Money & Career

Five best inspirational speeches to turn your day around

We've all had those days when it's hard to get motivated or it feels like we can’t win. If you're feeling a bit deflated, I can guarantee that watching these inspirational speeches will help ignite your inner strength.

Amy Poehler

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We’ve all had those days when it’s hard to get motivated or it feels like we can’t win. If you’re feeling a bit deflated, I can guarantee that watching these inspirational speeches will help ignite your inner strength. Enjoy!

1. JK Rowling, author, Harry Potter series
Speech: The Fringe Benefits of Failure

At her Harvard Commencement speech, Rowling digs deep into her past and finds that the lowest points in her life – her failures – gave her the strength and creative freedom to follow her passion of writing. I never tire of listening to this. If you haven’t watched it, it will be the best 20 minutes you spend all day.

2. Steve Jobs, late CEO and co-founder of Apple and Pixar
Speech: How to Live Before You Die

In his commencement speech to Stanford University grads, the late Jobs (and college dropout) talked about how he followed his dreams and turned failure into opportunity. His main message: find what you love to do, and do it. If you haven’t found what you love then keep looking and don’t settle. These are great words to live and work by.

3. Amy Poelher, actor and writer
Speech: The Importance of Collaboration

As a great ensemble actor and star of Saturday Night Live, Poehler shared her wisdom with new Harvard grads in her 2011 commencement speech. Her key piece of advice: you can’t do it alone. Be open to collaboration. Make sure you find people who inspire you and spend lots of time with them.

4. Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook
Speech: Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders.

Sandberg’s TED talk highlights the fact that women often underestimate their ability and drop out of the work force, particularly when they have kids. She offers advice for women who are struggling to balance family and career.

5. William Shakespeare, writer
Speech: Henry V’s Speech to Troops on St. Crispin’s Day

There is nothing more rousing than this speech superbly delivered by Kenneth Branagh in the 1989 film version of Shakespeare’s play, Henry V. It’s about a small group of English soldiers about to battle with legions of highly skilled French troops facing impossible odds. Henry’s speech highlights the importance of working together and the need to believe in your own abilities, even when it seems like you can’t possibly succeed.