Drop the ‘F’ Bomb

“Starve your distractions, feed your focus.” – Unknown

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It was July 9th 1997.

Steve Jobs was leaving his “personal wilderness”.

This was the day Jobs returned to the company that fired him.

Jobs retook the role of Apple’s CEO.

It was a dark time for Apple.

The company was almost bankrupt.

Apple’s customer base (and Wall Street) were jumping ship.

Apple had lost its way.

The pressure was on Jobs to deliver.

What was Jobs’ FIRST MOVE as CEO?

Did he lay off 30% of Apple’s workforce?

Did he travel the country making promises to analysts?

Did Jobs try to sell the company?

None of the above.

Jobs first move was so SIMPLE that it shocked many inside and outside of Apple.

Jobs dropped the “F Bomb”.

He FOCUSED Apple.

Jobs stripped Apple down to only four core products.

Apple would discontinue everything else.

All of Apple’s resources would be FOCUSED on its best products.

Job’s said in an interview, “It means saying ‘No’ to the hundred other good ideas. You have to pick carefully…Innovation is saying ‘No’ to 1,000 things.”

Jobs gives us a powerful one-word SUCCESS STRATEGY:

FOCUS. 

He shows us a killer TACTIC to execute this strategy:

SAYING “NO”.

It means saying “No” to:

  • Low value meetings and conference calls.
  • Invitations to events with marginal friends that gobble up your time and money.
  • Being constantly distracted by social media.

Where there is no FOCUS, distraction reigns.

DISTRACTION has killed more careers than any recession ever could.

The irony is not lost that one of the universe denting products Job’s FOCUS strategy helped Apple create was the iPhone.

Which may be the greatest distraction device in human history.

But that’s a subject for another day.

Seth Godin wrote, “If it’s going to distract you from the work that truly matters, pass.”

Take pass on what’s no longer relevant.

Lean in to what really matters.

BLOW UP your distractions.

Dent your universe.

#DropTheFbomb

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

 

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The Finest Hour

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

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There is an old saying, “Adversity reveals character.”

Many people crumble at the first sign of difficulty.

As soon life knocks them down, they FADE AWAY.

There’s another group that responds in a different way.

They RISE to the occasion.

ADVERSITY actually makes them better.

How you respond to ADVERSITY will determine the direction of your life.

ADVERSITY will show up at the worst time.

How will you RESPOND?

Will you RISE UP?

Or just FADE AWAY?

One of the greatest examples of LEADERSHIP under extreme ADVERSITY is Winston Churchill.

Churchill faced the daunting task of leading Great Britain against the Nazis during World War 2.

The month of June 1940 was exceptionally trying.

The “Battle of Britain” was underway.

Britain’s Royal Air Force was fighting Nazi Germany literally in the skies over their homes.

The fate of Britain and Western Europe hung in the balance.

On June 18, 1940 Churchill addressed Parliament.

Speaking in a Parliament under incredible PRESSURE and to a nation facing extreme ADVERSITY, Churchill delivered one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century.

The address would become known as Churchill’s “Finest Hour” speech.

One of the speech’s memorable lines is relevant today as when it echoed through Parliament.

Churchill said, “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties…that if the British Empire lasts for a thousand years, they will say ‘This was their finest hour…’.”

There it is.

GAME PLAN to take on ADVERSITY in one sentence.

Firm your resolve.

Do your job.

Make it YOUR FINEST HOUR.

We may not be saving the free world.

But we are impacting OUR WORLD.

Life is going to test you.

No need to FADE AWAY.

Rise to the moment.

Be a Churchill.

#TheFinestHour

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Nearsighted

“Do not dwell on the past.  Do not dream of the future.  Concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha

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It easy to fall into the FUTURE TRAP.

“Here’s our 5-year plan…”

“This is what 2021 will look like…”

Just a quick reminder…

The future will bring us a thousand unexpected variables we can’t control.

That’s fine.

We can deal with them when they get here.

In the meantime…

Want this to be an AWESOME YEAR?

Focus on the PRESENT MOMENT.

Be fully engaged with WHAT and WHO is in front of you.

Seth Godin likes to say, “It’s not about what’s next, it’s about what’s now.”

Own the moment.

The future will follow.

#Nearsighted

-Joe Ciccarone

 

 

 

 

Say No

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“Half of the troubles of life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.” – Josh Billings

It’s one of the shortest words in the English language.

It has the POWER to free your day.

And clear your mind.

It’s also one of the hardest to say:

“No.”

Want more FREE TIME?

“No, I can’t make it.”

Want to be less BUSY?

“No, I am not available.”

Want to FOCUS more on what matters most to you?

“No, I have something else scheduled.”

Ryan Holiday wrote, “The more you SAY NO to the things that don’t matter, the more you can say yes to the things that do.”

Saying “No” takes COURAGE.

It may even get some people ticked off at you.

That’s fine.

Why?

Because SAYING NO lets you live life on your terms.

No better way to start a new year than doing that.

#SayNo

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

Competition

“No Pressure, No Diamonds.” – Thomas Carlyle

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Larry Bird had Magic Johnson.

Bill Gates had Steve Jobs.

Batman had The Joker.

Nothing worth having comes easy.

Eventually, someone (or something) will stand in your way.

They will want the exact same thing you do.

They will TEST YOU to your limits.

They will do everything possible to stop you.

“They” are the COMPETITION. 

COMPETITION is:

  • That swimmer who just beat your personal best.
  • That new drug that has your customer’s attention.
  • That Jiu Jitsu opponent who submitted you in the finals.

Anything that stands between you and your goal is your COMPETITION.

NO CURSING

Here a tip –

Never speak bad of your competition.

Respect them.

BE HAPPY they showed up.

Why?

COMPETITION will make you better.

They will force you to ELEVATE your game to higher levels.

Magic Johnson said in an interview, “My job was to kick Larry’s butt, and his job was to kick mine. I didn’t want Larry to like me. But we both respected each other.”

Think of your COMPETITION as a TEST.

It’s the test you have to pass to prove how bad you really want it.

MIND GAMES

Barbara Corcoran said, “The biggest challenge is not the competition, it’s what goes on inside your head.” 

Winning begins in your MIND.

REMARKABLE people rise up.

AVERAGE people crumble.  

Which one are you?

PERSONAL BEST

How do you beat the COMPETITION?

By NOT focusing on them.

Your path to reaching your goal will be decided by how good you want to be.

The goal is not to beat the competition.

It’s to be the best you can possibly can be.

Jeffrey Gitomer wrote, “Competition does not mean war. It means learn, it means prepare, and it means be your best.” 

The COMPETITION does not decide your fate.

You do.

#COMPETITION

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

 

 

 

Run Into The Zone

“My feeling is that any day I am too busy to run is a day that I am too busy.” – John Bryant

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It’s 5:30am and raining.

My sneakers are soaked.

A car swerves directly at me.

The driver recovers to miss me by 3 feet.

I see them wave “Sorry!” into the rear view mirror as they speed away.

Their phone still in their hand.

Every step of this RUN makes a statement.

My mood ELEVATES.

The MIND clears.

It’s the EARLY MORNING.

My favorite part of the day.

It’s the time when the new day decides what direction it will take.

This week my early morning routine faced a CHALLENGE.

I was 3 time zones away from home for a work meeting.

THE CHALLENGE

Anyone who travels for work knows it can be a grind.

2:30am wake up calls to catch 5am flights to the west coast are really fun.

Once you get to your meeting, every second is TAKEN.

There is ZERO free time.

Any time between 7:30am to 9:00pm is scheduled.

Without a PLAN, you will have a very AVERAGE week:

  • You will eat junk food like a 3rd grader.
  • You will drink more coffee than a CPA during tax season.
  • You will end each dinner with a desert the size of your ipad.

Weeks like this used to kick my ass. 

THE ADVANTAGE

There’s a huge ADVANTAGE that east coasters have when they travel out west  – they are WIDE AWAKE at 4am on the first day.

The TIME CHANGE can be your worst enemy or your best friend.

I’ve learned staying on east coast time the entire trip puts you back in control of your day.

That’s why I wake up at 4am each day of the trip.

This allows me to control the only part of the day I can – the EARLY MORNING. 

ENERGIZE 

Early morning exercise energizes your BODY and MIND. 

This ENERGY stays with you the entire day.

Double that for when you RUN past scenic mountains, signs that say you may be mauled by mountain lions and rain slicked freeways with distracted drivers.

MIND, BODY, SPIRIT

After a 4 mile run, my thoughts are overwhelmingly POSITIVE.

Fresh ideas start to flow.

The current challenges that seemed so SCARY the night before, now seem doable.

Your body is ENERGIZED.

Your mind is CLEAR.  

The day becomes EXCITING. 

After the run, I return to my hotel room and I break out my JOURNAL.

I write down anything that strikes me as interesting.

Some ideas are just random thoughts that go nowhere.

Some are personal REVELATIONS that I bring out into the day.

When your mind and body are ENERGIZED, you become OPTIMISTIC.

This early morning routine converts your ATTITUDE from seeing problems to finding SOLUTIONS.

Positive VIBES flow into your day.

The early morning is the time to ESCAPE AVERAGE and RUN towards REMARKABLE .

#RunIntoTheZone

– Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

This post was originally published March 2014 on Life Unbalanced.

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

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