The Finest Hour

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

churchill1.jpg

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

 

Advertisements

Act One

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

makehappy.jpg

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

 

Growin’ Up

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

bossshave.jpg

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

 

 

 

Nearsighted

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

nearsighted.jpg

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

no.jpg 

“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

Answer the Bell

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

emptyringbell.jpg

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

Remove Everything

“Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.” – Pablo Picasso

david1.jpg

In the book Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder author Nassim Nicholas Taleb tells a story about Michelangelo and Pope Julius II.

The story goes like this…

Michelangelo just created the statute of David.

David was considered the masterpiece of all masterpieces.

David is still so renowned that 500 years later over 1 million people wait in line to view him at the Accademia in Florence, Italy.

Pope Julius II asked Michelangelo what was the secret to his creative genius?

Julius wanted a better understanding of the MINDSET Michelangelo brought to his work.

The Pope asked Michelangelo how he could create something so REMARKABLE out of a block of marble that many artists refused to work with because it was flawed.

Michelangelo answered, “It’s simple. I just remove everything that is not David.”

REMOVE EVERYTHING  

When I struggle in my job, jiu jitsu, or my personal life there is a common theme.

I try to install new habits or ideas with out getting rid of old baggage.

We all have OLD HABITS and STALE ROUTINES.

It’s like trying to sail off to a new world with out taking the rope off the dock.

You can only go so far.

Like Michelangelo, we have to REMOVE EVERYTHING that no longer makes sense.

We have to EDIT OUT what no longer belongs, so what’s possible can emerge.

Focus more on REMOVING than adding.

What if???

  • Instead of chasing that hot new stock, we get out of DEBT.
  • Instead of starting a new diet, we cut out SUGAR.
  • Instead of constantly checking our iPhones, we FOCUS on the people right in front of us.

Chip away at anything that no longer belongs.

Time to start your own RENAISSANCE. 

#RemoveEverything

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

Commencement

“We rise by lifting others.” – Robert Ingersoll

commence1.jpg

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

exit.jpg

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

IMG_1773.jpg

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