Joe Apfelbaum

Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur

Ajax Union Social Sellin

Brand Yourself as a Leader; Make an Impact



When I got this idea in my head that I “Should” put myself out there and start writing, speaking and sharing my ideas, I had some major resistance.

The voice inside my head said “Sure, you have tons to say but who would really want to hear you. What value can you really add? Just keep it all to yourself if you want to look good to others.”

I listened to that little voice in my head and I made up excuses.

“I am not a writer, I hire writers to write for me.”

“I am a private person, I don’t like to share in public forum, It’s just who I am, I need to accept that”

“I have no real original value to add, everything I said, someone else already said in a different way. Who am I to start saying and sharing ideas.”

The list of voices and reasons can go on and on but I think you get the picture.

I am not here to tell you to brand yourself and make an impact, I am not here to should on you or to tell you that if you brand yourself you will be more successful.

I would like to simply share my experience with you and give you the steps I took to create a brand that I love and that makes an impact every day. My personal brand is still a work in progress and I have ways to go but here is where I got to where I am.

Before I began to develop myself as a leader that has thoughts and shares their ideas, I needed to first confront and distinguish those little voices in my head that do not let me get into the “Zone” AKA the reasons why I should not do brand myself as a leader and make an impact.

Here is how I addressed the first three reasons above and you can make your own list of reasons and address them honestly in your own way.

I am not a writer; I hire writers

Yes, I am not a writer because If I am being honest with myself, I never take the time to write. I have been pretending that I am not a writer, yet I am perfectly capable of writing emails that are moving.

I am perfectly capable of speaking and sharing ideas with people one on one, that move people and inspire them.

The fact that I am not a writer TODAY is true. The reason I SAY I am not a writer is because I am not spending the time writing.

The reason I that I do not spend time writing is because I SAY I am not a GOOD writer.

It’s a circle I am stuck in. Because I can never become a GOOD writer if I do not write!

I need to just write even though I am not a writer and I might become a writer, I might even become a GOOD writer.

That is something I had to stop pretending and making excuses for to be able to break free from that self-judgment and move forward.

Here is another example:

I am a private person, I don’t share in public.

Am I really a private person? YES! I like privacy. Do I really like privacy all the time? No! I just like privacy when people ask me to speak in public. I do not want to share my thoughts in front of people. Why? Because I am a private person, because I am humble because I am shy!

I know deep inside that I have a truth to share and I wish I can get out of my shell but I can’t get out of it. I am just this way and it’s now it was meant to be. The voice in my head tells me these reasons to try and protect me from taking a social risk and looking bad in front of many people.

The internal justification might be, if I make a mistake in front of one or two people, I can live with that. If I make a mistake in front of 20 people, I will die of shame.

Joe! You don’t die of shame, you feel like you die but that is where you begin to live. People jump out of airplanes to get that rush and all you have to do is get up in front of a group of people who ASKED you to speak because they know you have some value that they need.

Sure, the fact that you are funny, entertaining, interesting, smart all those things are more of a reason for you to get up and share your truth with the world.

I needed to own up the fact that I have been pretending to be a private person because I was afraid people would see how charming I am and ask me to get up and wow the crowd. That I would get up there with people’s high expectations of me and I would fumble and look stupid. And then I would just DIE and I Would not be able to do this again ever.

The fear had a grip on me for the better of 30 years and I finally had the courage to just do it. I got up in front of 80 people and presented a topic that I was a true expert in. Digital Marketing, SEO etc. Even with that, I was pacing, and hyperventilating, out of breath and scared to hell. But I did it anyway and realized that I love doing it and I can impact thousands and help millions by doing it. So now I do it anyway.

Here is another example:

I do not have any original ideas; who wants to really hear me!

The fact is that I do not have any original ideas. All ideas existed in some way shape or form. The way that I generate ideas is that I take two existing things and put them together to create a new thing that is made up of other things.

My creativity is about making connections that people usually do not distinguish and that makes me happy. When I make a connection, I get energized and when I share it and people are impressed by the idea, I feel validated.

I have been pretending that I do not have any good ideas to share because I was afraid that people would call me out. They would Google it and see that someone else said something similar. That it was something that I stole and I would be called out as a Liar. When in fact, I am being inauthentic by holding back my ideas, because my ideas are mine, even if someone else said the same exact thing. I own it now because I took ownership of the idea and shared it within the context of my lens.

Only I can see things from my exact view, from my exact experience, from my exact insane paradigm and the fact that I am not sharing was causing me to feel like I am not enough.

Like I am not worthy of sharing my original ideas.

That only my mother can hear them and everyone else can’t know those ideas. Because my mother won’t Google to see if the idea is really mine.

In reality, no one is going to Google anything. “I only do that for myself to feel validated.” I Google things to see if anyone else said them!

Now that I realize that it’s just a fear I am ready to get started branding myself as a leader. Here are the 5 steps that I took.

  • Identify Your Excitement
  • Define Your Audience
  • Speak To A Writing Coach
  • Plan Time In Your Calendar
  • Define Your Assets

Identify Your Excitement

To really be able to connect with people, you need to connect on an emotional level. You will never be able to connect and make an impact with logic. Humans connect with emotions. You need to be able to charge you content and thought leadership with your voice that has your own personal flavor of your emotions. This is one of the reasons why it’s so hard to outsource writing and leaders have to really get down and write on their own.

Imagine giving a speech to your company but instead of you talking, you have someone else do the speech that you wrote. That’s not you! Yes, it’s your speech but it’s not your voice. You want to make sure that you can get your voice down and people want to hear the excitement in your voice. The emotion will transfer to other humans and your story will stick.

Brainstorm a list of all the categories you can think of and pick the top 4 categories and focus on those areas.

When you start writing, just write about what excites you. Your ieas, your questions, the questions that others have had and share your own experience. People learn from discovering your experience as if it was their own.

There are four seasons, I have my own which are.

  • Sales (B2B Business Development),
  • Marketing(Digital Marketing),
  • Networking (Business Networking)
  • Leadership (Self Improvement)

I can read and write about those topics for hours and I love them so much. They excite me and because of that, they excite others when I share my experience with those topics.

Sure, I have dozens of topics that I can speak about, topics like health, motivation, relationships, religion, technology, psychology, coaching etc but those are my top 4 at this time in my life.

Define Your Audience

If you only spoke to one human being, who would that human being be? What would their name be? What gender? What would they look like? How old? What do they do? Why do they do it? You need to really get down and look at this person in the face and have a conversation with them. The more defined your audience, the better you message will hit home to EVERYONE. People try to be general because they do not want to miss anyone, they end up missing everyone. You need to be VERY specific if you want to make an impact.

I am speaking to a business owner that started his own company and figured out how to get his business to a few hundred thousand a year. He is working 16 hours a day and is hungry to keep growing his business. He feels like it’s a miracle that he got this far and he has a family at stake. He really wants to keep growing his business but he is not sure how he will do it. His goal is to break the million dollar mark and he is optimistic that he can do it.

What are the things that you would tell this person? Now you have so much more to say to them! Remember you can speak to everyone but do it by speaking to one person and the impact will be much greater.

Speak To A Writing Coach

The only way to get your ideas out of your head is to make time each month to speak with someone about your ideas.

You know what excites you and someone who is a good sounding board can help you extract those ideas that you want to share. It took me 8 months of speaking to a writing coach to come up with the ideas that lead me to write a book.

Just having a conversation about the problems you want to solve, about your expertise about the people you want to impact. Talking about those ideas will make a crazy amount of topics arise and they create the motivation and accountability to get this going.

I found a book editor that became my writing coach. Before I had her, I used my admin as my writing coach. It’s just a person who will be there for you to hear your ideas for 30 minutes to an hour month.

Plan Time In Your Calendar

I never used to make any time for writing. Other things were more important. Who really has the time! We all have the time, you just do not have it as a priority.

For me to really be able to get into the groove of writing, I needed to dedicate time in the morning before everyone wakes up. I would create a document the night before and add the first sentence. I would go to sleep thinking about the topic and when I woke up, I would spend an hour in front of the document just spilling my thoughts out.

This is how I wrote this exact article, it’s not something I planned more than thinking about a topic to write about and adding a time to my calendar to write about it.

I need to clear my email inbox first to make sure there are no fires that will not allow me to get into the zone. Sometimes clearing your mind first by doing a brain dump and just adding everything that is on your mind into a TO DO list might help you clear out your brain to give you the ability to really be creative.

Also, I promised my admin that I would write about this topic so I would look stupid if I didn’t execute on this. You have to be able to want to look good and have your pride on the line to really be able to produce results.

Now that you have a plan in your calendar and you are writing, there is only one more step

Define Your Assets

There are assets that most people do not define when they start on their journey to sharing ideas as a leader. I found that by defining those assets and organizing them at my fingertips it helps me be able to create and not worry.

Here are three brand assets you need to define and optimize each year.

  • Bio + Personal Summary
  • Headshot + Photos

Values + Inspiration

Most people do not have a good BIO and those that have a bio, it’s usually not up to date. After you post each article you need to have a blurb you can add with your short article bio with some call to action. Follow me on social is enough of a call to action but it needs to be inspiring and short.

It pays to have a full bio as well where you list out accomplishments that you are most proud of. The BIO is for you to have more confidence. That asset is super important for all ideas to have.

If you have not taken professional headshots in the past year, find someone to get your headshots done. It feels so good to have great photos that are created by a professional. It won’t happen on its own, you need to get it done.

You also want to have a collection of photos that you use when you write articles, I use my Google Photos to download a recent photo. If you don’t take many photos at least start a collection that inspires you so you can have something to share with your article. Think about starting a collection of photos and videos.

The third brand asset is a document that has your values, your strengths and some items that inspire you. If you create this document and review it each month, it really helps you develop your voice and strengthen it. You want to find quotes that excite and energize you. Poems that move you. Collect a virtual bucket of inspiring items that represent your voice. Find other leaders that are putting out content that feels like your style. Include a list of those people in this document.

You can also include a list of tools that you use to help you be able to write better. For example, I use to help me be able to have the proper grammar in my articles because my grammar sucks.

Now that you have your assets you will have more confidence, more clarity and take more action.

To Summarize, You need to first challenge your beliefs and views about yourself and your ideas. Once you do that you can take this 5 step approach and start sharing ideas. Identify Your Excitement, Define Your Audience, Speak To A Writing Coach, Plan Time In Your Calendar, Define Your Assets.

Please comment with your biggest takeaway and if you like this please share it with others.

Joe Apfelbaum is the CEO of digital marketing agency . 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 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

What would you tell your 20 year old self?

At a recent EO board retreat we did an ice breaker at dinner and one of the topics that we discussed was, what advice would you give your 20 year old self.

There were so many great tips that each person gave.

Here are a few ideas we discussed that might get you thinking.

Live in the moment
You might want to keep waiting for that amazing thing to happen in the future that will be the key to your happiness. Learn to love the now! Be in the moment, this might be the last moment you get to experience.

Fear = False evidence appearing real
Most of the things that you fear will never end up happening. Stop worrying about what might go wrong and focus on the positive.

Relationships is the only thing that really matters
It’s the people in our lives that will give us the most satisfaction and the most agony. Learn how to work with people and invest in your relationships.

Do not spend more than you make
It’s not worth getting that shiny object that you cannot afford. The best way to get out of debt is not to get into debt in the first place. Do not spend more than you make. If you want more, work more, learn more, make more.

Don’t live your life to make your parents happy
Your parents know what they know and it’s important to give them what they want but don’t sacrifice your whole life to live their dream.

You don’t need that stuff.

The less stuff you collect in your life, the more at peace you will be. Stop hoarding all those things. Travel light.

Do what you think is fun
Do not do things that others think is fun to be popular. Do what you think is fun and have a great time enjoying life. Remember, you only get to live once and you don’t want to have regrets. Travel, have fun and do what you love while you can.

Failure is the key to success.
Don’t whine when you fail, instead use it as a learning opportunity. Realize that the only way you will get to walk is if you fall. So celebrate the falls and you will be running in no time.


Friends do not just make themselves.
Treat your friends like they were a plant, they need water and sunlight. If you fail to nurture your relationships you will lose them. Don’t complain that you don’t HAVE friends. Make friends if you want friends.

The language you use matters!
Every single word that comes out of your mouth takes control of you. You need to change your words if you want to change your life. Make sure you monitor your words and you will be able create and have anything you want by changing how you speak and how you think.

What would you tell your 20 year old self? I would love to hear your response! Please reply to this email and let me know.


Who needs to plan anyway!?

“I like flying by the seat of my pants” He said to me when I asked him if he did an annual review. “I do not like to plan, I prefer to let things just go as they go and I hope for the best.”


I told him “hope is a great thing, but it’s not a great strategy.


Imagine if you wanted the perfect garden but you didn’t want to buy the right seeds, water the flowers appropriately and spend time getting rid of the weeds.


You would not have the perfect garden. Instead, you can expect the grass to be greener on the other side because your neighbor is taking the time to plan, to water, to cut the weeds.


If you fail to plan, you are essentially planning to fail.”


He looked at me and said that the reason that I am successful is because I am “lucky”, It has nothing to do with planning.


I agreed with him, I said that I believe that I was lucky enough to know that I must plan for the future and have the courage to share a vision that I want to bring to reality.


Success is not something that you just find somewhere. It’s like love, you must create it with intent, you must nurture it to fruition.


To me success is about setting a goal, a measurable goal, a specific goal, an actionable and attainable goal, a realistic goal that I am inspired and motivated to achieve. Then I need to set a time that I will have that goal completed by and I need to make sure that I am accountable to another person that I respect.


Success is very personal. Success to me is very different than success to you. If you define your level of success by what other people have, you will never be fulfilled. You need to dream up your own dreams and make them a reality. It all begins with planning. Having a written plan that you review regularly.


Yes, I have my 2017 vision board ready and I already sent it to the people who will hold me accountable. If you want to see it, let me know and i’ll send it to you.


Here are three easy steps to prepare for 2017


  1. Confidence: Reflect upon your accomplishments in the past year, look at each month and see what you did and what you are proud of. Write them down and pat yourself on the back. You deserve to recognize and celebrate your accomplishments. If miss this step, you will not have the confidence to set more goals.  
  2. Clarity: Identify all the areas of improvement, write down all your current problems. All your desires and wishes. Write it all down so that you can see on paper what you really want in the coming year. Once you have a full list of everything you want to improve, fix and create. It’s time to decide which one thing, is the most important thing in each area of your life. Business, Family, Personal and Community. If you have too many priorities, you don’t have any priorities.  
  3. Activation: Create a list of outcomes along with actionable items that you will execute on in the coming year. Share those outcomes and action items with a friend. Make sure that the actions you commit to taking align with your top values and that you have a strong reason for wanting to accomplish those goals. The “Why” will fuel you into action.


Now that you wrote it all down and shared it with a friend, you are ready to take on the new year and make your dreams a reality.

Joe Apfelbaum

Ajax Union


PS: Last year I did 1000 selfies with 1000 people, check out my top selfies, are you in one? Do you want to do a selfie with me in 2017?

Best Selfies of 2016

PPS: I am really excited about my accomplishments in 2016, Here are 10 that I committed and  executed on.


  1. Interviewed 52 CEO’s for
  2. Filmed and published 52 Episodes fo GrowTime.TV
  3. Posted 200 Mojovational Street Talks on Facebook
  4. Took over 1000 selfies with 1000 people.
  5. Got Lasik, Perfect Vision
  6. Next level health, lost another 10 lbs (80 total)
  7. Had my 5th Child!
  8. Finished 3rd draft of my book.
  9. Sent a weekly email to you each sunday. (This is the last one of 2016)
  10. Built a next level business culture, lived up to the amazing vision. Right people in the right seats. Our digital marketing business is better than ever.


I am super excited about 2017, I am ready! Let’s do this together!!!


Thank you for being in my life.


Happy New Year!


Can you love unconditionally?

Joe Apfelbaum, Smiles


“I just met an old classmate of mine and he made me feel terrible.” He looked troubled by this encounter. I asked him to go on “Tell me what your classmate said.”


“It’s not about what my classmate said, it’s about what he didn’t say. I really feel like asking him, how he is doing, learning about him and connecting with him in a deep way. Yet, I can’t bring myself to connect with him, because I know that he won’t reciprocate.”


This got me very curious, I really wanted to learn more, so I kept quiet and used my body language to indicated that he should go on.


“In the past, I have tried to connect with this person and he totally brushed me off. I kind of hate him for that. He thinks he is more important, like he is aloof and I can’t stand that.”


He was obviously hurt but not by what was done to him but by the way he connected with the idea of unconditional love.


You expect and demand that others treat you better than you treat them. You want people to love you, care about you, nurture you.


Think about that grumpy cashier, I have come across them many times. My experience completely depended on on how I approached this situation. If I walked in with the expectation that, you are my cashier, you need to be in the service of others and you “should” smile when you serve others as a cashier. If my expectation was not met, I would be disappointed.


On the other hand, If I took the responsibility of  the service of others and said to myself, I will leave every person I interact with a bit better off after I meet them. I now have the power to change this person from being a grumpy cashier to someone that might be able to smile a bit.


This cashier might have a life that is much harder than mine and might feel stuck but I will make their life better by not judging them but showing up with love, unconditional love.  


I do empathize with the person who wants unconditional love. Because I want to be accepted and loved unconditionally. When I get treated that, I feel like I have wings. When someone takes interest in me, loves me, connects with me, wants to learn all about me, is fascinated by me. I get high.


Now that I know that I feel that way, why not make others feel that way. Maybe they will realize what is going on and do the same, or maybe they won’t. Most people don’t. Not because they can’t but because they are not aware.


I know that most people are reactive. That means that they will react to their environment. That is why it’s so important to choose your friends wisely because you mirror your friends.


When it comes to business networking, the more you show up and give, the more likely you are setup for success.


Often people tell me that networking does not work for them, I ask them how many referrals and introductions they made in the past 6 months. They will scratch their head and try to remember. Usually not many. If you want networking to work, you need to make 10x more introductions than you expect to receive.


Yes, loving unconditionally, giving unconditionally is a ton of work. But the payoffs are huge.


It takes a real leader to stand up, take responsibility and give, love, create, without expecting anything in return in the depth of their heart. That doesn’t mean that if you see someone that you feel takes away from your energy that you should engage with them for the sake of good leadership.


At least challenge and question that icky feeling you feel, when you are confident that you will be giving and you will not be getting back from that source. It always comes back, It just comes back from another channel.


I challenge you to take a moment and take serious interest in the people around you today. Do not wonder what they can do for you but only focus on how you can add value to their life. You will have more power than you ever had.
Can you love unconditionally? Are you looking for a reward every time you show love, every time you give? Do you expect other people to take interest in you when you take interest in them?


Feel free to let me know what you think.


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 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

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 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..

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

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 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.