I love a good quote. When I need to get grounded quickly or want to shake up business as usual, a thoughtful quotation can be the perfect dram.

Here are 50 of my favorite quotations, organized by theme: Purpose, Action, Courage, Creativity, and Leadership. Find a favorite for today, and Pin this post so you can come back when you need something different.

50 Motivating Quotes For Your Career

Purpose Career Quotes

“Passion without purpose is like a shot without a target.” — Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha

“Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”  ― Jane Goodall

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” ― Dalai Lama

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” ― Dolly Parton

“Work without love is slavery.”  ― Mother Teresa

“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“We make our purpose.” ― Carl Sagan

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” – William James

Action Career Quotes

“The good idea fairy doesn’t pay jack.” —Kelly Diehls

“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” ― C.G. Jung

“We are not put into the world to sit still and know. We are put in it to act.” — Woodrow Wilson

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” ― Thomas Jefferson

“Never confuse movement with action.” ― Ernest Hemingway

“Some men have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can.” ― Martha Graham

“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” — Henry Ford

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” — J. K. Rowling

“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.” — Alan Cohen

“The future depends on what you do today.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Courage Career Quotes

“To look at something as though we had never seen it before requires great courage.” — Henri Matisse

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” — William G.T.

“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.” — Erma Bombeck

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” — Joseph Chilton Pearce

“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” — Nancy D. Solomon

“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” — Brené Brown

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” — Rumi

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” — ee cummings

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” — Coco Chanel

Creativity Career Quotes

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” — Albert Einstein

“If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.” —John Cleese

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” — Joseph Chilton Pearce

“Another word for creativity is courage.” ― Henri Matisse

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” — Ira Glass

“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.” — Albert Einstein

“Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.” — Elizabeth Gilbert

“Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.” — Beatrix Potter

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” — Thomas Mann

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” — Brené Brown

Leadership Career Quotes

“If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.” ― Joseph Campbell

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” — Jonathan Swift

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” — Rosalynn Carter

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” — Steve Jobs

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” — Bill Gates

“And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.” — Libba Bray

“Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” — Harper Lee

“Be yourself- not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.” — Henry David Thoreau

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Laura Simms is an expert in meaningful work who challenges conventional wisdom by asking people to ditch their passions and start with purpose.

If you have too many passions, zero passions, or can't seem to combine your passions, try her purpose-first approach to find a career you love.  


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