Relationships & Divorce
51 Inspirational Quotes to Reinvent Yourself (Ones That You’ve Never Heard Before)
Here are the best reinvention tips from the 250 people I’ve interviewed who’ve done it
Long before there was the internet, there were inspirational quotes. As the editor in chief of several national women’s magazines (YM, Redbook, Marie Claire, More), I remember marveling at how often women would tear out a page from the magazine and paste it onto their bathroom mirror or refrigerator.
That was our earliest form of Pinterest quotes, I suppose.
Short, pithy phrases that go right to the point and help reword or clarify things you’ve already had inside your head are, indeed, powerful. They can function as a kind of verbal North Star to navigate by. Not surprisingly, many people use meaningful quotes to open chapters of a book… or to close them. They can become a kind of personal mission statement for a specific moment in life. Most importantly, a good quote can make you feel you are not alone, that someone you respect has trod this path before, making it okay for you to move forward.
The Purpose of Quotes: Reinvent Yourself Guide
At CoveyClub.com, we are about all things midlife, but specifically about midlife reinvention. That’s because when I was running More magazine, it was dedicated to showing women that they could have a second — or even a third — act. We wrote a book about reinvention, called MORE Magazine 287 Secrets of Reinventing Your Life: Big and Small Ways to Embrace New Possibilities, and when I opened up CoveyClub in 2017, former More readers came to us and asked for more inspiration and help on the topic.
Reinvention can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Some people balk at the word because it seems too large — or seems too damning — as if you have to R-E-I-N-V-E-N-T your entire life because what came before was not adequate.
This is not the case. As I tell my CoveyClub members all the time: reinvention can be as large or as small as you like. It can be a small tweak to your fitness routine or it can include getting a divorce and moving to a different city and adopting a new lifestyle.
The point is: you get to choose. And, at different points in your life, reinvention might be big or small. Sometimes all you need is a series of tweaks to make yourself feel refreshed or renewed. Sometimes it is just one tiny redirection to get you back on the right page.
In researching inspirational quotes about reinventing yourself that you might want to use to motivate yourself through difficult times, I discovered that there are a lot of fabulous ones from ancient minds and big-time talkers. You should use them. Put them on your social media; print them out and tape them to your bathroom mirror. But these quotes are everywhere, and so they can feel, in some ways, less powerful.
So here’s what I did for you. I dug into my 250 unique interviews with women and men that I’ve done over the last six years for my podcast, Reinvent Yourself with Lesley Jane Seymour, and the CoveyClub blog, and pulled the most inspirational quotes that you’ve never heard before. These are real people who have done it. They are sometimes serial reinventors. Sometimes they have gone through the process just once.
For example, one of the quotes I repeat to myself when I’m interviewed for podcasts or articles comes from a wise woman (whose name I can’t remember, unfortunately) who spoke to More magazine for one of our Second Acts columns. She said, “You have to open your eyes to every single reinvention opportunity that throws itself in front of you every day!” This is a profound insight — especially for people who know they have to reinvent but aren’t sure how to discover an idea.
I truly believe that reinvention is a uniquely American concept and that in order to be happy, we should always be in the process of reinventing ourselves. That’s how we stay young-at-heart, engaged with the world, and connected to others.
Reinvent Yourself Quotes: Find Your Idea
1. “Committing to a beginner’s mindset is the first step in reinvention. Letting go of who you are, so you can navigate who you are becoming, is really what it’s all about.” -Angela O’Riley, founder of @TheCURVEYLab
2. “Anyone who reinvents has to eat a little piece of humble pie and start at the beginning again. And that’s okay. It does not change who you are as a human being.” -Jennifer Pate, CEO at Feel Ageless Inc., podcast #155
3. “Pay attention to the things you joke about. So one of the things I joked about was, I need to find a job where I can just get paid to talk, because there’s nothing wrong with my voice. Right? Then you take that clue and you say, ‘Okay, how can I build on this? How can I be in a situation where I’m sitting, where I’m talking, where I’m still contributing, where I’m still working with people who are interesting, and valuable?’” -Donnica Moore, MD, women’s health expert and podcaster, who had to leave clinical medicine because of repeated back surgeries, podcast #20
4. “Have a practice [like meditation] that allows you to remain in touch with your inner world… so that you can stay in touch with your intuition and hear those little whisperings that might be telling you you need to make a change or you have a new calling.” -Marianne Schnall, author, activist, and journalist, podcast #10
5. “If you feel like you’re ready for reinvention, it’s really important to know your why. Deciding to reinvent simply because you’re fed up, burned out, or bored, is not necessarily a good enough reason. Because what I find is when people are running from something, they’re not as satisfied with where they end up as the ones who are running to something.” -Diann Wingert, no-BS psychotherapist and podcast host, podcast #190
6. “[It] took me ’til I was 66 to say, ‘This is what I want to do.’ You have to listen to that voice inside you that is saying maybe you should do this, maybe your talents lie here.” –Mary Lou Heater, APRN, PMHCNS, podcast #101
7. “Ask yourself [this question]: what did you like to do for fun when you were 10 years old? It’s probably something you would enjoy now as an adult, whether professionally or in leisure, but surprisingly often, you will see the roots of adult professional happiness.” -Gretchen Rubin, author, podcaster and blogger, podcast #44
8. “I would invite anybody who’s hearing that whispering little voice in some way, whether it’s through a dream or a nightmare… that niggle that you can’t shake — get quiet. Listen, because that whisper ultimately becomes a shout which ultimately becomes the 2-x-4 that whacks you across the head. That’s what it was for me. And I realized that even though I had this dream job, and I had this dream life in many respects, it wasn’t my dream. It was my dad’s dream. And so that really woke me up.” -Shelley Paxton, founder/Chief Soul Officer, Sabbatical, podcast #220
Reinvent Yourself Quotes: Learn From Failure
9. “Even if you own your own business, downturns happen in your own company. Yeah, it’s just a fact. And you just need to get on with it. Get back on the starting block, ladies, and swim the next race! That’s the deal.” -Eileen Gittins, founder of Blurb, a self-publishing and bookmaking platform, podcast #13
10. “With every period of reinvention comes a period of learning where, on the one hand, you could leverage the skills that you have, but on the other hand, you really have to learn something new. And that takes time and managing expectations. And you might make some mistakes along the way. The key is to learn from them and not to repeat those mistakes.” -Jill Granoff, managing partner at Eurazeo and CEO of Eurazeo Brands, podcast #187
11. “It takes most of us a long time to accept things that have happened to us, we don’t want to believe it, or we think that it’s not real, or we think we can overcome it. So when you finally accept that you have a difficulty or a problem or a difference, it allows you to start working on it. And you can start adapting, you can start changing the things around you so that you can function or you can be successful. When you become comfortable, and you’ve accepted and you’ve adapted to these things, you can start innovating. And that’s where you start remaking yourself.” -Linda Olson, motivational speaker, triple amputee, Author of Gone: A Memoir of Love, Body, and Taking Back My Life, podcast #117
12. “Be unafraid of failure, of making a fool of yourself, while you’re reinventing yourself. It’s okay not to know. Just know this is where you want to be and you’re going to try every iteration of it. You become smarter, you become stronger, but you know what, even when you’re imperfect, and you’re flailing, but you’re still moving on.” -Shaillee Chopra, who discovered in adulthood she had bipolar disorder, podcast #58
13. “You will fail along the way. Embrace the failure, but push past your fear. The new life you want is on the other side of fear.” -Lynda Bouchard, author, literary publicist, podcast host, podcast #149
14. “Make mistakes along the way because it means you’re trying something that’s never been done before. Just don’t make the same mistake twice. And don’t make stupid mistakes… make it big. Because I think failure leads to success and it does push you from where you are to where you could go and that does take being brave and fearless and believing in yourself. Because you can’t help others if you don’t believe in yourself.” -Shelley Zalis, founder and CEO of The Female Quotient, podcast #24
Reinvent Yourself Quotes: Embrace the Journey
15. “Reinvention is not about changing who you are; it’s about becoming more of who you are.” -Lesley Jane Seymour, podcast #150
16. “I took a year off and I traveled through Southeast Asia, and during that time a message really started coming through to me in meditation. The message was, ‘The truth in your heart is more real than the one you see.’ I later interpreted that to mean that I had long been ignoring dreams, wants, true desires in my heart because I was not believing they were possible. And when I came back, I did start a company with a business partner and really started to explore and get curious about what I potentially loved.” –Jessica Joines, bestselling author, spiritual coach, and international speaker, podcast #179
17. “Reinvention and finding your path: It’s not a one time thing. That journey is a lifetime because at every moment, we learn something new. And we are more than what we were yesterday. So reinvention is a state of being; it’s not one definite event.” -Shaillee Chopra, podcast #58
18. “Part of reinventing yourself every day is forgiving yourself for all the things that you want to do but can’t.” -Taina Bien-Aime, executive director at Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, podcast #192
19. “I actually have more confidence in midlife women going out and reinventing themselves than I do in men. I think it’s a harder thing for men. But it’s obviously not impossible. Women put their heads down and do the work. And men think it’s all gonna come to them, or they want someone else to make it come to them.” -Chip Conley, founder and CEO at Modern Elder Academy and author, podcast #81
20. “It’s so important that we flex the muscle of reinvention. And if you’ve outgrown something great, it means you’re growing and really daring to switch gears. It’s important to constantly challenge ourselves and really do what lights us up, even if it’s scary, even if we have to stretch our comfort zones.” -Kate Eckman, author and keynote speaker, podcast #165
21. “Just take the plunge, things will work out. Stay positive and optimistic and trust your gut and your intuition and use your experience. And just keep at it. It’s a new chapter that many women should go ahead and do. Because life is not over once the corporate world is over. Life is not over once your kids leave the house. You’re just getting started.” -Sonsoles Gonzalez, founder, CEO and board member of Better Not Younger, podcast #79
22. “You need that pivotal inflection point where you say, ‘No, I need to change right now, right here, this moment.’ So that’s the thing. When people try to reinvent themselves and start a company, it’s easier to not start. And it’s sometimes more satisfying to not start.” -Patrick Hanlon, founder of primalbranding.co, podcast #11
23. “Be present as your life is changing. Be an active participant. Be open and honest with yourself and fully embrace it. Because I found out I had this diagnosis. And at first I wasn’t open and honest and I didn’t embrace it. And until I did, I couldn’t unlock the reinvention that was waiting to happen.” -Terri Bryant, makeup artist whose diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease allowed her to found Guide Beauty, podcast #87
24. “I think reinventions do happen to us more than once and thank God, because reinvention to me means awakening. And we awaken again and again and again in our lives and give ourselves to that.” -Stephanie Raffelock, motivational speaker, blogger, podcaster and author of A Delightful Little Book on Aging, podcast #170
25. “Midlife is a time to embrace change and to discover the power of your experience.” -Lesley Jane Seymour
26. “I think that as you reinvent, it’s more of a recognition or realization than a reinvention. Because it’s a part of you.” -Suzanne Randolph, creator of women’s global cultural experiences, experienced fine art advisor, podcast #183
27. “I understand reinvention pretty well. And you have to do it every five years. I’ve learned things are changing so fast that what was good five years ago, no longer is relevant today.” -Doug Noll, lawyer-turned-peacemaker and mediator, podcast #177
Reinvent Yourself Quotes: Set Parameters & Priorities
28. “This is the advice I give to any startup entrepreneur: your company is not your baby. Don’t think of it as your baby! Don’t call it your baby! Who’s ready to give that up? Because the smart entrepreneurs, the reinventing entrepreneur, understands that you have an exit strategy. You build to exit and to start your next thing. The biggest thing is be able to let go.” -Aliza Sherman, marketer, communicator, author, podcaster, and web pioneer, podcast #60
29. “It’s either the workplace is not cut out for us, it’s not flexible enough, or we hit that glass ceiling or the glass cliff, where you’re either pushed out or you’re not going to go any further. And so women tend to have to reinvent themselves. This is especially true of women of color.” -Joanne Lipman, writer, editor, author of Next! The Power of Reinvention in Life and Work, podcast #212
30. “I’ve been just grabbing whatever little golden thread dangles in front of me by the fates. I haven’t had a master plan. Like Steve Jobs said, when you look back, and you have this opportunity for reflection, you see, where did the dots connect? Then lo and behold, wow, there was a pattern that actually made some kind of sense.” –Meg Jordan, PhD, RN, NBC-HWC, professor of Integrative Health Studies at CIIS, podcast #90
31. “Everything in life has energy around it and it’s kind of like money that we can spend. So if we’re spending our energy in the past, and we’re caught up in rehashing why that job didn’t work out, or that marriage didn’t work out, or that grudge that we’re holding happened to us. There’s a lot of negative toxic energy there and it’s very heavy. But we can’t spend [that money], because the past is done. We’ve got all this currency, all this money, and can’t use it. The only place you’re an [energy] millionaire is today.” -Randi Levin, life coach, podcast #32
32. “Expect the unexpected, as you are searching for that next move in your transition. Don’t think that everything is going to be so black and white and don’t think that the path you set out on is going to be the path that you end up moving forward with.” -Fran Pastore, founder and CEO at Women’s Business Development Council, podcast #30
33. “I don’t know whether I learned this from my late mother but everything you say gets back to whoever you don’t want it to get to. So I learned early on, just don’t say anything negative. Just don’t. I mean, if you have to say something negative, say it in the shower.” -Susan McPherson, founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, podcast #28
34. “There are, I tell my kids, 100 opportunities that flow by you a day. 100? Yes, 100! You don’t see them. Once you really know what you want to do, once you’ve got those connections, you’ve got to be on the alert, because there are 100 opportunities for you to be successful, you’ve got to grab them. And then if you didn’t get them today, they’re gonna be 100 more tomorrow, and 100 more the next day.” -Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, podcast #27
35. “There’s always someone smarter than you out there. So find the smarter people that are going to help you be successful as a business entrepreneur, and engage them in your vision, buy into your vision and help and get them to help you build build the business.” -Rebecca Contreras, president and CEO at AvantGarde LLC, podcast #207
36. “Take time to just go outside, don’t just type all day long. Don’t stare into a machine all day long. Go and connect, because the natural world, for me, has been transformational and has been constantly inspirational and educational. I think it’s good for anybody. And just like we don’t want kids who have just screen time, we shouldn’t be adults and entrepreneurs who just have screen time either. So go outside.” -Margaret Roach, author, blog publisher of awaytogarden.com, podcast #25
37. “In my business, we always say, people don’t buy cool technologies, they buy solutions [to] a personal pain point and preferably something that you’re passionate about. Because if you’re not passionate about it, there’s a lot of long nights and a lot of stress, and a lot of hills you have to climb. If you don’t have that passion behind that pain point, you won’t carry through. Find something that is a real problem for you. And figure out if there’s a way through your personal network or through technology that you could solve that problem. And that is the very best way to start a business.” -Tracy Chadwell, founding partner @1843 Capital, podcast #21
38. “We don’t like working when we’re being told what to do. When we’re telling ourselves what to do, we can create a schedule that we like. And [when] we’re doing only the things that we like, I think we view retirement much different.” -Sean Castrina, podcast host of the Ten Minute Entrepreneur, podcast #209
Reinvent Yourself Quotes: Be Authentically YOU
39. “Be who you really are. If your life isn’t working for you, just tweak that life until it does so who you are and what you do are totally in sync. There’s tremendous power in that.” -Claire Cook, NYT bestselling author, podcast #19
40. “We want the people who would say, you know, rah rah behind us and give us courage. But we also need to listen to the naysayers because most likely they see a potential challenge, or a potential issue that we may not see. The key is to say, ‘Okay, so tell me more.’ Dig and dig and try to unearth that root cause because that root cause might just reside in your blind spot. Once you surface it, then you can know how to address it.” -Sanyin Siang, associate adjunct professor with Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering, and founding executive director, Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics, podcast #7
41. “You need to go out there, and make sure that you build your reputation, grow it and maintain it. So when I say get your unfair share, it’s to go out there to boast about yourself. Nobody will know how great you are until you tell them. Because you need to have that cushion that will elbow out your competition.” -Jennefer Witter, CEO and founder of The Boreland Group Inc., podcast #5
42. “And you’re never going to find the next job or the new opportunity unless you put it out to the universe. I don’t mean that in a woowoo way. I mean you need to tell people what you want to be doing, what you’re excited about, what you’re looking towards, to do next, because then they can be helpful.” -Katie Fogarty, podcaster and career coach, podcast #211
43. “The number one complaint of most women in our age group [50s and 60s] is invisibility and this feeling of irrelevance. So instead of complaining about it, let’s figure out how we can be visible, how we can contribute, how we can be, generate things in the world, instead of just sitting back and falling into the old templates. It’s sort of like we’re constructing a whole new way to be in this stage of life.” -Cecilia Dintino, psychologist and co-founder of Twisting the Plot, a platform for women who are reinventing themselves, podcast #89
44. “So you know how people after they work for 15, 16, 20 years, they get to a place in life, especially women, we get to a place where we start wondering, do we actually love what we are doing? Is it giving us juice? Yes, it was interesting yesterday, but do I like it today? And do I really want to do it all my life? What more can I do? Is it up to my potential? When we start asking ourselves this question, it indicates that you are falling into mediocrity.” -Shilpa Kulshrestha, career coach, podcast #210
45. “When we get grown, we’re so used to being good at what we do by the time we’re 50, if we’re doing something we’re really good at it. I was a very good bartender; I was amazing. And then to be new at something is really scary. Because you have to be okay to suck. You got to be really okay to just suck.” -Stacey Birch, social media expert at hotflashesandboardingpasses.com, podcast #206
46. “There’s absolutely nothing that women can’t do when we have the right heart, the right mindset, and the right strategy to execute.” -Rebecca Contreras, podcast #207
47. “We all tell ourselves frequent stories, and we go back to them. The way we change our performance is we have to change that story.” -Jill D. Griffin, executive coach and podcast host of The Career Refresh, podcast #208
48. “Be flexible. You can have a conviction about something. But things around you often change. So be able to, I call it, bend but not break. Be able to pivot or change course midstream because you hit a roadblock. You have to have both of those qualities, to go forward full speed ahead.” -Dr. Joan Fallon, CEO at Curemark, leadership speaker, podcast #202
49. “So looking for those shreds of positive, those glimmers of gold in the ashes was very important. But you had to be intentional about it… Once I opened myself up, and let myself ask for help, and verbalize[d] what I needed, whether I thought it was realistic or whiny or not. I just found there’s so much that people are willing to give; people were so good. And they lifted me up and they helped me… Find something good. And then share it, share it with others. Investing in your relationships pays dividends 20 times over.” -Geralyn Ritter, EVP Corporate Affairs, Sustainability & ESG at Organon, author of Bone By Bone: A Memoir of Trauma and Healing, podcast #204
50. “Ask yourself, what do you enjoy where you can honestly say that you are the Rolex, not the Timex, because you always have to feel you have something unique that you can offer.” -Judy Katz, founder and CEO of Katz Creative, Inc., podcast #201
51. “We recognize now that you don’t have to have a book and a PhD anymore in order to become a leader. If you have an idea and you have a niche and you are really good at something, it’s time to step up. The world needs us.” -Tammi Leader Fuller, founder of Campowerment, podcast #141
Have you reinvented yourself? Are you thinking about it? Please leave us your story in the comments below — and your favorite saying about reinvention. We might ask you to join the podcast!