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

 

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Act One

“The happiest people are the ones who make others happy.” – Anonymous

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Want more HAPPINESS in your life?

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project writes, “One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy.”

We are all busy.

But take the time today to do ONE random act of KINDNESS.

Hold the door for a stranger.

Compliment someone in public.

Let that car merge in front of you in traffic.

Over tip your barista.

When we make other people smile, life smiles back at us.

#ActOne

-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

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)