You won’t grow without taking risks.
And no one can be truly happy or achieve their highest goals without taking risks from time to time.
Risk comes in many ways – from taking that first step toward a dream, to having a difficult conversation with a colleague.
You are taking a risk every time you…
- Stick with something and persevere
- Get up after a fall
- Ask hard questions
- Look at the truth about why an initiative failed
- Hire new people
- Restructure your team or business
- Forgive someone
- Look fear, uncertainty, and doubt head on
All of these actions require risk. In fact, nearly all the problem solving and innovation in your life requires risk.
You will not fulfill your purpose in life without stepping outside your comfort zone.
You’ll never know what you are capable of if you give in to fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
You won’t make the positive impact you want in your community and world without taking risks.
Trust me, I know. I’ve founded, co-founded, and invested in and advised dozens of businesses. I know what it’s like to lose sleep over how to make payroll. I understand the complexities of managing fast growing teams. I know the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
This week in the US we are celebrating entrepreneurs and small businesses with Small Business Week.
Remember, many of the businesses we’ve admired like Apple, Hewlett Packard, and Whole Foods began as small businesses that grew into global companies. They began as ideas, grew, recovered from setbacks and failures by continuing to take risks.
In honor of risk takers, innovators, and leaders that start and grow small business, here are the 50 best inspirational quotes to spark your risk taking.
Whatever risk you need to take today, let them inspire you.
“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” —Warren Buffett
“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.” —Elon Musk, Founder of Paypal, Tesla Motors
“We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes—understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” – Arianna Huffington, Founder of Huffington Post
“I firmly believe you never should spend your time being the former anything.” – Condoleezza Rice
“If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon. And if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon
“Embrace what you don’t know, especially in the beginning, because what you don’t know can become your greatest asset.” – Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T. S. Eliot
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.” – Helen Keller
“It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong.” – Abraham Lincoln
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
“Turn a perceived risk into an asset.” – Aaron Patzer, Mint Founder
“If I stop to kick every barking dog I am not going to get where I’m going.” – Jackie Joyner-Kersee
“Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.” – Charles Stanley
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E. E. Cummings
“Just don’t give up what you’re trying to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” – Ella Fitzgerald
“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – J. K Rowling
“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” – Andrew Carnegie
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” – Amelia Earhart
“Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.” – Tony Hsieh, Founder of Zappos
“The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself–the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us–that’s where it’s at.” – Jesse Owens, Olympian
“Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” – Drew Houston, Dropbox Founder and CEO
“A surplus of effort could overcome a deficit of confidence.” – Sonia Sotomayor
“Done is better than perfect.” – Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook
“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” Warren Buffett
“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn
“It is within everyone’s grasp to be a CEO.” – Martha Stewart, Founder Martha Stewart Enterprises
“People don’t take opportunities because the timing is bad, the financial side unsecure. Too many people are overanalyzing. Sometimes you just have to go for it.” – Michelle Zatlyn, Co-founder of CloudFlare
“If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.” – Tom Peters
“Taking risks doesn’t mean you don’t feel fear, acknowledge fear, or let fear inform you; you just don’t let it stop you” – Caren Merrick – CLICK TO TWEET
“If you are going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill
“When my company started really growing, I didn’t have any help in my house at all. I had the upkeep of my daily life, I had a one year old and a three year old, and I had my house. So I had to prioritize.” – Julie Aigner Clark, Founder, Baby Einstein
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein
“My husband always tell me that I’m the most unrelenting person he’s ever met, and it’s true. If I make a commitment to something I will stick to it no matter what.” – Jenny Craig, Founder of Jenny Craig
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein
“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” – Pablo Picasso
“If you push through that feeling of being scared, that feeling of taking risk, really amazing things can happen.” – Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, Inc.
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me?” – Ayn Rand
“It’s important to be willing to make mistakes. The worst thing that can happen is you become memorable.” – Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx
“There can be no vulnerability without risk. There can be no community without vulnerability. There can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.” – M. Scott Peck
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” – Bill Gates
“Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.” – Bethany Hamilton
“The time to take counsel of your fears is before you make an important battle decision. That’s the time to listen to every fear you can imagine! When you have collected all the facts and fears and made your decision, turn off all your fears and go ahead!” – General George S. Patton
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
“Pitiful is the person who is afraid of taking risks. Perhaps this person will never be disappointed or disillusioned; perhaps she won’t suffer the way people do when they have a dream to follow. But when the person looks back-she will hear her heart.” – Paulo Coelho
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” – Sir Richard Branson
“Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.” – Oprah Winfrey
“No risk, no reward. No pain, no gain.” – Every school sports coach I’ve ever heard.
Your turn: What is a favorite quote of yours that inspires you to take risks in work and life? Email me directly at Caren@carenmerrick.com. I respond to all my emails and would love to hear from you! Or, tweet the quote to me @cdmerrick!