In the complex, fast paced and unpredictable business environment of today, every CEO is bound to face hardships during his or her career. However, it’s important to stay positive , no matter what kind of trouble comes your way.
No great leader has been able to succeed on the first try, and most of the times, it has been the failures (not success stories!) that helped overcome any challenges that they faced throughout their lives and careers. As Bill Gates once said:
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose”
Don’t consider failure a crushing experience: rather, try to analyze and understand why you failed, what could you have done differently and what lessons you can make out of your failures.
To keep you motivated through hardships, here is a list of motivational quotes for CEOs to remember during dire times:
1. “Don’t worry about failure: you only have to be right once” – Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox
Throughout history, this quote has been there to back up scientists, innovators and all those people who try hard to change the world for the better, or bring their ideas to life. It’s very similar to what Thomas Edison once said when he failed to create a light bulb for like the thousandth time – “I have not failed. I have just found 10.000 ways that don’t work. Now I just need to find the one that does”.
It’s important to understand and remember that it’s not about getting everything done perfect on your first try. In our modern society, we have learned to treat failure as something so bad and shameful that we do everything in our power to avoid it. But sometimes, failing to do something right is just what you need to understand how to make it work. It’s the invisible door to glory: don’t keep it shut.
2. “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition: they somehow know what you want to become” – Steve Jobs
If there was a man that really deserves to be on history books of the modern business world, it’ll be Steve Jobs. While there is countless debate, talks and even movies that question his approach to leadership and management (some saying he was a heartless person, ruthless to the bone that expected simple people to do the impossible, while others portray him as a God among mortals), there is no denying that this man did a great deal of work.
Steve Jobs faced countless hardships during his career, but one thing he never doubted and that was his own strength and beliefs. Some people call it arrogance (claiming that he thought he was a genius and the rest were just mere mortals), others call it selfishness, but in the end, he always ended up achieving his goals – and that’s what really matters.
3. “You don’t need to be a genius or a visionary, or even a college graduate for that matter, to be successful. You just need framework and a dream.” – Michael Dell, CEO of Dell
This one is put together so well that I struggle to add anything to it. I guess that this quote shouldn’t be regarded useful only to entrepreneurs that are just about to start their business.
Every CEO (and you too guys) that started his business yesterday, a year or ten years ago, had a dream that he wanted to fulfil. Whenever you are faced with seemingly impossible challenges, remember that you don’t need to be a genius to find a way out or set things right: you have your dream and your framework, now you just need to find a way to make it all work.
4. “When you innovate, you must prepare yourself for everybody to tell you that you’re nuts.” – CEO of Oracle
Let’s face it. No game changing innovation has ever been welcomed by people in history. If we trace back to old times, Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno got burned alive on a fire for claiming that the world is round, not flat. That idea was so groundbreaking that people simply refused to even consider it, let alone try to comprehend and move along with it.
Thankfully nowadays, nobody gets burned alive for generating the wildest ideas ever, but there is no escaping the fact that you will be regarded as a true madman, until you show the world that what you say really does work. Don’t let people get the better of you and shatter your dreams – if your idea is crazy enough that you think it will change the world, then it most probably will.
5. “Pessimists may be right in the end, but an optimist has a much better time getting there.” – CEO of Deere
This quote can be seen as a combination of the previous quotes regarding failure, success and strive for innovation and change. Yes, you might push your ideas to the limits and yes, you might fail at the end, but the truth is that until you try, you will never know the outcome.
6. “Chase the vision not the money, the money will follow.” – Tony Hsiev, CEO of Zappos
In the complex business world that we live in today, it’s important to set your priorities straight: those companies that are in business only for the money will eventually end up with nothing but bankruptcy.
This paradox has a lot to do with customers getting more and more clever and picky when making their buying decisions. Nobody buys stuff because they have been told it’s good anymore, and since there are numerous companies that offer the same product/service at relatively the same price, people get tons of options to choose from.
Only those companies that really aim to create something great out of their work truly achieve stardom. I will give you one of the best examples in history on this matter.
Do you know what the vision of Coca-Cola was when the company first started to operate? It was: “A coke available to everyone within an arm’s reach of desire”.
I think that there is no need to say how successful Coca-Cola is today. And about their vision, you might be surprised to know that there is Coca-Cola available to people in some countries in Africa, which don’t have access to water. Now that’s what I call following your vision. And about the money, well, around 80 billion dollars is not too bad either, hmm?
Life isn’t always black, or always white – there are lots of colors in between. Sometimes you are doing well, but that doesn’t mean you should lose your vigilance. Other times you will be struggling, but surely, success is a marathon not a sprint.
Don’t let your dreams get shattered by hardships and keep pushing forward. After all, you have only one life and it’s too costly to stress over mistakes all the time.