2010 – A year in review, and The Besties!

What a fun ride 2010 has been!

The best year ever

I’ve been doing some great reading around Internet-land lately, and have taken up quite an interest in reading people’s reviews of how their year has gone for them. Joel, Steve, and Sean wrote some really great posts on their 2010, so I’ll do my best attempt at doing a mini-summary of mine.

Put very simply, 2010 was the best year of my life (so far).

Month by month

If you’d like to skip on to “The Besties” (my take on some of the best moments, media, and happenings of 2010), head on down to the lower portion of this post. If you’d like to come along for a story, stick around.

Let’s take a journey of some of the major month-by-month happenings in the land of TFS and JC…

January

  • With a brand-new daughter (Neely Edyn) born at the end of December, my sweetie and I bring her home and now begin learning the masterful art of parenting TWO little girls. Neely and her big sister Kelsey are truly the apples of my eye, and my desire (at this point in the year) is to do whatever I can in order to spend as much time with these two little joys and their mama.
  • January 29th, 2010 – Maybe the most profound date of the entire year. I leave my full time job to head home and start down the insane path of “lifestyle design” and to help my wife raise our little girls. I may not throw this one into the Bestie awards below, but this is quite possibly one of the best decisions I’ve made in the past 3 years. More on this later…

February

  • With the exact opposite amount of wisdom and good decision making required to leave my job, I make the mistake (or maybe I should call it “learning opportunity”) to enroll in a local community college for web design. I think this will be a good idea because I somewhat understand the Web, and want to understand it better. I learn everything I need to learn in order to get started in my first week of classes, and due to financial restraints (and STUPID state laws), I’m required to remain in classes for another 3 months until the end of the semester. Lesson learned? Do your research prior to making a “big” decision like this. I am not anti-school, but I think many young folks make the terrible mistake of going to school simply because they think it’s a good idea or the “right” thing to do, without ever asking “Why am I doing this?” I made that mistake with this decision.
  • Since I am now forced to go to a few classes at night, I capitalize on the time by beginning to do some serious blog and ebook reading on my laptop during the classes (slacker? Please…I already took most of these classes in high school. In fact, I had the highest GPA with almost no studying during this semester. Eat your heart out, 11th grade English teacher!  😎 ). I come across quite a few bloggers and personalities that end up giving me some serious inspiration.
  • 2nd best choice of the year: Bethany and I join a local gym and get our first-ever official “health assessment”. For those who have picked up a copy of Tim Ferriss’ recent Four Hour Body, the health assessment is a basic measurement of almost all that he talks about in the first few chapters. We have our “body redesign” GPS set, and begin to work out and gain a love for all things fitness.

March

  • March can be summed up in 1 word: Tea. I begin delving into this foreign-tasting beverage and end up falling in love with all of it. The process of how it’s grown, how it’s brewed, and even some of the quirks of how it should be drank. With a band of helpful friends and their wisdom, I begin buying and taste-testing all kinds of tea. Strangely enough, this is the only nutritional change I make in the beginning of the year, and I start to feel great!
  • In the middle of the month, I head to the Adirondack mountain range of NY with some fellow manly men from our church and climb a mountain for some winter camping. We end up having an absolute blast, and this becomes my first video I post in my “Adventurous Videos” section of this site.

April

  • We celebrate Bethany’s __th birthday (You can ask her how old she is…I won’t incriminate her on here 🙂 ) by heading to NYC with the girls. We have a fun time hanging out in Times Square for the day and riding the “alligator” (escalator) in the Toys ‘R’ Us store with Kelsey. Interestingly enough, 2 days later there is a bomb scare right outside of the restaurant we were having lunch at. Weird.

May

  • I run my first 5k race ever, dribbling a basketball with a friend to raise awareness for Ball for Lives, a charity established by my friend Dan “Occh” Occhiogrosso. This is a monumental day also for Bethany, as she’s able to compete, and complete her first competitive race ever. Score one for accomplishing goals! This was a fun day also, because it gave me an opportunity to create a 2nd Adventurous Video:

June

  • Heading back to NYC, Bethany and I once again have a great time running a race. Again, for Ball for Lives, we participate in “El Maraton Descalzo” (The Barefoot Marathon), to raise awareness for an organization called Samaritans Feet, which helps to provide shoes to children in countries where they don’t have or can’t afford them. The idea behind the Maraton Descalzo, is to have teams of runners (1 runner, 1 dribbler) who run 2-mile relay stints for a total of 26.2 miles (marathon distance). I dribbled down to the turn-around point (At the end of Liberty State Park along the Hudson River in New Jersey, directly across from Downtown Manhattan), and passed the ball off to Bethany who dribbled back in the direction I just came from. It was about 1,000 degrees out that day, and our feet were slightly burned, but it was a TON of fun!

  • In the last week in June, I’m able to return back to my alma mater and participate as a “coach” at basketball camp. It’s a great time teaching high school kids the game that I love so much, and it’s also a great time catching up with a lot of guys that I played basketball with in college and who played before me. Fun fun!

July

  • Almost the entire month of July is spent with no Internet out in the wilderness of Wisconsin. It’s the annual training time for the Army Reserve, and I have a complete blast! We got rained on with storms I’ve never seen (8+ hours of thunder and lightning at night. It sounded like an air show was going on all night), and I get to see my first tornado. What an incredible time!

August

  • This month is a blur for me in my memory banks. All I can remember is hot temperatures, lots of swimming, lots of basketball, and lots of hanging out with family and friends. Some great stories were made during this month, most of which are better told in person 🙂
  • Ahh wait…I DO remember 1 thing that happened in August. A friend and I somehow got selected by our Army unit to take a trip to the lovely state of Montana for some good old UFC-style jiu jitsu training. A few missed flights, a long layover in Colorado, incredible scenery, and some choke holds & arm bars later, and it turns out to be one of the best trips I’ve taken in the past 10 years. Montana is pure magic, and I can’t wait to go back there for more training, and to take my family there for a visit. One of the big pluses for me on this trip was how much I learned by not talking and just listening. It was amazing.
  • Thankful. Somehow, during the month of August, David Crandall and LaVonne Ellis came up with this crazy idea for a “customer love” challenge. Thanks to some inspiration from Sean Ogle, I decide to take my customer love to the Twittersphere, and I begin what ends up being called the “Twitzkrieg“. If you want a good story, check this one out. 🙂

September

  • My little Kelsey girl turns 2 years old, and we celebrate in grand fashion, complete with a bounce house out in the yard (that just BARELY supports Daddy’s weight). Much fun is had by all in enjoying 2 years with this little Magoo 🙂
  • In what became one of my favorite events of the year (more on this below), Bethany and I flew to NYC for the day to meet up with some great friends. One of my best memories of the year was our 3+ hour long dinner, in which we enjoyed great food, conversation, and friendship. I can honestly say this is one of the moments of 2010 where I felt most alive. What a joy and an honor to share that moment with people I love!
  • Lastly, in the very last week of September, I muster up the courage (thanks in part to some big time motivation from friends, and an “impossible” deadline) to release my first product. I learn more on e-commerce and info product creation in 72 hours than I learned in the previous 9 months, and I overcome the terrifyingly (yet seemingly small) goal of earning my first $100 online. Ahh the relief, and joys of digital entrepreneurship!

October

  • I end up writing the largest amount of posts in 1 month that this tiny little blog has seen in it’s short existence, and get tons of feedback from many of you readers. I feel like I’m starting to understand this whole community thing, and I get fired up! I pour myself into one of my posts, which actually rekindles a relationship with an old friend – this makes any “ROI” of this blog look like chump change, because I was able to gain something that matters so much more than money. Inspiration ensues…
  • Travel, travel, and more travel. I hit up the mountains of NY once again for some fun Army training, along with the Show-Me-State of Missouri.
  • I become a licensed motorcycle rider, and go on my first road trip with Bethany. We dress pretty much like a mixture of this and this, and end up feeling like true biker dudes/dudettes.
  • I complete my hunter’s and bowhunter’s New York State safety courses (something I should’ve done when I was 12…not 26) and prepare myself to become a manly man (starting next year…of course there will be pics of my first deer. Holla!).

November

  • After 6+ months of late-night phone calls, long emails, and “war room” Skype sessions, Tim Morris and I release our first joint-venture project, “The Core“. One of the best returns we got on this book was the opportunity for both of us to return to the college we graduated from and lead workshops and leadership sessions on the contents of the book. Public speaking is the most amazing job ever. Seriously. That said…Tim and I are available to lead some leadership training (who doesn’t like a harmless sales pitch?). 🙂
  • Thanksgiving with my family here in NY is a blast. We spend Turkey day hanging out with extended family and some friends, and a good time is had by all.

December

  • Our Christmas celebration begins the day after Thanksgiving, with the selection, cutting down, and decorating of our tree. We blitz the decorating process and have our whole house turned from zero to Christmas in 2 hours. Productivity win!
  • In the middle of the month, we once again return to NYC with my family. Out of the 10 of us that went, 4 had never been to the city before. Bethany and I had never visited during the holidays. Needless to say, it was one of the best times I’ve had in the city!

  • I should give highlight to one last piece before I close. Ok maybe 2. The first is Neely’s 1st birthday (which we celebrated yesterday)
  • The second is the long-anticipated (by my family at least) release of Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Body book. Armed with fat calipers, measurements, “before” photos, and a workout and nutrition plan like no other, we’re hard charging into 2011 with some serious fitness goals!

There’s much more

There is a lot that took place during this year that went unmentioned. Some good, some bad, but all worth it. Maybe I need to do a better job recording and keeping track of events in 2011 so I can steer the ship better.

A matter of perspective

There is one event that took place this year, which with the wrong perspective, it could appear to have been a very, very bad event. This is the first time I’ve shared this news publicly on this blog:

My dad was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in the beginning of the year, which came as a shocker both to him and to us. Many would get upset with why this would happen, and saddened by what is currently known of this disease. But as people that like to take opportunity and make the best of it (and as Christians who place our trust in the sovereign Creator of the universe), it may have turned out to be one of the best things to happen to our family this year.

I love my Pop, and have prayed at the beginning of the year that my relationship with him would improve and that we’d be able to spend more time together. Well…it turns out that this disease may (in a weird way) have been an answer to that prayer. I have had more meaningful times with my dad this year than almost any other year. We’ve had some great laughs, cries, and story times. He’s been able to be an integral part of his granddaughter’s young lives, and I’ve loved every minute I’ve gotten to spend with him.

I don’t mean for this to be a tear-jerker, but let me ask this question as many of you are planning your 2011: What matters most to you? Put quite simply, Do that this year.

I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve gotten to grow closer to my dad in 2010, and I look forward to our relationship getting even stronger in 2011.

2010

All in all, I’m pretty excited and happy with how the year turned out. It was a year of laughter, learning, love, disappointment, joy, fear, and fun. Would I change any of it? Nope. Will I learn from it? Yup. Will 2011 be the best year? Yes. 🙂

And now…

The Besties!

No, not Beasties, Besties! Aka, my take on the “bests” of the year. Holla!

I’ve polled the audience for some of the items that they’d like me to weigh in on for the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Ten, and here we gooooooo! (Side note: These are purely my opinion. The great thing about opinions is, if you don’t agree with me, that’s super duper. Share your besties with me in the comments, fine reader! I wanna hear ’em)

Let’s start with the BEST MOVIE

Hands down, with out ANY competition, this year’s best movie award goes to Inception. This movie rocks like no other. It was the brain-child of Christopher Nolan’s experience with lucid dreaming, and interestingly enough, it inspired me to study lucid dreaming as well (with some fantastic results!). Congrats Inception! You’ve earned it!

Best Album

This one may upset some. A quick explanation first:

I’m not much of an “album listener” anymore. Due to the magic of technology, I can pretty much get any song I want, when I want. I spend most of my day rocking out to artists I like on Pandora. I’m also a super sanguine personality, which means I flit back and forth from song to song, sometimes not even listening to the entire song (yes, I know, this is frustrating to many people. Sorry). If I DO buy an album, it’s gotta be solid gold on almost every song.

With that said…this year’s Bestie for Best Album goes to….TRON: Legacy Soundtrack

Yes, I know that this movie JUST came out, and so did the soundtrack. BUT…for the type of work I do, music without words (and a solid beat) harbors serious creativity and motivation. This soundtrack hits the spot on almost every song, so that’s why I picked it as the winner.

Congrats Daft Punk on writing some amazing music!

Best Book

This one is near and dear to my heart, as reading is one of the biggest force-multipliers one can apply to life. I have a post I’ve been writing and adding to for over 6 months on this topic alone that I’ll be bringing out in 2011 (split up into multiple posts, of course).

I read a lot of nonfiction, and have recently been reading a little more fiction (to add to my creative juices). Much of what I read directly impacts me long term and on a day to day. As this was a year for big time business idea generation and growth, I spent a lot of time in the business book section of Amazon and the library. There were 2 big timers that I read this year, the first of which (and runner up) was “Rework” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. This book helped to change a lot of the paradigms that I “thought” were necessary in starting and running a business. Much of what is perceived simply isn’t necessary. It’s a great book that helps to answer the great question (“Why?”) when it comes to business.

And that leaves us with our winner. I’d been introduced to this author in 2009, and was taken back by how impressive his writing style and thought-patterns were/are. The winning book has been his crown jewel for the past few years and the one that has drawn the most blood, sweat, and anxiety out of him in writing it.

The 2010 Bestie award for Best Book goes to…..Linchpin, by Seth Godin.

Any review I can do for this book simply wouldn’t do justice. If you trust me, take my advice here, and READ THIS BOOK in 2011.

Congrats on a great book Seth, and thanks for showing me that “real artists ship”! 🙂

Best trip

Obviously, this one is pure opinion and experience, because it’s my own travels.

It was mentioned above, this year’s winner for the best trip is: Our NYC trip with the Crandalls and Morris’

You can’t beat a day in the big city with good friends 🙂

Best sports moment

Ok, I’ll finish with this one. It’s simply goofy. There were quite a few amazing sports moments this past year, with some great finishes to some great seasons. But none, NONE can compare to the winner.

This year’s best sports moment goes to….Ron Artest thanking everyone under the sun for his performance in the NBA Finals.

“I wanna thank my psychiatrist!”

If you liked Ron Ron’s interview, you’ll love his press conference afterward.

That’s it!

Happy New Year everyone. Thank you all for the best year (so far) of my life, and cheers to 2011!

– JC

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Your Next (best) Business Idea…Revealed!

Navigating your brain

How many of us come up with “great” ideas all the time? Maybe some type of cure to a problem, new way of bringing happiness, or possibly a dynamite business idea?

You play it out in your mind, you imagine what it looks like, feels like, heck, even smells like. You’ve got it laid out perfectly. This is going to be the big one, the one that makes you rich. The one that is going to solve your financial problems for quite a while.

But then it hits you…

You have not a frackin’ clue how to begin. You have no idea where to start. You haven’t the slightest on who to contact.

Self-doubt begins to creep in, and now you start thinking of all the ways it’ll never work. You think about how it was such a STUPID idea in the first place.

Before you know it, your once-great business idea is swept out of your mental arena, never to be thought-upon again.

But you never bothered testing the idea!

Worse yet, you see someone in the near future pull off YOUR idea and start making money from it. Someone less qualified, less intelligent, less pretty (ok maybe not, but who knows?).

Let’s avoid that scenario before it even presents itself.

Introducing ETL – Extract Transform Load

My good old homeboy Mark Twain once said, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles. Some of them actually happened.” This of course is referring to how we humans love to play out our worst-case scenarios in our minds and imagine them to be actual historical events. We’re really good at faking ourselves out.

Part of the reason for that, is that we have very little idea of how to navigate our own thought-processes and ideas. But fret not, ye mind-warriors. Help is on the way!

Internet-wizard, and Heroically intelligent BIBA David Crandall has come up with the solution.

ETL

Using his background in Business Intelligence, and some sexy design skills gained “from a past life” (as he puts it), David has developed THE best way to map the greatest database you have for your business dreams – Your mind!

As a student of David’s coaching (He was one of the driving forces behind the creation of my motivational fitness guide), I can tell you first hand that his methods WORK. He has helped me capture, record, and manage data (thoughts) within my own mind that have helped to propel many of my “ideas” into real-life, tangible products, that people are willing to pay $$ for.

If you’ve ever wanted to know where to start when it comes to making money online…

…Then David’s program is for you. Click here to head over to the sales page (yes, this is an affiliate link. So not only will you help David with creating more mind-blowing content by clicking this, you’ll be helping TFS take it to the next level as well. Boo-yah!)

I’m so excited for my friend to be able to introduce this program, and I’m so excited for YOU for taking your first steps toward becoming and online entrepreneur!

Cheers!

– JC

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Business is Changing

I’d like to share another goodie I’ve come across lately. For my Wu-Tang Clan of dedicated readers, don’t worry, I’ll be pumping out some good content for y’all soon. I just wanted to have a professional share something I’ve been trying to communicate to quite a few peeps lately. He can say it better than I can. So…………

Welcome Gary Vee

Gary Vaynerchuk is a social media pro. To even call him that gives him a disservice. He is at the very tip of the sword when it comes to identifying where our current web/social/business realm is, and is headed. His best selling book Crush It! was one of the best books I read in 2009, and I continue to look back to it often for reference concerning this blog and my business.

His upcoming book, The Thank You Economy talks about the “humanization” of business and how we are living in a time period where brands that are truly successful are those with a personality. There is a lot more to this concept which Gary will share, and when this book comes out, I STRONGLY recommend it! As a social marketing consultant, this concept stands out to me every single day as I meet with different companies and different personalities.

Enough jibber jabber, let’s hear Gary!

I’ll say this as a disclaimer: if cursing upsets or offends you, don’t bother watching this video. I’m serious. Gary is a very passionate “East Coast guy with an East Coast flavor” as he puts it. His keynote speeches involve quite a good bit of cursing. If you can stomach the cursing and listen to what he has to say, you may find some serious nuggets of wisdom as I have. Enjoy!

(By the way, I’ve left a little “personal” note for those who are regular readers at the bottom. If this is your first time, don’t worry about checking it out. Just enjoy Gary and we’ll catch up soon 😎 )

Cheers!

– JC

Odds and Ends – I’ve chatted with a few of you about the idea of having 2 separate blogs: 1 for business and 1 for personal.

I like to keep things central, and anybody that’s talked with me over the phone or face to face knows that my business is personal. So I don’t mean to confuse people by sharing all these somewhat “random” thoughts. Taking Fun Seriously is not only a brand name, but an ideal I hold to, and one that can permeate (wow, great word!) all areas of life. In other words, I’m the same dude in my living room that I am in the board room, that I am on the basketball court, that I am in someone else’s home.

John Maxwell shared a fired-up quote with me once in one of his books (this is paraphrased): “When you do what you love, you never really end up having to ‘work’ again. Your work becomes your play.”

So who’s ready to have some fun? 🙂

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