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

 

The Best of 2018

“Here’s to those who inspire us and don’t even know it.” – Anonymous

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Here are 3 of the BEST BOOKS I discovered this year.

A great book changes the way you THINK.

A great book makes you SEE the world differently.

A great book changes how you APPROACH life.

These 3 are that type of book.

As a BONUS, I also included my favorite PODCAST episode of 2018.

Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue (by Ryan Holiday) 

Holiday is my favorite author.  His latest book “Conspiracy” is a modern-day combination of Machiavelli’s “The Prince” and Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”.  I knew little about Peter Thiel.  I’ve not thought of Hulk Hogan since high school.  I never heard of Gawker.  No matter.  This is an amazing book about strategy, the danger of hubris, ego, and human nature.  Two of Holiday’s other books, The Obstacle is the Way and The Daily Stoic, are the books I gift most to others.

The Captain Class: A New Theory of Leadership (by Sam Walker) 

Hands down the best leadership book of 2018.  Walker goes on a search to find – What makes a team elite?  How does a great team become a dynasty?  It’s NOT how much they spend.  It’s not their “system”.  It’s not even their star players.  It’s whether or not they have great CAPTAINS. The Captain may not be the most talented or well know, but they are the glue that holds the team together.  The captain’s GRIT, TENACITY, and CHARACTER determine how far their team can go.  Amazing stories.

Leadership In Turbulent Times (by Dorris Kearns Goodwin)

Goodwin explores the decisions that shaped lives and times of four of the greatest US Presidents – Lincoln, FDR, Theodore Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson.  Kearns shows how good leaders became great leaders by rising to the occasion of unbelievably difficult circumstances.  This is one of those massive books that you are bummed when you hit the last page.

Bonus:  Best Podcast Episode of 2018

The Tim Ferris Show:  Coach George Raveling — A Legend on Sports, Business, and The Game of Life (#332) 

Raveling is a pioneer in civil rights, business, and coaching.  If a university ever offered an MBA in Life, this podcast would be on the syllabus.  Do yourself a favor and download this episode.  It’s a master class on how to live an incredible life.

Hope you enjoy.

Wish you a REMARKABLE 2019!

#TheBestOf2018

-Joe Ciccarone

 

Write It Down

“I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.” —Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

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What do the following people have in common?

Besides changing the course of history, they all shared a common practice.

They kept a JOURNAL.

Journaling is a life changing habit.

When I first heard about journaling, I was sceptical.

I thought writing in a journal was something that people who wrote bad poetry did.

I was wrong.

Jim Rohn said, “If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured, and unique individual, keep a journal.”

There are a number of studies that show keeping a journal helps you better cope with STRESS and ANXIETY.

A journal will help you:

  • PRIORITIZE your day.
  • CLARIFY your thinking.
  • Stay ORGANIZED and FOCUSED.
  • Increase your CREATIVITY.

HOW TO JOURNAL:

FIND YOUR PLACE

You don’t need a vista.

You don’t need an ocean view or a Pottery Barn table.

Da Vinci wrote (in one of his journals), Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” 

Keep it simple.

Pick a spot where you can open up your blank notebook, feel comfortable and write down your thoughts.

GET YOUR TIMING WRITE

Start by allocating 10 minutes each day.

We are all busy.

But we all need time to THINK and REFLECT.

For many, there is a burst of creative energy that comes after a good night’s sleep.

For you NIGHT OWLS, there might be no better way to clear your mind than writing your thoughts down before bed.

Capture those ideas on paper.

WHAT TO WRITE?

The first step is the hardest.

Don’t let what to write be an OBSTACLE.

Here are some journal prompts to get you started:

  • What’s got my attention?
  • What made me happy today?
  • What surprised me?
  • What challenges am I facing?
  • What am I grateful for?
  • What excites me?
  • What scares me?
  • What did I learn today?
  • What great quote did I hear?
  • What people do I need to spend more time with?

NO FEAR

Write without fear.

Lose your inhibitions.

Don’t hold back.

Let your writing express how you really feel.

This journal is for you.

No one else.

THE BENEFITS

Journaling will help you enter each day with greater clarity.

Your actions will be more focused.

You’ll start to feel GRATITUDE for the little things.

2,000 years ago, the stoic philosopher Epictetus wrote, “Just as one person delights in improving their farm, so I delight in attending to my own improvement.” 

So…

What’s on your mind?

What’s keeping you up at night?

How can you make tomorrow better than today?

Do what some of the greatest minds in history have done…

#WriteItDown

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

17 Ways

“I’m not saying that you have to be a reader to save your soul…I’m saying it helps.” – Walter Mosley

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Life is made of moments.

Last week was a special one for me.

I had the opportunity to present Sales Vibe Live to our national sales team in San Diego.

The presentation was based on the principles and ideas I write about in SALES VIBE.

We discussed ways to:

  • Prepare.
  • Engage.
  • Build Trust.
  • Organize.
  • Strategize.
  • Question.
  • Close.
  • Get Invited Back.

Over 60 people attended.

It was an awesome experience.

After the presentation, I received multiple requests for the list of books referenced in the talk.

Below is that list with a brief summary following each book.

Here are 17 WAYS to elevate your SALES & LIFE:

MINDSET

Meditations  by Marcus Aurelius. The most powerful man on earth writes notes to himself on how to be a better person .

The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need by Anthony Iannarino.  Iannarino writes “To succeed in sales you need three things: a Mindset, a Skillset, & a Toolset.”  Same goes for life.

Mindset:  The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.  This book made the term “mindset” hip.  Greatness is created, not born.

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.  Holiday distills ancient stoic wisdom into 1 actionable thought each day.  Holiday is the modern day Robert Green. 

The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude by Jeffrey Gitomer.  Gitomer is the best sales trainer on the planet.  He also wrote one of the best books on how to create a winning attitude.

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin.  Willink spent two decades training & leading US Navy Seals in combat.  He shows how the lessons learned on the battlefield can be applied to the boardroom. #GetAfterIt

Secrets of Closing The Sale by Zig Ziglar. Ziglar is famous for saying “You will get all you want in life if you help enough people get what they want.” Written in 1985, it’s still one of the greatest sales books ever.

SKILLSET

The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn.  Tony Robbins was working as a janitor when he met Jim Rohn.  Rohn taught him these principles to lead an exceptional life. Gold.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.  Covey’s book is one of the top 10 read books on Amazon.  He boils the secrets of success down into 7 habits.

The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer.  This book is the best selling sales book of all time.  You can put Gitomer’s ideas in to action 30 seconds after you read them.

The Little Black Book of Connections by Jeffrey Gitomer.  Gitomer teaches how to connect, engage, and get invited back.  Hint:  “Start friendly, or don’t start at all.” 

Good To Great by Jim Collins.  “If you have more than 3 priorities, you don’t have any.”

The Lost Art of Closing by Anthony Iannarino.  A salesperson job is to ask for and obtain commitments. This book shows you how to be a closer.

TOOLSET

The Sales Bible by Jeffrey Gitomer. The Sales Bible is the most complete book on selling ever written.

Power Questions by Andrew Sobel. I read books then give them away.  I kept this one and refer to it often.  It’s filled with killer questions.

Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. “Strength and growth come only through struggle and effort.”  Timeless wisdom.

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday“What stands in the way becomes the way.”  Struggling through something? This is your book.

Lists can be overwhelming.

Start by picking one.

A great book will lead you to the next one.

There is a Latin Proverb, “Liber Medicina Animi – A Book is the Soul’s Medicine.”

Take the next step.

Go…

#17Ways

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

 

 

 

Philly Special

“Is something going on in your life and you’re struggling?  Embrace It.  Because you’re growing.” – Nick Foles, Super Bowl LII MVP

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When you get KNOCKED DOWN you have two choices:

  1. Stay Down and Quit.
  2. Get Up and Fight.

There is a scene in Rocky Balboa where Rocky has a heart to heart talk with his son.

His son is complaining about how hard his life is living under Rocky’s shadow.

Rocky stops his son’s whining faster than you can say “Clubber Lang”.

He gives the secret to life in 24 words:

“It ain’t about how hard you hit.  It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.  That’s how winning is done.” 

When a FIGHTER gets knocked down, they get back up.

They keep moving forward.

The challenge makes them better than if they never faced that OBSTACLE at all.

This past week, a real life sports team, also from Philly, shocked the NFL.

The Philadelphia Eagles won the SUPER BOWL.

The Eagles knocked out the football equivalent of Ivan Drago.

Their opponents were the defending champs.

They were a dynasty.

A dynasty composed of what many consider the greatest QB and coach of all time.

The Eagles’ Super Bowl win capped off one of the most unlikely runs in the history of sports.

During the season, the Eagles got knocked down more times than Rocky did in his second fight versus Apollo Creed.

The Eagles absorbed CRUSHING BLOWS.

They LOST their:

  • MVP quarterback.
  • Hall of Fame left tackle.
  • Starting middle linebacker.
  • Backup middle linebacker.
  • Best special teams player.
  • Kicker.

Just losing your starting QB would crush most teams.  Ask the Packers, Texans, or Colts how they made out…

After each set back, the Eagles not only got back up, they got better.

The team used each OBSTACLE as fuel to move forward.

Ryan Holiday wrote, “The world will constantly test us. Are you worthy? Can you get past the things that fall in your way? Will you stand up and show us what you’re made of?”

Obstacles find us.

Things go wrong.

Embrace them.

Be thankful for them.

Those obstacles are there to make us a better.

Take a page out of the Super Bowl Champs playbook.

  • Get Up.
  • Get Better.
  • Move Forward.

#PhillySpecial

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

Enough

“All we got is all we need.” – Malcolm Jenkins, NFL Safety

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Kurt Vonnegut told a story about when he and author Joseph Heller were at a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island in NY.

The guests were mingling outside on the billionaire’s waterfront property.

The owner’s yacht was docked out front.

The property had a helipad.

Vonnegut said to Heller, “Joe, how does it make you feel to know that our host only yesterday may have made more money than your novel ‘Catch-22’ has earned in its entire history?”

Heller paused then said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”

Vonnegut, looking a bit confused says, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”

Heller replied, “Enough.”

WHAT’S ENOUGH?

Each of us has to decide on our own version of ENOUGH.

It’s a personal decision.

This decision will ultimately decide the amount of HAPPINESS we get out of life.

Trying to keep up with the lifestyles and possessions of others is a great way to live a miserable life.

That version of ENOUGH is like running on a hamster wheel.

We never get there.

There will always seem like something is missing.

The happiest people I know base their ENOUGH on 3 things:

  • Quality people.
  • Long term relationships.
  • Doing work that matters.

What’s your version of ENOUGH?

Find that and watch your best life unfold.

#Enough

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

Uncommon Gratitude

“Strength and growth come only through struggle and effort.” – Napoleon Hill

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Last week was a great reminder of all that we have to BE THANKFUL.

It’s EASY to GIVE THANKS for the good things:

  • Our families.
  • Good health.
  • Our freedom.

I just listened to a REMARKABLE podcast with Gary Vee and Tim Ferriss.

Ferriss was promoting his new book,  Tribe of Mentors.

Gary Vee asked Ferriss two of the most powerful questions I’ve heard in an interview:

  • What setback are you most grateful for? 

  • What failure propelled you the furthest?

Wow.

It makes you think…

When was the last time you were GRATEFUL for an OBSTACLE that knocked you down?

  • The injuries.
  • The setbacks.
  • The breakups.

These OBSTACLES, which seem horrible at the time are actually the fuel that make the good stuff possible.

Often the view at the top is fantastic, but GROWTH happens in the valley below.

It takes UNCOMMON GRATITUDE to appreciate setbacks.

If we want to BECOME MORE, we have to CONFRONT MORE.

We have to think every obstacle that comes our way was made especially for us.

The tests of life are not there to break us, but make us.

Tony Robbins says, “Life does not happen to you, it happens for you.”

Looking back, I can see where this has happened for me:

  • I got cut from my high school baseball team.  I was crushed. To fill my newfound free time, I started training martial arts.  I’m still training to this day.
  • After missing out on a promotion I really wanted, I decided it was time to PROMOTE MYSELF.  I hired a recruiter and landed a position with a growing company.  One of the best moves I ever made.
  • My knee blows out while training Jiu Jitsu.  What started off as scary, turned into an amazing journey that showed me a better way to EAT, TRAIN & LIVE.

UNCOMMON GRATITUDE is being thankful for all the tough times that make you better.

Gratitude is not an automatic response, especially for the tough times.

Being grateful for both the good and the bad transforms an AVERAGE life into a REMARKABLE journey.

What OBSTACLE made you better in the past?

What TOUGH CHALLENGE are you facing now?

Time to give thanks.

#UncommonGratitude

– Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Stay Calm

“Don’t worry about a thing, every little thing is gonna be alright.” – Bob Marley, Three Little Birds

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This week my local Starbucks went from Falling Leaves to Holiday cups faster than Psy’s music career.

Lowes has their fake Christmas trees displayed likes it’s December 23rd.

The HOLIDAY CHAOS has begun.

The end of the year brings more DEMANDS.

We have PRESSURE to:

  • CLOSE OUT projects.
  • Bring in SALES.
  • PLAN for the coming year.
  • VISIT Aunt Betty.

It’s enough to make a Buddhist monk reach for the Ativan.

How do we STAY CALM in the middle of chaos?

STAYING CALM is a skill set we all need to develop.

Calmness is a MINDSET that can be learned, practiced and refined.

STAYING CALM under pressure will improve all aspects of our lives.

HOW TO STAY CALM: 

PRIORITIZE

All the requests for our TIME and ATTENTION can not be met.

PRIORITIZING reduces anxiety and keeps us focused on what’s important.

Trying to make everyone happy is a recipe for failure.

Jim Collins wrote in Good To Great, “If you have more than 3 priorities, you don’t have any.”

It’s easier to STAY CALM when we are centered on our PRIORITIES.

CONTROL THE CONTROLLABLES

STAYING CALM comes from knowing the difference between what’s in our control and what’s not.

NFL Coach Andy Reid said, “Figure out what you can control.  That’s your next move.”

What’s in your CONTROL?

What’s ACTIONABLE?

Start there.

TAKE ACTION

Sometimes the only way out is through action.

Tony Robbins said, “Nothing succeeds like massive action.”

Be PROACTIVE.

Action crushes anxiety.

Be like Nike – “JUST DO IT”.

FIND YOUR OWN ZEN

Calmness comes from within.

We each need to find our own ZEN. 

It may be the YOGA mat, spinning class, or taking a walk on a brisk autumn day as the leaves fall around you.

Each of us has to find our own methods that help us STAY CALM.  

Eben Pagan wrote, “The calmest person in the room is the most powerful.”

Life throws constant OBSTACLES. 

It’s easy to lose our peace of mind.

When chaos shows up:

  • Prioritize.
  • Control the Controllables.
  • Take Action.
  • Find Your Own Zen.

Everything we need is already inside of us.

Time to let it show…

#StayCalm

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

Lean In

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

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The guy in the blue shirt was floating down the river.

A few seconds earlier his raft failed to LEAN IN.

He flew into the water.

Now he was waiting to be rescued.

One of the highlights of our summer was a white water rafting trip we took with a group of friends.

Before we got anywhere near the rapids, a man wearing a grizzly bear helmet stood before our group and laid down the law.

He told us there were RULES TO THE RAPIDS.

Rule #1 was to LEAN IN.

Our guide told us when our raft was heading straight for a BIG ROCK, don’t back down.

Take the obstacle head on.

Everyone in the boat had to LEAN IN to the collision.

When you LEAN IN, your raft has a strong center of gravity.

You bounce off the rock.

After the initial jolt, your MOMENTUM will take you around the obstacle and towards your destination.

He told us our rafts (like our lives) are built for these collisions.

If we back away, our raft would be off balance.

The obstacle would FLIP our raft over.     

The look on that guy’s face floating down the river said that’s not the place to be.

LEANING IN is a principle we can apply to our lives.

When an OBSTACLE gets in our way, don’t back down.

Attack it.

Be glad that it showed up.

Obstacles are amazing opportunities to show everyone what we are made of.

Obstacles are there to keep the AMATURES out.

CHANGE and OBSTACLES will never stop showing up.

If we fail to LEAN IN, we might end up in a bad place.

How we handle OBSTACLES will determine the direction of our life.

Sheryl Sandberg wrote, “We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by pulling back when we should be LEANING IN.”

Problems will come at us from all directions.

When life throws BIG ROCKS…

#LeanIn 

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net