How 6 quotes from a Cleveland leader are helping me grow

By Cheyenne Meek, Marketing & Events Assistant

Adulting. What does it even mean? Life in the ‘real-world’ officially started for me after graduating from my Master’s program two months ago (no more homework…woohoo!), so I’m getting my first real taste of it. Maybe no one ever truly figures out how to ‘adult’ but it sure does help set you ahead when you snag some bits of wisdom right out of the gate from successful leaders.

Through Engage! Cleveland, I attended my first women’s professional development event right before graduating. I knew we had planned a great lineup of female leaders, but I wasn’t expecting the reaction our first speaker of the day created. 

As Jan Murphy, Vice President of Mission & Ministry at Sisters of Charity Health System, offered her conventional wisdom, the room instantaneously lit up. Everywhere I looked, I caught sight of women awed by Jan’s presentation and shaking their heads in agreement at the practical advice she shared about balancing a career, family, civic engagement and much more. Somehow, Jan made you feel like she was having a one-on-one conversation with you over a cup of coffee. I felt seen and understood.

After 50 minutes of inspiring advice, one young professional eagerly stepped up to the microphone yearning for more and asked, “Do you have a newsletter we can sign up for to keep hearing from you?” While Jan unfortunately does not, I’ve compiled six of my favorite quotes from the day and explained the impact they’ve had on me to help keep you in touch with the valuable lessons Jan shared. 

Read my favorite 6 quotes below.

Photo captured by Maria Sharp Photography

Photo captured by Maria Sharp Photography


6) “You have to be respectful of where people are in their lives. As leaders, you realize that life happens and recognize that people don’t leave their lives when they walk into work. Have compassion.”

Compassion is something I’m big on. And I mean REALLY big. I think it is absolutely crucial to remember that people are more than their jobs and sometimes a smile, a compliment or even a hug can go a long way. As I lead from where I am, I will carry this quote with me because as a successful leader, Jan reassured me that compassion has a vital role at the office and really does carry power in the workplace. 

5) “Don’t regret decisions. Take everything in stride.”

Sometimes (okay...a little more than sometimes), I beat myself up over decisions I’ve made that didn’t work out the way I imagined. Jan made me think about how the choices I make have a purpose and shouldn’t be thought of as a failure. When something doesn’t end up the way I had hoped, I pause for a deep breath and remind myself that this is part of my journey I can use to grow. 

4) “No one can ever take your power away from you unless you give it to them.”

No matter where you sit, I think it’s important to remember how much power you hold. You can make small differences in people’s lives that go a really long way, and you should never let someone else make you believe otherwise. Be strong. Be fearless. Be you. With this quote, I feel like Jan gave me the permission I was looking for to hold true to myself and stand up for what I believe in. 

3) “There are a million chances that will always come to you. It is never your only chance. Always do your homework and make sure the time is right for you!”

Is the time right for me to make this move..take this chance...ask that question that’s been playing on repeat in my head? I think with this quote Jan was reminding us that there’s never a perfectly right time because you’ll have a million chances that come your way. I’m definitely guilty of fretting over whether the stars are aligning for me but I’m missing out by turning down an opportunity and choosing a different path. Jan’s quote reminded me that I shouldn’t worry about picking the choice that feels right to me deep down in my heart. Another opportunity will always reveal itself.

2) “You can’t give what you don’t have.”

I’ll admit it. I can get so caught up in giving my all for every single thing in my life that I end up burning myself out. With this quote, Jan reminded me that you have to make sure you’re taking care of yourself because you can’t give your 100 percent to others and your work if you’re not putting yourself first. As Jan quoted from Oprah, “I’ll take being full of myself as a compliment.” Now, I just need to keep putting that into practice.  

1) “No one is going to make you happy but you. You are your own Chief Happiness Officer”

I LOVE this quote. I’m my own CHO; how empowering? I control my own happiness, and I really think this is so important to remember every single day when you wake up in the morning. How much time do we let slip by being upset or frustrated over things we can’t change? It might be harder on some days than others, but Jan reminded me to take charge of my happiness and be the best CHO I can be because it will make all the difference in not only my life, but the lives of those around me. 

I’m just a few months into ‘adulting,’ and I’m proud to report I feel like I’m headed down the path to really care for my whole self as I begin growing in my career and personal life. I’ve even pinned a few of these quotes up on the wall above my desk to give myself a daily reminder to stay grounded. Thank you, Jan, for helping me lay this successful foundation. 

Interested in learning more from Jan Murphy? Join us for our Next Generation of Women Follow-Up: A Conversation With Jan Murphy on July 24 for the opportunity to participate in a small-group discussion with her. Learn more and register now by clicking here.