Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Introducing...Belanie Dishong & Our Upcoming Fearless Ventures

Dear Fearless Friends,

I am very excited to be photographing Fearless Women Portraits at the Diva Toolbox Women's Conference in Wakefield, Massachusetts, October 20-22, 2011. My fearless friend, Belanie will be teaching a very powerful workshop at this conference.

Belanie Dishong
, Founder and CEO of Live At Choice and Live At Choice Media, is an accomplished author, motivational keynote speaker, course leader, personal coach and radio talk show host. 
I met Belanie at a women's conference a couple of years ago. Her beautiful blue eyes, which are a true reflection of her gentle and kind heart, drew me and made me want to know more about her. She is a generous and wise spirit connecting people's mind with their heart to help them break through the barriers that inhibit living ones greatness. She teaches people of all ages to help them improve the quality of their lives and free themselves to pursue their dreams and attain their goals.

"Things weren't easy for me," says Belanie. "I came through some hard life challenges, defeats, and tragedies before I could see what was necessary to change my own life. In 1985 it all came tumbling down for me. Then I spent eight years in self-inquiry, self-reflection, prayer and a commitment to a greater quality of life. It was through my discoveries and personal application of what I discovered that brought to life what I now know and live as my passion and my purpose." 

Belanie is an inspiration and is known for not waiting for opportunity to knock but rather creating it out ahead of her. She is a visionary fearless woman who is dedicated to changing the world by empowering each person she touches, in so many ways. I am proud to know her. Learn more about Belanie Dishong,

Fearlessly Yours,
Mary Ann

Diva Toolbox Announces 2011 Fearless Women Leaders 
Janet Powers, Chief Executive Diva, Diva Toolbox, LLC announced today the 2011 Fearless Women Leader Awards.
This year's recipients are:
Maureen Campaiola
Maureen is the CEO and Founder of DARE To Be Phenomenal's Women Business Network. Out of the dream to create a networking group that catered to the unique needs of women entrepreneurs and business owners DARE To Be Phenomenal's Women Business Network was born.  
With monthly networking events, luncheons, trainings, and special events women can engage in relationship building, networking, and joint business venture projects both online and off.  read more
Robyn Mather
As a multi-passionate entrepreneur, Robyn Mather believes everything is inter-related, success comes not just as a result of what you do, but also how you think, communicate, your determination, and persistence. She practices gratitude daily, believing wholeheartedly that you reap what you sow, and success comes from the actions you take.
Robyn is the real deal. She is authentic, articulate, courageous and above all, inspirational. She instinctively knows how to pull things together to achieve big results for her clients.  read more
Congratulations to this year's award winners! Join us at the Diva Toolbox Conference for Women in Business to celebrate these amazing women who inspire, educate and empower us all to be better at what we do!
About the Conference
The Diva Toolbox International Conference will be held Thursday, October 20 through Saturday, October 22, 2011 in Wakefield, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. The conference brings together women business owners from across the Globe.
The conference, now in its second year, was created as a forum for women business owners to help others like themselves to grow bigger and faster. Women-owned businesses continue to grow at a rate two times that of other businesses.
At the conference, attendees will network with one another, learn about new products, services and technologies and participate in educational workshops and keynote sessions. Among the highlights are sessions on how to market to women, entrepreneurial myths, and financial strategies for growth, how to leverage social media to attract new clients and how to stay healthy, happy and in balance running your own business.
Conference details are available at

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Zen Habits: 5 Ways To Turn Fear Into Fuel

Hello Ladies....

I was SO impressed with this article, that I just had to share it with you....

Zen Habits:  5 Ways To Turn Fear Into Fuel

Editor's note: This is a guest post from Jonathan Fields, author ofUncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance.
Uncertainty. It's a terrifying word.
Living with it, dangling over your head like the sword of Damacles, day in day out, is enough to send anyone spiraling into a state of anxiety, fear and paralysis.
Like it or not, though, uncertainty is the new normal. We live in a time where the world is in a state of constant, long-term flux. And, that's not all. If you want to spend your time on the planet not just getting-by, but consistently creating art, experiences, businesses and lives that truly matter, you'll need to proactively seek out, invite and even deliberately amplify uncertainty. Because the other side of uncertainty is opportunity.
Nothing great was ever created by waiting around for someone to tell you it's all going to be okay or for perfect information to drop from the sky. Doesn't happen that way. Great work requires you to act in the face of uncertainty, to live in the question long enough for your true potential to emerge. There is no alternative.

When you find the strength to act in the face of uncertainty, you till the soil of genius.
Problem is, that kills most people. It leads to unease, anxiety, fear and doubt on a level that snuffs out most genuinely meaningful and potentially revolutionary endeavors before they even see the light of day. Not because they wouldn't have succeeded, but because you never equipped yourself to handle and even harness the emotional energy of the journey.
But, what if it didn't have to be that way?
What if there was a way to turn the fear, anxiety and self-doubt that rides along with acting in the face of uncertainty-the head-to-toe butterflies-into fuel for brilliance?
Turns out, there is. Your ability to lean into the unknown isn't so much about luck or genetics, rather it's something entirely trainable. I've spent the past few years interviewing world-class creators across a wide range of fields and pouring over research that spans neuroscience, decision-theory, psychology, creativity and business.
Through this work, a collection of patterns, practices and strategies have emerged that not only turbocharge insight, creativity, innovation and problem-solving, but also help ameliorate so much of the suffering so often associated with the pursuit of any creative quest.
Here are 5 starter-strategies to help get you going:
1. Reframe.
We tell ourselves stories all day long. I'm skinny. I'm fat. I'm talented. I'm stupid. This is genius. This is awful. I will succeed. I will fail. I'm terrified and anxious. I'm confident and proactive. It turns out, the storylines we create around a particular circumstance are far more determinative of success than the circumstance itself. They affect not only our willingness to act, but the quality of our ideas and solutions.
If you create a story that empowers action and innovation, that's great news. Unfortunately, our brains have a strong bias toward negativity, leading most of us to create stories around circumstances that require action in the face of uncertainty that are more likely to paralyze and stunt creativity than fuel action.
Reframing is a process that asks you to suspend negative storylines, explore if the story you're telling is the only one and, if not (which is inevitably the case), construct or frame a new storyline that empowers you to experience an uncertain circumstance not as a prime for failure and inaction, but as a signpost for meaning and opportunity.
For example, if you're disabling storyline is around the risk of failure, instead of just asking "what if I fail?" and creating a doomsday scenario, you also ask "how will I recover, what if I do nothing and what if I succeed?" Then build new stories around those questions.
2. Practice Mindfulness.
Reframing is an immensely powerful tool in the quest to lean into the unknown. But it also requires a certain equanimity; the ability to pull back and see what's really going on, re-center, then breath into that uncomfortable place long enough for amazing things to bubble up. Over time, a daily mindfulness practice goes a long way toward equipping you to do just that.
Plus, it cultivates the sense of persistent grounding that makes living and acting in a world where there is no new normal far more enjoyable. And it trains you in the practice of dropping thoughts, among those, destructive, limiting-beliefs.
3. Exercise Your Brain.
We've all seen the research on exercise and health, weight loss and disease prevention. But, did you know that certain approaches to exercise also have a profound effect on your brain?
Daily cardiovascular exercise, for example, especially with high-intensity bursts mixed in can improve mood, executive function, decision-making and creativity and decrease anxiety and fear. The latest research even reveals the possibility that exercise can grow new brains cells, something that until only a few years ago, was thought to be impossible. It's also strongly correlated with decreases in anxiety and increases in mood, which are directly connected to improved creativity and problem-solving.
4. Singletask.
Multitasking is out. Turns out this badge of honor from the '90s is more fiction than fact. Our brains don't multitask, they just rapidly switch between tasks, sometimes fast enough for us to believe we're doing many things at once. Problem is, every time we switch, there is a "ramping cost" in your brain, it takes anywhere from a few second to 15 minutes for your brain to fully re-engage. This makes you feel insanely busy, but simultaneously craters productivity, creativity and increases feelings of anxiety and stress.
Multitasking also requires you to hold a lot of information in your working memory, which is controlled by a part of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex (PFC). But the PFC is also responsible for will-power, and for keeping fear and anxiety in check. Multitasking increases the "cognitive load" on the PFC, overwhelming it and effectively killing it's ability to keep fear, anxiety and the taunt of distraction at bay.
Simple solution-just say no. Do one thing at a time in intense, short bursts.
5. Get Lean.
Instead of creating in a vacuum, explore the possibility of bringing a "lean" or "agile" approach to your creative process. Focus on maximum learning, create the simplest version of your idea possible, then bring a select group of those who'd potentially enjoy it into the process earlier in name of soliciting and integrating input into the next iteration. This not only minimizes waste, it changes the psychology of creation by adding more certainty earlier in the game and encouraging consistent, incremental action.
These five strategies and practices can change the way you experience the creative process in a profound way. They'll not only allow you to tap a reservoir of previously hidden creativity, they'll also allow you to experience any creative endeavor with a far deeper sense of equanimity and joy.
Pick up a copy of Jonathan's new book - Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance today, or check out his book trailer.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Fearless Journey Tampa and Beyond...

It has been a very amazing fearless journey creating my new book, Fearless Women, Visions of a New World. We have some incredible visionary women that are being featured in the book. We are still accepting applications from a few more fearless visionary women. You can read the information and apply,
Out of this book project, inspired by Betty Liedtke and her friend Tabitha Kyambadde, we want to have our grand finale of the Vision Tour in Uganda, gathering with inspiring women there in a Fearless Women Global Summit. Betty and Tabitha are leaving for Uganda soon and will pave the trail for all of us to go. I spoke to Tabitha today who said that the women of Uganda are so excited that we are coming next year! I will keep you posted on how you can join us.
The Fearless Women Vision Tour will start in Los Angeles, March 2012 kicking off a 15 city tour gathering women together to connect, be inspired, and share our visions to make a better world. We need sponsors to come on board to help make this Vision Tour happen. If you have some brilliant connections to companies that you feel may want to be part of this fearless journey, we welcome your help.
Please view the video here to see more of what we are doing and meet some women featured in the book.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Introducing....Fearless..... Tabitha Kyambadde

While in Minneapolis, Mary Ann Halpin and Betty Liedtke got to talking. No light chit chat here....this conversation was Fearless, Fabulous, and Full of Visionary Plans for the Future!

Betty, herself a Fearless Woman, shared a moving story with Mary Ann, that introduced yet another astounding woman of strength, and fearless valor~ Tabitha Kyambadde.

Betty shared:  
“As soon as the Fearless Women, Fearless Wisdom book was launched in July, 2010, I gave a speech about it at my Toastmasters Club. Tabitha Kyambadde, who is from Uganda, was a guest at our club that day. She told me afterwards how inspired she was by my speech and the story of my “fearless journey.”

Tabitha bought several copies of the book, and shared them with her daughter in Uganda, who shared the book with many of her friends. They all were inspired by the women in the book, and a fearless bond began to form. Many of the women in Uganda thought that women in America had wonderful lives, and were surprised to read about some of the challenges, troubles, and tragedies they had endured and overcome.

“They’re just like us,” the women in Uganda realized. “They have problems, too.” At the same time, they realized that they – the women in Uganda – could be fearless women, too.

Tabitha has become fearless and unstoppable in all that she has been doing to introduce women in Uganda – and here in the United States, too – to the Fearless Women in the book, and to everything that women everywhere are capable of if we are fearless in our resolve and determination.

Tabitha is a woman of grace, elegance, eloquence, and of quiet but enormous power and wisdom. I am honored and humbled when people express their awe and admiration of Tabitha and she tells them that it all started with her friend, Betty, and the Fearless Women book.

Tabitha and I started talking and dreaming months ago about someday introducing women in Uganda to Fearless Women in person. That will be a dream come true for me this October as I travel to Uganda to take part in the conference Tabitha has organized in order to help women there to dream of all that they are capable of doing and becoming, and to help them pursue and achieve their dreams.

Both Tabitha and I are ecstatic over Mary Ann’s plans to take the Fearless Women book tour to Uganda in 2012, where Fearless Women from North America to Africa will have the opportunity to meet, celebrate, and support each other, as well as to honor and promote Mary Ann’s Visions of a New World.”

Tabitha shared her Fearless vision for the women of Uganda: “As you have stated, the conditions under which these women thrive are very depressing and therefore I feel desperate on their behalf. For that reason, I feel something has to be done along the following lines:
Through the NGO which I registered  both here in Minnesota and Uganda , I would like to raise funds to secure land whereby we can create or establish a Village  for them and their children. The village will have a Treatment Center which will commit to a holistic healing and embrace a wide variety of treatment modalities. As you read in the article, these women have already allowed social stigma, labeling and guilt to prevent them from seeking help and those who have tried to shake it off cannot go forward because help is hard to come by, therefore, we would like the Rehabilitation Center to be a mulch-faceted institution whereby the mothers and their kids can be equipped and empowered with skills and knowledge that will enable them to thrive in the midst of disease, poverty and the prevailing HIV/AIDS epidemic. The Center shall not be just an information dispensing organ, but an organization that is dedicated to rescuing, protecting, guiding, and nurturing hope, whose graduates should become productive and contribute to society.”

Stay tuned for more exciting news about the Fearless Women Visions of a New World Tour 2012 which will indeed, encompass Uganda as well!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Minneapolis was Magical....and the Journey Continues...

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over and the deadline to create my book is coming up in October. We are having quite the “Fearless Adventure” gallivanting around the country. Last week, we visited The Twin Cities and had the most welcoming and exhilarating Fearless Women Awards event hosted by the Fearless Mary Jo Sherwood. It took place at the historic Woman’s Club of Minneapolis, built in 1907. 

We gave the Fearless Women of the Year Award to Julie Gilbert, founder and CEO of Wolf Means Business. The Fearless Women Visionary Award went to Connie Goldman, an award-winning radio producer and reporter for National Public Radio. Both these women were presented a sword with their names engraved on it. When I pulled the sword out of its sheath to present to Connie Goldman, a petite woman in her late 70’s, she looked up at me and said, “Is that for me?!” The sword was almost as big as she was. What a beautiful moment!

Our Fearless Women Panel was filled with the most impressive women. It was moderated by Nancy Stephan, Honoring Women Worldwide, with panelists, Ann Bankcroft, Polar Explorer, Deborah Yungner, ERBUS Inc. and Judge Pamela Alexander, the first African-American judge of Minnesota.

The next day we photographed seven fearless women from Minnesota. I was fortunate to photograph Judge Pamela Alexander. She has served in the courts of Minneapolis for 25 years. Judge Alexander was led early to a career in justice after being called at age 12, to testify in the rape case of a childhood friend. She was struck by the constant complaints about the lawyer assigned to the case. She made up her mind to become a lawyer who truly advocated for her clients. Now retired, she wants to find some of the families that were in her courtroom to help them.

Here’s a little teaser…we are planning to end our Fearless Women Vision Tour at the end of 2012, gathering with the Fearless Women in Uganda! Please go to Facebook and “like” Fearless Women Uganda. More later…

Next stop…Fearless Women Tampa Bay, October 7-8, 2011!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Welcome to the Fearless Women Global Blog!!

Welcome to the New Fearless Women Blog!

Hello Fearless Friends!

This new blog complements our weekly newsletter and will keep you up to date with all the news on my Fearless Women Project. We have had some changes here at the studio, our assistant Michele Basler moved out of state on her own fearless journey. We now have the wonderful Phyllis Bottis as our office assistant. Another new addition to the team is Nadia Romanov who will be doing our Fearless Women social media, newsletters, and blog.

We have started traveling around the US photographing Fearless Women Portraits for my new book, Fearless Women, Visions of a New World. 

We just returned from Austin where we had a fabulous Fearless Women Cocktail Party at the downtown Hyatt. The following day I photographed 7 women, 5 for the new book at Korey Howell's Studio in Austin.

This week, I am in Minneapolis for the 2011 Fearless Women  Awards Minnesota, on August 10th. The following day, I will be photographing four fearless women from the Twin Cities area, the amazing Rose Pagonis from Chicago and also some women who want a Fearless Woman Portrait with the sword.

At the beginning of October, we will be traveling to The Fearless Women Tampa Bay event, October 7-8th, which will be the kick off and template for the events on the Fearless Women Vision Tour in 2012.

Finally, we will complete our journey in Boston at The Diva Tool Box Conference created by the fearlessly fabulous Janet Powers,, October 20-22 with a pre-conference Fearless Women Event.

We are accepting about 10 more visionary women for the book. We need women of color, African-American and Hispanic Fearless Sisters. So please give me some recommendations you may have. I believe if we are creating a new and better world, we need to have all ethnicities represented in the room!

Please spread the word to your Fearless Sisters in the cities we are traveling to about our events!

In Fearless Gratitude,
Mary Ann

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