Inspiration for women in business

Looking for some motivation this week? I attended a conference organized by the Athena women’s network and thought it might be helpful to share some of the tips, reading suggestions and inspiration I gained there. The successful women who presented served as powerful examples of how to achieve your business goals while remaining true to yourself.

Sophie Bennett talked about how to raise your charisma by deciding to radiate your best internal qualities: grace, passion, integrity, warmth and confidence. I’ll admit that some days I may not have the energy needed to radiate! But it was reassuring to remember that these internal qualities are within all of us, we just need to decide to share them.It makes sense that the word ‘charisma’ comes from the Greek meaning ‘gift of grace.’ Only your audience can decide whether you have charisma.

Jane Milton reminded us of the value a business mentor can bring to you and your company. Instead of looking for a particular type of mentor, think about what you want for your business. Seek people who will take you out of your comfort zone. It also helps to look for a mentor who has done or achieved what they intended.

Marisa Peer shared her insights about natural leaders and the power of praise. I loved her demonstration of how negative thoughts literally make us weak. But by praising others and ourselves, we fill up with goodness and strength. She also suggested using solution-oriented language when facing challenges. Instead of asking why, focus on how you can improve or fix the situation.

Nichola Cairncross suggested an enlightening exercise to examine how we define our business success. Create a chart with a scale of 0 to 10 on the y axis and time in years on the x axis. Then use three different colors to mark, over time, your levels of hard work, happiness and income. Here is Nichola’s result:


Nichola also recommended a handful of books to anyone in business, but they might be particularly inspiring for women entrepreneurs:

  • How to be a woman of substance
  • Rich dad poor dad
  • Seven day start up
  • Traction
  • Pitch anything

Catherine Watkin recommended ways to market our businesses and ‘close the deal’ without feeling pushy. She suggested offering a service that will leave the client in a better place than before they connected with you. Perhaps if our service doesn’t do this, we shouldn’t be selling to that particular client. Clients need to trust you and feel they are in safe hands, so asking if they have concerns will help them feel confident in their decision.

Taking a day away from my office to interact with other women entrepreneurs was rejuvenating. I recommend the Athena Inspire conference  to others running small businesses as a valuable investment of your time.


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