30 Excellent Quotes From Powerful Women About Overcoming Failure

Maya Angelou Quote
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It’s the end of 2016, and I think we can all agree it’s been one rough-as-hell year. Terrorist attacks, Zika virus, mass shootings, and the deaths of Prince and Bowie are some of the things we’ll be glad to leave behind come January 1. And, of course, there was the presidential election that gave us all whiplash, and put a former reality TV star in the White House rather than an incredibly qualified woman. Hillary Clinton‘s failure to be elected president has to be one of the most epic instances of a powerful women falling down—and yet, we have no doubt she’ll bounce back from this, just like she bounced back from losing to Obama in the primaries in 2008, the Benghazi hearings, Bill’s affair, and more.

On that note, failure is something we can all relate to, no matter how you feel about Clinton. Whether it’s being rejected from a job, being dumped, losing a competition, or a million other scenarios, the old adage is true: You just can’t win ’em all. Next time you do fail, take these women’s words of wisdom to heart—and remember, it happened to them, too.

Inspiring Quote


“Just because you fail once doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything.” –Marilyn Monroe

“Even when you have doubts, take that step. Take chances. Mistakes are never a failure – they can be turned into wisdom.” –Cat Cora

“I was never afraid of failure after that because, I think, coming that close to death you get kissed. With the years, the actual experience of course fades, but the flavor of it doesn’t. I just had a real sense of what choice do I have but to live fully?” –Debra Winger

“We’re born with success. It is only others who point out our failures, and what they attribute to us as failure.” –Whoopi Goldberg

“We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” –Arianna Huffington

“To err is human, but it feels divine.” –Mae West

Inspiring Quote


“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” –Maya Angelou

“I fell off my pink cloud with a thud.” –Elizabeth Taylor

“Failure isn’t an option. I’ve erased the word ‘fear’ from my vocabulary, and I think when you erase fear, you can’t fail.” –Alicia Keys

“I’m living life as best I can – but I’m not exempt from failure and making bad choices.” –LeAnn Rimes

“Never be afraid of failure. And don’t stop yourself from doing something you want to do because of what others might think. Only you know yourself best.” –Suki Waterhouse

“You get so afraid of failure and so afraid of losing and so afraid of not being the best that it’s not a natural drive – it’s born out of fear of failure. Which helps in Hollywood.” –Gabrielle Union

MORE: 17 Times Hillary Clinton was Classy AF

Inspiring Quote


“Failure is a part of [the] process. You just learn to pick yourself up. And the quicker and more resilient you become, the better you are.” –Michelle Obama

“Why are you going to choose failure when success is an option?” ―Jillian Michaels

“I really don’t think life is about the I-could-have-beens. Life is only about the I-tried-to-do. I don’t mind the failure but I can’t imagine that I’d forgive myself if I didn’t try.” –Nikki Giovanni

“I thank God for my failures. Maybe not at the time but after some reflection. I never feel like a failure just because something I tried has failed.” –Dolly Parton

“If you’re constantly pushing yourself higher, higher, the law of averages—not to mention the myth of Icarus—predicts that you will at some point fall. And when you do, I want you to know this, remember this: There is no such thing as failure.” –Oprah

“For my first show at ‘SNL’, I wrote a Bill Clinton sketch, and during our read-through, it wasn’t getting any laughs. This weight of embarrassment came over me, and I felt like I was sweating from my spine out. But I realized, ‘Okay, that happened, and I did not die.’ You’ve got to experience failure to understand that you can survive it.” –Tina Fey

Inspiring Quote


“It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” –Ellen DeGeneres 

“Women, like men, should try to do the impossible, and when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.” –Amelia Earhart

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” –J.K. Rowling

“You must accept that you might fail; then, if you do your best and still don’t win, at least you can be satisfied that you’ve tried. If you don’t accept failure as a possibility, you don’t set high goals, you don’t branch out, you don’t try—you don’t take the risk.” –Rosalynn Carter

“Having the positive belief that it will all be OK just means that you hustle and make it work because failure is not even an option in your own mind.” –Natalie Massenet

“I hate how box-office failures are blamed on an actress, yet I don’t see a box-office failure blamed on men.” –Ellen Page

Inspiring Quote


“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” –Coco Chanel

“Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.” –Mia Hamm

“At the end of the day, you are solely responsible for your success and your failure. And the sooner you realize that, you accept that, and integrate that into your work ethic, you will start being successful. As long as you blame others for the reason you aren’t where you want to be, you will always be a failure.” –Erin Cummings

“I don’t want the fear of failure to stop me from doing what I really care about.” –Emma Watson

“Fact: From quitting smoking to skiing, we succeed to the degree we try, fail, and learn. Studies show that people who worry about mistakes shut down, but those who are relaxed about doing badly soon learn to do well. Success is built on failure.” –Martha Beck

“Failure. It doesn’t exist. ‘Failure’ is just what happens when we lose perspective.” –Donna Brazile

MORE: 9 Badass Women to Be Inspired by in 2017