Who’s In Your 5?

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

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One of the great things about living in Philly is how close you are to the beach.

You can go from the Liberty Bell to the ocean faster than you can watch Rocky 3 for the 10th time.

“My Prediction?…Pain.”

During our last trip, I went in the ocean with my kids.

After a few minutes I turned around.

We were 25 yards from where we walked in.

An undercurrent pushed us down the coast without us even realizing.

This concept plays out in our everyday life.

There is a POWERFUL force that either pushes us forward or pulls us back.

It’s the people in our lives.

Who we spend time with INFLUENCES who we become.

There is a great quote from Goethe that says, “Tell me who you spend time with and I will tell you who you are.”

Each person we allow into our life influences us in some way.

We start to:

  • EAT what they eat.
  • DRINK what they drink.
  • READ what they read.
  • SPEAK like they speak.
  • THINK like they think.

Eventually, we start to do what they do.

To have a remarkable life, you have to surround yourself with REMARKABLE people.

Ryan Holiday wrote, “The people we surround ourselves with set the baseline for what we think is possible.”

We have to keep the right people in (and out) of our lives.

This is not always easy.

But it’s necessary.

Jim Rohn taught that we have to EVALUATE and SHIFT our associations into 3 categories:

  • Expand
  • Limit
  • Walk Away

Expand, Limit, or Walk Away

EXPAND

There are certain people that make us BETTER.   

They CHALLENGE us and bring out our best.

They PUSH us forward.

Our job is to find ways to EXPAND the time we spend with them.

Where do the people you admire hang out?

Join those organizations.

Find ways to spend more time in those communities.

LIMIT

Some people drag us down.

We need to LIMIT our interactions with them.

Maybe we can spend 5 minutes together, but definitely not 5 hours.

This idea can be tough.

This person may be a coworker or even in our extended family.

Regardless, we need to LIMIT our time with NEGATIVE influences.

WALK AWAY

There may be times when we need to WALK AWAY from people all together.

Can you think of a person that kills your ENTHUSIASM each time you see them?

You may have to cut them out of your life.

We can’t allow another person’s NEGATIVE ENERGY have a profound affect on our life.

No one knows what challenges lie ahead.

Being surrounded by positive influences is a great place to start.

#Who’sInYour5?

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

The Best Investment

“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”― Warren Buffett

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Be Bullish

INVESTING means different things to different people.

For some, it means the stock market.

For others, its real estate.

There is one INVESTMENT that gets overlooked.

This investment generates the highest RETURNS and has the least amount of RISK:

  • YOU

When I started in SALES I knew I had to level up or I wasn’t going to last long.

So I started attending SALES seminars.

The first one I attended was a game changer.

The conference had amazing speakers:

It was awesome.

But an author named Brian Tracy was the one who changed my MINDSET.

Tracy told the group that the THE BEST INVESTMENT a person could make is in THEMSELVES.

He challenged the audience to invest a portion of their annual income on their continuing education & personal development.

Tracy said INVESTING IN YOURSELF would return exponentially more than any stock or real estate holding ever could.

The 20 something version of me was SOLD. 

It’s a PHILOSOPHY I live by to this day.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR BEST INVESTMENT: 

INVEST IN YOUR CAREER

Jim Rohn said, “Income seldom exceeds personal development.”

In every field there are THOUGHT LEADERS. 

There were REMARKABLE people that came before us.

They established best practices.

Our goal is to make original mistakes, not the same ones they did:

This INVESTMENT alone will separate you from the masses.

INVEST IN YOUR HEALTH

Thomas Sowell wrote, “There are no decisions, only trade offs.”

One thing we don’t want to trade for anything is our HEALTH.

No amount of money or recognition is worth it.

We have to INVEST a portion of each day to:

  • Exercise.
  • Healthy Eating.
  • Good Sleep.

We all have the same amount of time.

We just have to decide that being HEALTHY is a PRIORITY.

INVEST IN A HOBBY

Nothing centers us and clears our mind like a fulfilling hobby.

For me, its Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

BJJ delivers an unbelievable workout.

It keeps me humble and focused.

Jiu Jitsu has introduced me to an amazing group of people.

It even gave me a new ACL.

Like Robert Arnott said, “Investing in what is comfortable is rarely profitable.”

Find a hobby you love.

It will pay lifetime DIVIDENDS.

INVEST IN RELATIONSHIPS

With the exception of just one person, the entire world is about everyone else.

Make it a priority to invest the TIME and ENERGY into the special people in your life.

BE BULLISH

There are times when we need to HEDGE our bets.

Investing in yourself is NOT one of them.

Time to go all in…

#InvestInYou

-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

 

Selling Is A State Of Mind

“The only difference between a rut and a grave is depth and distance.” ~ John Maxwell

 

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Salespeople are behind the eight ball from the very beginning of their career.

They have dug a hole and don’t even realize it.

Salespeople pride themselves on being professional, and society requires initials.

In today’s society, “professionals” are identified with initials behind their name: DDS, RN, NP, JD, MD, MPH, CPA, CMP, OD, DO and many more.

Virtually every person in a physician’s office is also loaded with initials credentialing their education, professional status and legitimacy to be called “a professional”.

Many of these people with initials in their name, are required to take continuing education courses each year, to maintain their stature or licensure as “professional”.

Not salespeople.

Many salespeople attend a 1-2 week long training course and may take a couple quizzes from the company hiring them, and manufacturing the product they are about to sell.

These salespeople may be among the highest paid people in a lawyer or physician’s office, with no requirement for CEC (continuing education credit).

Society may treat salespeople like a label.

They weren’t smart enough to get into medical, pharmacy, optometry, dental or law school.

Since they are not professionals, they settled for sales.

They are like a brother-in-law, who is unemployed or spends most of his time on the couch, claiming to be a professional.

“Professional” in the sales world is a state of mind – the customer’s mind.

Salespeople aim to be perceived and received as “professional” and yet society, doesn’t’ really recognize selling as professional.

Salespeople are already in a hole.

“Wanna be a Better Salesperson – be a better Person.” ~ Jim Trunick

Professional sales people have to be incredibly:

  • Trustworthy
  • Patient
  • Sensitive
  • Hard-working
  • Dedicated

A “professional” salesperson has to rise to the level of ‘professional’ expected in society.

We all know “professionals” who act unprofessionally.

In yesteryear, when professionals with higher education, knew more, it was everyone in society hanging on every word or action of intellectual professionals, to guide their lives.

Today knowledge is so prevalent, that all professionals are in the persuasion game.

All professionals are selling:

  • Teachers sell kids on the value of homework.
  • Parents sell kids on the value of spinach.
  • Brokers sell clients on value of stocks.
  • Physicians sell patients on compliance of medications.

That requires professional conduct even more that professional letters.

In fact, any professional of letters, asked to describe their biggest challenge, or what keeps them up at night, its not their knowledge or studies, they almost always lead with – “getting people to do what they expect”.

We all sell.

Those members of society believing initials somehow separate professionals from non-professionals, are misguided in the emotional intelligence that goes along with influence, persuasion, caring and engagement.

Care More Win More.

Selling is a State of Mind.

– Jim Trunick

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Author, The CORE of Leadership

https://jimtrunick.com/

Take The Plunge

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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

Know When to Fold’em

“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, Know when to fold ’em, Know when to walk away, And know when to run.” – Kenny Rogers, The Gambler 

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Early in my SALES career I was looking to start a side business.

I did some research.

Somehow I landed on the idea of trading stock options.

I know…

I attended multiple weekend long seminars.

I even bought special software that was supposed to help me find the right stocks to trade.

But the more time I INVESTED, the less it felt right.

Thousands dollars and dozens of hours were sunk into my new options “business”.

What should I do?

Keep going?

Fight through the doubt?

Winners never quit, right?

Fast forward to 2015…

I hear and feel a LOUD pop in my knee while training Jiu Jitsu.

Always fun…

A few weeks later I’m standing in front of an orthopedic surgeon.

He tells me I need my knee reconstructed.

Was it time to RETIRE my GI?

Maybe time to buy my first pair of salmon colored pants and start golfing?

These 2 scenarios raise a Timeless question:

When should we QUIT?

When should we KEEP GOING?

Seth Godin writes in The Dip, “Winners quit all the time.  They just quit the right stuff at the right time.”

Motivational quotes like “Winners never quit. Quitters never win.” can be hazardous to your wallet.

This is FAKE NEWS.

New projects we take on START the same:

  • Excitement when we begin.
  • Then it gets hard.
  • We have to decide to keep going or quit.

This plays out from our New Year’s Resolutions to starting a new SALES position.

Every project has a BIG fat MIDDLE that is not fun.

We have to figure out if that JOURNEY is worth taking.

3 Questions – Hold’em or Fold’em?:

DO YOU STILL BELIEVE?

What is your gut telling you?

Do you still believe in what you’re doing?

The first person we have to convince is ourselves.

WHAT ARE YOU MISSING?

When we say “Yes” to something, we are saying “No” to something else.

Everytime I train Jiu Jitsu or write this blog, I am saying no to something. (Especially teeing off wearing those salmon pants…)

And I am OK with that tradeoff.

IS IT TIME TO CHANGE DIRECTION?

Knowing when to pivot is a true sign of a professional.

There may be a better use of your TIME and TALENT.  

John Wooden said, “Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.”

Changing course may not be a failure.  It can be a step towards something better.

After asking myself these 3 questions, I knew:

  • It was time to RETIRE as a stock trader.
  • Jiu Jitsu and I were just GETTING STARTED.

Know when to HOLD’EM.

Know when to FOLD’EM.

#TheGamble

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

 

 

The Secret Ingredient

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from their point of view – until you climb into their skin and walk around in it.” – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

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My grand mom was a KILLER cook.

Her chicken cutlets were incredible.

The cutlets were so good, they caused arguments before Sunday dinners.

A constant stream of cousins would walk by and grab the cutlets as they came off the frying pan.

Everyone would downplay how many they swiped.

There would be none left to put on the table.

This cutlet heist played out over decades.

The early bird gets the cutlet…

One day I asked my my grand mom to teach me how to make them.

My version was average at best.

The cutlets all made it to the table.

Something was missing.

Years later I learned I forgot her “secret ingredient” that tied everything together.

The art of COOKING & SALES share the same principles.

Leaving out 1 ingredient can separate AVERAGE from REMARKABLE.

In SALES, that secret ingredient is EMPATHY.

Empathy is defined as the ability to step into someone else’s shoes & experience emotions from their perspective.

In his new book, Sales EQ, Jeb Blount writes, “Empathy is the most important of all the Sales Emotional Intelligence traits.”

The BIGGEST communication problem in SALES is we tend to listen to reply, not understand.

This habit can crush opportunities and destroy relationships.

Your EMPATHY must precede your advice.

If your customer doesn’t feel you UNDERSTAND them, you have zero chance of INFLUENCING them.

People like to think they’re special.  This mindset carries over to their perceived problems.

It doesn’t matter how simple the customer’s problem is to fix.

It doesn’t matter how amazing your solution is.

Your solutions (and sales) will go unheard if your customers don’t feel you understand them.

3 Ways To Bring More Empathy to Your Sales Game:

Never Interrupt or Correct

  • Give your customer your full attention.
  • Listen.  Then listen some more.
  • Let them say everything they need to say.

ReState Their Position Back to Them

  • After they finish speaking, say, “If I hear you correctly, you feel that…”
  • Then list each of their points back to them 1 by 1.
  • This will make your customer feel heard.
  • This will make them receptive to what you have to say.

Show How Your Can Help

  • Only after you do the above, offer your ideas.
  • Be Concise.
  • Be Relevant.

Empathy is a key ingredient for success in SALES and LIFE.

Empathy will increase your influence.

Empathy will help you close the sales that feed your family.

Will that food make it to the table?

Depends who’s cooking…

#LeadWithEmpathy

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

The Enemy Within

“We have met the enemy and it is us.” – Walt Kelly

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I was training Jiu Jitsu with a less experienced partner.

I fooled myself into believing I was better than I really was.

My “less experienced” partner caught me in an arm bar.

Instead of tapping, I tried to fight my way out.

My EGO refused to be submitted.

Big mistake.

I did tap, after I heard something pop in my elbow.

Not fun.

Lesson learned the hard way.

Our worst enemy lives inside our mind.

Our EGO.

Ego is:

  • the false story of our own greatness.
  • the unhealthy belief in our own importance.
  • thinking we are better than we really are.

Ego is arrogance and entitlement.

“The first principle” Richard Feyman wrote, “is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.”

It’s the polar opposite of CONFIDENCE.

Confidence is earned.

Ego is not.

Ego is the Enemy within each of us.

Ego has caused BIG crashes everywhere from politics, to sales deals gone bad, to personal relationships.

Nothing will hurt you faster than your own ego.

3 Ways to Keep Your EGO in Check:

Have a Student Mindset

Commit to something hard.

Train Jiu Jitsu.

Take up a musical instrument.

Do something that exposes the massive amounts of skills you do NOT currently possess.

It’s hard to have a huge ego when you are getting smashed on the mat or can’t play Jingle Bells.

Ho, Ho, Ho…

Get Natural

Walk by the ocean.

Look up at the stars.  Get lost in the mountains.

Nature has a way of keeping people grounded.

Know Your History

Look at history.

Chester Arthur, Marcus Aurelius, & Genghis Khan were 3 of the most powerful and famous people on earth.

Now they’re not.

We all do important work.

Value the work you do but stay humble.

There is a sign that hangs over the entrance to our Jiu Jitsu academy.

It’s both a welcome & a warning.

The sign reads,

“Please leave your EGO and SHOES at the door.  Enter with a Beginner’s Mind.”

This is a fantastic mindset to bring on the mat.

It’s even better to bring into your life.

#EgoIsTheEnemy

-Joe Ciccarone

www.SalesVibe.net

Cutting Edge

“If I had 6 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first 4 hours sharpening the ax.” – Abraham Lincoln

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It happens slowly, but realized suddenly.

It’s the salesperson who has not READ a book since college.

It’s the physician who doesn’t take time to EXERCISE.

It’s the retiree who lost their ENTHUSIASM for living.

Drift happens.

Skills dull.

Bodies become soft.

Attitudes get stale.

Our MINDSET can become more dated than our crazy Uncle Pete’s wardrobe.

To stay RELEVANT, we have to keep our BODY, MINDS, & SPIRIT sharp.

This week we conclude a series on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Habit #7:  Sharpen the Saw.

Sharpening the Saw means you make it a PRIORITY to keep your:

  • MIND sharp.
  • BODY strong.
  • SPIRT unbreakable.

Sharpening the Saw is the M.V.H. – Most Valuable Habit.

Why?

It makes the other 6 habits possible.

There is no way we can be proactive, think win win, understand others, and synergize if our bodies & minds are dull.

Sharpening the Saw keeps you effective.

Sharpening the Saw keeps you RELEVANT.

To make this habit a reality, you literally have to make it a habit.

3 Ways To Sharpen The Saw:

 1) Get Moving (Body)

  • Find an activity you LOVE.
  • Walk, hot yoga, spin, or Jiu Jitsu your way into motion.
  • Schedule that activity 3-4x into your week.
  • Protect your schedule.

2) Learn 1 New Thing Every Day (Mind):

  • Read from an inspiring  non-fiction book for 10 minutes each morning.
  • Write the best idea you discovered in a journal.
  • That journal may become one of your most prized possessions.

3) Show Gratitude (Spirit):

  • Take 2 minutes before bed to reflect on your day.
  • Write 1 thing you are grateful for in your journal.
  • Be as specific as possible.

In his killer new book, “Tools of Titans”, Tim Ferris interviews billionaires, icons, & world-class performers.

Ferris deconstructs their habits, routines, and best practices for the average person to benefit.

One common thread running through each of their stories is their continual commitment to keeping their minds & bodies sharp.

They create routines into their incredibly busy schedules to sharpen their saw.

Saying you are “too busy” or “don’t have the time” is an excuse.

If the General in charge of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command can find the time to exercise, read, and clear his mind, so can we.

The key is consistency.

As Seth Godin wrote, “Rust never sleeps”.

Stay sharp.

Stay relevant.

#CuttingEdge

-Joe Ciccarone

www.SalesVibe.net