A Long Strange Trip

A Long Strange Trip

“What a long strange trip it’s been.” – Jerry Garcia

Welcome to The Vibe!

The blog that refuses to get a haircut until this whole quarantine thing is over.

Each week we discuss ONE IDEA that will help you live a better life.

This week’s topic is A LONG STRANGE TRIP.

The Vibe:  A Long Strange Trip

Last week I was standing in the produce aisle.

I looked up and saw a man quickly walk into the market. 

He was wearing a camouflage jacket, camouflage baseball hat, gloves and a black bandana pulled up over his face.

My first thought was “active shooter”.

I was ready to dive behind the avocado table.

But then the man grabs a shopping basket.

He starts examining the blueberries.

All good.

No threat.

Just a guy buying blueberries while rocking out his version of pandemic gear.    

The past 70+ days have been A LONG STRANGE TRIP.

Restaurants shutting down. 

No graduations parties.

No baseball. 

No jiu jitsu class.

Drive-by birthdays.

And the final insult…

Washing off your groceries (I hate you Covid-19). 

Not fun.

To say this summer may be different is like saying the next Pope may be Catholic.

A friend asked me a question that really made me think.

“Do you want your post-lockdown life to look more like it did before or now?” 

At first, I thought my friend may have had a high fever.    

But when I thought about it, it was a real POWER QUESTION

The past few months were rough.

An invisible virus shut down the entire planet. 

Everyone’s life changed overnight. 

But a crazy experience like this can be an amazing teacher.

What do we need more of in our lives? 

What do we need less of? 

Ben Franklin, no stranger to uncertainty, wrote, “Those things that hurt, instruct.”  

Look back over the past 2 months.

What are you going to bring with you?  

We need to take more out of this experience than just The Ozarks and White Claw.

3 Things I Learned from A LONG STRANGE TRIP: 

Prepare the Night Before

I started the quarantine wasting a ton of time.

The lockdown blew up everyone’s routines.

I was unfocused.

Everyone was home. 

Distractions were everywhere.  

A few days in I stole an idea from Jocko Willink.

Jocko calls it PRE-STAGING.

I started preparing for the next day the night before. 

It sounds simple (it is) but it’s also amazingly effective. 

Each night I charged my MacBook Air, placed it on my desk and opened it to the project I was working on.

The book I planned to read was put on the table with my journal and highlighter next to it.

I scheduled the next day’s workout in my calendar.  

My son and I confirmed a time for our BJJ session.

PRE-STAGING sets the tone for the next day.

It also makes the next morning way more FOCUSED and PRODUCTIVE.

Long Walks Are Magic 

There’s a great quote by Nietzsche that’s says, “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.”

We never walked so much as family.  

Some were walks during sunset on way too chilly March nights.

Others were long, meandering walks through neighborhoods I never knew existed. 

Walking may be the closest thing to a magic pill.

It makes you feel better.

Walking makes you think better. 

The more we walk as a family, the more meaningful our conversations become.  

You get to hear what’s on everyone’s mind. 

You get to bounce ideas off each other. 

Long walks are here to stay. 

Work(out) from Home

It took a global pandemic to teach me that you don’t need to drive 20 minutes to the gym or yoga studio to get an awesome work out.

There are so many ass kicking workouts you can stream and rock out right at home. 

Saves time.

No traffic.

No parking problems.  

And you’re on no one’s schedule but your own.    

Namaste Covid-19 for shining the light on home workouts. 

Anthony Bourdain wrote, “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts…But that’s okay. The journey changes you. You take something with you.” 

A long journey can make you see the world differently.

We return home a different person. 

We just have to be open to the lesson. 

Keep traveling…

#ALongStrangeTrip

Joe Ciccarone

www.SalesVibe.Blog

Find Your Beach

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“Life takes you down many paths, but my favorite one leads to the beach.” – Anonymous

Welcome to The Vibe!

The blog that tries to make this quarantine more bearable in 500 words or less.

Each week we discuss ONE IDEA that will help you live a better life.

This week’s topic is how to FIND YOUR BEACH in the middle of a plague.

Good vibes only…

The Vibe:  Find Your Beach  

It’s starting to feel like we’re stuck in the middle of an endless snow day.

But we can’t play with our friends because the snow is contagious.

Spring Break felt more like 1918 than 2020.

We were putting on face masks instead of SPF.

The last few weeks have been like no other.

Stuck at home with no clear end in sight.

We could all use a long walk on a sunny beach.

Unfortunately BEACHES and PANDEMICS don’t play well together.  

With no beach time in sight for the foreseeable future, we are forced to get creative.

It’s like we’re in a real life Corona beer commercial – just trying to FIND OUR BEACH.

Maybe we could use a few extra moments to ourselves each day.

Or perhaps we’re looking for a better way to spend the crazy amount of family time we have now.

Here are 3.5 ways to FIND YOUR BEACH:

1) Get Combative

If you had to pick an activity the CDC would ban during an outbreak, it’s hard to beat Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Plagues mean no Jiu jitsu class.

You don’t realize how much you miss getting choked semi-conscious by your friends until you can’t do it anymore.

But as one door closes, another opens.

After years of talking about it, my son and I started training BJJ on the mats in our basement.

Family bonding (and rear naked chokes) at its best.

We have only one rule.

He is NOT allowed to submit me for at least the first year.

2) Go Back To The Future  

This lockdown has given us the chance to introduce our kids to the shows we loved back in the day.

One of them is “Band of Brothers”.

My all time favorite mini-series.

Based on Stephen E. Ambrose’s incredible book, it follows the members of Easy Company 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division from basic training, D-Day, and through some of the fiercest battles of WWII in Europe.

My wife and I watched this series during the Fall of 2001 in our apartment in Philly.

The series helped get our minds off of the chaos following 9/11.

Nineteen years later we are watching it again with our kids trying to get our minds off a plague.

History may not repeat itself, but it rhymes.

3) Be Like Churchill

During the Nazi Blitzkrieg, Winston Churchill started off his day reading to calm his mind.

Churchill said, “It has been a comfort to me in these anxious days to put a thousand years between my thoughts and the twentieth century.”

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

Reading just 20 minutes from an amazing book can bring a flash of insight that will help us be WISER and CALMER.

Looking for a great book?

Ryan Holiday puts out a killer monthly book list.

3.5) Up Before The Enemy 

Jocko WIllink says we have to be “Up Before the Enemy.” 

The “enemy” in this case is the rest of our house.

There is nothing like the early morning.

Getting up early creates space between you and the day ahead.

The time is all yours.

You are at your most creative.

At first, getting up early sucks, then once you create the HABIT you’ll never go back.

Own the morning, own the day.

These last few weeks were rough.

Our families, especially our kids, need the best version of us to show up each day.

So spend some time on your favorite beach today.

Even if it’s only in your mind.

Surfs up…

#FindYourBeach

Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

 

22 Paths

“I’m not saying that you have to be a reader to save your soul…I’m saying it helps.” – Walter Mosley

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The morning we spent together in Madison was a special one for me.

It was privilege to speak to such an impressive group of people.

I am grateful for the TRUST you gave me investing 2 hours of your time.

Below is a list of the source material that the Sales Vibe course is based.

I included a brief summary following each book.

They come from some of the BIGGEST thinkers out there.

These books are an opportunity,

It’s chance to steal some of the best IDEAS, TACTICS, and STRATEGIES that can help you rock out SALES and LIFE.

Here are 22 PATHS you can explore.

MINDSET

Meditations  by Marcus Aurelius. The most powerful person on earth writes notes to himself on how to be a better person .  Think about that for a second.

GRIT: The Power of Passion & Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. The secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence.  Duckworth shows why GRIT eats talent for breakfast.

The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need by Anthony Iannarino.  Iannarino writes “To succeed in sales you need three things: a Mindset, a Skillset, & a Toolset.”  Same goes for life.

Mindset:  The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.  This book made the term “mindset” hip.  Greatness is created, not born.

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.  Holiday distills ancient stoic wisdom into 1 actionable thought each day.  Holiday is the modern day Sun Tzu.

The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude by Jeffrey Gitomer.  Gitomer is the best sales trainer on the planet.  He also wrote one of the best books on how to create a winning attitude.

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin.  Willink spent two decades training & leading US Navy Seals in combat.  He shows how the lessons learned on the battlefield can be applied to the boardroom. #GetAfterIt

Secrets of Closing The Sale by Zig Ziglar. Ziglar is famous for saying “You will get all you want in life if you help enough people get what they want.” Written in 1985, it’s still one of the greatest sales books ever.

SKILLSET

The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn.  Tony Robbins was working as a janitor when he met Jim Rohn.  Rohn taught him these principles to lead an exceptional life. Gold.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.  Covey’s book is one of the top 10 read books on Amazon.  He boils the secrets of success down into 7 habits.

The Daily Stoic Journal: 366 Days of Writing and Reflection on the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday.  This is the follow up to Holiday’s Daily Stoic book.  This is one part journal, one part life lessons based on stoic philosophy.  It’s part of my daily routine.  

The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer.  This book is the best selling sales book of all time.  You can put Gitomer’s ideas in to action 30 seconds after you read them.

The Little Black Book of Connections by Jeffrey Gitomer.  Gitomer teaches how to connect, engage, and get invited back.  Hint:  “Start friendly, or don’t start at all.” 

Good To Great by Jim Collins.  “If you have more than 3 priorities, you don’t have any.”

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport.  Newport has been called the Marie Kondo of technology. Newport shows how technology is neither good nor bad. It’s our responsibility to control our screens, before they control us. This book shows how.

The Very Little But Very Powerful Book on Closing by Jeffrey Gitomer.  Gitomer shows you how to close sales that build relationships and create partnerships.  This short book also gives you some killer questions that will move the sales process forward.

The Lost Art of Closing by Anthony Iannarino.  A salesperson job is to ask for and obtain commitments. This book shows you how to be a closer.

TOOLSET

The Sales Bible by Jeffrey Gitomer. The Sales Bible is the most complete book on selling ever written.  Fantastic.

Power Questions by Andrew Sobel. I read books then give them away.  I kept this one and refer to it before BIG meetings.  It’s filled with killer questions.

This Is Marketing by Seth Godin.  A gamechanger on how to approach sales & marketing.  Godin shows you how to do work that matters for people who care.

Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. “Strength and growth come only through struggle and effort.”  Timeless wisdom.

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday“What stands in the way becomes the way.”  Struggling through something? This is your book.

Lists can be overwhelming.

Tame it by picking just one.

Then find one idea from that book that resonates with you.

Challenge yourself to put that idea into your daily routine.

Day by day.

Step by step.

That’s the formula.

Go…

#22Paths

-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

 

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

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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

 

Super Power

“Know thyself.”  -Socrates

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If you could have one SUPERPOWER, what would it be?

Growing up I wished I could read people’s minds.

Facebook cured me of that.

Now my superpower would be SELF AWARENESS.

Self awareness is magic.

Self awareness is:

  • Knowing your strengths.
  • Realizing your weaknesses.
  • Understanding how your actions affect others.

Self Awareness is more important than intelligence.

Early in my career, I struggled big time with self awareness.

I wanted to be a tax accountant.

I got a degree in accounting and a position in a CPA firm.

How do you say “bad idea” in Italian?

Family members, who never offered me advice ever, pulled me aside during parties and told me I was making a mistake.

They said accounting and me were not a good combination.

Did their opinions have something to do with my inability to sit still, not being great with math, and my habit of talking to anyone who entered the room?

It’s amazing what others see, but we can’t.

My lack of self awareness caused a number of job changes.

I moved through 3 different industries to find my career path.

Fun times…

Tony Robbins said, “Self awareness is one of the rarest of human commodities.  Very few people are aware of their own patterns.”

So true.

Self awareness dramatically improves your chances of succeeding in SALES.

How?

Selling is about INFLUENCE.

Influence starts with self awareness.

3 Ways to Increase Self Awareness:

1.  Video Yourself 

There’s a reason video is used by every professional sports team on the planet.  The tape does not lie.  Watching yourself give a sales presentation can make you uncomfortable, but gives amazing perspective.  It shows things you would never realize.  Once you see your errors, they are much easier to correct.

2. Imagine You are Being Recorded

This idea came from Jocko Willink.  Willink said just the thought of being recorded will affect your actions.  Imagine your actions, expressions, and words are being taped. Then imagine that video played back to your family & friends. Ouch…

3.  Seek Out Feedback

Find someone you respect.  Ask them to critique your game.  How do they think you’re doing?  What should you start doing?  What do you need to stop?  This one takes courage. Double that if you ask one of your customers.

Gary Vee said, “If you don’t have self awareness, then no matter how smart you are, you aren’t going to get very far.”

#KnowThySelf

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

 

Own It

“It ain’t the rain, the snow, the boss, the competition, the spouse, the money, the car, the job, or the kids – it’s you! And it always has been.” – Jeffrey Gitomer

The first person we have to lead is ourselves.

We have to own the outcome for all areas of our life.

This is called taking Extreme Ownership.

When we take Extreme Ownership, we change everything.

We no longer have our happiness dictated by circumstances.

We set the tone, not others.

But this mindset requires COURAGE.

Why?

Because when something goes wrong it’s on us.

There is no one else to BLAME.

Taking full responsibility can bruise your ego.

The BIGGEST threat to our own success is not some uncontrollable outside factor.

It’s our decision making process.

Don’t like the way things are going?

Change it.

Not where you want to be?

Adjust.

We may not be able to control what happens to us.

But we have 100% control on how we respond.

Once we figure this out, everything else becomes easier.

#OwnIt

-Joe Ciccarone

www.SalesVibe.net

 

Prioritize & Execute

“Make a list of everything you need to do.  Figure out your highest value activity.  Throw the rest of the list away.” – Warren Buffett

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Life gets hectic.

The urgent gets in the way of the important.

We miss opportunities to do our best work.

Daily fires burn up our chances to create an impact.

It’s time to push back.

It’s time to punch our TO DO list in the face.

How?

PRIORITIZE & EXECUTE.

Average sales people check off items on their TO DO list.

This gives them a false sense of accomplishment.

Elite sales performers:

  • Allocate their time to their highest VALUE activities.
  • Create IMPACT by focusing on what matters.
  • IGNORE distractions.

Most people have life happen to them.

It’s time to start happening to life.

Last week’s Vibe discussed the value of putting everything on paper.

This week we turn our TO DO list into a strategic game plan.

“Prioritize and Execute” is a core principle in Jocko Willink’s book “Extreme Ownership:  How US Navy SEALS Lead & Win“.

It goes like this…

You have to be RUTHLESS to the things that don’t matter.

You have to learn to DISAPPOINT the right people.

How to Prioritize & Execute:

  1. Write out your TO DO List
  2. Prioritize your list in order of importance.
  3. Create 2 lists:
    1. Your Top 3 TO DO items becomes List #1
    2. Anything on your list from #4 down becomes List #2
  4. Title List #1: Game Plan
  5. Title List #2: Do NOT DO List

You just decided where you’re going to focus your TIME & ENERGY. 

You also just decided who you’re going to disappoint.

Never fun, but necessary.

Focus and attack #1 on your GAME PLAN list.

Be relentless.

Decline, delegate, or delete everything on your Do NOT DO List.

This is simple, but not easy.

It takes courage to say “No”.

But hold the line.

You will be trading a few uncomfortable conversations for long term impact.

We dive head first into AVERAGE when we try to be all things to everyone.

You’re not here to be AVERAGE.

Someone is counting on you to be REMARKABLE.

Go…

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVobe.Net