Keep Showing Up

“Fortitudine Vincimus.  (By Endurance We Conquer).” – Ernest Shackleton, Arctic Explorer

IMG_1773.jpg

The year was 1999.

I started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ).

The BJJ academy I trained at was one of the first on the East Coast.

Many world class instructors and killer competitors got their start there.

The training was intense.

It was like nothing I ever done before.

Before each class, I packed the same 4 things:

  • GI
  • Mouthpiece
  • Head gear
  • Medical Insurance card

I had a notion that at some point it was going to be my turn to take the 2 block trip to the emergency room.

That trip finally came.  The ER doctor told me I needed chest x-rays.  But we’ll save that story for another day.

When I first started BJJ I was awful:

  • Choppy
  • Tense
  • Hesitant

To become proficient at BJJ you have to learn to deal with BIGGER, FASTER, STRONGER people smashing you into the ground.

I needed to grow both PHYSICALLY and MENTALLY.

It’s an ongoing process that continues to this day.

Training BJJ has taught me many life lessons. 

The BIGGEST of these lessons is this:

KEEP SHOWING UP.

Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of life is showing up.”

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a microcosm of life.

It’s a long, winding journey.

It’s process, not an event.

After a particularly frustrating training session, one of my training partners took me aside and shared this analogy.

He told me, “Training Jiu Jitsu is like creating a huge mosaic made up of thousands of tiny tiles.  Your job is to add one or two tiles to that mosaic each time you SHOW UP.”

This analogy is true for all aspects of our lives.

Accomplishing anything worth doing is going to take more time than you think.

You have to KEEP SHOWING UP to get it right.

It’s a journey that’s going to take you through PEAKS & VALLEYS.

There is no “hack”.

There is no easy fix.

Your CONSISTENCY and TENACITY are your secret weapons.

SLOW AND STEADY 

Don’t worry about not moving fast.

There are so many people that have progressed faster in their BJJ training than I have.

Guess what?

It doesn’t matter.

The race is only against yourself.

Confucius wrote, “It does not matter how slow you go, so long as you do not stop.”  

Focus on making slow, steady progress.

WHERE DO YOU NEED TO BE?

In life (and BJJ) SIGNING UP up is the easy part.

Doing the hard work is where the MAGIC happens.

So…

Who’s counting on you?

It’s time to SHOW UP.

Create something special.

You’ll be glad you did.

#KeepShowingUp

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

Advertisements

Adversity, Knee Braces, & Attitude

“If the road is easy, you’re likely going the wrong way.” Terry Goodkind 

adversidad.jpg

ADVERSITY enters our lives when we least expect it.

How we respond defines who we become.

While training in jiu jitsu, I heard a loud pop in my knee.

Yikes!

Not the background music I was hoping to listen to while training.

2 weeks later…

I’m standing next to an orthopedic surgeon.

He looked at the MRI and explained my injury –a full width tear of the ACL”.

Fun times.

A knee injury brings a level of adversity into your life.

I am firm believer that life is 10% what happens and 90% how we respond.

Jeffrey Benjamin said, Adversity always hides a gift.”  

Our job is to find it.

Here are 4 Gifts I learned by tearing my ACL:

STAY CALM

Fear thrives in adversity.

Expose yourself to enough stories of the worst possible outcome, and your mind will start to believe them.

One way to empty the fear out of our minds and fill it with positive vibes is to BREATHE.

As soon as I heard that “POP” behind my kneecap, I focused on my breathing:

  • Slow, deep breaths.
  • In my nose.
  • Out my mouth.

It’s amazing how FOCUSED BREATHING calms your mind.

Focused breathing is one of the true GIFTS I learned by training jiu jitsu and practicing yoga.

EMBRACE CHANGE

Take a page out of Charles Darwin’s play book.

Learn to ADAPT to your environment.

My energy comes from being active:

  • Playing sports with my kids.
  • Training jiu jitsu.
  • Traveling with my wife.

But with a knee as strong a Kardashian marriage, I needed to make adjustments.

I had to watch class instead of train.

To stay in shape, I had to trade my jiu jitsu Gi for the elliptical machine at LA Fitness.

There wasn’t a trade that bad since the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees.

But they served their purpose.

THE POWER OF COMMUNITY

Adversity puts fear in your head.

Speaking with friends who went through the same situation crushed that fear.

Discussing rehab options with a top physician & awesome PT’s created a game plan and built confidence.

Never underestimate the power of community.

KEEP MOVING FORWARD

Life moves on.

The world stops for no one.

An injured knee was not going to stop me from living my life.

A few days after I got hurt, I was scheduled to chaperone a Class Trip for my son’s 2nd grade class.

I bought my 1st knee brace ever and jumped (more like limped) onto the school bus.

It was an awesome day –  Kardashian knee and all.

Call it my Kirk Gibson moment.

Getting injured is AVERAGE.

Living life in the face of adversity feels REMARKABLE.

#FindTheGift

– Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

This article was originally published in June 2015 on http://www.JoeCiccarone.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Break Away

“My only requirement for life is that I don’t get stuck in a rut.” – Malin Ackerman

Break Away

It was time for a break:

  • No blogging.
  • No city traffic.
  • No hustling 5 people out the door by 7am.

Time to reset.

Time to BREAK AWAY.

We had an opportunity to take a vacation.

I booked our family’s first flight together.

Traveling with 3 young kids is no joke.

But it was time to roll the dice.

Time to create some memories.

The anticipation of a BIG event is sometimes better than the event itself.

Not this time.

“Best week of my life.” – our 8 year old said on the plane ride home.

BIG words from a little one.

  • We snorkeled over coral reefs.
  • Hiked in a rainforest.
  • Kayaked to an island where one of our kids’ favorite movies was filmed.

All accomplished while keeping a non-stop 3 year old entertained.

This family vacation taught me 3 life lessons:

When you have an opportunity to create a memory, seize it.

Memories just don’t happen.

They must be created.

Family vacations take:

  • Time.
  • Energy.
  • Cash.

All 3 can easily be allocated elsewhere in your life.

A new car or dining room set will NOT create the memories that walk with you through the rest of your life.

Creating special moments with your family will.

Shared experiences bond people together.  

Hiking over a narrow bridge 100 feet above a valley (while carrying your chatty 3 year old) bonds a family together.

There’s a special closeness that forms when you experience uncommon situations together.

The more experiences shared, the closer the bond.

Sometimes you have to dive in head first.

There was a moment when I came face to face with a childhood fear.

I never fully conquered my phobia of swimming in the ocean.

Double that fear when snorkeling.

Watching Jaws a dozen times as a child probably did not help.

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat…”

I have no problem jumping on the jiu jitsu mat with a 25 year old looking to choke me unconscious.

But putting on snorkel gear has me focusing on my breathing.

This trip brought me face to face with a snorkel swim that checked every box on my phobia checklist.

Yikes…

It was time to PUNCH fear in the face.

My 8 year old son and I put on our snorkel gear.

We looked down over a coral reef.

And…

Dove in.

Getting caught in a rut is AVERAGE.

Diving into life head first feels REMARKABLE.

#BreakAway

– Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

(This post was originally published April 2015 on http://www.JoeCiccarone.com)

Enough

“All we got is all we need.” – Malcolm Jenkins, NFL Safety

enough.jpg

Kurt Vonnegut told a story about when he and author Joseph Heller were at a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island in NY.

The guests were mingling outside on the billionaire’s waterfront property.

The owner’s yacht was docked out front.

The property had a helipad.

Vonnegut said to Heller, “Joe, how does it make you feel to know that our host only yesterday may have made more money than your novel ‘Catch-22’ has earned in its entire history?”

Heller paused then said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”

Vonnegut, looking a bit confused says, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”

Heller replied, “Enough.”

WHAT’S ENOUGH?

Each of us has to decide on our own version of ENOUGH.

It’s a personal decision.

This decision will ultimately decide the amount of HAPPINESS we get out of life.

Trying to keep up with the lifestyles and possessions of others is a great way to live a miserable life.

That version of ENOUGH is like running on a hamster wheel.

We never get there.

There will always seem like something is missing.

The happiest people I know base their ENOUGH on 3 things:

  • Quality people.
  • Long term relationships.
  • Doing work that matters.

What’s your version of ENOUGH?

Find that and watch your best life unfold.

#Enough

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

Be Happy

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

happy4.jpeg

What’s THE SECRET to happiness?

I had no idea.

That was until an amazing little gift changed my perspective.

Now I pay attention to what makes me happy on a DAILY BASIS.

My wife, who I’m not permitted to mention by name (but will say she is an amazing blog editor) bought me one of my favorite presents for our last anniversary.

It’s called the The Happiness Project: One Sentence Journal.

The journal is based on a great book by Gretchen Rubin. 

happyjournal.jpg

It asks you to WRITE ONE SENTENCE on what made you happy that day.

  • That’s 7 happy thoughts each week.
  • 30 happy moments each month.
  • 365 happy memories each year.

You will have 1,826 moments written down that made you HAPPY at the the end of this 5 YEAR PROJECT,

To quote a line from the Lord of the Flies, “The greatest ideas are the simplest.”

I’ve brought this journal to every SALES MEETING and family vacation for 2 years.

My HAPPINESS PROJECT has traveled with me to California, New York City, and many stops in between.

The journal has visited more Jersey beach towns than Snookie.

One of my favorite things is looking back to what made me happy exactly 1 year to the day.

Studying your past is a great way to CREATE YOUR FUTURE.

So, what has this project taught me about HAPPINESS?

WRITING HAS POWER

Writing one sentence daily can keep GREAT MEMORIES alive.

It’s pretty awesome to have all your best memories captured in one place.

Like the old saying goes, “A sentence is worth a 1,000 words.”

Happiness starts with GRATITUDE.

Gratitude crushes rough days.

It’s hard to go to bed in a bad mood when you write down HAPPY MOMENTS that you were lucky enough to be part of.

PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION

Happiness is about MAKING PROGRESS, not everything being perfect.

We have to focus on our gains, not on the things that went wrong that day.

From helping a new customer treat their 1st patient to learning a new technique on the jiu jitsu mat – HAPPINESS is all about progress.

TAKE CHARGE

We’re in charge of our own happiness.

If you don’t like something, CHANGE IT.

If you can’t change it, change THE WAY YOU THINK about it.

Don’t wait for someone else to make you happy.

That almost never happens, except in John Hughes movies.

Helen Keller wrote, “Happiness is not out there, it is in us.”

Happiness is the ultimate INSIDE JOB.  

It’s hidden in plain sight.

Our job is to notice it.

And maybe even WRITE IT DOWN.

#BeHappy

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

Right Now 

“The present moment is all you ever have.” – Eckhart Tolle

All weeks are not created equal.

Last week I had 2 CHALLENGES to face:

  • A 2 day test for work.
  • A belt promotion in Jiu Jitsu.

They were separated by 48 hours and 1,200 miles.

The 1st took place halfway across the country.

The 2nd happened on the other side of my comfort zone.

This is the type of week that would have gotten inside my head a few years ago.

I would think of all the things that could go wrong.

Seth Godin wrote, “Tell yourself enough stories of your impending doom and you start to believe it.”

To win this week, I knew I had to win the MOMENT.

To succeed in LIFE we have to give ourselves a GIFT

THE PRESENT MOMENT.

Eckhart Tolle wrote, “The present moment is the only thing that matters.”

The toughest battles are the ones we fight inside our our own mind.

Under PRESSURE, our minds wander.

We think of all the bad things that can happen.

Our minds project failure.

Lucky for us 80% of what we worry about never happens.

The PRESENT MOMENT is all we will ever have.

How to Live To In The Present Moment:

BE IGNORANT

We have to free up time to FOCUS on our important work.

We have to learn what to ignore.

I go on AIRPLANE MODE:

  • No email.
  • No news.
  • No social media.

This alone is a game changer.

GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD

To BE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT, we have to get out of our heads and into our bodies.

  • Go for an early AM run.
  • Go for a power walk between meetings.
  • Get on the mat and get choked.

It’s amazing how exercising our body focuses us in the PRESENT MOMENT. 

Or as Jocko Willink says, “Get to the gym.”

BREATH

Focused Breathing helps us live in the PRESENT MOMENT. 

Breathing can be done anywhere.

Breathing 101:

  • Breath in your nose.
  • Out your mouth.
  • Deep breaths.
  • Repeat.

THE ART OF LIFE

Emmett Fax wrote, “The art of life is to live in the present moment.”

There is a CHALLENGE waiting for you.

How you respond in the PRESENT MOMENT will determine everything.

We have no more chances to do yesterday over.

The future is a mystery.

The best place to take on life is…

#RightNow

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

Cross The Gap

“If you want something you’ve never had, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done.” – JD Houston

images.jpg

Sales & Jiu Jitsu have alot in common.

Both are humbling.

Each take decades to master.

Both have consequences when you underperform:

  • Make a mistake in SALES, you lose a customer.
  • Make a mistake in JIU JITSU, you lose consciousness.

The best practitioners in both fields feel a constant TENSION.

It’s a tension created by the GAP between where their SKILLS currently are and who they want to become.

Crossing this GAP takes time and a ton of work.

Early in my SALES career my skills were pretty awful.

My phone skills were so poor that prospects would actually offer me free coaching advice before they hung up.

Me: “Mr Prospect – Blah…Blah…Blah…”

Prospect:  “Hey buddy – You need to relax & slow down, or no one is going to buy anything from you.  Click.”

At least he did not leave me hanging.

There comes a time when we have to decide if we are going to remain just another face in the crowd or make an IMPACT.

We have to decide if we are going to CROSS THE GAP.

HOW TO CROSS THE GAP:

OPEN YOUR MIND

The best in any field are constantly EVOLVING.

They keep experimenting.

They actively search out NEW IDEAS. 

Ray Dalio wrote, “We have to be radically open minded to see what’s missing.”

ASK FOR FEEDBACK

Don’t wait for your performance review.

Make feedback a constant force in your life.

Feedback may bruise your EGO but will open your eyes.

It will keep you in touch with REALITY.

Elon Musk said, “It’s important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.”

Feedback is a gift.

Embrace it.

PRIORITIZE & EXECUTE

Jocko Willink wrote, “Stop spinning. Prioritize and Execute. Pick the highest impact idea and do it.”

MAKE IT ROUTINE

Put your top priority into your schedule.

Work on it 30 minutes each day.

You will be amazed how much progress you make in a month.

JOIN THE COMMUNITY

We become our peer group.

Want to get better at Jiu Jitsu? Join an academy.

Want to get better at SALES?  Attend a sales conference.

Proximity is power.

DO THE WORK

Inspiration is for amateurs.

Professionals DO THE WORK.

  • How do you get rid of writer’s block? Start writing.
  • How do you get out of a sales slump?  Make a sale.
  • How do you get better at Jiu Jitsu?  Train.

Hard work creates luck.

DECIDE

Where are the GAPS in your life?

What part of your life is AVERAGE that you know could be REMARKABLE?

It may be time to LEAP.

#CrossTheGap

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

Just Start

“An object at rest stays at rest. An object in motion remains in motion.” – Newton’s 1st Law of Physics

action.jpg

The worst part was not being able to TRAIN Jiu Jitsu for a full year.

Watching the students roll on the mat while I sat in a FULL KNEE BRACE was rough.

But the toughest part was yet to come.

I got the green light from my surgeon and PT to step on the mat again.

Then the MIND GAMES started:

  • Was my knee really fully healed?
  • What if I get hurt again?
  • These new guys are really BIG!

FEAR, DOUBT, & INSECURITY all showed up at the same time.

Good times.

These same emotions can also wreak havoc in our work.

They can hold us back when:

  • We don’t visit that ANGRY CUSTOMER because we think we have no value to offer.
  • We’re afraid to ASK FOR THE SALE after we served a customer well.
  • We don’t CHANGE CAREERS because we think we will fail.

We can’t make our emotions go away.

But we can make the room UNCOMFORTABLE when they show up.

Nothing crushes negative thoughts like ACTION.

When negative thoughts cause inaction, we have to learn to JUST START:

MAKE THE FIRST MOVE

The FIRST MOVE is the hardest.

It breaks our ENERTIA. 

When I stepped on the mat for the 1st time, it was a HUGE mental victory.

Confidence, that was barely present the day before, started to build.

Doing creates options.

Gary Vee likes to say, “It’s time to stop talking and START doing.”

It seems the universe rewards those who have the COURAGE to JUST START.  

FOCUS ON THE NEXT STEP

Thinking of the entire process is daunting.

I was only focused on who was next to me on the mat, not every challenge that lie ahead.

Many people PROCRASTINATE because they think they need to know all the steps.

Not true.

We just need to know the NEXT STEP.

We can ADJUST as we go.

PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION

PERFECT is a lie.

Progress is our goal.

Forget PERFECTION.

Focus on shrinking the gap between where you are where you want to go.

CREATE DEADLINES

We need deadlines.

I have a deadline for my weekly blog.

7am each Monday I hit the “Publish” button on my blog.

Ready or Not.

It forces me to send my work out into the world.

1 published BLOG post is worth 5 that I am working on.

JUST DO IT

Nothing CRUSHES FEAR like doing what scares you.

From hitting the “Publish” button, to stepping on the Jiu Jitsu mat, nothing tells fear who’s in charge more than taking ACTION.

What project do you want to BEGIN?

What OBSTACLE do you want to take on?

START something BIG.

It may lead you to someplace great…

#JustStart 

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take The Plunge

“You have two choices, control your mind or let your mind control you.” – Paulo Coelho

coldsplash.jpeg

There is a scene in the documentary “I Am Not Your Guru” where Tony Robbins jumps into a 57° plunge pool immediately after waking up.

Brrrr…

Robbins TAKES THE PLUNGE every morning to tell his mind that he is in charge of the day.

PROFESSIONALS get up and go to work.

AMATEURS wait to be in the mood.

Our brains are hardwired to keep us SAFE and COMFORTABLE.

They are not concerned about our SUCCESS.  

When our brain spots a PERCEIVED threat, it tells us to go in the other direction.

This worked great 10,000 years ago when we were being chased by saber-tooth tigers.

Not so much when this same FEAR crushes our present day CREATIVITY.  

Our minds will try to convince us not to:

  • Wake up EARLY.
  • WRITE that blog post.
  • Make that UNCOMFORTABLE sales call.

We can’t let our MOOD decide if we will execute or not.

There are ways we can PRIME ourselves to do the work that our minds are trying to keep us from doing.

4 WAYS TO TAKE THE PLUNGE:

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COLD

Want to create your mood the moment you wake up?

Cold shower.

Standing in a cold shower for 30 seconds is an incredibly effective way to tell your mind who’s in charge.

CREATE ROUTINES

Before each Jiu Jitsu class, I head to the pull up bar in the back of the academy.

I do a set of 10 pull ups.

This routine tells my BODY & MIND that it is time to train.

No matter what thoughts are bouncing around in my brain when I walk in, after I hit pull up #10,  I am totally focused on training.

FOCUS ON THE OUTCOME

Muhammad Ali said, “I hated every minute of training, but I loved being CHAMPION.”

For me, writing consistently is a struggle but I love having a WEEKLY BLOG.

I focus on how I will feel after I hit the PUBLISH button.

SCHEDULE & PROTECT

Each of us need to use some sort of calendar.

  • SCHEDULE what’s important.
  • PROTECT what we schedule.

If we don’t, life will eat our time for breakfast.

Robbins says, “When you train yourself to do it anyway, you will have a freedom that few people will ever find.”

There will always be things we HAVE TO DO that we don’t WANT TO DO.

Free yourself by taking MOOD out of the equation.

How will you tell your mind that YOU ARE IN CHARGE?  

Feel the fear.

Do it anyway.

#TakeThePlunge

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

 

 

 

Get Uncomfortable

“Get comfortable being uncomfortable.  That’s how you break the plateau and reach the next level.” – Chalene Johnson

nocomfort.png

How do you get to the next level?  

A mentor of mine told me I needed to become UNCOMFORTABLE

He said, “What do you think about that makes you uncomfortable?  That’s the project you should be working on.”

What makes me uncomfortable? 

Beside “Italian” chain restaurants, it’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and writing a weekly blog.   

That’s why I train as much Jiu Jitsu as possible and publish a blog every Monday morning. 

It’s called the Sales Vibe.

Sales Vibe explores tactics and strategies that help you succeed in SALES & LIFE.

You can read the Sales Vibe by going to www.SalesVibe.net. 

#GetUncomfortable

-Joe Ciccarone