Despite starting her day at the crack of dawn as the co-anchor of TODAY, Hoda Kotb always seems to exude joy and brightness. And when she isn’t helping us get a dose of positivity by tuning into the morning show, she often goes out of her way to share a little inspiration with the rest of us.
One of the best examples of that is her book, I Really Needed This Today ($21.60, Bookshop) — a collection of uplifting quotes from famous faces, philosophers, and a few members of her own family. She describes her selections as “seemingly simple words tucked between quotation marks that become the powerful elixir we need for so many reasons — to improve, renew, heal, guffaw, or just release.” Or, more succinctly, “B12 shots for the soul.”
Kotb has also authored self-help books, a memoir, and children’s stories, and just announced she’ll be releasing a sequel book of quotes this fall titled This Just Speaks to Me. We can’t wait to add it to our bookshelves when it goes on sale in October!
In the meantime, we’ve gathered just a few of the motivational quotes from the hundreds included in I Really Needed This Today that we’re leaning on — especially with everything going on in the world right now.
Keep scrolling to take a look at some of Hoda Kotb’s favorite inspirational quotes:
“Freedom lies across the field of the difficult conversation. And the more difficult the conversation, the greater the freedom.” — Shonda Rhimes
This quote from Shonda Rhimes, mega-producer of hit shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, is a reminder that as hard or uncomfortable as some conversations might seem, it’s still important to have them in order to find peace on the other side.
“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” — Mandy Hale
Have you ever been surrounded by so much frustration that you just feel like screaming, “I’m over it”? That’s exactly how Kotb described this quote — although there may be pain, it’s “a good trade for a way out of the wrong place.”
“Falling down is an accident. Staying down is a choice.” — Rosemary Nonny Knight
Kotb followed this quote up with an equally inspiring reminder of her own: “If you’re down, try to at least get to your knees — then pray for the strength to stand back up again.”
“Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people.” — Karen Salmansohn
The anchor shared this quote along with a story about helping underprivileged kids get some of the items they wished for in their letters to Santa in 2016. The requests included simple, yet heart-breaking things like, “I just need some warm clothes, warm sweaters.” For Kotb, being able to provide those essentials reminded her (and all those involved in the project) that it truly is better to give than receive.
“My father said there were two kinds of people in the world: givers and takers. The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better.” — Marlo Thomas
This quote reminded Kotb of a time when Marlo Thomas invited her to visit one of the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospitals in Memphis, Tennessee. She braced herself for it to be “the most heartbreaking, terribly sad thing in the world.” Instead, she was led around by a young girl who showed off all the positivity and hope the hospitals are able to provide.
“Don’t wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul.” — Mario Quintana
Kotb shared this quote with a memory of “planting her own garden” when she drove out to the Florida Keys without any real sense what she hoped to find when she got there — but ended up having the time of her life fishing with people she’d never met before. “What a great reminder to at least crack open the door so something awesome can walk out,” she wrote.
“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” — Bob Marley
We’ve all been in situations where it feels like it would be easier to give into the fear and weakness “jumping up and down yelling, ‘Choose me!” as Kotb put it in the book. This quote acts a reminder that strength is always there as an option, too, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first.
“It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.” — Maya Angelou
Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things to master when we feel wronged. It can seem a lot easier to stubbornly hold onto a grudge, but as Kotb wrote, letting go of that isn’t a surrender. It’s actually a “graceful way of saying, ‘I’m taking back my peace of mind.”
“If you never try, you’ll never know what you’re capable of.” — John Barrow
This quote reminded Kotb of Empire actress Taraji P. Henson, whom she described as a “bright light” who never let anyone talk her out of achieving her dreams. When others told her it would be impossible to finish college as a single mom or start an acting career later in life, Henson refused to listen. “Thank you, Taraji, for showing us why it is so important to try,” Kotb wrote.
“So what. Now what?” — Linda Cliatt-Wayman
Linda Cliatt-Wayman, a principal from Philadelphia, used this phrase as a mantra to tackle any issue she faced while turning an underperforming school around. Kotb also included another thoughtful quote from Cliatt-Wayman that she told her students on a daily basis: “If nobody told you they loved you today, remember that I do and I always will.”