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In last week’s blog post I shared my experience of what turned out to be quite a hot 🙂 topic — walking on fire.

It was a daunting task, one that I really did not want to do, yet I realized there was a learning opportunity there and decided the learning would be worth walking thru my fear and over the coals. Long story short, (see full story here: “Fire Walk Anyone?”), I DID IT!!!

Yet even as challenging (and important!) as that fire walk was for me, I keep thinking about how it pales in comparison to the experiences many women in third-world countries face in order to start and run their own businesses.

I recently read (and highly recommend) an incredible book called “Half the Sky”, by husband and wife Pulitzer-prize-winning authors Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

The book includes case study stories of women who have been victims of ongoing sex crimes, poverty, male-dominated oppression, etc.

For many of these women, just getting through each day was a “fire walk” of physical and mental torture, and I can’t even imagine how they found their strength and courage each day.

The really amazing thing is the women who not only survived, but flourished by starting their own small businesses and gaining respect and even financial freedom.

These women are important examples for all of us women business owners!

As Big Fish, we know the importance of BOLD ACTIONS – those actions requiring extra courage to move our lives and our businesses forward.

So think about the level of BOLD actions these women are taking as they go against cultural norms to create their new lives and businesses! Think of the impact if we all take our own BOLD ACTIONS to the next level!

Bold actions are not the only factor connecting women entrepreneurs across the globe. As Half the Sky shows, even though women entrepreneurs around the world have very different kinds of businesses, there are many similarities in what it takes to be successful:

1. We all have a vision and put our energy toward making that vision a reality.
2. We all set goals and keep our tasks and energy focused on them.
3. We all have courage, determination and persistence.
4. We all have a support system.

It’s important to realize these similarities so we can be open to supporting women entrepreneurs not just in our own countries, but in other countries. Together we can have global impact!

One great resource for practical ways to support women across the globe is the Half the Sky book and the accompanying website at http://www.halftheskymovement.org/get-involved.

Big Fish Nation also offers a full-year program called the Starfish Program — a program in which each Starfish is “partnering” with another women business owner in a developing country, directly giving and receiving time, energy and expertise to and from other women entrepreneurs who are hoping to have their chance to also change their world.

As women, we need to realize our unique skills and contributions to our world. After all, “Women hold up half the sky” – Chinese proverb (attributed to Mao Tse Tung 1893 – 1976).