24 Jun


“All rights reserved. No part of this Mental Toughness Power Action blog publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recorded, scanning, displaying, modifying, republication, republishing, posting on any website, platform, social media, RSS feeds or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher or author. Requests to the author should be addressed to mtflseminars@usa.com.” — Copyright 2007, CIPO, USCO Mental Toughness For Life.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” — Nelson Mandela

The following is an Excerpt from my book Slay Your X Factor And Win For Life.


Are you all in?

If you are all in then you need to embrace learning as a continual journey. Learning is a lifelong quest that is comparable to breathing and is unimaginable without it.

There are a lot of dreamers out there. They are beautiful people however they just want to sleep.

You must find out how bad you want something. If you don’t do anything to move toward it, you just had a nice dream.

Most people never move forward as fear always masks itself as procrastination.

Here’s a story from the past when I was teaching in an inner city school.

They said that they were from the tough, north end of the city. They said that they had no skills.

They said that they wouldn’t even make it to the semi-finals.

They said that their director was chasing a pipe dream and was unrealistic and then they said, “How did they do it?”

In 1987 they were awarded the first place distinction nationally. They achieved the gold championship and were recognized as the first inner city school to ever receive this prestigious award.

Why this story?

Never, ever underestimate the power, passion, persistence, and determination of anyone that is on a mission towards their goal.

Here it is.

Let’s go back thirty -three years.

I taught instrumental music in an inner city junior high school. They didn’t have a band program at the time so I started the program from scratch. The community was rich with ethnicity. Almost everyone had an accordion under his or her bed but no one had a band instrument. I just graduated from university with my Master’s degree in Music Education and I was excited, pumped, and ready for action.

I still remember the first day of action. I told my students that in three years, I was going to teach, train, and prepare them for the national band festival. I also told them that they were going to win #1 in their category. They all laughed and probably thought, how long is this guy going to last?

They had already exhausted four prior band teachers.

After having said that, I realized that we also had to be invited to this festival and only after successfully achieving the Gold status at the local level.

Was I in trouble?

Later that day, a tall young man approached me and said, “Are you looking for your car?” I said, “Yes, the two door silver Toyota with the music note in the license plate”. “Well, we picked it up and moved it down the street”, said the young man.

I thought to myself, now I’m really in trouble and I have to make it happen. At the time, I had no clue that I was working and living by default.

Was it a challenge?

Yes and beyond words.

This school had a brand new principal and yes a rookie band teacher. In the months to follow, I began to unfold the transition from the current general music program towards a Gold Level A band program.

The kids hated the general music program that consisted of antiquated songbooks of yesteryear.

Gradually, I transitioned towards teaching these kids the fundamentals of music via current songs etc. I taught them complicated rhythms for their level of musicianship by exposing them to the Beverly Hills Cop music.

I said that if you can play the BHC rhythms, the other music is a piece of cake.

Of course that wasn’t the case as the opposite was the reality.

I didn’t know it then but today I fully understand that everything in life is 97% psychology and 3% effort.

My initial goal of taking these kids to stardom began to manifest in spite of the fact that I had no clue of visualization, goal setting, or goal achieving. The principal bought into my three-year plan. It consisted of developing a band of fifty grade 7–9 junior high school students performing at a very high caliber, a budget of $35,000, and a presentation to the superintendent of schools for acceptance of our goal.

Again, let me repeat this, I had no clue that I was doing all of this by default and not design. Sometime later, I realized that doing things by design produces unimaginable results.

Let’s fast forward.

The superintendent of schools accepted a meeting with the principal and myself. At this point, we were two years into the three-year plan and the reality of this was quickly approaching. The current mayor of the city at the time gifted us with $4000 but we were still short of our budgeted amount. We were requesting $5,000 from the school district, as this was our shortfall in our budget of $35,000.

At this meeting, the superintendent basically stated that our plan was honorable however not really feasible for our inner city school. During the meeting, I remember saying to the superintendent, “These kids are going to experience something so amazing that will absolutely enrich their lives forever.”

The superintendent somewhat agreed but didn’t believe that my plan of preparing these inner city students for this type of musical challenge was viable for our inner city school.

As we brought our meeting to a close, I couldn’t contain myself any longer and blurted, “With all due respect, I guess I’ll do it with you or without you”, and proceeded to walk out.

You all know what with all due respect signifies when someone is attempting to derail your mission.

I walked out of the office and the principal said, “I don’t know if you still have a job.”

I replied, “It’s not about the job. It’s about these kids and finally allowing them to claim what is rightfully theirs.”

This was the birth of the creative process in my human personality.

I had this burning desire to make it happen for these kids no matter what. I really didn’t know anything about present circumstances. I didn’t even know that I was operating by default. Deep down in my core, I absolutely knew that I had activated a burning desire to make this happen. This quote resonated with me while I was pursuing this goal.

“Desire is the effort of the unexpressed possibility within, seeking expression without, through your action.” — Wallace D. Wattles

I had to plant the seed and I had to act and the following was the result.

At the end of our performance, the adjudicator came on the platform and said, “How did you get these young musicians to perform at a very high level that is well beyond their age and musical maturity?”

I replied, “Every day during rehearsals I would tell them that the music was easy.”

I said, “That anyone could play notes, even a computer however it takes genius to create great music.”

This is the lesson that I learned from this amazing experience.

If you don’t disrupt the status quo in your life and business, someone else will and you will be blindsided and besides, status quo, you know is Latin for the mess we’re in. The process is challenge, change, shakeup and finally disrupt.

This is the best part of the story.

Several years later, I bumped into the principal at a local function. He said, “I never told you this at the time but I put in the shortfall of $5000 so the trip could be a go for the kids.”

Hearing this from my former boss really took me by surprise. He continued by saying, “The school district later paid me the $5000 after the kids returned victoriously from the festival.”

I replied, “Thank you for believing in these kids as they will treasure this experience for a lifetime.”

Carpe Momentum

Coach Franco Cianflone


Copyright Disclosure

All rights reserved

Copyright 2020

Mental Toughness For Life


While the designers, contributors, and author have used their best efforts in preparing these Power Action Blogs, they make no warranty or representation with respect to accuracy or completeness of the contents of this material and specifically disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability, finances, personal or medical remedy for a particular purpose. It is further acknowledged that no warranty, of any kind, may be created or extended by any written sales materials or sales representatives.

The advice and strategies contained herein might not be suitable for your situation and do contain risk including the risk of loss. You should always consult with a financial, medical, or legal professional where appropriate before undertaking any action and users of this material assume all risk. Neither the designers, editors, contributors nor the author shall be liable for any loss of profit or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to financial, special, incidental, consequential or other damages.