These quotes are condensed from interviews by journalist and author Marianne Schnall; the originals appeared in her articles and the books “Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice” and “What Will It Take to Make a Woman President? Conversations About Women, Leadership and Power.” To find out more about her work and her platform, What Will It Take, which works to ignite and empower a new generation of women leaders, visit marianneschnall.com and whatwillittake.com.

1. “It’s a courageous act to just be with whatever is happening at the moment — all of it, the difficult as well as the wonderful.” Eileen Fisher, founder and chairwoman, Eileen Fisher Inc.Eileen


2. It’s okay — in fact, it’s better than okay — to make mistakes, really big mistakes sometimes.… That strikes me as where all the good stuff happens.” — Melissa Harris-Perry, professor, author, political commentator


3. “It is tough to be a trailblazer and to be on the front end on a regular, ongoing basis, but somebody’s got to do it.” — Marsha Blackburn, US representative, Tennessee

Marsha Blackburn


4. “If you want something and you’ve never had it before, you’re going to have to do something you’ve never done before in order to get it.” — Tiffany Dufu, author, chief leadership officer at Levo

Tiffany Dufu


5. “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated. It may even be necessary to encounter the defeat so that we can know who we are. So that we can see, ‘Oh, that happened, and I rose. I did get knocked down flat in front of the whole world, and I rose. I didn’t run away; I rose right where I’d been knocked down.’” — Maya Angelou, poet, writer, civil rights activist

Maya Angelou


6. “Being brave is not being unafraid but feeling the fear and doing it anyway. … When you feel fear, try using it as a signal that something really important is about to happen.” — Gloria Steinem, feminist icon, writer, co-founder of the Women’s Media Center

Gloria Steinem


7. “Don’t be patient and don’t wait for someone to ask you and don’t think everyone’s going to like you, because if you’re not pissing someone off, you’re probably not doing your job! And that’s how change happens, because people are bold and audacious.” — Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood


8. “I always go back to my grandmother’s advice to me … the first time I fell and hurt myself. She said to me, ‘Honey, at least falling on your face is a forward movement.’” — Pat Mitchell, media executive, producer, curator of TEDWomen

Pat


9. “I am constantly amazed at how courageous and radical speaking the truth is.”  — Melissa Etheridge, singer/songwriter, activist

Melissa Etheridge


10. Be passionate about what you believe in and do not be afraid to stand alone, because you may find yourself in a position one day where you have to stand alone. … That doesn’t mean it’s easy; it isn’t.” — Olympia Snowe, former US senator, Maine


11. When you talk about people who do things that others perceive as really courageous, most of the time what motivates them is not the risk … of what might happen, but what’s the importance of what it is you’re trying to achieve? [It’s] not the consequences of doing a thing as much as the consequences of not doing it.” — Anita Hill, attorney, professor

Anita Hill


12. “The way to get back to yourself is to literally get still and be alone and to drown out the voices of the world so that you can find your own way, because your own way is always right here. … You can spend all the years of your life looking outside of yourself for the answers to ‘why am I here?’ and ‘what am I really supposed do?’ but only when you are conscious enough to connect to the stillness can you really find the answers.” — Oprah Winfrey, media mogul, philanthropist

Oprah Winfrey


13. I learned the power of the word ‘we.’ Not saying to people, ‘You are going to get through this,’ but ‘We are going to get through this.’ That is such a different message, because it makes people feel less alone, and all of these forms of hardship, it’s not just the hardship itself but the isolation that comes with it. ‘We’ changes that.” — Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, author, activist

Sheryl Sandberg


14. “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.”  — Madeleine Albright, first female US secretary of state

Madeleine


“One thing that I hear from women of all ages is a lot of self-doubt. And [I share] with them my own experience — I didn’t go through any political training — … but I understood what the most important qualification was: a sense of purpose and motivation toward serving others. The rest you can learn. [If] you’re rooted and grounded in understanding and knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing, then you’ll have the correct perspective to be able to persevere and let the arrows that are shot at you bounce off of you; it gives you that protective armor.”  — Tulsi Gabbard, US representative, Hawaii

Tulsi Gabbard


“The sooner you realize that everything changes — that the things that happen to you are not you and that everything will be different all the time and you have such little control over the next wave, then you’ll just kind of stay in the moment, find your gravity, and be open to what’s coming. Just don’t turn your back on the wave — it’s coming no matter what; you can’t hide from it. So face the waves, try to catch one [and] ride it.” — Amy Poehler, actress, writer, co-founder of Smart Girls

Amy Poehler


“If you’re always trying to please everybody around you, all you end up being is a pretzel, twisted into the shape of a pretzel. If you do that enough, you’ll end up not even knowing who you really are. So have the courage to be who you really are, no matter where you are.” — Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize laureate

Jody Williams

 

These quotes are condensed from interviews by journalist and author Marianne Schnall; the originals appeared in her articles and the books “Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice” and “What Will It Take to Make a Woman President? Conversations About Women, Leadership and Power.” To find out more about her work and her platform, What Will It Take, which works to ignite and empower a new generation of women leaders, visit marianneschnall.com and whatwillittake.com.

Rachel Zurer

Rachel is Conscious Company’s resident words wrangler, in charge of all editorial content. Before joining the CCM in April 2016, Rachel spent nearly 5 years as a print and digital editor on the award-winning team at BACKPACKER magazine. Her freelance writing and radio reporting has appeared in a variety of national publications, including Issues in Science & Technology, Yoga Journal, Paste Magazine, Pacifica Radio, and Wired, where she was a fellow in 2011. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction writing from Goucher College, studied linguistics and computer science at Duke University, and is a certified yoga teacher.