38 inspirational quotes to support every stage of your career

By Robert Half 18th January 2019

All it takes is the right word at the right time, and your career motivation is restored. Whether you’re just starting out on your career path, looking to change your role or are already in a career you love, these 38 quotes will motivate you to keep reaching for your goals.

Motivational quotes

Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me. — Carol Burnett, actress, comedian, singer and writer

It always seems impossible until it’s done. — Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid revolutionary and former President of South Africa

Don’t wait for the right opportunity. Create it. — George Bernard Shaw, playwright and critic

Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. — Napoleon Hill, self-help author and founder of the Science of Success

Hard work without talent is a shame, but talent without hard work is a tragedy. ― Robert Half

‘Starting a new career’ quotes

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. — Suzy Kassem, writer, poet, philosopher, and artist

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. — Henry David Thoreau, essayist, poet and philosopher

Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. — Earl Nightingale, author and radio personality 

If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place. — Nora Roberts, author

You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. — Martin Luther King Jr., Baptist minister and social activist

People respond well to those that are sure of what they want. — Anna Wintour, journalist and editor-in-chief at Condé Nast

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. — Dale Carnegie, inspirational writer and lecturer

Quotes for career development

Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it. — Greg Anderson, author and philanthropist

My goal is not to be better than anyone else, but to be better than I used to be. — Wayne W. Dyer, author and motivational speaker

Never give up on what you really want to do. The personal with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts. — Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist

The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you. — B. B. King, blues musician, producer and songwriter

I choose to make the rest of my life the best of my life. — Louise Hay, motivational author 

Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less-than-perfect conditions. So what? Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident, and more and more successful. — Mark Victor Hansen, motivational speaker and co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul book series

Job vs. career quotes

Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. — Confucius, teacher, philosopher and political theorist

The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. — Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc. and pioneer of the microcomputer revolution

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. — Maya Angelou, poet, actress and memoirist

Chase your passion, not your pension. — Denis Waitley, motivational speaker, writer and author of best-selling audio series The Psychology of Winning

Quotes to inspire career confidence

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. — Helen Keller, author and political activist

Whether you come from a council estate or a country estate, your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude. — Michelle Obama, former first lady of the United States

Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong. — Peter T. McIntyre, painter and author

One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation. — Arthur Ashe, Grand Slam tennis champion

Quotes for career change

Sometime the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step in your life. — Naeem Callaway, founder and CEO of Get Out the Box, an education charity for at-risk youths 

A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided. — Tony Robbins, author, entrepreneur, philanthropist and life coach

When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower. — Alexander Den Heijer, inspirational speaker, trainer and consultant

It is confidence in our bodies, minds and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures, new directions to grow in, and new lessons to learn — which is what life is all about. — Oprah Winfrey, media mogul and television personality

‘Love my career’ quotes

Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work. — Aristotle, philosopher and scientist

Aim high in your career but stay humble in your heart. — Korean proverb

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. — Pablo Picasso, sculptor, etcher, lithographer, ceramist and painter at the School of Paris

The law of work seems unfair, but nothing can change it; the more enjoyment you get out of your work, the more money you will make. — Mark Twain, author, humourist, publisher and lecturer

Words of wisdom

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. — Oprah Winfrey

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. — Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister

The real test is not whether you avoid failure, because you won't. It's whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere. — Barack Obama, former President of the United States

Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. — Harriet Beecher Stow, writer and abolitionist 

For more career inspiration or to get advice on developing, changing or starting your career, get in touch with your local Robert Half team today.

More From the Blog...