Step By Step

“One walks over the highest mountain one step at a time.” – John Wanamaker

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How do you eat an elephant?

One step at a time.

Why anyone would want to eat an elephant confuses me, but you get the point.

BIG things are accomplished by breaking them down into small, actionable STEPS. 

Our goal is steady progress.

Keep moving the ball down field.

I just read Anthony Iannarino’s new book, The Lost Art of Closing.

The book is fantastic.

Iannarino shows how taking a STEP BY STEP approach to CLOSING A SALE is a highly effective way to create new business.

Our job as sales professionals is to ask for and obtain commitments.

But when people hear the word CLOSING, they can get a negative vibe.

Alec Baldwin’s character, Blake, in Glengary, Glen Ross comes to mind.

Baldwin plays a shady, money hungry deal maker.

His world is all about getting the customer’s money.

Great movie.

Amazing one liners.

But total BS.

Blake’s “A.B.C.” (Always Be Closing) Method of selling went out of style a few weeks after parachute pants did in the 1980’s.

Modern day selling is about helping your customers succeed.

CLOSING A SALE can take multiple appointments, a number of stakeholders and months to achieve.

A good sales person knows where they are in the SALES process.

They understand the next STEP they need to take.

They know that CLOSING involves more than just asking for the business.

A sales professional knows that they need to secure a series of smaller commitments from the customer before they get anywhere near a sale.

This process can be smooth.

You just have take it STEP BY STEP:

THE INTRODUCTION

Not all stakeholders will want to meet with you.

Many may not even respond to your emails and messages.

That’s a good thing.

This keeps all the AVERAGE sales people out.

The best way to deal with this is to get your advocates inside the customer to make the introduction.

This idea is killer.

Try it.

THE NEXT MEETING

Secure the next appointment before you leave the current one.

The most effective way to keep the sales process alive is to stay in front of your customer.

It’s amazing how many sales “professionals” don’t do this.

TO BE INCLUDED IN THE PROCESS

Great sales people are considered TRUSTED ADVISORS.

They secure a commitment to be included in the customer’s decision making process.

They are sitting next to the customer in the conference room when they are deciding which path to take.

THE ORDER

It sounds cliche, but it’s true.

Many sales people are afraid to ask for the order.

Sometime all you need is the COURAGE to ask.

“Would you like to move forward with an order?”

At worst you get a “No” and the real reason holding them back.

At best you get a new customer.

Ask and you shall receive.

There is a Chinese proverb that says, “Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”

This is true in SALES.

It’s true in LIFE.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Just ask that elephant.

#StepByStep

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

 

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Stand Guard

“Stand guard at the door of your mind.” – Jim Rohn

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To live a POSITIVE life we have to feed our minds positive thoughts.

We have to protect our thinking from negative influences.

Negativity is constantly knocking.

It’s searching for a way in.

We have to make a conscious decision to keep it out.

In a interview, Tony Robbins said learning to deal with negative thoughts was one of the greatest lessons he learned from his mentor Jim Rohn.

“Jim Rohn taught me a simple principle.” Robbins said, “Every day, STAND GUARD at the door of you mind.  You alone decide what thoughts and beliefs you let into your life.  For these thoughts will shape whether you feel rich or poor, cursed or blessed.”

We have to STAND GUARD.

In our 24/7 connected world, that’s no easy feat.

Negative is everywhere.

It’s waiting for us each time we log into social media.

Negative is on overdrive on cable news.

We have to curate the information we allow to influence us.

So much of what we are exposed to are sensationalized events that have nothing to do with us.

  • The tragedy 8 time zones away.
  • The celebrity that got arrested.
  • The shady politician screaming into the camera.

FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL.

Everyday we all have important work to do.

Our job is to FOCUS on what we can control and ignore the noise.

Vince Vaughn said, “Don’t give a voice to things you’re not able to change.”

We have to STAND GUARD.

Keep all that useless, negative information from souring our thoughts and attitudes.

When we allow negative influences into out mind bad things happen:

  • Our attitude sours.
  • We get distracted.
  • We lose focus from the things that really matter.

If we pay attention to uncontrollable, negative events long enough, our thinking becomes negative.

Negative starts to follow us around all day long.

We have to feed our minds a healthy diet of positive information.

THINK ABOUT IT.

The information you allow into your mind affects what you think about.

  • What you THINK about creates your MOOD.
  • Your MOOD creates your ATTITUDE.
  • Your ATTITUDE influences your ACTIONS.
  • Your ACTIONS determine your OUTCOMES.
  • Your OUTCOMES become your LIFE.

Believing that we are unaffected by what we let into our mind is like saying what we eat does not matter.

Shut the door on the PEOPLE, EVENTS, & STORIES that try to pull you down and drain your energy.

Ryan Holiday wrote, “Cut the negative strings that pull your mind.”

Shut out the negative.

Protect your mind.

Improve your life.

#StandGuard

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

Airplane Mode

“Starve Your Distractions.  Feed Your Focus.” – Anonymous

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Have you ever flown across the country?

If so, you can speak to the phenomenon of PRODUCTIVITY that happens when you are at 30,000 feet.

It’s called AIRPLANE MODE.

Many frequent fliers tell tales of getting more work done on a cross country flight than an entire week in the office.

AIRPLANE MODE serves up the perfect work environment:

  • Zero distractions (barring that screaming baby 2 rows back):
  • No interruptions.
  • Your phone does not buzz every 10 seconds.

You are in a bubble.

Work gets done:

  • Presentations get finished.
  • Books get read.
  • Blogs get written.

Author Peter Shenkman brags about writing 28,000 words for one of his books on a single flight.

One of the BEST IDEAS I discovered in 2017 was bringing AIRPLANE MODE to ground level.

It’s an awesome way to get work done.

I spend 1 hour of each day on AIRPLANE MODE.

Jon Acuff talks about this concept in his book FINISH.

There’s no need to wait for your next trip to Las Vegas to make progress on an important project.

We can create an uninterrupted, distraction free bubble to do our most important work on the ground.

The start of the year is a great opportunity to experiment with new ways of doing things.

So buckle your seat belts.

Put your tray tables in their locked upright position.

Oh…

And stow that carry-on bag under your seat.

TIME TO GO ON AIRPLANE MODE:

CHOOSE ONE PROJECT 

What’s the ONE THING you need to finish?

What project has been hanging over your head for too long?

Choose that one.

PICK YOUR PLACE

Find a place where you will not be tempted by distractions.

I found my home office was a terrible place to get work done.

There were just too many distractions.

So much so that I gave up my home office.

It was converted into a playroom.

I find cafes and local libraries work way better.

GET YOUR TIMING RIGHT  

What time of day are you at your best?

Schedule AIRPLANE MODE at your mental peak.

I’m a morning person.  For me, the earlier the better.

Night time does not work.

I fade late afternoon like the Dallas Cowboys in December.

DISCONNECT 

Shut your phone down.  Turn off your ipad.

Completely disconnect.

What if my kids call? 

What if I miss a customer email?

Be brave.

The world will be there 59 minutes later when you reconnect.

SET A TIMER

I put my iPhone on AIRPLANE MODE.

Then I set 60 minutes on my timer app.

The first couple times I found myself looking up every 5 minutes.

Eventually the hour flies by.

GET TO WORK

Don’t let the distractions of everyday life keep you from doing your best work.

Bruce Lee said, “The successful warrior is the average person, with laser focus.”

Starve your distractions.

Feed your focus.

Go on AIRPLANE MODE.

And watch your productivity TAKE OFF.

#AirPlaneMode

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SaleVibe.Net

On Your Mark. Get Set. Delete.

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” – Ben Franklin

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Nothing like a fresh start.

A new day.

A new year.

Before we start piling up the RESOLUTIONS, we need to do something:

Hit the “Delete” button.

We all have aspects of our lives that no longer serve us well:

  • BAD HABITS
  • COMMITMENTS
  • RELATIONSHIPS

Joshua Becker, wrote, “The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.”

The start of the new year is a perfect time to hit the DELETE button.

3 Things We Need to DELETE:

BAD HABITS

Sometimes our habits turn on us.

I used to spend hours each day trying to stay up to date on current events.

I would read multiple newspapers and listen to hours of talk radio.

What started as trying to stay informed, turned into spending way too much time on events that I had no control over.

Habit DELETED.

Now I focus on things relevant to my daily life.

Take back your time.

Hit the DELETE button.

Don’t let a BAD HABIT follow you into the new year.

COMMITMENTS

I was part of a weekly networking group.

At first it served me well.

I met new people and learned some creative ideas.

Then it got stale.

I kept showing up, even though it stopped being a good use of my time.

Eventually, I gathered up the courage to tell them I was not coming back.

I don’t think they even cared.

Lesson learned.

Can you think of a commitment that no longer makes sense?

Hit the DELETE button.

Don’t bring a tired commitment into the new year.

RELATIONSHIPS

Some relationships no longer make sense.

These relationships could be personal or professional.

Only you know who they are.

Time to muster up the COURAGE and move on.

Hit the DELETE button.

Don’t let a bad relationship stand in the way of a great year.

What do you need to DELETE in 2018?

Have the guts to make a change.

This will OPEN UP the space for all the good things to come.

Happy New Year!

Ready.

Set.

Delete.

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

Leaving 2017 Inspired

“Here’s to those who inspire us and don’t even know it.” – Anonymous

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Below are the PEOPLE, BOOKS, & PLACES that inspired me in 2017:

People

Ryan Holiday is my favorite author.  Holiday’s writing draws modern day wisdom from ancient philosophy.  His latest book, Perennial Seller shows how to create perennial success by basing your work on timeless principles.  His other book,  The Daily Stoic , is the book I give to others the most.

Seth Godin has the greatest blog on the planet.  He has published a daily blog post for over a decade without fail. His blog is the first thing I read each morning.  Godin challenges people to stop hiding and leap. He is known for asking, “Would they miss you if you were gone?”  The answer is up to you.

Jocko Willink spent 20+ years leading & training Navy SEALS.  His Jocko Podcast is a weekly wave of leadership & life lessons.  Jocko tells stories from military history, modern day business, & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Willink inspires you to rise up when others fade away.

Tom Petty is the person from 2017 who I never met, but will miss.  Petty, who died this year at 66, has been part of the soundtrack of my life since high school.  His concerts were the best.  Petty’s, I Won’t Back Down”  inspired me through tough times. RIP Tom.  Your music made many “Feel A Whole Lot better.”

Books

Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done was my favorite book of 2017.  Jon Acuff breaks down why starting is not the problem; finishing is.  Acuff writes about simple tactics to overcoming obstacles that keep us from finishing.  One of my favorite quotes from the book, “Starting is fun, but the future belongs to finishers.”

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck was my surprise book of 2017.  I had no expectations, but found myself completely engaged and not wanting it to end.  This book informs and entertains.  The first chapter drops more “F” Bombs than the bar scene in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas The F*cking premise of the book is that our time & energy are limited.  They are the greatest resources we have. We need to figure out who & what are most deserving of them and “not give a F*ck about everything else.”

Tools of Titans by Tim Feriss is a true gift.  Imagine having access to billionaires and world class performers like Brene Brown, Peter Theil, General Stanley McChrystal and Malcolm Gladwell.  Then imagine having them share their best habits, routines, and tactics.  Thanks to Feriss, we now do.  You can open this book to any page and get inspired.

Principles by Ray Dalio.  Ray Dalio is a self-made billionaire and a legend in the financial world.  Bill Gates and Tony Robbins go to Dalio for advice and council.  This book is filled with ideas and principles that lead to success in business and life.

Places

Our family’s most “Magical” week of 2017 happened in Disney World.  We took our first family trip to the Magic Kingdom.  Mickey did not disappoint.  I was skeptical going in.  Impressed on the way out.

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Happy holidays.

Wish you a REMARKABLE 2018!

– Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

JAB, JAB, JAB, HOOK

“The person that gives value first has the leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

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What’s the worst professional advice you ever got?

In Tim Ferriss’ new book, Tribe of Mentors, Ferriss asks a series of questions to a group of elite athletes, super achievers, & billionaires.

Here’s one question that generated some fascinating dialogue:

“What are the bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?”

This question brought me back to my first SALES job.

During our weekly sales meetings, my manager would walk around the meeting room and say phrases like “Work the close!” and “A.B.C. – Always Be Closing.”

It was like Alec Baldwin’s character “Blake” from Glengarry Glen Ross giving you a motivational talk each week.

SALES was all about CLOSING a deal.

Get the contract signed and move on.

Helping a customer succeed and establishing a long term relationship had little to do with the process.

For my money, “Always Be Closing.” is the worst professional advice I ever got.

EVERYONE IS IN SALES 

Like it or not, EVERYONE is in SALES.

We all have something to sell:

  • Our product to a customer.
  • Your kids on brushing their teeth.
  • Convincing your husband it’s time to remodel the kitchen.

If you really want to CLOSE THE DEAL, focus less on CLOSING and more on VALUE. 

LEAD WITH VALUE

Sales is all about providing VALUE.

It’s HELPING someone get the OUTCOMES they are searching for by using your idea, product or service.

Gary Vaynerchuk, internet entrepreneur & bestselling author, has an amazing philosophy on how to get people to decide in your favor.

It’s called JAB, JAB, JAB, HOOK.

GIVE TO GET

Think of the SALES process like a boxing match.

Each JAB is you providing HELP and VALUE to your customer.

The HOOK, which comes only after a series of jabsis your ask.  It’s what you are trying to get the other person to agree to.

Your JABS setup the HOOK.

The JABS increases the chances that your HOOK hits the target.

Just like a boxer has a GAME PLAN before entering the ring, each salesperson needs a plan before entering a customer’s office.

SALES PLAN

Before you ask a customer to do anything, HELP THEM three times.

Prove your VALUE. 

It’s not about “Always Be Closing.

It’s all about: “Always Be Helping.

It’s:

  • Give Value
  • Give Value
  • Give Value
  • Ask

The JAB, JAB, JAB, HOOK method delivers knockouts:

  • It ENGAGES customers.
  • It creates TRUST.
  • Establishes long term RELATIONSHIPS.

People are way more receptive to take action on new ideas with people they like, trust, and know have their best interests at heart.

This is not just a GAME PLAN for SALES.

It’s also a great philosophy for life.

#JabJabJabHook

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

 

Talking About Practice

“If you don’t practice you don’t deserve to win.” – Andre Agassi 

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In 2002 NBA MVP & Future Hall of Famer Allen Iverson held one of the most famous press conferences in sport’s history.

Iverson was 3 days removed from his team being eliminated from the NBA playoffs.

Emotions were raw.

There were rumors he was on the outs with his head coach.

People around the team whispered he was giving less than 100% at PRACTICE. 

A.I. took his frustrations out with a rant about PRACTICE. 

The word PRACTICE was said over 20 times in a 5 minute period.

A.I. downplayed its importance.

He told the media as long he gave everything he had during the game, PRACTICE did not matter.

The press conference was immortalized with his famous quote:

“We’re talking about practice.”

With all due respect to THE ANSWER…

LET’S TALK ABOUT PRACTICE.

PRACTICE is a force multiplier.

It’s a DIFFERENTIATOR.

PRACTICE makes POTENTIAL reality.

It creates MOMENTUM.

From playing in the NBA to the world of SALES – PRACTICE matters.

PRACTICE can reveal a person’s true CHARACTER.

Many people claim to be “hard workers”.

PRACTICE proves it.

PRACTICE creates champions.

Muhammad Ali said, “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses…in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”

Want to see how much CONFIDENCE a salesperson has?

Just tell them you will video their PRACTICE session and play it back for their peers to critique.

I have seen experienced SALESPEOPLE crumble at the thought.

WHAT WE NEED TO PRACTICE:

SKILL BUILDING

This is the PHYSICAL side of PRACTICE. 

This is Old School practice.

This is the SALESPERSON writing down and rehearsing thought provoking questions before their BIG meeting.

This is the BJJ student drilling a new move dozens of times to ELEVATE their game.

This is the NBA star shooting hundreds of foul shots after practice to fix a problem.

You find something you need to get better at, then – REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT

PUTTING YOURSELF OUT THERE

This is the MENTAL side of PRACTICE.

This involves losing your EGO.

This is having the guts to try something new.

It brings about the possibility of you looking foolish doing so.

This is putting yourself out in the arena, again and again, to either succeed or fail.

This type of PRACTICE is far more rare.

It’s gettin knocked down, making adjustments, and having the guts to try again.

This is knowing you have to EVOLVE and having the COURAGE to do so.

This type of PRACTICE gives no guarantee.

Seth Godin writes, “This is doing things that might not work.”

PRACTICE IS A MINDSET

In Carol Dweck’s book MINDSET, she proves the greats in every field are MADE, not BORN.

How?

PRACTICE.

The world is filled with talented people who never ESCAPE AVERAGE.  

But not you.

You’re better than that.

Here’s THE ANSWER…

#TimeToPractice

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

Uncommon Gratitude

“Strength and growth come only through struggle and effort.” – Napoleon Hill

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Last week was a great reminder of all that we have to BE THANKFUL.

It’s EASY to GIVE THANKS for the good things:

  • Our families.
  • Good health.
  • Our freedom.

I just listened to a REMARKABLE podcast with Gary Vee and Tim Ferriss.

Ferriss was promoting his new book,  Tribe of Mentors.

Gary Vee asked Ferriss two of the most powerful questions I’ve heard in an interview:

  • What setback are you most grateful for? 

  • What failure propelled you the furthest?

Wow.

It makes you think…

When was the last time you were GRATEFUL for an OBSTACLE that knocked you down?

  • The injuries.
  • The setbacks.
  • The breakups.

These OBSTACLES, which seem horrible at the time are actually the fuel that make the good stuff possible.

Often the view at the top is fantastic, but GROWTH happens in the valley below.

It takes UNCOMMON GRATITUDE to appreciate setbacks.

If we want to BECOME MORE, we have to CONFRONT MORE.

We have to think every obstacle that comes our way was made especially for us.

The tests of life are not there to break us, but make us.

Tony Robbins says, “Life does not happen to you, it happens for you.”

Looking back, I can see where this has happened for me:

  • I got cut from my high school baseball team.  I was crushed. To fill my newfound free time, I started training martial arts.  I’m still training to this day.
  • After missing out on a promotion I really wanted, I decided it was time to PROMOTE MYSELF.  I hired a recruiter and landed a position with a growing company.  One of the best moves I ever made.
  • My knee blows out while training Jiu Jitsu.  What started off as scary, turned into an amazing journey that showed me a better way to EAT, TRAIN & LIVE.

UNCOMMON GRATITUDE is being thankful for all the tough times that make you better.

Gratitude is not an automatic response, especially for the tough times.

Being grateful for both the good and the bad transforms an AVERAGE life into a REMARKABLE journey.

What OBSTACLE made you better in the past?

What TOUGH CHALLENGE are you facing now?

Time to give thanks.

#UncommonGratitude

– Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Time To Finish

“It’s fun to start, but the future belongs to finishers.” – Jon Acuff

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I read Jon Acuff’s new book, FINISH: GIVE YOURSELF THE GIFT OF DONE.

Hands down one of the most helpful books I read in 2017.

It came at a great time.

Why?

I used to think the END OF THE YEAR was the time to make RESOLUTIONS.

It’s not.

It’s the TIME TO FINISH.

It’s the time to leave your mark.

I used to believe STARTING was the secret to SUCCESS.

It’s not.

The MAGIC is in the FINISH. 

It’s easy to START things.

It’s hard to FINISH.  

Look around…

We have UNFINISHED business laying all around us.

Here’s my version of UNFINISHED:

  • Dozens of BOOKS half read.
  • PROSPECTS not converted to CUSTOMERS.
  • ONLINE COURSES not complete.
  • TRIPS not taken.

Our UNFINISHED work clutters our lives.

This clutter is both PHYSICAL & MENTAL.

Has an UNFINISHED project ever wore you down just thinking about it?

The most tiring projects are the ones we leave undone.

FINISHING can make the end of the year the BEST part of the year.

There’s no need to wait for the NEW YEAR to make our lives better.

The best way to START a new year is to FINISH this one STRONG.

HOW TO FINISH:

CHOOSE 1 THING

What’s the ONE THING you need to FINISH?

What’s the one project that would make the BIGGEST IMPACT for you?

Pick that one.

MAKE YOUR GOAL SMALLER

A great way to get stuck is to have a monster goal that seems unattainable.

Jon Acuff wrote, “If you want to fail before you start, pick a goal that’s too big.”

Dial back your goal a few notches.

This may sound counter intuitive, but it’s not.

This will make your goal more REALISTIC.

You will be more inclined to TAKE ACTION.

If you hit your smaller goal, you can always keep going.

CHOOSE WHAT TO BOMB 

FINISHING requires FOCUS. 

We have to eliminate distractions.

Distraction is a killer.

A great way to ELIMINATE DISTRACTION is to choose what to bomb.

When I am in FINISH mode, I ignore email.

I FOCUS on the work in front of me, not my buzzing iphone.

This frees up a tremendous amount of TIME.

SEIZE THE MOMENT

Our moment is NOW, not next year.

What OPPORTUNITY is right in front of you?

What do you need to FINISH?

For me, there was trip my wife I talked about for 10 years.

No more.

Trip booked.

Your move.

#TimeToFinish

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

Simplify

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

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There are 3 certainties in life:

  1. Death.
  2. Taxes.
  3. And people COMPLICATE their lives as much as possible.

My version of COMPLICATED looks like this:

  • OVER SCHEDULED weekends.
  • Saying “Yes” when I should Say “No”.
  • Getting DISTRACTED 

It’s so easy to COMPLICATE our lives.

The more we complicate, the harder it is to succeed.

Tony Robbins said, “Complexity is a mortal enemy of success.”

HAPPY and SUCCESSFUL life is based on SIMPLICITY.  

SIMPLIFYING is about:

  • Knowing your PRIORITIES.
  • ELIMINATING the unnecessary.
  • Having the COURAGE to make changes.

HOW TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE:

KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES

A SIMPLIFIED life starts by knowing your PRIORITIES.

SIMPLICITY is about spending our limited time on the people and things we VALUE most.

It’s knowing what is important and eliminating the DISTRACTIONS that get in the way.

ELIMINATE THE UNNECESSARY

A SIMPLIFIED life is about ELIMINATING the unnecessary from our lives.

Clutter crushes SIMPLICITY. 

It must be eliminated.

The other day I DELETED all of my texts.

It felt LIBERATING. 

It makes my iphone feel 10 pounds lighter.

What do you need to ELIMINATE? 

This will make more room for what matters most to you.

SIMPLICITY REQUIRES COURAGE

It’s having the COURAGE to say “No” to an offer that steals your time.

“No” is LIBERATING.

“No” makes SIMPLE possible.

When you say “No” you eliminate distractions and have the time to focus on your priorities.

It’s not easy to tell Aunt Irma that you won’t be at her holiday dinner.

But sometimes it’s necessary.

SIMPLICITY IS POWERFUL

James Altucher wrote, “To live a SIMPLE life is to live a GOOD life.”

What do you need to SIMPLIFY in your life?

It’s a SIMPLE question that can lead to a REMARKABLE place.

#SIMPLIFY

Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net