There is more than one way to win.

Yesterday I coached my son Magnus’ 6th-grade football team against a really strong opponent. I am the defensive coordinator. Which means that I spent many hours this week preparing for the game.

Here’s a breakdown of my efforts:

  1. I watched game film of our win last week. Then I went all John Madden, and telestrated the game film on Hudl to show our team things they did really well. And things they need to improve. There was plenty of both.
  2. I watched game film of our upcoming opponent to understand their offense. I documented every play and every formation they ran in their past 2 games. Then I strategized a game plan to defend them. I even considered cutting off the sleeves of my hoodie to help me channel my inner Bill Belichick.
  3. I created our 3 different defensive lineups (Black, Red and White) that would ensure everyone on the team got to play defense.
  4. I worked with my fellow coaches Josh Hunt, Jon Eippert, Paul Lillyroot, Scott Steger and Ryan Smith at practice for 2 hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to prepare our boys for the Saturday game.

I was confident that we had a great game plan and that our team was talented enough to win the game.

But we got beaten badly.

35-0.

I was frustrated and disappointed with the outcome. But I didn’t throw any chairs, clipboards, or hissy fits. I knew that we were playing a great team. And I saw them do the same thing they did to us to their previous 2 opponents. I realized that sometimes you can have a good plan, feel prepared, and still get beat.

But something interesting happened on my drive home from the game.

In the car, Magnus shared with me and my wife Dawn that the football players on his team sit together at lunch at school. I asked who sat together. He replied, ‘Everybody.’

He continued. ‘It’s really fun. We sit at a table that is supposed to sit like 6 people. But we crowd everybody in. There are probably 15 guys who all pack together at lunch.’

Stunned, I asked Magnus who specifically sat together. He again, said, ‘Everybody.’ Then he listed them by name. And sure enough, he included everyone on his team that attends Steffen Middle School in Mequon. (There are other kids on his team at 2 other schools in town.)

The kids he listed included the stars of the team and kids who are just happy to participate. It included kids who were born and raised in Mequon and new kids who just moved in from other towns and states. All of these 6th graders are in their first month of middle school. Which can be a challenging and lonely time.

As I drove the last couple of miles home after our loss I couldn’t help but think that while we lost the game that day, our team was winning at life. That the team culture we were creating at practice and through the broader Mequon-Thiensville Cardinal football program, and indeed the Homestead High School program, was translating to a winning team culture at school and in our community. The boys have developed strong bonds of friendship and a team identity. And just as importantly, they have someone to sit, talk and laugh with at lunch.

Key Takeaway

Not all of your wins show up on the scoreboard. Focus on developing a team culture where everyone feels included, and everyone feels important. Focus on the goals of unity, support, and continuous improvement. If you do, the wins will surely come. Often in unexpected ways.

*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. For more ideas on team culture, look for my next book, The Culture Turnaround that I co-authored with Jeff Hilimire. The book is scheduled for publication in November.

Why I changed the dedication in my book at the last minute.

In December of 2021, I accomplished a long-term goal when I published my first book. The book, titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? is a collection of 80 important life lessons the universe has shared with me. And because the great lessons of life are typically dispensed after enjoying some egg foo young and chop suey, the book title was obvious.

Surprisingly, one of the more challenging aspects of writing the book was deciding who to dedicate the book to. I’m sure that doesn’t seem that hard. Especially when compared to say, writing the rest of a 290-page book. But it was.

The Reasons:

First, I didn’t know how good the first book would be. After all, the first pancake on the griddle always turns out a little funky. So I didn’t want to dedicate a subpar book to someone really important to me. Although, I wouldn’t dedicate any book to someone unimportant to me. Hence the conundrum.

Second, from the beginning, I planned to write several books. So ultimately there should be several different dedications. Pairing each book with the proper dedicatee complicates things.

Finally, I wanted a simple, focused dedication. Not a long list of everyone I could ever thank. I would save that for the acknowledgements section in the back of the book. And for when I win an academy award.

Despite the challenges, I initially wrote a dedication that I liked. But late in the process, I altered the dedication several times. Which included both who I dedicated the book to, and what I wrote to them.

9 months after publishing the fortune cookie bookie I had more or less forgotten about the dedication dilemma. That is until this week.

A couple of days ago I opened the original digital layout of the book I received from my publisher, Ripples Media. The layout featured the original dedication. And while I am very happy with the final published dedication, I liked the original one too. It was playful. Yet meaningful. It featured both a pop culture reference and some humor. Which is my favorite kind of writing.

Instead of taking this dedication to the grave with me, I’d like to share it with you as a sort of deleted scene from my book.

The Published Version:

Dedication

To my children Ava, Johann, and Magnus. I hope this helps.

The Original Version:

Dedication

I’m dedicating this book to Casey Kasem. It’s a long-distance dedication.

But if I weren’t dedicating this to Casey Kasem (which I am), I would dedicate this to my grandfathers, Alton Archibald Albrecht and Kenneth Adam Sprau. The process of preparing the eulogies for your memorial services changed my life. It made me think about what is important and what lessons I will pass down to others. (I’m not sure if I have to mention that my grandfathers have both passed away or if the eulogy part made that kinda obvious.)

Why The Change

Ultimately, the fact that my grandfathers were highly unlikely to read the book, while my kids would at least crack the cover to see if their names were in the book, inspired me to dedicate it to my offspring.

Truth be told, Ava, Johann and Magnus are the reasons I wrote the book. I wanted to pass along a collection of the best lessons I have learned to them. Because even though I can’t be with them everywhere they go in life, they can always have the book with them. Even in prison. And as the book came together I could tell it was good, valuable, and something I could be very proud of dedicating to my children.

Key Takeaway

When you write a book, make it great, and dedicate it to people who may actually read your book. Who knows, it may inspire them to empty the dishwasher. At least that’s the dream.

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

Why you should think like a rockstar every time you enter a room.

The Summer of 2022 marked a strong return to live concerts for me. I saw 10 significant acts perform this past summer and they all rocked. One of my favorite things about seeing a live show is that it forces you to be present. It is hard to not be in the moment when you have something loud and attention-grabbing in your face. Especially when there is a chance that you will see naked body parts at any moment. #MotleyCrue

But concerts aren’t just about listening to music. They present an excellent opportunity to learn. Because concerts offer a masterclass on performance, entertainment, and creativity. Concerts also remind you that people lose their minds when you mention the name of their city or state. #NobodyRocksLike…

Motley Crue at Fenway

The Concert Reminder

When I go to concerts I’m always reminded to be a rockstar. The world loves people who go big and different. We love people who inspire and energize. We love people who break outsides the standard guardrails of normality. While the majority of humans spend their time and effort trying to fit in, we celebrate those who bust out.

To make a rockstar impression on others ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How can I be a rockstar in my world?
  2. How can I light up a room?
  3. How can I go bigger?
  4. How can I put more into my performance?
  5. How can I offer more energy?
  6. How can I deliver more wow?
  7. How can I serve up more surprises?
  8. How can I be more entertaining?
  9. How can I inspire others?
  10. How can I move people?
  11. How can I trash hotel rooms without it negatively affecting my loyalty program status? (Asking for a friend.)

Key Takeaway

Find your rockstar style. Make minds sparkle. Make people light up from your bright energy, skills, and abilities. Rock their world with your ideas. Your passion. Your daring. Inspire others. And continue to define and refine your style every day.

*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.

Spend quality time with people who know things you don’t.

From the moment you were born you were programmed to grow stronger and smarter every day. Which is why you don’t come out of the womb with a driver’s license and a scalpel.

One of the most important ways you become a stronger, more capable machine is by simply interacting with other people. In fact, you learn more from other humans than from any other source. Even if you have a killer set of encyclopedias.

When you engage with humans they add:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Insights
  • Perspective
  • Confidence
  • Connections
  • Resources
  • Joy
  • Entertainment
  • Ideas
  • Tools
  • Support
  • Kindness
  • Happiness
  • Inspiration
  • Motivation
  • Charcuterie (Definitely spend more time with anyone who offers a solid spread.)

Key Takeaway

Seek out human interaction. When you spend time with people who are ahead of you on your development journey they naturally pull you forward. Make sure to share with others too. You have gifts and knowledge that offer great value to those around you. And everyone improves in the process.

*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.

My new podcast interview is out. And we talk about everythang!

There are 2 main reasons that people want to hear you tell your story.

  1. You have experienced success and others want to hear how you did it.
  2. You have failed in a spectacular way and people want to hear how you did it.

I’m not sure which category I fall into.

But I was recently invited to sit down with the great Justin Honaman to record an episode of his ContenderCast Podcast. Justin interviews entrepreneurs and people doing interesting thangs. I either qualified or found a useful loophole.

Like you, I was not born an entrepreneur. In fact, I spent 19 years working for someone else. But in my early 40s, with a significant mortgage, 3 kids and a wife that I really wanted to keep, I switched from Team Employee to Team Entrepreneur when I launched the advertising and ideas agency, The Weaponry.

When I started the agency I also started writing the Adam Albrecht blog, which now has 775 published posts. Most recently, I published my first book called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? Did I mention I also juggle? (And jiggle.)

If you want to hear more, check out the podcast. I share my backstory that led to my front-story. I talk about a lot of different stuff. And Justin asks great questions.

Things I talk about on the podcast:

  • Growing up in Vermont
  • My track & field success, setbacks and comebacks
  • My college track & field experience at the University of Wisconsin
  • My advertising career
  • My real-life advanced degree in business
  • How the universe turned me into a mid-career entrepreneur
  • How you can become a mid-career entrepreneur
  • Launching The Weaponry, the advertising and idea agency
  • The inspiration behind the name The Weaponry
  • The technology we used that made us pandemic proof
  • Sharing financial information with our team
  • The No A-Hole Rule
  • How and why I started the Adam Albrecht Blog.
  • Why blogs are amazing platforms for sharing ideas
  • Recognizing the power of positive messages
  • How I wrote My new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?
  • My next book on organizational culture with Jeff Hilimire
  • If you’ve read this far you might as well just listen to the whole podcast
  • How to continuously upgrade your thinking
  • Why I collect keys
  • The first thing I do every morning
  • The 2 questions my wife uses to inspire my career progress.
  • Much much more!

If you want a quick and entertaining recap of my story you can hear the podcast here. Or look for the ContenderCast Podcast from your favorite podcast dealer.

Have a great weekend!

-AA

The best first step to take to be highly successful.

Last week I was a guest on the ContenderCast Podcast with host Justin Honaman, Justin interviewed me about entrepreneurship, and the things I have learned by launching and running the advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry. We discussed lessons from my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? And we talked about his transition from Diet Coke to Coke Zero. (This paragraph has been brought to you by Coke Zero.)

I can’t wait for the podcast episode to drop. I expect it will change my life the way Sara Blakely’s life changed when she went on the Oprah Winfrey show. So don’t be surprised if the world starts wearing my undergarments too.

Advice

One of the great questions Justin asked me was, ‘What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?’

My answer was clear and instant:

Spend time with people who have already done it.

But that advice is not specifically for want-to-be entrepreneurs. Or wantrepreneurs.

It is the best advice I can share about any type of success and achievement.

The best way to achieve a massive goal is to spend time with people who have already done what you want to do.

When you spend time with superstars their mindset rubs off on you. Unlike tickets on the Polar Express, their mindset is transferrable.

Spending time with high achievers is like going to a Success Optometrist. They help you see success in much greater detail. You see the actions they take, the mindset they have adopted, and the relationships they develop and maintain.

When you see those things up close you realize that you can do all of those things too. Suddenly, your belief in what is possible expands. Your risk tolerance increases. Your view of money transforms. And your excuses fade away.

There is an intelligence that increases with increasing levels of success. It can appear mysterious or unattainable from a distance. But once you have a front-row seat to higher levels of success, it demystifies the process. It’s like seeing how magic tricks are actually performed. You quickly realize there is no magic. There are simply skills developed, practiced, and perfected until it looks like magic.

Key Takeaway

Seek out successful people. Step into their orbit and let their positive peer pressure propel you. Notice the way they act, read, and think. Modify their approaches to your needs and style. Soak up the education and inspiration. It will change your life like nothing else can. Because when you are close to those who model the behavior you want to see in yourself you can’t help but replicate it. It’s like a language immersion program. Only the language is success. Soon you’ll notice others who want to get close to you and learn how you do what you do. That’s when you know it works.

*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.

My favorite place in the world may surprise you.

When you ask people about their favorite places you get a lot of similar answers. The beach. The mountains. The woods. A bustling cosmopolitan area. Quaint villages. Maybe a Rennaissance fair for the corset and turkey leg crowd.

But one of my favorite places is on elevators. I love those things. Ironically, the elevator was invented by Elisha Graves Otis, a Vermonter. Which I find hilarious because the tallest building in Vermont is still only about 4 stories high. And that’s a barn in Windsor County.

(Before any cranky Vermonters send me hate mail and explain that there is a six-story hotel in Burlington, let me say I already know that. I am a Vermonter myself. My wife wears maple-scented perfume when she wants to get my attention.)

Back to the elevator.

Elevators are awkward places. They are small boxes where strangers gather too close for comfort. Like an 80s sitcom. But that awkwardness creates the magic of an elevator.

Instead of simply sitting in the uncomfortableness of the elevator I embrace it. I use it to my advantage.

I lob out jokes intended to break the ice. It is easier to get a laugh on an elevator than anywhere else on Earth. Because the situation is inherently funny.

The Weaponry, the advertising and ideas agency I founded, has recently moved into a new office in a 14-story building in downtown Milwaukee. I now ride 2 elevators twice a day. One elevator between the parking garage and the lobby. One between the lobby and my office. And I love them both.

I notice the tension every time I step onboard. And I use it to create human interactions the way a sailboat uses tension on the sail to propel the vessel.

That elevator tension is a gift. Use it. It accelerates human interactions. It facilitates conversation. It’s the perfect place to start a new relationship.

Trust me. I met my wife on an elevator. She laughed at my jokes. I stalked her when she got off. Now we’ve been married for 20 years. #truestory

Key Takeaway.

The oddity of the elevator creates the perfect conversation starter. Use it to your advantage. It will help you meet new people. It will help you laugh more. And relationships that start with a laugh are the most enjoyable.

*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.

Why I am so excited about my upcoming book talk.

A couple of weeks ago I got a call from my good friend Matt Richmond. He was reaching out on behalf of the Mequon-Thiensville Chamber of Commerce, which is the chamber in the community that I have lived in for the past 6 years since moving to Wisconsin from Atlanta.

Matt and the MTCOC (which sounds like a band name), were calling to invite me to speak at the Chamber’s September Luncheon on September 14th. Specifically, they wanted me to share lessons from my book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?

I figuratively jumped at the chance.

A Bit of Background

Nine months ago I published What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? with Ripples Media. The book is a collection of 80 of the best life lessons I have learned over my human adventure.

The book contains:

  • Lessons that have helped me as a record-setting college track athlete.
  • Lessons I have used as an entrepreneur to launch and grow my advertising and ideas agency The Weaponry.
  • Lessons I lean on as a high school track & field and youth football coach.
  • Lessons I use to develop and maintain strong relationships.
  • Lessons I use to get the most out of every day.

I am eager to share these ideas because they have been so valuable to me.

Over the past 9 months, I have given book talks all over the country. I have shared my learnings and lessons with students, clubs, and businesses. I have shared my ideas at conferences and with teams. I have been on TV shows and podcasts. I have signed hundreds of books for readers. And I have only spelled one name wrong. #oops

Molly told me to throw my hands in the air, and wave em like I just don’t care.

I wrote this book to help readers learn a little, laugh a little and lift a little. The consistent feedback I’m getting indicates that the book hits the target. I have heard countless stories from readers who have been inspired to do more, think differently and reevaluate their outlook.

Like this:

I’m 65 and not looking to start a business or even want to be motivated to do anything! I’m surprised that I not only enjoyed Adam’s humor, but I did become motivated to get going in a new chapter of life! 

-Jenee Sprau

And this:

It’s like a behind the scenes tour of how an ambitious, driven and successful person approaches life. Keep a notebook handy, this is full of gems!!

-Anne Norman

And this:

A terrific book for anyone who needs some a healthy dose of inspiration and a (good) kick in the pants! The bite size chapters are fun reads with loads of humor and actionable insights. Fortune Cookie is relevant for all ages and any part of life – careers, family, passions and hobbies. Pick up a copy and then pass it on to another person who you care deeply about.

-Ashley Gill

I’ve heard from people who have shared the lessons from my books with friends, family, and coworkers. (Which always looks like cow orkers to me.) There are numerous readers who have read the book, then bought 20 more copies to give away to others.

Me and some Mules at a recent talk in Missouri.

Please Join Me

I enjoy sharing my learnings on happiness and success with the world. But I really love the opportunity to share these lessons with my community. With business owners, leaders, and educators who also have the ability to positively impact my friends, family, and neighbors.

Speaking to the marketing group at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. Apparently, my hands are always in the air.

If you live or work near Mequon or Thiensville I would love to have you join the luncheon. I will share some of the best lessons I have learned about happiness and success. I’m hoping to inspire you to help make our community a better place to live and work. I will also try to make you laugh. Ideally, while you are eating or drinking something. Which is my favorite thing about talking at a luncheon.

You can register for the luncheon here.

Fun Fact: Thiensville is a village completely surrounded by the city of Mequon. It’s like our West Berlin. Or Vatican City.

+ If you are looking for a speaker to share positive ideas and inspiration with your organization, or to say something funny while people are eating, send me a note. You can reach me at adam@theweaponry.com.

10 activities to do away from work that make you better at work.

Happy Labor Day! This is the day we set aside to honor working people like you. Your work is important and noble. It helps you pay for your groceries. And therapy. But today I hope you don’t work at all.

Instead, consider these 10 non-working activities that make you better on the job.

  1. Rest Recover, refresh, and renew. Take time to rest so that you don’t burn yourself out at work. (Yes, I realize that activity #1 is technically an inactivity.)

2. Exercise This keeps your body strong. A strong body is a strong asset during the work day. And if you can run a 5K, rock climb or lift Instagramable weight, then stapling the coversheet on your TPS report should be a breeze.

3. Read: Reading helps you discover new ideas. It inspires. It sparks creativity. It expands your worldview. It enables you to bring new thinking and perspective to work. And like Southwest Airlines, reading helps you get away.

4. Socialize: Develop and maintain relationships to improve your mental well-being. Socialize to expose yourself to new opportunities in a clothes-on-kind-of-way. All of this contributes to your workplace success.

5. Sleep: Experiment to discover your optimal amount of sleep. Then hit your number as often as you can. Getting the quantity of sleep your body loves will help you wake up ready for the world, like an 80’s band. And ready for the work day ahead. Waking up each day feeling strong and rested for the work day ahead is a beautiful way to start your day.

6. Travel: When you see new things it exposes you to new ideas. It leads to a greater understanding of the world and all of its beautiful diversity. Which contributes to creative thinking, problem-solving, and points with your travel loyalty program. (You did sign up for the loyalty program, right?)

7. Spend time with nature. Spend time away from the human-made world to recharge and gain perspective on life. It is a great way to slow down, destress and break out your cute outdoor clothing. While you are out there you have time to think. And thinking is the worker’s most valuable activity.

8. Volunteer: Offer your time, talent, and energy to do meaningful work without pay. It reminds you of the ways your work can create a better, more caring world. It reminds you that there are many ways to add value and contribute. And that there are many ways to be compensated for your efforts that are not monetary.

9. Laugh: Laughing is living. It relieves stress. It makes you feel like everything will be alright. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. See the world as a great comedy and your perspective will contribute immensely to your enjoyment of both your work and play.

10. Spend time with your family: Make sure to balance your commitment to work with a commitment to family time. Spend quality time with your spouse and children. (If you have them.) Spend time with your parents and siblings. (If you have them.) It will remind you why you are working in the first place. (Especially when you see your kids’ smiling, crooked teeth in need of orthodontia.)

Key Takeaway

You don’t become a better teammate, employee, or leader by spending all of your time at work. You become better away from work. Use your time off to become a better, smarter, more relaxed human. Up your creativity, connectedness, and curiosity away from work. Then show up to work a little better every day. Now go make the most of your Labor Day. I want to hear all about it on Tuesday morning.

*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.