Knowing motivational vocabulary is great for encouraging your officemates and keeping morale up in the workplace. Your coworkers will be sure to appreciate your positive attitude around the office. Below you will find a vocabulary list of popular English-language idioms that refer to working hard and being successful at your job. Try choosing one of your favorite phrases from below (such as “the sky’s the limit!” or “dream big!”) or one of these 45 motivational phrases to hang up on the wall for inspiration as you work!
Key to success: The secret to being successful.
To keep (one’s) eye on the prize/ball: This phrase refers to the idea that one should focus on a good end result in order to succeed.
To go the extra mile: To do more work than is expected of one.
To hit the nail on the head: This phrase refers to having the right answer to a question, or pointing out a true fact.
To get down to business: If it is “time to get down to business,” then one should get serious and start working.
Smooth/clear sailing: This phrase refers to a situation where nothing goes wrong and goes quickly, smoothly, and easily, as according to plan.
The sky’s the limit: If “the sky's the limit,” then there are no limits. For example, if someone is told to order anything off a menu and that “the sky’s the limit,” then this person can buy anything and everything without worrying about the cost.
To take the bull by the horns: To deal with a hard situation directly.
To think/dream big: To set goals without worrying about limits or reality; to set high standards for oneself or one’s goals.
To think outside the box: To think in a creative way.
Key to Success: Vocabulary in Context
Today I had a meeting with my coworkers where we shared the best parts of our weeks. Linda reported that she had a great day yesterday: her boss asked her to write only a list of names of clients, but Linda decided to go the extra mile by adding the clients’ contact information to the list as well. Jerry had a good week as well, since he decided to take the bull by the horns yesterday by speaking directly with his boss about getting more funds for a project. The meeting Jerry had with his boss to solve this issue had no problems and was smooth sailing. When Jerry asked for a larger budget, his boss said that the sky’s the limit, so now he doesn’t have to worry about having enough money: he can dream big and think outside the box when deciding how to spend his funds on his ideas! Lucy also had a great week: she found that the key to success at her job is to keep her eye on the prize by focusing on her daily goals. Then Lucy really hit the nail on the head when she pointed out that many of us don’t get lots of work done because we spend time texting and chatting, instead of working. We decided to take Lucy’s advice and get down to business by going back to work on our projects.
Try practicing the Key to Success vocabulary with this!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anna Deen is a student at Washington University in St. Louis studying English Literature, American Culture Studies, and Communication Design. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the mountains, going to art museums, and eating ice cream.
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