Dr. Maya Angelou passed away, at 86 years old, this morning at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She came from humbling beginnings, but was revered all over the globe. Her life could have taken a completely different direction than the one that she carved out for herself and for which she will be remembered, as an inspiring poet, prolific author, freedom fighter, and for her proud, regal bearing.

052814AngelouAt different times in my life I would read her words and be inspired to reach for the stars that seemed out of reach. Or, I would learn a lesson about being a woman in a world that, at times, does not honor or treat women and girls, as we deserve. I would like to share some of my favorite quotes of Dr. Maya Angelou that have comforted, inspired and emboldened me and that I believe can empower women to succeed in business and life.

“When you know better you do better”

You will make mistakes. Don’t waste too much time beating yourself up about it. Look at each misstep as a lesson to be learned and filed away, so that next time, you will make the right decision.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

There will be enough people against you so why make enemies of people who are willing to be on your side? Being tough, focused and a go-getter does not mean that you should be condescending, rude or belittling of other people.  The most successful women in the world, obviously, know how to play hard ball yet they are universally admired for their humanity, as well as, their success.

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”

Maya Angelou went through a lot of struggle in her life to become the woman she will be remembered for in the history books. In fact, life is a struggle and the bigger goals you set for yourself the more of a struggle you will have. Some you will lose. But, each time, you must stay focused and keep pushing onward.

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”

This has always been a reminder to not get so hung up with myself and my life that I ignore when someone else needs help. It may be a little gesture for you but mean a whole lot to the recipient. In fact, all it may take from you is a smile or a kind word to lift another person up. In a business situation, it may take a minute of your time to make an important introduction or share a piece of your knowledge. What you give, you will get back in return.

“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”

Always, believe in yourself. Walk in faith. Know your worth. Go after your dreams. And, never fear to let the world know who you are.

Regina Essel is a Life-Empowerment and Business Coach/Consultant. She is also Founder and Administrator of the (Free to Join) Savvy Empowered Women’s Network Connect with Regina at www.reginaessel.com, www.twitter.com/savvyewn, www.facebook.com/savvyewn, and www.linkedin.com/in/reginaessel, www.savvyewn.com.

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