It’s Autism Awareness Month — Do you Support a Cause?

What cause can you get behind?

April is Autism Awareness Month and ever since the J-Mac game 11 years ago, I have been very passionate about supporting the autism movement and spreading awareness through AutismUp, a local organization here in Rochester, NY.  Do you have a cause that you are passionate about?  I strongly suggest that you find a cause and become passionate about helping out any way you can.  If you are searching for a cause to get behind (which I strongly suggest), here are some tips to help you out.  Enjoy.

  • Find something you are passionate about. For me, my heart was touched after the J-Mac game in 2006.  Autism soon became something that I had a personal connection to and my passion followed shortly after.  What are you passionate about?
  • What fits your purpose?  This is very similar to asking a business about their mission.  What is your purpose in life?  Is there a cause remotely close to what you would define as your purpose?  The closer the cause is aligned with your life purpose, the more personal joy it will bring you.
  • Support your family and friends. If you are struggling to find something you feel really passionate about, ask your friends and family members.  They might be able to point you in the right direction or bring you along to a fundraiser/event and transform their passion on to you.  Sharing your passion can be very powerful.
  • Share with others. Once you have your cause chosen and you get behind it, make sure you share it with others.  Not only can they help support, but it will help spread the word and awareness as well.

Did You Know?  Coach Jim Johnson and J-Mac are attending a Zappos Autism Awareness event in Las Vegas next week.

Life Tip #84:  Leave a legacy by leaving the world a better place by how you live your life

Are you taking things for Granted?

What are you taking for granted?

Taking things for granted is a common occurrence, but we must appreciate what we have instead of stress about what we want.  A few weeks ago, we had a bad windstorm here in Rochester and lost power for a few days.  While it was not a pleasant experience, it was certainly a humbling one.  It got me thinking about life and how we must appreciate what we have in our lives.  Here are a few tips on how to not take things for granted.  Enjoy.

  • Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful for everything.  Appreciate the good things and learn from the bad things
  • Start a journal. I like to keep a gratitude journal.  This way, I can look back and read about good things that have happened in my life.  It helps with me reflect on the good things in my life.  What are you thankful for?  Write about it!
  • Gratitude folder. I have a folder that I put nice notes, events, and mementos in to remember good times or experiences I have had.  This helps touch my heart when I am feeling down.
  • Remember to share your love. Showing appreciation for others in your life will go a long way in keeping you humbled and happy.  Say “thank you” and “I love you” to those who deserve it.  Who do you appreciate?
  • Praise others. When they deserve to be thanked or praised, do so.  Life achievements (new job, birthday, promotion, etc.) are a great opportunity for you to reach out and congratulate someone.  Who is the last person you have praised?

Did You Know?  One of Coach Jim Johnson’s former players, Anthony Lamb, had a great freshman season at Vermont.  He was the MVP of the America East conference tournament as well as the Rookie of the year in the conference.

Life Tip #103:  Kill people with kindness

How Can You Grow Yourself Consistently?

Are you consistently improving yourself?

Each day must be viewed as an opportunity to improve ourselves.  When we get out of bed, that particular day is a unique opportunity to make ourselves better.  Improvement must be done on a consistent basis, not something that gets done once in a while.  For me, one of the best ways to improve myself, while being as efficient with my time as possible, is something I call the “two for one” method.  Below are some tips and tricks I utilize to ensure I am improving myself as I go about my day.  Enjoy.

  • Turn your car into a moving library. We all drive and some of us have extremely long commutes to and from work on a daily basis.  Turn your car into a library on wheels by listening to audiobooks and CDs that help grow your mind.  Keep your music to a minimum and really develop a habit to learn while driving.
  • Exercise and learn. Put in some headphones while you workout and double up with productivity.  Music can be motivational, but developing your mind as you exercise can be a great way to distract you from the workout.  What do you listen to while you workout?
  • Chores around the house. Have to vacuum the living room?    Throw on some headphones with a motivational audiobook.  Have to clean the basement?  Put in some headphones with a business development seminar on it. There are endless ways to grow your mind as you get things done.
  • Bring book when traveling. I went to Los Angeles last week and my most important item(s) on the trip were my personal development books.  Playing games on your phone can kill some time, but provide nothing toward growing your mind.  Who do you want to become?

Did You Know?  Coach Jim Johnson does a book recommendation every week.  Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to see what books he is recommending!

Life Tip #14:  Continue to grow as a person with a personal development plan

Are You Reading Enough?

How often do you read?

One of the best ways to grow your mind is to simply read on a consistent basis.  Success can be defined as “a few simple disciplines practiced every day.”  On that notion, we should be reading every day on a consistent basis in order to become successful.  We can learn from our peers, role models, and those who have accomplished exactly what we are striving to do.  I make an effort to read at least 6o minutes every day.  Do you?

  • Tips for reading. Start your day reading something.  End your day reading something.  This will allow your brain to gather information at critical times each day.  Learning to read faster and more comprehensively will also help enhance your reading experience.  As long as you do it on a consistent basis, you will develop a habit to crave knowledge.
  • Why read? If you read for an hour per day consistently, you will be an expert in that field in 5-7 years, which will make you more valuable.  Reading will cause you to be inspired and take action on what you are passionate about.  Reading also takes your mind to other places and allows you to dream. When is the last time you were lost in a book?  Reading consistently will increase your vocabulary and overall understanding of the English language, which could help you become more knowledgeable at work and ultimately lead to a higher position.  Why do you read?

Did You Know?  Coach Jim Johnson will be re-releasing the anniversary edition of his book in February.

“I invited Coach Johnson to talk to my team at the beginning of the season.  It was a phenomenal experience.  Coach is dynamic and motivating.  He helped our team come closer together as a team.  He had 10 high school students engaged!  He is awesome!”

-Todd Esposito, Girls Varsity BBall Coach, Churchville-Chili H.S.-

Life Tip #43:  Leaders are readers

Be Grateful for Unexpected Opportunities

When was the last time something unexpectedly GREAT happened to you?

Being grateful for the unexpected is more of a mindset than anything.  It is crucial for you to be aware of the opportunities that come your way.  The harder (and smarter) you work, the more opportunities will fall into your lap.  When they do, you need to be grateful for them.  Here are four of my personal opportunities that have unexpectedly come my way.  As you read them, know that I am forever grateful for each and every unexpected situation that comes my way.

  • John Calipari. Yes, the college basketball coach.  Back when Coach Cal was coaching at UMass, I reached out to him with a hand-written letter asking for his advice on how to turn my high school basketball program around.  A few days went by and my phone rang.  Coach Cal on the other end.  We proceeded to chat for 15 minutes and he gave me some tips for changing the culture of my squad.  He also reached out to me after the J-Mac game, which really meant a lot.
  • Jeffrey Gitomer. In 2011, I read his book The Little Book of Leadership and felt compelled to connect with him via LinkedIn.  This lead to speaking on the phone with this award-winning sales trainer and speaker for 30 minutes.  This was very unexpected, but would not have happened without me reaching out to him first.
  • Kate Holgate (my Manager). Kate and I met in Orlando a number of years ago at the annual National Speakers Conference.  As I sat down at a table for lunch, Kate was already occupying the table.  When we got to chatting, she was looking for more clients and I was desperately looking for a manager.  It was an unexpected perfect match.
  • Doug Potter (my Marketing Coordinator). Doug is a young man who played in the J-Mac game back in 2006 and was actually on the opposite team (Spencerport High School).  After a number of years, we reconnected and in 2013, he became my Marketing Coordinator.  Doug also is instrumental in the production in this very blog.

Life Tip #59:  Send people written congratulations for their accomplishments

Did You Know?  Coach is now back speaking full-time and delivering his Leadership Keynote across the country.


Coach’s Dozen – Inspirational Books

What are your favorite inspirational books?

Last week, I introduced my 12 favorite leadership books.  This week, I will give you my top 12 books that I found to be tremendously inspirational.  If you wish to make changes in your life, you must implement consistent routines that will lead to positive change.  For me, I read at least 30 minutes each day to grow my mind.  Take a look at the Coach’s Dozen this week and pick a few books that you can add to your list.  Trust me, it will be worth it.

  • Success Principles – Jack Canfield
  • The Power of Positive Thinking – Norman Vincent Peale
  • The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch
  • Season of Life – Jeffrey Marx
  • Over the Top – Zig Ziglar
  • Every Day I Fight – Stuart Scott
  • The Purpose Driven Life – Rick Warren
  • Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
  • Mindset – Carol Dweck
  • 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class – Steve Siebold
  • The Bible
  • A Coach and a Miracle – Jim Johnson & Mike Latona

The more you read, the more you learn and grow your mind.  Try your best to make it an appointment with yourself each day to grow your mind.  Reading (especially the books above) helps to feed your mind and allow it to become strong.  The most motivational books have a call to action.  The best leaders develop a plan of action.  Which type of person are you?

Life Tip #14:  Continue to grow as a person with your own personal development plan

Coach’s Dozen – Leadership Books

What are your favorite leadership books?

Throughout my time writing the #CJJblog I have constantly encouraged readers to grow your mind.  As someone who practices what they preach, I make sure I am reading at least 30 minutes each day to grow my mind.  This week I am starting the “Coach’s Dozen” and giving you my top 12 books within a certain category.  Below are my top 12 books on leadership.  Let me know which ones you have read and what you think of them.  Enjoy.

  • Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
  • The Score Takes Care of Itself – Bill Walsh
  • The 12 Leadership Principles of Dean Smith – David Chadwick
  • My Personal Best – John Wooden
  • Martin Luther King Jr on Leadership – Donald Phillips
  • Principle Centered Leadership – Stephen Covey
  • 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John Maxwell
  • Real Leadership – John Addison and John David Mann
  • Leadership – Rudolph Giuliani
  • The 5 Levels of Leadership – John Maxwell
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
  • Lincoln on Leadership – Donald Phillips

True leaders take on responsibility for themselves.  They do not pass blame onto others, nor do they make excuses for their mistakes and hardships.  The books above illustrate the sides of leaders and what they are all about.  If you wish to be a true leader, you must always look to grow not only yourself, but your team as well.  Have a great weekend and let me know how I can help grow your mind.  Which book is your favorite?

Life Tip #43:  Leaders are readers

Success Tips (part 1 of 3)

How do you become successful?

Becoming successful is not something that happens overnight.  Success leaves clues and it should be your life duty to work hard and use the information accessible you to achieve greatness.  This week in my #CJJblog I am going to begin a three part series on my tips to become successful.  There will be 33 tips in total and I want you to start with a few and master them.  Branch out and add in the ones you like to become the next great success story.  You deserve it.

  • Make Life a study. Study what you want to accomplish.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Pay yourself first. Grow your mind at all times.
  • Become Debt free. Debt leads to stress and stress hinders your productivity.
  • Practice your craft consistently.
  • Start each day with a nutritious breakfast. Make the most of each day.
  • Discipline yourself not to eat after 8pm. Discipline your life in all aspects.
  • Read something productive at least 30 minutes each day. Inspirational, informational, or educational.
  • Have a bedtime routine.
  • Get at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night. Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
  • Write your goals down daily. Constant reminders of what you are working toward.

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend.  Enjoy your time with family and friends, because they are the ones who matter the most.  Let me know in the comments below and let me know which one of these tips you find most useful!

Life Tip #37:  CANEI – Constant and never-ending improvement

Importance of Giving

How do you give back to others?

Giving back is something that not only can help your professional career, but improve your mental state as well. I try to make a habit to giving back to others on a consistent basis.  The more I learn about my favorite causes to give to (ex: Autism Up –, the more I feel compelled to help out.  Here are some tips to consider when giving back to others and considering its importance.  Enjoy.

  • Find a cause. There are many different causes out there that you can get behind and support. Pick something that has personal meaning to you and learn about it. You can give other things than money as well (time, effort, resources, etc.). Helping to raise money for the cause is great, but there are many other ways you can give back. What is your cause that you feel strongly about?
  • Give for the right reasons. Many people give while expecting something in return. This creates a sense of anxiety that may affect your ability to give. Do not expect the spotlight in any way. You must learn to give for the sole benefit to others. It is then, and only then, that you will establish a true sense of accomplishment from giving to others. What is the main reason why you give back to others?
  • Limit expectations. It’s also important to let your actions unfold as they may. Having expectations of how things should happen only set you up for disappointment. It’s crucial that you open your mind up to helping others and not expecting anything in return.

I am very proud of my team as we beat the second-ranked team in the state over the weekend, improving our record to 17-1. With the next few weeks being crucial to our season, I am stressing the importance of teamwork.  Check back in next week for a Super Bowl edition of #CJJblog.  Until then, how are you giving back to others?

Life Tip #27:  Go the extra mile consistently.  There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.

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