In times of darkness and doubt (of which there are lots) there’s a selection of quotes and comments and phone screenshots that I turn to. A random mix of things I’ve picked up from magazines and blogs and social media, from women all over the world and different walks of life. They help me to feel better and to be real and to ignore the social media showreel for just a minute.

I want to share them with you. And please be sure to provide comments and other quotes that you love for the times when we all need to remember why we started in the first place.

“I never lost my ambition. My idea of success just became less high maintenance.” – Katie Oldham (Scarphelia)

I love this phrase from Katie as it’s something I’ve been coming to grips with too – that success doesn’t mean fancy car, huge house, tons of money. Success looks different to different people and for me, is more about living a life that I’ve created that fits in with my needs then necessarily being hugely rich/famous/owner of a huge company.


“Just leap. The net will appear.” – Julia Wester Creative Producer & Stylist for Oh Joy

Couldn’t agree more. I have previously spent weeks and sometimes months debating whether or not to be brave and do something. Each time I have ended up taking the leap I have never regretted it. Ever. So take the leap is good advice!


“It’s a huge decision to leave a job with a steady income and security but the truth is, in order to make big moves in your life you gotta think of the big picture and do what ever it takes to make it happen. I’m fortunate enough to have support and probably wouldn’t have done this if the circumstances were different but the bottom line is that you should never settle when it comes to career choices.” – Kania

I feel really bad that I can’t find the source for this, but it’s a comment on a blogpost that I screenshotted, again when I was trying to decide whether to quit the job that made me dread getting up in the morning. It is just so genuine and something I look back on often.


“You can be fiercely ambitious and still be a good person.
You can be fiercely ambitious and still have a FUN life.
You can be fiercely ambitious and still invest and maintain beautiful relationships.
You can be fiercely ambitious and still find peace.
You can be fiercely ambitious and FILL IN THE BLANK” – Emma Gannon, Girl Lost In The City

As someone I hugely admire I love this post from Emma Gannon. I often worry about how my ambition affects my relationships and people’s perception of what else I can achieve/ or am not achieving because of it. I have the most supportive partner I could ask for but I know his friends are often bemused when I treat us to a meal, or that we have a cleaner because even though I work from home my job and my career are more important to me than cleaning the cupboards.


“I kept turning to the Director and saying ‘I can’t do this’ and ‘I don’t know why everyone thinks I can do this’ and then Kenneth (Branagh) turned to me and said you are insulting my judgement by saying you can’t do this. If you couldn’t do this I wouldn’t have cast you in the part. You have to believe in yourself and if not, then you have to at least believe in my faith in you” – Lily James (paraphrased)

I read an interview with actress Lily James just before Cinderella came out and unfortunately I can’t find where I read it (I think it may have been ASOS’ April edition but there isn’t a back issue online) and what she said really touched a nerve with me. The above is heavily paraphrased but this is the general gist and It’s what I tell my girlfriends too when they’re doubting themselves about something I know they can do.


“I’d always believed success to be doing the thing you were good at and the thing you really wanted to do.” – Rebecca Hunter, The Full Agenda

This is what success is!! It’s crazy that we live in a world that tells us we must do x, y and z if we want to be considered ‘successful’ or ‘ambitious’. I truly believe in Rebecca’s words that success is about personal fulfilment and this is something I will be reminding myself of daily.


“By the time I turned in my book manuscript, I was so inspired that I then left my job and struck out to work for myself, launching my custom mini-mag company, Guesterly. You could say I’m a food editor gone rogue – and I’m an enthusiastic believer that every woman should work for herself at some time in her life” – Rachel Mount Hofstetter (from Refinery 29)

You should! If you’re happy working for someone else then great, but if you’re not then there are so many opportunities out there where you could work for yourself and it truly is soul-feeding.


“This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Slightly taken out of context here but part of what drives my ambition is to live a wholehearted life and give my work and aim to succeed my all. I feel like there is so much to learn and enjoy and try when it comes to work and career but it has taken me a while to be open about trying and not worrying about it being ‘uncool’ or not acceptable as a women to have this fire.


“The more success you have, the harder you work, the more people you meet, the more lottery tickets you accrue” – Twitch founder, StartUp Podcast

I heard this on a Podcast and really liked the message. I believe success is a combination of factors – hard work, taking opportunities and being a ‘trier’.


“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any”. – Hugh Laurie

When I was trying decide whether I should go freelance or remain in a job I wasn’t enjoying this is something I came across (in fact I began to draw lots of different viewpoints about decision/courage/change towards me) but this really resonated with me. It’s so true! You can spend months deliberating and planning but the outcome will always be the same.


“You do not need to concern yourself with other women’s lives – they are simply doing what every woman should be allowed to do: taking control and succeeding in their own individual way.” Rowena Lewis, The Full Agenda

This is something often unspoken – that ambition looks different to everyone. Ambition does not necessarily mean a big job, big car and big job title. Ambition can be anything. From having a family, to volunteering, to being the owner of four dogs. One thing women need to do (myself included) is to stop judging different people’s decisions by whether they match up to our own marks of ambition and just accept them and support the women behind them.


“I dread reading scripts that have no women involved in their creation because inevitably I get to that part where the girl turns to the guy, and she says, “What do we do now?!” Do you know any woman in any crisis situation who has absolutely no idea what to do?” – Reese Witherspoon, Full transcript

With ambition comes so many discussions about women’s roles and how they are perceived in the media to how they are in real life. Reese makes this point perfectly and it’s about time films and magazines and TV shows began reflecting the reality of fiercely ambitious women.


“You are on this earth once…to go ‘I’ve got to be safe, I’ve got to make all these small decisions, these small choices, just to be sure that everything goes okay’… how fucking boring” – Dawn O’Porter

How can you not love this quote from Dawn O’Porter? She said this on the Girl Lost in the City podcast and I loved it. In life you have reachers and settlers and if you are a reacher then I’m sure this will fuel your fire as well!


“Sometimes, to keep ownership of their ambition, women have to override the most primal instincts of all.” – Emma Barnett, Telegraph

If you get a chance, listen to Emma’s 20-minute Ted Talk on the link above. It’s one of the only articles/podcasts/talks I’ve ever seen that talks about ambition for the regular, everyday woman. Not the women who have already made it, the Sheryl Sandbergs or the Karren Bradys. Just everyday women who can still be ambitious, and fulfilled and the leading ladies in their own lives.


“The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.” ― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Something that’s not discussed very often is the downside and the dark side of ambition. This is something I’ve had to accept – that the more you try, the more light there will be but also the more dark. The more jealousy, the more envy, the more doubt, the more feelings of inadequacy and pointlessness that you may feel. So Brené’s quote here really stood out to remind me that there is a reason for the darkness and that actually, it makes our conquests and our light even more vibrant.


Beth Gladstone

Beth is a Writer and Digital Marketer who founded The Full Agenda as a place to talk about the things that kept her and her friends up at night. Currently working as a Marketing consultant to various SMEs she is a big fan of the startup market and loves technology, apps and anything social media related. When not obsessively checking Google Analytics, she can be found reading, writing or relaxing with a glass of Prosecco.

More Posts - Twitter - Pinterest - Google Plus


Leave a Reply