141 Inspirational and Motivational Quotes for Work

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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 weekly 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 and uplifting 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 141 amazing motivational quotes for and about work you’ll be proud to put in a Powerpoint, an intra-office meme or a foam board printing cutout of your favorite quote!

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

seneca motivational quote

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

 

102. Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

103. Why are you keeping this curiosity door locked? ― Dustin, Stranger Things

104. When they give you lined paper, write the other way. ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

When they give you lined paper, write the other way. Click To Tweet

105. How many times do I have to teach you: just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. — Shuri, Black Panther

 106. Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.— Conan O’Brien

107. To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to. — Kahlil Gibran

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108. 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, Indignation

109. 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, Siddartha

110. A man of genius makes no mistakes; his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery. — James Joyce

A man of genius makes no mistakes; his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery. Click To Tweet

111. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” ― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

112. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig. ― Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

113. 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

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. Click To Tweet

114. Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.  ― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

115. 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, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

116. Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more. — Nikola Tesla

1117. Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. — Carl Sagan

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118. A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life. — Charles Darwin

119. At the last dim horizon, we search among ghostly errors of observations for landmarks that are scarcely more substantial. The search will continue. The urge is older than history. It is not satisfied and it will not be oppressed. — Edwin Hubble

120. Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved. ― Jane Goodall

Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved. Click To Tweet

121. 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, Biochemist and Nobel Prize Winner

122. 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, cytogeneticist and Nobel Prize Winner

123. Whether a person shows themselves to be a genius in science or in writing a song, the only point is, whether the thought, the discovery or the deed, is living and can live on. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Whether a person shows themselves to be a genius in science or in writing a song, the only point is, whether the thought, the discovery or the deed, is living and can live on. Click To Tweet

124. 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
125. When you constrain freedom, freedom will take flight and land on a windowsill. ― Ai Weiwei

126. If I create from the heart, nearly everything works: if from the head, almost nothing.  —  Marc Chagall

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127. Look at life with the eyes of a child.  —  Henri Matisse

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128. 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

129. No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world. —  Robin Williams

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

Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. Click To Tweet

131. The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. — Confuciusm, Confucius: The Analect

132. Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist. — Pablo Picasso

133. Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence. — Eleanor Roosevelt, The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

133. Be so good they can’t ignore you. — Steve Martin

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134. Hire character. Train skill. — Peter Schutz

135. 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

136. I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done. —  Lucille Ball

I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done. Click To Tweet

137. We can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts. — Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

138. A little imagination combined with massive action goes a long way. – Grant Cardone

139. A company doesn’t exist to serve its own people; a company exists to serve the needs of the people who use its products or services. ― Richard Sheridan, Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love

140. Your potential, the absolute best you’re capable of—that’s the metric to measure yourself against. Your standards are. Winning is not enough. People can get lucky and win. People can be assholes and win. Anyone can win. But not everyone is the best possible version of themselves. ― Ryan Holiday, The Ego Is the Enemy

141. Failure it appears is not the regret that haunts most people; it is the choice not to risk failure at all. ― Dr. John Izzo

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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.