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Angelou quotes inspire in life and work

MayaAngelouQUOTEInspirational quotes: We’ve heard our teachers recite them, we’ve shared them in presentations and we even read them in signature lines of emails. To be honest, I actually considered using a quote to begin this blog. Remember when we all learned in middle school English to use a famous quote or thought to begin our papers? I sure do and, admittedly, I carry that with me to this day.

But beyond these typical (and often forced) encounters, inspirational quotes have never really been my thing. I’m not the type to print out a quote and tape it to my mirror or anything. However, with the passing of Maya Angelou, I was reminded of the beautiful and motivational thoughts that she shared with us during her lifetime. A few of her famous quotes left a lasting impression on me and because of this, I felt I should share them with others. In some way, each quote is applicable to one’s personal life, but also has implications in our professional life. Here are three of my favorite quotes shared by Maya that have inspired me to be better, particularly at my job:

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude”
Don’t we all wish it could be this simple? It’s certainly one of those “easier said than done” phrases to live by. Too often we encounter projects, clients, or even coworkers who we don’t like, and I hate to say it, but the chances that you’ll continue to run into these things are pretty high. Unfortunately, because it’s your job on the line, you can’t really “change it.” So change your attitude. You’re only wasting energy by focusing on the “I hate this” and “I wish it were some other way” thoughts. Instead try finding the positives. Maybe you’re learning a lot or perhaps you’ve found that you’re really good at something. Focus on that instead. I promise you can find something to enjoy in every situation!

“Nothing will work unless you do”
This quote rings particularly loud in my ears. We Millennials are often characterized as having a sense of entitlement, carrying around the idea that we deserve better, if not the best. While I have my own opinions on the truth of that accusation, I think there’s no denying that we could all use a good reminder that to get what you want you have to work hard. I like this one because it’s easy to understand. No interpretations or clarifications necessary – just work hard!

“We encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated”
Now this one is pretty difficult (or nearly impossible if you’re anything like me) to follow. Many of us strive to be the best at what we do and leave no room for failure. Unfortunately, failure, at some point, is inevitable. I know you may think your superman or superwoman, but trust me it will happen. Whether it is a small mess-up or big mistake, chances are you’ll encounter some sort of defeat (probably more than once) in your career. What’s important to remember is that you can’t let these defeats get the best of you. Yes, it’s important to reflect upon them so that you can lessen the chances they’ll occur again, but as soon as you’ve done that – move on! Don’t hang on to any sour feelings and don’t think that you can’t get past it. Focus your energy on how you can improve the next time around and on what you learned from the experience. By doing this, you’ll only get stronger.

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