Think you don't have what it takes to reach your dreams? You might surprise yourself! Get a healthy dose of girl power from a few female Olympic medalists who have experienced the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat—and made their wildest dreams come true. Use their words of wisdom as inspiration to live the life that's always been waiting for you.

"Define success for you. Make it based on what you're doing and not what other people are doing, not based on someone else's interpretation of what you should be doing."

— Natalie Coughlin, swimming

"We're in swimsuits all the time. It's hard. As much as you work out, it's easy to freak out. We're all different body types. Just forget about the body you think you're supposed to have and just do your sport."

— Brenda Villa, water polo

"Don't stop believing, ever. I was a swimmer as a kid, and my sister and I would play in the pool and pretend we were at the Olympics. I got there—I just did it with a sport change. Be flexible and go for it!"

— Caroline Lind, rowing

"Being in the ring—going out there and kicking and punching. I love that I can go out and kick and punch without getting in trouble, and then if I want to go out in a skirt and heels I can do that too."

— Diana Lopez, tae kwon do

"You just need to remind yourself that [you] can do it. Keep believing in [your dreams]. Work with good people. Tell people about it even if it's only one person in your life. It can happen—put it on the mirror. You have to enjoy it and enjoy the process."

— Michelle Guerette, rowing

"[Feel confident by] being yourself, going out and having fun. And beating the boys! That's something that's lots of fun and definitely makes me feel strong."

— Kim Rhode, shooting

"Set pretty high goals. It won't be easy; the path won't be smooth. But don't let that keep you down."

— Mariel Zagunis, fencing

"Everybody's always trying to do something physical, but I would say feed your spirit more than anything cause I think that's where it all starts, especially for myself. When I'm healthy spiritually, I'm able to do any and everything that I put my mind to."

— DeLisha Milton-Jones, women's basketball

"Surround yourself around positive people and believe that you can get accomplished anything you put your mind to."

— Sylvia Fowles, women's basketball

"Enjoy the journey, 'cause that's the good times—the people and the experiences. Have fun. Anything worth having is worth the work."

Katie Smith, women's basketball

"Starting small and dreaming big is the biggest thing. We always say you have to begin with the end in mind, but then you have to go back and begin."

— Kara Lawson, women's basketball

"God has a place for everybody, so just trust in him and trust that he gave you the talent that he wanted, so you just got to roll with what you have."

— Bridget Sloan, women's gymnastics

"The road is not always easy, but that doesn't mean you should give up and not follow your dreams, because if you're dedicated enough to have that dream, it can definitely come true."

— Alicia Sacramone, women's gymnastics

"It's empowering being around women who have the same goal as you—we have nine people in a boat and one goal. Surround yourself with people who will help you achieve."

— Mary Whipple, rowing

"Never give up. I was at the Olympic trials in 2000 and 2004 and just missed making it both times. But I kept getting out there, and now I've made it."

— Diana Lopez, tae kwon do

"Being a working mom and doing all this, you can't do it alone. You've got to really pull on your friends and your family and look at all the resources you have available to you and use all those assets."

Gina Miles, equestrian and mother of two

"Just standing up and knowing I could represent other women, other cultures, Americans as a whole. I think that's something that brings me pride every day."

Tayyiba Haneef-Park, women's volleyball

"If you're not having fun doing what you're doing, I really think there's no reason to do it. I think there are other things you can do that you'll have a good time doing, so you definitely have to put your mind to it. Have a plan, but definitely have a good time at the same time."

— Lindsey Berg, women's volleyball

"In our sport, we're so fortunate because we have so much longevity. I'm 42 years old and I can still look forward to 2016 if I have a horse. I think my confidence has just come from experience. My first Olympics was Barcelona in '92.

"If you really want something bad enough, you can get it, and if something doesn't work, just keep trying new avenues until it happens. I think particularly women are very determined, and once they get sight of something, they can achieve most anything."

— Laura Kraut, equestrian

"Part of [achieving your dream is] not being afraid to take risks. I took a year off school [for the Olympics]. There were times when it was really hard. Just keep believin', keep truckin'."

— Elle Logan, rowing

"Sometimes we get so caught up into our goals and what we want to achieve and how we can achieve it, and we forget to have fun with life, just to live and be free and be happy. We're in America. Democracy at its best. Live it up."

— DeLisha Milton-Jones, women's basketball