3 bright ideas for women in bizLast week, I spent a day at the Women in Biz Network’s annual conference in Toronto. It was packed with talks from some women I really admire, including Danielle Laporte, Jessica Holmes, Anastasia Valentine, Marsha Friedman and many more.

In case you weren’t able to attend this conference, I want to share the top three bright ideas that I took away from my time there, so that you too can benefit from what these wise women had to say!

#1 Danielle Laporte on goal-setting

Danielle Laporte was the first to share her wisdom with us in her opening keynote. She advised us to set our goals based on feelings. She reminded us that we’re not really going after a concrete goal. What we’re actually seeking is the feeling that achieving that concrete goal creates.

Since it’s the feeling we’re after, it makes sense to start there. Instead of setting goals that are things we want to do, have or be — and hoping that they result in our desired feelings — we should choose our desired feelings as the actual goal. After that, it becomes clear that we should only pursue projects that create our desired feelings.

Our desired feelings should be more than just an end result. They should also be present in us throughout the process of completing our projects.

Finally, our feelings can also be a good yardstick against which we measure whether a project is (still) worth pursuing. If you are feeling like you resent doing something, or it is a drag on you emotionally, if it makes you feel tired or irritated, then it is time to drop it from your list.

I hadn’t heard Danielle speak in person before, and I definitely enjoyed her message.

#2 Fay Chapple on getting more done

The next nugget of advice comes from Fay Chapple. Don’t we always let the words “I don’t have enough time” get in the way of reaching our dreams? Well, Fay gave us a simple tool to use to get more done. It’s not high-tech. There’s no big learning curve. And it’s not a todo list!

I’m definitely the queen of todo lists. I use them all the time. I have lists for every area of my life. Sometimes, making a list becomes a task in itself! Does that sound familiar? From my own experience, though, I have to agree with Fay. Keeping a list does not mean that you achieve everything you write on it.

Okay, I hear you! You’re ready to know what this magic tool is! Well, here you go: it’s a calendar. Before you feel let down, and think “A calendar? That’s too simple! I have a calendar! I need something more sophisticated than that to manage my complex life!,” let me tell you, I think Fay is onto something. True or false: if it’s not scheduled, you won’t actually do it. That’s definitely true for me.

Here’s the trick. You need to block time for everything in your life, from taking your kids to school, to client meetings, to the projects you want to accomplish. Doing this makes the process of getting your work done automatic. You just follow your calendar! It will give you peace of mind to know that you have time set aside for every task, and that will let you focus on what you’re doing.

You must honour your calendar. If you set aside two hours for a task, and then, mid-way through, you find that it’s going to take longer, you must still stop at the end of two hours (assuming you have something blocked in the next slot), and simply schedule some more time to complete your task later. When your girlfriend calls to ask whether you can make a run to Starbucks, check your calendar (and honour it)!

It’s okay to reschedule sometimes, but it shouldn’t become a habit. Fay recommends marking those items that you move so that you can see whether you are perpetually shifting them, and never getting them done.

Try it! Leave a comment below to let me know if it works for you.

#3 Jessica Holmes on recognizing your core qualities

Jessica gave the audience an exercise, which I’d like you to try right now:

Write down the names of three people you admire, and for each one, write down the quality in them that you most admire. Do this before you read any further.

What she said next was quite emotional and eye-opening for me. She said that in fact, these three qualities that we admire in others were actually our own three strongest qualities. Wow! Is that not empowering? What a great way to take a fresh look at yourself.

The three qualities I came up with were a sense of purpose, integrity, and courage. Jessica’s words were emotional for me because I’ve been feeling like I’m struggling with finding my sense of purpose lately. I think this is a powerful exercise because we tend to choose qualities that we feel we are lacking, and that’s why we admire them to much in others. Is it not wonderful to think that these very qualities are lying quietly within us, ready to be given a voice?

Jessica went on to say that the more you acknowledge these qualities, the more they will start showing up in your life. Why don’t you get brave, acknowledge your qualities, and share them in the comments below?


The WIBN conference was a wonderful and energizing day, where I was able to network all kinds of smart and successful women entrepreneurs. If you get a chance to attend next year, I recommend it!


  1. Claire Hayes on April 24, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    What an excellent post – each bright idea so beautifully and succinctly given. Thank you! a real gem…

    • Julie Waterhouse on April 24, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Thank you, Claire! Hope there’s something in there that you can use for your business.

  2. Leigh Mitchell on April 28, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Love your tidbits Julie – it was a pleasure to have you at the conference! I along with you loved Jessica’s who you admire exercise… whenever I struggle with decisions I always ask what my admired would do in that situation- it works!

    • Julie Waterhouse on April 29, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks, Leigh! I like your idea for how to use this exercise. I will try this next time I’m waffling on a decision!

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