Remove Everything

“Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.” – Pablo Picasso

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In the book Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder author Nassim Nicholas Taleb tells a story about Michelangelo and Pope Julius II.

The story goes like this…

Michelangelo just created the statute of David.

David was considered the masterpiece of all masterpieces.

David is still so renowned that 500 years later over 1 million people wait in line to view him at the Accademia in Florence, Italy.

Pope Julius II asked Michelangelo what was the secret to his creative genius?

Julius wanted a better understanding of the MINDSET Michelangelo brought to his work.

The Pope asked Michelangelo how he could create something so REMARKABLE out of a block of marble that many artists refused to work with because it was flawed.

Michelangelo answered, “It’s simple. I just remove everything that is not David.”

REMOVE EVERYTHING  

When I struggle in my job, jiu jitsu, or my personal life there is a common theme.

I try to install new habits or ideas with out getting rid of old baggage.

We all have OLD HABITS and STALE ROUTINES.

It’s like trying to sail off to a new world with out taking the rope off the dock.

You can only go so far.

Like Michelangelo, we have to REMOVE EVERYTHING that no longer makes sense.

We have to EDIT OUT what no longer belongs, so what’s possible can emerge.

Focus more on REMOVING than adding.

What if???

  • Instead of chasing that hot new stock, we get out of DEBT.
  • Instead of starting a new diet, we cut out SUGAR.
  • Instead of constantly checking our iPhones, we FOCUS on the people right in front of us.

Chip away at anything that no longer belongs.

Time to start your own RENAISSANCE. 

#RemoveEverything

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

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Batter Up

“Every strike out brings me closer to the next home run.” – Babe Ruth

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The game of BASEBALL is an amazing teacher.

From my earliest memories of playing tee ball to walking off the field for the last time in college (knowing it was the end, I actually kissed home plate on my way off the field) the game of baseball taught me many life lessons.

Baseball requires the same skills we need to succeed in SALES and LIFE:

  • Preparation.
  • Awareness.
  • Hustle.

But for my MONEYBALL, the most important concept the game teaches is how to deal with FAILURE.

The past 2 years I have been part of the coaching staff for my son’s travel baseball team.

It’s a REMARKABLE learning experience.

What’s the toughest lesson?

Teaching the kids (and sometimes us coaches) how to to respond to FAILURE. 

The best baseball players are not the ones with the STRONGEST arms, the FASTEST times to first base, or the most EXPENSIVE bats.

It’s the players who learn how to bounce back from FAILURE the quickest who have the most success.

Baseball mimics life.

To succeed you have to condition yourself to:

  • Fail.
  • Adapt.
  • Move On.

FAILURE

Think about hitting.

You can FAIL at the plate 7 out of 10 times.

That’s a 70% FAILURE rate.

If you can manage to FAIL at 70% for an entire decade, you will go in the HALL OF FAME when you retire.

Wow.

That’s a lot of FAILURE. 

It’s easy to lose your composure.

It’s even easier to dwell on that bad play you just made.

A good baseball player has a SHORT MEMORY. 

They never let the last play ruin the next one.

ADAPT

Baseball is a game of CONSTANT ADJUSTMENTS. 

The game forces you to pay attention.

  • Where did they hit the ball last time?
  • What does this pitcher like to throw with two strikes?
  • What do I need to adjust?

ADAPT or lose to someone who does.

MOVE ON

In baseball, it’s all about the next play.

Not everything will go our way.

That’s a good thing.

Failure can be the spark that forces you to GROW and become better.

The best players learn from their mistakes, then MOVE ON to the next play.

Baseball is the ultimate HEAD GAME.

It’s all about MINDSET.

Yogi Berra said, “Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.”

Did you just make a mistake?

Did your ERROR allow the other team to take the lead?

Good.

Make some adjustments.

Jump back into the batter’s box.

Time for a two out rally…

#BatterUp

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Commencement

“We rise by lifting others.” – Robert Ingersoll

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Graduating students from all over the country are walking down the aisle to receive their diplomas and begin the next chapter of their lives.

Before they throw their caps in the air, they are offered some last words of advice.

This comes in the form of a COMMENCEMENT speech.

Some COMMENCEMENT speeches are REMARKABLE.

Steve Jobs gave a legendary talkto the 2005 graduating class of Stanford.

Others, not so much.

The 2018 speakers ranged from Oprah Winfrey telling the USC graduates to “Live your best life. Keep your word. Get your hands dirty.”to Mad Money’s Jim Cramer telling Bucknell graduates that “It’s OK to fail, but it’s not OK to quit.” 

General James Mattis, the current Secretary of Defense, gave the commencement address to the 2018 graduates of the Air Force Academy.

The class got an unedited talk on the complicated world they enter as they defend our country.

General Mattis, known as the “Warrior Monk”, did what all GREAT LEADERS do.

He made his address about the cadets sitting right in front of him.

He focused his thoughts on the people he will now lead, not himself.

INSPIRE BY YOUR EXAMPLE

“Your example will be the thing that inspires others.”

Talk is cheap.

Your impact will be determined by what you do, not what you think.

Want to INSPIRE others?

Take ACTION.

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

“Learn to embrace and enjoy the beauty of the unexpected.”

Life is unpredictable.

Preparation is key.

But sometimes the best laid plans fall apart.

We have to develop the ability to think on our feet.

ATTITUDE IS YOUR ULTIMATE WEAPON

Your primary weapon system is your attitude.”

We are responsible for the energy we bring into each room we enter.

Our ATTITUDE will determine our ALTITUDE more than anything.

THE ULTIMATE BATTLE

General Mattis ended with a challenge to the future leaders sitting in front of him.

“You ultimately only have to win one battle, it’s the battle for your peoples’ respect. Once you win that battle, your people will win all the others.”

The people you lead expect you to have their back.

Your people expect you to be there when they need you most.

There’s no other place a true LEADER would rather be.

#Commencement

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

Question of the Day

“Judge someone by their questions rather than their answers.” – Voltaire

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“Get out now while you still can.”

The guy on the other side of the table told me this as he stared at me with no expression.

I was a year out of college and struggling to make a job I disliked (working in a CPA firm) work.

The guy was a senior member of the firm asked to mentor me.

At our very first lunch outside of the office, instead of showing me the ropes, he tried to show me the exit.

Turns out he was miserable.

He hated being a CPA.

But he felt stuck.

He told me he was married, had young kids, car payments, and a mortgage.

“It’s too late for me to get out. Don’t get stuck like I did.” was the way I remembering him putting it.

Warning given.

Warning taken.

I jumped ship (and careers) a few months later.

SALES & LIFE

When I was an accountant, I knew many unhappy accountants.

They did not like their job:

  • The hours.
  • The monotony.
  • All those memorable lunches sitting at your desk alone staring at an Excel spreadsheet.

They may have been unhappy, but they were excellent at what they did.

They produced high level CPA work.

They delivered for their clients.

That’s not possible in SALES.

I’ve never met an unhappy, high achieving sales person.

Never.

An unhappy sales person has almost ZERO CHANCE of:

  • Engaging.
  • Connecting.
  • Building Trust.
  • Providing Value.
  • Helping someone else succeed.
  • Getting invited back.

ELEVATE YOUR QUESTIONS

What’s the best way to feel fulfilled in your career?

That’s hard to say.

It’s different for each of us.

There are no magic answers.

But there are MAGIC QUESTIONS.

The fastest way to elevate your MINDSET is also the fastest way to elevate your sales game:

Elevate the quality of your questions.  

10 QUESTIONS TO JUMP START YOUR SALES (and life)…

  1. What needs to happen for today to be a success?
  2. Who needs my help today?
  3. Who do I need to ignore?
  4. What do I need to stop doing?
  5. What do I need to get over?
  6. Who do I need to spend more time with?
  7. Who do I need to walk away from?
  8. What am I excited about?
  9. What’s missing?
  10. What am I grateful for?

High level questions attract high level answers.

U2’s Bono said, “We thought that we had the answers. It was the questions we had wrong.”

No need to get stuck anywhere.

What tough questions do you need to ask yourself?

That’s the…

#QuestionOfTheDay

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

Clean Slate

“The beginning is always today.” – Mary Shelly

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I thought it would never happen.

It did.

We moved.

We left the house we lived in for 14+ years.

Holy boxes…

Everywhere.

Has anyone seen our Vitamix?

Time for NEW BEGINNINGS.

Nothing like a CLEAN SLATE. 

Moving is an experience that literally MOVES you out of your COMFORT ZONE.  

New surroundings force you to create NEW ROUTINES.

You have to forget how things “used to be” and adjust to a new reality.

Moving is an awesome opportunity to create a CLEAN SLATE. 

But before you can start the next chapter of your life, you have to let go of yesterday.

WIPE THE SLATE CLEAN

The house buying / selling process gets complicated.

Nothing is guaranteed.

Everyone is looking out for their own best interests.

Timing has to be on your side.

We were fortunate to sell our old home a few hours before we bought our new one.

Many balls in the air.

They have to all land in the right order or things get complicated fast.

It’s enough to make a Buddhist Monk reach for the Ativan.

FORGIVE

Buyers can get petty.

Their requests can seem over the top.

It helps to take nothing personal.

Deepak Chopra wrote,“Everyone is doing the best they can with their level of consciousness.”

You have to cut people some slack.

Easier said than done.

You have to FORGIVE (and forget).

MOVE ON

You have to MOVE ON from the things that no longer serve you.

Moving forces you to EDIT both your possessions and mindset.

The next chapter of your life is going to require a better version of you.

KEEP WALKING FORWARD

The most emotional moment came for us when we walked through our old house for the last time.

My last view of the inside of our home came as I shut the the front door.

A flood of happy memories of our kid’s lives flashed before me.

Wow.

It’s hard to believe we will never be back there again.

The best way to WIPE THE SLATE CLEAN is to KEEP WALKING FORWARD.

Ryan Holiday wrote, “The last step of the journey is the first step of the next.”

Step, step, step…

 

#CleanSlate

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Know When To Quit

“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em. Know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away. And know when to run.” – Kenny Rodgers

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The more things I quit, the better life becomes.

I’ve learned the secret is figuring out what to quit and where to DOUBLE DOWN.

Here are the 3 best things I ever QUIT:

  • TV
  • Golf
  • “To Do Lists”

TV

Want to talk about a TV series or the news?

I am not your person.

The non-stop barrage of violence, scandals, and bias news kills my positive vibe.

I’ve cut the TV cord.

(Eagles games NOT included).

Call it purposeful ignorance.   

GOLF

Golf and I were in a bad marriage.

Our problems were beyond counseling.

I would spend hours on the links, shoot my weight, and come home frustrated.

As that Andrea Bochelli’s song goes, it was “Time to say goodbye…”

QUITTING golf was liberating.

No more searching for my drive in the woods.

No more watching grown men walk around in plaid pants.

This gives me time to concentrate on more important things – like being choked unconscious on a sweaty jiu jitsu mat.

“TO DO” Lists

I used to write out daily “To Do” lists.

I’d spend the day running around, crossing items off my list.

A false sense of accomplishment would surround me like one of those cheap Today’s Man suits I wore after graduating college.

I was busy, but far from relevant.

I learned focusing on my “Not To Do” list was way more productive.

Steve Jobs said, “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.”

Knowing what NOT to spend your time on is liberating.

TOUGH QUESTION

Think about your priorities.

What are you willing to quit to make those priorities a reality?

That’s the question.

Answer that and everything else becomes much easier.

– Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.NET

(The article was originally published in March 2015 on http://www.JoeCiccarone.com)

Keep Showing Up

“Fortitudine Vincimus.  (By Endurance We Conquer).” – Ernest Shackleton, Arctic Explorer

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The year was 1999.

I started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ).

The BJJ academy I trained at was one of the first on the East Coast.

Many world class instructors and killer competitors got their start there.

The training was intense.

It was like nothing I ever done before.

Before each class, I packed the same 4 things:

  • GI
  • Mouthpiece
  • Head gear
  • Medical Insurance card

I had a notion that at some point it was going to be my turn to take the 2 block trip to the emergency room.

That trip finally came.  The ER doctor told me I needed chest x-rays.  But we’ll save that story for another day.

When I first started BJJ I was awful:

  • Choppy
  • Tense
  • Hesitant

To become proficient at BJJ you have to learn to deal with BIGGER, FASTER, STRONGER people smashing you into the ground.

I needed to grow both PHYSICALLY and MENTALLY.

It’s an ongoing process that continues to this day.

Training BJJ has taught me many life lessons. 

The BIGGEST of these lessons is this:

KEEP SHOWING UP.

Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of life is showing up.”

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a microcosm of life.

It’s a long, winding journey.

It’s process, not an event.

After a particularly frustrating training session, one of my training partners took me aside and shared this analogy.

He told me, “Training Jiu Jitsu is like creating a huge mosaic made up of thousands of tiny tiles.  Your job is to add one or two tiles to that mosaic each time you SHOW UP.”

This analogy is true for all aspects of our lives.

Accomplishing anything worth doing is going to take more time than you think.

You have to KEEP SHOWING UP to get it right.

It’s a journey that’s going to take you through PEAKS & VALLEYS.

There is no “hack”.

There is no easy fix.

Your CONSISTENCY and TENACITY are your secret weapons.

SLOW AND STEADY 

Don’t worry about not moving fast.

There are so many people that have progressed faster in their BJJ training than I have.

Guess what?

It doesn’t matter.

The race is only against yourself.

Confucius wrote, “It does not matter how slow you go, so long as you do not stop.”  

Focus on making slow, steady progress.

WHERE DO YOU NEED TO BE?

In life (and BJJ) SIGNING UP up is the easy part.

Doing the hard work is where the MAGIC happens.

So…

Who’s counting on you?

It’s time to SHOW UP.

Create something special.

You’ll be glad you did.

#KeepShowingUp

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

To Be or Not To Be?

“Remember your ‘To Do’ list but don’t forget your ‘To Be’ List.” – Richard Branson

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Monday Fun-Day…

Another week gets rolling.

Some of our “TO DO” lists are longer than a Springsteen concert setlist.

Before we sprint out the door, take a minute to think…

What’s missing?

Maybe we need to focus less on what we want ‘TO DO’ and more on who we need to BE.

Here are 12 things that may BE missing from your “TO DO” list:

430 years ago William Shakespeare asked, “To be or not to be?”

It’s an amazing quote.

It’s also a great philosophy to live your life.

#ToBeOrNotToBe

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

(Big Thank You to Seth Godin for the inspiration!)

 

Edit, Edit, Edit

“Pare down to the essence.” ― Leonard Koren

move1.jpgWe’re moving.

After years of casually (and at times not so casually) looking to move, we finally found a house.

We made an offer.

Offer accepted.

We were even fortunate enough to sell our current house in under a week.

Buying a house before selling your existing home is a high wire act.

At times, it felt like we were trying to pull off our own version of the PHILLY SPECIAL.

Somehow, it worked out.

But that’s a story (and a blog post) for another day.

Now the fun beings…

Packing.

Ugggggh.

There’s a quote I read this week, “Moving was a great idea until I started packing.”  

It’s a 30-day sprint to BOX UP, CLOSE OUT, and LEAVE the place our family called home for more than a decade.

The packing / moving process is eye opening.

It makes you realize how much unnecessary stuff we have in our lives.

CLUTTER accumulates everywhere:

  • Our Homes.
  • Our Schedules.
  • Our Minds.

MOVING has taught me a BIG lesson.

EDIT, EDIT, EDIT

I am now in EDIT MODE in all areas of my life.

What I’m EDITING:

Personal Possessions

I am no longer holding on to things for Future Me.

If I don’t wear it or use it, it’s donated or thrown away.

No more things saved for “someday”.

If I don’t LOVE IT,  it’s gone.

Future Me can either buy a new one or figure out how to live without when the time comes.

EDITING is liberating.

The MENTAL benefits may be greater than the physical ones.

Our home actually feels lighter.

Less physical items lead to less mental clutter.

Schedule

Moving is a great reason to EDIT what goes on your calendar.

Time is ticking.

There’s a ton to get done.

One of my favorite quotes is by Jim Collins, “If you have more than 3 priorities, you don’t have any.”

What are your 3 priorities right now?

If the event you just committed to is not related to those priorities, why is it on your schedule?

Ryan Holiday wrote, “What’s your main thing?  Ok… So why are you doing all of these other things?” 

I’ve found SAYING NO takes courage, but is LIBERATING.

This frees up an incredible amount of time to INVEST in WHO and WHAT matter most.

PEOPLE

It’s never a bad time to EDIT the negative people out of your life.

  • Who are the people that bring too much drama?
  • Who drains you energy?

It may be a good time to start EDITING them out.

MOVE ON UP

We all heard that “Less is more.”

It’s not just a quote.

It’s a philosophy that helps us live a REMARKABLE life.

Think of all that stuff you have jammed into BOXES and BINS.

Look at those commitments on your SCHEDULE. 

Is all that really making your life better?

Or is it just weighing you down?

It may be time to start Movin On Up…

#EditEditEdit

– Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Write It Down

“I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.” —Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

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What do the following people have in common?

Besides changing the course of history, they all shared a common practice.

They kept a JOURNAL.

Journaling is a life changing habit.

When I first heard about journaling, I was sceptical.

I thought writing in a journal was something that people who wrote bad poetry did.

I was wrong.

Jim Rohn said, “If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured, and unique individual, keep a journal.”

There are a number of studies that show keeping a journal helps you better cope with STRESS and ANXIETY.

A journal will help you:

  • PRIORITIZE your day.
  • CLARIFY your thinking.
  • Stay ORGANIZED and FOCUSED.
  • Increase your CREATIVITY.

HOW TO JOURNAL:

FIND YOUR PLACE

You don’t need a vista.

You don’t need an ocean view or a Pottery Barn table.

Da Vinci wrote (in one of his journals), Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” 

Keep it simple.

Pick a spot where you can open up your blank notebook, feel comfortable and write down your thoughts.

GET YOUR TIMING WRITE

Start by allocating 10 minutes each day.

We are all busy.

But we all need time to THINK and REFLECT.

For many, there is a burst of creative energy that comes after a good night’s sleep.

For you NIGHT OWLS, there might be no better way to clear your mind than writing your thoughts down before bed.

Capture those ideas on paper.

WHAT TO WRITE?

The first step is the hardest.

Don’t let what to write be an OBSTACLE.

Here are some journal prompts to get you started:

  • What’s got my attention?
  • What made me happy today?
  • What surprised me?
  • What challenges am I facing?
  • What am I grateful for?
  • What excites me?
  • What scares me?
  • What did I learn today?
  • What great quote did I hear?
  • What people do I need to spend more time with?

NO FEAR

Write without fear.

Lose your inhibitions.

Don’t hold back.

Let your writing express how you really feel.

This journal is for you.

No one else.

THE BENEFITS

Journaling will help you enter each day with greater clarity.

Your actions will be more focused.

You’ll start to feel GRATITUDE for the little things.

2,000 years ago, the stoic philosopher Epictetus wrote, “Just as one person delights in improving their farm, so I delight in attending to my own improvement.” 

So…

What’s on your mind?

What’s keeping you up at night?

How can you make tomorrow better than today?

Do what some of the greatest minds in history have done…

#WriteItDown

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net