Anita’s Lessons


Yesterday, I heard the sad news that Anita Roddick had passed away. As my own (very) small tribute to her, I would like to offer 7 lessons that I think we could learn from her life less ordinary. Of course, I did not know her personally, so these lessons are derived from her public persona as a much loved and well respected business woman, philanthropist and activist.

  1. Be Controversial: When The Body Shop began using hemp as an ingredient in their products, thay faced a large degree of opposition. Ultimately, though, it proved a good move for them and it resulted in the best hand cream available! Controversy is not necessarily a bad thing. It challenges the convictions of those around you, and forces them to adjust their mind set.
  2. Look After Yourself: By founding The Body Shop, Anita encouraged us all to indulge in a little pampering. In looking after our bodies, we also look after our emotional well being. It is only by taking care of ourselves that we can look after others.
  3. Look After Others: If she wasn’t raising awareness of diseases such as HIV or Hepatitis C, she was campaigning for human rights or fair trade. Anita was a woman deeply invested in the improvement of the lives of others. I’m sure the world would be a better place if we all carried the determination to do the same.
  4. Be Brave: Anita’s bravery was manifest in so many ways: through her championing of unpopular causes, through her openness about her own health, and through the founding and subsequent success of her business. She showed us all how to face the inevitable difficulties which arise in life with grace, dignity and determination.
  5. Laugh!: The footage shown by the news, following the announcement of Anita’s death, all show her laughing and smiling. She seemed to have a great capacity for joy, which I think everyone’s life could benefit from.
  6. Share the Wealth: Anita announced in December 2005 that she intended to give half of her £100 million fortune to good causes. Her philanthropy can be emulated, I believe, by all of us, and is not the sole responsibility of the millionaires. If you can’t give pounds, give pennies. If you can’t give days, give an hour. Charities are grateful for all donations of time and money, no matter how small!
  7. Don’t Just Talk the Talk: It’s very easy to say you support a cause, however, it is far more difficult to live an ethical lifestyle which endorses your convictions. Anita did this, and I think it is a way of life we could all try to emulate.

A truly great lady, I’m sure you’ll all agree. Are there any lessons you would like to add to the list? If so, please do leave a comment.


September 11, 2007. Inspiration.


  1. Sister Diane replied:

    This is a beautiful post, Amy, and thank you so much for sharing these lessons. The only one I’d add is closely related to “Look After Yourself,” and that’s “Love Yourself.” One of The Body Shop’s most enduring campaigns was for self-esteem, and letting go of impossible standards of beauty. When you think about it, letting go of nagging self-doubts and tiny worries about the size of your waistline frees up vast resources of energy — which can be put to amazing uses elsewhere!

  2. amypalko replied:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Sister Diane. And thank you so much for your addition of “Love Yourself’ to the list of lessons. It is so important to raise self esteem and to (try) and disregard the ‘impossible standards of beauty’. It is something that, as the mother of a 9 year old girl, I am so conscious of. I wrote a post about the Dove campaign, which I believe is doing great work, which you can read here. Thanks again, Sister Diane!

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