Run Into The Zone

“My feeling is that any day I am too busy to run is a day that I am too busy.” – John Bryant

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It’s 5:30am and raining.

My sneakers are soaked.

A car swerves directly at me.

The driver recovers to miss me by 3 feet.

I see them wave “Sorry!” into the rear view mirror as they speed away.

Their phone still in their hand.

Every step of this RUN makes a statement.

My mood ELEVATES.

The MIND clears.

It’s the EARLY MORNING.

My favorite part of the day.

It’s the time when the new day decides what direction it will take.

This week my early morning routine faced a CHALLENGE.

I was 3 time zones away from home for a work meeting.

THE CHALLENGE

Anyone who travels for work knows it can be a grind.

2:30am wake up calls to catch 5am flights to the west coast are really fun.

Once you get to your meeting, every second is TAKEN.

There is ZERO free time.

Any time between 7:30am to 9:00pm is scheduled.

Without a PLAN, you will have a very AVERAGE week:

  • You will eat junk food like a 3rd grader.
  • You will drink more coffee than a CPA during tax season.
  • You will end each dinner with a desert the size of your ipad.

Weeks like this used to kick my ass. 

THE ADVANTAGE

There’s a huge ADVANTAGE that east coasters have when they travel out west  – they are WIDE AWAKE at 4am on the first day.

The TIME CHANGE can be your worst enemy or your best friend.

I’ve learned staying on east coast time the entire trip puts you back in control of your day.

That’s why I wake up at 4am each day of the trip.

This allows me to control the only part of the day I can – the EARLY MORNING. 

ENERGIZE 

Early morning exercise energizes your BODY and MIND. 

This ENERGY stays with you the entire day.

Double that for when you RUN past scenic mountains, signs that say you may be mauled by mountain lions and rain slicked freeways with distracted drivers.

MIND, BODY, SPIRIT

After a 4 mile run, my thoughts are overwhelmingly POSITIVE.

Fresh ideas start to flow.

The current challenges that seemed so SCARY the night before, now seem doable.

Your body is ENERGIZED.

Your mind is CLEAR.  

The day becomes EXCITING. 

After the run, I return to my hotel room and I break out my JOURNAL.

I write down anything that strikes me as interesting.

Some ideas are just random thoughts that go nowhere.

Some are personal REVELATIONS that I bring out into the day.

When your mind and body are ENERGIZED, you become OPTIMISTIC.

This early morning routine converts your ATTITUDE from seeing problems to finding SOLUTIONS.

Positive VIBES flow into your day.

The early morning is the time to ESCAPE AVERAGE and RUN towards REMARKABLE .

#RunIntoTheZone

– Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

This post was originally published March 2014 on Life Unbalanced.

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Batter Up

“Every strike out brings me closer to the next home run.” – Babe Ruth

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The game of BASEBALL is an amazing teacher.

From my earliest memories of playing tee ball to walking off the field for the last time in college (knowing it was the end, I actually kissed home plate on my way off the field) the game of baseball taught me many life lessons.

Baseball requires the same skills we need to succeed in SALES and LIFE:

  • Preparation.
  • Awareness.
  • Hustle.

But for my MONEYBALL, the most important concept the game teaches is how to deal with FAILURE.

The past 2 years I have been part of the coaching staff for my son’s travel baseball team.

It’s a REMARKABLE learning experience.

What’s the toughest lesson?

Teaching the kids (and sometimes us coaches) how to to respond to FAILURE. 

The best baseball players are not the ones with the STRONGEST arms, the FASTEST times to first base, or the most EXPENSIVE bats.

It’s the players who learn how to bounce back from FAILURE the quickest who have the most success.

Baseball mimics life.

To succeed you have to condition yourself to:

  • Fail.
  • Adapt.
  • Move On.

FAILURE

Think about hitting.

You can FAIL at the plate 7 out of 10 times.

That’s a 70% FAILURE rate.

If you can manage to FAIL at 70% for an entire decade, you will go in the HALL OF FAME when you retire.

Wow.

That’s a lot of FAILURE. 

It’s easy to lose your composure.

It’s even easier to dwell on that bad play you just made.

A good baseball player has a SHORT MEMORY. 

They never let the last play ruin the next one.

ADAPT

Baseball is a game of CONSTANT ADJUSTMENTS. 

The game forces you to pay attention.

  • Where did they hit the ball last time?
  • What does this pitcher like to throw with two strikes?
  • What do I need to adjust?

ADAPT or lose to someone who does.

MOVE ON

In baseball, it’s all about the next play.

Not everything will go our way.

That’s a good thing.

Failure can be the spark that forces you to GROW and become better.

The best players learn from their mistakes, then MOVE ON to the next play.

Baseball is the ultimate HEAD GAME.

It’s all about MINDSET.

Yogi Berra said, “Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.”

Did you just make a mistake?

Did your ERROR allow the other team to take the lead?

Good.

Make some adjustments.

Jump back into the batter’s box.

Time for a two out rally…

#BatterUp

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Question of the Day

“Judge someone by their questions rather than their answers.” – Voltaire

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“Get out now while you still can.”

The guy on the other side of the table told me this as he stared at me with no expression.

I was a year out of college and struggling to make a job I disliked (working in a CPA firm) work.

The guy was a senior member of the firm asked to mentor me.

At our very first lunch outside of the office, instead of showing me the ropes, he tried to show me the exit.

Turns out he was miserable.

He hated being a CPA.

But he felt stuck.

He told me he was married, had young kids, car payments, and a mortgage.

“It’s too late for me to get out. Don’t get stuck like I did.” was the way I remembering him putting it.

Warning given.

Warning taken.

I jumped ship (and careers) a few months later.

SALES & LIFE

When I was an accountant, I knew many unhappy accountants.

They did not like their job:

  • The hours.
  • The monotony.
  • All those memorable lunches sitting at your desk alone staring at an Excel spreadsheet.

They may have been unhappy, but they were excellent at what they did.

They produced high level CPA work.

They delivered for their clients.

That’s not possible in SALES.

I’ve never met an unhappy, high achieving sales person.

Never.

An unhappy sales person has almost ZERO CHANCE of:

  • Engaging.
  • Connecting.
  • Building Trust.
  • Providing Value.
  • Helping someone else succeed.
  • Getting invited back.

ELEVATE YOUR QUESTIONS

What’s the best way to feel fulfilled in your career?

That’s hard to say.

It’s different for each of us.

There are no magic answers.

But there are MAGIC QUESTIONS.

The fastest way to elevate your MINDSET is also the fastest way to elevate your sales game:

Elevate the quality of your questions.  

10 QUESTIONS TO JUMP START YOUR SALES (and life)…

  1. What needs to happen for today to be a success?
  2. Who needs my help today?
  3. Who do I need to ignore?
  4. What do I need to stop doing?
  5. What do I need to get over?
  6. Who do I need to spend more time with?
  7. Who do I need to walk away from?
  8. What am I excited about?
  9. What’s missing?
  10. What am I grateful for?

High level questions attract high level answers.

U2’s Bono said, “We thought that we had the answers. It was the questions we had wrong.”

No need to get stuck anywhere.

What tough questions do you need to ask yourself?

That’s the…

#QuestionOfTheDay

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

Clean Slate

“The beginning is always today.” – Mary Shelly

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I thought it would never happen.

It did.

We moved.

We left the house we lived in for 14+ years.

Holy boxes…

Everywhere.

Has anyone seen our Vitamix?

Time for NEW BEGINNINGS.

Nothing like a CLEAN SLATE. 

Moving is an experience that literally MOVES you out of your COMFORT ZONE.  

New surroundings force you to create NEW ROUTINES.

You have to forget how things “used to be” and adjust to a new reality.

Moving is an awesome opportunity to create a CLEAN SLATE. 

But before you can start the next chapter of your life, you have to let go of yesterday.

WIPE THE SLATE CLEAN

The house buying / selling process gets complicated.

Nothing is guaranteed.

Everyone is looking out for their own best interests.

Timing has to be on your side.

We were fortunate to sell our old home a few hours before we bought our new one.

Many balls in the air.

They have to all land in the right order or things get complicated fast.

It’s enough to make a Buddhist Monk reach for the Ativan.

FORGIVE

Buyers can get petty.

Their requests can seem over the top.

It helps to take nothing personal.

Deepak Chopra wrote,“Everyone is doing the best they can with their level of consciousness.”

You have to cut people some slack.

Easier said than done.

You have to FORGIVE (and forget).

MOVE ON

You have to MOVE ON from the things that no longer serve you.

Moving forces you to EDIT both your possessions and mindset.

The next chapter of your life is going to require a better version of you.

KEEP WALKING FORWARD

The most emotional moment came for us when we walked through our old house for the last time.

My last view of the inside of our home came as I shut the the front door.

A flood of happy memories of our kid’s lives flashed before me.

Wow.

It’s hard to believe we will never be back there again.

The best way to WIPE THE SLATE CLEAN is to KEEP WALKING FORWARD.

Ryan Holiday wrote, “The last step of the journey is the first step of the next.”

Step, step, step…

 

#CleanSlate

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Lead the Way

“Leadership is influence.  Nothing more, nothing less.” – John Maxwell

 

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What makes someone a LEADER?

The best definition I ever heard is “INFLUENCE”.

Whether you lead a global corporation or run your family, every organization needs the next generation of leaders to step up and LEAD THE WAY.

John Maxwell wrote, “Everything rises and falls with leadership.”

You may be a new leader trying to establish TRUST.

You could be an established leader looking to STAY RELEVANT.

Either way, one thing is certain –

Leaders are CREATED, not born.

HOW TO LEAD THE WAY:

SHARE YOUR BEST IDEAS

Leaders need to ELEVATE the thinking of everyone in the group.

Don’t hold back.

Put your best ideas into world.

Edwin Markham wrote, “What we put into the lives of others, comes back into our own.”

MAKE DECISIONS

Leaders have the COURAGE to make tough decisions.

They gather the available information and have the guts to make a call.

Leaders know that NOT making a decision is making one.

Amelia Earhart said, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act; the rest is merely tenacity.” 

MOVE ON

Not every decision will work out.

Life will knock you down.

The past is an awesome teacher, but a bad place to live.

Leaders learn the lesson, adapt, then move on.

EMPOWER OTHERS

Leaders take people with them.

Wayne Gretzky said, “It’s not about how great you are.  It’s about how great you make the people around you.”

Empower others.

RAISE THE BAR

Leaders raise the bar.

From Washington leading the Continental Army, to Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat, to Steve Jobs denting the universe…

Great leaders show what is possible.

Seth Godin wrote, “You can raise the bar or wait for others to raise it, but it’s getting raised regardless.” 

Elevate what people think is possible.

STAY RELEVANT

Leaders know the best way to STAY RELEVANT is to keep learning.

John F. Kennedy said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

Leaders keep learning or slowly fade away.

IT’S YOUR TURN

The world is asking you to step up and help show the way forward.

Someone is waiting for you to LEAD THE WAY.

Who will you INFLUENCE?

How far can you take them?

It’s time…

Lead, follow, or please get out of the way.

#LeadTheWay

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

 

 

 

 

A Beautiful Mind

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” – Aesop

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What’s the SECRET TO LIFE?

The best explanation I ever heard is from Tony Robbins.

In his UNSHAKEABLE podcast, Robbins said there are 2 rules people need to follow to live an extraordinary life.

RULE #2

“Surround yourself with quality individuals.  You become who you hang out with.”

Who do you spend the most time with?

Who’s In Your 5?

These people influence:

  • What you DO.
  • What you EAT.
  • How you MOVE.
  • What you READ.
  • Where you GO.

Think about it.

Is this the life you want to lead?

If not, it may be time to MAKE SOME CHANGES. 

Nothing will elevate our lives faster than being surrounded by great people.

RULE #1

“Develop the ability to live in a state of gratitude regardless of your circumstances.” 

It’s easy to BE HAPPY when things are going our way.

It takes a strong MINDSET to do so when life gets difficult.

Robbins said, “We have to remember that life happens for us, not to us.” 

Each OBSTACLE is there to make us better.

Ryan Holiday wrote, “Obstacles show us who we really are.”

There are seeds of opportunity in every setback.

Gifts are hidden inside each problem.

Our job is to find it.

There is nothing more liberating than…

#ABeutifulMind

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

You Too

“Everyone is in sales. Maybe you don’t hold the title of salesperson, but if you deal with people, you, my friend, are in sales.” – Zig Ziglar

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Have you ever tried to convince your kids to eat healthy?

Have you ever asked someone out on a date?

Ever try to convince your spouse it’s time to buy a new car?

If you have, I’ll let you in on a little SECRET:

YOU ARE IN SALES.

Anyone trying to MAKE A CHANGE happen is in sales.

  • It’s the PHYSICIAN convincing their patient to start a new therapy.
  • It’s the TEACHER getting their students to READ more.
  • It’s the BACKUP QB asking his head coach to run a trick play in the SUPER BOWL.

Seth Godin wrote, “If you’re not trying to make things better, why are you here? So, you are SELLING something.”

The sooner you realize this reality, the easier your reality becomes.

Be Proud.

Say it loud….

“I AM IN SALES.”

Now go out there and change something for the better.

#YouToo

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

The Sweetest Thing

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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A woman in India had a son that ate way too much sugar.

No matter what she did or said, her son continued to eat sugar.

The mother was so upset that she decided to take her son on a trip to see his idol, Mahatma Gandhi, to ask for his help.

They traveled to see Gandhi.

They waited a day and half to get an audience with the leader.

When their turn came to speak, the mom walked up to Gandhi with her son at her side.

The women said, “Sir, my son eats too much sugar. It’s affecting his health, his teeth, his mood.  Every time he eats sugar I can see the change in him.  There is nothing I can do to stop him.  I am afraid that sugar will ruin his life.  Please tell him to stop eating sugar.”

Gandhi listened to the woman.

He looked at the boy, then paused.

Gandhi told the mother, “Go home and come back to me in two weeks time.”

The woman was perplexed.

She wondered why Gandhi did not tell her son to stop eating sugar.

The mom took the boy and traveled back home.

Two weeks later she returned, boy in hand.

The pair waited hours again for an audience.

When their time came, Gandhi motioned for them to come forward.

Gandhi looked directly at the boy and said, “Boy, stop eating sugar. It is not good for you.”

The boy nodded and promised he would not eat sugar any longer.

The mother was confused.

She turned to Gandhi and asked, “Dear Sir, Why didn’t you tell him that two weeks ago when I first brought him to see you?”

Gandhi smiled, “Mother, two weeks ago I was still eating sugar myself.”

CHANGE STARTS WITH YOU

Want something to CHANGE?

Change yourself first.

LEAD by example.

Live what you preach.

It’s the fastest way to build TRUST.

There is no better way to establish CREDIBILITY. 

Andy Warhol said, “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” 

Start with you.

Earning TRUST and having CREDIBILITY with your colleagues and customers is kind of like winning the SUPER BOWL.

Its…

#TheSweetestThing

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

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

 

 

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