Perhaps you’re feeling ready to take the next step in your career, a relationship, or a new hobby… but how, exactly?

Thankfully, many inspiring women have shared their advice on growing through struggle, learning how to love yourself, and understanding how to do good work (and work well with others), and we’ve gained so much from their wisdom as we continue on our own paths of growth. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite quotes from those who have gone through the hard stuff and shared what they’ve learned.

Read on for some different ways to answer this question from the women we admire most.

Love Yourself

How you love yourself is

how you teach others

to love you. 

-Rupi Kaur, Indian-born Canadian poet, illustrator, author and visual artist

We hear it all the time: it’s important to love ourselves. But what does it really mean? By allowing your experience of life to be as it is, and accepting yourself as is, you can manifest trust and peace in your own being.  

Wisdom doesn’t always come with age. Up-and-coming poet Rupi Kaur reminds us to be careful of how we allow others to treat us. Learning to listen to and trust your very being, and accepting yourself as is, is a critical element of self-growth. How often do you second-guess your impact and contributions to this world? Stop discrediting what you’ve brought to the table. You don’t have to be perfect – you can just be you.

Do the Work

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” -Georgia O’Keeffe, American artist, painter and “Mother of American modernism”

Some of our biggest growth and personal transformation happens when we’re busy doing the (often difficult) work. Struggling through the slog of a job you don’t love, enduring difficult circumstances or simply living through the grind of young adulthood and finances can often be enough to make you second-guess why you’ve even bothered. Find your focus and let all of your efforts lay the important groundwork for future you. 

There is often a logical excuse behind every task, chore or hard thing you keep bumping to the bottom of your to-do list. Often, doing the hard thing feels almost impossible. The reality is that you will never move forward into the person you’re destined to become without taking action. The conditions will always feel difficult – it’s up to you to gather your personal strength and do the thing that needs to be done. 

You advancing to the next level wasn’t luck or good timing. It wasn’t because someone else gave you an opportunity from the kindness of their heart. The reward was all because of you! Behind every success is the person who put in the time, effort, self-reflection, and hard work. Learn to accept this accomplishment with grace, and look fear in the face and say – not today. Don’t let imposter syndrome hold you back from being the woman you’re meant to be. 

Care for Others

“Empathy is simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of you’re not alone.” – Brene Brown, professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host.

You can’t get through life, or get ahead, without building relationships with others. From friends and coworkers, to managers and partners, learning to coexist alongside different personalities is as critical a part of shaping your future as anything else. Learning to care for others builds not only compassion and empathy for your community, but teaches you how to listen, develop a strong moral compass and keep a cool head to make important judgments around sensitive issues that (will) come up. Let others teach you about yourself. 

It’s our responsibility to stand up for ourselves and take care of our needs, wants and desires. It is also our responsibility to support others when they need a lending hand. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Do not sacrifice yourself on behalf of others, but invite them into the fold and community you have built.  

Look Forward

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” -Anais Nin, French-Cuban diarist, essayist, novelist and writer of short stories and erotica

How do you look forward? When you reflect on your future, are you riddled with anxiety, or excited by your boundless opportunities? Reflect on where you feel positive energy, and lean all the way in. This is where you are growing, and you can trust you’re leading the way toward your own transformation. You’re walking down the path you’ve paved for yourself. 

Do you spend hours each day working, planning, brainstorming and evaluating, but find little has actually been done? Your business is not progress. Your motion is not action. Look ahead, and have the courage to take the steps and have the conversations that matter. See how many opportunities come your way when you go all in.

“Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.” — Janis Joplin, American musician and singer-songwriter 

You can do it. You always could. Reading this article simply reminded you of it. Dig deep, make a few power moves and keep on growing into the woman you’re meant to be. 

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