In this episode of Brandstorm, we welcome Joe Sweeney, a New York Times best-selling author, national speaker and trainer. Joe has been a business owner, investment banker and sports agent. Today, he discusses how these different roles have played a part in inspiring others to help themselves and those around them.

Joe Sweeney
Originally from Madison, Wis., and one of 10 children, Joe was raised in a close knit, entrepreneurial family. The lessons he shares in his three books about networking and reflection are rooted in his experiences growing up. Joe says living in the Midwest, people are often defined by what they do for a living, making it difficult for people to change careers. Joe likes to describe himself as an enterprising person with an entrepreneurial spirit, and not as someone who has changed careers several times.

After Further Review
The title of Joe’s most recent book refers to what a football referee says to the crowd after looking at a play more closely. Joe asks readers to pause, examine their life and define what excites them or drives their passion. This is especially key when people are in their 40s, 50s and 60s and are looking for more purpose and meaning.

Networking the Right Way
Joe tells us that most people use networking the wrong way, and that even the term “networking” has a bad connotation. We imagine someone aggressively attempting to get what they want out of someone, without any true connection. The purpose of Joe’s first book, Networking Is a Contact Sport, is to train people to reframe the way they look at networking. One way is to pretend that you are the host of the networking event. This way, you are more likely to introduce people to each other and less likely to be focused on what the networking event can do for you and your bottom line. Joe says that when you can help people get what they want, you can get everything you want in life and more.

The 5-10-15 Principle
Joe’s principle encourages people to hold five meetings, write 10 handwritten notes and make 15 phone calls every day that move your goals forward. The number of meetings, calls and letters isn’t as important as keeping yourself focused on your goals. In a digital age, where we may think we are all better connected, Joe believes we are more isolated than ever. Touch, he says, trumps technology and when we meet people face-to-face, we are more likely to see eye-to-eye.

Secrets to Building Your Personal Brand
The “secret sauce” for Joe has been authenticity. A brand is your promise to those you serve, and being who you really are is the only way to live up to that promise. This past year, Joe’s personal journey led him to board a Greyhound bus with $30 in his pocket and live as a homeless person in Detroit for a week. This experience taught him true gratitude, which he says leads to a feeling of abundance with all that we have here in the U.S. Joe says we live in an entitled culture. We measure our worth by our possessions and status. When you are unemployed, poor or older, you are often viewed by society as a nobody. Joe’s mission is to break that stereotype and to teach others that opportunities in business and life come from our relationships and connections with people.

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