Welcome to the Join Up Dots Podcast with Laura Steward
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Introducing Laura Steward
Laura Steward is todays guest joining us on the Join Up Dots podcast interview.
It’s with great delight that I welcome her onto todays show, as she is the a author of a very cool book called, What Would a Wise Woman Do: Questions to Ask Along the Way.
But don’t think for a moment that this is a show that will only apply to the ladies of the world, as this is all about living an amazing life, and working out the right questions to make this happen.
You see that is the subtle difference.
Most people go looking for the answers, but skip the most important part….the questions.
How The Dots Joined Up For Laura Steward
From the wisdom she learned at her mother’s side to the insight she gained baking pies with her Grandmother, our guest has developed an innate ability to ask the questions that propel business leaders and entrepreneurs to incredible achievements.
And this is where it gets really good.
It’s not about working from a higher level of consciousness.
Or having the inside track that has cost thousands of dollars to get.
Instead our guest works from a simple philosophy – “Treat people better than they expect to be treated”, and it is from this belief that she was able to carve her niche and stand out in the highly competitive IT field, building Guardian Angel Computer Services from a sole employee business into a leading provider of Managed Technical Services.
And we can all do that can’t we?
Teat people well, help people get everything they want in life, enjoy ourselves doing it and see the amazing life start forming around us!
But of course the million dollars question is why do people have a hard time buying into such a simple premise that leads towards success?
And of course having a wise woman on the show, what are the key questions that we should be asking ourselves on a daily basis to help us along the way?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots, with the one and only Laura Steward.
During the episode we discussed such weighty topics with Laura Steward such as:
How Downton Abbey has made her realise that even in television dramas people do not know the proper questions to ask as to why they are in certain situations.
How her first love in life was to be an astronaut, and believed that being a woman was going to stop her from achieving her dream of going into space.
Why she sees the work and life of Angelina Jolie as creating a state in the actresses life that is one of peace and contentment, which she wants very much herself.
How one of her favourite things in life is to ask people to write down their goals and drill down five times to really understand why they have set those goals.
How she realises when she is purely herself and not trying to be what anybody else wants us to be then its like she has been sprinkled with rocket power!
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Full Transcription Of Laura Steward Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:26]
Yes, hello there everybody. How are we? Are we ready for another episode? stupid question whether you’re listening to this, so you must be Yes, it’s Episode 307. We’re coming live from the United Kingdom. And once again, I’m crossing the pond. I actually just live in America be so much easier because I seem to spend all my time speaking to lovely folk that are over there. And so it’s with great delight but welcome on today’s show a lady who is the author of a very cool book called what would a wise woman do questions to ask along the way, but don’t think for a moment that This is a show that will only apply to the ladies of the world. As this is all about living an amazing life and working out the right questions to make this happen. You see, that is the subtle difference. Most people go looking for the answers, but skip the most important part the questions. From the wisdom she learned at our mother’s side to the insight she gained baking pies with a grandmother. Our guest has developed an innate ability to answer questions that propel business leaders and entrepreneurs to incredible achievements. And this is where it gets really good. You say it’s not about working from a higher level of consciousness or having the inside track that has cost thousands of dollars to get now instead of our guest works from a simple philosophy treat people better than they expect to be treated. And it’s from this belief that she was able to carve a niche and stand out in the highly competitive it field building guardian angel Computer Services from a sole employee business into a leading provider of managed technical services. And we can all do that can’t wait we can treat people well help people get everything they want in life. Enjoy ourselves doing it and see the amazing life start forming around us. Because the million dollar question is why do people have a hard time buying into such a simple premise that leads towards success? And of course, having a wise woman on the show what are the key questions that we should be asking ourselves on a daily basis to help us along the way? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start Join Up Dots with the one and only Laura Steward. How are you?
Laura Steward [2:26]
I am wonderful. It’s so great to talk to you across the pond. I’ve been watching Downton Abbey for the first time ever. So this is great that I’m getting to actually speak to somebody with your accent.
David Ralph [2:36]
We are all like Downton Abbey, every single one of us. Although I think I would be in the servants quarters. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’d be a bad. I’ve never watched Downton Abbey at all. And it’s only because my friend said to me, he said if you’re ever sitting on the sofa, watching Downton Abbey next to a man, you’re sitting next to a homosexual and I thought to myself, well that’s not the kind of programme I want I’ve got nothing nothing against homosexuals good on you. But um no he kind of tarnish the image of Downton Abbey for me but I did see the comedy bit with George Clooney in it. Did you see that?
Laura Steward [3:11]
I have not seen that one. I’m gonna have to search for that one
David Ralph [3:14]
you googling after it’s not doing a show though. Laura, Google it and do Downton Abbey tech centre. And there’s part one, part two now I haven’t seen the programme. But I thought the actual the the comedy aspect was great when they took the the kind of premise of It’s a Wonderful Life that James Stewart classic christmas film and they put it into Downton Abbey solely the head guy Hugh Bonneville says to himself, I wish I wasn’t here. And he suddenly gets transported into alternate Downton Abbey when it’s all gone to pot and people are doing amazing things and, and the head of it is George Clooney. And it’s, it’s brilliant how they actually they took the aspects of the story apparently and Just twisted it slightly but comic effect. So it’s certainly worth watching after the show.
Laura Steward [4:05]
I will definitely do that. You know, what I found interesting was all my friends, men and women were saying you have to watch this. It’s an amazing series, especially with a lot of the work you you do with people. And I never gotten around to it. And all of a sudden I said to my mother, I caregiver for my mom and she lives with me. Let’s just watch it. So I’m curious. And from we’ve gone through two seasons so far, we’ve been watched a season at a sitting over a weekend. And what I love is what happens when they’re not asking great questions, and I never expected that to happen.
Unknown Speaker [4:45]
Well, what does that mean?
David Ralph [4:47]
What does it mean? Well, to two questions, I’m gonna jump in there because I’m the host. And so I’m gonna control this conversation. But I’m absolutely when you’re saying you’ve got to watch this because of the work you do. I’m struggling to see. Okay. connection between what I read earlier and Downton Abbey. So what what does that mean, first of all?
Laura Steward [5:06]
Well, I work a lot with people who are trying to understand better who they are, what their businesses are. And they’re realising that they’re they haven’t been asking the right questions. They’ve been asking questions to get the answers they want, versus the answers they need. So everything they do every answer, they here has a particular perspective in mind, but they’re recognising that’s not working for them anymore, that they have to shift their perspective. And I couldn’t understand how watching Downton Abbey would be all about that. But watching the first few episodes when with the laws in Britain, where if the family has no sons, the daughters can’t inherit, and therefore somebody very disconnected from you. generationally may end up inheriting your state. And this one guy, Matthew Crowley is now the air. But he was middle class. He was a working man. He was a lawyer, so his upper middle class, but he didn’t believe in the whole Gentry and the Lords and the ladies. And all of a sudden he gets immersed in this world where he has to have a butler and a maid and all this and he doesn’t want to have them. And I can understand where that perspective would come. This man’s done everything in the world for himself. And the Lord finally says to him, why are you disrespecting? That man’s profession, his butler, he takes pride in what he does, that’s how he earns his living. And by you not allowing him to do that for you. You’re disrespecting him. And it awoken him to a whole new perspective. That Wait a minute, just because I think this is what it should be. That’s not how this person believes. So I need to open myself up and ask another question around it. And he did. And all of a sudden, he understood how the people below stairs felt, or maybe feeling when he wouldn’t allow them to do something for him. I can say it’s brilliant.
David Ralph [7:20]
Yeah, I can see that because I think I’ve had my own Downton Abbey moment. Because when I started getting this show together, I was doing everything myself. And so many people were saying, you’ve got to delegate you gotta delegate. And I was no, no, no, I can just do it quicker. I can just do it quicker. And there was a there’s a thing about me, but I was thinking, Oh, I don’t want to pay for somebody to do a job that I can do quite easily. But when somebody said to me, that person wants to do that job and you’re making their life better, because you’re allowing them to do it, and there was that kind of class system in my in my head somehow, but I was thinking, just just do it yourself, you know, is easy. Yeah, and you don’t want to treat people badly by by paying them to do a job that is kind of beneath you. You don’t want to do it. And there’s not much difference between that is there and what you’re saying in Downton Abbey?
Laura Steward [8:12]
No, there’s really not. But that you that’s huge awareness to have. Because somebody is probably thinking the same thing about you. Right? You know, you talk about, we both interview people, occasionally you interview a lot more people than I do. And look at celebrity interviews, how many of them has kind of stand themselves apart from the host? They sort of look at them and go, Well, I must be saying these certain things and I must hold myself a certain way. But they never really connect with the host and the host may just want to be asking a question that the guest doesn’t want to answer, say the A listers and the be listers, and then you get somebody who just wants to share share their life. They want to open up, they want people to know who they are.
Isn’t that more powerful and respectful? What I you
David Ralph [9:12]
know, I certainly think it is. Are you one of those people that like to share and be open?
Laura Steward [9:18]
I am I mean, I’ve been told when I’ve walked off stage, we can’t believe you shared what you shared about your life. I mean, I do it in my book, I share very personal things. I’ve had some friends of mine alone, hundred million dollar companies, who knew me as I was growing my business and working with CEOs and stuff, say, the first time we read your book, we couldn’t handle it. And I’m like, why? And they said, because you’re always so successful. And then we realised, for you to as a type A personality, to bear your show, soul and share what went on in your brain before what we saw physically. occur, the thoughts that you made? Actually, you helped people. Because most people don’t know what goes on in the brains of people who are successful, they just see the outcome. So they make assumptions. So I like to share the process. Because I think it helps
David Ralph [10:20]
when it does help, doesn’t it, it makes it stronger as well. You know, I, I will naturally migrate towards people that are kind of openly flawed, but overcoming those flaws more than somebody who just looks like they’re perfect, and they’re just breezing through life. Because after doing this show for 307 episodes, I know that every single person has the same fears, the same doubts, the same struggles. It’s just how we cover it. Now. I’ve had moments in my life when I have been so under the cosh. It’s untrue. You wouldn’t notice it from the outside. I just kind of swallow it all up. But when I do, share You realise that people like that don’t like it’s not gossip, it’s not juiciness. They like that rawness because then they can feel the trust that they’re going to get from you. And that is power.
Laura Steward [11:11]
And they feel connected in a way because they can relate. I can’t relate to perfect people, I’m not perfect, I make mistakes, sometimes a lot of them and it’s what you do after you’ve stumbled. That’s what makes you somebody to look up to somebody to follow somebody to learn from. If you don’t make any mistakes, what can somebody learn from you?
David Ralph [11:40]
So So if we take you back in time law to the to the younger version of you, you you went from being well, it seemed to me that did you actually want to build your IT company or did it kind of start to form around you? Because I was getting the flavour that you were trying one or two different things and then you suddenly start bumbled across something that you was naturally good at.
Laura Steward [12:03]
Well, I wanted to be an astronaut.
David Ralph [12:06]
So I take that as a noted,
Laura Steward [12:08]
yeah, I got into technology. I was born in 1963. So I’m 51 years old. I was born when the space race just got started. When technologies so not what it is today, podcast didn’t exist. Radio was around TV was there I remember black and white TVs I remember no remote controls. I was the remote control for my parents TV get up and change the channel or and there were four channels. And we had the rabbit ears and sometimes you had kind of had to stand balancing on a leg holding the rabbit ear in a certain direction with your body for the signal to come in stronger. But the space race came out and I really wanted to be an astronaut but I was a woman and women didn’t become astronauts women were not in technology back in In the 60s there were no computers that I could ever access. I remember when my father’s company got computer with a punch card and I first time I saw the punch cards, I thought they’re really cool. And I started punching out every hole in the punch card because I thought it was really fun.
David Ralph [13:20]
I think that that’s the my memory somehow.
Laura Steward [13:23]
Yeah. And I realised that if I was going to get involved with the Space Programme at any point, that I was going to need to do something with technology because I didn’t want to go into the military. Because frankly, I don’t like taking orders. Which is probably why I ended up having my own business for a year
David Ralph [13:41]
now it’s because you were a woman. That’s the difference.
Unknown Speaker [13:45]
Oh, really? Why Why is that
David Ralph [13:46]
women don’t take oldest and I’ve never met a woman in middle life. It would take a take an order.
Laura Steward [13:53]
So you think we just let you think we’re,
David Ralph [13:56]
I think backs exactly what you do. And then you cleverly make Neat polite us men to get your own way in the long run.
Laura Steward [14:03]
Wow, that’s I wish I could have actually made that happen. I’m divorced twice
in my life I wasn’t really good at making all that work. Did you see that
David Ralph [14:15]
as a trait you know, being serious we Ladies Ladies, I generally will find but if they go the manly route in corporate gigs, and so they they play the sort of the main role. It doesn’t work. It just seems to, I don’t know, to block against stuff. But when they when they play cleverly the wise women Well, I suppose. And they they move through subtly. They’re far more effective in the long run. Is that my manly perspective or or can you see that as well?
Laura Steward [14:46]
I could definitely see that. I mean, if I think if a man or a woman is too far, into either being a man role or a woman role or being more connected to their feminine side or more connected to their male side, you can be labelled a woman can be labelled with the B word, especially in corporate life. I, I know, as a woman, I tend to think very strategically versus tactically, strategy comes first for me, where do I want my end goal to be? And then I think of the tactics that I need to do to help me achieve that strategy. And I’m constantly reevaluating that as things go along. So I could see how you could think that a woman can sort of manipulate some of those needs or outcomes that they’d like to have. I don’t think most women do it on purpose. I think we’re just evaluating constantly at least I am what’s going on in their environment around I worked corporate for another number of years, and I, in some cases, I did technology support for CEOs of Fortune 20 companies when I was corporate, and then I did that as well when I own my own company. But, you know, like what I learned along the role the process of owning my own business was, I can’t take orders. Because most the time I’m given orders that I don’t understand why. Yeah, hi, is my most favourite question in the world. If I understand the why behind something I’m being asked to do, and the longer term where that fits in, I’ll support you 1,000%. But if you just give me a blind order, which is why I could never go into the military, which is why I never ended up as an astronaut but ended up in the tech world because I found I was really good at it. And I love to Technology. It’s because I get to understand the why.
David Ralph [17:04]
And this is why you went in the entrepreneurial route is this is the crux of how you left corporate and you moved into creating your own business because but when it’s your own business, it’s literally the eye and away all the time, isn’t it?
Laura Steward [17:18]
It is, it is. But you also have to understand your clients, why your employees Why? And the communities why around you, your peers, and that helps you understand what the next step is and what the next leap is. And I ended up starting my tech company. What I thought was by accident, but you know, you talk about Join Up Dots, it’s one of my favourite things to do is look at how situations that I thought at times were bad situations, ended up developing into some of the most amazing things that ever happened in my life.
David Ralph [18:00]
Is that a positive for you? The fact that you can see those dots those those bad dots that become good does does that give you faith to go forward at greater speed?
Laura Steward [18:11]
It certainly does. Because if I could not see that silver lining in the cloud, if I couldn’t see the positives that can that often comes almost every time in my life comes from a negative if I’m willing to look and see how those dots link up, I probably wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning. My faith is very strong because of it.
David Ralph [18:33]
And is that the kind of thing that stops people making a move making a change and I have to keep on emphasising this because I don’t want Join Up Dots to be an entrepreneurial, take your leap, make the most of it kind of show I want it for people to if I am in a corporate gig but they love doing brilliant, that that’s all we would want. Just be happy in whatever you’re doing. But so many people can’t see until they’ve gone through a certain amount that the bad dots do become the good dots, they will look at the next step as too much of a stretch for them, even though they can transition naturally towards it until it’s not too big a stretch, do you see that?
Laura Steward [19:16]
I do. I do. And I call people that are in corporate life that are very happy being in corporate life, but want to sort of get more enjoyment more out of it, I call them intrapreneurs as opposed to entrepreneurs, where they’re starting their own thing, well, that’s good. You can work corporate, but still have an entrepreneurial philosophy about your job and how it impacts other people.
David Ralph [19:46]
Did you do kind of envy intrapreneurs because I used to, I was never one. I always was thinking of wanting to be amazing to do this. And it was always things that I knew that ultimately I had to do myself. I used to look at people that would come in, and they would do their work. And I would happily go off to lunch with their friends and I would come home and in the evening there was a right see it somehow. And it was they just seem to be content with life. Have you ever had that sort of envy when you you’re pushing your business up the hill and you feel it’s all on your shoulders? And it’s, it’s a struggle? Do you ever look at them and think, Oh, I’d be so much easier if I could just do that. But know in your heart of hearts, you can’t.
Laura Steward [20:27]
Yes, I have envy at times for people I know that just seemed so happy with their life the way it is. They seem content and everything that I see about them shows that content, but then that person deep inside of me wonders Is that really what they’re presenting on the outside is really what’s going on in the inside. Well once you pick that
David Ralph [20:53]
then what what can’t you think just but they are happy
Laura Steward [20:58]
because in my life Life what I’ve seen is there aren’t a lot of people that are truly happy. They like to believe they’re happy. And I love meeting people that really, truly are happy. I read an article about Angelina Jolie the other day. And, you know, she went from this really crazy wild child to this amazing woman, mother, Ambassador to the world philanthropist. And the woman who was interviewing her was following her around as she was filming unbroken and doing a lot of the work in the refugee camps. And she said she had interviewed her way, way back in the early Angelina Jolie’s and what she saw was a piece inside her now that she had never seen and When we started this conversation today, you had said, you know, like, what’s a one question or whatever? And for me, the question I like to ask is, what would a wise woman do? Or what would somebody wiser than me do? And I always think of that person like they described Angelina Jolie that is at peace with himself. And you can see it, there’s a difference between somebody who’s just happy with what’s going on in their life and somebody who is at peace with their world
can just be with themselves.
David Ralph [22:33]
Yeah, I know what you’re saying. And now I’ve got a chap coming back on the show. And he’s, he’s one of the rare breed that’s going to come back twice because I always say at the end of the show, please come back again, when you have more dots to join up. And he’s he’s creating more jobs, more dots. And he is now when I spoke to him, he was in a business suit. He was very focused on the online environment, and he was very smart. Very debonair. And you just saw him sort of working Wall Street, that kind of image, you know, slick. And when the next time I caught up with him was on Facebook, funnily enough, and he looked at Jesus, and His hair was long, and he grown a beard. And he was wearing sort of very loose clothing. And he was wearing sandals about, wow, what a difference is. And so I sort of contacted him and said, You know, this is amazing, what’s the change? And he said, I’m now trying to find out what I’m about. And he is totally at peace with himself. He seems to have found a state in his life, that he’s not forcing the issue. He’s just living the issue. And at the moment, he is trying to scare himself every day to see how he can get over that. So he’s written this list of all the things that terrify him, and he’s just on his journey every day he looks at and goes, Oh my god, I’m doing this today. But he going out to do it. And then afterwards, I mean, look, whatever that wasn’t too bad in He’s trying to next thing because he wants to see how far he can push himself what bigger version of himself he can be. But he still seems at peace as well. He seems like driven peace if that makes sense to you.
Laura Steward [24:15]
I do I it makes total sense to me and that’s the difference between do I envy somebody who just seems happy and and content and you know they can do their jobs and come back. Yeah, in a way but what I envy more are the people that seem it peace with whatever goes on in their life.
Unknown Speaker [24:37]
You and it’s not
Laura Steward [24:40]
even out. Right now I am in a another transition phase. I recently got divorced, my beloved dog of nine years passed away last month. So and thank you, and I’m realising that I love what I do. I love writing. But I’ve been struggling the last few years with some caring for everybody else. caregiving for my mom, I was caregiving for my ex husband, my dog who had bladder cancer for a year, and I’d put aside what my needs were and what my wants were. But I hadn’t realised that’s what I was doing is very unconscious thing, because it was easier to just kind of go along with the flow. So right now, no, I’m still struggling because I’m a hyper achiever, and I’m used to running businesses that were multistate companies, and in going into fortune 50 companies and analysing their technology and going, here’s what you need to do. I’m used to speaking on large stages. But there’s something I’m missing and I’m not quite sure what that is yet. So I’m in an exploratory phase for myself of asking myself some different questions because I think questions change at different moments in your life if you’re open to listening to what’s happening around you, and what’s happening inside of you. So I am not 100% at peace yet but I’m at peace with the fact that something shifted shifting. Does that make sense? He does. It’s, it’s,
David Ralph [26:23]
I’m going to play some words in a moment from that Jim Carrey says, which I think is so powerful. But I know exactly what you’re talking about how everything seems to be all right on the outside, but just inside, there’s something lacking but you don’t really know what it is. And I think that is one of the things that makes us human, isn’t it really, where we can be driven to find something, but we don’t even know what it is we’re looking for in the first place, but you just you just know in your heart of hearts, but there’s something more and I find a lot of time with the guys and the ladies that I’ve been speaking to it seems like They get to a point that success, wealth, status and all those kind of things suddenly don’t have the shine. But they did. And they start looking at themselves and thinking, what why? Why am I feeling this way I’ve been driven to get to this point, I’ve been driven to achieve, I’ve been driven to get the big house, the car or whatever. And now I’ve got them. I don’t feel like they’re as good as they should be. And so they start turning their attention inwardly, and they realise, but actually, there’s a simplicity of life. It’s about providing value to other people, but naturally is opposed to them. And I see that with you. Just the fact that your whole focus is treat people better than they expect to be treated. It almost seems to me when you’re talking but you do that all the time. And the part that you’re looking for is that other people treat you better when you expect to be treated, but you’re not getting that it’s it seems like you’re giving, giving, giving, but every now and again, you just Need a little bit back, if that makes sense?
Laura Steward [28:04]
Well, I wish you could see my face right now, because you just gave me an aha, and a piece that I hadn’t seen yet.
David Ralph [28:16]
That’s what we do on Join Up Dots. We get deep. I’m gonna play some words and then I’m gonna come back and ask you what are hobbies? This is Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey [28:25]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [28:52]
So let’s just talk about those words. First of all, before we turn the focus back on you, is that a powerful statement to give out to the world as to Jim Carrey, being a comedian being a Hollywood actor, but you don’t expect him to say those kinds of things as he hit the nail on the head, but we should really go for a life that we love because we might fail at both.
Laura Steward [29:14]
I had never heard that quote before listening to your show. And I really feel it’s one of the most powerful statements about the world, and about what we’ve come to sort of allow that we must do this, we should do this. And then you get to a point where you’re living a life of shoulda woulda coulda, instead of a life that brings you peace and a life. It’s the purpose of who you are. I love that quote. I think it’s absolutely brilliant and I love that Jim Carrey did it because we tend to think of Jim Carrey as just as crazy comedian, but he also battles depression. And he has done some amazing dramatic roles as well. The, but we’ve started to pigeonhole him, which is why his comment stands out so much more. To be a true comedian. You have to have depth.
Unknown Speaker [30:24]
I love that he shared it.
David Ralph [30:25]
Yeah, I heard that the first time. And it was like a hammer blow to my head. It really was it. It’s, it’s so simple, but it’s so deep as well. And I like the fact that you can look at it at many different angles. You can look at it from his dad’s side. And yes, he had belief but he didn’t have quite enough belief. So he went the conservative route, then you can look at it from the middle bit. But yeah, the safe conservative conservative route turned out not to be safe because they they got rid of him. So where do you go in life? Do you go for the thing that you love most and really work? card at it because you love it most. And I personally believe you’ve got more chance to achieve that because of it because you’re going to go the extra mile, or do you play safe? And then one day the boss comes in and says, thank you very much two businesses closing. You’ve got six weeks, oh my god, what do you do? And it’s it’s really covers the spectrum of life in that one sentence, doesn’t it?
Laura Steward [31:22]
It really, really does. You know, you asked how I got to the starting that the tech company that I owned, I was working corporate. And I was actually in England for six weeks, helping convert some mainframe systems to smaller level server systems. And they sent a notice to me saying that there was going to be a voluntary layoff. So you could choose a package and decide to leave the company with some money in hand and some health benefits or whatever because they were trying to show The Workforce voluntarily as opposed to involuntary layoffs. And I wasn’t going to take it because I believed I loved my job and I had planned on being there for a number of years further, even though I had sort of hit the top of my salary and whatever, but I was enjoying it. And I came back from England and they questioned $100 Now remember, this is a fortune 75 company I was working for okay. They questioned a $100 limo ride home from the airport on my expense report. And for whatever reason, that was the straw that broke my back. I couldn’t understand it as a woman travelling alone. Why they were questioning the only aberration mine on my expense report at all. Because I ate in the hotels in the hotel and had a rental car and that was all that was on my expensive port for six weeks. They question this limo ride home from the airport. And I ended up changing my mind on taking the package and took it.
Just that little thing that they did, what put me over the edge.
And I decided to start my company because with six months pay and a year as medical benefits, I figured what better time and I didn’t look back for 15 years until I sold the company.
David Ralph [33:31]
Do people actually have to rally against something because I had the straw that broke the camel’s back as well. And I look back on it now and I think it wasn’t too bad really. But at the time, it seemed the worst thing and it was just dreadful. But I’ve got sort of rose tinted glasses with it all now and I just think I think I was going through a phase but it still was that subtle shift, but made me think I can’t do this anymore and pushed me on to where my am now. And God, I’m glad it happened because I’m in such a better place. I’m loving my life. I’m loving these jobs. I love having conversations with you. And it’s just it’s all good. But it doesn’t have to be sort of like, I don’t know, earth shattering to make you want to do that if the time is right for you to do that when you feel it, almost in you, but anything that comes along, if it knocks me nose out of joint bang, that’s going to happen.
Laura Steward [34:27]
If you do the Join Up Dots idea if I take back from that questioning of my expense report that one day, and I start lining up dots before that, there were more feather sort of moments that were letting me know I wasn’t really happy and that it wasn’t where I needed to stay leading up to that moment. That created the moment of change. There were, I couldn’t get promoted, but others around me were getting promoted. And it frustrated me. There were my salary was what we call in the United States, red circled, I don’t know what you call it over there, where I was at the top of my salary range, so they couldn’t give me an increase. Even though I got fives on my reviews, and they couldn’t tell me to go to dinner or take an extra day off, and I got frustrated because I felt unappreciated. There were all these other things that were happening that I didn’t pay attention to. So I believe that God or the universe of people feel that way. gives us something that polarises us enough that we have to take notice. I like to call it the Find your eggs syndrome. Have you seen the movie runaway bride? I know you like movies. Yes, yes,
David Ralph [35:55]
I’ve seen that one a couple of times. Actually. Not as good as pretty woman but it’s still pretty good.
Laura Steward [36:00]
Yeah, and you know the scene where she keeps running away from everybody just before she gets married. And Richard Gere confronts her on it and asked her What’s her favourite kind of eggs? What’s her favourite activity and everyone, everything she mentions is, whatever the guy she’s dating, favourite kind of eggs or favourite activity and stuff like that. And she runs away. And this is a spoiler alert for anybody listening, haven’t seen the movie. She runs away from the altar with Richard Gere. And then they cut to a scene of her with every kind of egg imaginable made in her house, and she’s trying each different one to find out what it is she likes. And it’s only when she knows what kind of eggs she likes, which is a metaphor for finding out what drives her who she really is. And she begins that process. So she’s found her eggs that she can have others in her life that she can have that peace within her.
David Ralph [36:58]
So let’s open another Using that metaphor, and inside that egg bears that aha moment that we talked about back there. I wish I was on webcam. So I could have seen your face. But well, What went through your mind when we were talking about you needing to have people treat you better? Just for that moment? It was that? I don’t know, what was was that a moment that was waiting to happen? Was that why it was an aha moment?
Laura Steward [37:27]
Yeah, cuz I never saw it from that perspective. I do like to anticipate what somebody needs are and treat them better than that. And I’m very good at it. But I never looked at it as well. Maybe I don’t feel that I’ve gotten that as often as I’d like it in my own life. And it made me start thinking that perhaps that’s where some of that comes from. That I’m looking for somebody to take care of me, somebody you know, and I’m a very independent woman.
David Ralph [38:08]
I think you want to be valued, though, don’t you just, you know, that’s a human nature and just the fact that you’re getting five stars on your report, and I couldn’t just say go out for dinner. You know, that’s not a lot, but the you backs a lot. And I think it’s just those small gestures. It’s so small, with fractions of value that people can throw your way. really hit home because you don’t get those. You’re pushing it all the other way. And I think that’s why when you look back on those sort of accounts and stuff with the limo, that’s why it stuck in your throat so much because you were thinking, hang on, I’m giving so much to this company. I’m doing everything for you. You can’t just do about one thing.
Laura Steward [38:51]
Yeah, and in that particular situation, the person was supposed to pick me up at the airport just before I left Heathrow called and had an emergency and they were having Take their mom to the hospital. And I couldn’t figure out how I was going to get from JFK to where I lived. And I just happen to know a limo company. So I called them up. I really couldn’t even think of another option. It wasn’t like I was trying to take money from the company. I was working for something I needed to get home from the airport. And it seemed the best way to get there.
David Ralph [39:25]
Well, he does, doesn’t he? I know. Yeah, you know, I would probably jump on the two body underground or whatever. Because that wasn’t
Laura Steward [39:33]
David Ralph [39:34]
That wasn’t an option. But as a lady sort of late at night, you would just say, be safe, just jump in something and get home and that’s where it all is. Did you think actually, because you are, quote unquote, a wise woman? Do you think that you could see something that the others couldn’t say I you could see that this was the simple approach. This was the quick efficient way of getting a job done, but they would look at it slightly differently because they don’t ask the same questions.
Laura Steward [40:05]
Absolutely. And I like to when I’m asking questions, especially if I’m asking questions of a client, I try to put myself in their shoes. Because you have to look at somebody else’s perspective. I could understand after a little while, where they were coming from, but they never even bother trying to figure out where my thought processes were coming from.
David Ralph [40:26]
And does that just give you scope and depth for when you’re writing your book? Do all these experiences just help you write pages?
Laura Steward [40:37]
Thank you do they definitely do it? I love people watching. I don’t know if you do. Obviously you love people because you you have your podcast, which is so much fun to listen to. I like people I like understanding what goes on in their brains and why they make the choices They make and one of my favourite exercises to do with people is to have them write down their goals and then ask themselves why that goal five times not just once because we ask yourself why you picked that goal once you’re going to get the the very top level answer but if you ask yourself why five times you’re going to get to the true reason behind why you’re doing something.
David Ralph [41:28]
So we need to come up with a different answer each time so you do you do so you can’t just say the same thing five times.
Laura Steward [41:35]
No defeats the purpose.
David Ralph [41:37]
Okay, so you really digging down
Laura Steward [41:40]
you’re really digging down and sometimes when you ask yourself why the first time on your goal, it’s it’s because
I’m really good at it. Or
everybody in my family does that or I’ve had this answer from people, somebody died and I couldn’t take care of him. So I had to become a doctor. And that’s where it gets to by like the fifth, why is the real driver behind why that goal and then you look at your goal and say to yourself, well, was that my goal for myself or somebody else’s goal for me. And if you’re living your life, achieving goals that are somebody else’s goal for you, whether it’s society’s goals, or family goals, or whatever, that’s when you get to what you were talking about. People who are achieving their say, working on wall street or their you know, even in political roles or their celebrities and then all of a sudden, they have that, as this other person’s coming back on the show. Now they’re looking like Jesus wearing sandals when they’re in business suits because it wasn’t the right path. they realise there’s something more to it. There’s there’s a new goal and they’re finding out what they’re about.
David Ralph [43:05]
So So have you been on the right path? Or have you just been on a path? Can Can you see, but you haven’t quite got to where you need to be.
Laura Steward [43:17]
I feel that all of the choices I’ve made all of the paths that I’m on, are leading to something. And all of the experience I had have enabled me to unlock another piece that helps me get closer to fully who I am.
David Ralph [43:42]
And have you got any sort of clear understanding because one of the things that comes up time and time and time in Join Up Dots is the end goal is actually your authentic self. The end goal is actually the very small Laura, who used to run around doing things as a small child. That she loved. And when people stumble across VAT, and I were talking about this the other day, I’ve just got back into jigsaw puzzles. And he’s only I love jigsaw puzzle. And I yeah, I haven’t done them for years. But my daughter, who’s now nine has suddenly got into jigsaw puzzles. And she’s been saying, Dad, what are you doing with me? And I go, Yeah, okay. And after three back to back, I actually had to say to my wife, no more because I get obsessed. Once it’s on the table. I just keep on walking past and thinking, I’ll just do that. Oh, and I’m sitting there for about 20 minutes putting pieces in you know, and I said to a no more, no more. I’m not gonna do any more. That’s it. And then we were going past a charity shop today and I saw these jigsaw puzzle thousand piece ones for 50 pins. And I went Come on this by a couple of them. And it’s taken me back to who I was. As a small child. I used to love doing jigsaw puzzles, and I’ve now found it again. So can you see that your ultimate path is going to be closely linked to the things you love doing as a young lawyer.
Laura Steward [45:00]
I definitely see that because as I’ve gotten older and life, and happenings taking care of my parents and things like that, I stopped having fun. Because there was just so much to do, and you become very busy. And what I want to discover now is who the adult Laura, is that and what is fun for her. And each time I find another piece of that, what one of the things I discovered is I love speaking on stage. I love that moment when I have learned to be open to what ever happens. And I’ve had hysterical things happen to me on stage that the first time things would happen and I’d stumble or words would come out of my mouth and I’m like, What did I just say? I would try to make it seem okay. And I’ve learned to go, well, where did that come from? And I’ve said it right on stage, or I’ve laughed at myself. And I’ll go, Well, there’s obviously somebody in the audience that that was meant for. So whoever it is, just come find me afterwards, let me know. So I didn’t feel like a total fool up here for no reason. And there’s always somebody that comes up to me and said, It wasn’t until you did that.
That I got what you were talking about. not supposed
to tell me how their life began to shift because of that.
David Ralph [46:38]
And what you’re doing, what you’re doing very well is you’re playing, you are making life fun, because you’re doing what you were born to do. And that is the big mindset bit that that’s the thing that people struggle with. And I struggled with it the years but I knew it when I was a trainer and I used to stay end up and I used to enjoy myself and I used to do silly things and I used to love and it was just playing in front of people kind of audience showing off. And it was great and I was at my most effective when I was doing that because people naturally liked it and enjoyed what I was doing. And part of me used to think this is brilliant. I shouldn’t be being paperless this this is perfect. And that’s what you’re doing as well. When you get to that point where you just don’t care really you’re just having fun and you’re enjoying yourself. The world embraces back because you are playing totally to the strengths that you were given your being Laura steward and that one person in the audience or whoever will connect to you more than they would have done if you were playing the part and I see that all the time. The people that were really rocking and rolling the people that really doing stuff that they love, and the real you know, the Branson’s that Tom Hanks is and all these kind of big guys that just enjoying themselves on night. They did. They’ve got things that You wake up every morning go Yeah, I fancy doing that today. Yeah, I fancy playing Forrest Gump to and I fancy going up into space and I fancy bass and it’s that world that becomes fancy just because you fancy doing it, you’re playing bass when you successful.
Laura Steward [48:17]
They’re altering the world flaws and all.
Unknown Speaker [48:21]
And it’s okay.
Unknown Speaker [48:24]
David Ralph [48:26]
because this is the taping to this, you seem to strive to put your best foot forward all the time and seem in control. But then when you open your mouth, or you write in the book, and you share your floors, people were surprised and people went, Wow, this is really open. This is really honest. And that’s that’s a kind of weird dichotomy, isn’t it? Really?
Laura Steward [48:53]
It is. I mean, growing up, I always felt I had to be perfect. My brother died when I was 10 years. is old and it really set off a lot of patterns in my life, and I was always the good girl. I was always perfect and as I’ve gotten older in my life what I’ve realised is that striving to be perfect. never brought me peace never brought me happiness. It’s only when I was me. flaws and all no makeup. Although I do enjoy the way I look with makeup, but you know, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt and sneakers.
And I was comfortable. I’ve actually had the biggest impact
when that’s who I was. Versus the good girl. Perfect.
Unknown Speaker [49:56]
That makes sense. He does
David Ralph [49:57]
and he’s funny. I’ve got a lady coming. Next week, who was Miss America 1982. And her whole branding is the fact no more good girls, and just be yourself and people like it, they will love it. And people don’t been To hell with them, you know, they can go and find other people that they like, and just be totally who you are. And that is where the strength of it all comes. And I’m going to play some words now, because what we’re really talking about in this is mindset, and ability to accept experiences as part of the journey to take us to where we’re supposed to be. And they’re good experiments isn’t that bad experiences, but hey, it’s what life is. And these are the words of the show, and this is what Steve Jobs said back in 2005. And it’s why we call it Join Up Dots, Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [50:48]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college, but it was very, very clear looking backwards. 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [51:23]
But it’s quite obvious from this conversation that you buy into those words. Totally. And that’s how you you live your life. So what what is your big dot? Always assets to every guest? But what was the dot when you look back on it? And you go, yeah, that’s when it really started changing. For me that might have been a bad doc. But that was the moment when law of us started becoming who she is.
Laura Steward [51:48]
That’s an interesting question, because I try to think about that. And I’ve had so many of them, because it’s like a layer. I could say It’s when my brother passed away. I could say it’s, you know, when I left corporate life and took that package and started my own business, my first divorce, I mean, there are so many different moments. And every one of them seems like such a big, originating dot. And when I sold my company in 2009, my entire world shifted. Like I never imagined it would be because when I first decided to sell my company, I’m like, I can’t sell it. I’ll be a failure. If I sell my company. They will wait a minute, everybody dreams of being able to sell their company for money. Why did I consider it a failure, so I’ll pick that one for now. Which was the AHA of discovering that choices I had made up to there. were based on Doing what I thought I should be doing, even though I thought it was who I was, and it was, it’s a part of it. But selling my company opened me to a new Laura, who had always wanted to write, I had a newspaper column when I owned my tech company, but this was different. So it was a more introspective life that opened up at the moment in 2009 when I sold my company, so I’ll pick that one.
David Ralph [53:28]
We wouldn’t wouldn’t be powerful if we could have ourselves duplicated, just ones that we could actually ask them questions. So instead of actually coming up with a decisions ourselves, we could actually say, right, I’m a lover, what do you think I should do? And Laura just comes back with the honest answer, so that it takes away what you were saying, making decisions based on what other people might want you to do. But you just got the Pure Truth all the time. It’d be it’d be amazing, wouldn’t it to I bet
Laura Steward [53:58]
it would. And that’s where the whole premise of the book comes from was I realised the moments when things were in the flow, when everything was going into more explosive levels when I was able to more effectively help my clients when I own my tech company or my friends, was when I was asking internally, those questions when I would actually go through and think about the potential answers, I could get to the questions I was asking, before I asked them and then evaluate in my head, well, wait a minute, is that the answer I want? Or is that the answer I need? And if it’s the answer I want, then I want to start with a different question. So it’s exactly what I realised when I wrote the book was what were those moments? Where were those forks in my life that seemed to go in a much more positive way? what triggered them and it was those internal dialogues.
David Ralph [54:59]
So So Are we saying that every single person has got a wise woman inside of them? And it’s that that little voice and what we started talking about this a lot is coming up in a lot of conversations. But it’s that intuition. It’s that gut intuition is that voice but we ignore because our, our consciousness, decides our brain kind of decides on what we should be doing. But inside that little voice just says what we know we should be doing is that where the wise woman is, is in all of us.
Laura Steward [55:28]
Yeah, the wise woman or the wise man. It’s that that inner wisdom that if we just get quiet,
and listen, and ask, we have to ask,
will get the answers we need. We may not like them.
Unknown Speaker [55:48]
The answers that we get
David Ralph [55:50]
but your web, your web on the way to get the big answers in your life. You’re, you’re just over the next hill I feel I feel your your clothes and When you get there, you’re gonna slap yourself in the forehead and go. Ah, yes, that’s so obvious. That was what I was looking for. But you seem close to me.
Laura Steward [56:10]
Well, thank you. I hope so your mouth to God’s ear?
David Ralph [56:14]
Absolutely. Well, this is the part of the show where we have to say goodbye to you really, because this is the part where we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young lover, what age would you choose and what advice would you give? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the theme tune and when it fade, you’re up. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [56:41]
We go with the best bit of the show.
Laura Steward [56:58]
Hey, Laura. This is Laura, and
three years old is such an amazing age. There’s so much possibility in the world. And you’re about to embark on an amazing journey that at times isn’t going to seem quite so wonderful Roberts going to get much sicker than he is and families going to pay a lot more attention to him, because he’s so ill and needs it and you seem so self sufficient and independent, they’re not going to realise what you need. And I encourage you to just let people know what your needs are. And understand that Roberts not going to be around for a long time.
Unknown Speaker [57:43]
But that’s okay.
Laura Steward [57:46]
Because God is around and love is inside of you in every aspect. So just remember to enjoy the moments and treasure them and that you’re not wasting responsible for what other people feel? Or do, they are only responsible for what you feel and what you do. So enjoy that in the world and go out there with all the flaws and all the beauty and just love and care. And most of all have faith because your faith is what is going to help you through every aspect and your faith is what’s going to help you make a difference for other people that you care about and love. So enjoy the rest of your life Laura and I’m always going to be here watching and loving you
David Ralph [58:39]
know, how can our audience connect with you?
Laura Steward [58:42]
The best way is my website Laura Steward.com and that’s steward with a D like a wine steward and I am on twitter at the Laura steward and also on Facebook and LinkedIn and I love to talk to people and get to know people.
David Ralph [58:59]
We will have All the links on the show notes. Laura, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining those dots. And please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Laura Stuart, thank you so much.
Laura Steward [59:15]
Thank you, David. It was a joy.
David doesn’t want you to become a fated version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.