10 Inspirational Quotes for the New Year

Twelve years ago my then-fiancé (now husband) was transferred to South Carolina.

This of course meant I was being transferred too.

It was a tough move away from family, friends, and a job I loved, but the impact was softened a bit by a gift from my boss (and future coauthor) Skip Lineberg.

On my last day at work, after the obligatory cake and “best wishes” card from the team, he gave me something I still cherish all these years later. It wasn’t fancy – in fact, it was just a simple Word document.

A compilation of his favorite quotes.

As I poured through more than 15 pages of wisdom nuggets from great leaders past and present, I decided this was a tradition that needed to be carried forward.

Cut to last month where I made good on that promise by starting a list of quotes I plan to give to my boys when they graduate from high school. (Shhh…don’t tell.) Of course, seeing as how they’re only 8 and 6, I thought I’d share a few with those who could appreciate them more at the moment.

I hope they serve you as much as they’ve served me.


“If we were as industrious to be good as to make ourselves great, we should become really great by being good.” – Ben Franklin

I will always remember this quote as the one that “broke through” and finally allowed me to see the full benefit of principle-centered living. This insight is everything to true wisdom.

“You can’t change the past. You can only change the present which programs the future. That’s where your power is.” – Tara Brach

People often ask me what “mindfulness” is and how it can help them at work and in life. Mindfulness – for anyone new to this blog – is the act of paying complete attention in the present moment and, frankly, I can’t articulate the benefit any better than this.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

So much of how we behave when things go “wrong” is automatic and reactive. I love this quote because it’s a simple reminder that times of trial are not only inevitable, they’re opportunities.

“Peace. It doesn’t mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be amid those things and still be calm in your heart.” – Anonymous

This is the quote I use to center myself when life becomes stressful or hectic. It’s a great perspective-shifter for those moments where everything seems to be falling apart.

“Cool is the emotional straightjacket. It makes us less available for connection which makes us less equipped for leadership roles.” – Brene Brown

When I heard Brene say this at Omega it was like everything in the room just screeched to a halt. For me this is THE quote that summarizes a much-needed leadership shift from “corner office command” to co-innovating from the front line.

“You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you can’t have both.” – Brene Brown

Yes, more Brene but both of these quotes were so good it was like trying to choose a favorite child. What I love about this one is that it speaks to the fact that acknowledging your fear allows you to move past it. (Bonus quote for the spiritual sect: In those times where you need to be brave beyond all reason, it may help to remember that “Fear is a sign you’re trusting your own strength.” That little gem from A Course in Miracles has been a lifeline for me and millions of others.)

“Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway.” – Mother Teresa

When you put yourself out there, believe me, you’re bound to fail publicly sometimes. Even so, it’s still better than living on the sidelines wondering “what if.”

“The world’s problems can only be solved by people who surmount their own.” – Anonymous

This quote underscores why we only trust leaders who can walk their talk. It’s also a powerful call to see beyond our lives to the greater issues of our time.

“The key is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey

Aside from handwritten letters, I believe one of the great losses of our digital age has been the slow demise of the Franklin Covey calendar. Anyone remember those plastic inserts reminding us to schedule our time around “What Matters Most”? We need more of those gentle nudges today.

Sow a thought, and you reap an act.
Sow an act, and you reap a habit.
Sow a habit, and you reap a character.
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.

– George Dana Boardman

I mean, enough said right?

Happy New Year everyone. Xo

P.S. Thanks to all who have registered to join me next month for the Ready To Lead Mindful Wisdom @ Work course. It’s such a privilege to bear witness to the transformations made when we take this wisdom and actually apply it to our lives. And since learning is always more fun with a buddy, I’m hosting a “2-for-1” special until tomorrow (1/4) at noon EST. Just sign-up using the special code “mindful” and you can add a friend for free. More info here.

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