The Gift

“Real relationships are based on both care and candor.”John C. Maxwell

CONFESSION: I am a HUGE fan of anything Italian.  You name it – the FOOD, WINE, HISTORY, PEOPLE, & CULTURE – I’M IN!

IGNORANCE IS BLISS: There was a time I thought I could easily “blend in” when I visited ITALY. There was NO DOUBT (at least in my simple mind) that I could mingle in with the locals without any hint that I was an American.

The fact that my Italian language skills were as limited as Bobby Abreu playing right field had no bearing on my judgement.

That fallacy ENDED on warm summer night in a piazza in Sicily. As a group of us were outside having drinks in an ancient piazza, I mentioned to some locals how I “blended in”.

A girl from Sciacca spit her beer into the the piazza’s fountain laughing. In broken English, she said “You stand out like sore thumb.”  I was DEVASTATED…but I digress.

BIG PROBLEM:  I was clueless, until someone SPOKE TRUTH to me.  My BIG problem was that I was LOST in my own IGNORANCE until someone introduced me to REALITY.

LIFE LESSON:  We ALL need FEEDBACK.  We all NEED people in our lives that HELP us see around our BLIND spots.  We need people that CARE about us enough to have those UNCOMFORTABLE conversations that help us become BETTER human beings.

HARD TRUTHS are not fun to hear, especially if they do not jive with OUR PERCEPTION of reality.  We all need people in our lives that CALL US OUT when we step out of line.

PRICELESS ADVICE:  Two of the greatest “GIFTS” I ever received came DISGUISED as uncomfortable conversations from mentors.

Each mentor gave me 1 piece of PRICELESS advice that I carry with me EACH day:

  • 1) “Feedback is HUGE gift.  Embrace it.”

TAKEAWAY: When you are told something about yourself from a TRUSTED source, THEY are probably RIGHT.  Don’t FIGHT them. Don’t make EXCUSES.  THANK them.  EMBRACE their insight.  Make ADJUSTMENTS to your future actions.  This ALONE will will separate you from 80% of the population.  You will DEVELOP into a more COMPLETE person.

  • 2) “To succeed in LIFE, you MUST develop THICK        skin.”

THE TAKEAWAY: You must be RESILIENT. You must be able to handle CRITICISM with out falling apart like Charlie Sheen’s career.

RELATIONSHIP TEST:  Do you have a REAL relationship? Think of a relationship.  Ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • Can you ask TOUGH questions?
  • Can you have DIFFICULT conversations?
  • What is the other person’s REACTION when you speak hard TRUTHS?

THE SERVANT:  If your RELATIONSHIP consists of all CARE and NO CANDOR, guess what?  You are their SERVANT.  You are little more than their ENABLER.

THE CRITIC:  If your RELATIONSHIP consists of all CANDOR, and NO CARE, guess what?  You are their CRITIC.

  • When you hear uncomfortable TRUTHS: ABSORB the lesson. ADJUST your actions.
  • When you get BASHED by the CRITICS:  Just say “Thank you!” Smile and move on. No need to waste ENERGY on the HATERS.

EMBRACE feedback as a GIFT.  IGNORE the HATERS. This will put you on the path to REMARKABLE.

– Joe Ciccarone



About Joe Ciccarone

Host of the “Built Not Born” podcast, Blogger ( & BJJ Black Belt. "Escape Average, Be Remarkable."
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