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

 

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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

 

Adversity, Knee Braces, & Attitude

“If the road is easy, you’re likely going the wrong way.” Terry Goodkind 

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ADVERSITY enters our lives when we least expect it.

How we respond defines who we become.

While training in jiu jitsu, I heard a loud pop in my knee.

Yikes!

Not the background music I was hoping to listen to while training.

2 weeks later…

I’m standing next to an orthopedic surgeon.

He looked at the MRI and explained my injury –a full width tear of the ACL”.

Fun times.

A knee injury brings a level of adversity into your life.

I am firm believer that life is 10% what happens and 90% how we respond.

Jeffrey Benjamin said, Adversity always hides a gift.”  

Our job is to find it.

Here are 4 Gifts I learned by tearing my ACL:

STAY CALM

Fear thrives in adversity.

Expose yourself to enough stories of the worst possible outcome, and your mind will start to believe them.

One way to empty the fear out of our minds and fill it with positive vibes is to BREATHE.

As soon as I heard that “POP” behind my kneecap, I focused on my breathing:

  • Slow, deep breaths.
  • In my nose.
  • Out my mouth.

It’s amazing how FOCUSED BREATHING calms your mind.

Focused breathing is one of the true GIFTS I learned by training jiu jitsu and practicing yoga.

EMBRACE CHANGE

Take a page out of Charles Darwin’s play book.

Learn to ADAPT to your environment.

My energy comes from being active:

  • Playing sports with my kids.
  • Training jiu jitsu.
  • Traveling with my wife.

But with a knee as strong a Kardashian marriage, I needed to make adjustments.

I had to watch class instead of train.

To stay in shape, I had to trade my jiu jitsu Gi for the elliptical machine at LA Fitness.

There wasn’t a trade that bad since the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees.

But they served their purpose.

THE POWER OF COMMUNITY

Adversity puts fear in your head.

Speaking with friends who went through the same situation crushed that fear.

Discussing rehab options with a top physician & awesome PT’s created a game plan and built confidence.

Never underestimate the power of community.

KEEP MOVING FORWARD

Life moves on.

The world stops for no one.

An injured knee was not going to stop me from living my life.

A few days after I got hurt, I was scheduled to chaperone a Class Trip for my son’s 2nd grade class.

I bought my 1st knee brace ever and jumped (more like limped) onto the school bus.

It was an awesome day –  Kardashian knee and all.

Call it my Kirk Gibson moment.

Getting injured is AVERAGE.

Living life in the face of adversity feels REMARKABLE.

#FindTheGift

– Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

This article was originally published in June 2015 on http://www.JoeCiccarone.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Break Away

“My only requirement for life is that I don’t get stuck in a rut.” – Malin Ackerman

Break Away

It was time for a break:

  • No blogging.
  • No city traffic.
  • No hustling 5 people out the door by 7am.

Time to reset.

Time to BREAK AWAY.

We had an opportunity to take a vacation.

I booked our family’s first flight together.

Traveling with 3 young kids is no joke.

But it was time to roll the dice.

Time to create some memories.

The anticipation of a BIG event is sometimes better than the event itself.

Not this time.

“Best week of my life.” – our 8 year old said on the plane ride home.

BIG words from a little one.

  • We snorkeled over coral reefs.
  • Hiked in a rainforest.
  • Kayaked to an island where one of our kids’ favorite movies was filmed.

All accomplished while keeping a non-stop 3 year old entertained.

This family vacation taught me 3 life lessons:

When you have an opportunity to create a memory, seize it.

Memories just don’t happen.

They must be created.

Family vacations take:

  • Time.
  • Energy.
  • Cash.

All 3 can easily be allocated elsewhere in your life.

A new car or dining room set will NOT create the memories that walk with you through the rest of your life.

Creating special moments with your family will.

Shared experiences bond people together.  

Hiking over a narrow bridge 100 feet above a valley (while carrying your chatty 3 year old) bonds a family together.

There’s a special closeness that forms when you experience uncommon situations together.

The more experiences shared, the closer the bond.

Sometimes you have to dive in head first.

There was a moment when I came face to face with a childhood fear.

I never fully conquered my phobia of swimming in the ocean.

Double that fear when snorkeling.

Watching Jaws a dozen times as a child probably did not help.

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat…”

I have no problem jumping on the jiu jitsu mat with a 25 year old looking to choke me unconscious.

But putting on snorkel gear has me focusing on my breathing.

This trip brought me face to face with a snorkel swim that checked every box on my phobia checklist.

Yikes…

It was time to PUNCH fear in the face.

My 8 year old son and I put on our snorkel gear.

We looked down over a coral reef.

And…

Dove in.

Getting caught in a rut is AVERAGE.

Diving into life head first feels REMARKABLE.

#BreakAway

– Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

(This post was originally published April 2015 on http://www.JoeCiccarone.com)

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

“Less is more.” – William Shakespeare

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What can a rose teach us about life?

Everything.

As a rose bush grows, it creates more buds than it can sustain.

A rose bush does not have the capacity to keep all of it’s buds nourished.

The bush creates so many buds that eventually it exhausts itself and fades away.

The only way a rose bush can thrive is by pruning the unnecessary buds so the essential buds can THRIVE and BLOSSOM.

Sound familiar?

Our lives work the same way.

Less is more.

We all have way too much to do.

When was the last time you took a hard look at what is on your calendar?

PRUNE the unnecessary from your schedule.

Remove One Distraction This Week.

Before you start this week, look at your schedule.

What’s on there that shouldn’t be?

What did you say “Yes” to because you felt bad saying no?

What interaction provides little value?

Have the COURAGE to take it off your calendar.

Reallocate that time back to your TOP PRIORITY. 

Our life, like that rose bush, needs constant PRUNING:

  • There are COMMITMENTS that no longer make sense.
  • There are RELATIONSHIPS that are holding you back.

Where can you better INVEST your ENERGY instead?

Time to PRUNE away.

Cut out the unnecessary so your life can BLOSSOM.

This won’t be easy, but you’ll be glad you did.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote, “Perfection is Achieved Not When There Is Nothing More to Add, But When There Is Nothing Left to Take Away”

#LessIsMore 

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Lead the Way

“Leadership is influence.  Nothing more, nothing less.” – John Maxwell

 

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What makes someone a LEADER?

The best definition I ever heard is “INFLUENCE”.

Whether you lead a global corporation or run your family, every organization needs the next generation of leaders to step up and LEAD THE WAY.

John Maxwell wrote, “Everything rises and falls with leadership.”

You may be a new leader trying to establish TRUST.

You could be an established leader looking to STAY RELEVANT.

Either way, one thing is certain –

Leaders are CREATED, not born.

HOW TO LEAD THE WAY:

SHARE YOUR BEST IDEAS

Leaders need to ELEVATE the thinking of everyone in the group.

Don’t hold back.

Put your best ideas into world.

Edwin Markham wrote, “What we put into the lives of others, comes back into our own.”

MAKE DECISIONS

Leaders have the COURAGE to make tough decisions.

They gather the available information and have the guts to make a call.

Leaders know that NOT making a decision is making one.

Amelia Earhart said, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act; the rest is merely tenacity.” 

MOVE ON

Not every decision will work out.

Life will knock you down.

The past is an awesome teacher, but a bad place to live.

Leaders learn the lesson, adapt, then move on.

EMPOWER OTHERS

Leaders take people with them.

Wayne Gretzky said, “It’s not about how great you are.  It’s about how great you make the people around you.”

Empower others.

RAISE THE BAR

Leaders raise the bar.

From Washington leading the Continental Army, to Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat, to Steve Jobs denting the universe…

Great leaders show what is possible.

Seth Godin wrote, “You can raise the bar or wait for others to raise it, but it’s getting raised regardless.” 

Elevate what people think is possible.

STAY RELEVANT

Leaders know the best way to STAY RELEVANT is to keep learning.

John F. Kennedy said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

Leaders keep learning or slowly fade away.

IT’S YOUR TURN

The world is asking you to step up and help show the way forward.

Someone is waiting for you to LEAD THE WAY.

Who will you INFLUENCE?

How far can you take them?

It’s time…

Lead, follow, or please get out of the way.

#LeadTheWay

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net