Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Being Fearless

This is the Fearless Woman Photo that I was able to have done by Mary Ann Halpin while I was in Dallas, TX at the eWomenNetwork Conference. What a treat this was! Last year I had purchased Mary Ann Halpin's book; Fearless Women 'Midlife Portraits' while I was on vacation. I found it to be very inspirational when I'm having those doubtful moments about being able to do all of this. The stories and photos of the women are so powerful and motivating. I look at it every now and then when I need a boost to believe in myself. We all have those moments of feeling like I cannot do this, it is too scary, no woman has ever done this, etc, blah blah blah. So I take out Mary Ann's beautiful book and read a few stories and look at the amazing women with the sword and regain my footing. If you get a chance to get the book it will inspire you too.

Holding the same sword that all of those powerful women held was powerful in itself. I was on a high for a week! I have the hard copy now of the photo and will also use it on the back of my book; From fear and panic to peace, joy and hope - guiding families living with the crisis of an eating disorder (temporary title). By the way, I'm open to suggestions for the title if you have any great ideas. In the book I'm talking about how as families living with the bully (ED - we call it) can choose to feel the fear and do it anyway or in other words, be fearless. I do believe that the essence of being fearless or brave as I like to call it is feeling the fear and doing it anyway. I get so much joy from helping families in this particular crisis to be able to experience joy even while they are in the midst of this life threatening situation with their loved ones. It doesn't make the crisis go away, it's just I teach them how to choose how they react to it, once they get that, they have access to experiencing joy. I wanted to do this photo to share with all of the families out there who are suffering with the pain, fear and panic of possibly losing their loved one to this bully of a disorder. I hope that in sharing this photo with you, the family member that you can feel inspired and motivated to make the choice to have joy, peace and hope again.

I will talk more about this aspect coming up and when I am speaking to groups about body image and eating disorder awareness and prevention but just want to mention it briefly now. I laughed at the irony when the hard copy of this photo came. I saw the unretouched photo online before the hard copy came. That looked like me now. The hard copy, all retouched and professional and I might say quite beautiful AND I thought, "huumm, I look 10 years younger..." and then I laughed at the irony. I speak all the time to students (and adults) about looking at photos in magazines and on TV and remind them that none of them are real, that they are all re-touched! And here I am with my book coming about eating disorders, body image and being brave and choosing joy AND my photo doesn't depict what I really look like. So, I'm just using it as a great example and when you see me in person and see the photo next to me you'll know what I'm talking about. I have jelly arms and a bigger tummy and a chin...so think of it as playing dress up and having fun. It can be a fine line (ha, bad pun - I have lots of those in real life), between presenting your best self to be professional and going to the point where you are no longer you. Here's to your best you and being fearless in all you do!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

eWomenNetwork Conference - July 2008

It's been almost a month since I returned from the eWomenNetwork Conference in Dallas and I'm still amazed at the incredible experience. I'm pictured here with the Founder and CEO of eWomenNetwork, Sandra Yancy, who is creating enormous opportunities for women business owners to connect with one another and to resources. In addition to the conference being very fun and a chance to meet some fabulous women I gained some insights for the direction of Hope Network. I hired eWomenPublishingNetwork to help get my book out there! I will be getting direction from Jan King the co-founder. I got very positive feedback about the concept: Coaching families to navigate the crisis of an eating disorder; From Fear and Panic to Peace, Joy and Hope.

The conference attendees also gave me the push I needed to get involved with the non-profit world to bring more eating disorder prevention education to schools and women's shelters and promote healthy body image. It will be interesting to say the least to see how this all goes, I'm meeting some very generous and helpful people who want to help this endeavor succeed. It is exciting to think about being able to provide coaching to women who have beat their eating disorders and are ready to create the next phase of their lives. Right now as I am in the research phase of setting up a non-profit it is overwhelming to say the least. I have to remember the divine synchronicity that confirmed that this is the way to go. I had just had a fun dinner with the Minneapolis group, some of whom challenged me to add the non-profit arm. Then we headed to the Chocolate Decadence part of the evening (couldn't miss that being the chocolate lover that I am) and the first person I met was a woman from our chapter here in the Twin Cities that I hadn't met before. After being introduced, I asked, "What do you do?" Jeanette Meyers replied, "I help people set up non-profits." Well, I think she thought there was something wrong with me as I stood there with my mouth literally hanging open. So, that is just one of the magical things that happened at the eWomenNetwork Conference. Can't wait to get this non-profit up and running and get back to Dallas next July! We were indoors most of the time so it wasn't bad for us northerners to take. I am still in awe of the incredible sense of respect and giving first philosophy that all the women I met embody.

I'll keep you posted on the progress into the world of non-profits! And the book...for now, enjoy summer!