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

 

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Drop the ‘F’ Bomb

“Starve your distractions, feed your focus.” – Unknown

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It was July 9th 1997.

Steve Jobs was leaving his “personal wilderness”.

This was the day Jobs returned to the company that fired him.

Jobs retook the role of Apple’s CEO.

It was a dark time for Apple.

The company was almost bankrupt.

Apple’s customer base (and Wall Street) were jumping ship.

Apple had lost its way.

The pressure was on Jobs to deliver.

What was Jobs’ FIRST MOVE as CEO?

Did he lay off 30% of Apple’s workforce?

Did he travel the country making promises to analysts?

Did Jobs try to sell the company?

None of the above.

Jobs first move was so SIMPLE that it shocked many inside and outside of Apple.

Jobs dropped the “F Bomb”.

He FOCUSED Apple.

Jobs stripped Apple down to only four core products.

Apple would discontinue everything else.

All of Apple’s resources would be FOCUSED on its best products.

Job’s said in an interview, “It means saying ‘No’ to the hundred other good ideas. You have to pick carefully…Innovation is saying ‘No’ to 1,000 things.”

Jobs gives us a powerful one-word SUCCESS STRATEGY:

FOCUS. 

He shows us a killer TACTIC to execute this strategy:

SAYING “NO”.

It means saying “No” to:

  • Low value meetings and conference calls.
  • Invitations to events with marginal friends that gobble up your time and money.
  • Being constantly distracted by social media.

Where there is no FOCUS, distraction reigns.

DISTRACTION has killed more careers than any recession ever could.

The irony is not lost that one of the universe denting products Job’s FOCUS strategy helped Apple create was the iPhone.

Which may be the greatest distraction device in human history.

But that’s a subject for another day.

Seth Godin wrote, “If it’s going to distract you from the work that truly matters, pass.”

Take pass on what’s no longer relevant.

Lean in to what really matters.

BLOW UP your distractions.

Dent your universe.

#DropTheFbomb

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

 

Act One

“The happiest people are the ones who make others happy.” – Anonymous

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Want more HAPPINESS in your life?

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project writes, “One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy.”

We are all busy.

But take the time today to do ONE random act of KINDNESS.

Hold the door for a stranger.

Compliment someone in public.

Let that car merge in front of you in traffic.

Over tip your barista.

When we make other people smile, life smiles back at us.

#ActOne

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Nearsighted

“Do not dwell on the past.  Do not dream of the future.  Concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha

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It easy to fall into the FUTURE TRAP.

“Here’s our 5-year plan…”

“This is what 2021 will look like…”

Just a quick reminder…

The future will bring us a thousand unexpected variables we can’t control.

That’s fine.

We can deal with them when they get here.

In the meantime…

Want this to be an AWESOME YEAR?

Focus on the PRESENT MOMENT.

Be fully engaged with WHAT and WHO is in front of you.

Seth Godin likes to say, “It’s not about what’s next, it’s about what’s now.”

Own the moment.

The future will follow.

#Nearsighted

-Joe Ciccarone

 

 

 

 

Commencement

“We rise by lifting others.” – Robert Ingersoll

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Graduating students from all over the country are walking down the aisle to receive their diplomas and begin the next chapter of their lives.

Before they throw their caps in the air, they are offered some last words of advice.

This comes in the form of a COMMENCEMENT speech.

Some COMMENCEMENT speeches are REMARKABLE.

Steve Jobs gave a legendary talkto the 2005 graduating class of Stanford.

Others, not so much.

The 2018 speakers ranged from Oprah Winfrey telling the USC graduates to “Live your best life. Keep your word. Get your hands dirty.”to Mad Money’s Jim Cramer telling Bucknell graduates that “It’s OK to fail, but it’s not OK to quit.” 

General James Mattis, the current Secretary of Defense, gave the commencement address to the 2018 graduates of the Air Force Academy.

The class got an unedited talk on the complicated world they enter as they defend our country.

General Mattis, known as the “Warrior Monk”, did what all GREAT LEADERS do.

He made his address about the cadets sitting right in front of him.

He focused his thoughts on the people he will now lead, not himself.

INSPIRE BY YOUR EXAMPLE

“Your example will be the thing that inspires others.”

Talk is cheap.

Your impact will be determined by what you do, not what you think.

Want to INSPIRE others?

Take ACTION.

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

“Learn to embrace and enjoy the beauty of the unexpected.”

Life is unpredictable.

Preparation is key.

But sometimes the best laid plans fall apart.

We have to develop the ability to think on our feet.

ATTITUDE IS YOUR ULTIMATE WEAPON

Your primary weapon system is your attitude.”

We are responsible for the energy we bring into each room we enter.

Our ATTITUDE will determine our ALTITUDE more than anything.

THE ULTIMATE BATTLE

General Mattis ended with a challenge to the future leaders sitting in front of him.

“You ultimately only have to win one battle, it’s the battle for your peoples’ respect. Once you win that battle, your people will win all the others.”

The people you lead expect you to have their back.

Your people expect you to be there when they need you most.

There’s no other place a true LEADER would rather be.

#Commencement

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

To Be or Not To Be?

“Remember your ‘To Do’ list but don’t forget your ‘To Be’ List.” – Richard Branson

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Monday Fun-Day…

Another week gets rolling.

Some of our “TO DO” lists are longer than a Springsteen concert setlist.

Before we sprint out the door, take a minute to think…

What’s missing?

Maybe we need to focus less on what we want ‘TO DO’ and more on who we need to BE.

Here are 12 things that may BE missing from your “TO DO” list:

430 years ago William Shakespeare asked, “To be or not to be?”

It’s an amazing quote.

It’s also a great philosophy to live your life.

#ToBeOrNotToBe

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

(Big Thank You to Seth Godin for the inspiration!)

 

Adversity, Knee Braces, & Attitude

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

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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)

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

 

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