How you see yourself determines how high you can climb.

If you want to do great things you have to see yourself as capable of great things. Because in your life you are The Great Empower. You are your own Wizard of Oz. You get to bestow courage, heart and wisdom to yourself. You get to turn the knobs, flip the switches and pull the ropes on your own machinery. And you get to give yourself sweet pyrotechnics, and a really big head.

However, you are also The Great Limiter. Because you will never be more than your perception of yourself.

If you see yourself as a middle manager, then you will never be the CEO. If you see yourself as OK you will never be great. If you see yourself as a thousandaire, you will never become a millionaire. And if you see yourself as a background actor you will never be the star of the show.

But if you see yourself as amazing and full of potential, you have what it takes to realize that potential. You can learn and grow. You can strengthen, deepen, and wisen. You can turn yourself into anything. Like that cyborg from Terminator 2. Or Eddie Murphy’s make-up artist.

Spend time with others who believe in themselves and who encourage you to believe in yourself too. You’ll quickly realize that if you believe in yourself and are willing to learn and improve, you have everything you need to do anything you want.

Key Takeaway

Think big thoughts. Believe in yourself. Picture yourself on top of the mountain. Then just keep climbing. It’s the only way to get there.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

If you like positive messages you’ll probably dig my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cooke Say? from Ripples Media. (If you hate this post you will totally hate my book too. So definitely don’t visit fortunecookiebook.com.)

What people have been saying about my book.

When I sat down to write my first book, I believed it would be pretty good. After all, I planned to fill it with some of the most valuable life lessons I have learned so far. I planned to make it positive. And I planned to sprinkle humor throughout the pages as a reward for readers who invested their time in my book. Because Bezos knows that readers have a lot of other options.

But now that the book is published, it doesn’t really matter what I think anymore. What matters now is whether or not the people who read the book like it. I first announced that my book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? was available on Amazon on December 20th, 2021, just days before Christmas.

The first time I ever held my book in my hand. (I still haven’t held it in my foot.)

Friends and family immediately began telling me they ordered the book. They sent me pics of their order confirmations from Amazon. Then, as the books were delivered, I started receiving pics from all over North America of people with their books in hand, ready to read.

The Anticipation

As people began reading the book I felt as if I was in that scene from the movie Ratatouille when the kitchen staff presses against the window to the dining room to watch the diners try the soup that the rat made. The staff all desperately wanted to know how the diners would react. Only in my case, the soup is a book. And I’m the rat.

Then the feedback started coming in. I received texts and emails, phone calls and DMs. Today, it has all become really real as reviews have begun popping up on Amazon and GoodReads. For authors, this is the moment of truth. (Or perhaps I should say the moment of non-fiction.)

The Response

I couldn’t be more pleased to know that people have been enjoying the book as much as I hoped they would. Which is really important. Because as the author you can’t possibly reach all the potential readers yourself. So you need readers to become advocates for your book. The reader-reviewers become the champions offering social proof to the rest of the world that they tried it and liked it. Like Mikey and his Life Cereal. Reader-endorsements give people confidence that others like them enjoyed reading your book. So it is highly likely that they will enjoy it too.

After reading the book this woman said, ‘I love it! Now take out the garbage. And put some salt in the water softener.’

Seeing these initial reviews gives me confidence that there are good things ahead for this book. But enough of me talking about people talking about the book! Here’s what real readers who have read What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? are saying about the book.

Real Reviews on Amazon From Real Live Humans!

MichaelM

5.0 out of 5 stars 

Loved it!!

Read this book, then keep it handy because you’ll want to thumb through it again and again. Adam’s positivity jumps off the pages. It’s full of quick hits of goodness.


CMO

5.0 out of 5 stars 

Fortunate to have read this book!

Inspirational, easy read with practical motivating advice to change your perspective during these stressful times.


PT

5.0 out of 5 stars 

Keep this book close to you

An excellent job Adam. There are so many important nuggets (cookies) that show us how to focus our efforts and make use of our most valuable resource (time). This book will never be far from my desk and will be dog-eared in short order.



Jennifer J. Gabrio 5.0 out of 5 stars 

This book is great!

I highly recommend “What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?”! I originally bought it for my Kindle, but am also going to buy the paper copy to fill with post-it notes and underlining. The life lessons Adam Albrecht passes on in this book are simple, doable, and applicable to people of all ages. As a 51-year-old mother in the twilight of my mothering career, I am eager to bring this information into the next chapter of my life – “Why Not Me? (Chapter 37)”. I am taking Adam’s advice and am going to “let my brain run and play” (Chapter 53), find the secret language that I was born with (Chapter 75), forget my limits like Phil Knight of Nike (Chapter 29), take action and apply The Paper Principle (Chapter 53). Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Adam! The ROI on this book is definitely worth it! (Chapter 70)


Allie Milbrath.

5.0 out of 5 stars 

Incredible book you will want to read over and over

Whether you are looking to reignite your fire, find motivation/hold on to motivation, find ways to improve (personally and professionally) or jumpstart your goals, this book will get you there.
It’s an easy/fun read where every chapter leaves you with actionable items that you can implement in your daily life.
The book is so well written and people of all ages will find value (currently reading out loud with my 10-year old!).
I’d give it 10 stars if Amazon would let me! Read it, then read it again!


Karen M Fitzgerald

5.0 out of 5 stars 

Little pearls of wisdom to take away

Saw this book posted on LinkedIn by a colleague. Ordered it on Amazon and read the entire book on January 2. A very motivational way to start off the new year. I would highly recommend picking up your copy today. No matter where you are in your career or life, there are tidbits, fresh insight, new perspectives and pearls of wisdom that either open your eyes, provide you with your own “aha” moment, or simply reaffirm your thoughts that need confirmation. #BadgerAlum


Steven S. Swanson

5.0 out of 5 stars 

Fast, fun and insightful. Great for anyone who wants (and who doesn’t?) to improve themselves.

Amazing insights told with great fun. Bite-sized chapters made the book digestible and fast.


Wiscobriski

5.0 out of 5 stars 

Loved it! Nuggets in here for anyone.

Quick read. Entertaining collection of life hacks that I need to incorporate into my life. Helpful tips for anyone. Well done!


Addison Scufsa

5.0 out of 5 stars 

Concise and surprisingly profound

Adam has written an amazing collection of stories and pieces of advice that can help anyone focus in on what they can improve about their careers, hobbies, and lives. From talking to strangers more to orienting your schedule to be more productive, you can find some aspect of your professional or personal life to change. Perfect for early-to-career people.

Showing my first book to my sons Magnus and Johann, who are founding members of the Long Hair Boys Club.

Key Takeaway

There is no better marketing for a product or service than the endorsement of a happy customer. I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to tell others about the book. It is a great reminder to share good news about good products, services and experiences. It helps put more good into the world. Which makes the world a better place.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

If you would like to know more about my book check out fortunecookiebook.com.


Don’t just think big. Schedule big.

Great achievement begins with great thinking. The great news is that great thinking costs the same as terrible thinking. Because they are both free. But the return on great thinking is infinitely better.

As Napoleon Hill wrote in Think and Grow Rich:

Whatever Your Mind Can Conceive and Believe, It Can Achieve.”

Napoleon Hill

But it’s not enough to think big thoughts, dream big dreams, or goal big goals. You have to schedule them into existence. You have to set specific times on your calendar to do the important work of bringing those goals to life. You must schedule time for research, action and creation. Even God scheduled his creation days. You have to block specific times for connecting, scripting, ordering, booking or whatever other ings your plans require.

Calendering is Key

Dedicate time on your calendar to make progress. THIS IS THE KEY to alchemizing goals, hopes and dreams into reality. So when you think big make sure to calendar big too. Like Marie Callendar.

Shopping For Goals vs Buying Them.

Thinking big is like window shopping. Which means that you walk by stores looking at things and consider buying them. But by simply thinking-shopping you don’t get to leave the store with the stuff you want. Because to actually own those things you have to buy them. And you buy your goals with time on your calendar.

The Weaponry

Before launching The Weaponry, the advertising and ideas agency I lead today, I thought about every aspect of the business. I had a clear image of what we would create, how it would run, who would work there, and what the culture would be like. I imagined there would be no A-holes at The Weaponry. I even baked that into the logo.

Notice the A in our logo? There’s no A-hole. Because there are no A-holes allowed at The Weaponry. And since there are 5 letters to either side of the A, this rule is as central to our beliefs as possible.

This Blog

I then thought about writing a blog to share my experiences and learnings as an entrepreneur. I could see the whole thing in my head.

My Book

A few years later I had a goal of writing a book. I envisioned what it would be about and who it would be for. I could see the book being read by people around the world.

Bringing It All To Life

All the envisioning simply let me know what I wanted. It didn’t make any of it real. (Read that sentence again.) But I then put time on my calendar to do the real work of bringing the business to life. I scheduled time every morning to write my blog. This blog. And I gave myself a deadline and dedicated time to writing the book. Today all 3 of those dreams are realer than Real Deal Holyfield. All because I dedicated time on my calendar to bring them to life.

My new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? is now published because I made time to write, edit and push the book forward on my calendar.

Key Takeaway.

Don’t just think big. Schedule big. Give the big things you want to achieve big spaces on your calendar. It’s the only way to achieve your big goals. So block time in your day today. You’ll find that working towards your biggest goals is the most rewarding way to spend your time.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

If you like messages like this you’ll also enjoy my newly published book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Are you a collector or a curator?

I recently saw an update on LinkedIn about one of my contacts touting the fact that she had reached 5000 connections on LinkedIn. It is an impressive number, for sure. But I am concerned that the number is more quantity than quality. Like the full library of Pauly Shore movies.

I have a rule when it comes to accepting or requesting LinkedIn connections. We have to actually have some connection. We have to have had an encounter or experience together. Or when you contact me, we have to develop a relationship based on something or someone we know in common. In other words, when I file you away in the card catalog in my head, there has to be something meaningful to write on the card besides your Dewey Decimal System number.

By applying these rules I maintain the value of my network. If someone contacts me and says, “I see you know Morris Day. What can you tell me about him?’ or ‘I see we both know Nikki! How do you know her?’ I like to have a great answer and provide value to others in my network. For example:

Yes, I know Morris Day! We met in a jungle. Morris LOVES jungles. And birds.

or

Of course I know Nikki! She’s darling. I met her in a hotel lobby. It’s kind of a crazy story…

When I don’t know someone, but let them into my network, it dilutes the value of my network. And in a small way, it dilutes me as a valuable resource to others.

I currently have 2,939 connections on LinkedIn. I have 1,565 friends on Facebook. But if you asked me about any of them I can tell you how we know each other. And I can tell you a bit about who they are. (And if they are a pirate I can even tell you how they Arrrgh.) So if you notice that I know someone that you want to know, or want to know more about, let me know. #rare4knowsentence

Key Takeaway

If you’re just collecting people, places or things then anything goes. There is no discernment. But if you want to add real value you must curate. You must care for your collection. Criteria must be set, and met. It is true at work, in your network, and in your principles and values. It is true in your personal life. It applies to your social media and the people you vouch for. Remember, the more challenging your criteria, the more value you create.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

If you enjoy messages like this (and random pop culture references) you’ll like my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media. Available on Amazon now. -@m

Be more you in 2022.

Here we are at the beginning of a new year. Just as each new day presents an opportunity for improvement, each new year presents an opportunity to write a great new chapter in the story of your life. You get to decide if this year brings rising action, a plot twist, the climax, falling action, or if pages are missing and the story doesn’t make any sense.

Remember, Life is Short and Precious.

Last Thursday night I received the type of call you never want to get. My brother-in-law, John Scufsa’s mom, Pat Marsnik, was killed in a terrible car accident. She was out with her husband Ray and brother Bob celebrating Pat and Ray’s wedding anniversary when another driver crossed into their lane near Ely, Minnesota. The accident put a final period on an outstanding story. Pat was in her early 70s and still full of twinkles. She had been an important member of my family for over 25 years. She was a wonderful, warm, friendly, funny woman who no one here on Earth was ready to part with it.

But let Pat Marsnik’s unexpected passing be a reminder that our time here is limited. You never know when your final page will be written. You have to take advantage of the time you have been given. Just like Pat did.

My Mantra for 2022.

There is a phrase that has been pinging in my brain the last few days: Be More You in 2022.

It is a reminder to do more of the things that your ideal you would do. Take on the great challenges. Grow. Go. Improve yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. Develop more and better relationships. Mend fences. Heal wounds. Build bridges. Read. Learn. Travel. Go snipe hunting. Try the Rocky Mountain oyster BOGO special.

In 2022 you have to do things on your bucket list. Take initiative. Take on greater challenges. Do things that scare you. Make the year an amazing part of your story.

There is a very good chance that this is the year that Covid shrinks from lion to house cat. That’s not just my wishful thinking. There is data and science behind it, as reported in this article in the New York Times titled Reason For Hope. (Which I only read because I thought it was going to be about Bob Hope.)

Key Takeaway

Get going. Live your life as if you don’t have a lot of time left to become who you always wanted to be. Pick a couple of big things to focus on this year. Add some small, easy wins. Get a little bit better every day. And be more you in 2022.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

If you are looking for more positive ideas on growth and self-improvement check out my new book titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

21 things that I am thankful for from 2021.

The beginning of each year is full of hope. Hope that the next 365 days will be full of success, progress, fun, friendship and fulfillment. But as my friend Steve Swanson is fond of saying, hope is not a strategy. I learned long ago that if you want to have a great year you have to make your year great. You do this through both your actions and your mindset.

Now that all 365 slices of 2021 are toasted, buttered and eaten, I am taking a moment to reflect on the things that made my 2021 great. If you haven’t done this yet, today is the day to do it. Recognizing the good things in our lives humbles and happies us. So let’s get to it!

21 Things I am thankful for from 2021.

  1. This Blog: I love having a blog to share my thoughts and experiences. I love that I can write anything I want here. I can even make up words, and no one can tell me they are not real words. They are real as soon as you use them. Innovation comes from writing. Remember, all of our words were once made up. You don’t have to be Latin or Greek. You can just be dumb. Or be Will Ferrell playing George W. Bush.
Write on.

2. The Hot Housing Market: This year the housing market has been as hot as it has ever been. Like Nashville Chicken hot. Or Death Valley hot. Or Pam and Tommy home video hot. Which is great if you have a house to sell. I started 2021 with 2 homes and sold them both. Which allowed me and my family to start a new chapter this year.

3. Our New House: My family found our long-term Wisconsin home this year. We had been looking for our next house for over 2 years. On June 17th we walked into our new house the day it went on the market. We made an offer that day because of the Pam & Tommy market conditions. The offer was accepted within 15 hours. We moved into our new home in September. It is our family’s nest. It is the main stage for our lives. And it is a source of pride. Now, we are trying to fill the home with great memories. And trying to figure out what all the light switches are for.` (If you are in Milwaukee and want a great, and patient Real Estate Pro, contact Jaime Lubner.)

4. Family. I couldn’t be more thankful for my family. My wife Dawn and kids Ava, Johann and Magnus are incredible, talented and funny people to do life with. I was able to see my parents, sisters, nieces, and nephews this year. Plus, my extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins extends farther than most. My mom is one of 9 kids and my Dad is one of 12. I role deep with family on both the Albrecht and Sprau branches of my family tree. Which gives me lots of options when I need to post bail.

Our first Christmas in our new house.

5. The Weaponry Launching The Weaponry, the advertising and ideas agency that I started 5 years ago was one of the best moves of my life. (At least it was one of the best moves not made on a dancefloor. #amiright) It has taught me the importance of taking responsibility for everything in my life. It has filled my life with great people. And it has provided a project to continuously improve. A business is a great tool to do good in the world. And I feel like we are just getting started with all that we can do with this tool.

6. My Work Teammates. An organization is simply a collection of humans working towards a common goal. My fellow Weapons are amazingly talented and good people. We have been able to grow our team this year. And each new teammate helps expand and improve who we are as a collective. It’s amazing to experience the expansion of good in a way that doesn’t land you a starring role on My 600-Pound Life.

7. Old Friends I had a major high school reunion in 2021. And I was concerned that the reunion wouldn’t happen. Both because of Covid, and because nobody really wants to plan a high school reunion. But if you really want to have a reunion you have to be willing to make it happen. So I planned my Hanover High School class reunion in Hanover, New Hampshire from 1000 miles away in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And like they said in Field of Dreams, if you build it they will come. Classmates gathered from all over the country. Some whom I hadn’t seen since graduation. And while it takes someone to plan such a thing, it takes people showing up to make it real. I appreciate all of my classmates and their families for showing up and making our together time real.

Some reunion pics.
Some other reunion pics.

8. Vaccines: Covid-19 really has thrown us a curveball over the past 2 years. I really appreciate the 3 companies that have developed the Covid vaccines. They enable us to experience life much closer to normal. My whole family has been vaccinated with Pfizer’s magic defender. My 11-year old son Magnus just got full-vax status before Thanksgiving. I got my booster yesterday. Get your vaccine if you are able. It’s not a conspiracy. I’ve seen a lot of wealthy, educated Waspy men doing it. And they are the ones to be suspicious of.

9. My Book: In 2020, during the Covid Lockdown, I started writing my first book called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? I finished the first draft by Memorial Day 2020. I finished the second draft by the end of 2020. I have spent 2021 working on the publishing process. The book was picked up by independent publisher Ripples Media. I received the first copy I ordered from Amazon on December 19th, 2021. The reviews have been amazing. I am so thankful for everyone who has taken a flyer on buying this new book from a first-time author. I was committed to writing something that would help readers learn a little, laugh a little and lift a little. I can’t wait to see where we go from here. In case it goes really well I am studying how to be an intriguing recluse. #JDSalinger

The first time I held my own book.

10. Coaching Track & Field: My daughter Ava was a freshman track athlete at Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin this past spring. To ensure that she had a coach that could help her with the shot put and discus I offered to coach her and her throwing teammates. Although I never imagined myself as a high school coach, it was an extremely rewarding experience. Ava had a strong freshman season. She became the second-best freshman discus thrower in school history. She made it to the Division 1 state meet, where she was the top freshman finisher. I really enjoyed coaching all of the girls on the team, not just Ava. It was incredibly rewarding to see the progress the ladies made throughout the season. And I was especially thankful to be able to work with my 2 seniors, Sammi and Bella during the spring of their senior year. It was rewarding to add a fun final chapter to their Covid-Era high school experience. In the process, l learned as much as they did.

My varsity throwers.

11. Coaching Youth Football: In the fall of 2022, I helped coach my son Magnus’ 5th-grade tackle football team. It was an amazing experience that brought back memories from my own football experience. While I helped coach positions, plays, techniques and drills, I considered myself the Hype Coach. And these kids got hyped! It was fun to be a part of. And I look forward to more. If you have a chance to coach youth sports you should absolutely do it. Unless you are terrible with kids.

Not a bad way to spend fall of 2021.
Magnus and Me.

12. A Home Full of Music: My 3 kids all play instruments. Ava plays violin and guitar. Johann plays piano, saxophone and violin. Not to mention harmonica and melodica. (Although I did just mention them.) Magnus plays cello and piano. My house is often full of wonderful live music. It gets better every year. And I already know I will miss it when it’s gone.

13. Podcasts: I have accelerated my consumption of podcasts this year, Kobayashi-style. Specifically when driving or mowing the lawn. I have learned a great deal from these audio interviews and lessons. The podcasts I listen to are like mini-courses. So I get a little smarter every time I drive to or from work or cruise around my lawn on my John Deere.

14. Seaside, Florida: Our family spent spring break in Seaside a year after we originally intended to because Covid tries to ruin everything. Our experience was excellent. We ran into 3 different friends and their families while we were there. It was definitely a highlight of our year. And our kids loved it because it was like a family-friendly Panama City for teenagers with bicycles.

My daughter Ava skimboarding in Seaside.

15. Friends All Over I continue to be thankful for my friends and family all over the world. As I traveled in 2021 I saw my people in real life in California, Texas, Minnesota, Atlanta, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Boston, Vermont, New Hampshire and Wisconsin. It makes me feel at home everywhere. I want more of that in 2022.

A great day of water stuff on Mascoma Lake in New Hampshire with the Richards Family.

16. The Gym I was thankful to get back to the gym regularly in 2021. After a funky Covid situation in 2020 and early 2021 that forced me to exercise at home, I got back to working out at the sports club where we are members. The gym offers good mental and physical therapy for me. I would feel a lot more like an angry David Banner without regular trips to the gym. (Although as of this week I am pausing that again because of Covid. Fortunately, we have weights at home. You wouldn’t like to see me without weights at home. #namethatshow)

17. Cheese Curds I increased my cheese curd consumption in 2021. And I am happier because of it.

18. Great Clients I am extremely lucky to have really wonderful clients at The Weaponry. I appreciate all of the work they have entrusted us with this past year. But it’s the personal relationships that I enjoy the most. We work with great people. That makes all the difference. (That, and taking the road less traveled by.)

19. Great Collaborators We also work with some really great collaborators at The Weaponry. There are production companies, editors, photographers, freelancers, developers, influencers, agents, accountants and more. They make the work we do better and more fun. Here’s to much more in 2022.

Some Weapons and some Outsiders in California last month.

20. Being Able to Buy New Cars My wife and I both came into 2021 with cars that were 10 or more years old. We have been able to buy new cars. Not have new cars. Dawn’s car had to be ordered and won’t be here until February or March. (Notice that the global supply chain is not on my list of favorite things of 2021.)

21. A New Driver In The Family: My daughter Ava turned 16 in September. I am thankful and excited for her new adventures, and thankful that I am not the only option to run to the store when we need a loaf of bread, a carton of milk, and a stick of butter.

My new driver.

Bonus Round

22. Live Concerts: My family and I all went to see The Zac Brown Band in concert at Summerfest in Milwaukee this year. It was great to get back to live music again. Although ZBB had to cancel concert dates the week after we saw them because of Covid. So we’re not totally out of The Woods. Which is also a ZBB song.

Key Takeaway

Happiness is the great win in life. Recognize what makes you happy. Study it. Do more of it. And thank you for reading my writings and for contributing to my happiness. Let’s all have a great, safe and healthy 2022. #BeMoreYouIn2022

*If you’ve read this far and would like to read more good stuff to kick off 2022, consider my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media. There’s a fortune cookie in it for you.

I did my first podcast about my new book.

I dreamed about writing a book for a long time. But I never had the time or focus to make it happen. Then came Covid. I quickly recognized that the Covid lockdown, which began in March of 2020, was a golden opportunity to write something significant. So I did. I emerged from the lockdown with a 50,000 word first draft of a manuscript. And a Boo Radley-type of tan.

Today the book that only existed in the back of my mind before Covid is now all of the United States. Just as the baby bird learns to fly and leaves the nest, my paper baby has left the printer and learned to hitch a ride with an Amazon delivery driver.

I’ve seen pictures of What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? in homes from California to New Hampshire, and from Florida to Oregon. It’s a pretty amazing feeling.

My little friend Drew Lowsley delivering a book in Dallas. If I could get him to deliver all of my books like this I’m sure I would top all the bestseller lists. #DarnChildLaborLaws

Now I have started interviews about the book. Which is an interesting process. It forces you to answer questions like:

  • Why did you write this book?
  • Who is the book for?
  • Why are you the perfect person to share this message?
  • What was the inspiration for chapter 56?
  • Why did you say that entrepreneurship is a game that is sometimes Monopoly, sometimes Go Fish! and sometimes The Running Man?
  • Why didn’t you prepare more for this interview?

My first interview on Jeff Hilimire’s Begin The Begin podcast is available here now. Or you can find it by visiting your favorite podcast dealer. But hitting that link above is pretty easy, so I would just do that.

Jeff and I had a really fun discussion about my book and his interesting role in bringing it to life.

I realized during the fun interview with podcast host and entrepreneur Jeff Hilimire that I hadn’t answered most of the questions he asked me before. No one had ever interviewed me as a published author before. No one had read my book and asked me about the details. No one cared about my inspiration, because they didn’t know I was inspired. And no one knew about chapter 56.

I am happy to have my first interview complete. But I recognize that I will become better at telling the story of my book and of me as an another as I do more interviews. I am preparing now. So if you know a podcaster, blogger, vlogger, reporter, or a student who needs to do an interview for a school project, send them my way. I’ll be ready.

Key Takeaway

Don’t worry about not being great when you start something new. Simply start. Learn. Then get better as you go. Each attempt will teach you how to prepare better for the next time. Stack your learnings. And let your accumulated experiences make you greater and greater as you grow.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them. If you would like to read the first few pages of my book from Ripples Media you can do it here.

How to have a great day.

I had a really great Christmas Day. In fact, it was nearly perfect. I say nearly perfect because it would have been perfect-perfect if we had seen more family. Or if we had snow. Or if Jesus had stopped by to do an Instagram Live from our house. But given the current conditions, I was happy to celebrate with my wife and 3 kids at home. For this category of celebration, I give my day a full 5 out of 5 Bethlehem stars.

Contributing Factors

This was an exciting holiday because it was the first Christmas in our new home. We moved into the house in September. It is the 5th house my wife Dawn and I have owned. And by Christmas Day not only did it feel like home, it felt like THE home we have been looking for the past 19 years. Which is a great reminder to keep looking for the places in life that make you feel most at home

The home was a great stage for a great day, but we still had to put on a great play. And we did. Our morning began with opening presents, like most Christmas Day celebrations. Then we enjoyed a donut and candy breakfast. We had coffee, cocoa and eggnog to help wash down the sugar with more sugar, Buddy Elf-style. I was a little afraid Wolford Brimley was going to show up to talk to me about diabetes.

Then came the most important part of what made yesterday so great. After breakfast, I asked Dawn, our kids Ava, Johann, Magnus a simple question:

‘What would we have to do today to make this a really great Christmas day?

The answers came quickly:

  • Play Games
  • Watch a Christmas movie
  • Take a nap
  • Enjoy some free time
  • Go for a family walk
  • Enjoy a nice family dinner (#HamNight)
  • Go for a drive to look at Christmas lights

We had a good list. So we ordered the events, baked in some flexibility for the napping and free time, and then we started knocking off the things on our Christmas list.

The Recipe For A Great Day

We had literally written a recipe for a great day. Then one by one, we stirred in each of the ingredients. We spent the day enjoying a few of our favorite things, like Julie Andrews. Only we weren’t wearing our curtains.

The day ended with a great Christmas dinner, followed by a Christmas lights drive, and a family movie. The day was fun, funny and relaxing. We laughed a lot, even for us. We created new memories. And there was a very satisfying and enjoyable feeling of recreational productivity. Which is the feeling of making the most of your free time.

The Bonus

As a fun Christmas bonus, I had friends and family members from across the country share that they had received the new book I just published with Ripples Media called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? I received really exciting feedback and photos of my book in homes from New England to Los Angeles, and from Atlanta to Oregon. So far no one has asked for a refund.

I went to bed about 11:30 pm feeling as if I had had the greatest day. Because we had envisioned a great day, designed it, and brought it to life. We made the most of our free time and enjoyed it together. As result, we finished the day feeling both happy and accomplished.

The Thing I Didn’t Do

As an interesting aside, there is one traditional Christmas activity I didn’t do yesterday. I didn’t open any presents. Not one. Dawn and I usually exchange our gifts after the kids have opened all of theirs. But our plan for the perfect day didn’t include our gift exchange. Oops. And by the evening we agreed to push our present opening to tomorrow, like Little Orphan Annie.

The Greatest Gift

My wonderful giftless Christmas was a great reminder that time spent together, making memories, doing our favorite free things, is the greatest gift of all. Well, that and the birth of tiny little 8-pound baby Jesus, who came for our eternal salvation. But you put those two things together and you have one heck of a holiday gift pack.

Key Takeaway

A great holiday doesn’t happen on its own. You have to make it happen. The same holds true of any workday, schoolday, or Saturday. To make the most of your days plan them. Envision your perfect day, then bring it to life. Do this day after day, and you will live the life you imagined.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

**If you like this type of message you can find more stuff like this in my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?

Writing a book is like running 3 different marathons.

This is a really exciting week for me. And not just because of Christmas and that Michael Buble Christmas Special/Bubly Sparkling water commerical on NBC last night.

This week I published my first book called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? It’s a project I have been working on for nearly 2 years. You may think that publishing a book is like running a marathon. It is not. It’s like running 3 different marathons. So you will want to carb up before hand.

The 1st Marathon

The first marathon starts with the idea for the book. It includes all of the researching, writing, and re-writing. It ends when you think you have something worth sharing. Sharing your manuscript is kinda like getting into good enough shape that you wouldn’t mind if someone saw you naked. It’s kinda awkward. You’re kinda proud and excited. But you don’t know how you stack up against the other people your publishing partner has seen naked. It’s fun and interesting. As long as they don’t pull out a laser pointer to point out your remaing flaws.

The first step to writing a book is to sit down and write. Or stand up and write if you have one of those stand-up desks. But that doesn’t sound as good. So sit down to start, just so that you can say you did.

The 2nd Marathon

The second marathon is getting the book published. Which includes researching your publishing options, deciding whether to self-publish, other-publish, or a hybrid option. (I published with the amazing team at Ripples Media.) Then you work to eliminate all of the flaws in your book and add anything that may be missing. And things will definitely be missing. This part is like preparing to go to the ball. You get a literary spray tan, botox, and mani-pedi. You get your eyebrows on fleek. You get your hair did. Then you are ready to jump in your carriage, which was recently a pumpkin, and head to the Amazon Ball.

There is my new baby book on Amazon! (I now keep this picture in my wallet.)

The 3rd Marathon

Today, I am at the very beginning of the third marathon. My book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? is published and available on Amazon in both physical and digital form. It’s easy to assume that this is the finish line. It is not. It is critical to remember that getting your book published is simply the end of the second marathon. Now it is time to let the world know your book exists.

A beautiful finished book is a powerful thing. Perhaps the most powerful thing on Earth after the human mind. Because a great book can teach, inspire, entertain, and make you snort cofee out of your nose.

But people have to know about your book in order for it to do the job it was born to do. Others have to be aware that the book exists. They need to understand that there is real value in the book for the reader. They need to know that other people read the book and felt like it was worth their time and their money. Which is why you need to promote the book.

People will also want to know about you, the author. Who are you? Why did you write the book? What is your story? What is the story behind the story? Who have you seen naked? Did you use the laser pointer on them?

Me talking to a class at Marquette Univeristy. Letting people know what I know.

The author’s story is often the bridge to the book itself. This is why the big publishing companies would rather work with famous people. The public has already bought into them. So they will naturally buy their books too. I know it’s lazy, but it’s true.

Key Takeaway

When you commit to writing a book, commit to running all 3 marathons. Write a great manuscript that offers real value to others. Publish your book. Then promote it so that it can have the greatest positive impact on the world. And we all have a world-improving book in us. I hope you write yours.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

My first book is published!

I have always wanted to write a book. In fact, I have envisioned myself writing a whole shelf of books. But I could never seem to find the time to make it a priority. My other responsibilities as a business owner and parent seemed to keep getting in the way. (But based on the headline you read that drew you into this story something must have changed, right? Indeed it did.)

On March 16, 2020, the world went into lockdown mode. There was almost nothing to do outside the home but shop for groceries, hunt for toilet paper, and resanitize your hands, again. During that strange time, I started pulling together ideas for 3 different book concepts I considered writing.

Then, in April of 2020, the Governor announced that the state of Wisconsin would be locked at home until May 26th. My first reaction was that this was a real load of lemons. Then, like Hulk Hogan refusing to remain on the mat, I recognized that it was Country Time! Time to make some good old fashion lemonade!*

Within minutes of learning of the extended lockdown, I recognized the gift I had been given. It was the perfect time to focus on writing the first draft of my first book. Then I gave myself a false deadline. Because that is how I get myself to do big things I am not required to do.

My self-imposed deadline: Deliver a full first draft of my first book by May 25th, 2020. (Which is also my birthday.)

On my birthday I gave myself an epic gift. I had a 50,000-word rough draft finished. By December 30, 2020, I had a second draft written. I spent 2021 learning the publishing process.

Today, I am thrilled to say that my first book is fully baked, birthed, bound, and buyable. Even better, I really love the book.

I was tracking the delivery driver on Sunday and greeted him in my driveway like a long last relative. #BrothersGottaHug
The first time I held my paper baby in my hand.

My goal in writing this book was to make sure that everyone who reads What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say learns a little, laughs a little, and lifts a little. It’s a very positive and optimistic book that offers 80 life lessons that have the power to contribute significantly to your happiness and success. These are all things that have really worked for me. And I wanted to share them because I believe they will work for anyone who applies them.

But I also wanted to write a book that was fun and easy to read. The chapters are quick and enjoyable, punctuated with humor. The book contains several made-up words that spellcheck and my proofreader didn’t know how to process. Which was fun for me.

It is smooth like a baby book’s butt.

My friend Jeff Hilimire told me that when he read the book he laughed out loud every other chapter. I found that to be far more rewarding feedback than winning a Pulitzer or a Newberry. In fact, I think we should have a Giggler Book Award for good books that make us laugh. We could put a gold foil laughing-till-you-cry emoji on our book covers. I would buy all of those Giggler books.

Showing my boys my book. Seeing this picture I am reminded of the great influence we have on our children. And that I really need to get us all haircuts.

The Details

Title: What does your fortune cookie say?

Subhead: 80 Life lessons the universe is trying to share with you.

Publisher: Ripples Media

Length: 290 pages

Where: You can find it on Amazon by clicking this link.

Format: Kindle, paperback, and hardcover.

Also: I have bulk-ordered both paperback and hardcover copies for promotional activities, for those who want signed copies, for book talks, speaking engagements, and for bribing librarians to drop my late fees.

My wife Dawn, reading my thank you to her in the back of the book. Although she is a fast reader, she may have skipped a few pages to get to the end.

What’s Next:

Now I’ve finished running the writing marathon. Which means I start running the book promotion marathon. I expect to learn a ton along the way. I plan to share my learnings so that everyone can benefit from my experience. Because I want you to be smarter and better prepared when you’re ready to write and publish your book. Everyone has a book in them. Including you.

The front cover. Thanks to my teammate at The Weaponry, Joe Kayse for the design. And thanks to everyone who voted on the cover design. This was the runaway winner. Like Julie Roberts in that movie where she wouldn’t get married.
Some nice things people are saying about the book. You can scan that QR code and it will take you to a website about the book. Or visit fortunecookiebook.com.

Key Takeaway

Set big goals for yourself. Then create false deadlines to help you achieve those goals. Keep taking small actions. Those actions keep adding up. And before you know it your words turn into sentences. Sentences turn into paragraphs. Paragraphs turn into chapters. And chapters turn into a book worth reading. The story of your life works the same way. So write a little more of it every day.

To learn more about the book, or order your own copy, visit my page on Amazon by clicking here.

*For younger readers, this is a pop culture reference to an ad campaign for Country Time Lemonade from my childhood. Country Time was what we drank when we weren’t drinking Kool-Aid. We didn’t have your fancy Capri Suns and juice boxes.