The passing of legendary poet and memoirist Maya Angelou at the age of 86 has understandably occupied many of this morning's headlines.
Chances are, you and your colleagues will soon be talking about Angelou's life and legacy at your water coolers and in your dining areas. While it will always feel hollow to remember anyone by a brief list of her quotes--let alone a writer of Angelou's significance--perhaps one or two of these lines will serve as inspiration to you and yours, in your workplace or in your personal life.
1. "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
2. "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
3. "One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."
4. "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat."
5. "You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."
6. "Determined to raise him, I had worked as a shake dancer in nightclubs, fry cook in hamburger joints, dinner cook in a Creole restaurant and once had a job in a mechanic's shop, taking paint off cars with my hands."
And, from "On the Pulse of Morning," her inaugural poem at the swearing-in of Bill Clinton:
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.
But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow,
I will give you no hiding place down here.