21 Celebrities Give Their Motivational Quotes for Work Success

Have you ever used motivational quotes for work to help you achieve a goal or task? Do you remember which one worked best?

Thomas Edison said that success or genius is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration. Does this ring true for you?

In contrast, the Pareto Principle states that for many events about 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Is it possible to work smarter rather than harder so that 20% of the work you do will consistently bring us 80% results?

The path to success is riddled with memories of failure before figuring out how to overcome obstacles.

Many entrepreneurs struggle to achieve their goals every single day, week, month, quarter and year.

The truth is that if it was possible to remove all the setbacks, failures, obstacles, mental and emotional struggles from your life what is left may surprise you.

Instead of the process lasting 3, 5 or 10 years it may only take 6-12 months however the personal growth and maturity would be lacking.

In this post, you will learn why motivational quotes are important for work. Also, you will experience 21 motivational quotes for work from celebrities.

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Why Motivational Quotes?

For the first time in life, I want to take a step back to get a better understanding as to why motivational quotes work so well.

I never considered it an oddity because it just seems to be something that has been in existence for a long time.

In an article on Fast Company by Gwen Moran, she with Psychologist and motivation expert Jonathan Fader revealed that not everyone is inspired by motivational quotes.

This came as a big surprise to me as I always assumed that people are inspired by quotes across the board.

Jonathan goes on to give a reason why quotes are so powerful to those that find them meaningful.

The coaching factor which applies to someone who has a mentor or a coach using a motivational quote to get them to perform.

Ward Farnsworth, dean of the University of Texas School of Law, talks about the power of language.

He believes that people have an appetite for language that is expressed in a good way. Especially when the wording is written in a memorable way.

Scott Sobel, the founder of Media & Communication Strategies Inc., talks about the Primal Aspect.

Words from leaders hold more dignity because as humans we believe that these leaders are accomplished so we should listen to them.

Motivation Quotes Boosts Performance

Do you think that motivational quotes have a direct impact on your performance? Let’s take a look at what we can learn from research.

Professor of Sport Psychology at Sheffield Hallam University, Ian Maynard says that top tennis players apply this strategy (reading motivational quotes) to regain focus.

He goes on to say that most athletes worry about winning or losing, however, the one thing that they can control is their performance.

Vin Chaitanya Ganta in Motivation in the Workplace to Improve Employee Performance says that “Employee motivation has always been a central problem for leaders and managers.”

“Unmotivated employees are likely to spend little or no effort in their jobs, avoid the workplace as much as possible, exit the organisation if given the opportunity and produce low quality.”

In his book, Drive, Daniel Pink talks about motivation 3.0 which involves the use of intrinsic motivation to get employees to achieve goals.

One of the key sources of intrinsic motivation is the personal pursuit of knowledge. Motivational quotes are like tiny nuggets of knowledge that causes a thirst for excellence.

Let’s spend some time looking at these tiny nuggets of knowledge that will help as a source of intrinsic motivation.

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1. No Secrets to Success

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” Colin Powell

Colin Powell is a man that is speaking from experience and you can see this based on the roles where he served in politics and the army.

He is an American politician and is the retired four-star general of the US Army. He is also the author of 7 books including ‘It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership.’

His most famous role was serving as the 65th Secretary State General under US President George W. Bush from 2001 – 2005.

2. Success Isn’t Always About Greatness

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” Dwayne Johnson

Also known as ‘The Rock’, Dwayne is an actor, producer and former wrestler. He was wrestling professionally for 8 years before becoming an actor.

If you look at his early career, he was involved in college football but he only got as far as being signed with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.

When he did not get very far with football he decided to get into wrestling where he signed his first contract in 1996.

3. There is No Substitute for Hard Work

“There is no substitute for hard work. Never give up, Never Stop Believing, Never Stop Fighting.” Hope Hicks

A Public Relations Consultant, Hope served as the White House Communications Director from August 2018 to March 2018.

She was also the White House Director of Strategic Communications from January to September of 2017.

Prior to this Hope was a model for various publications and magazines. At one point she posed for a Ralph Lauren campaign with her older sister Mary Grace.

4. Through Hard Work and Perseverance

“Through hard work, perseverance and a faith in God, you can live your dreams.” Ben Carson

Looking back at the story of this Neurosurgeon, Ben Carson, it is amazing to follow his story through the years and admire his heart.

He serves as the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development since 2017. Before this, he was the Director of Paediatric Neurosurgery at the John Hopkins Hospital from 1984 to 2013.

In 2008, he received the highest civilian award in the US called the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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5. A Lot of Hard Work

“A lot of hard work is hidden behind nice things.” Ralph Lauren

Where do I start? He is a fashion designer, philanthropist and business executive. Ralph Lauren stepped down from his role as CEO in 2015.

He remains as the Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of the Ralph Lauren Corporation.

I had the opportunity to purchase clothing from his collection in 2001 and 2002. They are still good and wash quite well considering their age.

6. Three Great Essentials

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are; hard work, stick-to-itiveness and common sense.” Thomas A. Edison

One of America’s greatest inventors and businessmen, his inventions included devices in fields such as electric power generation, mass communication, sound recording and motion pictures.

The one invention that continues to have a real practical impact on the world is the electric light bulb.

He also established the first industrial research laboratory. He held 1,093 US patents in his name.

7. I’ve Had to Learn to Fight

“I’ve had to learn to fight all my life – got to learn to keep smiling. If you smile things work out.” Serena Williams

As a child growing up I never had a keen interest in tennis except for the few occasions when McEnroe broke his tennis racket out of rage.

That is until the Williams sisters entered as professional tennis players. Serena is a professional tennis player and was formerly the world’s number 1.

She was ranked world number 1 tennis player from 2002 until 2017. So far she has won over US$90 million in prize money for all of her professional career.

8. Your Most Important Work

“Your most important work is always ahead of you, never behind you.” Stephen Covey

Known for his most popular book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ Stephen was an educator, author, businessman and keynote speaker.

Times magazine has named him as one of the 25 most influential people. He was a professor at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University.

Although he was interested in sports at a young age an accident made him change his focus to academics.

He has an MBA from Harvard Business School at Harvard University and he was awarded 10 honorary doctorates.

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9. Nobody Ever Drowned

“Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat.” Ann Landers

Her real name was Esther Pauline ‘Eppie’ Lederer and she was an advice columnist and eventually became a media celebrity.

She had a column called ‘Ask Ann Landers’ that started in 1955 and ran for 47 years. The total readership of the column was 90 million people.

One of the things she did was raise the profile of medical charities. This led President Carter in 1977 to appoint her as an advisor to the Cancer Board for 6 years.

10. You Don’t Have to Be Somebody

“You don’t have to be somebody different to be important. You’re important in your own right.” Michelle Obama

Being married to the 44th President of the United States of America could be one of the toughest jobs on the planet.

However, Michelle Obama took her responsibility in stride. As a lawyer, writer and university administrator she had her fingers in many pies.

She campaigned for poverty awareness, nutrition, physical activity and healthy eating in schools while being the First Lady between 2009 and 2017.

11. We May Encounter Many Defeats

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” Maya Angelou

As a civil rights activist, poet, singer and memoirist Maya had what can only be described as a very full and rewarding life.

She wrote a series of 7 autobiographies. Her first one is called, ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’. It covers the period of her life during childhood and up to the age of 17.

Maya had the privilege of working with Martin Lurther King Jr and Malcolm X. She recited her poem, ‘On the Pulse of the Morning’, at the first inauguration of President Bill Clinton.

12. It is the Ultimate Luxury

“It is the ultimate luxury to combine passion and contribution. It’s also a very clear path to happiness.” Sheryl Sandberg

As a technology executive, author and billionaire Sheryl could have every reason not to be interested in the welfare of others.

However, in 2012 she was named on Times 100 annual list as one of the most influential people in the world.

Being the COO of Facebook can mean a lot of pressure for one person especially following the antitrust issues with Cambridge Analytica.

Sheryl founded the non-profit organisation called ‘Lean In’ that offers women ongoing inspiration and support to help them achieve their goals.

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13. Set Realistic Goals

“Set realistic goals, keep re-evaluating and be consistent.” Venus Williams

As a professional tennis player, Venus was ranked number 1 three times by the Women’s Tennis Association.

She won 14 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles with her sister Serena Williams and reached 16 Grand Slam finals.

Her total prize money from all her winnings has reached over $US41 million and she has won 4 Olympic Gold Medals in tennis.

14. What You Get by Achieving Your Goals

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Zig Ziglar

Author, salesman and motivational speaker, Hilary Hinton ‘Zig’ Ziglar was the 10th of twelve children.

He had every excuse on the planet to settle for less since his father died while he was still young and his younger sister died only two days after his father.

However, refusing to let circumstances decide his fate he became one of the key speakers for the National Association of Sales Education.

He was also a major sales trainer for Mary Kay Cosmetics and he was the author of 30 books. His first book, ‘See You At The Top’ got rejected 39 times before it was published in 1975.

15. Your Goals Are the Road Maps

“Your goals are the road maps that guide you and show you what is possible for your life.” Les Brown

Motivational speaker, author, radio DJ and former television host are the key titles associated with Leslie Calvin ‘Les’ Brown.

He was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives from 1977 to 1983 after leaving his job as a DJ at the radio station.

His struggles while young included being declared educable mentally retarded while still in grade school but he was determined to achieve his goals.

16. I Don’t Stop When I’m Tired

“I don’t stop when I’m tired, I stop when I’m done.” Marilyn Monroe

She was an actress, model and singer. At birth, her name was Norma Jeane Mortenson but her early life before the age of 16 was spent in several foster homes.

To escape being placed in an orphanage she married her 21-year-old neighbour’s son, Jim when she was just 16.

In 1945, she signed her first contract with the Blue Book Model Agency. Although she was born a brunette Marilyn straightened her hair and dyed it blonde to make herself more employable.

Her first few months were dedicated to acting, singing and dancing classes. All this eventually paid off with the box office hit, ‘The Seven Year Itch’.

A top-billed actress for only 10 years, Marilyn’s films were able to gross $US200 million in her short film career.

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17. The Greatest Discovery of All Time

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” Oprah Winfrey

As a philanthropist, actress, talk show host, media executive and television producer Oprah was not always this successful.

She was born into poverty, molested during childhood and became pregnant at the tender age of 14.

Oprah landed a job while still in high school and became co-anchor of the local evening news by the age 19.

Best known for the Oprah Winfrey Show, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama in 2013.

She has received honorary doctorate degrees from Harvard and Duke. She has also been labelled as the first black multi-billionaire.

18. No One Has a Right

“No one has the right to consume happiness without producing it.” Helen Keller

Helen was a lecturer, author, political activist and the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

She campaigned for women’s suffrage, socialism, labour rights, antimilitarism and travelled to 25 different countries giving motivational speeches about the conditions of deaf people.

The illness that left her both deaf and blind occurred when she was only 19 months old. She has 12 published books and had speech therapy to help the public understand her voice better.

19. Everyone Has Inside of Him

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!” Anne Frank

The first time I encountered Anne Frank’s writings was while reading the book, ‘The Traveler’s Gift’ by Andy Andrews.

I got goosebumps and could not believe how one so young can have such profound knowledge. Anne was born in Germany from a Dutch-Jewish background.

Her name at birth was Annelies Marie Frank and she was a diarist. If you never encountered her before she is one of the most discussed victims of the Holocaust.

She because famous after her death when her writings were published in the book, ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’. There were two versions of her diary.

The book documents her life while in hiding in Amsterdam from the German army between 1942 to 1944 because she lost her German citizenship in 1941.

20. There Are Basically Two Types of People

“There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.” Mark Twain

Personally, I find his quotes are some of the most hilarious of all time. You can feel the wit and charisma in almost everything he wrote.

His name at birth was Samuel Langhorne Clemens but he is better known by his pen name Mark Twain.

Samuel was a writer, publisher, entrepreneur, lecturer, humorist and called the father of American literature.

Two of his famous books are, ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ and ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’.

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21. A Person Who Never

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein

A German-born theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein developed the theory of relativity and is best known for his mass-energy equivalence formula, E=mc2

He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 for the law of the photoelectric effect as it relates to the quantum theory.

During his career, he published over 300 scientific papers and received several other awards for his work including the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Science.


As a way to summarise all that we have learned from these 21 celebrities here is a list so that you can view it at a glance.

  1. No secrets to success
  2. Success is not always about greatness
  3. There is no substitute for hard work
  4. Through hard work and perseverance, you can live your dreams
  5. A lot of hard work hidden behind nice things
  6. Three great essentials
  7. I’ve had to learn to fight
  8. Your most important work
  9. Nobody ever drowned in sweat
  10. You don’t have to be somebody
  11. We encounter many defeats
  12. It is the ultimate luxury
  13. Set realistic goals
  14. What you get by achieving goals
  15. Your goals are the road maps
  16. I don’t stop when I am tired
  17. The greatest discovery of all time
  18. No one has a right
  19. Everyone has inside of him
  20. There are basically two kinds of people
  21. A person who never made a mistake

What an amazing list of motivational quotes for work or to help you achieve goals every day of the week as well as for special projects.


Creating this took a lot longer than I expected because I am one of those people in the population who get inspired by motivational quotes.

You will notice that there are so many other popular quotes by celebrities that I have not included as I wanted to make this piece of work as succinct as possible.

A lot of time was spent choosing female influencers in the majority since this resource was created to inspire women on their journey.

Looking through the list it is so difficult to choose one that is the best above all others because depending on your journey or obstacle at that moment you will need a quote that is relevant.

What about you, did you find these quotes inspiring at all and did you make a connection with any of the authors?

Motivational Quotes for Work Success


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38 thoughts on “21 Celebrities Give Their Motivational Quotes for Work Success”

  1. I’ll keep these quotes in mind. Sometimes things do get tough and I’m tempted to throw in the towel but then I remember I need to keep going. These quotes do give me motivation.

    • Amber, sometimes life can seem difficult and even I get tempted to give up sometimes for probably 5-30 minutes. It is quotes like these that put things into perspective for me.

  2. The Rock sums it up Alvern. Most people believe success is about something special or sexy or spectacular. No way. Living your dreams is just doing simple things generously every day of your life for years. Skills improve, you gain exposure, and success flows to you. Inspired post.

  3. Being motivated is crucial to gain success at work. I keep struggling with that. That’s why, I think it’s a wonderful idea to make use of quotes provided by well-known people who can influence others and motivate them to be less scared of taking up new challenges.

  4. Motivational quotes definitely help me get through when life throws a curve ball my way. This post is timely for me as I’ve hit a rut and I really needed this post.

  5. I am not motivated by quotes and having the same office in the same building as a call centre, motivation techniques don’t work for me. I’ve learned them all by now. 🙂 However, I have tried to apply productivity hacks on my work and prioritize the tasks so that my work gets done quicker and better.

    • Joanna, I am glad to meet someone who is not inspired by motivation quotes. Also, thanks for sharing what actually works for you.

  6. One of my favorite quotes on this list is by Colin Powell. “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” You have to constantly think ahead, work hard, and learn from your mistakes to see what works as well as what doesn’t. It’s a lot of trial and error, but you can accomplish your goals if you continue to stay focused.

  7. “There is no substitute for hard work” Love that! And it’s so true! We are sometimes a culture that wants to take the shortest path to success, but its often late nights and hard work!

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