84 Motivational Quotes to Inspire Your Team for Greater Work

by Diana Bailey - March 25, 2019

It’s not always easy to find the get-up-and-go to get up and come into work. Periods of joy and pain can have different effects on us, based on how we process and react to them. Depending on the person, moments of success can do everything from push us forward, driving our next bout of hard work, or lull us into complacency. Conversely, our lowest moments can make us feel hopeless, or they can help us realize that the only way forward is up. What we all have in common is our ability to find inspiration from outside sources and use it as a building block for success–to be lifted up in a way that helps us to think our way onward and upward.

Below we’ve curated a superlist of our favorite motivational quotes. Some are funny, some are wise, but each can inspire you to rethink problems you might encounter and find your own path through adversity. Before we get to them, however, it’s important to consider how these are used, and why.

Privately, motivational quotes can be powerful reminders to keep up the good work, play hard, and be our best selves. If you’re using any of these as a personal mantra, there are plenty of places you can put them so you’ll be reminded of them throughout your day. Online services like Canva can help you to create artwork out of your favorite quotes. Just choose your dimensions, pick a background image and a font, and you’re ready to display your favorite bon mot. Try leaving your quotes in locations you look at frequently: written in dry-erase marker on your bathroom mirror; printed and posted in your cubicle; or as a background image on your laptop or phone.

While sneaking a peek at an inspiring quote can brighten your mood, public reaction to a display of motivational quotes might be mixed. Just as everyone can be affected differently–or not at all–by a certain piece of art, not everyone will react the same way to a quote. Words that might reverberate with one person may bore another, or even offend them. Words that sound trite to you could bring someone you know to tears. There’s no right or wrong to what affects us, as we’re all unique and connect with writing differently. As such, it’s important to remember not to force motivation on one another.

Words that galvanize you on Monday mornings could very well ring hollow to a team member. And that’s ok! What works for you might not work for somebody else. Keep this in mind if you’re considering a more organizational or systematic approach to bringing motivational quotes into the workplace, as you could be doing more harm than good. If it appears to be mandated by management, displaying quotes around the office could seem insincere.

It’s always a good idea to survey employees first to see how they’d feel about such a program. If you proceed, be sure that it’s completely collaborative. The best way to get things started is to just leave a few dry-erase markers out and let people know it’s fine to write on the wall. Most importantly, all team members should have an equal opportunity to share. If that means that the wise old sayings scrawled on the breakroom window were sometimes first uttered by Kermit the Frog, so be it. Somewhere, someone’s happier to have read them.

10 Quotes to help you overcome your fears

overcoming fear

  1. “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” —George Addair
  2. “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” —Henry Ford
  3. “Staying positive does not mean that things will turn out okay. Rather it is knowing that you will be okay no matter how things turn out.” —Garth Ennis
  4. “Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.” —Neil Gaiman
  5. “If something is wrong, fix it now. But train yourself not to worry, worry fixes nothing.” —Ernest Hemingway
  6. “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” —Lucille Ball
  7. “Do or do not. There is no try.” —Yoda
  8. “I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.” —Hermann Hesse
  9. “There is only one way to avoid criticism. Do nothing. Be nothing. Say nothing.” —Aristotle
  10. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did.” —Mark Twain

10 Quotes on leadership

motivation in leadership

  1. “The best leaders are those most interested in surrounding themselves with assistants and associates smarter than they are. They are frank in admitting this and are willing to pay for such talents.” —Antos Parrish
  2. “If you can tune into your purpose and really align with it, setting goals so that your vision is an expression of that purpose, then life flows much more easily.” ―Jack Canfield
  3. “Leaders can let you fail and yet not let you be a failure.” —Stanley McChrystal
  4. “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” —Michael Jordan
  5. “Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
  6. “Innovation distinguishes from a leader and a follower.” —Steve Jobs
  7. “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and again and bring their friend.” —Walt Disney
  8. “Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” —Dwight D. Eisenhower
  9. “Hire character. Train skill.” —Peter Schutz
  10. “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” —Theodore Roosevelt

24 Quotes for tough times and failure

fail forward to success

  1. “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” —C.S. Lewis
  2. “The best way out is always through.” —Robert Frost
  3. “It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get up.” —Vince Lombardi
  4. “If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you will see obstacles.” —Wayne Dyer
  5. “Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.” ―Jim Rohn
  6. “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” —Dale Carnegie
  7. “I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.” —Florence Nightingale
  8. “Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during the hard times when the ‘hero’ within us is revealed.” —Bob Riley
  9. “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” ―Margaret Atwood
  10. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” —Helen Keller
  11. “We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” —Marie Curie
  12. “If you hit the target every time, it’s too near or too big.” —Tom Hirshfield
  13. “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” —Stephen Covey
  14. “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” —Truman Capote
  15. “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” —Joseph Campbell
  16. “A proud heart can survive general failure because such a failure does not prick its pride. It is more difficult and more bitter when a man fails alone.” —Chinua Achebe
  17. “Be undeniable.” —Ralphie May
  18. “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” —George Eliot
  19. “Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.” ―George R.R. Martin
  20. “You be greater than your feelings. I don’t demand this of you—life does. Otherwise, you’ll be washed away by feelings. You’ll be washed out to sea and never seen again.” —Phillip Roth
  21. “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Charles R. Swindoll
  22. “If you light a lamp for someone else, it will also brighten your path.” —Buddha
  23. “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.” ― Anne Lamott
  24. “Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more.” —Nikola Tesla

10 Quotes for innovation

motivation for innovation

  1. “Imitation is suicide.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
  2. “Man is only truly great when he acts from the passions; never irresistible but when he appeals to the imagination.” —Benjamin Disraeli
  3. “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” —Stephen Hawking
  4. “We can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts.” —Madeleine L’Engle
  5. “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” —Jack London
  6. “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” —Carl Sagan
  7. “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” —Mark Twain
  8. “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” —Roald Dahl
  9. “How many times do I have to teach you: just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.” —Shuri, Black Panther
  10. “If I create from the heart, nearly everything works: if from the head, almost nothing.” — Marc Chagall

17 Quotes to inspire hard work

motivation for hard work

  1. “If I had nine hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first six sharpening my axe.” —Abraham Lincoln
  2. “Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.” —Zig Ziglar
  3. “It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs.” —Jillian Michaels
  4. “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” —Salvador Dali
  5. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” —Thomas Edison
  6. “Don’t be afraid of hard work. Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Don’t let others discourage you or tell you that you can’t do it. In my day I was told women didn’t go into chemistry. I saw no reason why we couldn’t.” —Gertrude B. Elion
  7. “If you know you are on the right track, if you have this inner knowledge, then nobody can turn you off… no matter what they say.” —Barbara McClintock
  8. “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” —Thomas Jefferson
  9. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” —Maya Angelou
  10. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” —Dr. Seuss
  11. “You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” —Charles Buxton
  12. “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” —Muhammad Ali
  13. “It’s easy to solve a problem that everyone sees, but it’s hard to solve a problem that almost no one sees.” —Tony Fadell
  14. “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.” —Henry David Thoreau
  15. “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” ―Mark Twain
  16. “Visualization works if you work hard. That’s the thing. You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.” —Jim Carrey
  17. “Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.” —Conan O’Brien

10 Quotes on doing good

Motivation to do good

  1. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” —Anne Frank
  2. “When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” —Paulo Coelho
  3. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
  4. “Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.” ―Jane Goodall
  5. “For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.” ―Neil deGrasse Tyson
  6. “There is no greater disability in society than the inability to see a person as more.” —Robert M. Hensel
  7. “Unless someone like you care a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” —Dr. Seuss
  8. “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the Earth.” ―William Faulkner
  9. “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” —Robin Williams
  10. “Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path then by all means you should follow that.” —Ellen Degeneres

3 Quotes that make us happy

quote happiness

  1. “The people that you work with are, when you get down to it, your very best friends.” —Michael Scott
  2. “Fulfillment isn’t found over the rainbow—it’s found in the here and now. Today I define success by the fluidity with which I transcend emotional landmines and choose joy and gratitude instead.” — RuPaul
  3. “The Answer to the Great Question… Of Life, the Universe and Everything… Is… Forty-two.” —Douglas Adams

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