In only a few words, a leader can spark meaningful change in our lives. We all have a phrase or saying that a manager or supervisor said to us that we will never forget, and that influenced our lives for the better. Never underestimate the power of good advice from someone who has experience and wisdom they can pass along to you, to help you grow professionally and personally.

We asked members of the Thrive Global community to share the most impactful phrase a leader said to them, and how it changed their work and life. Here are some of our favorites:

“Perfectionism kills success”

“I’d been battling an ‘all or nothing’ mindset that prompts setting impossibly high standards for years. My obsession with perfectionism made delegation a struggle for me, and I had difficulty resting because ‘the job was never done.’ The job was never done because to me, it was never perfect. One day, my coach told me that perfectionism kills success. He was right! Perfectionism had become more of a vice than a virtue, as it was preventing both myself and my business from growing. Since that day, whenever the ‘all or nothing’ mindset kicks in I ask myself, ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ and ‘What could I be missing out on?’”

Marta Ceccato, media coaching, London, England

“There will always be work, but you will always need balance”

“A former employer once told me: ‘You can work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and there will always be work, but you get paid for 40 hours a week.’ It helped me balance my life.”

—Paula Figueroa-Vega, non-profit administrator, life coach, and entrepreneur, Lawrence, NJ

“People grow wings, not roots”

“As a young executive director, a leader in New Orleans reminded me that cultivating quality relationships has long-term benefits. Another leader told me that people ‘grow wings, not roots,’ which informs how I work with my team. I don’t expect colleagues to have unending loyalty to an organization — they need to fly and create the lives they want.”

—Makiyah Moody, consultant, Nashua, NH

“Take your team to the edge and let them fly”

“One of my greatest mentors shared this poem with me — he taught me the brilliance of developing world class teams:

‘Come to the edge,’ he said.

They said, ‘We are afraid.’

‘Come to the edge,’ he said.

They came,

He pushed them,

And they flew.”

—Kerry Hing, hotel general manager, Atlanta, GA

“If you walk the safe path, you’ll never pave your own road”

“Learn to fail or you will never do anything new. If you walk the safe path, you’ll never pave your own road. Therefore, you have to risk failure. I’ve embraced this advice and started my own business as a designer. It worked well for the last 12 years. The late, great Red Burns, dean of the ITP department at NYU Tisch, shared this with me.”

—Maria Mayer Feng, creative director, New York, NY  

“The frequency of your message matters”

“When I first became a manager, the most impactful phrase I learned from my boss was this: ‘frequency of message.’ At first, I’d rush through new policies and procedures with my employees, expecting them to just listen to the message and get on board. I quickly learned that you have to explain the ‘why’ first and continue to reiterate the message. Not just once, but consistently, until it sinks in and becomes part of their DNA. I continue to use this phrase today and it’s helped me become a more mindful leader.”

—Camille Sacco, bank manager and meditation instructor, Winter Park, FL

“Let it be for another day, it isn’t going to be the end of the world”

“My boss spent more than 30 years in a trauma center operating room when I became her assistant. I always felt the need to complete all projects daily, to the point of feeling anxiety and taking work home. But she stopped me one day and said, ‘You will always have something that isn’t complete, something that will need your attention but will never quite see the finish line. It’s okay, let it be for another day, it isn’t going to be the end of the world.’ It taught me to take a moment each day and prioritize the important things, and sometimes just add a few pieces to unfinished projects.”

—Karen Stevens, healthcare administration, Louisville, KY

“Fear is normal, but courage gets the final say”

“‘Fear is normal, but courage gets the final say’ is something an author shared with me. I found it so profound because it applied to my journey to live purposefully. Being willing to take a leap of faith on something important will ultimately shape who I am. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but the process can be intimidating when you first start. So I started doubting my abilities due to my fear of failure. Her words reminded me that I won’t find success until I take the first step away from fear and towards my destiny.”

—Amy Debrucque, writer, Syracuse, NY

“Everyone’s doing something different, and there’s room for everyone”

“I remember feeling intimidated and concerned because there were so many experts teaching people how to have better relationships. It felt like a big competition. I worried about how my work would stand out from other professionals’. My supervisor reminded me that I was doing important work and was helping people to be successful by teaching them how to communicate and connect with each other. She said, ‘everyone’s doing something different, and there’s room for everyone. Don’t concentrate on them — instead, value what you’re doing and follow your path.’ Her words gave me the confidence to focus on my business from a place of openness and strength, not weakness.”

—Debra Roberts, communication specialist and relationship expert, New York

“You have to be willing to turn off the wrong people to turn on the right people”

“‘You have to be willing to turn off the wrong people to turn on the right people.’ This new perspective felt like permission to confidently change my fear-based, cautious business language into solid, bold, and loving statements clarifying who I help and how. It’s saved me a lot of time and energy, so I have more to invest in working with my ideal clients. It’s been just as beneficial with friendships and dating.”

—Kelly Rudolph, certified life coach, San Diego, CA

It’s business and you’re taking it personally”

“‘It’s business and you’re taking it personally.’ Remember that feedback and criticism aren’t personal when it comes to your work. It’s to help you improve and to ensure that the team is performing well and delivering stellar results.”

—Ashlee Simpson, publicist, Brooklyn, NY

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  • Marina Khidekel

    Chief Content Officer at Thrive

    Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive's content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership and content marketing campaigns, curricula, and the voice of the Thrive platform. She's the author of Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive. In her role, Marina brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY. Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.