Hustle Case Study: Pitbull

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Education is not only about IF and where you have a degree from, it’s about lifelong learning, and more learning happens OUTSIDE the classroom than inside of it.   

You also don’t need a semester to gain great inspiration and new knowledge, 10 minutes can do the trick. 

Here are 2 Great Talents:  Ryan Seacrest and Pitbull.  A 7 minute interview, and great lessons.

Para-phrasing (Of Course)

  • “Where does the energy come from?”  It’s all about motivation!
  • My mom raised me off Anthony Robins.  I would sit in the car and listen to his lessons.
  • There’s no success without failure.  No success without losing.
  • Does your Hustle and your ability to outwork help?  ABSOLUTELY.  It’s 90% business, 10% talent.
  • On Jennifer Lopez:  She’s a pro.  She show’s up on time, gets the job done and moves on to the next thing.
  • Who makes your suits?  It doesn’t matter what you wear, it’s how you wear it!
  • The only real thing in my life, is real people, so I’m very protective of them.
  • Ryan:  I like to meet friends, greet friends and KEEP friends!
  • What are your other priorities?  Vodka, schools, slam (sports, leadership, management), branding the city with Pit Bull, finding a way to grow and put the puzzle together!
  • I love the Hustle.  Fall.  Get right back up.   

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A Call to Leaders: Learn From Our Moms on A Mission

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What’s the most powerful motivator for a business?

  • Financial Results?  Incentives that follow?
  • Ownership/Equity shared with key players?
  • Caring/Serving others?
  • Achieving a businesses “BHAG” (Big Hairy Audacious Goal to credit the great Jim Collins)?
  • Fulfilling the businesses “Mission”?

The fact is I’m not sure.  But one thing I’ve been flat out stunned by one of the most powerful forces on the planet.

A Mom on A Mission

This force is not gender specific, it’s the “Mission” that is the key point.  A higher cause, beyond what your trying to do TODAY.

I first started to believe this in 2013, and I wrote about “Moms on a Mission” and the passion & effort to bring Best Buddies to Memphis, TN by couple of go-getters in Memphis.

It hit me again this month, same community of intellectual disabilities, but this time government is brought into the fold.

Congress passed the ABLE Act (Achieving a better life experience) in early December.  But what hit me is the following.

  • It was a landslide vote:  404 For, 17 Against.  When does Congress EVER unanimously support a bill to that level?  
    • Senate passed 76-16 too.
  • It wasn’t overnight.  8 years of frustration trying to get this bill passed.  Not 8 months.  8 YEARS.

Note:  I was proud to be part of a lobbying trip to DC about 6 years ago where Down Syndrome local affiliates from across the country to meet with their representatives.  Humbling and energizing, all at the same time.  Our democracy flat out works, with all of its problems.

A shout-out to another Mom on a Mission, Jawanda Mast, one of  the strongest advocates I know.  Jawanda personifies what HUSTLE is all about, and her journey is captured beautifully on her blog.


How many businesses would endure 8 years of rejection, sunk costs and countless denials for all of that effort?  Not many.  Businesses always cut their losses beyond some point.

Moms on a Mission…..people with a cause flat out never give up.  They will work until their last waking hour to get something done when OTHERS are at stake, not themselves.

In the case of Best Buddies & The passage of the ABLE act, both causes happen to be communities that aim to provide a better life for those that can use a little help.

Change for any disadvantaged community does  not happen by accident, as there is no free market incentive system built into our society that enables a kid to be included in the classroom, the Friday night pizza party, or a chance at a job or saving for college.  This type of change requires people that are driven by more than the almighty $.

Enter Moms on Mission.

The very few businesses that tap into the spirit of these 2 examples would be flat out unstoppable.  Who wouldn’t invest in those kinds of businesses?    

Getting people to work beyond their SELF-interest may very well be the Leadership challenge of the century.

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Advice: Not All is Created Equal, so Use The ENERGY TEST!

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There are some realities in life I refer to as “Brutal.”  You may not like them, but they are true.  One of them that always seems to ring true is that of the….

They are close cousins.  Most people won’t dispute that there is not a “normal” distribution of anything.  Very few things are created equal.  Just look at the nation’s wealth where it is concentrated among a very small % of people.  Or influence.  Or “problems.”

These principles can also be applied to your career development.  Take one simple aspect of self improvement:

ADVICE.  Who you seek it from?  Who influences you to improve (or not)?

Personal growth is certainly about learning from others, their experiences both good and bad.

There’s an interesting thing that must be recognized when it comes to advice.  NOT ALL ADVICE IS CREATED equal.

  • Some advice needs to be filtered.
  • Some advice needs to be given more weight to tip the scales and move to ACTION.  And you need to do this YESTERDAY.
  • Some advice needs to be appreciated, but flat out ignored.
  • Some advice is game-changing.  Act on it and you will accelerate.  FAST.
  • Some advice is poison.  It will slow you down at best, maybe even help you self-destruct at worse.

So what do you do when being given Advice?[Continue Reading…]

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Innovation in Action: 2 Cellos

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Re-invention.  Innovation.  Those words that businesses dream about for both survival and long term growth.  

It comes from a mindset that is open to:

  • New ideas, especially ideas that are “Not invented here.”

  • Outside thinking, completely different areas of life

  • A relentless pursuit of action:  “How do WE apply that to OUR business?”

  • A willingness to accept failure, scrape your knees and get at it again.

Take what could be one of the most boring instruments you can imagine from high school band:  The Cello.  Do you remember people dying to sign up for that instrument?  Could you imagine the masses ever paying money to see people perform it, outside of an orchestra?

With that said, I present 2 Cellos.  Their videos tell the story, as well as the millions of people following them.  

Gamechangers indeed. 


2 cellos - innovation in action

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Excellence in Action: The Hustlin’ Warriors

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One of the hard parts of starting a new challenge in life is a temporary separation of the family, selling a house while buying another one.  Thankfully, I have a very supportive wife, sister, brother in-law and God Daughter in Warren NJ that make this experience enjoyable along the way.

While going for a Saturday walk, I stumbled across something that made my heart “skip a beat.”  The Hustlin’ Warriors baseball field!  Home to Watchung Hills Regional High School Baseball team, the field was just the start.

My favorite word HUSTLE drew me in.  What I was about to see KEPT me there and fascinated me.  

Hustlin Warriors Baseball Watchung Hills NJ

Being around 9:30am on a Saturday I was fortunate to see the 10am start.  I’d rather be lucky than good.

  • First, there’s something about a team that clearly is INTO every single pitch.  Chanting.  Chatter.  Clearly pulling for their teammates.
  • Second:  There’s something special when the team all gets out of the dugout at once to congratulate their teammates successful accomplishment.  Homerun?  NO.  A BUNT!

I have never seen a team celebration of a bunt before in my life, and I played baseball for 12 years and followed it all my life.  Do you think this team is consumed with execution of the fundamentals?  Absolutely.

Next observations:

Bat Boy/Team Manager

  • He was into every pitch.  He was cheering on every player.  Every player ALWAYS had a smile on their face that seemed to be a bit wider when they high fived him.
  • This Team Manager happened to have Down Syndrome.

“It used to be that James Soranno only worked the home games…..Then, Watchung Hills Regional High School head baseball coach Joe Tremarco figured something out.  You don’t take the heart and soul of your team out of the dugout just because you’re not playing at home.”

* Source: Echoes Sentinel posted 5/16

Image Credit: Roger Howell, from “Heart and Soul: Watchung Hills bat boy/team manager a favorite of coaches, players and parents”

One things certain, though. When James eventually does move on, it will leave a big void.

“Because the truth is, I can replace my shortstop,” Tremarco says. “But I can’t replace James.”

*  Source:  Echoes Sentinel posted 5/16

Next, the Voice of the game.

A PA announcer at a high school baseball game is not common.  When you here with GREAT personality and clarity, that is even more rare.  And when that announcer has Cerebral Palsy?  Well, now we are talking VERY rare.

I encourage you to watch the video of Skylar Weisberg’s story…

“If you work hard, if you have a big heart, and if you have a whole lot of spirit, you can make anything happen.  Dreams can come true.”  Skylar Weisberg

The Excellence of the Hustlin’ Warriors is a complete team effort.  But like all great teams, it starts with the Coach.  I do not know Head Coach Joe Tremarco, but I certainly would love too.  He gets more than just baseball fundamentals.  He gets what it takes to create something truly special.  He has found value in hidden places, and created something memorable.  

There are examples of greatness everywhere.  

Hope you find a Hustlin’ Warriors on your next walk.  

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Loaded Question: Does Employee Morale Matter?

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Of course Morale Matters!

Ask 100 people in business this question and how many would you think would answer with a resounding YES?

90? 95?  Maybe even 100?

So here’s the real question, if you agree that YES, Morale matters.

What % of business leaders truly keep their finger on the “Morale Pulse?”  

I guarantee this % would be lower than the answer to the first question.  Wouldn’t shock me if the gap was greater than 30 points.  You don’t need to be a statistician to call this gap “significant.”

Morale is a byproduct of organizational culture.  Some cultures inject oxygen and energy, others deplete it.  Oxygen is not just life sustaining, it’s business sustaining.

Morale is also highly INDIVIDUAL.  One person may be highly energized, while another person is down in the dumps.  Morale at its core is a function of attitude, a person’s general “optimism level.”  Like simple tests can be applied to asses culture, same for someone’s individual level of Optimism.  My favorite is my Wake-Up test, which I learned from my 6 year old.

So back to the leaders, who have a key role in all things culture……

If Morale matters, what are you doing to at least UNDERSTAND the level of morale among the people running your business?

Observing?  Taking a “climate” survey?

Wandering the halls?  Tom Peters explains MBWA:  Management by Wandering Around

I love simple tools like MBWA.

Here’s another one, I’ve recently started:


It’s simple.  It forces people to take a stand and give their own opinion.  And that process alone is sometimes motivating for the troops.  Here’s how it works:

  • Ask them to score the organizational morale, give it a number from 0 to 10, 0 being “organizational death” to 10 being “couldn’t imagine any place better.”  Make them assign a number.  Thank them.
  • Then probe and ask them to add some color as to why.  Shut up and listen.  Then ask them to “tell me more.”
  • Repeat the shut up and listen step.
  • Go back to your office and write the name, number and date down, and a couple of take-aways.  Invest the minute to put something on paper.  Or a cocktail napkin if you’re having drinks.

This is now a baseline for the individual.  Don’t try and solve the world’s problems in this conversation, just listen and get a number.  Do this with multiple people in different functional areas and you will start to paint an organizational picture.  You can keep track of this over time, which is even more enlightening.

But measuring for measuring sake is pointless, measure to understand impact of some future CHANGE.

The Morale Meter only works if you keep a couple of “WATCHOUTS” in mind….

WATCHOUT #1:  Put your BS meter on high alert.

Not everyone will be candid, some people don’t “tell it like it is” and may give a score that is a lot higher than they really feel.  If your BS meter goes up, challenge it.  Ask them how many people they have referred to come work at your organization?  Someone that rates the place >7 should feel pretty good about their job and want their friends to come along right?  If not, why?  It only takes a couple of these challenges and people will know you’re serious about getting honest feedback.

WATCHOUT #2:  Understand THEIR BS meter is on high too.  

Never under-estimate people’s BS meter.  Having people answer a question like this, by definition raises the stakes.  They will expect you NOT to just listen, but not waste their time.  They will expect SOME action.  If you are NOT prepared to do SOMETHING with the info, don’t start the process.

Leadership at its core is about Caring.  Caring is about listening & learning.  But that’s not enough.  

Leadership is a contact sport.

When you listen and score and don’t like what your seeing, but fail to ACT, you’re not a leader.  You may be a shrink.  You may be a numbers geek.

Leaders Listen.  They Measure.  But most importantly, Leaders ACT.

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The Inspirational Story of Richie Parker

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One of the best 7 minute inspirational stories I’ve come across, Richie Parker.  The video tells the story better than I could, but here are some thoughts that came to mind.

  • Parents Matter
    • What would the world look like with more parents like Richie’s?  Shouldn’t every kid have the opportunity to ride a bike?
  • Attitude Matters More
    • What if everyone had the ability to NOT let adversity bring them down, not accept no for an answer, and had the optimism and ingenuity to just simply figure it out?

What if every organization was open minded enough to give a person like Richie a shot, a real opportunity to contribute?  

Do you think Richie is a massive difference maker in all ways at his organization?  
I bet the competitors are kicking themselves for not having Richie, I know I’d want him on MY team.  

Game-changers in Life are hiding in mysterious places.  Being open minded to the new and more importantly, DIFFERENT is the first step to a new world of opportunity.  

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Johnny Meatballs: A Case Study in Branding & Launching A Business

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There has NEVER been a better time to pursue your entrepreneurial passions than TODAY.  

Back in the Old School it was hard to create awareness, branding and communicate a message.  It was all about good old fashioned elbow grease and generating word of mouth buzz. Some call it HUSTLE, one of the top traits from the Old School.    

Today’s New School technology affords everyone the opportuntiy to…..

  • Live your passion, and share it with like minded people

  • Build an audience

  • Replicate your message to thousands or more…..assuming it’s worth spreading.  

Everyone has the opportunity to create a Brand, both personally and for their business.  And like all things worthy in life, it takes real, hard, consistent work.  It’s not easy, but it’s within everyone’s grasp.

Here’s a great example I discovered over Superbowl Weekend:  Johnny Meatballs.

I’m biased, he’s a NJ boy and building a business on one of my favorite foods.  And I wouldn’t bet against him.  Enjoy the videos and I think you’ll see why.  


The lead up to a big event, Superbowl and “big announcements.”

And great Superbowl press coverage

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Your Life Partner Choice: Make it a Secret Weapon

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Life Lesson #2 from my 40 Lessons @ 40 post.

  • Key life decisions matter.  Take the time to get them right, with the information you have, but you’ll never have ALL the pieces.

Key life decisions are obvious, and a bunch pop into my mind.  

You have decision making control over…

  • College

  • Career Management: Environment, type, location, compensation level you’re satisfied with, autonomy…

  • Friends/who you spend time with, how/if you build relationships

  • Family:  Relationships with your kids,spouse, extended family

  • Financial:  When to save, how much, where to invest

  • Leisure pursuits

  • Location, where you live & play

  • Degree of “risk” in your life

  • Your attitude towards life

  • Your ENERGY LEVEL you apply to various aspects of life

Sometimes a tweet, those powerful little 140 character soundbites can bring it all home.  And this one does.

Life's critical decision, your spouse

As F’ing Perfect states:  

Be with the person that brings out the best in you.  

Is there anything more important, especially for life’s Hustlers than to be with someone that gives you every shot to maximize your potential?  

It would be painful for me to think about NOT having that person in my life.  Sometimes in life, especially in matters of the heart, your decisions are not rational, logical or “pro and con” lists on legal paper.  You just kind of go with them.

BUT, if I were single, this would be my #1 criteria for a Spouse “decision.”  I thank my lucky stars my wife checks this box, 10 times over.

Having a secret weapon in life is not cheating.  It’s smart.

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A Role Model & a Simple Equation for “Life Moments”

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“We make kids’ days. We’re role models, and kids look up to us, and that’s something we have to embrace and take the role of,” said Randolph.Zach Randolph Memphis Grizzlies, gives the Shirt off his back to boy with Down Syndrome

Image credit:

A feel good story emerged in Memphis this week when Zach Randolph LITERALLY gave a young boy the shirt off his back, and it was captured on video.  Some thoughts….

  • I LOVE the fact that this video has had 400k views in less than a week.  I hope it goes to 5mm+.  Why?  

  • Because it was so simple & powerful at the same time.

  • Something KIND was caught on camera.  28 seconds.  A little shot of optimism and kindness.

Maybe I see this event as a bit more special because I’m biased.  The boy in the video is Will, my daughter’s friend, and a great one at that.  When one of your friends has a brush with fame, it is a bit more exciting than someone you don’t know.  The excitement on a young girl’s face seeing her friend on TV is priceless.  

Will and Hope also share more than friendship….they both have “Designer Jeans” (Down syndrome).  They are more alike other kids than different.  Maybe that played a role in the story, maybe it didn’t.  It doesn’t really matter….

What this little act of kindness is, I would certainly call a MOMENT.”

Life Moments equation

“Teddy” was also one of the great MOMENTS of 2013, “When a million smiles beats a homerun!” It’s impossible NOT to feel great after that story.

The other thing the Zach Randolph MOMENT shows, is self-awareness.  He came right out and acknowledged that fact that athletes are role models.

One of the famous Old School ads of my generation was the “Role Model” ad from Nike, by Charles Barkley.

I can buy into Barkley’s argument:  Parents are the ultimate role models, athletes are not. Simplicity at its finest.

There’s a problem with the argument however.  It ignores a brutal reality.  Kids look up to pro athletes, whether the athletes like it or not.  There’s a warning sign here….

It may be convenient to ignore a Brutal Reality.  But it’s not the right thing to do.  

Zach Randolph seems to naturally embrace his role model reality.  

Professional sports would be significantly better if others did the same.

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