Cut the Fat with Sal Cincotta

Cut the Fat with Sal Cincotta

Cut the Fat with Sal Cincotta

Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the December issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.

In life, as in business, you occasionally add dead weight. The time is now to cut the fat from your life. We are not victims. We cannot blame others for our misfortunes any more than we can give them credit for our hard work. Where your life goes from this moment on is completely up to you. You and you alone control your destiny. Don’t ever forget that.

This philosophy doesn’t apply only to your personal life. It applies to your business as well. Tired of failing? Tired of shitty clients? Tired of the people around you tearing you down rather than building you up? Well, now is the time to cut them out of your life, no matter how hard that may be.


Don’t trust anyone. As a native New Yorker, I tend to keep people at a distance, always thinking someone is working me for something at any given moment. Tough way to live? Sure is. Welcome to life. Life is tough. Trust should be earned. I know many of you believe in trusting first, and that is certainly a novel idea—one you see in movies where there is always a happy ending.

I bet right about now I sound like a bitter old man, but I assure you I am not. I value the trust I have in people. I value my friendships. I love the people who are close to me, and I want to invest my energy in those very special people in my life. If nothing else, it protects you until those random people in your life have proven worthy of your trust. What’s wrong with that?

Make no mistake. I have been burned. I have trusted people and let them close to me only to find out I was off about them. These have been family members, friends, business associates and even some clients who have burned me. I can’t help but think that this little mantra has also protected me from unnecessary heartache as well.

We all need support.

Life is hard enough without true support. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and want to be part of your journey. You can’t do this alone. It doesn’t make you weak, it’s just reality. We all need support in everything we do. That support comes in a multitude of ways. Some is true physical support. Some is just knowledge—knowing there is someone out there we can bounce ideas off of to get some honest answers.

Don’t underestimate the importance of building your very own center of excellence. For me, this is my true core group of people I trust with everything I do. I trust them more than family sometimes. I just know that this select group of people is going to be there for me when shit hits the fan.

Here’s something I am constantly preaching. There are two types of people in this world when FUBAR strikes: people who are going to stay in the trenches with you to help you weather the storm, and those who will hit you over the head with a shovel to save themselves. Make sure you have the right people around you at all times.

Support and friendship when you need it most.

Everyone is your friend when things are going smoothly, right? I have tons of friends. Everyone loves you when they want or need something, but how many will be there for you when you need them most? These are your real friends, people you want to hang on to.

Make no mistake, this is a two-way street. You can’t just expect people to give, give, give—you have to build some credit in the bank, so to speak. Are you there for your friends and family? For the people that matter most? It can be a shoulder to lean on, it can be offering your services for free. I do this for a ton of people close to me—it’s my way of saying thanks. Think about it: Do you understand how much time is worth? Your time? Giving them two hours of your time to take their pictures, drive there, edit them, etc.—that’s truly giving.

You have to take care of the people who are closest to you in whatever way you can. Make the hard choices sometimes. It’s not always easy to make the tough decisions, but sometimes you have to. If they are not willing to do the same for you, then you have to rid your life of these people. They are cancer for you, and will suck the life out of you. There is only so much of you to go around—give it to those who value and appreciate it.

The two-faced conundrum.

The worst thing you can do is surround yourself with yes men. I have found these people to be extremely dangerous to my state of mind and my business. Trust is the single most important attribute in the people I have near me. That doesn’t mean they are the most qualified or the best at whatever they are doing, but trust is huge. I trust them to act in my best interest at all times.

Having people around you who just agree with you all the time is great for the ego, but utterly useless for anything else in your life. It gives you a false sense of confidence. This false confidence can get you into trouble in the long run. I want people around me to challenge me and tell me when I am wrong and offer an alternate viewpoint.

You want to have people in your life who will push and challenge you, not say one thing to your face and another behind your back. These are not real friends, nor are they people you want to associate yourself with on any level.

Weed these people out of your life immediately, and you will be better off.

No one can do it alone. We need partners.

At the end of the day, we all need help, friendship, companionship. We need to feel connected to something. Don’t go it alone. Look for people you can trust, people you can depend on, people who share your vision—even if that vision is nothing more than ensuring you are successful.

A partnership can be as simple as working with a trusted vendor or working side by side with people you trust. It’s the same in business and your personal life.

Walk away from this with your eyes wide open. Know that there is only so much room in your life and only so much time you have to give. Make sure you are giving it to the people who will cherish it and be there for you when you need them most. Everything and everyone else is a waste of time and energy. I would rather be surrounded by 10 people I can trust versus 100 people who are just there to leech off me and add nothing to the relationship.

We are not victims. No matter how tough life seems right now, no matter how much you are struggling in your career or business, you are not alone. There are people out there who care for you and will be there for you.

Now, let’s get our shit together and make 2017 our year.

Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the December issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Ben Tolosa

    Excellent article Sal as always inspiring us to succeed!

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