A Woman Called Steve

take actionThis week at Community Chocolate we watched a TED Talk by a women who goes by the name of Steve.

Why Steve? Turns out it was the only way she could bring attention to herself and  (what would ultimately grow to be a $3 billion ) innovative software company she was building.

Her real name is Dame Stephanie Shirley and her  TED talk that inspired me so much is “Why do ambitious women have flat heads?”

Raised during the political strife of World War II in Europe,  Dame Stephanie Shirley is the most successful female tech entrepreneur you never heard of. In the 1960s, she founded a pioneering all-woman software company in the UK, which was ultimately valued at $3 billion, making millionaires of 70 of her team members.  She is currently one of England’s most prominent philanthropist and talks about why giving it away is so much more rewarding for her than making the money in the first place.

For me, Dame Stephanie embodies what it means to move forward and her level of resiliency and strength is motivating.  Some may classify her as one who takes massively powerful action, but I actually think there is an underlying theme behind it  – profound self belief.

Along with self belief she has an intertwining of “self value” as well as a deep desire to add value to the world.

When I consider the topic of productivity and making things happen I think ultimately,  it doesn’t feel as rewarding to just check things off a list. Dame Stephanie reminds us that taking action starts with a burning desire to achieve a result  and along with that result comes the riches of relationships, challenges, and life lessons.

For me personally the concept of taking action is very attractive.

This may not be news to you, but I am a contemplative person, sometimes it take me a little bit to get going and Dame Stephanie’s  talk encouraged me to both embrace how I do take action while also highlighting the importance of not waiting for the “ideal situation” or for every star to align.

She’s a strong , inspiring woman that consistently put her ideas into action.

I believe we all walked away from her talk uplifted, and motivated to breath new life into some of the ideas and projects that have been waiting for a green light.

During our conversation we considered several quotes from her talk as well as explored the idea of creating an “action habit” –   the habit of putting ideas into action NOW.  

I’ve included some of the ways you can grow your own “action habit” as well as the insights  the women in our community shared about them.

The action habit  is the habit of putting ideas into action now. Here are some ways to grow  your action habit:

Don’t wait until conditions are perfect or until the stars are aligned – There may always be something that isn’t quite right. If you wait to start until conditions are perfect, the chances are you probably never will. Perhaps the timing is off,  the environment doesn’t feel right, or the right people are not in our lives. In reality there is no perfect time to start. We have to take action and deal with problems as they arise.  The best time to start was last year. The second best time is right now.

2. Be a do-er - Practice doing things rather than thinking about them.  Do you want to start exercising? Do you have a great idea for a business? Do it today. The longer an idea sits in your head without being acted on, the weaker it becomes. After a few days the details gets hazy. After a week it’s forgotten completely. By becoming a doer you’ll get more done and stimulate new ideas in the process.

4. Use action to cure fear – Shift fear by taking action and build on that confidence.  Have you ever noticed that the most difficult part of public speaking is waiting for your turn to speak? Even professional speakers and actors experience pre-performance anxiety. Once they get started the fear disappears. Action is the best cure for fear. The most difficult time to take action is the very first time. After the ball is rolling, you’ll build confidence and things will keep getting easier..

5. Start your creative engine mechanically – One of the biggest misconceptions about creative work is that it can only be done when inspiration strikes. If you wait for inspiration to, your work sessions will be few and far between. Instead of waiting, start your creative motor mechanically. If you need to write something, force yourself to sit down and write. Put pen to paper. Brainstorm. Doodle. By moving your hands you’ll stimulate the flow of ideas and inspire yourself.

Live in the present- Focus on what you can do in the present moment. Don’t worry about what you should have done last week or what you might be able to do tomorrow. The only time you can affect is the present. If you speculate too much about the past or the future you won’t get anything done. Tomorrow or next week frequently turns into never.

7. It takes courage to take action – When you have a good idea, start implementing it  rather than waiting for others to  get on board. New ideas sometimes take a bit to catch on but once people  become aware of it they’re likely to participate.

This list was inspired by The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

 I hope to see you at a class or event at Community Chocolate soon, you never know what you may learn or who you may strike up a conversation with!



Community Chocolate…connection is sweet.

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