Obstacles, Hashtags, & What I Learned…


What stands in the way becomes the way.” – Marcus Aurelius

My grandmom had a saying each time I complained about something.

She would hear me out.

Then she would look at me and say, It’s what you make of it.”


Nothing like having your attitude called out by your grandmom.

I spent the last 12 months rehabbing from ACL surgery.

The injury started out as a scary obstacle.

It morphed into an amazing teacher.

The process introduced me to new ways of doing things, amazing people, & to myself.

Below is a Top 10 list of what I learned during a year filled with crutches, box jumps, & new perspectives.

To keep with the trend, I sum up each learning with a #Hashtag:

  1. Mindset is everything: If you think it’s too hard, it is.  If you think you can’t, you’re right. If you think you can, you will. #Mindset
  2. Don’t Take Your Health for Granted: Unfortunately it takes not being able to walk to appreciate the ability of walking.  No more.  #Gratitude
  3. Do your homework:  Orthopedic Surgeons, ACL procedures, & physical therapists are not created equal. Do your homework.  #Preparation
  4. Take Action:  There are no guarantees in surgery, or life.  After you do your homework, you have to have the guts to jump on the operating table to make your life better. #Courage
  5. The Power of Community:  During my time off the jiu jitsu mats, I missed the BJJ community.  I have never met a more determined, diverse, & motivated group of people. Their positive influence is contagious. #TeamBalance
  6. Don’t Quit:  You can discharge yourself from formal phyisical therapy sessions at any point.  Don’t quit too soon! The amazing  PT’s I worked with pushed me, encouraged me, & evolved my rehab in ways I could have never done myself. #Persistance
  7. Move:  Not being able to move around the first few weeks post surgery were some of the toughest moments.  Being inactive messed with my body & mind. Movement creates an energy that is seen and felt. #BeActive
  8. Eat Healthy:  The effect that eating the right foods had on my energy, healing & mood is immeasurable. Your body will thank you. #Nutrition
  9. Sleep Matters:  I used to pride myself in going to bed late and getting up early.  No more.  8 hours of sleep is a wonder drug.  #SleepWell
  10. The Obstacle is the Way:  When you get the MRI back that says “complete tear”, you have 2 choices:  Give up or Get after it.  How you respond to the obstacles life throws at you defines who you are. #Tenacity 

Life will always throw down challenges.

When they show up, remember…

“It’s what you make of it.”

Running into an obstacle is AVERAGE.

Making the most of it leads to REMARKABLE.

-Joe Ciccarone


About Joe Ciccarone

Host of the “Built Not Born” podcast, Blogger (SalesVibe.net) & BJJ Black Belt. "Escape Average, Be Remarkable."
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2 Responses to Obstacles, Hashtags, & What I Learned…

  1. Matt Fran says:

    “It’s what you make of it”…Wise words from your Grandmom. Nice article JC.

  2. Well written Joe. Going through some of that myself now, but less long-term in effect. Safe travels – send my best to all at the meeting.

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