched real estate and success trainers of our generation; follow Dean on Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram
2. “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
When I read this Nelson Mandela quote many years ago, I’d spent too much energy resenting someone who’d rewarded my many years of generosity with betrayal. It was constantly on my mind, and I had a hard time getting over it. Then, I figured if Mandela could spend 27 years in prison and not hate his enemies, I could do the same. —Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group, podcast host of Business Unusual, and Sharkon “Shark Tank”
3. “Success is failure turned inside out.”
I keep this anonymous quote framed on the wall in my office. It’s a daily reminder to embrace failure instead of fearing it. Success is the inverse of failure, not the lack of it. You succeed when you take on an obstacle, and you flip it. First, you have to embrace the obstacle, though.
Sadly, most people are plain afraid to fail, so they never leave their comfort zones or attempt something challenging. Other people get so stuck in their past mistakes that they can’t learn from them.
Failure is a tremendous teacher. It encourages better thinking and forces you to look back and ask, “What went wrong?” It also shapes you as a person; it makes you resilient. It educates you in ways success simply can't.—Dottie Herman, CEO of Douglas Elliman, a real estate brokerage empire with more than $27 billion in annual sales
4. “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
We’re living in a perpetual state of information overload. Be it the 14,000-plus advertising messages blitzed at us every day or the incessant dings of email and social media, our attention is in constant demand.
While simple, this Mark Twain quote reminds me to cut through the noise and do whatever it takes to begin the process of realizing my greatest goals. This could be as basic as whiteboarding an idea or running a sample Facebook ad to test a sales hypothesis.
There’s immense power in just getting started. I often counsel my team and the CEOs that I mentor with this phrase: “Action drives momentum, momentum drives results.” So, the next time you feel stuck, push yourself to take the first step. The magic of momentum will work for you! —Sharran Srivatsaa, angel investor and CEO of Kingston Lane, a push-button technology execution platform for real estate; grew Teles Properties 10X to $3.6 billion in five years; follow Sharran on Instagram
5. “You don’t know what you don’t know.”
This phrase seems overly simplistic, but when applied to business, it helps you to take greater risks and avoid false assumptions.
With marketing, there will always be new software, platforms, and trends that my team and I are not familiar with. We make it a priority to continually educate ourselves. For example, millennials currently make up 70 percent of all Snapchat users, so I forced myself to learn more about the platform to understand its marketing potential for our clients.
If you’ve settled into a comfort zone of knowledge, it’s time to broaden your horizons. When you accept the fact that “you don’t know what you don’t know,” you can attain the valuable information you didn’t even know you were missing.— Jason Hall, founder and CEO of FiveChannels; generated $17m+ in sales revenue for his clients in 2017
6. “You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.”
This Jim Rohn quote has been game-changing for me. I was fortunate enough to hear Rohn speak for the first time at a live event in Atlanta during my early twenties. I was a young, budding real estate professional who wanted to strike it rich but didn’t quite know how.
This quote continues to be a reminder that success is always a reflection of the value you provide. Ultimately, you don’t get paid for the hour or the job or the project or the deal. You get paid for the value you bring. If you want to earn more money or you want your company to make more money —
heck, if you want almost anything — all you have to do is provide enough value to get it! — Shaun Rawls, author, lifelong entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Rawls Consulting
7. “Relationships are leverage. If you give value to someone else first, you have leverage.”
This Gary Vaynerchuk quote has inspired me to lead our companies to the next level by leveraging relationships.
When you’re the one to give first in a relationship, you quickly build rapport. One way to do this is to offer a sweetheart deal to an important prospect or strategic partner. Another is to connect people in your industry when there’s a mutually beneficial match. Your network will quickly take notice of your actions, and word will spread to their networks, possibly leading to endless opportunities.
The key to this strategy lies in not expecting anything in return for the value you provide. I’ve done many more favors than I’ve received, but the favors that circle back end up being worth exponentially more than I ever imagined. — Richard Blankenship, co-founder of ESP Gaming and Senior Vice President of Poker Central’s Business Development
8. “Burn the ships.”
This saying dates back to 1519, when the Spanish conquistador, Hernán Cortés,arrived in Mexico. He brought with him 500 soldiers and upon arrival, made history by destroying his ships. This sent a clear message to his men: There was no turning back. Two years later, he succeeded in his conquest of the Aztec empire. The idea behind “burn the ships” is the same as "succeed or die." Your outcome is always based on your level of commitment to achieve great things.
This doesn’t mean you can’t ever change course or decide that a current pursuit isn’t working. However, by leaving the ships in the harbor, your people will see that you’re not fully committed to the transition. If you’re not fully committed, why should they be? By removing any available path back to the previous way, your team will become as fully invested as you.
Look inside yourself and see where you’re struggling to commit. Is it because the ships are still in the harbor? Burn ’em. Force commitment. Watch what happens. — Gail Corder Fischer, Executive Vice Chairman of Fischer & Company, a leading global corporate real estate firm that provides consulting, brokerage, and technology solutions
9.“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
This quote has been tremendously impactful for my clients and me. I meet most of my clients when they are going through the worst time of their lives. They’re either in jail or recently bailed out and facing criminal charges. As a criminal defense attorney, it’s my job not only to fight the charges but also to walk with them through hell.
What I’ve come to know is that life is a full-contact, beautiful, and brutal sport where nobody gets out alive. At the beginning of a crisis, it inevitably feels like there’s no way out. But if you can summon the energy to put one foot in front of the other and keep going, eventually, you will find a solution. —Nafisé Nina Hodjat, founder and managing attorney of The SLS Firm
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This article originally published on BusinessInsider.com.