Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, is widely regarded as one of the greatest Jewish women in history. Her amazing life story contains lessons that apply to all of us.

Here are nine practical life lessons we can learn from Queen Esther:

1. Believe in your hidden powers.

Esther’s name means “hidden” in Hebrew. First, she kept hidden her identity as a Jew in the palace of the Persian king. She also didn’t lose hope when it seemed that G‑d’s protection of the Jewish people was in hiding. Even when she was sequestered in darkness, she called upon her strengths and courage to have an impact, and her actions ultimately saved the Jewish people. We too can tap into our own hidden powers and utterly transform events.1

2. Embrace your destiny.

At first Esther tried hiding from King Ahasuerus’s guards to avoid marrying him, but ultimately she couldn’t avoid the inevitable. When she was made queen, Mordechai, the leader of the Jews at the time, understood that “such a thing would not have happened to such a righteous woman unless she was destined to rescue her people [through it].” G‑d places us where we need to be in order to fulfill our mission in life.2

3. Let your inner beauty shine.

When contestants vying to be Ahasuerus’s new queen were brought to the palace, they were given a lengthy beauty regimen involving physical pampering and cosmetic treatments, but Esther declined those luxuries. Instead, it was her natural beauty that immediately captured the king’s attention above all the others. You are the best version of yourself.3

4. Be principled.

Even in the palace, Esther ate only kosher food. And when the king went out of his way to persuade her to tell him her national origin (he threw a party in her honor, gave tax breaks to citizens and considered marrying another), she held her ground. Let your principles guide you.4

5. We’re stronger together.

One of Haman’s complaints against the Jews was that they “a dispersed and disunited people.” In response, Esther told Mordechai to gather all the Jews. The best answer to hatred is unity.5

6. When in trouble, turn to G‑d.

Esther understood that the salvation of her people hinged on their special relationship with G‑d. Pleading at the feet of a mortal king was merely a facade behind which to disguise the Divine miracle. The true vehicle of their salvation would be repentance and prayer. First get in line with the Creator, then with His creations.6

7. Take the lead in action.

Esther set forth a plan for action, and Mordechai dutifully obeyed. “The act is the main thing,” says the Talmud. Because of her leadership, Esther saved her people, and the Megillah was named after her.7

8. Prepare to make sacrifices.

As queen, Esther would personally have been spared from the decree of annihilation, but she stood with her people. To make her case, she needed to approach the king without being summoned—a capital offense. And she did so, saying, “If I perish, I perish.”8

9. Never lose hope.

After the ordeal was over, Esther requested that her story be documented. What was Esther trying to accomplish in telling the Purim story? And what is her message to us? According to one commentary, the basic message of Esther’s story is this: No matter how hopeless your situation may seem, never lose hope.9