Most successful people have at least one guiding principle: phrases or ideas by which they live and work. These keep you focused. They help you make decisions. They inspire you—or ground you.
To help you develop or add to your own guiding principles, we’ve rounded up some from the most influential leaders around.
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
Steve Jobs, late co-founder and CEO of Apple, via Stanford News
By stopping regularly to look inward and become aware of my mental state, I stay connected to the source of my actions and thoughts and can guide them with considerably more intention.
Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Asana, via Fast Company
Over-invest in written and oral communication. Leaders constantly have to motivate the troops.
Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, via Business Insider
A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.
Albert Einstein via AIP Center
I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.
Michael Jordan via Forbes
I always looked at my career as, ‘Where have I been? Where am I now? And where am I going? And what are the right assignments to get there?’ And if the company would work with me on delivering those assignments, I was all-in. But if that didn’t happen, [I would look at other options.]
Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup Co., via The Wall Street Journal
People can be really smart or have skills that are directly applicable, but if they don’t really believe in it, then they are not going to really work hard.
Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, via Entrepreneur
To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.
Eleanor Roosevelt, via Inc.
I’m home for dinner every Friday night, and I try to be present wherever I am. I try to get understanding from all of the people around me. I’ll say, ‘During these hours, I’m going to be home, and I’m not going to answer my phone or text messages because that’s my family time.’
Jeff Lawson, co-founder and CEO of Twilio, via Twilio
My own personal philosophy on giving is best stated in a [John F.] Kennedy quote, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected.’
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, via Bloomberg Business
You have many choices—that you can always unchoose if it doesn’t work out, so don’t beat yourself up. There’s a long road ahead—I think I’m in my fifth career already so you’ve got a lot of opportunities ahead of you.
Gloria Feldt, co-founder and president of Take the Lead, via The Muse