Think Like a Roman Emperor

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“The impediment to action advances action.  What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Marcus Aurelius

Welcome to The Vibe!

The only weekly blog that doesn’t binge on Netflix.

Each week we discuss ONE IDEA that will help you live a better life.

This week’s topic is how to THINK LIKE A ROMAN EMPEROR.

And how ANCIENT WISDOM can help us live a modern life.

Did someone say TOGA???

The Vibe:  Think Like a Roman Emperor  

The disease was rumored to have started in Asia.

It spread to every part of the world.

The virus wreaked havoc.

Travel was shut down.

Sporting events and parties were put on hold.

The economy tanked.

Everyday life was turned upside down.

By now you know what this is about…

The Antonine Plague of 165 AD.

A virus invaded the Roman Empire almost 2,000 years ago.

It caused one of the worst crisises in the empire’s 900 year history.

Ryan Holiday wrote, “This plague made Rome look more like a battlefield than a world power.”

Sound familiar?

The Romans looked to one person to guide them through this crisis – their Emperor -Marcus Aurelius

Marcus is considered one of the greatest emperors in Rome’s history.

To deal with all the wars, plagues and problems of running an empire, Marcus wrote notes to himself.

These notes were reminders of how to live with high CHARACTER and VIRTUE.

By luck, his personal diary still exists.

The diary, which was never meant for anyone but Marcus, is now considered one of the greatest books ever written.

It’s called MEDITATIONS.

Author Tyler Cowen calls MEDITATIONS “a quake book,” because it shakes your view of the world upside down.

US Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Generals have relied on MEDITATIONS to help them through tough times.

Could an ANCIENT DIARY help us navigate through our current CRISIS?

You bet your chariott  it can.

Here are 3.5 ways to THINK LIKE A ROMAN EMPEROR:

1) Shut off the News

Marcus wrote, “Stop allowing your mind to be a slave, to be jerked about.” 

It’s time to give ourself a break from the noise.

We all know what to do:  6 feet away, self-distance, and wash our hands until our skin almost falls off.

Anything else is speculation and gossip.

No need to fill our minds with unactionable information.

Shut it off.

Free your mind.

2) Less Is More

Marcus wrote, “Let your deeds be few.  Limit yourself to what is essential.” 

Plagues have an amazing ability to FOCUS us on what’s important.

It’s time to cut out the MENTAL and PHYSICAL clutter in our lives.

Time to simplify our homes and lifestyles.

And carry that simplicity with us when things open up again.

Simplicity is liberating.

3) Help Others

Marcus wrote, “Avoid all actions that are purposeless.  Let every action aim solely at the common good.” 

NHL great Wayne Gretzky liked to say that it was not how great we are, its how great we can make others.

Times like this are an amazing opportunity to help someone.

Maybe drop some supplies off to a neighbor or make a donation to a great cause.

3.5) Keep Calm & Roll On

Marcus wrote, “Bear in mind that all of this has happened before, and all will happen again.  The same plot from beginning to end.”

Plagues and natural disasters are nothing new.

Lucky for us we get to take on this plague with wifi, Whole Foods delivery, and on demand Yoga classes.

Life is going to test us.

It will throw OBSTACLES at us until the day we die.

Just KEEP CALM and  ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES.

Ryan Holiday said,“We might not be emperors, but the world is constantly testing us. Can you get past the things that fall in our way. Will you stand up and show us what you’re made of?”

Adversity reveals character.

Let’s show how much we have.

Stay well.

#ThinkLikeARomanEmperor

Cura ut valeas…

Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

Home Work

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“Sorry I couldn’t answer the phone when you called.  I was working from home.” – Anonymous

Welcome to The Vibe!

The only weekly blog that shows up early at the supermarket but doesn’t hoard all the paper towels.

Each week we discuss ONE IDEA that will help you live a better life.

This week’s topic is WORKING FROM HOME.

If you think this post is helpful, please forward to a friend.

Just remember to stay six feet away at all times.

Let’s do this…

The Vibe: Home Work

Week #2 of lockdown in progress.

One of our many new challenges is our new office.

We are all suddenly WORKING FROM HOME.

Just one problem…

Our entire family is home as well.

24/7.

We are taking conference calls in the mud room.

The sounds of Fortnight in the background.

Being asked to make waffles just when you unmute your line to speak up.

Interesting times.

At first glance, working from home sounds amazing.

There are defiantly some advantages.

The commute, dress code and free coffee come to mind.

But home base is filled with DISTRACTIONS.  

It can be one of the most challenging environments to get real work done.

The Harvard Business Review has a video on the best practices from working from home that made the rounds on social media this week.

I think the advice is average at best.

With all due respect to Harvard, I’d like to share some ideas to fill in the gaps.

These HOME WORK ideas are from the busiest and most accomplished people I ever came across.

How To Do Your Home Work:

1) Get Up Early

This is by far the most effective idea on being productive at home.

No one wants to talk to you at 5am.  

The early morning is gold.

It’s distraction free.

You have time to think.

Your mind is fully charged.

You can feel the STILLNESS.

Added bonus: You get to see the sunrise.

Waking up early is THE most time tested way through out history to have a productive day.

Two thousand years ago Aristotle said, It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.”

There is no substitute for getting up early.

2) Know Your ONE THING

If you only could get ONE THING done today what would it be?

That’s your #1 priority.

Author Gary Keller calls this your ONE THING.

Everything else is just a distraction or back ground noise.

We don’t have time to get everything done.

But we always have time for our #1 priority.

Focus is everything.

What’s your ONE THING?

Get focused.

Get going.

3) Set A Schedule

Put your schedule on the fridge.

Have your partner do the same.

Communication is key.

Start the day knowing who and when everyone is on kid duty.

This reduces a ton friction.

4) Take Lots of Breaks.

Go for walk with your kids.

Have coffee with your wife.

Working from home is about being PRODUCTIVE, not punching a clock.

Fresh minds do great work.

4.5) Cut Some Slack

Give yourself (and everyone else) some slack.

This is a new environment for everybody.

Your kids will remember this crazy time.

Our job as parents is to make it a great memory.

All we can do is ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES. 

And let’s cut everyone some slack along the way.

Be well…

#HomeWork

Until next week,

Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Set Yourself Free

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“The more things you own, the more they own you.” – Unknown

Welcome to The Vibe!

The only weekly blog that doesn’t require hand sanitizer.

Each week we discuss ONE IDEA that will help you live a better life.

This week’s topic is CLUTTER and how getting rid of the PAST makes room for the FUTURE.

If you think this post is helpful, please forward to a friend.

Just remember to wash your hands after you do.

Let’s do this…

The Vibe: Set Yourself Free

Gretchen Rubin had a revelation.

While doing research for “The Happiness Project” she noticed something.

She was HAPPIER and CALMER when her surroundings were in order and clutter free.

When she created OUTER ORDER it calmed her mind.

The idea resonated so much that she wrote a book on the subject – “Outer Order, Inner Calm.”

The Hidden Cost

It’s so easy to fill our basements (and lives) with “stuff”.

Kindergarten art projects, holiday gifts from Aunt Betty, clothes you haven’t worn since Gangnam Style was on the radio, or those boxes in the basement that you don’t even remember what’s inside.

Stuff piled on stuff.

Space disappears.

It feels like your house is shrinking.

Then the anxiety builds.

There is a hidden cost to all that accumulating.  

Rubin writes that CLUTTER can cause ANXIETY and increase the STRESS levels inside your home.

Ugggh…

But clearing clutter is NOT easy.

The process can be exhausting.

It can even get emotional.

The process makes you say goodby to the past so the future has space to enter.

I have learned that cleaning out requires HUMILITY.

You have to admit you were wrong.

That there was never a good reason to store all that sh*t in the first place.

We no longer needed it the moment we put it in a box in our basement.

We just did not have the guts to make the tough call and SET IT FREE.

Make Room for the Future 

Here are 3.5 ways to SET YOURSELF FREE:

1) Don’t Get Organized.

Rubin writes, “Your first instinct should be to get rid of stuff.  If you don’t own it, you don’t have to organize it.”

“If you need to buy things to store other things, you have too many things.”

Take that Container Store.

Set it free.

2) Do I LOVE this?

Before you buy anything, ask yourself “Do I LOVE this?”  

Not like.  Not want.

But LOVE.

No love, no buy.

3) If I did not already own this, would I buy it again? 

This question is for all the stuff in boxes and bins in our basement.

If you did not own it, would you buy it again?

If no, it goes.

3.5) Store Things at the Store 

No need for a 5 year supply of tooth paste.

Rubin writes, “The best place to store things is at the store.”  

Don’t stockpile.

Just buy enough for now.

Set It Free 

DECLUTTERING is a simple concept.

But it’s not easy.

So go at your own pace.

Try to make progress every day.

Your future self will thank you.

The philosopher Lin Yutang wrote, “The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” 

So what’s stealing you peace of mind?

What do you need to SET FREE?

Clear that SPACE.

Clear your MIND.

#SetYourselfFree

Until Next week,

Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Fight the Resistance

 

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“Fear is a lie.” – Steve Maxwell

Welcome to The Vibe!

Each week we discuss one idea that will help you live a better life.

This week’s topic is the RESISTANCE and how FEAR of FAILURE keeps us from sharing our best work.

Thank you for reading The VIBE.

If you think this post is helpful, please forward to a friend.

Let’s do this…

The Vibe: Fight the Resistance

After writing and sharing over 200 blog posts, the RESISTANCE showed up out of nowhere and started to rear naked choke my courage to write.

The RESISTANCE is that mysterious force author Steven Pressfield claims acts against human creativity by raising the voices of FEAR and DOUBT inside our heads.

The RESISTANCE has one goal: to keep things the way they are.

It does this by crushing our courage to be creative.

Every time I came across a new idea to blog about, the RESISTANCE told me a dozen reasons why I shouldn’t…

“Your writing sucks.”

“No one is going to read this.”

“No one cares what you think.”

“Who are you to write anything?”

I was afraid to show up and look foolish.

So I stopped blogging for 2 months.

It felt safer to play it safe.

But safe is BORING and AVERAGE.

Keeping the status quo is a waste of time.

No need for any of these.

We have to keep walking past our FEARS and DOUBTS.

At some point, that walk is going to get uncomfortable.

We have to learn learn to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

This takes time and practice (PS – Jiu Jitsu helps).

But the RESISTANCE is a persistent enemy.

It keeps showing up.

Seth Godin likes to say that FEAR and DOUBT will never fully go away,  but we can learn to dance with them.

My 2-month sparring session with the RESISTANCE taught me two great lessons.

  1. Action crushes fear.
  2. Fear is a liar.

Rosa Parks said, “Knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

We all have things we want to do.

We all have projects we know we should do, but that FEAR VOICE in our heads keeps holding us back.

What project are you holding off on?

What conversation have you been avoiding?

It’s time to PUNCH that fear in the throat and take a step forward.

I may not be the best writer.

My blog does not have a million followers.

All good.

Hey RESISTANCE

Guess what?

F*ck You!

I just hit the publish button.

#FightTheResistance

Until next week,

Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Build Your Monument

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Deeds, not stones, are the monuments of the great. – John Motley

In RJ Palacio’s book “Wonder”, August ‘Auggie’ Pullman is a 5th grader trying to fit in to his new school.

There’s just one problem.

A chromosome problem.

Auggie was born missing one.

This condition caused his appearance to be unlike anyone else’s in the school.

Palacio describes Auggie as “an ordinary kid with an extraordinary face”.

“Wonder” tells the story of how this 11 year old deals with being singled out, excluded, ridiculed, ignored and noticed everywhere he goes.

All because he doesn’t look like everyone else.

Could you imagine?

The book is INSPIRING and funny.

And at times uncomfortable.

But like all good books, it teaches a LESSON.

Acts of KINDNESS stand larger than stone monuments to the people we help.

One of the fun characters in the book is Auggie’s English teacher, Mr Browne.

Each month Mr Browne inspires his students with a PRECEPT.

Here’s October’s Precept:

“YOUR DEEDS ARE YOUR MONUMENTS”

This quote, which Mr Browne told the class, “was carved on the tomb of an Egyptian Pharaoh”, describes a timeless truth:

Actions speak louder than stone.

What we DO becomes our legacy.

Our DEEDS have a BIGGER impact than anything we SAY or THINK.

Life is about taking action.

And our ACTIONS give us our best chance to impact the lives of others.

This idea reminds us of that great line from Maximus in the opening scene of the movie Gladiator, “What we do in life echos in eternity.” 

Every KIND ACT we do is another stone cast into our legacy.

Mr Browne challenged his students to write down what October’s PRECEPT meant to them.

Here’s what Auggie wrote:

“We should be remembered for the things we do.  The things we do are more important than what we say or what we look like. The things we do are like MONUMENTS.  They’re like the pyramids the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs. Instead of of being made by stone, they’re made of memories.  YOUR DEEDS ARE YOUR MONUMENTS.”

Time to build.

#BuildYourMonument

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Don’t Look Over

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“I am more afraid of our own mistakes than our enemy’s schemes.”  – Pericles

You can see it when a swimmer glances over to the next lane.

You see it when a jiu jitsu competitor lets their opponent dictate the pace of the match instead of executing their game plan.

You can see it when a SALESPERSON focuses more on what their competition is doing than bringing value to their customers.

When you FOCUS on things outside of your control, BAD things happen.

You start reacting instead of initiating.

Momentum disappears.

You fall behind.

Instead of dictating the pace, you are playing catch up.

Elite competitors FOCUS only on what’s in their control.

They DON’T LOOK OVER to see what their competition is doing.

They take care of their responsibilities.

Then ADAPT and ADJUST to anything outside of their control.

Ryan Holiday wrote, “Very few empires are destroyed by external forces.  They are undone by their own hubris….We should be far more concerned with our own ego and our own inadequacies than what someone else may do to us.”

Over the next 12 weeks, the rest of the year will play out.

Your FOCUS needs to be on executing your GAME PLAN.

Show up prepared.

Lean forward.

No reason to hold anything back.

If you feel the need to look somewhere…

Look in the mirror.

Because that’s your REAL COMPETITION.

Word.

#DontLookOver

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

 

Be Bold

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“Freedom lies in being bold.” –

Robert Frost

2,500 years ago, the Greek philosopher Democritus wrote, “Boldness is the beginning of action. But fortune controls how it ends.”

At first glance, this sounds like a copout.

Be bold…

But know that the final outcome is out of our control.

Do we control our own destiny?

Or does fortune?

Yes, to both.

We have the power to take BOLD ACTION.

But we don’t control the ending.

We can throw a perfect pass, but the WR can drop it.

We can have our best year ever, but be beat by someone who had a better one.

You can execute an amazing sales call, but can’t force the customer to take action.

Ryan Holiday wrote, “We control the beginning of things, but not the reciprocation. We can make the pitch…but fortune controls whether its accepted.”

So, no need to be a control freak.

Just take the NEXT STEP.

Make it BOLD.

Handle your end of the bargain.

The rest takes care of itself.

#BeBold

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

The Next Step

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“Change starts when someone sees the next step.” – William Drayton

Anxiety mocks us.

Vivid images of our future demise play out inside our heads.

We play tense.

This tension keeps us from doing our best work.

Anxiety reloads.

How do you stop this cycle?

Take the NEXT STEP.

You don’t need to leap the entire staircase.

You just need the courage to take the NEXT STEP.

The NEXT STEP starts the process.

The NEXT STEP lays the foundation.

The NEXT STEP changes the momentum.

Anxiety is an IMAGINE DRAGON.

It’s a beast, only in our minds.

How do you slay a fake DRAGON?

One STEP at a time.

Your move.

Step, step, step…

#TheNextStep

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Finish

“Much of the stress people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.” – David Allen

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The most tiring work are the projects we never complete.

Pick one thing, no matter how small, and close it out.

Make something happen today.

Watch the momentum carry over to other parts of your life.

Author Jon Acuff writes, “Starting is fun, but the future belongs to finishers.”

Finishing is a mindset.

For me?

I just hit the “publish” button for the first time in over a month.

#Finish

-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