International Women's Day is all about celebrating—and empowering—women all over the world. But we didn't think it was necessary to wait until March 8 to find a source of inspiration in female achievers. Which is why we decided to seek out positive affirmations, aka sayings that are helpful in self-improvement and motivation because they enable us to rewire our brains to think positively (thus increasing our brains' supply of feel-good hormones).
We reached out to six successful women from a range of backgrounds and fields to see how they use positive affirmations to propel their own lives. From interior designers to fashion industry entrepreneurs to social media mavens, everyone we spoke to had a different affirmation to share. Scroll through to see the words of wisdom each says to themselves every day—and see whether any of these phrases might work for you, too.
Nicole Davis, Interior Designer
My Positive Affirmation: "'I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given to bring beauty into spaces where people live.' I also ask for guidance to be present with a sharp mind and peaceful countenance."
When I Repeat It: "On my drive to work."
Why It Works: "When I express gratitude, it centers me and reminds me of why I am working in this industry. Recognizing what I am grateful for also puts intention in my actions as I am walking into a space. I want to show up for my client, take in their space, and feel inspired."
Catherine Smith, Founder and CEO, Plan de Ville
My Positive Affirmation: "I always remind myself of Marianne Williamson's famous line from her book, A Return to Love: 'As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.'"
When I Repeat It: "I'll repeat this to myself whenever I'm feeling unsteady on my feet, like before a presentation or when I'm in a new environment. Often I use this affirmation to gather up my courage before public speaking or pitching my business to a potential new partner."
Why It Works: "This affirmation works for me because it reminds me that being confident and moving forward in the direction of your dreams is nothing to be embarrassed by or shy about. Often I find myself a bit intimidated by the environment I'm in, but it helps to remind me that I belong in the room. By being brave and strong, I'm encouraging the people around me to chase after the life they've always dreamed of too."
My Positive Affirmation: "'Why am I so happy right now?' followed by 'What are some ways I can begin to feel happier now?'"
When I Repeat It: "In the morning when I work out, especially on the treadmill. I do a digital version of Bullet Journal and in the morning, I like to look over my day. It's a good time to see my to-do list and whether it's in line with my overall happiness goals."
Why It Works: "I love asking myself positive affirmation questions. I get to utilize my creativity and put my focus on what I want. When I first quit my job, I was sensitive about making sure I was happy every day. So every day I would ask myself What is frustrating you? How can you get rid of it now? This question is pretty second nature to me after three years, and I'm happy AF now. Recognizing happiness and maximizing it never fails me."
Annie Campbell, Caterer and Party Planner
My Positive Affirmation: "I can do anything for a day."
When I Repeat It: "Between a busy work life and the stresses of being a mom of two, I often feel overwhelmed. In those moments of stress—like a party mishap or a tantrum at bedtime—I take a breath and tap into an inner strength that's capable of handling the pressure."
Why It Works: "'I can do anything' inspires me to take risks and try new things. 'For a day' helps put each moment into perspective. When things are challenging, negative feelings (e.g., sadness, frustration, exhaustion) can easily become overbearing. But my affirmation energizes me to push through because the challenge won't last forever. I can only take it a day at a time. It works because in those hard moments I can start to feel defeated. However, because I truly believe in my affirmation (my mom has been saying it to my for my whole life), I'm reminded of my endurance, my ability to troubleshoot, and that this too will pass."
Ascia Sahar, Blogger at I Am Ascia
My Positive Affirmation: "I repeat this quote from Umar Ibn Al-Khattab: 'No amount of guilt can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future.'"
When I Repeat It: "Repeating this every morning allows me to set my intentions clearly. There's so much happening outside our doors in today's world. As a mother to little ones, a positive affirmation first thing in the morning allows for a better day ahead."
Why It Works: "This helps me understand and accept the things I cannot control and shouldn't waste my energy on. It allows me to redirect my energy to the things I can control."
Lara Mead, Co-Founder and CEO at Varley
My Positive Affirmation: "I'm grateful that my little boy and husband are in good health."
When I Repeat It: "Whenever I find my mind wondering or worrying about the small things, I remind myself that I have a healthy family. I also repeat it whenever I'm having anxiety about the pressures of motherhood."
Why It Works: "I have anxiety about my son and worry constantly about his development, speech, behavior, whether he's eating his greens, etc., etc. My mother's first child (my brother) died of a brain tumor when he was 5 years old and was sick for a number of years before he passed. I have to remind myself that I'm lucky to have a healthy little boy and that we are all in good health. This affirmation reminds me that nothing else in life matters."