101 Inspirational and Motivational Quotes for Work

motivational quotes for employees

Good motivational quotes for your employees should be inspiring and empowering…and should not sound like something you lifted from a cheesy greeting card.

Imagine:

It’s Monday morning and your team is gathering together for the beginning of the week meeting. Your team is fresh off the weekend and may not be in the most energetic of moods.

So you, as the leader of your team, need to present something during this meeting to pick them up. A good inspirational quote for work or an inspirational video is a great way to get your team out of the Sunday Funday mentality and back into a goal crushing machine.

We searched through books, movies, songs, and even TED Talks to bring you 101 amazing motivational quotes for work you’ll be proud to put in a Powerpoint, or even an intra-office meme.

Free bonus: Download this entire list as a PDF. Easily save it on your computer for quick reference or print it and share with your coworkers.

 

1. Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right. Henry Ford

henry ford motivational quote

2. Becoming is better than being. —Carol Dweck, Mindset

3. I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.Herman Melville, Moby Dick

4. The sun himself is weak when he first rises, and gathers strength and courage as the day gets on.Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop

5. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl  

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

6. Oh yes, the past can hurt. But you can either run from it, or learn from it.Rafiki, The Lion King

7. If I had nine hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first six sharpening my axe.Abraham Lincoln

8. The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. —   John Milton, Paradise Lost

9. Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.Stephen Hawking

10. Leaders can let you fail and yet not let you be a failure.Stanley McChrystal

Leaders can let you fail and yet not let you be a failure Click To Tweet

11. Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy. Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.Michael Scott, The Office

12. The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me?Ayn Rand

ayn rand motivational quote

13. Kid, there are heroes and there are legends. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die. Follow your heart, kid, and you’ll never go wrong.Babe Ruth, The Sandlot

14. Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships. —Michael Jordan

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships Click To Tweet

15. There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere.Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

16. Fight till the last gasp.William Shakespeare, Henry VI

17. Do or do not. There is no try.Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

Do or do not. There is no try Click To Tweet

18. Be men, or be more than men. Be steady to your purposes and firm as a rock. This ice is not made of such stuff as your hearts may be; it is mutable and cannot withstand you if you say that it shall not.Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

19. Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.Judy Garland

20. The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it is possible.Charles Kingsleigh, Alice in Wonderland (2010)

21. Man is only truly great when he acts from the passions; never irresistible but when he appeals to the imagination.Benjamin Disraeli, Coningsby

22. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

paulo coelho motivational quote

23. Hey there, Mr. Grumpy Gills. When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do?  Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.Dory, Finding Nemo

24. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.Marie Curie

25. Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.Salvador Dali

Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings Click To Tweet

26. If something is wrong, fix it now. But train yourself not to worry, worry fixes nothing.Ernest Hemingway

27. Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.Jim Hensen

28. Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.Robert Louis Stevenson

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant Click To Tweet

29. 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. Suess, Oh the Places You’ll Go

30. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.Neil Gaiman, The Sandman

31. For artists, scientists, inventors, schoolchildren, and the rest of us, intrinsic motivation—the drive to do something because it is interesting, challenging, and absorbing—is essential for high levels of creativity.Daniel H. Pink, Drive

dan pink motivational quote

32. In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.Thomas Jefferson

33. Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and again and bring their friend.Walt Disney

34. So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

35. Everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler.Albert Einstein

36. Innovation distinguishes from a leader and a follower.Steve Jobs

Innovation distinguishes from a leader and a follower Click To Tweet

37. The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

38. Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.George Addai

Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear Click To Tweet

39. I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

40. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

41. There is only one way to avoid criticism. Do nothing. Be nothing. Say nothing.Aristotle

There is only one way to avoid criticism. Do nothing. Be nothing. Say nothing Click To Tweet

42. It is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.Spoon Boy, The Matrix

43. Quality is job one.Henry Ford

44. Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.Joss Whedon

45. The best way out is always through.Robert Frost

The best way out is always through Click To Tweet

46. It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.Muhammad Ali

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

48. Speak softly and carry a big stick.Theodore Roosevelt

49. Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.Mark Twain

mark twain motivational quote

50. It’s life. You don’t figure it out. You just climb up on the beast and ride.Rebecca Wells, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

51. There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

52. Unless someone like you care a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.Dr. Suess, the Lorax

53. 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, Things Fall Apart

54. You will never plough a field if you only turn it over in your mind. Irish Proverb

You will never plough a field if you only turn it over in your mind Click To Tweet

55. Ignorance and fear are but matters of the mind—and the mind is adaptable.Daniel Kish

56. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.Roald Dahl

57. Someone, at some point, came up with this very bad idea that an ordinary individual couldn’t make a difference in the world. I think that’s just a horrible thing.John Skoll

58. Imitation is suicide. —Ralph Waldo Emerson

59. If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.Simon Sinek

60. Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.Harper Lee

harper lee motivational quote

61. Genius is born—not paid.Oscar Wilde

62. Very often, a change of self is needed more than a change of scene.A.C. Benson

Very often, a change of self is needed more than a change of scene Click To Tweet

63. The Answer to the Great Question… Of Life, the Universe and Everything… Is… Forty-two.Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide

64. Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.Thomas Edison

65. I’ve learned about the poetry and the wisdom and the grace that can be found in the words of people all around us when we simply take the time to listen.Dave Isay

66. It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.Joseph Campbell

joseph campbell motivational quote

67. 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

68. 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

69. Learning never exhausts the mind.Leonardo Da Vinci

70. If you’re alive, you’re a creative person.Elizabeth Gilbert

If you’re alive, you’re a creative person Click To Tweet

71. My mother said to me, “If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.” Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.Pablo Picasso

72. The power of imagination makes us infinite.John Muir

The power of imagination makes us infinite Click To Tweet

73. Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.Seneca

seneca motivational quote

74. Never ruin an apology with an excuse.Benjamin Franklin

Never ruin an apology with an excuse Click To Tweet

75. Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.Dwight D. Eisenhower

76. There are no two words in the English language more harmful than “good job.”Terence Fletcher, Whiplash

77. Don’t persuade, defend or interrupt. Be curious, be conversational, be real. And listen.Elizabeth Lesser

78. The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.Buddha

79. Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.Truman Capote

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor Click To Tweet

80. An innovator is one who does not know it cannot be done.R.A. Mashelkar

81. 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

82. As long as they are well-intentioned, mistakes are not a matter for shame, but for learning.Margaret Heffernan

83. I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.Stephen Covey

stephen covey motivational quote

84. You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.Jack London

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club Click To Tweet

85. “I’m bored” is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say “I’m bored.”Louis C.K

86. If we can challenge convention, we can solve any problem.Josh Valman

87. Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.Ralph Waldo Emerson

88. In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and – SNAP – the job’s a game!Mary Poppins

In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun Click To Tweet

89. If you hit the target every time, it’s too near or too big.Tom Hirshfield

If you hit the target every time, it’s too near or too big Click To Tweet

90. Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.Margaret Mead

91. You can’t change how people treat you or what they say about you. All you can do is change how you react to it.Mahatma Gandhi

gandhi motivational quote

92. We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.Plato

93. Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourselves.Chanakya

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourselves Click To Tweet

94. What I love most about rivers is, you can’t step in the same river twice.Pocahontas, Disney’s Pocahontas

95. Strength shows not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over.F. Scott Fitzgerald

96. It’s time to try defying gravity.Elphaba, Wicked

97. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape Click To Tweet

98. Goonies never say die!Mickey, The Goonies

99. If you light a lamp for someone else, it will also brighten your path.Buddha

If you light a lamp for someone else, it will also brighten your path Click To Tweet

100. Tough times never last, but tough people do.Dr. Robert Schuller

101. I would visualize things coming to me. It would just make me feel better. Visualization works if you work hard. That’s the thing. You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.Jim Carrey

jim carrey motivational quote

Conclusion

What’s your favorite positive quote for work to get your team inspired and motivated? Let us know in the comments below.

Free bonus: Download this entire list as a PDF. Easily save it on your computer for quick reference or print it and share with your coworkers.