Kathie Lee Gifford shares inspiring quote she's lived by while at TODAY

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/ Source: TODAY
By Gina Vivinetto

Kathie Lee Gifford is opening up about the powerful mantra she's lived by during her 11 years at TODAY.

Kathie Lee shared the inspiring quote with her fourth-hour co-host, Hoda Kotb, as part of Hoda's "Quoted By ...with Hoda" series, in which celebrities share their favorite words of wisdom, comfort and inspiration.

"The (quote) I've been living by for about the past, I would say — since I got here — 11 years is 'My joy is non-negotiable,'" said the television legend, who's retiring from TODAY in early April.

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Kathie Lee then elaborated on the meaning behind the phrase.

"You've got to fight for joy in life. You've got to battle for it," she explained.

"Certain things are negotiable in life. You know, I'll give a little more time, I'll take a little less money, whatever," she continued, "but joy — if you don't have joy in your life, what do you have? What do you have that's more important than joy?"

Real joy, she said, comes from within: "Joy is internal. Joy is where that soul of yourself lives."

Were there ever times in Kathie Lee's life that she compromised her own joy, Hoda wondered.

"Sure, there are moments — and I'm sorry every time I've done it, every time," Kathie Lee shared. "I just go, 'Why didn't I just follow what I knew in my heart was right?'"

The beloved host also got candid about how her faith guides her decision-making.

"There's a little inner knowing we have. Some people call it a conscience ... Some people call it your best angel, or different things," she said. "For me, it's the Holy Spirit."

God, she said, will always guide us, "if we listen. If we only listen."