Whenever I’ve had one of those days at work when I felt like everything was crashing down or when I can’t give my all in a workout class that I usually kick ass in — I start to feel less like myself,
and a bit jaded. It’s these moments — and countless others I experience as a 20-something — that have inspired me to create a method of dealing, refocusing and remembering all of the things I have to be thankful. And you know, that I’m awesome.
type-A as a woman can get, I try to pack away my thoughts, and instead, focus on what tangible things I can at this moment to make myself feel better. Is it staying for an extra hour at work and getting through emails so I won’t worry about them? Is it taking a yoga class to let my body relax instead of pushing it? Is it reminding myself that one bad Tinder date doesn’t mean that I’m going to be single forever and ever, amen?
One great source of personal mantras and super-inspiring mantras are female entrepreneurs. As they’ve grown their babies — ahem, their businesses —through many periods of ups and downs, they’ve found tools and tactics for dealing in stressful moments. Here are 19 personal pep talks from highly successful women:
I Remind Myself That I’m In Control
“I gave a TEDx Talk a few years ago called ‘ Take Up Your Mantle: A Journey of Self-Empowerment.’ Part of the message is that empowerment is created from within, and that you have the power to rally your own inner guidance system to help you navigate any challenges and come out triumphant. Ironically, one time when I was facing a big challenge and wallowing in the rabbit hole of "I can't do this" my boyfriend lovingly reminded me to watch my own TEDx Talk. Ever since, I turn to it when need a pep talk, and laugh because it feels like I gave that talk for my future self to remind myself to keep going.” - Avi Loren Fox, founder of Wild Mantle
I Remember That Not Asking Is The Same As "No"
“This simple mantra gets me through everything. When I first founded my company, I felt timid about approaching investors, but I kept this mantra in mind. What's the worst that could happen? They could say no- which is exactly the same outcome as not asking. As my company has grown, this mantra has passed the test of time. Anytime I feel nervous about approaching someone or asking for something, I remember it and have made amazing connections and found great results thanks to this simple wisdom!” -Eva Martin, MD, CEO & Founder, Elm Tree Medical Inc.
I Live So Satan Is Scared Of Me
“As the eldest sibling, I was expected to 1) always set the best example possible; 2) take care of a myriad of tasks; and 3) rarely complain. By the time I enlisted in the military, I had lived the Air Force Core values all my life – Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do. My upbringing and the Air Force’s core values helped me practice my personal motto: ‘Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, ‘Oh no, she’s awake.’” - Shon Ramone Barnwell, founder of Barnwell Events
I Tell Myself That I’m A Warrior
“When I'm feeling overwhelmed by the enormous pressure to succeed, I tell myself, even if Heartful.ly is not ultimately a winner, I still will be. And that’s because in this one life that we’ve got, I deviated, took a risk, and through a combination of sheer will, grit, and passion, I’ve built something amazing. On the best days, I’m on top of the world. And on the not so great days, I remind myself that the worst case scenario is that I fail, I pick up the pieces, and I use them to build something new.” -Kate Glantz, co-founder and CEO, Heartful.ly
I Ask "How Do We Make It Happen?"
“As an entrepreneur, one of the things that's helped me most is a mindset focused on perseverance. Getting through any difficult situation requires first having the right approach yourself. There’s a challenge? Let’s take it on. A roadblock came up? We’re getting around it. Entrepreneurs face lots of challenges, and when you’re trying to change an established industry it can overwhelming. But I always start with “how do we make it happen”, and that mindset is key to driving progress.” - Rashmi Melgiri, founder of CoverWallet “My faith is my foundation, so whenever anything in my life gets out of control my instinct is to pray. While prayer might not be for everyone, mindfulness should be and there have been numerous studies that confirm the benefits of making this a part of your daily routine. Mindfulness can be whatever it means to you: prayer, meditation, repeating affirmations, connecting with nature — whatever it is that is going to calm your mind and remind you that we are a part of something so much greater than ourselves.” - Kat Eckles, Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Clean Juice
I Just Breathe and Let It Out
“The very nature of being CEO puts you in circumstances where you don’t have the answer. You feel nervous and unsure but your role is to make good smart decisions. When I lose my confidence I call my fiance and he reminds me that I am in this role because other people trust my judgement. I usually then click the Breathe button on my Apple Watch—take a moment and push on through!” - Alice Lovell Rossiter, founder of Alice’s Table “Whenever I am feeling stressed out or upset I stop and acknowledge the situation. Then I start to ask myself questions — mainly I ask myself ‘What can I do?’ By focusing on my own actions rather than on my reaction I am able to change the situation into a positive one. Even if I'm not stressed, I still focus on what I can do and what actions I can take when trying to achieve my goals rather than waiting for something to just happen." - Sarah Cannon, founder of Party in a Cinch
I Make Failure Part Of The Process
"Instead of resisting failure, we make room for it as part of the process. When efforts fall short of our hopes and expectations, we pause to ask ourselves, where could we use more support? What do we need to strengthen to hit the mark next time? A derailment, while disappointing, brings a chance to refine, review and reach for a better strategy. Over and over again, we’ve seen that our ‘mistakes’ have actually led us to searching out incredible resources, including the best people on our teams to date.” - Ophira and Tali Edut, founders of The AstroTwins
I Meditate When I Wake Up
“The first year of building a startup was tough and I realized that I needed to develop a structure for dealing with stress and keeping my head clear to be an effective leader for my team. What really works for me is half an hour of meditation as soon as I wake up, half an hour of journaling, and having a system to organize my day and a structure in place for my team. Finally, when things really get tough I remind myself that there is a need for what I’m building in the world so don’t resist and it always helps to have someone in your life who gives amazing hugs.” -Jean Z. Poh, founder of Swoonery “For me, music is probably the biggest mood-shifter. Yet, if I am overwhelmed and stressed, I don't listen to something upbeat to lift my mood, I actually listen to a song that matches my mood or perhaps one in which the singer seems a little further down the path of overwhelm. I blast it in my car and sing along — full voice. And this does the trick every time. The song immediately replaces the loneliness that often accompanies overwhelm, that false feeling that I am the only one who feels this way and that the problem is insurmountable. It reminds me that I am not alone. So my go-to song in moods like this (which I am a little embarrassed to admit) is Matchbox 20's ‘Unwell’. When you find your song, stick to it — works like magic.” -Elizabeth Lane, founder of Quarterlane Books
I Remember That Right After a Big Challenge, A Big Change Comes
"One of the most important lessons I've learned is that great challenge will always proceed true change. When I've been away from home for a long time or am having, what it feels like, a never ending day at the office, I always stop, turn on some music (most currently: Adam Friedman) and begin writing down why I'm thankful for each “challenge” I am facing. Knowing this allows me to turn any bitter energy I had towards the challenge into anticipation for the season of change that is to come!” -Caroline Beckman, co-founder and CEO of nomva
I Remind Myself That No One Knows Me Better Than Myself
“Surprisingly, I still get nervous when I am challenged to speak on stage in front of a group of my peers. I often get asked to speak to groups in and out of the franchising industry, and feel like I have so much to learn still! My pep talk for myself is grounded by the fact that I know I'm always prepared, for I’m the only one that knows my story. I remind myself constantly that I’m the best person to speak on the growth of my brand because I have been on the front lines since the beginning.” - Shane Evans, CEO of Massage Heights
I Change My Thought Patterns
“The pep talk for me is taking a moment to check the dialogue in my head and realizing I have total control over the conversation. The wiring in the human brain can be re wired so if there is doubt or negative conversation you can change the channel. ‘YOUR THOUGHTS ARE WHO YOU BECOME.’ I get that on every level so I often check in. Also there is something called ‘Momentum Shift’ where you choose to focus on ‘what you have and not what you don't have.’ My father taught me about this thinking (he was a high school football coach and Physical Education teacher) and my idol!” -Ellen Latham, founder of Orangetheory Fitness
I Look For The Silver Lining
“My pep talk, taking my Dad's advice, I first of all channel Monty Python's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Life of Brian and sing the lyrics in my head. Then I think: You could be dead. You're not. You're alive. You're not performing brain surgery, this is business. Be awesome. And I go have fun. Life is too short to take everything so seriously.” -Jennifer Eden, founder of Tampon Tribe “Whenever I am feeling stressed or have a lot on my plate, I just tell myself, one step at a time. No matter how much I need to get done, everything can only be handled one step at a time. Everything will get done, just not always as fast as you’d like!” - Sarah Cannon, founder of Party in a Cinch
I Visualize How I Want The Outcome To Be
“When I'm about to face a big speaking engagement, sales meeting, or potentially tricky chat with a colleague or customer, I make sure to take time beforehand to plan out what I want to say, how I want to say it, and when. I also visualize success through meditation; I picture the meeting or speaking engagement going well and how the positive outcome will feel. Then when I am in the midst of it, I feel like I have already had that success and that I am now just living into it. It feels inevitable.” -Jennifer Turliuk, founder of MakerKids
I Set My Intention Every Morning
“The biggest thing I do each day is to wake up and first thing, set an intention to treat everyone with kindness and compassion that day. When you are in client service, it is easy to get treated poorly or taken advantage of, but when you remind yourself that clients are going through any number of things in their work and/or personal life that has nothing to do with you, it makes it better. Reminding myself that the best thing I can do to anyone I come into contact with is to be as kind as possible.” - Megan Driscoll, founder of EvolveMKD
Inspired? Feel free to steal one of their powerful secrets and pep yourself up.