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

 

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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

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

A Beautiful Mind

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” – Aesop

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What’s the SECRET TO LIFE?

The best explanation I ever heard is from Tony Robbins.

In his UNSHAKEABLE podcast, Robbins said there are 2 rules people need to follow to live an extraordinary life.

RULE #2

“Surround yourself with quality individuals.  You become who you hang out with.”

Who do you spend the most time with?

Who’s In Your 5?

These people influence:

  • What you DO.
  • What you EAT.
  • How you MOVE.
  • What you READ.
  • Where you GO.

Think about it.

Is this the life you want to lead?

If not, it may be time to MAKE SOME CHANGES. 

Nothing will elevate our lives faster than being surrounded by great people.

RULE #1

“Develop the ability to live in a state of gratitude regardless of your circumstances.” 

It’s easy to BE HAPPY when things are going our way.

It takes a strong MINDSET to do so when life gets difficult.

Robbins said, “We have to remember that life happens for us, not to us.” 

Each OBSTACLE is there to make us better.

Ryan Holiday wrote, “Obstacles show us who we really are.”

There are seeds of opportunity in every setback.

Gifts are hidden inside each problem.

Our job is to find it.

There is nothing more liberating than…

#ABeutifulMind

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net