Review Category : Top Stories

Be Brave Every Day: Seven Expert Tips to Change Your Life

Image Source/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Looking back and wondering if your life could have been somehow better if you’d only had the guts to do something or say something differently is an uncomfortable feeling. Whether it’s your job, your marriage or a friendship, people are often paralyzed by fear.

So instead of taking an uncomfortable action, we take no action, which can often be worse for the situation.

“None of us are immune to fear — of failing, criticism, rejection or falling short in some way — but too often we let fear pilot our lives,” said Margie Warrell, author of the new book Brave: 50 Everyday Acts of Courage to Thrive in Work, Love, and Life. “In today’s culture of fear, living fully has become synonymous with living bravely.”

Warrell herself has had to live bravely: she battled bulimia as a young woman, lost one of her brothers who took his life after a long battle with mental illness, lost five unborn babies, and has had to help her other brother overcome the difficulties of paraplegia following a horrific motor-vehicle accident. Her booked is based on the theory that “courage begets courage.”

Here are Warrell’s tips for bringing bravery to your everyday life:

1. Be decisive despite your uncertainty

In an age where we have so much information available to us, waiting until you have all the information you want (and have analyzed it fully) can prove costly and inhibiting. Sure, making a decision, despite the ambiguity and uncertainty opens the possibility of messing up or making a mistake. But in a world where change is happening fast and the windows of opportunity are limited, choosing to do nothing can exact a far steeper toll on your career, your business, and your life.

2. Have a brave conversation

The most important conversations demand vulnerability — putting your ego and your desire for approval on the line. That’s why people often try to avoid them or opt to send a text when should really talk. When you risk stepping out from behind your computer screen and talking openly and candidly about sensitive or contentious issues, you are able to add value, build influence and earn trust in ways that tiptoeing around crucial issues never can. Being willing to engage in what I call “courageous conversations” is crucial to your success. People may not always like what you have to say, but they will always respect your willingness to speak up and share what you genuinely think needs to be said.

3. Dare to be different

While no one wants to be disliked, criticized or rejected, only when you risk all of those can you add the unique value you have to bring and set yourself apart from the masses. So own what makes you unique, forge your own path, express your own opinion and make a stand for what’s true for you. When all you do is try to fit in, you negate the difference our difference makes.

4. Forget perfect

So there’s something you really want to do but you think you have to do it perfectly before you even start out. You don’t! While it’s good to have high standards, sometimes what serves us so much more is lowering the bar and just giving things a go. With four kids and busy career I’ve adopted the mantra “Done is better than perfect.” Doing so frees me to take on new challenges and complete tasks far more efficiently than I would if I was aiming for Da Vinci like mastery or perfection. Same for you. Don’t wait until you now everything before you do something and don’t pressure yourself with thinking that something has to be done perfectly for it to be done well.

5. Promote yourself

There’s a distinct difference between promoting yourself to stroke an insecure ego and sharing your value so that those who can help you add more of it know who you are and what you’re capable of doing. Too often a misguided sense of humility keeps us from letting people who can help us advance know who we are, what we’ve done and what we want to do in the future. In today’s competitive world, unless you are willing to toot your own horn from time to time, you run the risk of being left behind as the opportunities you thought would be laid at your humble feet are given to the horn blowers around you.

6. Say no

Saying yes is always easier than saying no because that’s what people want you to say. But too often we overcommit ourselves because we’re afraid of causing disappointment, offence or missing out. It takes courage to decline an invitation or opportunity but it’s something you’ve got to do if you want to create the space in your life for even more important things. Sometimes you have to say no to the good to make room for the great.

7. Share your struggles

Life is not an Instagram feed, though we live with a constant pressure to paint our lives as though it were. Letting down your mask and sharing with others what you are struggling with, perhaps even asking for help, can leave you feeling vulnerable but it can also open the door to creating far more rewarding and meaningful relationships. As I wrote in Brave, we connect far more deeply through our struggles than we ever do through our successes.

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American Family Poisoned by Pesticide in Virgin Islands Still Being Treated

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Delaware family who suffered pesticide poisoning during a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands are still being treated, according to a statement released by the family’s lawyer.

Teenage boys Sean and Ryan Esmond remain in critical condition and their parents, Stephen Esmond and Theresa Devine, are undergoing rehabilitation therapy, the statement said.

The family’s illnesses came after a banned pesticide was sprayed at a resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands where they were staying six weeks ago.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice are working with the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning & Natural Resources to complete their investigation into the incident, according to the statement.

“The family is confident that those responsible will be brought to justice,” the statement added.

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Obama to Make Final Appearance on “Late Show with David Letterman”

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(NEW YORK) — President Obama will make his eighth and final appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman Monday night.

His visit to the set will mark his third as president. His last one was on Sept. 18, 2012.

Prior to his presidency, Obama appeared on the Late Show five times as an Illinois senator.

The president’s appearance with David Letterman comes a little more than two weeks before the host’s last day behind the Late Show desk — May 20. Stephen Colbert will take over for Letterman, with his debut slated for Sept. 8.

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Changes McDonald’s Customers Will Notice Under Turnaround Plan

McDonald’s(NEW YORK) — Among McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook’s global turnaround plans for the world’s biggest burger chain, there are only a few changes that may be obvious to consumers, according to some analysts.

Trying to revive sagging sales for the fast food chain, Easterbrook, CEO since March 1, announced a company restructuring during the annual shareholder meeting. In a 23-minute video released online Monday, he said the company will try to “execute fewer things better,” and, “it’s customers who decide whether we succeed.”

RJ Hottovy, senior restaurants analyst with Morningstar, said the market is looking eagerly for changes that will affect consumers directly. But he said that was the part of the presentation “that seemed most lacking.”

The other changes include increasing McDonald’s global franchised percentage to 90 percent from 81 percent, in essence decreasing the number of company-owned restaurants and increasing the number of owner-operated stores.

Here are three changes that will be most obvious to McDonald’s customers, according to Hottovy:

1. McDonald’s Your Way

First, customers may see more customized options. McDonald’s has tested Create Your Taste system in the U.S. for the past few months after rolling it out in Australia. Easterbrook announced on Monday that a national advertising campaign for it in Australia will launch in July.

Similar to the customized ordering at Chipotle and Five Guys, customers can pay a bit more to get a burger the way they want it. The company is also testing in California a modified version in smaller and drive-thru locations called TasteCrafted.

2. Delivery

Yes, McDonald’s customers can order delivery through the crowd-sourcing direct-to-consumer service Postmates. McDonald’s full menu, except ice cream cones, will be available during normal operating hours at 88 participating restaurants in New York City, including Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.

Just last month, Chipotle also announced it was partnering with Postmates, which charges a delivery and service fee to customers, in addition to giving customers the option of paying a tip. Starbucks will partner with Postmates later this year.

“Everything we heard is [McDonald’s] catching up with competitors,” Hottovy said, adding that the other organizational changes were “sensible and practical but nothing jumped out at me.”

3. New Menu Items

Easterbrook said the company needed a “recommitment to hot, fresh food.” Among the menu items will be an “artisan” grilled chicken sandwich and a new sirloin burger in June.

The market’s reaction shows the announcement of cutting costs and reorganizing the company and its leadership was “underwhelming,” Hottovy said.

“McDonald’s hasn’t been thought of as a leader on the menu side for some time — by better connecting what consumers are looking for,” Hottovy said.

Becca Hary, a spokeswoman for McDonald’s, said customers have already seen some changes, such as a “greater commitment to food quality in the U.S.,” including the announcement last month that it was working to eliminate antibiotics in chicken.

“It’s important to know that these are the initial steps in the turnaround plan that Steve unveiled today,” Hary told ABC News. “Our turnaround won’t happen overnight, but we know our performance will be measured through the eyes of the customer.”

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Texas Shooting: Hero Cop Credited with Taking Down Two Gunmen

Fuse/Thinkstock(GARLAND, Texas) — The officer who returned fire at two men who shot assault rifles outside an event displaying cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad “probably saved lives,” according to authorities.

Security at Sunday’s event in Garland, Texas, included uniformed officers, SWAT teams, FBI and ATF, according to Joe Harn of the Garland Police, when two men pulled up in a dark-colored car.

The men — both armed with assault rifles — exited and started firing at a parked police car, Harn said.

An officer — who typically works as a traffic cop — returned fire and struck both men, Harn said.

Both suspects died on the street.

“[The officer] did what he was trained to do,” Harn said.

The hero officer was not identified by name.

One security guard was injured in the attack with a gunshot wound to the lower leg. He was treated at a hospital and released, Harn said.

“He did a very good job,” Harn said, adding that the officer “probably saved lives.”

According to Harn, the suspects could not get past the outside perimeter, which was part of the police’s security strategy.

“We think [the suspects’] strategy was to get to the event center [and] into the event center,” he said. “We were able to stop those men before they were able to…shoot anyone else.”

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Texas Shooting: American Freedom Defense Initiative Spent $10,000 on Security

iStock/Thinkstock(GARLAND, Texas) — Police in Texas said Monday that the American Freedom Defense Initiative had spent $10,000 for security at their Sunday event at which cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad were displayed in Garland, where two men opened fire, injuring one officer.

Security included security officers, uniformed officers, SWAT, FBI and ATF, Joe Harn of the Garland Police Department said at a news conference.

Harn said the police told the AFDI what security they thought they needed, and “that’s what they adhered to.”

The event began at 5 p.m. and was to go to 7 p.m., Harn said. The event in Garland, about 20 miles northeast of Dallas, was going “very smoothly,” he said, until about 10 minutes before 7 p.m., when a dark-colored car pulled up and two men exited.

Both men had assault rifles, Harn said, and they came around the back of the car and started shooting at a police car.

An officer began returning fire and struck both men, Harn said.

Both men died on the street, he said. One security guard was injured in the attack.

Harn said a SWAT team already at the back of the building responded “within seconds” to help secure the scene. A bomb unit responded, but no bomb was found in the suspects’ car.

On April 21, the FBI said it sent a notice to law enforcement in Texas and elsewhere notifying them of the event. The notice said “the event will likely … provoke threats” based on past “acts of violence in response to depictions of the Islamic prophet Mohammad.”

The scene was still active Monday, Harn said, as both the FBI forensics team and Garland forensics team investigate.

The controversial event, where attendees competed to draw the prophet — which is explicitly banned in Islam and seen as a sign of grave disrespect — was hosted by a group known for being anti-Islam.

The event was held at the Curtis Culwell Center, next to Garland’s Naaman Forest High School, and included speeches from AFDI president Pamela Geller and Geert Wilders, a Dutch leader known for criticizing Islam.

The Garland School District said on its website that Naaman Forest High School is on a normal schedule Monday and the area around the Culwell Center is secured. The school district added that “additional officers and district security will also be present throughout the day.”

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA said in a statement today the organization “recognizes the legal right to free speech. The Community additionally implores all individuals to elevate their personal morality in speech, and to maintain civility and justice in all affairs.”

Dr. Nasim Rehmatullah, National Vice President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, said in a statement, “Violence is never an acceptable response to hate speech, no matter how inflammatory and uncivilized that speech is.”

He added, “While we do not yet know what motivated these shooters, we urge calm and defer to local, state, and federal authorities to peaceably and justly resolve this.”

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How Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg Made Their Marriage Work

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — For Sheryl Sandberg, much of her success as the most powerful woman in Silicon Valley, a wife and a mother came from having a “true partner” in her late husband Dave Goldberg.

“Having a true partner like Dave is still far too rare. While we expect women to be nurturing, we don’t have the same expectations of men,” Sandberg wrote in her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

The book has become a rallying cry for women in the workplace, and Goldberg, who was CEO of SurveyMonkey, has a prominent presence in it.

Goldberg died Friday night, according to his company. He was 47. A cause of death was not mentioned.

Together, Sandberg and Goldberg formed a partnership that allowed them to not only thrive in their respective workplaces, but to also be there for each other and their children.

“Even though Dave and I are extraordinarily fortunate and can afford exceptional child care, there are still difficult and painful decisions about how much time our jobs require us to be away from our family and who will pick up the slack,” Sandberg wrote.

At the start of each week, the couple would decide who would take their children to school and would try to be home for dinner as many night as they could.

“We are never at fifty-fifty at any given moment — perfect equality is hard to define or sustain — but we allow the pendulum to swing back and forth between us,” she wrote.

While Goldberg had a prominent presence in Silicon Valley, it was Sandberg who was the more well-known half of the power couple.

“People frequently pull me aside to ask sympathetically, ‘How is Dave? Is he okay with, you know, all your [whispering] success?'” Sandberg wrote.

“Dave is far more self-confident than I am, and given his own professional success, these comments are easy for him to brush off,” she said.

As their two children get older and eventually become teenagers, Sandberg wrote about how she looked forward to figuring it out together with Goldberg.

“Many of my friends have told me that teenage children require more time from their parents. Every stage of life has its challenges,” she wrote. “Fortunately, I have Dave to figure it out with me. He’s the best partner I could imagine.”

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Charlotte Elizabeth Diana: The Significance of the Royal Baby’s Name

Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images(LONDON) — When choosing their second child’s name, Kate Middleton and Prince William went the sentimental route.

Charlotte Elizabeth Diana is an homage to both sides of the Duke and Duchess’s families.

Charlotte is one of the oldest and most iconic names associated with the royal family, first used by the eldest daughter of King George III in 1766. Charlotte is also the feminine form of Charles, the new baby’s paternal grandfather, and the middle name of her only aunt, Kate’s sister Pippa.

Elizabeth, meanwhile, is a tribute to the baby’s paternal great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, to whom the Duke of Cambridge is close. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will become the longest reigning monarch on Sept. 9. Her coronation took place on June 2, 1953, when she was 25 years old.

Elizabeth is also the name of Prince William’s great grandmother, the Queen Mother Elizabeth. She was the beloved grandmother of Prince Charles, who was a constant presence to the nation during WW II.

The name is rooted in history: Elizabeth also ruled in the 16th and 17th centuries.

And finally, there’s the name Diana, perhaps most famously associated with William’s late mother. The former Princess of Wales died at the age of 36 in 1997 after a car accident in Paris. The European root of the name means “divine or heavenly.”

Diana in recent weeks had been the sentimental favorite among the British population, however few thought it would be a first name for the child.

Patrick Jephson, Princess Diana’s Chief of Staff up until her death, told ABC News people worried that naming the baby Diana would create a bit of a burden, though it could also be inspirational.

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Duchess Kate’s Post-Hospital Look Stirs Reactions

Samir Hussein/WireImage(LONDON) — When Duchess Kate stepped out of St. Mary’s Hospital in London Saturday — 10 hours after giving birth to her 8-pound, 3-ounce daughter, Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana — in a Jenny Packham dress, three-inch high heels and flawless hair, the crowd outside the hospital was stunned.

Kate’s picture-perfect presentation caused jaw-dropping reactions from mom bloggers across the Internet, too.

A blogger for ScaryMommy.com wrote that Kate, “…looks like she spent the day in a spa and got a baby as a thank you gift.”

A contributor to MoneySavingMom.com reminded other moms that, “…we can’t compare ourselves to Kate. Our reality is completely different than her reality.”

ABC News’ senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton confirms the U.K. model of labor and delivery is different from what most moms experience in the United States.

“In the U.K., it’s not as unusual,” Ashton said of Kate’s quick hospital discharge. “Here [in the United States], it’s pretty much a land-speed record. Most women stay in the hospital two nights because that’s what most insurance plans cover.”

“And they want every minute of that time,” Ashton said of U.S. moms. “They need the rest, especially if they have babies or children at home and, let’s face it, not everyone has a full staff to help her when they get home so for moms that don’t, they need that time, the support nurses can give the baby.”

Kate, 33, is at home now in Kensington Palace with her husband, Prince William, and their older child, nearly 2-year-old Prince George. The family has one nanny, Maria Borrallo, who cares for Prince George and will also help with the new baby.

The pair of midwives who helped see the duchess through her healthy labor was photographed in U.K.’s The Daily Mail. Kate’s medical team, said to be led by Dr. Guy Thorpe Easton, gave her the all-clear to leave the hospital the same day as the princess was born.

“British practice for second and subsequent births, I think so long as there are no medical complications, mothers are encouraged to take their children home,” ABC News royal contributor Patrick Jephson said. “It enables the family to start bonding together straight away.”

The family bonding for the new princess, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, started Sunday when her grandparents, Michael and Carole Middleton, and Prince Charles, the father of her father, Prince William, and his wife, Camilla, came by Kensington Palace for visits.

Up next is the first meeting with the baby’s great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, who was announced Monday as part of the baby’s namesake.

Royal watchers said that the British had been pulling for Diana, the name of William’s late mother, to be included in the name of William and Kate’s first daughter.

“Polls in this country today suggest that Diana is the people’s favorite, the sentimental favorite,” ABC News royal contributor Victoria Murphy said prior to the baby’s name announcement. “We do know that William likes to involve Diana in his family life, however, I think that the smart money is on a traditional royal name for one of the first names and on Diana being somewhere in there, possibly in the middle name.”

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The Importance of Knowing Your Credit Score

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Do you know your credit score? If not, you aren’t you aren’t alone.

“Thirty-five percent of U.S. consumers aren’t checking their credit report — they’ve never checked their credit report, and 26 percent aren’t checking their credit scores,” Jean Skowronski at Bankrate says.

But knowing your score can give you the upper hand in some cases. If you plan on making a big purchase like a house or car, for example, it’s important to know where you stand financially.

“You don’t want to be surprised,” says Skowronski. “You want to know going in what your score will entitle you to, so you can make sure that you get the best loan or cheapest loan on whatever product you’re looking to buy.”

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