There is a surge of African American culture in our media today. It can cause many in business (and politics) to think that the playing field is equal. But it doesn't take much digging to see that the black leaders in business continue to battle great odds and obstacles to achieve success.
I choose to honor these pioneering captains of industry and revere the contributions they make to our lives. Below are 21 quotations from entrepreneurs and executives on how to find success in business and life.
1. "Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you." - Oprah Winfrey
2. "I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. But I made it! Don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them." - Madam C.J. Walker
3. "Belief in oneself and knowing who you are, I mean, that's the foundation for everything great." - Jay-Z
4. "Many people don't focus enough on execution. If you make a commitment to get something done, you need to follow through on that commitment." - Kenneth Chenault
5. "If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow." - Beyonce Knowles
6. "If you wake up deciding what you want to give versus what you're going to get, you become a more successful person. In other words, if you want to make money, you have to help someone else make money." - Russell Simmons
7. "People from all walks of life and all over the world look at me and know my humble beginnings and know that everything I've done has been through hard work. People respect me as a marketer and brand builder." - Sean Combs
8. "I want to stop transforming and just start being." - Ursula Burns
9. "I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008 but it didn't happen overnight. It took me 30 years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me but they want to achieve it overnight. It's not going to work. To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme." - Aliko Dangote
10. "History has always been a series of pendulum swings, but the individual doesn't have to get caught in that." - Robert L. Johnson
11. "One of the challenges associated with a company becoming large is that companies become hierarchical. They become bureaucratic. They become slow. They become risk averse." - Kenneth C. Frazier
12. "You can and should set your own limits and clearly articulate them. This takes courage, but it is also liberating and empowering, and often earns you new respect." - Rosalind Brewer
13. "Keep going. No matter what." - Reginald Lewis
14. "Hold on to your dreams of a better life and stay committed to striving to realize it." - Earl G. Graves, Sr.
15. "You are where you are today because you stand on somebody's shoulders. And wherever you are heading, you cannot get there by yourself. If you stand on the shoulders of others, you have a reciprocal responsibility to live your life so that others may stand on your shoulders. It's the quid pro quo of life. We exist temporarily through what we take, but we live forever through what we give." - Vernon Jordan
16. "I have this ability to find this hidden talent in people that sometimes even they didn't know they had." - Berry Gordy
17. "The road back may not be as short as we wish,... But there are solid reasons to feel confident about the future." - Richard Parsons
18. "My Vocation is my Vacation. I love what I do." - Nick Cannon
19. "There is nothing a woman can't do. Men might think they do things all by themselves but a woman is always there guiding them or helping them." - Marjorie Joyner
20. "When I was younger there was something in me. I had passion. I may not have known what I was going to do with that passion, but there was something-and I still feel it. It's this little engine that roars inside of me and I just want to keep going and going." - Sheila Johnson
21. "Self-love has very little to do with how you feel about your outer self. It's about accepting all of yourself." - Tyra Banks