The most valuable thing you can exchange with a stranger this holiday season.

Welcome to the heart of the holiday season. While it is a time full of great gatherings and good cheer, it is also a time full of encounters with perfect strangers. Like Balki Bartokomous and Larry Appleton.

I want you to try an experiment. Over the next 24 hours note how many people you encounter that you don’t know. I warn you, it may freak you out. Most of us live anonymously in a sea of strangers. They are everywhere. Like minivans. Yet we have become immune to these strangers that surround us. It’s as if they disappear when we ignore them. Like reality TV stars.

I was reminded of my own anonymity a few years ago at my gym. After I scanned my membership card, the guy who routinely works at the reception desk said, “Have a good day, man”.

A normal person would have just done what they were told and had a nice day. But instead, I asked the guy working the counter at Elite Sports Club, “What’s your name?’  He replied, ‘Andrew’. I said, ‘My name is Adam’ (that’s my go-to).  We shook hands. From then on, every time I saw Andrew we greeted each other by name. We had real conversations, instead of an awkward, “Hey-Man” relationship.

Insiders vs Outsiders

Everyone we encounter in business, at holiday gatherings and at the grocery store is either an Insider or an Outsider.  The difference is whether or not we know each other by name.  That sense of familiarity and friendship that can only develop once you know a person’s name makes an enormous difference on this planet, where we are so often surrounded by John and Jane Does (that was supposed to be Doe-plural. But it looks like does, doesn’t it?).

I think about names at work. At the advertising agency, The Weaponry, we encounter people when we visit our clients that we don’t have to know by name. The receptionists. The people who sit next to the conference rooms where we make too much noise.  The IT person who inevitably saves every presentation. But I want to meet them too. So I make a habit of introducing myself, by name. Suddenly we are not just people who see each other regularly. We become people who know each other, by name.

Key Takeaway

Convert more of those people you see or say hello to regularly into people you really know by name. It’s easy. Introduce yourself, by name and ask for their name in return. Write the names down. Remember them by starting a list with the names of people you meet and a description of who they are on your phone or in a notebook. Refer back to the list as necessary. The rewards are profound.  Just ask Andrew from Elite. Or Norm from Cheers.

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

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Add one valuable new thing to your life every day.

During the 25 days leading up to Christmas, it’s a tradition to count the days with an advent calendar. Each day this calendar is opened to reveal a daily gift. There are a variety of themed calendars. Some offer a good bible verse, a small toy, a chocolate, a saying, or an ornament. (I’m holding out for the mini-oven calendar, where you open a tiny oven door to remove freshly baked muffin tops every morning.) But regardless of the theme, these calendars provide a daily gift to look forward to each day as we get closer to Christmas. Kinda like the Lifetime Network.

For the self-improver, life is like an advent calendar. Every day there is a new gift to be discovered. A new quote. A new idea. A new relationship. A new source of inspiration. A new motivation. A new goal. A new lesson. (And in New Hampshire there is a new Sununu.)

When I wrote my book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? I collected 80 of the best life lessons I have learned and shared them with the world. Many of the people who read the book tell me they use it like an advent calendar. They read one of the 2-4 page lessons every day. Then they apply the new idea, knowledge, or skill to improve their life. As the author, this is extremely rewarding feedback. As the author, it is extremely rewarding to hear that other people get as much out of the lessons I share as I did.

Key Takeaway #1

Commit to making your life a living, breathing advent calendar. Look for your daily gift that makes you better. Then add that new lesson, story, saying, person or idea to your personal treasure chest by writing it down in a journal. When you do you will quickly transform that once-empty journal into the most valuable book in your library. Remember, when you condition yourself to find a daily treasure the treasure will surely appear.

Follow Up…

Within a minute of writing this post, I got a text from my friend Molly Fay, host of The Morning Blend on TMJ4 (NBC) in Milwaukee. She wrote that they had a cancelation for the next day’s show, and wondered if I could fill in. I responded with an enthusiastic Let’s do this! Then she asked if I had a topic in mind related to the upcoming holidays.

I replied, ‘Yes! Advent Calendars.”

The next morning (yesterday) at 9:00am I was on set with Molly and co-host Tiffany Ogle sharing this idea on TV. You can watch the segment here.

Me, Molly, Tiffany, my book, a yellow couch, and two Yeti cups. No partridge. No pear tree.

Key Takeaway #2

Be the kind of person others can turn to when they need help. Because at the end of our days the only thing that really matters is the impact we have on each other.

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

+If you are interested in daily life lessons for yourself or as a gift, check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Why it is so important for your dreams to survive the pre-boil stage.

Success always sounds easier than it really is. You set a goal. You work hard. And you accomplish it, right? It’s all so so logical, and linear.

But the logic overlooks the most overlooked stage of success. The pre-boil. You remember. It’s the lesson we learned in science class. And it’s a lesson we’re reminded of every time we watch a pot. Because that mofo never boils.

When you boil water there are 5 stages to the process:

  1. You fill a pot with water.
  2. You place the pot on the stove.
  3. You turn on the burner
  4. The burner heats the water.
  5. The water boils.

4 out of the 5 stages of the process last only a matter of seconds. Like an Instagram story. But one of the stages takes much longer.

Stage 4: The Pre-Boil.

The Pre-Boil is the part of the process when you put in the necessary work to get the result. But you are not yet getting the result you are after.

You have to go through the pre-boil phase:

  • When you exercise.
  • When you want to lose weight.
  • When you want to establish a successful career.
  • When you want to be an influencer.
  • When you start your own business.
  • When you are a student.
  • When you write a book.
  • When you want to make a tasty lobster dinner.
  • And when you want to build Rome. (Because everyone knows that is not a one-day job.)

The Most Common Cause Of Failure

Most attempts fail because they don’t survive the pre-boil. Because during this stage the effort you put in is far greater than the results you get out.

However, during the pre-boil, your effort, work, dedication, and sacrifice are accumulating. Just like the heat that is accumulating in that pot of water on the stove.

The pre-boil is the price of entry. It is the initiation to the club. It is the test to see if you really want what you think you want. If you really want that dream to come true you must keep marching through the pre-boil. It is the only way to get to your goal.

Key Takeaway

All great accomplishments require sustained effort. The energy you exert is added to your account. But you won’t see the results right away. Know that. Accept that. And keep going. Success is a test. The universe holds back the reward to sweeten it. Which makes it worth both the work and the wait.

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

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

It’s not too late to write your great comeback story.

Unlike L.L. Cool J, I love a good comeback story. The kind of story where you thought all was lost. That defeat was imminent. And the small amount of time left was not enough to support the amount of work left to do. We have great examples of these types of comebacks. And they are amongst the most inspiring human stories. Cue Eye of The Tiger.

But good comeback stories are not just written by big-time sports teams. Nor are they just for famous actors and rockstars who once got too deep into drugs or ice cream to remain hot and bookable.

Write Your Own Comeback Story Today

In fact, you can write your own comeback story any day. We all have days when it feels like we don’t get anything accomplished. We get sidetracked at work and don’t feel productive. We don’t get our exercise in. We don’t get much on our to-do list to-done.

But you can always do something valuable late in the day, or evening, or night to save the day. Like Mighty Mouse.

I am frequently surprised by how much I can accomplish in a late-day flurry of activity when I thought a whole day of productivity had been lost. I often sneak in a trip to the gym at 9pm, or I exercise at home as late as 11pm because I still can. I regularly read, write or work late in the evening. This not only helps me keep my commitment to myself, it also helps keep my momentum rollin’. Like Limp Bizkit.

Today is December 1st. This is the beginning of the last month of the year. And if you haven’t been highly productive in 2022 it’s not too late. You still have a full month to work on your goals. You have 31 days to create a new great habit. You have the same time to break a bad habit. You have 4.5 weeks to invest in a bucket list item. You still have time to start a business. To write a book. To plan and book that epic vacation. To start exercising. To go to church. To read a good book. To reconnect with someone you’ve lost. Or to find yourself. So let’s get going.

Key Takeaway

At the end of an unproductive day, week, month or year, let the scarcity of time create a sense of urgency to act. It is not too late. Make great use of your remaining time. The older you get the more you recognize the true value of time. Let those remaining sands in the hourglass inspire your comeback story. Tomorrow you will be thankful you did.

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

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

The best way to get better is by dropping your bad habits.

You are a product of your habits. That is both good and bad news. Because some of your habits are constructive and make you better on a daily basis. Others are destructive and continuously hurt you. You’ll find many of those kinds of habits in country songs. And in prison.

Identifying Your Bad Habits

Do you know your most harmful habits? The ones that most negatively impact your life? That’s not a rhetorical question. I want you to take a moment to write down 3 to 5 of your bad habits. Then rank them starting with the most problematic. These are the habits that are most detrimental to your happiness, health, reputation, productivity, or success. I’ll wait while you create your list. (If you don’t create yours now we’ll automatically add procrastination to your list.)

My Habits:

I have a lot of good habits. I get a lot accomplished most days. I work hard. I write almost every day. I brush. I floss. I exercise regularly. I spend quality time with my family. And I put down the toilet seat.

But I wouldn’t have asked you to do anything I haven’t done myself. Here are the top 3 bad habits that I would do better without:

  1. Procrastination. I procrastinate on things longer than I wish I did. I have a backlog of incomplete tasks. And I have lost out on opportunities because I have waited too long to pull the trigger. Now, if I acknowledge that I don’t like my procrastination, but put off doing anything about it, that would be ironic, don’t you think?

2. Overeating:  I love to eat. And I am good at it. But I regularly eat more than I should. And I don’t like the impact it has on my physique. I developed the habit of eating a great deal when I was training heavily for competitive athletics. Back then I needed all the calories I could inhale. That was back before my metabolic slowdown, which happened somewhere in my 30s. Today my body doesn’t need the surplus calories from a Meat Lovers Pizza binger. And if I could change this occasional habit I bet I would feel more comfortable at a nude beach.

3. Screen time. I check my phone and computer far more often than I wish I did. This is complicated. Because like you, and Elon Musk, I have a complicated relationship with social platforms. As a blogger and author, I post and share a lot of ideas. Ideas that are intended to have a positive impact on those who read them. And the algorithms reward content that is interacted with. So interacting online is also important. But I would be happier to cut my online time in half. And I don’t care which half.

The Next Step

Now, I want you to pick one bad habit to attack. Because if you can eliminate one bad habit you will improve your life in a profound way. And if you can, you should.

The first step is to change your self-identity. Tell yourself, and firmly believe, that you are a person who doesn’t struggle with (your bad habit here). In fact, you are great at doing the opposite of (your bad habit here.)

To combat my procrastination, I have already adopted my identity as an action-taker and have rewired my decision-making system over the past several weeks. I recognize when decisions and actions are in danger of being put off. And I dedicate time to doing things now. It is making a huge difference, and I feel more me than ever.

Key Takeaway 

A key component of self-improvement is eliminating bad habits. Call them out. Write them down. And start picking them off one by one. Claim your new identity. Then create good habits to replace the bad. Because without your bad habits holding you back you will be much more you.

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

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

When your window of opportunity opens will you be ready to go?

This time of year always brings out the Clark Griswold in me. Which means that in late November or early December, I like to decorate my house and yard with Christmas lights. Yet, I try to avoid stapling my sleeve to my house, and kidnapping my boss.

I don’t have a preset date for my lightification. Instead, I watch the weather closely. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that it’s not much fun to hang lights when it is 20 degrees outside. Or rainy. Or huricaney. By contrast, it’s an enjoyable task to do when it is in the 50s or above and sunny. (For international readers, all temps are in Fahrenheit. At 50 degree Celsius I turn into bacon.)

This year we have had a wintry November in Wisconsin. The snow arrived early and stuck around because of the cold temperatures. But as I kept checking the forecast, I noticed that off in the distance, on Saturday, November 26th, the temperature was supposed to warm up into the 50s. However, cold and rain were predicted for the following day. So I knew that yesterday would be my window of opportunity. Cue the Eminem.

I cleared my schedule for light hanging yesterday. And just as predicted, it was sunny, warm and beautiful. It was a perfect day for the task. I hung lights on the front of my house and 8 trees and bushes in my front yard. The universe presented a great window and I made the most of it.

But great windows of opportunity aren’t limited to light hanging. (Thank God.) They occur in all areas of your life. And when you plan ahead you are bound to find them.

My Window Watching

I always wanted to start my own business. That was my long-term career plan. So in 2015 when I had former clients tell me that I should consider creating my own advertising agency and that they had work for me, I knew I had found my window, Pella.

I always wanted to write a book too, but I needed time to do the actual writing. So when the covid lockdown of 2020 began, I knew my writing window of opportunity had also arrived. I got to work. Two months later I finished the first draft of my book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? And now it makes a great Christmas gift.

I look for windows of opportunity for travel, investments, and introductions. I look for windows for fun and for starting new businesses. I look for opportunities to support, teach and encourage too. My radar is always scanning for opportunities. As a result, I find them. And when I find an opportunity I act. And you should too.

Key Takeaway

Windows of opportunity are constantly opening and closing. But you have to be looking for them to notice. That’s why it’s so valuable to create a plan for your life, year, week, and day. Because when you know what you want in life you will recognize the windows of opportunity that open for you. Then it’s Go Time! Because opportunities don’t last forever. That’s what makes them valuable.

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

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

22 Things I am crazy thankful for in 2022.

I love Thanksgiving. If it weren’t for the whole birth-of-Jesus thing, or the freedom thing, I would say Thanksgiving was the best holiday. We get to eat as much as we can stomach. We get to watch football all day if we want. We get to enjoy a parade full of huge balloons and lip-syncers. Then there are the naps and the family time. But most importantly, today we take time to think n thank. And I think I have a lot to be thankful for since Thankfest 2021. So I made a list. Here it is.

22 Things I’m Thankful For.

  1. My Health. I feel great. I recently looked up the age range for middle age and I found myself clearly within it. It turns out I have been in the middle ages for several years and didn’t know it. But I would have never known it by the way I feel. I got a physical this year for the first time in 7 years, and everything looks good. Although I will probably dip into the obese range by 3pm CT today.

2. My Family. My family is my greatest asset, hands down. (And even when the hands are up.) From my amazing wife Dawn, and kids Ava, Johann and Magnus to my parents, sisters and their families, I just love my people. I am also proud to be part of a vast family of Albrechts and Spraus that are special, supportive, and super funny people. Best of all, I didn’t even have to do anything to be in this family club. Plus, my mother-in-law is with us for Thanksgiving this year, which we are especially thankful for.

3. Friends. I have friends all over the globe. They make me feel like the world is my home. I am blessed with the ability to develop strong friendships quickly. And I have added many new friends since this time last year. And I think you and I are going to be friends.

4. My business. I launched the advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry 6 years ago. We will grow by 50% this year. 2023 is stacking up to be the most exciting year yet. We moved into a great new office this year. And I love working with our very talented group of Weapons. (Just not today.)

5. My Book. I published my first book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? 11 months ago and it has changed my life. I appreciate everyone who has supported me, read the book, written a good review, or gifted a copy. (Or 20.) The book has allowed me to share a lot of good with the world. And soon I will have another book to talk about, which I co-wrote with Jeff Hilimire. Which is great news for everyone who has heard enough about my first book.

6. Coaching Football. I just finished coaching my son Magnus’ 6th-grade football team. The boys were really fun, funny and talented. I am thankful for the opportunity to coach and compete with such a great group of young dudes. They make me feel very good about the future of our community. The experience also reminded me how much I want to laugh when other coaches are yelling at kids for goofing off. Because when I played football I was my team’s starting goofer-offer.

7. Coaching Track: I have now enjoyed 2 seasons of coaching the girls track team at Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin. I am thankful for the additional time I have enjoyed with my daughter Ava. I’m thrilled to see so much improvement among the athletes I coach. And I am thankful for the fun I’ve had with the other coaches. (Notice that I did not say I was thankful for how long the meets go early in the season when it still feels like winter in Wisconsin. Brrr.)

8. Surfing. I learned to surf this summer in California. (With a surfboard, not a keyboard.) I have always wanted to try surfing. My kids and I loved it. I look forward to more. But living in Wisconsin makes it hard to surf a lot. So I plan to supplement my actual surfing with a lot of time listening to The Beach Boys.

9. Audio Books: I love to read books with my ears while driving. I recently heard that audiobooks allow you to complete the equivalent of 2 semesters of college education each year. I have listened to 12 audiobooks in 2022 and plan to pack a couple more in before the end of the year. So I am looking forward to getting my next degree from the University of Ford-Expedition.

10. My John Deere Lawn tractor. I like to drive and mow and think. Therefore, I am.

11. Travel: I traveled to Hilton Head Island, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Seattle for fun this year. My family and I also hiked Zion, Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Parks. And I have new stories from each place. Which is the greatest souvenir of all. (If you don’t count those little shot glasses.)

12. Speaking Opportunities: I have had a lot of speaking opportunities this year, largely thanks to my book. I spoke to 2 great student groups this week alone. I have 3 more talks lined up over the next 3 weeks. And I am always happy to do more. I love sharing my most valuable lessons on life, creativity, advertising, marketing and entrepreneurship. If you’re looking for an enthusiastic speaker for your event or organization (because you can’t afford the person you really want) I’d love to talk.

13. My First Dog Ever. In January my family and I road-tripped to South Carolina to pick up a 7-week-old Border Collie we named Amicalola (Lola for short.) She’s a beautiful and energetic dog, that treats me like I am the boss. Lola, thanks for teaching me why people love dogs so much. And for not having bigger poop to pick up.

14. My Mentals. My mental health is good. It always has been. I am thankful for that and never take it for granted. (If you think something is off with my mentals, please don’t tell me. I’m enjoying it in here.)

15. Great Clients. I am extremely thankful for all of the clients across the country (and England) that have trusted my team to deliver their very important work this year. I am honored you chose to work with us.

16. Sunrises and Sunsets. God crushed it with these two things! I love how they provide a kind of solar opening and closing bell to the day. The best sunrises and sunsets are created through a balanced combination of sun and clouds. Which is a great analogy for life.

17. The High Price of Gas: Most people have spent a lot of time complaining about the price of gas this year. Not me. I bought a bunch of oil stocks at bottom-of-the-oil barrel prices in 2020. The high price of oil and gasoline have turned these stocks into the best investments I’ve ever made. By far. I like buying good company stock when something bad happens to them that is beyond their control. It’s a reminder to invest in good people when they are down.

18. Google and YouTube: Between those 2 resources, I can learn to do anything or solve almost any problem. Thanks for being my digital cheat sheets.

19. Funny Stories: Funny stories are amongst my very favorite things on the planet. On Tuesday I picked up a new funny story that is probably in my top 10 favorite funny stories to tell of all time. When you see me next ask me to share. (Mention my school talk.)

20. My Home We moved into a new home just over a year ago. And I don’t plan to move again until I leave Wisconsin. I have spent my entire adult life thinking that every home I lived in would be short-term. Until now. Today I am thankful to finally set this circus down, hang some pictures on the wall and buy some fancy return address labels, instead of using the ones we got for free in the mail.

21. Introductions From Strangers: I am usually the first one to introduce myself to a stranger, whether in person or online. So I am always thankful when someone new reaches out to me first. Like my new old friend Matt Perkins, who reached out to me a few weeks ago to introduce himself and share all that we had in common. I love that stuff.

22. Dissatisfaction Despite all of the great things in my life, I am still not satisfied. I am still far short of many of my long-term goals. I have much more to accomplish. I have things to see. I have things to create and grow. I am thankful for my hunger for more. It drives me to set my alarm early every morning. It helps me get a little better and smarter every day. And it keeps me looking forward to all the great things yet to come.

Key Takeaway:

We all have much to be thankful for. Don’t take all the wonderful things in your life for granted. But don’t settle for today. Keep adding people, experiences, and accomplishments that will deepen your gratitude year after year.

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope this is your best year yet.

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

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Do great people want to be on your team bus?

Humans are social creatures. We seek out other humans for all kinds of reasons. From companionship and protection to the division of labor and reproduction. There is great value in surrounding yourself with other great humans. Because like ants and bees, humans can do far more together than we could alone. (Especially the reproduction part.)

All human groups have a culture. Like yogurt. The culture creates rules, whether explicit or implied, that govern the way members behave.

I have been part of great cultures and I have spent time in organizations that had very negative cultures. The difference between the two types of organizations is immense. Not just in the enjoyability of the environment, but in the results they produce and the talent they attract and retain.

If your team is regularly losing good people you have a culture problem. But if good people are seeking you out, you likely have a very good thing going. Don’t eff it up.

A great culture is the secret sauce that helps separate great organizations from the merely good. In Jim Collins’ book Good To Great, he writes that an organization is like a bus. You have to get the wrong people off the bus, get the right people on the bus, and get everyone in the right seats.

But there is more to the bus analogy.

While an organization is like a bus, the organizational culture influences what the bus ride feels like. Is there music? Are people talking? Are there roars of laughter? Is it quiet and serious? Is there a team activity happening on the bus? Storytelling? Games? A leader playing tour guide? Or are there jerks sneaking up behind you to dish out wet willies and wedgies?

It is what is happening on the bus, the feel, the vibe, the energy, and the activity, that makes the bus ride enjoyable, or not. And we all spend far too much time at work and with our various other teams not to enjoy the ride.

Key Takeaway

Culture creates a magnetic force within your organization. A positive culture attracts great people who share the same values and enjoy team success. They come together on the bus to spend as much time interacting and feeding off of each as they can. A negative culture forces great people away. Which means they either don’t get on the bus, or they keep to themselves the entire ride, minimizing the collective power of your organization. So make sure to pay close attention to the kind of force your culture creates.

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


+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? and the soon-to-be-released The Culture Turnaround that I co-authored with Jeff Hillimire. Both books are published by Ripples Media.

Cover image courtesy of Prevost

How you can get really smart by acting dumb.

In his book, My Father’s Business, Cal Turner Jr., the long-time CEO of Dollar General and the son of the company’s Founder talks about how his grandfather was one of the smartest people he ever knew. What makes this particularly interesting is that his grandfather dropped out of elementary school to help run the family farm after his dad died in a freak wrestling accident. (I’m assuming it wasn’t cauliflower ear.)

Turner goes on to say that his grandfather’s lack of formal education offered a significant advantage.

It says a great deal about Luther Turner that he was able to turn
his third-grade education into a plus. He was convinced that everyone he met was smarter than he, and that he needed to learn some thing from each of them. He became a first-rate observer, a great listener, and a dedicated student of life. What he practiced was more than empathy. It involved valuing the other person and his or her information, insight, and perspective.

– Cal Turner Jr
I was surprised to learn that Dollar General was never actually in the military.

To be clear, I’m not encouraging you to drop out of school after 3rd grade. (Very few of my readers are in the 3rd grade and under demographic.) But it’s important to recognize the danger of assuming you are the smartest person in the room. We all have blind spots which limit us. But if you remain open to the ideas of others you have the potential to become as smart as everyone you have encountered combined.

Key Takeaway

Everyone you interact with has amassed their own unique combination of knowledge and experience. Which means they have insights and perspectives you don’t have. Listen to them. Learn from them. Add their lessons to your own. The only limit to how much you can learn in life is your own curiosity and receptivity.

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

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Something I did 30 years ago rewarded me in a fun way this week.

A couple of weeks ago I got a very interesting direct message on Instagram. It came from the great Bleav in Badger Football Podcast account. Here’s what it said:

Hey Adam! My name is Matt Perkins and I’m the producer of the Bleav in Badgers podcast (and a fellow Hanover high school alum) and I wanted to reach out to you to first connect in general and then see if you’d be willing to come sit down on the show with us and talk about your story. Former badgers FB and captain Matt Bernstein and I sit down with former badgers (mostly football players but not exclusively) to talk to them about their journeys on and off the field. We’ve had a couple former track guys before (Scott Brinen most notably) and I was hoping you’d be interested in spending a little time with us sometime. We had AJ Taylor on a couple months ago and I know he’s affiliated with your company so I figured I would reach out. Thanks so much and hope all is well, and On Wisconsin (and go Marauders!)

-Matt Perkins

I love it!

I was thrilled at the prospect of being a guest on the podcast. And just as importantly, I was thrilled about talking to Matt about our shared-but-unshared experiences of going to the same high school in New Hampshire and the Univerity of Wisconsin, Madison. So I responded:

Wow! I love Badger Marauders!!! I would love to be a guest. And I have a lot of angles that I could talk about. I have many connections to the football program that will likely surprise you. Let’s do this!

-Adam Albrecht

Then the story got even better when Matt responded:

Awesome! Also, quick Marauder story – I was also a thrower and finished HS 2nd behind you in all the school records. I walked on freshman year to the track team at UW too but got cut end of first semester. Would love to connect! Shoot me your email and we’ll get something on the books

-Matt Perkins

WOW!

I was blown away to make this connection. Matt’s DM combined 4 of my favorite things:

  1. Hanover High School Marauders
  2. Wisconsin Badgers
  3. Connecting with new people.
  4. Instagram (Next to my Grammy, and Teddy, Insta is my favorite type of gram.)

Connecting

I reach out to people I don’t know a lot. Like a lot a lot. I love connecting dots and developing new relationships with people. Especially when we have something fun or interesting in common. But I do it so frequently that it is a real surprise when someone beats me to it.

Inspiration

Matt told me that my high school shot put and discus records served as a source of inspiration for him beginning his freshman year in high school. My discus record was also the New Hampshire state record for 12 years, including the years when Matt was in high school.

Matt Perkins became a great thrower too. He hit 52′ 8 in the shot put and 156′ in the discus. He was the state champion in both events. But he also crushed in the hammer, throwing 194′, and winning the New England championship. Which is wicked frick’n awesome!

Matt, in the sweet headband, went on to have a great career as a rugby player after his throwing career ended.

Offer A Model

It is extremely rewarding to know that someone saw what I accomplished, and it served as a model to follow. Because when you see that someone who lives where you live achieved something that you would like to achieve, it is a reminder that you have the same potential to do great things.

Set Good Examples

Every time you do a good deed, or accomplish something worthwhile, whether it is large or small, you are setting a good example for others to follow. This creates a lasting impact of positivity and success that amplifies the good you do on a daily basis. Thanks for reminding me of that Matt!

The Podcast:

We talked about a whole lotta stuff! Including our opposite attitudes towards our high school weight room.

Matt Perkins, Badger football legend Matt Bernstein and I just recorded the podcast. You can hear the podcast here. (Hear! Hear! to that!)

Key Takeaway

I am excited to say that Matt Perkins and I have developed a quick and strong friendship based on our shared history. If there is someone you’ve always wanted to have a relationship with, especially if they have had a positive impact on your life, reach out to them. You’re likely to have a lot in common, which is the recipe for a meaningful relationship. And at the end of our days, the only thing that matters is the impact we have on each other. Go Marauders! And On Wisconsin!

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

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.