The Next Step

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“Change starts when someone sees the next step.” – William Drayton

Anxiety mocks us.

Vivid images of our future demise play out inside our heads.

We play tense.

This tension keeps us from doing our best work.

Anxiety reloads.

How do you stop this cycle?

Take the NEXT STEP.

You don’t need to leap the entire staircase.

You just need the courage to take the NEXT STEP.

The NEXT STEP starts the process.

The NEXT STEP lays the foundation.

The NEXT STEP changes the momentum.

Anxiety is an IMAGINE DRAGON.

It’s a beast, only in our minds.

How do you slay a fake DRAGON?

One STEP at a time.

Your move.

Step, step, step…

#TheNextStep

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Write It Down

“I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.” —Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

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What do the following people have in common?

Besides changing the course of history, they all shared a common practice.

They kept a JOURNAL.

Journaling is a life changing habit.

When I first heard about journaling, I was sceptical.

I thought writing in a journal was something that people who wrote bad poetry did.

I was wrong.

Jim Rohn said, “If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured, and unique individual, keep a journal.”

There are a number of studies that show keeping a journal helps you better cope with STRESS and ANXIETY.

A journal will help you:

  • PRIORITIZE your day.
  • CLARIFY your thinking.
  • Stay ORGANIZED and FOCUSED.
  • Increase your CREATIVITY.

HOW TO JOURNAL:

FIND YOUR PLACE

You don’t need a vista.

You don’t need an ocean view or a Pottery Barn table.

Da Vinci wrote (in one of his journals), Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” 

Keep it simple.

Pick a spot where you can open up your blank notebook, feel comfortable and write down your thoughts.

GET YOUR TIMING WRITE

Start by allocating 10 minutes each day.

We are all busy.

But we all need time to THINK and REFLECT.

For many, there is a burst of creative energy that comes after a good night’s sleep.

For you NIGHT OWLS, there might be no better way to clear your mind than writing your thoughts down before bed.

Capture those ideas on paper.

WHAT TO WRITE?

The first step is the hardest.

Don’t let what to write be an OBSTACLE.

Here are some journal prompts to get you started:

  • What’s got my attention?
  • What made me happy today?
  • What surprised me?
  • What challenges am I facing?
  • What am I grateful for?
  • What excites me?
  • What scares me?
  • What did I learn today?
  • What great quote did I hear?
  • What people do I need to spend more time with?

NO FEAR

Write without fear.

Lose your inhibitions.

Don’t hold back.

Let your writing express how you really feel.

This journal is for you.

No one else.

THE BENEFITS

Journaling will help you enter each day with greater clarity.

Your actions will be more focused.

You’ll start to feel GRATITUDE for the little things.

2,000 years ago, the stoic philosopher Epictetus wrote, “Just as one person delights in improving their farm, so I delight in attending to my own improvement.” 

So…

What’s on your mind?

What’s keeping you up at night?

How can you make tomorrow better than today?

Do what some of the greatest minds in history have done…

#WriteItDown

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

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)

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

 

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

 

 

Cross The Gap

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

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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

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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 It Back

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn

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My house cleaning career was short lived.

I thought cleaning the house myself would be a great way to save some cash.

So I cancelled our cleaners.

Instead it was a great way to kill a beautiful Saturday and smell like Windex the rest of the day.

Fast forward a few weeks…

It was past 1am when I hit the “Send” button on Turbo Tax.

After spending hours trying to figure out if the day camp my kids went to 6 months earlier was deductible, I finally finished our tax return.

Painful.

Who in their right mind would ever go into accounting?

Oh, never mind…

But at least I saved money by not hiring a CPA, right?

Wrong.

Our time is so valuable.

Time vanishes faster than Chriss Angel at a pool in Vegas.

It seems like we never have enough to give to our favorite people and hobbies.

Steve Jobs said, “It’s really clear that the most precious resource we have is time. Your time is limited.  Don’t waste it.”

No one is going to give us more time.

We have to TAKE IT.

How?

BUY IT BACK.

Trading our TIME for MONEY is a bad deal.

I have been experimenting by flipping that trade around.

Now I trade MONEY for more TIME.  

I pay a CPA to do our taxes and hired cleaners to clean our house.

This trade off has been a game changer.

HIRE A SPECIALIST

We all have a specialty.

What’s yours?

Mine is SALES.  

I also have a 2 side hobbies:

  • Training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
  • Writing this weekly blog.

These are the places where I invest my time.

Everything else I hire out.

Hire out the grunt work, the complicated repairs, and jobs you have no interest doing:

  • Yard word.
  • House Cleaning.
  • Tax Prep.
  • Home repairs.

This has freed up an incredible amount of time so I can focus on my family, work & personal goals.

I found there’s an added bonus.

The specialists I hire do a way better job than I ever could.

KNOW THY SELF

Everyone is wired differently.

I know people that LOVE taking care of their lawn.

Yard work is where they find their ZEN.

It helps them RESET.  

I’m definitely not in that group, but understand.

If you love it, keep doing it.

But if you don’t, call in the specialist.

Time is disappearing.

Tick, tick, tick…

#TakeItBack

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SaleVibe.Net

 

 

 

Start It Up

“Being an entrepreneur is not about starting a business.  It’s a way of looking at the world.  See opportunity where others see obstacles. Take risks when others take refuge.” – Michael Bloomberg

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“Be your own boss!”

That’s the rage today.

Anyone who has seen Gary V roll through his day “crushing it” dreams of launching their own START UP.

You don’t have to live in Silicon Valley or flip houses to be an ENTREPRENEUR.

We are all START UPS.

We are the CEO’s of our CAREER.

The same skills that help an entrepreneur launch a START UP are needed to GROW your career and keep your work RELEVANT.

We have to bring an entrepreneurial mindset to our CAREER.

When I first got out of college I worked in a CPA firm.

That was my first “START UP”.

I was “out of business” in about a year.

But I learned a ton and moved on.

I took those lessons and changed course.

I did what every successful entrepreneur does when they FAIL:

  • Learn.
  • Adjust.
  • Try Again.

Like many entrepreneurs, I had a few lean years.

I tried and failed multiple times.

It wasn’t until my 6th START UP until I went PUBLIC.

CAREERS, like like START UPS, have to grow and evolve or they die.

Here are 5 WAYS TO START UP YOUR CAREER:

CONTROL YOUR TIME

Control your time or someone else will.

Never go into a day with an empty calendar.

An unplanned day leads to working on other people’s agendas.

One of the wealthiest entrepreneurs I know gave me this killer time management tip, “Throw away your “To Do” lists.  If something needs to get done, schedule it. Protect that schedule.”

CONTROL YOUR FINANCES

Create a monthly budget.

Give each dollar a job.

We are not in Congress.  We can’t spend more than we make.

Dave Ramsey sums it up best, “Debt is dumb.”

CREATE YOUR BOARD OF ADVISERS

No one wins alone.

Have a board of advisers.

Learn from who came before you.

Make original mistakes, not basic ones.

INVEST IN YOURSELF

The first START UP we need to invest in is ourselves.

The wealthiest people I know all have 1 thing in common, they never stop learning.

Take the seminar.

Read the book.

Grow or die.

TAKE RISKS

No risk, no nothing.

There comes a time when you have to LEAP.

When opportunity appears, take ACTION.

It doesn’t matter if you are a solo ENTREPRENEUR or part of a BIG organization.

There is enormous opportunity everywhere.

What will you START UP?

Up to you…

#StartItUp

-Joe Ciccarone

www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

 

 

It’s Your Turn

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” — Sun Tzu

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The jiu jitsu mat resembled a blue slip & slide.

It was 95 degrees outside, hotter inside.

I was testing for my purple belt.

After about 10 rounds I was pulled off the mat.

I tried to walk back on.

My instructor told me to sit down.

It had something to do with me not making sense when I tried to speak.

The scariest part was yet to come…

A few weeks later, I walked past my instructor.

He asked someone if they wanted to lead a weekly beginner’s class.

I looked behind me to see who he was speaking to.

Nobody was there.

What business did I have leading a BJJ class?

It didn’t matter what I thought.

It was MY TURN

Leading that class taught me an amazing lesson…

We need the COURAGE to LEAP when opportunity shows up.

We have to walk past our FEAR and JUMP towards what scares us.

To live our best life, we have to TAKE OUR TURN.

Fast forward a few months…

I’m at a SALES seminar.

The presenter challenged everyone in the room to START A BLOG.

He told us having the guts to WRITE SOMETHING and SHIP IT OUT for others to judge will make you better.

A few days later I wrote my 1st post.

I hesitated pushing that “Publish” button for the 1st time.

I was scared.

But it was time to run head first into my little FEAR.

Life is at its best when we TAKE OUR TURN.

3 Ways To Take Your Turn:

Choose Yourself

Don’t wait to be “selected”.

You don’t need anyone’s permission.

  • Write that blog.
  • Start that Youtube channel.
  • Put yourself out there for the world to judge.

Create White Space

Free up creative time each week.

Ryan Holliday wrote, “Cut out all the needless things that make you busy.”

“Busy” is a great place to hide from doing work that scares you.

CREATE something.  Share it with the world.

What project has been on your mind but scares you?

That’s the project you should be working on.

Get Uncomfortable

Putting yourself out there is scary.

People will judge you.  Some will laugh.

Good!

Seth Godin wrote, “Dance with your fear.  Seek out what triggers the resistance and makes you uncomfortable.”

Get comfortable being UNCOMFORTABLE.

Amazing things happen outside our comfort zone.

“The Resistance” tells me all the reasons I should not write this blog.

Every week I have to quiet those voices.

What fear will you overcome this week?

What opportunities will you SEIZE?

I’ll start by hitting this PUBLISH button.

#ItsYourTurn

-Joe Ciccarone

www.SalesVibe.net