"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." – Aristotle
There comes times when I have some self-doubt creeping in or sales may not be landing in my favor. Other times, it feels like relationships just don’t seem to be clicking. When I start to get a little anxious, I always get that hunger for learning. I wander around the aisles of the bookstore. I get on Amazon and read the reviews you know those “if you like this book you might also love ____”. Lately, everything I’ve read is just meh. Just repetition of the same material and content I’ve heard years before. It had been quite a while since I found a gem of a read. Definitely, quite a long time since I’ve picked up a book that is life-changing.
While waiting on a cell-phone repair, I wandered into a bookstore and this one called out to me, “READ ME!” High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. It’s off to an inspiring start. It’s the kind of book that makes you want to rush home and devour some more.
I’d love to share a few of my all-time faves. This is my go-to list of books I’ve read most more than one time. Some are dog-eared. All have highlighted passages. Some I’ve read 10 times. Not only does the content never get old, I often discover something new messages within the pages. Life situations change and that old text now speaks to me in a different way delivering a new and timely lesson.
Whether you’re looking for a little positive thinking or ready to grow your business to the next level, I hope you enjoy these classics (followed by my two cents).
E-myth by Michael Gerber (Critical for every entrepreneur) The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz How to Win Friends and Influence people by Dale Carnegie Good to Great by Jim Collins Duct tape Marketing by John Jantsch (Practical advice for small businesses marketing that doesn’t cost a fortune) Positive Personality Profiles by Dr. Richard Rohm (Forever changed my perspective on interactions with others) 10 X by Grant Cardone Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (I had this one on cassette tape in my first car) Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith The Bible Drive by Daniel pink One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard (Principles are timeless) Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (Give yourself permission to do great things!) Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (Fascinating research into top achievers) Just Listen by Mark Goulston
I’d love to hear your all time faves. I’ll add them to my “MUST READ” list.
Contributed by Heather Kuth.
All images are Heather’s own & may not be republished without express written permission.
“The healthiest of all human emotions is Gratitude” was spoken by Zig Zigler as he described what he called an Attitude of Gratitude
This is not human nature, and therefore not always easy to implement, and those around me know I am not always grateful in the moment. However, when I step back and reflect on my time on this earth - Grateful summarizes my posture. You, like me, have so much to be grateful for, if we can keep redirecting our attention to gratitude.
I’ve had the fortune of visiting some cool places in the US and abroad. These are a few pictures where I’m feeling grateful!
I have been blessed with what I believe are God’s greatest gifts. I turned 50 this year and I’ll illustrate some of my most precious gifts below:
My amazing, beautiful and talented wife Ira. I took this picture of her recently with the Alaska landscape in the background.
We were married in September 2016 in Asheville at the Omni Grove Park Inn, now one of our favorite destinations… The air in the mountains is so clean and fresh, and that resort is magical and very relaxing…
My loving and supportive parents, Justin & Ilde Sucato. My parents are both 100% Italian, and my Mom came over from Italy when she was a little girl. My Dad’s parents came from Sicily. My parents taught and were examples for my brothers and I that honesty and hard work are the foundations for success. Although my Dad passed in 2010, and I miss him dearly, I’m very grateful for the man that he was, and the example he set for me.
My brothers (Justin, Dan, and Joe) and I grew up very close. We’re all in different professions now, but each successful in their field. I’m grateful that we are each married to wonderful wives and have beautiful families. I’m also grateful that we schedule annual family reunions to spend time with each other during these busy times. Justin’s a successful business owner, Dan is a world-renowned Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon and Chief of Staff of his hospital, and Joe is an accomplished Jazz Musician and aspiring entrepreneur.
My 3 Handsome Boys: Anthony 23, Andrew 19, and Christopher 16 are my pride and joy. These guys are growing up to be fine gentlemen and they continue to make me proud.
My 3 Beautiful Girls: Emma 9, Gia 12, Maya 11. These are my step-daughters and they are a handful! Girls are for sure different than boys, and I’m learning that first hand now! They are caring and sweet, and little firecrackers!
Our Family! This picture was taken at the foot of a waterfall (fed by a glacier) in Alaska. We were all together for this once-in-a-lifetime trip! The boys and the girls. and Ira and I had the best time!
Our puppy Nova was my gift to the girls for their wedding gift. The boys and Ira and I picked him out. He’s a multi-poo and he’s smart and intuitive. I can’t imagine our household without Nova!
This is my ex-wife Teresa. I include here in my collection of gratitude because we shared 18 years our lives together married and raised my 3 boys together. I’m grateful for that chapter of my life, my 3 boys.
This is one of my favorite pictures of our family altogether after our wedding ceremony! It doesn’t get better than this!
And finally, I am so grateful for my RSVP work-family (pictured below) who have been incredible for the last 18 years. Although some of my team members have changed over the years, this group of fine professionals inspires me daily to be my best. They have unique personalities and interested, and that makes our team unique and world-class! We have reached national status for our performance, sales accomplishments, and quality. Each of them has family not pictured here and I’m proud that our business supports their fine families.
My clients who we serve are amazing!My staff and I work with hundreds of incredible people and their businesses who we are proud to consider RSVP family. Each one of them has helped to grow me and my team - and we’ve helped them in a small way in exchange.
This is my family and I’m proud and grateful to be among them and serve!
I hope you’ll join me and make 2018-2019 your best year ever by having an Attitude of Gratitude!
Anthony R. Sucato
Owner, RSVP / Sucato Marketing Systems
All images are Tony’s own & may not be republished without express written permission.
The last year has been a whirlwind! Amy got married, moved to Ohio with her husband, and started working for RSVP.
She loves staying active but has never been a natural athlete. Slow and steady is her mantra! She crossed two items off her bucket list in the last few years. She ran the Flying Pig marathon in 2014 and in 2015 finished the Maryland ½ Ironman.
She's a huge animal lover. Amy and her husband have a small dog herd.
Amy renovated a house in 2016 during some time off. She loved demo day and the whole process of rebuilding from the studs. Her friends and family all helped out, which made the end result even better.
Amy and her husband went on a cruise in March (our first one). She loves the ocean and most of her vacations have revolved around the beach.
Her favorite place to be is with friends and family, giving thanks for every day!
All images are Amy's own & may not be republished without express written permission.
What is one thing Bethany could never live without? Her FAMILY
(Left to Right -Thomas, Shelly (Dad & Mom)
Bethany's favorite place to be is at the lake with friends and family. It’s a lot of fun whether they go tubing, kayaking, fishing or they are just hanging out by the fire.
Bethany cannot resist petting all the animals. She is definitely a softy for fuzzy critters. She has a pooch of her own named Willow.
Bethany was born into a racing family. Her dad raced and now her brother races midgets and sprint cars. It’s a very intense sport but once you get into it it’s hard to not want more! Forever cheering for #71, Stratton Briggs! 🙂
Bethany's favorite place she has traveled to is New Orleans. She says that words can’t describe how beautiful New Orleans was. Street performers, local artists and amazing architecture had her in awe of the city. She stopped at Cafe Du Monde for some mouth watering beignets and coffee and was not disappointed! She recommends if you get the chance to visit New Orleans, Beignets from Cafe Du Monde.
Picture of Bethany is owned by Leslie Nicole Photography and may not be republished without express written permission.
All other images are Bethany’s own & may not be republished without express written permission.
Last week, we were blessed to travel to the lovely Dominican Republic home to gorgeous white sand beaches, gracious hospitality, and very spotty almost non-existent wi-fi.
We were very excited for our nine-year-old son to experience his first trip out of the country. Between the three of us, we had 2 cell phones, one work laptop, our family laptop, an iPad, and a Fitbit.
Upon arrival, like bonafide tourists, we were snapping photos of the palm trees and buildings and ourselves with tropical beverages. And what would one do with these photos next, upload to Facebook, of course! No such luck. Downloading…. Error…. Unable to process….
I joined the gaggle of other guests at the lobby desk in search of wi-fi codes. In a resort that attracted visitors from various parts of the world, I could see this desire to connect is not unique to the USA.
But alas $40 per day!?! I’ll pass, thanks. Reluctantly, we unplugged for the week.
In any language or even without words, you can see the disconnect being connected has created. It’s no wonder this video has been viewed over 50 million times.
In our week of being unplugged, we discovered:
1. We didn’t miss it that much. (Okay… maybe after day 2)
2. We still like each other. Whew!
3. Work went on fine without us. The people we trusted did what they were supposed to do.
4. We spent more time really appreciating the beauty of our surroundings instead of just photographing the sights for social media.
5. We made new friends poolside from all over the USA, Canada, and France. We learned about their culture and even picked up a few new words in other languages.
6. We got a real kick of watching people take selfies (one gal must have taken 40 selfies in the pool) and Snapchat (one musclebound dude nearly broke a leg on sandcastle while capturing his best kissy face on camera). Very entertaining!
7. Without tracking it via the device, we’re pretty sure we logged 20k-30k steps/day. There’s a lot more time to walk and discover when your heads not down on a screen!
8. On the four-hour flight home (GASP) we played cards and talked while others watched movies solo they had downloaded in preparation.
9. By day 7, disembarking at home and observing entire families deeply entranced in their phones, we found ourselves reflecting on what impact all this connectivity is having on real social relationships.
I hope that you will get the chance to be #unplugged if not, by force, then perhaps by choice. In a recent survey, 29% of cell owners describe their cell phone as “something they can’t imagine living without.” I assure you, you can. It’s quite refreshing!
Challenge: Set aside a day each week to be device free. Can’t do a whole day? Start with an hour each morning.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” —Anne Lamott
All images belong to Adventure Photos & may not be republished without express written permission.
According to the Washington Post the average commute for most employees has sharply risen over the last couple years to an average of 27 minutes in 2015.
I for one can attest that I spend hours a week behind the wheel driving to and from appointments.
Back in college, I was spending several hours a day using Chicago's public transportation. I took advantage of the metro in the morning, plus the El train, and bus in the evening. Between two part-time jobs, that commuting time was the only study time I could carve out. I can only imagine if I had the technology available today back then. How much more could I have accomplished? Or how much more would I have been distracted? Maybe I would have said "I'll just check my Facebook real quick"
If you're lucky enough to have public transportation, surf away.
No public transportation, maybe find a trustworthy a carpool buddy.
For the rest of us suburbanites burning up the highways and by-ways, here are five ways to make the most of your drive time:
#1. Dashboard education. With nearly an hour in the car every day what could you learn? A foreign language? The history of the world? And in just 90 days you could finish the entire Bible. Audible app offers a monthly subscription service to download the latest in audio books. There are abundant free resources from your local library including overdrive and hoopla apps. Listen to a podcast or a Ted talk to develop your skills or learn something new.
#2. Rekindle relationships. Take this time to personally phone someone you haven't spoken to in a while. Don't just check in on their Facebook page and assume you know what's going on in their life. Plug in the Bluetooth and give them a call.
#3. Write a book. Well, not literally. I don't advocate writing while driving! But in all my hours spent on the road I'll attest I've seen it! I've even seen people reading a novel while driving. Please don't--for our safety! But seriously there are apps for translating talk to text. Check out the free app Dragon dictation. Each day dictate a short story by the end of the year you may have enough to build your own novel or biography.
#4. Clear the clutter. So you finished your long commute just to encounter a completely full email inbox. Not the most motivating and invigorating way to start the day. Take advantage of apps that will read your emails out loud and prompt with delete, save, spam, etc. Ah, done!
#5. Meditation. Turn off the radio. Tune in to the moment. Eyes open and on the road, folks. Think about your accomplishments for the week. Give yourself a pat on the back. Set goals. Focus your priorities. Is what I've done today getting me closet or further from my life goals. Take in a glorious sunrise for a moment. Appreciate the change of season. I've talked to many a business professional who enjoy their 30 minute commute home to decompress from a stressful day. No need to bring home work stuff. Work through relationship challenges in your mind and decide how you'll positively address them in the coming day.
May I add things not to do: apply makeup, text , eat a meal. (we're all guilty at some point--but let's stop!)
Somebody wise once said "life's not about the journey but the destination". I say, "yeah but at least we can make the most of it!"
American Commute source: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/wonk/wp/2016/02/25/how-much-of-your-life-youre-wasting-on-your-commute/?client=safari
One year ago this week I closed on my first home. Here is a little of what I’ve accomplished so far:
KITCHEN – Probably the most dramatic, I basically started with a blank slate. Added a fridge, stove, wall mount microwave and dishwasher. Installed new cabinets on the left side and painted the existing cabinets so that they all matched. With the help of my uncles installed a new counter top, sink, faucet and garbage disposal. I added subway tile back splash and bought a kitchen island for more counter top space.
DOWNSTAIRS BATHROOM - I didn’t have to do as much to update the downstairs bathroom. I gave it a fresh coat of paint, replaced the hardware on the vanity and added a tile back splash.
DINING ROOM – I am still on the hunt for the perfect junk to decorate with.
SUN-ROOM – I painted the walls and added wooden blinds. I also restored the stain glass light.
OFFICE – The smallest room that had the most work put into it. The original wooden floor had carpet on it. I decided that I wanted to have all wooden floors on the main floor. So I got rid of the carpet and started the process of restoring the floor. The finished product was worth it.
LIVING ROOM – This room is mostly complete. I painted the walls, put up blinds, and enjoyed finding places for all of my antiques and furniture. It came together pretty quickly and I am pleased with the finished product.
There are plenty of project that still need to be done. I am excited to continue making this home into the perfect space for me!
Contributed by Contributed by Caitlin Tuohy.
All images are the author’s own & may not be republished without express written permission.
“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.” -Winston Churchill
I spent my Fourth of July week volunteering somewhere new this year. Last year I worked in Peru but this year I thought it would be good to help in the states with Re-Member. I took my first solo road trip out to Pine Ridge, South Dakota to work along side the Oglala Lakota Nation. With so much going on in everyone’s day to day lives it can be hard to make the time to be aware of the conditions other humans live in and what we could be doing to help. The best way I can think to celebrate my independence every year is to use that freedom to help others and I strongly encourage anyone else to do the same. It’s not about the money or time you have. There’s always a way to help.
Re-Member shares the following statistic:
“From 1980 to 2000, the counties that make up Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota (home to the Oglala Lakota Nation) comprised the poorest of our nation’s 3,141 counties. The 2000 census found them the third poorest, not because things got better on Pine Ridge, but because things got worse on two other South Dakota Indian Reservations. The poverty on Pine Ridge can be described in no other terms than "third world." It is common to find homes terribly overcrowded, as those with homes take in anyone in need of a roof over their head. Many homes are without electricity, running water, or sewer.
Unemployment rate of 80 - 90%
Per capita income of $4,000
8 Times the United States rate of diabetes
5 Times the U.S. rate of cervical cancer
Twice the U.S. rate of heart disease
8 Times the U.S. rate of Tuberculosis
Alcoholism rate estimated as high as 80%
1 in 4 infants born with fetal alcohol syndrome or effects
Suicide rate more than twice the national rate
Teen suicide rate 4 times the national rate
Infant mortality 3 times the national rate
Life expectancy on Pine Ridge is the lowest in the United States and the second lowest in the Western Hemisphere. Only Haiti has a lower rate.”
I took a series of photos to show how beautifully strong and resilient this oppressed culture still is. If you’re looking to take a volunteer trip solo or with a group, or make a donation feel free to learn more at www.re-member.org.
Contributed by Syd Miles.
All photographs are the author’s own & may not be reprinted or published without express written consent.