Everyone loves a good inspirational quote to get us into the frame of my mind that we want to be in throughout the day. You see them everywhere on social media, I post many of my favorites here throughout the week.
I pick the ones for me based on what I need as a motivation for that particular day. Sometimes it may be the opposite of how I feel, or a reminder to stay calm, or to remember to focus on what's important.
Many inspirational quotes you see out there are from successful business people and personalities, athletes, or even Hollywood stars. But some of my favorite quotes are from more than 2,500 years ago.
Greek philosophers taught valuable lessons on how to live that are still powerful today to keep us motivated in our business.
Here are my five favorite ancient words of wisdom and how you could utilize them for today:
1. "Everything flows, and nothing abides, everything gives way, and nothing stays fixed."--Heraclitus
How often have we resisted change? This could include not adopting the latest technology in our business, not seeing that our customer base needs are evolving, or not improving how we approach managing projects.
This quote reminds me that business, just like life, is always moving and evolving. Once you embrace that, you can move past setbacks and embrace opportunities when they arise.
2. "What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others."--Pericles
What is your ultimate goal in business? Don't think dollars and cents, but what are you trying to accomplish? Does it involve changing how people live and thrive? I always stress that in business people remember how you make them feel and that is what keeps them coming back as customers for the long term.
3. "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."--Socrates
You will never have all the answers, and that's a good thing. So often we are afraid to admit we don't have the knowledge or skills and prevent ourselves from taking a risk.
When I launched my first business at age 27, I thought I knew what I was doing. I soon discovered that while my training gave me the knowledge of my craft, my true education came on the job from my customers and my staff. Embracing the fact that others can teach me a lot about my business helps me become a better (and wiser) business person.
4. "Quality is not an act, it is a habit."--Aristotle
If you want to improve your performance and that of your team, as well as lift your business up above the competition, then your emphasis on quality has to be consistent. This may mean different things to you based on your business.
In my yoga studio, I translate this to creating and providing an accepting community in which everyone feels safe to practice yoga and not be judged. I make sure that all of my teachers provide this kind of environment in their classes so each person feels welcome no matter what level of yoga they are at.
Practicing this level of quality every day ensures that it's always part of our business.
5. "Know how to listen and you will profit even from those who talk badly."--Plutarch
We talk way too much and listen too little. When you focus on listening to those around you--from team members to customers--you can better understand people's ideas, problems, and desires.
You can practice this through active listening. This means you ask open-ended questions so that you can get to the root of people's problems. This helps me help my team address issues that impede their success. The more questions I ask (and the more I listen), the more information I receive, which in turn provides me what I need to properly coach and provide feedback.
Often the best advice comes from those who have experienced life before us and have discovered how to successfully navigate through troubled waters to find the right path. The struggles we have today are not new as the Greeks demonstrate, it really is the human condition.
Keep these age-old advices handy for when you need a pick-me-up or reset throughout the work day. They are just as relevant now as they were two millennia ago.