Welcome To Joe Apfelbaum

Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur

Ajax Union GrowTime.TV

I am thankful for you

Thanksgiving Dinner Knocked us out.

As I lay down on the couch, stuffed from thanksgiving dinner. These are some thoughts that entered my mind.

“I am grateful” when we are grateful we are full of great. What is great? Great is a measurement of quality, quality or both. Another word for great is excellent or very well.

“I appreciate you” is to tell someone that I recognize that you are full of worth. That I understand that you have value. Appreciate is to appraise or to indicate that someone or something is praiseworthy.

“Thank you” is a way to express gratitude, which is the quality of being thankful and having the readiness to show appreciation for kindness.

The words that we use matter. When we are grateful, we recognize greatness. When we are appreciative we are openly praising. When we express thanks, we are focusing on the kindness and love.

Using these words, expressing these emotions, having these thoughts actually change the molecules in our bodies. Gratitude is an attitude of thanks and that attitude heals.

The only thing that stops people from being thankful, appreciative and grateful is fear. People are afraid that if they point out what is working, it might stop working. They might stop getting lucky if someone notices. They fear they do not deserve all this good in their life. That somehow they are not praiseworthy.

Where does this come from? Why would anyone not feel great! Why would anyone how have this amazing feeling of excellence. Some of it has to do with our past experiences, most of it has to do with our current beliefs that were shaped my past experiences and associations we make without effort.

The way that you think is programmed in your subconscious. You don’t really have a choice. If you are always negative, its not because you like it. It’s because that is your programming. You are programmed to fear, to hate, to hold back praise.

It feels weird when you start to go against your programming so you continue to live this way. Some people call it tough love. I call it insanity. I call it suffering for all those involved. Its a shame that people are not aware and that they do not have the great tools they need in order to get themselves out of this mess.

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer

How do we change this? How do we live in a state of greatness? It starts with us. We need to become more aware. Not try to change anyone but be thankful that we are aware. Be thankful that we are praiseworthy and we have the capacity to praise and appreciate others.

We need to give love to all those around us and not fear that if we give love to others when they misbehave that they will take it as a reward and continue that behavior. We need to give love openly and honestly. To be thankful, fill of praise and full of great gratitude.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein

Each day, you must ask yourself empowering questions.

  • What am I grateful for?
  • What is great in my life right now?
  • Who am I thankful for?
  • Who would I like to praise today?
  • What happened to me yesterday, this past week that I appreciate with all my heart?
  • What was done for me today that I can appreciate and give thanks for?
  • How will I be more grateful today?
  • How will I express my love and gratitude to the people I interact with today?

Think about the wonders in your life, like running water. Like the internet. Like the fact that we woke up in a bed and we can read!

Yes, you can read this right now and make your life even better than it is. A very large population in this world, cannot read right now. I appreciate that I can write and communicate and share my thoughts with the world.

I am grateful that I can add value to your life.

I am thankful for those that are reading this and loving it and I am also thankful for those that have gotten to this point and have rolled their eyes a thousand times, I love you too.

Happy Thanksgiving, make your day great, everyday!

Joe Apfelbaum is the CEO of digital marketing agency Ajax Union. He is a public speaker, certified Google Trainer, and published business author. Joe enjoys speaking and writing about a broad range of business topics in his seminars, webinars and articles. Joe is the host of the popular podcast CEO Mojo and the producer of GrowTime.tv. Joe is a member of the Board of Directors of the Entrepreneurs Organization in Brooklyn, a group with over 12,000 CEO’s and a contributing member of the INC Business Owners Council, a community of the fastest growing companies in the United States. In 2016 Joe was named the King of Kings County Brooklyn for his contribution to the business community in Brooklyn. Joe is proud of all his accomplishments, but most of all he is proud of his beautiful amazing kids.

For more about Joe, follow Joe Apfelbaum on social media @joeapfelbaum

Why wont you forgive me?

Ajax Union Team 2016

“You ruined in my life. After working with you for 5 years, we went out of business and now I have nothing. I will not forgive you!”

That message hurt me.

Not because it was true but because for 5 years, we helped this person build their business as much as we were able to, with a few hundred a month.

For 5 years this person lived off a company that had poor customer service, poor pricing and outdated technology. They were not willing to change and invest in better technology and the industry kept changing. Eventually it caught up with them and they could not afford to keep their doors open.

Most of the 1100 clients that we serviced in the past 7 years were small businesses. I wish they were all able to make the investment, for us to bring 6 business strategists into their office and do a workshop, to show them exactly what they need to change in their business to 10x their bottom line while still growing their top line.

To help them understand how to properly grow themselves, their team, their culture and understand that digital marketing is just a small part of growing your business.

Instead of taking responsibility and embracing the change in marketing, the change in sales, the change in their customer’s mindset. This person choses blame and is full of resentment.

There are too many people in this world that are angry about the past. They cannot forgive and move forward. They wish that things were not the way that they were. They wish that things were easier.

Don’t wish it was easier, wish that you were better! – Jim Rohn – Watch This..

It’s easier to blame the government. It’s easier to blame the economy. It’s easier to blame your parents. It’s easier to blame your community, your education, your life… It’s so easy to blame your vendors.

Its very hard to blame yourself. Its very hard to take responsibility.

If you are still angry about an incident in the past, its because you still have not learned something from that incident in the past.

If you are worried about the future, its because you do not have a good plan for the future. A solid plan that you are confident in.

When you forgive someone, you are not doing them a favor, you are helping yourself move forward into the next chapter of your life.

Choose responsibility instead of blame. Choose peace and love instead of anger and resentment. Learn something from the past and forgive those, who have wronged you. No matter how wrong they are.

Learn and move forward. Lest you pay the price again and again, till you finally learn the hard way or die unhappy.

You cannot change someone who is not aware of their bad habits and is constantly blaming and shaming people around them.

What you can do is forgive them and hope that they wake up from their bad dream.

Our life is only a dream, we change the story when we realize, we have the power to do change it by changing our thoughts with love.

Let’s choose to live our ideal dream together and enjoy peace, love and prosperity.

Joe Apfelbaum

Ajax Union

PS: We recently won an award for being the King of Kings county in Brooklyn NY. For the past 7 years we have been servicing the community and we have positively impacted over 10,000 businesses with our thought leadership and business advice. We created hundreds of jobs and made this world a better place.

I am proud to accept this award and I am happy I was able to celebrate it with our award winning team. A past client came over to me at the event and told me that we earned this award because he was with us for 5 years and he never worked with a better, more amazing company. That made me smile, because I knew it was true and because I knew it’s really about our people.

PPS: Jeffrey Gitomer is the king of sales and I had the honor and privilege to have him on CEO Mojo! Listen to the episode of the podcast here. I was also featured on his podcast Sell or Die..

20161019_161716

Feeling like a victim?

 

“Everything I do feels like a sacrifice. I am serving everyone else and no one notices me. My kids are a burden, my relationships are a burden, I am drowning and the people closest to me are busy taking care of themselves. How can I make everyone realize that they need to save me.” A women emailed me after watching one of my 200 street talk videos on Facebook.

There are people who walk around feeling like the weight of the world is on their shoulders. They have many responsibilities, kids, work, family, social obligations and more. Some people are so busy taking care of everyone else, they forget about themselves.

They hope that someone else will come and save them. All they want is someone to meet their needs without them having to ask for it.

“Is that too much to ask?”

When we were babies, we would cry and our parents would come and give us everything we needed. We didn’t have to use language, we didn’t have to articulate. We didn’t even know what we wanted, we just felt in pain and somehow the adult in our life figured it out.

We were nurtured and it felt amazing.

Why can’t we feel that amazing feeling again? We yearn for someone to take us in their hands and take care of our every need, even if we don’t know what our need is.

All we need to do is whine a bit, cry a bit, feel like a victim a bit and hope that an adult in our life will notice.

The problem is that when the “adult” notices, most of the time they don’t understand why you want that. You are not a helpless baby anymore, you can take care of your own needs. You can use language and make requests from people that love you and they may comply with your requests most of the time. Especially, when the requests are made in the proper way.

The way to get your needs met,  is through awareness yet we don’t know what we don’t know. So we keep on kicking and screaming and wonder why we don’t feel happy or at peace. Maybe it’s the people around us? Maybe if we found better friends, better partners, better lovers, we can get our needs met!  

It’s never the people, it’s you always you!

Here is a major clue that will lead us to the answer…

When we feel disappointed that someone “didn’t do” something we “did not” ask them to do. When we feel resentment that someone in our life is not giving us something that we want. When we feel sad that we don’t have people in our life nurturing us without us having to let them know what we need. That is the hint. That is the clue that will help us become more aware that we are an adult and we need to start realizing that it is now on us to nurture others.

Instead of feeling depressed, we must stop giving excuses and start taking responsibility. We must stop giving blame and we must start taking ownership. We must step up and lead every relationship with awareness and passion so that we can live a life full of love and enriched with peace.

The fastest way to get out of depression is to stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about others. Stop thinking about what you are not getting and start thinking about what you can be giving.

Have you ever come across such a problem in your life? Let me know how you respond? Would love to hear from you.

Joe Apfelbaum

Ajax Union

PS Just released a new episode of CEOmojo.. Mona is a great guest on the show. Listen to her passion http://www.ceomojo.com/

Lessons About Resilience From #EONerve 2016

Going to an EO conference in Boston with over 500 CEO’s, business leaders, successful entrepreneurs is energizing and exhausting at the same time. I love meeting all the people I know and catching up. I love learning from the half a dozen speakers I heard from and getting inspired by the people who got up and spoke about the struggles they have been through.

 

The most exhausting thing for me is about the follow up. If there is one thing I have learned from going to conferences, it’s that unless you follow up with the people and the content, it’s a waste of time.

EO Member Selfies from Nerve 2016

I have 50 people that I need to follow up with about various conversations that we had. I also need to implement about half a dozen things into my company and into my family.

 

Here are some 10 ideas that I got from the conference.

 

  1. What are you really bad at? Ever ask yourself that question? As a positive person, I am constantly focusing on my strengths. I do not take the time to identify what I am deliberately bad at. Dr Frances Frei spoke to us about how great companies are great at a few things that matter to the consumers and they are deliberately bad at other things to stand out. How IKEA is really bad at quality, location and customer service but great at low prices and do it yourself mentality.
  2. Training your client is just as important as training your employees. We all know that training our employees are important. Many people do not realize how important it is to train their clients too. Manage their expectations, teach them how to communicate with you. Starbucks is great at getting you to learn their made up words so that you can practice on the line and not look like an idiot when you order. They created all this vocabulary to simplify their own needs to making sure that they can speed up orders and put the burden on the client to learn their language. It’s a powerful idea to teach your clients how to fit into your mold and make them appreciate your own personal competitive advantage.
  3. It’s impossible to be resilient if you do not look at obstacles as problems that you need to solve. The reason that people are able to overcome great challenges in life is because they have the courage to focus on what they are in control over. They understand that they will not be in control of everything. They do not blame or look for a an excuse about why it won’t work. Instead they think about what they are in control of and how they can change the situation. Changing your mindset to problem solving will help you get back up.
  4. For a startup to be successful you need to have a visionary and an operator to be able to have ruthless focus on finding a sustainable profitable market. The big problem with startups getting money is they spend it on fancy things like a nice logo or great furniture. What they need to be focused on is finding a way to make a sustainable profitable machine that produces profit from the market. 80 percent of startups go out of business in the first 3 years because they do not have this ruthless focus of finding this market. Once you find this market you can start having fun.
  5. Business if fun till you hit white water. At some point your business will hit whitewater, which means that the lack of systems and processes will cause havoc. Problems will creep and clients will not he happy. The visionary and the operator used to have FUN but they are now dealing with too many issues. So they get a processor to start creating processes for their business. Checklists and systems are being created and if there is not enough synergy they go from predictable success to the treadmill, where processes are more important than common sense and eventually go out of business.
  6. If the visionary leaves the business the operator soon follows. The operator needs the visionary to stay inspired and the visionary needs to the operator to be a ruthless finisher. The way that they succeed is they work together synergistically. Where the visionary does not share every single idea that pops into his head and allows the meetings to have an agenda. The operator is present and doesn’t always try to fight fires. If the operator is the firefighter, the visionary is the arsonist.
  7. Stop focusing on your kids weaknesses and start focusing on their strengths. When was the last time you ask your kids what they are BEST at? When was the last time you celebrated their islands of competence. That is the key to building up your children and helping them grow to be resilient adults. Discovering what they are best at, focusing and honoring their strengths will give them the courage to take those strengths and apply them with resilience.
  8. What charitable activities have you done together as a family? It’s important for families to do charitable activities together so kids become more grateful for what they have and end up being happier. We get so caught up in our day to day that we sometimes forget how important it is to help others. Studies show that people who mentor, teach, donate their time have a greater sense of purpose and live longer, happier lives. Volunteer your time, effort and energy to help others.
  9. There are three types of children, the easy child, the shy child and the difficult child. Every child needs to have a charismatic person in their life who they can look up to. Someone who they can draw strength from. How do you become that charismatic person in your child’s life? Build them up, accept them for who they are. Dr Robert Brooks spoke to us about his parents and how they had a file on him and his brothers that made him feel really special. That gave him the ability to bounce back and be more resilient in tough times.  Difficult children just want to be accepted and empathized with. The worst thing for a child self esteem is when they see disappointment in their parents eyes. Your child is born with a temperament which has nothing to do with you and your mission is to love them unconditionally. You will not get all your needs met from your kids. You need to love them for who they are and accept them.
  10. Use your right brain more by laughing and helping others. When you take the time to laugh, even if you fake laugh, you develop your right brain and have the capacity to connect with others and you feel more fulfilled. A young woman that had her left brain removed got on stage and Beth spoke to us about how she felt and how she got through it by caring about others. Thinking about others is the key to living a more fulfilled life.

 

I have so much more to say and there are so many more take aways, for now the key is to follow up and implement or get a ruthless finisher to help me do that.

 

What actions are you going to take today? What resonated with you the most by reading this?

 

Feel free to comment below.

 

Joe Apfelbaum

Ajax Union

 

Oops, Made that mistake on purpose!

Selfie of Joe Apfelbaum at EO New York

“Everyone around me is winning but me! What is wrong with me? Why am I always left holding the bag?” He had dark circles around his eyes. He was down on himself. “I used to be happy, I don’t know what happened to me. I feel like after making so many mistakes in my life, I just can’t handle doing this anymore. It’s hopeless.”

I looked at him with compassion and asked him “What happened? What changed?” He said that people got greedy and now he is left with nothing. Because he has nothing, he can’t do anything and he has become a nobody.

“Are you telling me that if you had all the right things, you would do the right thing and become the right kind of person?” He looks at me and with full confidence says “You got it! if only I had it made like most people that take advantage of me, I would be able to help myself and others and I would be happy and successful.”

I looked at him and smiled. “You know, I used to think that way too. I found that the more excuses I made and pushed the responsibility away the harder it was for me to have what I want. I found that when I embraced my mistakes, when I failed with purpose, the universe sent me the energy to stand back up again. Its really crazy to fail on purpose, why would you fail if you can simply succeed. Many of us don’t realize that we must fail with purpose, not on purpose. We must take our failures and attach a purpose to them so that the mistake don’t take power from us, instead failure can give us power.”

He responds “Seems like a difficult if not an impossible task. How can a person that was robbed of hundreds of thousands of dollars and is constantly being taken advantage of find a good reason for that?”

“Difficult it is, impossible only if you let it be.” I continued. “I found that for me, when I was about to have a new stage in my life unlocked, there was a challenge that tested me first to see if I can accept this new stage, if I was ready for it. If you can’t handle losing hundreds of thousands, how can you handle making millions? After all you might lose it?! What will become of you then? Maybe by adding a purpose to these incidents and instead of asking, how can a person… you ask “What is great about this!” One of the greatest things I learned in recent years is that when we get the right answer to the wrong question we may of won the battle but we lost the war. We need to ask the right questions, the answers will appear, once the right questions are asked. Our job is not to find answers but to find questions. Change what you ask, who you ask them to, and find yourself.”

He said, “Look, all this sounds good but I need something actionable. Tell me three things I can do tomorrow to get me mojovated!”

Here are three things that might help you if you take them seriously.

  1. Your body will define your mood. If you are not exercising, eating right, sleeping enough and drinking half your weight in ounces, you will not be in a good mood. Its that simple, you need to be in the right state to have the opportunity to be mojovated. You can’t take a car, give it dirty oil and bad gas, have a broken transmission and a bad battery and expect to win the race. You need to create a few habits that will get your body in a good place.
  2. You become your thoughts. Having a great body and being in a good mood is not enough, you need to also have a sharp mind. You need to learn and grow. You will keep having the same thoughts unless you read, write, listen and take learning seriously. Get smart and stop spending time with people who are wasting their mind. Change your conversations and change your thoughts so you can improve your character.
  3. Help other people who need what you need. The fastest way to get what you want is to give it to others. Want love? Love others, Want money? Help others make money. Want happiness, go out and make others happy. It’s a weird phenomenon, I won’t explain it because it doesn’t make sense. The more I help others get what they need, the faster, I get what I need. Stop worrying about how much you get and start concerning yourself with how much you can give.

Take your body, mind and the gift of giving seriously and you will become the person you need to be, do the things you need to do and ultimately have everything you desire.

Does any of this resonate with you? What would you of told him? Feel free to share your ideas and thoughts with me, would love to hear from you on Twitter @joeapfelbaum

Joe Apfelbaum
Ajax Union

Not the Creative Type? Not Organized?

Joe Apfelbaum waiting at the airport.

As the airplane is circling JFK I am thinking to myself, I can’t wait to get home and see the wife and the kids. Suddenly the pilot announces, sorry to inform you but the airport is closed due to ice on the runway. We are going to turn and go to Dulles airport in Washington DC. My heart sinks, you have a plan and then mother nature decides to get in way. I was not in the mood of this now. I was coming back from a busy business trip in Florida, that was back to back and I didn’t have much sleep. The thought of having to drive or take the train from Washington was just exhausting.

That got me thinking of the time I asked someone why they don’t write. They told me that when they sit in front of a screen or paper to start writing, they feel exhausted. I asked them why, they said because they are just not the creative type. What does that mean? You just don’t have the ability to create? You just don’t have any ideas in your head? No experiences to talk about? No opinions on anything?

They are just not the creative type

Another person told me that they are super creative but they never have time to be creative because they are always busy. I asked them why they didn’t schedule time to be creative and they said they are so creative that they cannot be organized enough to schedule time to be creative.

Limiting Belief: When one is super creative, they cannot be super organized.

That person explained to me that when one is super creative, they cannot be super organized. Made sense to be but at the same time it didn’t feel right.

You have this great skill or talent as some might call it, to be creative. You can’t use it because you are not organize. How is anyone ever creative?

I started researching the concept of organization and creativity. I learned that everyone is creative when motivated and everyone can be organized if they take the time to learn a system and have the desire to put it in place.

Everyone is creative when motivated and everyone can be organized if they take the time to learn a system.

This was very significant for me because I lived my life thinking to myself that something was wrong with me because I had an organizational problem. When in reality I just didn’t have a good system and my belief that I was not an organized person, limited me from seeking and learning the system that I needed.

Those that think they are not the creative type, will not be the creative type and those that think they are not organized, will not be organized.

If you want to be creative, you need to get organized so that your mind is clear from all the things you have to do. So that your mind is free to be creative, so that you can schedule time to be creative. What good is having a creative skill or talent if you cannot use it.

What good is being organized if you free up all your time and have nothing creative to do with your time.

As humans we were born in the image of God and that means we are mini creators. Let’s clear our minds and allow our hearts to passionately create.

How will you express your creativity today? What type of person are you telling yourself that you are?

Feel free to comment below..

Joe Apfelbaum – Ajax Union

PS: After 5 minutes of being frustrated on the plane, I realized that there was nothing I can do to change the situation. I accepted that I will be going to Washington and started brainstorming all the great things I can do down there. The pilot announced that they were clear to land in JFK and I was home within the hour. Now I feel like taking a trip down to DC 🙂

BIO: Joe Apfelbaum is the CEO and co-founder of digital marketing agencyAjax Union. He is a public speaker, certified Google Trainer, and published business author. Joe enjoys speaking and writing about a broad range of business topics in his seminars, webinars and articles. Joe is the host of the popular podcast CEO Mojo and the producer of GrowTime.tv. Joe is a member of the Board of Directors of the Entrepreneurs Organization in Brooklyn, a group with over 11,000 CEO’s and a contributing member of the INC Business Owners Council, a community of the fastest growing companies in the United States. Joe is proud of all his accomplishments, but most of all he is proud of his successful foodie wife and beautiful amazing kids.

Are you Happy Now?

Joe Apfelbaum, Happy

“Some people are happy and other people are just not happy” He goes on to tell me. “I believe that happiness is not something you can achieve, its something that you feel as a result of things in your life that you are not in control of, if you are lucky, you feel happy.”

“Good luck with that!” I tell him, I go on, “For me it’s totally not like that anymore. I used to live thinking like that but I learned that there are some activities that I can do to make me feel happy. When I do not do them, most of the time, I don’t feel happy.”

He looks intrigued, “Are you telling me that you are in control of your own happiness? Sounds too good to be true.” He looks away and thinks about all the times in his life where if that was true, he would avoid so much heart ache. “What about when someone dies. You won’t feel sad?”

“I will feel sad that I lost someone I care about, but It won’t take my life over and make me depressed for the next year.” I go on ”There is one thing to miss someone and feel sad that they are no longer around. Its another thing feel so upset about something that you can not function. For me when I live my life a certain way, I find that I get over things much quicker and although there are upsetting circumstances that happen, my happiness is always available when I want to feel it.”

“Tell me your secret, I want to know it.” He looks at me with his menacing eyes.”I probably won’t buy it but I still want to know how you feel happiness all the time.”

“It’s a lot simpler than you think. People ask me how I did it, How I lose 75 pounds. I simply tell them, I did what I knew I had to do, to get the results I wanted to get. I stopped eating cookies, drinking soda, eating sugary treats. That means no more jelly beans, or donuts. All the foods that I thought would make me happy, they were actually doing the opposite. They were giving me highs and lows.”

I saw he was not buying it, so I just figured i’ll tell him what I know and not really care, cause it does sound weird. Maybe there will be a chance that he will try it and feel happy. Here goes!

“It’s more like a science to me. Happiness is about what you do with your mind and body to get it into a certain state. When I sleep well, eat the right foods, get my blood flowing with exercise, drink enough water, stretch properly my body feels happy. When I think positive thoughts, express my creativity by writing, singing, dancing, painting, meditate and create clarity in my life by journaling, my mind feels happy. When I do nice things for other people and treat everyone around me with amazing love and respect, when connect with a higher purpose by learning and praying, my spirit feels happy. When I do all them together, I enter a state of happiness. Its pretty consistent.”

He laughs and tells me that it’s sounds nice but it’s not practical. Life just gets in the way and you can’t live your life in a fairy tale. Plus it sounds like it’s hard work to do all those things. Probably not worth the effort.

I smile and tell him he is right. Because if luck is what is working for him, that makes him right. I would rather be happy than right. I would rather work hard and leave getting lucky to those that need it.

Joe Apfelbaum
Ajax Union

 

10 things I do each morning that make me feel amazing

IMG_8789

You wake up and look at the alarm clock and see that it’s 5am, what is the first thought that goes through your mind?

Be honest with yourself and write down that thought. Look at what you wrote down and ask yourself if this is what you WANT to be thinking each morning for the rest of your life.

I used to think that no matter how late I woke it, it was still too early. Now I changed my attitude and mindset and I love getting up. The earlier the better. Why? Because I have a fresh mind to be able to do all the things that I want to do with no interruptions.. Even social media is quiet in the wee hours of the morning.

There are no calls, no text messages, no whats-app messages, no emails pouring in except the notifications that are automated that do not take any brainpower to deal with. All that frees up my fresh mind to work on the things that are most important to me.

So, you change your mindset and you create a habit to start getting up way before anyone else? What do you do? How can we spend our time if we had all the time in the world with a fresh mind.

Here are 10 things I do each morning that help me stay ahead and feel amazing.

Gratitude is number one. I start off my day with the traditional Modeh Ani that I was taught by my parents to say each morning. Thanking God for giving me my soul back. That is the first thing that I utter when I wake up. After I wash my hands, I think about 5 things that I am grateful for. Simple things like running water or a plunger might be enough to kick start my day with that positive mental flow I need to feel happy.

I don’t really think about making my bed each morning anymore, I just do it and it happens.

Make My Bed; About 8 months ago, I started practicing a habit to improve the quality of my actions. That began with making my bed. I never really saw value in making my bed when I have a person coming to maintain my home for me. Why would I need to make my bed when I am going to mess it up when I go to sleep anyway. That shift in thinking caused me to go deeper in my relationships and realize the power of habit. I don’t really think about making my bed each morning anymore, I just do it and it happens. The quality of my life improved so I stay conscious of the fact that I make the bed. I plan on adding things to that routine like a nice touch to making the bed but for now, it’s just that. Sometimes I go back into the bedroom to make sure I made it, and I am proud to see that I have! Its part of what I do now and it does feel good to be able to control my actions without using willpower each day.

Water is my caffeine.

Drink Water; Snapple used to be my beverage of choice. The drink that made me happy. Tropicana orange juice was another “healthy” favorite that I would indulge before I went to sleep and as soon as I woke up. Now I make sure to drink at least a liter of water in the morning before I leave the house. Why? Because it just makes me feel more alive. Water is something that so many of us overlook but it literally makes up more flexible and gives us more energy. I do not drink any sugary drinks anymore because they just make me more thirsty and they are empty calories. Water is my only drink. Some people ask me why I don’t drink coffee, I simply answer that I don’t like the taste, never did. Water is my caffeine.

I look back and recall things that happened that helped me, that shaped me, that motivate me, that inspire me that make me feel amazing.

Journal : One of the most important habits that I started a few years back but did not keep up to it properly is the habit of journaling. Last year I dedicated myself to do it no matter what each day and I kept it up for 3 months without missing a day. It really changed how I think and took my personal development and effectiveness to a whole new level. I look back and recall things that happened that helped me, that shaped me, that motivate me, that inspire me that make me feel amazing. I did not have to the tools to do that before. The only way you can improve is to be able to reflect on what you want to improve, if you don’t journal you are reflecting on what you think you were in the past, not what you actually were, you can improve by imagination. You need to have the facts. Now I sit down and if I only have 5 minutes, I just write down the things that happened the day before. If I have 10 minutes, I write some ideas down and if I have more time, I get creative, ask myself a question like, “What Do You Want?” I answer it with my right hand and after with my left hand. It’s amazing what can come out of your mind when you do things like that.

Each year, I added 10 pounds till I gained over 75 and I was unable to do the things I loved to do anymore.

Weight: If you do not measure, you will not improve. I suffered from being morbidly obese because I overate. The reason I overate was because I didnt really think about it, I didnt measure it or think that I was getting obese. It just happened slowly over 10 years. Each year, I added 10 pounds till I gained over 75 and I was unable to do the things I loved to do anymore. One day I decided that I will start weighing myself everyday and asking myself, where I am today and where do I want to be in a month from now. The progress was amazing. The ups and downs where incredible. Sometimes, I was up 5 pounds and I would feel guilty to cheat and eat a slice of pizza. There were times that I was way down and I would celebrate and eat that ice cream I was eyeing for a few weeks. It helped me stay accountable and when you look at your numbers each day, it really speaks to you. Some people are in debt and they dont bother looking at their bank account each day. Look each day, measure and set your goal. Make small improvements and take control of your life.

I remember a time when I was not able to do ONE pushup. Not even lift myself off the ground.

Fitness: Every morning I do pushups, squats and stretches. Even if there is no time for anything else like running, biking or using my rowing machine. I still do push myself to do pushups. I remember a time when I was not able to do ONE pushup. Not even lift myself off the ground. I will never ever go back there. I can do over 30 straight now and I goal is to be able to do 50 without stopping. That feels amazing and It begins by putting it into my morning routine. If the weather is acceptable, I will go for a run. Most of the time, I try to get at least 3 miles in. My goal is to be able to run three miles in under 27 minutes. I am at 29 minutes now and I am going to do this slowly. Yes, I can probably push myself and do it once, but I want to be able to do it all the time so I am building up slowly. The way I motivate myself to get out for a run in the morning, I just throw on my running gear without thinking about it. I built a habit to just get into gear and that gets me motivated to just do it already.

Even if you only read one page of a book, it changes how you think the rest of the day.

Reading: As humans we have over 40,000 thoughts each day. Most of those thoughts are the same ones that we think about over and over again. The way to get out of that is to read. When we read our thoughts change. When we read productive content we become connected with the author. Imagine being connected with the leaders of our past generation. One of my friends called the author’s he reads from, mentors of his. Even if they passed away, he communicates with them via their books and contribution. It’s so powerful to be able to do this. Even if you only read one page of a book, it changes how you think the rest of the day. Today I read a page from Traction the business book written by Gino Wickman. He asks, what is your guarantee in your business. Every company needs to have a guarantee. I asked myself what is my guarantee in my personal life? What is my personal competitive advantage? What do I bring to the people around me, to my family, to my friends? That is what reading does to me.

God created humans with the unique ability to design their life and the lives around them.

Creativity: Every morning I must flex my creative muscle, whether it’s by writing a 2000 word article like this one or by recording a song or by practicing a magic trick. I need to do that as it energizes me. The one desire that all people have, that is super fulfilling is the desire to create. God created humans with the unique ability to design their life and the lives around them. To create music to evoke emotions to communicate and change society with ideas. Using our gifts and not allowing our fears and challenges to hold us back from greatness might the most important thing we can do each day, it might be our purpose.

People are starving for compliments more than they are starving for food.

Compliments: There are so many people I love, I appreciate, I admire in this world. The problem is that I am so caught up with myself and thinking about my problems that I forget to thank people and tell them how much they mean to me. I made it a habit to compliment the people around me each day with a meaningful compliment. Whether it’s my wife, my brother, my mother or my admin. People around me get their share of compliments because I do it with intention.It makes them feel like a million dollare but it gives me unlimited power. The power that I need to energize the world and to keep doing good. People are starving for compliments more than they are starving for food. Feed someone else a nutritious compliment before you feed yourself a nutritious breakfast.

For extra credit I do things like pray, learn torah, take a shower, take a multivitamin and a D3, have some cayenne pepper and a lemon. Eat my fair share of protein and veggies. Check my calendar and make sure I am prepared for the day but even if you did one of those ten things each day, you might see an improvement in your happiness.

BIO: Joe Apfelbaum is the CEO and co-founder of digital marketing agencyAjax Union. He is a public speaker, certified Google Trainer, and published business author. Joe enjoys speaking and writing about a broad range of business topics in his seminars, webinars and articles. Joe is the host of the popular podcast CEO Mojo and the producer of GrowTime.tv. Joe is a member of the Board of Directors of the Entrepreneurs Organization in Brooklyn, a group with over 11,000 CEO’s and a contributing member of the INC Business Owners Council, a community of the fastest growing companies in the United States. Joe is proud of all his accomplishments, but most of all he is proud of his successful foodie wife and beautiful amazing kids.

Eating Bread Is a Luxury, Can You Afford It?

20160106_105348

“Pass the bread, please” says the man that can’t fit into his shirt while holding the butter knife with one hand and the plate of margarine with the other hand. “Let’s go, pass it down while it’s still warm.”

That man was me, I would eat bread like some people spend money they don’t have, on credit cards. I could not afford the luxury of eating all the bread and asking for doubles but I still did it because I didn’t know what it was doing to my bottom line.

I would eat bread like some people spend money they don’t have.

You might ask, how could you not know? It’s the same question I ask my friends that are 50k in credit card debt and have no emergency savings, no lifeline and no cash in the bank. They are constantly spending more than they earn and buying luxuries with their income.

I am not talking about people who are spending money buying the basics and are on minimum wage. I am talking about people who make multiple six figures and still can’t make their mortgage payment because other things take priority.

Losing 75 pounds puts things into perspective for me. When I look at a luxury food item for example let’s say, chocolate. I ask myself, can I afford that? Am I in the condition to purchase that and eat it? If I am being true to myself, I will answer that I really can’t afford it because I am still overweight and I am not burning enough calories each day to justify that bar of chocolate.

When I look at a luxury food item for example let’s say, chocolate. I ask myself, can I afford that?

Someone once told me that if you can’t eat anything you want, you are simply not living. Who would want to live like that. I simply smile and say your are right. I my mind I think to myself, how can anyone live with 75 pounds of extra fat on their body, carry around all that weight just because they can’t control their habits, their desires and their impulses.

Being fat held me back from doing simple things like running after my kids and playing catch or like standing for long periods of time. It held me back from going for a nice 6 mile walk around the park which is one of my favorite things to do now.

Being fat held me back from doing simple things like running after my kids and playing catch

The interesting thing is that I can afford to eat bread right now because I am happy where I am, I need to eat it in moderation. I ate bread every day for the past week and did not gain a pound. Why? Because I didn’t over eat more than I burned and I also was aware that It’s a luxury.

Overspending on luxuries when you can’t afford to do that is a bad habit that we justify and so is overeating the wrong types of food.

Read More →

The Results Of Going Off Facebook for 2 Weeks

Joe Apfelbaum Huh?One day I was walking in the park and I got an idea, I would film a video of myself giving people some tips about how to set goals and take their life to the next level. There were three simple steps, build confidence by reflecting, create clarity by identifying your desires and writing them down and activation by creating small actionable steps toward your goal.

When people take action they feel Mojovated! Its really amazing to see how excited I get when I accomplish something that I have been pushing off. There is no better feeling in the world than to know that you are fulfilling your purpose and being productive.

The problem is that there are many distractions. Those distractions take my attention away from the goal. If I was going to practice what I preached I had to remove some distractions. For me it was Facebook. It was taking up too much of my time. I love checking up on all the comments and like that people give me but its taking away my attention from my goals.

So I committed to going off Facebook for 2 weeks at the end of December so I can plan for an amazing 2016.

There were times that I would look at my phone, looking for the facebook icon, but it was gone! No notifications, no engagement. Just me and my task to get clear on my goals.

I remember thinking to myself, I really did reclaim tons of precious time. The ability for me to focus now and not get distracted by this amazing social platform is novel. It actually feels good to be off facebook at a time where everyone is tuned in to see what others are doing for the holiday. It was amazing.

I filmed 52 episodes of my new TV show on www.GrowTime.tv which is coming out on Tuesday Jan 5th 2016. Most of the episodes came out perfectly in one take because I was not distracted and I was fully focused.

CEOMojo was also relaunched and the first episode for 2016 will be going live on Friday Jan 8th 2016. I will be interviewing 52 CEOs about the things that Mojovate them! So far I already interviewed half a dozen and created the full format for the show including the intro and outro. Make sure you subscribe on ITUNES.

Created an amazing plan for GrowTime Academy where I will be launching courses for business leaders that want to grow from Average Joe to CEO.

Added a new template to JoeApfelbaum.com and started the process of putting together my personal brand website properly so I can launch it in early 2016. I am really excited about this website and the plans that I have for it.

Took the time to create a perfect Vision for Ajax Union our Digital Marketing Agency in Brooklyn. Monday Jan 4th we will have a special company meeting and review the Vision that is on the wall with the whole company so everyone is rowing in the same direction in 2016.

These two weeks were especially productive because I had the time to reflect on all the amazing people that I have met over the past year, the friend I have made and all the great things I have accomplished.

Here are some highlights.

  • Weight: Lost over 75 pounds in the past 3 years, this year was my breakthrough year getting to the goal I set 3 years ago!
  • Fitness: When I got down to do pushups a few years back, I was not able to do one! A trainer said that to be healthy you need to be able to do at least 30. On my birthday I got down at an EO event and did pushups with Larry Zogby.. We did more than 30 and who is counting! I also ran my fastest mile ever, sub 8 minute mile and I ran my fastest 3 miles ever in under 30 minutes. That was a huge accomplishment for a person that used to not be able to run even one block!
  • Writing: I finished draft one of my book “Average Joe to CEO” and I set a goal to finish draft two in Q1 of 2016.  I wrote over 40,000 words in 20 days. That really blew me away. I was so focused and pushed myself to do it. I have been talking about writing a book for years. I am so happy I got to this point.
  • Video: I have been posting an impromptu video on Facebook almost everyday for the past few months. People have been telling me that they love watching my videos and they learn so much. Little do they know that I was used to be afraid of having myself on video and now I can film 52 episodes of a tv show in just a few weeks!
  • Productivity: For the first time in my life I can actually say that I have an organization plan. A plan to have all my projects and tasks in a place where I know what done looks like and all the tasks that need to be acted upon to finish the project. I have an amazing Admin that is helping me stay focused and I and finishing things that I have started.
  • Routine: I have optimized my morning routine. I wake up on most days by 4am and I journal, meditate, pray, read, write, exercise, eat a healthy breakfast. I never really optimized my routine like this. I used to be so reactive in my life and I feel so amazing now.
  • Relationships: I have done over 1000 selfies with people that I care about in 2015 and that is up from under 500 in 2014. My relationships are deeper than ever and I feel more satisfied in all my personal and business relationships.

There are so many more accomplishments that I have reflected upon and I have set goals to take my life to a whole new level in 2016. Now it’s time for me to get back to work. I hope this article inspired you to take action and eliminate some distractions so you can build the confidence, create clarity and take action…

Happy and Healthy New Year!

Joe Apfelbaum
Ajax Union

BIO: Joe Apfelbaum is the CEO and co-founder of digital marketing agencyAjax Union. He is a public speaker, certified Google Trainer, and published business author. Joe enjoys speaking and writing about a broad range of business topics in his seminars, webinars and articles. Joe is a member of the Board of Directors of the Entrepreneurs Organization in Brooklyn, a group with over 11,000 CEO’s and a contributing member of the INC Business Owners Council, a community of the fastest growing companies in the United States. Joe is proud of all his accomplishments, but most of all he is proud of his successfulfoodie wife and beautiful four kids.