Growin’ Up

“God have mercy on the man who doubts what he is sure of.” – Bruce Springsteen, Brilliant Disguise

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In “Springsteen on Broadway”, Bruce Springsteen’s epic 3-hour journey through his life and music, The Boss tells a REMARKABLE story about his relationship with his father.

Springsteen reveals he sang many of his songs through the eyes of his dad.

Springsteen’s father lived a life very different from Bruce.

His dad was a blue collar, hard drinking, factory worker who struggled through life and his relationships.

Springsteen says, “My father was my hero. And my greatest foe.”

Just days before Bruce’s wife gave birth to their first child, Springsteen’s dad drove over 500 miles and arrived unannounced at his front door.

Bruce said his dad wanted to “Apologize…and warn me of the mistakes he made, so I would not make them myself.”

Springsteen calls this the greatest moment he ever had with his dad.

His dad wanted to change from a GHOST to an ANCESTOR in his life.

What’s the difference?

ANCESTORS show the way forward.

Ancestors create a path.

They make life better for those that come after them.

We build on their work.

We stand on our ancestors’ shoulders.

GHOSTS are the opposite.

Ghosts are focused on themselves.

They have very little or even a negative impact on your life.

They are easily forgettable.

Ghosts pass by and quickly disappear.

Almost like they were never there.

These RELATIONSHIPS also exist in our PROFESSIONAL LIFE.  

What kind of path are your leaving for others to follow?

Who is better off because you showed up?

Will you be missed when you’re gone?

The world needs more ANCESTORS.

We’ve heard enough GHOST stories already.

#GrowinUp

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

 

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The Best of 2018

“Here’s to those who inspire us and don’t even know it.” – Anonymous

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Here are 3 of the BEST BOOKS I discovered this year.

A great book changes the way you THINK.

A great book makes you SEE the world differently.

A great book changes how you APPROACH life.

These 3 are that type of book.

As a BONUS, I also included my favorite PODCAST episode of 2018.

Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue (by Ryan Holiday) 

Holiday is my favorite author.  His latest book “Conspiracy” is a modern-day combination of Machiavelli’s “The Prince” and Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”.  I knew little about Peter Thiel.  I’ve not thought of Hulk Hogan since high school.  I never heard of Gawker.  No matter.  This is an amazing book about strategy, the danger of hubris, ego, and human nature.  Two of Holiday’s other books, The Obstacle is the Way and The Daily Stoic, are the books I gift most to others.

The Captain Class: A New Theory of Leadership (by Sam Walker) 

Hands down the best leadership book of 2018.  Walker goes on a search to find – What makes a team elite?  How does a great team become a dynasty?  It’s NOT how much they spend.  It’s not their “system”.  It’s not even their star players.  It’s whether or not they have great CAPTAINS. The Captain may not be the most talented or well know, but they are the glue that holds the team together.  The captain’s GRIT, TENACITY, and CHARACTER determine how far their team can go.  Amazing stories.

Leadership In Turbulent Times (by Dorris Kearns Goodwin)

Goodwin explores the decisions that shaped lives and times of four of the greatest US Presidents – Lincoln, FDR, Theodore Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson.  Kearns shows how good leaders became great leaders by rising to the occasion of unbelievably difficult circumstances.  This is one of those massive books that you are bummed when you hit the last page.

Bonus:  Best Podcast Episode of 2018

The Tim Ferris Show:  Coach George Raveling — A Legend on Sports, Business, and The Game of Life (#332) 

Raveling is a pioneer in civil rights, business, and coaching.  If a university ever offered an MBA in Life, this podcast would be on the syllabus.  Do yourself a favor and download this episode.  It’s a master class on how to live an incredible life.

Hope you enjoy.

Wish you a REMARKABLE 2019!

#TheBestOf2018

-Joe Ciccarone

 

Answer the Bell

“There is no such thing as failure.  There are only results.” – Tony Robbins

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TOUGH BATTLES will inevitably find us.

At some point, we are going to have to step into the ring and fight our version of Apollo Creed.

We will be in a FIGHT that will test us like nothing before.

Be ready to bring your GRIT, GUTS, & CREATIVITY.

But also, be ready to cut yourself some SLACK.

Because things will not go as planned.

Like Rocky, our Apollo will KNOCK US DOWN.

More than once.

No BIG deal.

Just put your mouth piece back in.

And GET BACK UP.

Ding. Ding.

#AnswerTheBell

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

Get Back Up

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” – Bruce Lee

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Jim Kelly knows something about the power perseverance.

Kelly, a first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback, played 11 seasons in the NFL.

He led the Buffalo Bills to a record 4 straight Super Bowl appearances.

The Bills lost all of them.

Kelly’s son Hunter died in 2005 from a rare disease.

In 2013, Kelly was diagnosed with jaw cancer.

After beating back cancer, Kelly was diagnosed with MRSA.

In early 2018 Kelly underwent surgery after his cancer reappeared.

In the Summer of 2018, Jim Kelly won the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPY’s.

Standing next to John Elway and Dan Marino, two of his former rivals, Kelly gave one of the all time great acceptance speeches.

His message?

“Never give up…Keep fighting…Get up.  You’ll be alright.”

Let’s think about that the next time we think we’re having a rough day.

#GetBackUp

-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

 

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!)

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Philly Special

“Is something going on in your life and you’re struggling?  Embrace It.  Because you’re growing.” – Nick Foles, Super Bowl LII MVP

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When you get KNOCKED DOWN you have two choices:

  1. Stay Down and Quit.
  2. Get Up and Fight.

There is a scene in Rocky Balboa where Rocky has a heart to heart talk with his son.

His son is complaining about how hard his life is living under Rocky’s shadow.

Rocky stops his son’s whining faster than you can say “Clubber Lang”.

He gives the secret to life in 24 words:

“It ain’t about how hard you hit.  It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.  That’s how winning is done.” 

When a FIGHTER gets knocked down, they get back up.

They keep moving forward.

The challenge makes them better than if they never faced that OBSTACLE at all.

This past week, a real life sports team, also from Philly, shocked the NFL.

The Philadelphia Eagles won the SUPER BOWL.

The Eagles knocked out the football equivalent of Ivan Drago.

Their opponents were the defending champs.

They were a dynasty.

A dynasty composed of what many consider the greatest QB and coach of all time.

The Eagles’ Super Bowl win capped off one of the most unlikely runs in the history of sports.

During the season, the Eagles got knocked down more times than Rocky did in his second fight versus Apollo Creed.

The Eagles absorbed CRUSHING BLOWS.

They LOST their:

  • MVP quarterback.
  • Hall of Fame left tackle.
  • Starting middle linebacker.
  • Backup middle linebacker.
  • Best special teams player.
  • Kicker.

Just losing your starting QB would crush most teams.  Ask the Packers, Texans, or Colts how they made out…

After each set back, the Eagles not only got back up, they got better.

The team used each OBSTACLE as fuel to move forward.

Ryan Holiday wrote, “The world will constantly test us. Are you worthy? Can you get past the things that fall in your way? Will you stand up and show us what you’re made of?”

Obstacles find us.

Things go wrong.

Embrace them.

Be thankful for them.

Those obstacles are there to make us a better.

Take a page out of the Super Bowl Champs playbook.

  • Get Up.
  • Get Better.
  • Move Forward.

#PhillySpecial

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net