Why you should embrace the bumps and the resistance.

Humans are full of potential. We are loaded with more energy and ability than you can possibly imagine. Unless maybe you are John Lennon.

Thomas Edison said, “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” It was that type of enlightened thinking that enabled Edison to invent both the modern light bulb and the ‘How many does it take to screw in a light bulb?’ jokes.

As you work to become all that you can be, like the United States Army, you will encounter bumps and resistance along your journey. It is important to recognize the full value they provide. Because humans are like matchsticks. #RobThomas We are meant to be set on fire. It is the bumps and the friction we encounter that create the sparks and the heat that ignite us. It is the adversity and struggle that strengthen us and bring out our best. Like Budweiser in 1984.

Key Takeaway

Embrace the struggle. Value the resistance. Don’t avoid it. Go through it. It helps reveal all that you are capable of.

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***If you think 3 asterisks are too many, you are probably right.

Do you have a pre-game hype ritual?

We’ve all seen pre-game introductions before sporting events to get the teams and the fans excited for competition. They typically involve some combination of lights, video, music, smoke machines, pyrotechnics, pom-poms, well-caffeinated announcers, and a deer. (Actually, the deer may only be a Milwaukee Bucks thing.)

However, hype routines should not be limited to sporting events. Because each day of your life is a game. Every day is a challenge to see how much you can accomplish. The more you can do to hit the day prepared to perform the more you are likely to achieve. #LetsDoThisThang

If there is one thing I am good at it is hyping myself up. In the morning as I drive to work I inspire myself with either an audiobook related to success or self-improvement, a podcast on the same topic, or music that gets me ready to perform. Sometimes it’s a cocktail of 2 or 3 of those elements. I would also be willing to bet there is more singing and clapping in my car than in the average Honda.

Once I get to the office, (or bust into my home office like I own the place) I launch my computer and crank up more hype music as I create my success list for the day. At the header of my list, I include a collection of my personal goals and personal success mantras. By the time my list is complete, I have worked up the needed attitude, energy, and inspiration to make the most of my day. I am like my own Michael Buffer. And I am now ready to rumblllle. #DingDingDing

Key Takeaway

Hype routines are not just for NBA players, boxers, and concertgoers. Pump up your own jam every morning with a routine that gets you excited and inspired to perform at your best. Remember, every day of your life is a game. Prepare your mind to make the most of it.

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Are you surrounding yourself with the best people?

If you are growing and developing at a rapid rate, you are likely to outgrow your peers. That means outperforming and outranking friends and co-workers who are your age. It means that the professional group you belong to will someday feel less stimulating and helpful. It’s what happened to Doogie Howser in daycare.

As you learn, grow, and advance you will need new peers to support, inspire and push you. Seek out those who are already at the next level. Or 2 levels up. Put the power of positive peer pressure to work for you.

Jim Rohn once said, ‘You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.’ (Actually, I bet he said that a whole bunch of times because it’s a really good line.)

Attitudes and expectations are contagious. Surrounding yourself with ambitious and accelerating humans is like sharing a lollipop with someone who has Chicken Pox. (Or huffing with someone who has COVID-19.) You are likely to catch what they have. Which makes you more likely to do the things they do. Like UB40 said.

Key Takeaway

Pay close attention to your peer group. Seek out the best people to spend your time with. Find others who have been where you are going. Or people who are on their way now. You’ll travel farther and faster together.

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My adventurous Saturday drive.

How was your Saturday? Mine was pretty unique.

I woke up in the middle of a crazy thunderstorm at 5 am. I say the middle of the storm because I was on the 24th floor of the JW Marriott downtown New Orleans, Louisiana. The storm was literally all around us. It was a pretty wild wake-up call for me and my family of 5. The lightning flashes and cracks of thunder were biblical. I was starting to think God or Al Roker was sending me a personal message to get in my ark.

Pack It Up. Pack it In.

We had already planned to begin our trek home to Milwaukee, Wisconsin yesterday. But the storm, which was still ragin’ like a cajun a couple of hours later meant that there was no reason for one last stroll through the French Quarter. Because not even Tom Benson’s Boogie umbrella would have done us any good in NOLA yesterday.

My boys and a few plates of kiddie-cocaine

On The Road Again

At 8:30 am our Ford Expedition was fully loaded and we were pulling out of the hotel. The weather was wild and added to the mystery of just how far we would be able to travel in one day. The navigation system told us the full drive, without stops, would be 1032 miles straight north. The adventure was on.

The Crawfish-Cheese Run Route.

Kentwouldn’t

Our first stop was in Kentwood, Louisiana for a bathroom break and fuel. It took me 3 fuel pumps at 2 different gas stations to find any gasoline. There are plenty of great places to stop for a bathroom and fuel. Kentwood is not on that list. #DoNotRecommend

Mississippi: The 4 I’d State.

Soon we rolled into Mississippi, like Tina Turner, or CCR. The state was lovely and green. Jackson was bigger than I imagined. I wondered where Deion ‘Prime Time’ Sanders lives. (Probably on some prime real estate.) I thought about Kid Rock screaming, ‘I feel like Jackson, Mississippi!’ But I couldn’t get a feel for what that would feel like. So we kept rolling.

Memphizzle

We skirted around Memphis and saw downtown as we crossed the Mississippi for the first time. The Bass Pro Shop Pyramid dominates the Memphis skyline. It’s like Tennessee’s version of the Statue of Liberty. (Give me your crankbait, your plastic worms, your red and white bobbers…)

The Middle Passage

We grabbed lunch in West Memphis, Arkansas and my wife Dawn took over driving duties so I could grab a quick nap. I tried not to giggle when the girl working at Arby’s kept referring to the gyro (sandwich) as if it was part of a gyroscope. Dawn drove us through Northeast Arkansas, the Missouri Bootheel, and across the Mississippi again into Cairo, Illinois. Which meant we had made it halfway home.

Yes, You Kankakee!

We stopped for another quick bathroom break just north of Cairo, and I started driving again at 4 pm. We had a whole lot of Illinois in front of us. But we were on a roll. And we rolled all the way to Kankakee, where we grabbed Culver’s for dinner at 9 pm. (I thought it would be fun to open a pancake restaurant there called Kankakee Panckees.)

Chi-Town

We hit Chicago late enough that there were no issues. But as always, I saw lots of billboards for hair replacement. So if I ever have that problem, I’ll call Brian Urlacher.

Wisconsinin’

Once we crossed into Wisconsin someone hit the fog machine and visibility dropped to near nothing. We had 60 more miles to home. And it appeared the drive would end the way it started, with weather spicing things up.

Home With My homies.

At exactly 11:30 pm we pulled into our driveway at home in Mequon. We made it 1040 miles in 15 hours. We did the whole drive in one day. I had driven 1000 miles in a day several times. (And I would walk 500 miles.) But this was the farthest and fastest of my major road days.

The Po-Po

After avoiding the police for 15 hours, just before midnight, as I was cleaning out the car in my driveway, a police officer walked up my driveway and introduced himself.

I assumed he was there to congratulate me and my family on completing our cannonball run. Instead, he told me he had received a report of shots fired at about the time we got home. He asked if I had heard anything. I resisted the temptation to tell him that I thought I heard some Jello shots and maybe a Jagermeister or two in my neighbor Paul and Jane’s house. (He then told me if there really were shots fired you would usually have several calls. So he assumed it was nothing.)

Key Takeaway

Take on significant challenges. Do hard things. Set goals. Push yourself. See what is really possible. It’s fun to take on challenges with a great partner or your entire family. Extra obstacles like storms, fog, and police just add to the adventure. And they help turn miles into memories. Which is what life is all about.

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Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

I am in New Orleans right now. I love this city. There is nothing else like it. Not even Old Orleans. The combination of architecture, music, history, food, geography, climate, and culture makes New Orleans both a truly unique city and a distinct brand.

Every time I am in NOLA I see the saying Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler. I’m not sure if it is the official or unofficial motto of the city. But it means Lazy The Bones Temporarily 12-inch Wooden Stick. No. Wait. That is what I told my kids it means.

The real translation of this French phrase (for those who have never dated anyone from New Orleans, France, Quebec, or Haiti) is Let The Good Times Roll.

I love this phrase. It is a great motto for a night out, a vacation, a celebration, or a life well-lived. It represents such a fun-loving, positive attitude that the saying and the mindset it creates helps manifest more good times. Like Jimmie Walker, which is dyn-o-mite!

Me and my muffuletta at Napoleon House, right before the guy in the tank top asked me to dance.

We as a planet now have a variety pack of COVID-19 vaccines to get the corona-cooties under control. So let’s all do our part. And put this pandemic behind us. Let’s get back to full business and full employment. Let’s all enjoy the prosperity available in the 21st century. Let’s enjoy our time together, our sense of freedom, and all the social pleasures we now realize we too often taken for granted. Let’s put down our little digital devices and enjoy being with other humans. Let’s eat, drink, play, create, explore and experience the best life has to offer. And like they say in New Orleans, Louisiana, let’s let the good times roll!

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5 Random Observations From Vacation.

I’m on vacation this week with my family. We loaded up the Family Truckster and headed south for a week of warmth and adventure. But there is no Wally World for us. This trip is actually last year’s spring break beach trip that got canceled because of the plague. One year later we are certainly enjoying it more than we would have last year.

I have had a lot of time to think over the past few days. Here are 5 random things I’ve been thinking about during my time away.

  1. The work must go on. Even when I am on vacation there is work to do. It is what you sign up for when you become an entrepreneur. To minimize the impact on my family I work early, or late, or both. I am thankful for all the work to be done. I don’t believe in work-life balance. I believe in work-life integration. My vacations are evidence of this. I appreciate my team at The Weaponry who keep things running while I’m away. I’m also thankful for my family who understands my work commitments. They enjoy having food, clothing, and shelter too. And they see how having a job helps pay for such things.

2. Your family role is part of your career. Your role within your family is your most important role of all. You should view your parental and spousal job performance as part of your career success. You need to take it seriously or you will be the only one at your funeral. Seriously.

Me and my 3 interns catching the Baylor vs Gonzaga game.

3. My people are everywhere. I am at the beach in Florida. And I discovered several friends nearby. My former Engauge co-worker Raghu was in a hotel room right above mine. (We first talked on the balcony.) Our across-the-street neighbors from Atlanta, Christy, Kevin, and Fam, are less than a mile away, and we had lunch with them yesterday. Our Columbus, Ohio friends Troy and Katie are just down the beach a piece. So we had dinner with them last night. Running into your people randomly makes the world feel smaller. And better.

The Allens and the Albrechts: Brought together by spring break and alphabetical order.
Raghu isn’t as good at smiling as I am.

4. Boogie boarding is my jam. If I am on vacation at the beach I am boogie boarding. It represents everything you need to know about life. It’s about positioning yourself well, being prepared when opportunities come along, enjoying the ride, and laughing off the crashes. Oh, and if you are not careful you could lose your britches. For more on my life lessons from boogie boarding read 16 important life lessons I learned from boogie boarding.

Skimboarding is my daughter Ava’s jam. I don’t have a pic of me boogie boarding. No one really wants to see that anyway.

5. Funny things happen every day. Each night my 10, 13, and 15 year old kids love to recap all the funny things that happened each day. There is no shortage of funny things to talk about. It’s a great reminder that life is either a comedy or a tragedy, depending on which things you choose to focus on. I choose the funny.

Thanks for reading. I hope your day is full of meaningful work, friends, family, and funny.

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How habits help you do things you don’t feel like doing.

Excuses are easy to find. They are everywhere. Like Subway sandwich shops. And they can get you out of doing just about anything if you let them. But like James Taylor said, don’t you let them.

For years now I have committed to writing and sharing 3 blog posts per week, every week, for however many weeks there are in a year. (Which is like, 76 right? Or is that how many trombones lead the big parade?)

But today is Easter. And it’s a Sunday. (It seems like Easter falls on a Sunday a lot. Like Chick-fil-A cravings.)

Plus, I am on vacation. And I have a hundred other things I could be doing.

But, here I am, writing anyway. And you’re reading my Easter morning post. (Thank you!) Because I’ve developed a habit.

Habits destroy excuses. Because habits make actions automatic. They help you build momentum. Because once you get the flywheel turning you don’t need willpower, or discipline. You just do it. Like Nike. Or like one of Pavlov’s drooling dogs.

Key Takeaway

Turn your most important actions into habits. Science shows that by the 60th repetition an action becomes a habit. After that it is easy to keep your commitment. So develop your habits. Keep showing up. Keep coming back. Keep working, or writing, or exercising, or chopping wood, or whatever you have committed to do.

And special thanks today to my man Jesus. I appreciate you Bro! I’ve been using the Forgiveness of Sins you gave me everyday too.

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How to turn your setbacks into success.

Progress is not linear. It zigs and zags. It stalls. It reverses. In fact, progress moves like a good 1980s breakdancer. It often leaves you spinning on your head. And wondering why you are carrying around a large piece of cardboard, and a boombox.

But don’t fear the setback. Setbacks are a profit center. Because, like Alanis Morissette said, every time you lose, you learn. Which means that setbacks are full of education, growth and things you, you, you oughta know. They make you smarter and stronger if you let them.

Obstacles, challenges, and losses provide game film to study. They reveal weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and flaws. And they teach you how to strengthen your weaknesses so you can overcome challenges the next time you face them. Luckily, life supplies a Hong Kong Buffet of challenges to overcome. So you will always have more opportunities to put your loss-based learnings to good use.

Key Takeaway

Don’t lament the setback. Embrace it. Dissect it. It provides a very specific, high level course in personal or professional development. Enroll in that class. Take good notes. You’re sure to come out smarter and more prepared than you started.

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Are you sinking, floating, treading water or swimming?

How is your life going?

How is your career going?

How often do you stop and ask yourself these questions?

(And how often do you get asked 4 rapid-fire questions to start an article?)

Self-Evaluation

If you don’t perform a simple self-evaluation regularly you are likely to waste valuable time and energy moving in the wrong direction. Or not moving at all. And honey-child, your time is far too valuable to be wasted.

The 4-Mode Method

We are always in one of these 4 modes: Sinking, Floating, Treading Water, or Swimming. (We are also sometimes in pie à-la-mode, but that’s a different story.) Use the following criteria to determine how things are going at any given point.

Sinking

Sinking means you are not keeping up with the most basic requirements. You are falling behind. You are regressing. You are deeper in effort-debt each day. Sinking is failing. Untreated health issues, substance abuse, and other addictions can all contribute to sinking. Without an intervening act, sinking will lead you to the bottom of the pool. If you are sinking you need help. Don’t be afraid to ask for it. If you don’t, sooner or later you won’t be able to ask for anything again. (That went dark quickly…)

Do you sink you are sinking? (Ask in your best German accent.)

Floating

Floating means you are putting in the minimum effort. You are waiting. You are doing nothing to improve, grow, or progress. You are simply letting external forces have their way with you. Floating leads to a lot of regret at the end of your days.

Don’t be a floater. Also, don’t wear a white shirt in the water.

Treading Water

Treading water means you are putting in an effort. You are expending energy. But it is ineffective. All of your motion is simply enabling you to hold your current position. Your intention is good. But your results are not. It is like floating but with a terrible return on your calories burned.

Treading water is motion without results. It’s also what people are doing in scary movies before the underwater thing attacks.

Swimming

Swimming means you are making progress. You have forward movement. You have coordinated efforts. Swimming means that you have discovered a repeatable process that works. You have direction. You have a goal and you are working towards it.

Just keep swimming.

Key Takeaway

Always be swimming. Know what you want and work to get it. It’s the only way to get ahead. And it’s the best way to make the best use of your time.

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The money lesson I taught my son that he then shared with his class.

Over the past year, I have been able to spend more time with my family than ever before. For several months I conducted all of my work from my home office. Which allowed my 3 kids to see more of what I do during the day. This created interesting new opportunities to talk to them about work, business, and making money.

As an entrepreneur and business owner, I couldn’t resist talking to my kids about the challenges the pandemic was causing for businesses. And how toilet paper didn’t grow on trees. (They corrected me). But more importantly, I shared how much opportunity there was for businesses to innovate, solve new problems, and benefit from helping others.

As the stock market went into the toilet like a dooky, I shared that this was an amazing time to invest. My kids asked me if they could invest some of their money. So I helped them buy their first stock.

We also read books on money, investing, and wealth. I was surprised by how interested they were in the topic. And it gave me hope that someday they may be able to afford to put me in the good nursing home.

I was even more surprised when my youngest son Magnus came home one day and told me he wrote a story in school on how to get rich. I was curious to read it. I wanted to know what his 10-year old mind was thinking. When the paper finally came home I was tickled, like Elmo, to read what he wrote. I have reprinted the story here in its entirety with permission from Magnus.

How To Get Rich!

The first thing you need to know to be rich is the difference between what you need and what you want. Another way you can put this is you need to know the difference between an asset and a liability.

A asset is something that makes you money. A liability is something that wastes your money.

Some assets would be starting a business, buying stocks, set up a lemonade stand, or any stand, mow someone’s lawn or sell things.

But buying stock is the most efficient way to make money. Especially at a time like this when all the stocks are down.

If you don’t know what a stock is, it’s something you buy on any device and without doing anything you make money. You can also hold on to your stock and get paid four times a year.

My stock pays me 30 cents four times a year. When I bought the shares of my stock each one cost me $3.75. So in total I paid $37.50. And that stock has went up so high that last time I checked it was worth $120 if I sold it.

You can sell things, but I sometimes wouldn’t recommend it. What my Dad taught me is sell when it is high, buy when it is low.

A book I would recommend to get you started is called, Rich Dad. Poor Dad. That was the first book I read about how to get rich. So after reading this get up and ‘Act Now!’

-Magnus Albrecht 3-9-21

Key Takeaway

Teach others what you know. By sharing your knowledge you raise the intelligence and confidence of others. Talk to kids about important life lessons and skills, including financial literacy, when they are young. They are like sponges, primed for learning. Make it fun. Make it interesting. And you can make a positive, life-long impact. It may just be the most valuable investment you ever make.

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