Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Wikipedia defines confidence as "a state of being certain, either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct, or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective." Scientifically speaking though, one has no idea whether a course of action is correct until what is being sought has been achieved or not. Which leads to a reasonable possibility that one may decide to take no action because they no longer trust in the ability to perform due to past failures or because one "just has a feeling" that they won't succeed before trying.

And then there's "The Choke." Just at the moment when confidence, especially self-confidence, is needed the most one allows doubt to enter the mind and squelch any hope that the best result will be achieved. It's a term most often used in sports, but just as easily translates into business when important decisions are on the line.

Jack Welch, of GE, once said, “Confidence gives you courage and extends your reach. It lets you take greater risks and achieve far more than you ever thought possible." Hockey great, Wayne Greasy once said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

Confidence is one of the top characteristics of successful leaders. Here are 7 ways to gain more confidence:
1. What's the worst that could happen? Too often we place excess importance on potential problems and spend too much time and energy worrying. Instead, take action on what you have control over and minimize risks for what you don't. Then invest your energy wisely.
2. Visualize. If you are doing something for the first time imagine that you have already done it in the past. Close your eyes and imagine you succeeding wildly at what you are really going to do. The mind does NOT know the difference between something vividly imagined and something real.
3. Model others' behavior. Find someone who has mastered confidence and copy them. What allows them to act decisively on a course of action? Model their behaviors, attitudes, values and beliefs.
4. As-if. Use the "as-if" frame of mind. If you were confident, how would you be acting, moving, speaking, and thinking? What would you tell yourself inside? By asking yourself these questions, you are literally forced to answer them by going into a confident state. You will then be acting "as-if" you are confident.
5. Keep it in perspective. Visualize the future and ask if what you are faced with today is such a big deal. Imagine yourself on your deathbed, surrounded by family and friends looking back over your life. Is what you are faced with now all that relevant? Probably not. Keeping things in proper perspective really diminishes fear.
6. Go for it. Remember that you automatically lose out on 100% of the opportunities that you never go for. To get what you want, ask for it. As you think about your goals, how effective would it be for you to believe that all the people out there want to help, if you only asked? Whether that is true or not in the "real world" does not matter. Believe.
7. Lose the internal voice. The negative internal voice can keep anyone stopped. To stop the internal voice, imagine a volume control and lower the volume. Or how about changing the voice to a clown voice. You wouldn't take direction from a clown, now would you? The point is to disarm the voice by altering the way it nags at you. If I hear my own voice nagging at me, it stops me. If I hear a clown voice, I laugh and continue onward.
Confidence is derived from within, and it has a better chance of developing when one allows oneself to choose a course of action when the outcome remains unknown. A positive outcome will stroke the confident behavior and make the decision easier next time. A negative outcome will provide a valuable lesson for a future decision. Either way confidence is bolstered and you are better prepared to evaluate risks versus rewards.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hundreds of LifeCare advocates gathering at Crossroads Fellowship Church for Awareness and Support Rally!

Part of a Call to Action to Educate people on Viable Alternatives to Abortion
Join the Movement to Change Hearts and Minds

WHAT: LifeCare Pregnancy Center, is holding an Awareness and Support Rally! to fight for the lives of the unborn and their mothers. LifeCare is a local affiliate of the nationally recognized CareNet Network. Thousands of women have been helped locally, millions have been helped nationally.

LifeCare is hosting a press conference at the North Hills Renaissance Hotel on Friday, February 19th at 10am. Dr. Alan Keyes, a prominent pro-life advocate, former UN Ambassador, Presidential and Senatorial candidate and radio/TV personality will share how you can become part of the movement to change the perception of abortion in America.

Kicking off the “LifeCare Awareness and Support Rally” event will be Dr. Alan Keyes.

WHY: For 25 years we advocated for the unborn and the unborn’s parents. We make it possible for people to make good choices about sex and life by providing a safe place where they can talk and get answers and support. LifeCare is a place where someone listens instead of judges.

PRESS CONFERENCE: February 19th, 10am – Press Conference at Renaissance Hotel at North Hills

PUBLIC EVENT: February 19th – 7:30pm-9pm
WHERE: Crossroads Fellowship Church, 2721 Millbrook Rd, Raleigh, NC 27604
PRESS CONTACT: To arrange pre-event interviews with speaker, or to RSVP for the press conference please contact: Jenny Martin, 919-621-1619, jennym@thestoneagency.com
For Immediate release

(RALEIGH, NC February 17, 2010)
Dr. Alan Keyes speaks this week about changing the perception of abortion in America

"Prominent media personality and former Presidential candidate Dr. Alan Keyes will speak in Raleigh this week about changing the perception of abortion in America.

Keyes will be the main speaker at an awareness and support rally for The Life Care Pregnancy Center February 19 from 7:30pm – 9:00pm at Crossroads Fellowship Church in Raleigh."

“The courts have ruled that abortion is “legal”. Their ruling encourages women to believe that they are free to choose abortion” Keyes said in a statement issued for release today. “Because of their ruling women are confronted with a tragic and necessarily negative choice. They don’t want an abortion nor do they want to give birth and raise a child absent the love and support they believe is missing in their situation. Life Care’s role is to provide these women the ability to make a more informed and broader choice.”

Keyes added: “We need to remind people that there are alternatives to abortion. With enough information and support we can reform the public perception of choice. Choice cannot be synonymous with abortion. It ought to be synonymous with decent responsibility toward each other and to God. We help people choose well.”

Keyes’ speech comes amidst the recent maelstrom of political debate happening all over the country surrounding the status of abortion in healthcare. Recent events suggest the public perception may already be changing.

Last week, Wake County announced it would end a decade-long practice of covering elective abortions for government employees – citing a 29-year old NC Supreme Court ruling that makes it illegal. Under the ruling, North Carolina tax dollars can only be used to cover abortions in the cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the pregnant woman is in danger.

In November 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a healthcare reform bill that would prohibit federal funding of abortion under any government-run insurance plan as well as private policies available in the Exchange to people receiving federal subsidies.

The Senate version of the bill, which passed a month later, would allow each state to choose whether or not to allow private policies that cover abortion into their exchanges.

Keyes says, “The fight to change how Americans think about abortion has intensified. We need to gather even more support to continue the pro life movement’s undeniable impact.”

Keyes has a long career of government service and political activism. He ran for President of the United States in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2008 and was Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in 1988, 1992, and 2004. Keyes was appointed as ambassador to the United Nations by President Reagan in 1983, and has served on the National Security Council Staff as well as the American Delegation in India as well as on the State Department Desk for Zimbabwe.

The LifeCare organization in Raleigh, NC asked Keyes to speak at Friday’s Rally event because of his outspoken support of the alternatives to abortion.

“The Courts allows abortion, but many women make a choice because they feel they really don’t have one. Their situation makes the prospect of giving birth too insurmountable. We are here to help her, her partner, and family evaluate her options based on information, love, and support all in an atmosphere without judgment. A place where she can choose well,” said LifeCare representative Mary Amundsen. “We respect the right to choose, and want to help people make that choice an informed one.”

According to their mission statement, LifeCare helps people make good choices about pregnancy, sex and life by providing a safe place where they can get information and support in a nonjudgmental environment.

They also offer free pregnancy tests, STD screenings and ultrasounds as well as free life skills classes and material support for anyone affected by a crisis following sex.

“We’re excited to hear Dr. Keyes speak at the (Rally),” said LifeCare spokesperson Mary Amundsen “Given all the talk of abortion in the news recently, the timing couldn’t be better. We’re hoping for a great turnout to help raise awareness and support for the cause.”

The awareness and support Rally event commemorates LifeCare’s 25th anniversary. It is being held at the Crossroads Fellowship Church on 2721 Millbrook Rd this Friday from 7:30pm – 9:00pm. Free childcare is offered for children under 5. Dessert and coffee is provided to all. For more information visit www.LifeCareNC.com.

PUBLIC EVENT: February 19th – 7:30pm-9pm
WHERE: Crossroads Fellowship Church, 2721 Millbrook Rd, Raleigh, NC 27604
PRESS CONTACT: To arrange pre-event interviews with speaker, please contact: Jenny Martin, 919-621-1619, jennym@thestoneagency.com

Friday, February 5, 2010

Another birthday in the house!!! Jason Barkley turned another year older today. His cake surely fits his personality. The Easy button. No matter what needs to get done, Jason makes it look easy! Happy Birthday Jason!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Just the "fizz" please......
For advertisers, it's never easy to sit out the Super Bowl. Sure, the spots are pricey - between $2.5 million and $3 million for this year's game, which will be played on Feb. 7. But the 100 million–strong audience, which includes a slew of people tuning in solely to dissect the commercials, almost guarantees instant brand buzz. No one knows this better than Pepsi, which has produced some memorable Super Bowl spots: a sweltering Cindy Crawford sipping on a Pepsi while a couple of adolescent boys admire the can, Britney Spears gyrating for the camera, those stupid dancing bears. In fact, Pepsi has advertised during the Super Bowl for 23 consecutive years. So why is the company skipping this year's big game, leaving the airwaves to its salivating rival, Coke, which will air two different spots, including one starring the incredibly popular characters from The Simpsons? (See the best and worst Super Bowl commercials of 2009.)

To Pepsi, and to companies around the world, the days when mass-market media is the sole vehicle to reach an audience are officially over. Instead of pouring millions of dollars into a Super Bowl commercial, Pepsi has started a social-media campaign to promote its "Pepsi Refresh" initiative. Pepsi plans to give away $20 million in grant money to fund projects in six categories: health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods and education. People can go to the Pepsi website refresheverything.com - which can also be accessed through Facebook and Twitter - to both submit ideas and vote on others they find appealing. Among those on the site now: "Help free healthcare clinic expand services to uninsured in rural TN" and "Build a fitness center for all students in Hays, Kansas community." Every month, the company will offer up to 32 grants to worthy projects.

"This is such a fundamental change from anything we've done in the past," says Lauren Hobart, chief marketing officer for Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages. "It's a big shift. We explored different launch plans, and the Super Bowl just wasn't the right venue, because we're really trying to spark a full-year movement from the ground up. The plan is to have much more two-way dialogue with our customers." (See the 19 stadiums that have hosted the Super Bowl.)

These days, viral marketing seems like a smart strategy. "This is exactly where Pepsi needs to be," says Sophie Ann Terrisse, founder and CEO of STC Associates, a brand-consulting firm. "These days, brands need to become a movement instead of just relying on good reviews for their Super Bowl commercials." But why not hit customers from both the top down and the bottom up? Pepsi executives are quick to point out that there will be traditional television advertising for Pepsi Refresh, just not during the Super Bowl. If you're going to launch a charitable initiative that can build goodwill toward your brand, however, isn't 100 million captive viewers an attractive audience? If you're going to give away $20 million, what's another $3 million to build more excitement for your project and, hopefully, sales of your soda? (See the top 10 best business deals of 2009.)

The problem, say marketing experts, is mixing the medium with the message. "The Super Bowl is just too extravagant for something like this," says Lee Clow, chief creative officer and global director of media arts at TBWA Worldwide, the agency that created Pepsi's campaign. "It's seems like a contradiction to say you're going to set aside $20 million in marketing dollars for a worthy cause, then turn around and spend $12 million on two 60-second spots for the Super Bowl. Couldn't that money be put to better use?"

Plus, says Clow, the Super Bowl audience comes with certain expectations. People want the commercials to entertain them. They want to see others having a good time, because they're having a good time themselves at a Super Bowl party. They want to talk about the ads at the watercooler. "If you show up with something serious like [Pepsi Refresh], you're going to get ignored," says Clow, who also masterminded Apple's legendary "1984" Super Bowl ad. "If you're going to be there, you have to do something over the top." Some serious spots, like the anti-abortion ad from Focus on the Family, in which the mother of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow explains how she ignored doctor's orders to terminate her pregnancy with her star son, could fit because they stir controversy. There's nothing controversial about building rural health clinics.

Pepsi's sales will determine whether the company is blowing a golden opportunity by skipping this year's Super Bowl and whether goodwill actually increases the bottom line. Are people going to suddenly start drinking sugary fizz because Pepsi is being philanthropic? It's not like corporate responsibility is suddenly in vogue: show me a Fortune 500 company, and I'll show you why that company insists it's the most generous organization in the world.
By SEAN GREGORY Sean Gregory – Thu Feb 4, 3:05 am ET