Words By Tara Wagner

7 Personal Growth Quotes that LITERALLY Changed My Life & Made Me Successful


I have a thing for being able to say a lot by saying a little (probably because it’s so hard to do lol). But also – quotes have a way of sinking in and changing me. Here are the 7 personal growth quotes that legitimately changed my life.

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7 Personal Growth Quotes that LITERALLY Changed My Life & Made Me Successful Share on X

So you may or may not realize this about me, but I love quotes.

I think I love them because I am so wordy that when I can find something that succinctly says everything that I want to say, I just, I love it. I’ve always loved it for my entire life I’ve adored quotes. And quotes for me, they end up being mantras. They end up being things that actually literally changed my life.

So what I thought I would do is share 7 personal growth quotes that have literally changed my life.

They changed the way I’ve viewed things. They were things that I went back to again and again and again. That kind of acted as guideposts that helps me to make decisions. It helped me to figure things out, and that really led me to the success and the fulfillment and happiness and the progress and the things in the light in my life that I wanted to create.

So I made a list. I have a lot of them, but I boiled it down to my top seven. I’m going to tell you each one, and then we’ll tell you what it meant to me and how it actually has impacted me.

These are in no particular order, but I kind of tried to put them in order of when I first remember coming across them.

Personal Growth Quotes
Quote #1 – “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung

First up is a Carl Jung quote. “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

Oh man, I wish that I could get everybody in the world to pay attention to this quote right now because we’re all walking around offended, irritated, and not realizing that that’s really more about where we’re coming from than just about what the other person is doing.

That’s not to say that other people can’t do stupid things and bug us, but I really took this quote to heart, and literally every time something would irritate me, I would stop and ask myself, “okay, what’s that telling me? What is that showing me? What do I need to do here? How do I get to grow through this? What is this allowing me to experience?”

I really took it as, most of the time, it’s not about that other person. It’s about me.

If I’m holding irritation or if I’m easily irritated, especially what that’s really telling me is where I get to toughen up, or I get to do some internal work or I get to deactivate my own triggers.

I used to walk around not wanting people to trigger me and in doing so. It made my life miserable. And over time when I started to realize nobody else is responsible for that. If I have a sore spot and somebody happens to bump it, that’s not their fault. I’m walking around with sore spots. If I can heal those sore spots, I become a stronger, healthier, happier person. And I can have better relationships because people aren’t triggering me all the time.

Now a person can act like an a-hole and if it triggers me, I stop and I do the work until I can show up to that situation in the way that I want to show up to it. In a healthy, mature, rational way.

Then through that can then connect with that person. Now, most of the time when people are acting like a-holes, it’s not triggering me, I can notice what’s mine and I can notice what’s theirs. And in doing my work, as I said, I can connect with them better.

So relationships, in general, got easier when I stopped thinking that somebody else was responsible for the way that I felt. If I feel it. It’s telling me:

  • What I need
  • Where my values are
  • What I might be neglecting
  • The work that I might need to do first.

Then once I’ve done that, I can use that to go into that situation and address anything that might need to be addressed in that situation again.

If I could just get most of the people on the internet to pay attention to this quote, and to understand that if you’re upset or irritated or offended, it doesn’t mean that somebody else needs to change necessarily. It means it means you get to do your work first, so you can show up in that situation, help that situation to change.

We want to expect other people to create the change and then us to benefit from it. And that’s just not a very mature way of going around it. We get to strengthen ourselves.

The world is messy and there’s always going to be opportunities to be irritated or offended until we’ve strengthened ourselves we’re not going to be able to create the change that we actually want to see.

We need to be the healthy, happy, mature adults that we get to be, and then go about showing up as that person in those situations to be able to change them.

So, yeah, that was a big one for me. Probably about somewhere between 10-15 years ago when I was just one big ball of mess, hot mess. And this really allowed me to see like, “you know what, okay, if this is irritating me, that’s back on me”. There was a lot of back on me at that time. There was a lot of internal work I was doing until I could finally get to the point of feeling like I wasn’t constantly at the whims of everybody else’s moods or behaviors. Right? I felt more in control of how I felt versus everybody else was causing my feelings. 

Personal Growth Quotes
Quote #2 – “All changes, even the most longed for have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves. We must die to one life before we can enter another.” -Anatole France

My number two personal growth quote favorite is “All changes, even the most longed for have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves. We must die to one life before we can enter another.”

Oh my gosh, this quote came to me at a time in my life where I was dying to a lot of things. A lot of parts of myself were dying and I was letting go of them. And there was so much terror and grief and sadness and melancholy. And I didn’t understand why I was feeling this way. And I came across this quote and it was like, Oh, I get it. Like, there’s a grief process to growth when you’re growing, you’re letting go of stuff.

That might be people, that might be personas, might be things that kept you safe for a long time. And it’s scary and it’s painful. And it’s sad sometimes. You’ve got to let go of something in order to have something else.

This quote literally got me through that stage. It helped me to be okay with it because for a while I felt like “I shouldn’t feel this way if I’m doing this stuff, AND I’m feeling worse, that means I’m on the wrong path“. Once I understood that, no, there’s just a process to go through. It’s a grieving process. Before you get to this other side, it allowed me to stick with something that I was ready to run from.

It’s been interesting because I’ve come across this so many times since then with clients or women in the Inner Circle, who will ask “why am I feeling this way?” and once I give them this quote, they’re like “Oh, I get it“. Like, “yeah, you’re right, I’m dying for one life in order to build this other one. And there’s a grieving process that you get to go through that“.

It was definitely life-saving for me at the time when I was doing the deepest work and was a legitimate, hot mess. And didn’t understand why I was feeling bad, not when other people were triggering me, but just in general and just understanding that that’s okay.

And you know, personal development, we always equate it with feeling good and feeling happy and getting our needs met and reaching our goals and all the positives and in doing so we tend to neglect the fact that we’re human and that there’s a more complex experience to that. And that we’re going to feel things and they’re not always going to feel good. And that that’s not a bad thing.

So obviously we don’t want to stay there forever. We don’t want to milk the bad feelings. We don’t want to encourage them. We don’t want to wallow in them, but we do need to accept that they are part of the process as well. 

Quote #3 – “The curious paradox is when you accept yourself just as you are, then you can change.” -Carl Rogers

Carl Rogers is number three. You’ve heard me say this one if you’ve been around this channel for a while, “The curious paradox is when you accept yourself just as you are, then you can change.

This was one I talked about in the building of business with health issues video. My health issue is my physical limitations. My disabilities, all of that stuff is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to accept. And this quote is a big piece of that.

Because I wanted to change, I wanted things to get better, I wanted to develop, I wanted to grow the part of me.

It was just like, I just don’t want this. I want that there was a rejection of myself in that. And to help me to bridge that gap, right, I was focused on where I wanted to be. I couldn’t accept where I was.

This quote helped me to do the acceptance and I did it so that I could get over here, but in doing so, I got to a place of actually being okay with it. This is who I am. This is the life that I get to live. This is the experience that I get to speak from. And that’s okay. And it’s not perfect. And it’s not what I love. And sure, I would love to be an overachiever in an overachiever’s body, but it is what it is.

As I really embraced this, if this is what I want, if I really want to change, I gotta start from a place of radical self-acceptance. It allowed me to finally do that work of self-acceptance.

I would not be where I am today. I wouldn’t be successful. I wouldn’t be happy. I wouldn’t be anything if I hadn’t gotten to the place of just accepting that this is the way I get to do it. If I want to be all of these things, it needs to look the way it needs to look for me and how it looks for somebody else is great for them. But that doesn’t mean that’s going to work for me.

Until I just accepted that, made peace with it. I couldn’t do anything. I kept trying to do what was working for other people, slamming my head against a wall that wouldn’t budge wondering why I wasn’t getting anywhere.

Once you start accepting who you are and working with who you are, instead of working against it, things get better. Things get easier, right? That was a big one. So many levels. I highly recommend playing with that one for a while. Just chew on it, meditate on it a little bit and see what comes of it for you, for you, whatever. 

Quote #4 – “Do what is easy and your life will be hard. Do what is hard and your life will be easy.” -Les Brown

This is one that I still have a soft spot for. I mean, I love all of these, but this one I am still using on a regular basis. This is Les Brown. And he said, “Do what is easy and your life will be hard. Do what is hard and your life will be easy.”

One of my greatest values is freedom. I want freedom, flexibility, flow. I want things to be easy. I want things to be sexy and I want things to be beautiful. I don’t want things to be hard. I don’t want to have to work hard for them. Surprise, surprise.

How many of us are like, “I want to work my ass off or something”. That’s generally not the goal. Right? That’s not the American dream we’ve been after. But yet what I was doing.

“If it’s hard, that means it’s not meant to be. If it’s hard, that means I’m on the wrong track. If I don’t love it, that means I shouldn’t be doing it. Which is the most immature advice you could possibly get out there. And that’s what a lot of people say. If you don’t love it, you shouldn’t be doing it. And there’s truth to that.

However, even what you love is going to have seasons where it’s hard.

If you do the hard work, things become easy over time, they get easier. They get more enjoyable. Stuff that you don’t love becomes something that you do love when you master it. It reminds me of the book. I think it’s by Cal Newport, So Good They Can’t Ignore You. And he talks about this. It’s like this idea of if you want to get really good at what you’re doing, you want to do work. That you’re passionate about. What you really need to focus on doing is mastering it, like putting in the work, putting in the hours, putting in the drudgery, even paying your dues, doing that hard work.

Over time you get really, really good at what you’re doing. You’ve mastered it and then it’s easy.

And then you can do work that you’re passionate about, but you don’t get to do work that you’re passionate about on day one or year one. That’s what comes over time of figuring things out and putting in that work. So that’s really what this quote was. Do what is easy. You keep doing what’s easy.

You keep doing what feels good and things stay hard. But if you start doing what’s hard, things get easy.

And that, that was the start of my self-disciplined path, folks. I probably came across this quote, at least six, seven years ago. Maybe eight or nine. I’m not even sure now, but it was when I was struggling the most with self-discipline. This was the one that I kept coming back to.

I want things to be easy. I want things to be easy. I want things to be easy. Fine. I will do what’s hard now so that I can have what’s easy down the road because otherwise I’m doing what’s easy now and it’s not just hard down the road is hard now too. And building that self-discipline really allowed me to get out of that cycle. 

pen and journal with writing
Quote #5 – “The truth lies somewhere in the middle.” -Unknown

Quote, number five, “The truth lies somewhere in the middle.” Now I don’t know who originally said this. I’ve actually since heard it attributed to a few different people, but I first heard it from my mom, who is a very wise woman.

I think I was probably 12 or 13. We were driving in the car. I have no idea what we were talking about, but we were probably talking about differences, like people arguing about something, maybe it was politics. Maybe it was religion. Maybe it was people we knew that were just disagreeing. I have no idea, but I remember that she said that to me, the truth often lies, usually lies somewhere in the middle. That changed everything for me.

Because as humans, we tend to be this or that black or white us versus them. Right? We see that so much right now. There’s so much us versus them. And we forget that the truth lies in the middle.

There are two sides to every story. And then the truth is in the middle.

Once we start to really understand that, once I started to understand that, it forced me to do my homework. Around that same time or shortly after I also came across a quote that said you shouldn’t argue for your side unless you can argue for the other side. Meaning if you don’t know the other person’s argument inside and out, you don’t truly understand where they’re coming from. You’ve got no business arguing for your side because you really need to understand that other side in order to speak with them in order to connect with them in order to make a difference.

Those two things together really helped me to do my homework, do my due diligence, understand all sides of a topic. If I find out that one thing is a really great idea. I always go and I read the opposite view of that.

If there is one argument on a political topic, I’ll read the argument and then I’ll read the counter-argument and then the counter-arguments and the counter-argument. I love that to see the conversation, the sides to both, to not just both, but all sides of something because in doing so, it helps me to understand people. It helps me to connect with people, my relationships improve, my ability to serve my clients is increased because I can understand where they’re coming from better.

I really got to understand human beings and human psychology and what makes us tick and what makes one person vote this way and another person vote that way and another person not vote at all. And what creates all of that.

That I think inadvertently accidentally led me to the work that I do now. So much of the work that I do, coaching entrepreneurs is around our mindset and what makes us tick. And what’s getting in our way and what is serving us. What’s not serving us. And how we connect with our clients and customers.

You need to understand, you need to be able to see all sides of something in order to do that.

This helped me to do all of that. But also the truth lies somewhere in the middle. It also helped me to stop demonizing people that I didn’t agree with and listen, not listen to respond, but listen, to understand which again is something that I think could really just be spread around a lot right now. 

Personal Growth Quotes
Quote #6 – “No one determines your success but you.” -Mom

Personal growth quote number six is “No one determines your success but you.” Also said by my mom.

So the thing that you must know about me that I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before, I never graduated high school. I left high school, about three-quarters of the way through my ninth grade, my freshman year. It was kind of a radical choice. And the idea was that I would homeschool myself.

Instead, I did a lot of drugs and I got pregnant and I made a lot of bad mistakes. But through that, my mom told me one thing. When I decided to leave school, she said, “you know, school’s not for everyone, but no one will determine your success but you, so school can be great or it can be absolutely worthless”.

Some idea it could be great or it could be absolutely worthless. Nobody is going to determine your success, but you, so over the coming years, when I was making a lot of bad decisions and I was in abusive relationships and I was strung out on meth and I was having a baby at 17 in the back of my mind, I still had that shred of, but you’re responsible.

These are your choices. You can’t blame this on this abusive partner if you choose to stay there. You can’t blame this on drugs if you choose to be there, right, it was this idea that you still have a choice.

It was hard work to get out of the place that I was in. I had postpartum depression. I had a physically, emotionally, psychologically abusive relationship. And I had a baby and I was just getting off of drugs and I was still smoking and I was still drinking and I was uneducated and I was getting my GED.

Through all of that, I held on to that truth that you are the person that determines your success, not your education, not your history, not how other people treat you, but how you’re going to treat yourself and what you’re going to choose to do with all those circumstances. They happen to all of us, some of us more than others, but they happen. What we choose to do with it is the thing that determines the success, it’s the thing that determines our trajectory.

Because I held on to that, I didn’t have an out, I couldn’t blame it on anybody else. I couldn’t wash my hands of it and say, “well, you know, it was just bad luck on my part. And this was just my life now”. It was “no. If I want to be happy, if I want to be successful, if I want to be whatever, it’s going to be up to me and the choices that I make”.

I don’t even know if she realized this, but that one little tiny sentence said when I was 14 and half-listening, stuck with me and changed everything. It gave me accountability. It gave me personal responsibility.

Which to me responsibility doesn’t mean I’m to blame. It means I have the ability to respond. So like the abusive relationship, I wasn’t to blame for that, but I had the responsibility, the ability to respond to it. And once I recognized that and realized I get to choose here. That’s when things could actually turn around, and all throughout my life, that ability to respond has served me very well.

Now, yes, you can go too far on that. And you can think that it’s all up to you and not get help. And those were all things that I got to learn too. But if I didn’t have that personal accountability, that message that it does not matter who is up against you or what is up against you. It doesn’t matter what you’re facing. You can still figure this out and it might be hard as hell. And it might take years. It might take a lifetime, but you still have the ability to choose how you’re going to respond to that.

That right there is probably the most important thing that I ever learned in my entire life. And it’s not an easy lesson and it’s not an easy thing to practice by any means. Oh my gosh, it was so hard at different points in my life.

It’s been incredibly hard and at different points in my life, it’s just a great reminder, it’s one that I hope that I’ve passed that onto my son and I hope that I can pass it on to other people because there’s nothing more frustrating, heartbreaking, or disempowering than thinking that you don’t have any options, you don’t have the ability to respond, that you don’t have the ability to make a choice with the situations and circumstances you’ve been given.

We all get a hand, right? It’s like, what’s that quote? That’s like “it’s not the hand you’re dealt, but how you play it”? We all get a hand and sometimes it’s a crappy hand and sometimes you fold and you get new cards and you do what you gotta do. But as soon as you say, “I can’t’, it’s not up to me anymore. That’s when it’s over. That’s when it starts crumbling. And as soon as you take it back and say, “no, my success is up to me. Nobody else is responsible for this, but me” that’s when things start to really get good. 

Tara sitting on the ground laughing with book in hand, emerald couch in the background
Quote #7 – “It doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be powerful.” -Tara Wagner

Number seven, “It doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be powerful.” Said by me.

This actually came out of my mouth. I have no idea how I was pep talking myself. I was struggling, this was probably 2-3 years ago. I think I was struggling with the Breakthrough Boss Inner Circle, the content, figuring all that out, wanting it to be just right. And having that talk with myself of like, “you’ve got to let this go. We’ve got to make progress on this”. And just out of my mouth was “it doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be powerful.”

I realized that my idea that had to be perfect was stopping it from being anything at all, was stopping it from helping other people. Not to brag, but what I teach in the Breakthrough Boss is powerful. It really does make a difference for people.

I knew that and I’d sat on it for a long time and not done anything with it out of my own selfishness. And now I found myself sitting on it, out of this idea that it should be perfect. Right now I’m ready to launch it, but I gotta do it just right. And then I was just like “you’re doing it again. You’re just holding it back. It doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be powerful. It just needs to be out there. And you’ll perfect it over time”.

That was, I think, a big key thing there too, to realize that perfection is not an end destination.

Perfection is a verb. It’s something that you do, you perfect things. And the only way you can perfect, perfect things is to get them into the hands of the people who can give you the real feedback on them. So it was doing that and getting that feedback. That’s allowed me to perfect it over time and I’m still perfecting it.

Hopefully, I will stay perfecting it for a long time because I want it to constantly be getting better and better.

So that quote came out of nowhere, but it has served me in so many different ways. Anytime I start getting hung up on something, anytime I start just kind of resisting something because I’m overwhelmed with the scope of it and I want it to be just right. And generally, when that happens, I just start to feel overwhelmed and I don’t do anything. I just fall back on that again and again, “it doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be powerful”.

The only key thing that I’m after is to make a difference. And if I make a messy difference, that is better than a perfect difference because that messy difference is going to lead to a better difference down the road.

I could literally probably give you like 20 more, but I would love to hear one of your favorite quotes, something that legitimately opened your eyes, shifted your mindset, changed the way you looked at things, changed the way you did things, legitimately literally changed your life comment below because I am a personal growth quote junkie and would love to have more in my arsenal.


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I want to hear from you! What’s a quote that has changed your life?

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Tara Wagner

I’m Tara Wagner, creator of the Breakthrough Boss®. I help small biz owners overcome burnout and create part-time schedules with full-time profits. Not with some new marketing strategy, but with a holistic approach to how you operate. Click here to learn more.
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