10 things Dads should teach their kids to love.

Over the past 16 years, I have learned a lot about what it takes to be a good Dad. Most of what I now know I have learned by making mistakes. Like the time I dropped my 6-month-old over a railing at the Zoo. I knew I had made a mistake when everyone around me started screaming. #truestory

One of the things I’ve learned is that to be a good father you should spend more time with your kids than writing blog posts on Father’s Day. So let’s get right to the list.

10 things Dads should teach their kids to love.

  1. Books

Collect Books. Read to your kids. Let them see you reading. Dads who read books keep getting smarter, more creative and more capable. It’s a great way to teach kids to fill their free time with something positive. I recommend the books with more words than pictures, but do what you have to do.

2. Alarm Clocks

Love your alarm clock. Set it every day. Let your kids know that the alarm clock helps you get the most out of every day. Let them see you get up and get productive in the morning. It will teach them to find gold in those golden morning hours.

3. Their Mom

The greatest gift a Dad can give his kids is to love their Mom. Treat her with respect and kindness, even if you are no longer together. If you are still together gross your kids out with how much you love their Mom. It’s like forcing them to eat really healthy food that they think is icky, but is really good for them.

4. Travel

Show your kids the world. Roadtrips. Camping trips. Trips to the store. Sunday drives. Overseas trips. They all count. Show your kids new places and it will spark new ideas, new understanding, and a new appetite to see even more.

5. Hard Work

Teach your kids how hard work leads to great results. Show them that there is no elevator to the top. You have to take the stairs. And if they see you taking the stairs 2 or 3 steps at a time they will too.

6. Encouragement

Kids who receive encouragement encourage others too. It’s one of the best ways you can improve the world through your children. You can do it. I know you can!

7. Saving Money

A kid doesn’t need a role model to know how to spend money. But as a Dad, you can teach them the critically important value of saving. Teach them to accumulate money by always saving part of what they earn. So like 50 Cent, they can watch the money pile up. And as the money piles up so do your options and your peace of mind.

Bonus: Read Rich Dad. Poor Dad. to your kids. I have read that book to each of my kids. It’s the best way to teach them about money.

8. Laughter

The world is full of funny stuff. Enjoy it. Laugh loud and often. Teach your kids to laugh at all that goes wrong. It is the best medicine. And while it may be addicting, it doesn’t cause constipation.

9. Donating

Teach your kids to love donating to causes they care about. Show them how to give without expectations of a return. There are endless ways to give. Share your time, talents and treasure. Or, if you are like my Dad, give blood as often as they will let you. That stuff is more valuable than gold to a fellow human in need.

10. Friendship

Be a good friend to your friends. Collect and maintain as many great friendships as you can. Let your kids see you connect and share love with others outside your family. It will teach them to connect and extend their love too.

Happy Father’s Day!

+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 makes a great belated Father’s Day gift. Or a great be-earlied Father’s Day gift for next year.

What makes a couple last for the long haul.

Happy Valentine’s Day! As I drove to work this morning on our annual celebration of love I thought about my wife Dawn, our 21 Valentine’s Days together and the importance of finding the right partner to do life with.

Some people say that you should find someone like you, who shares your same likes, values and styles. You know these people when you see them. Because they are wearing the same clothes.

Other people believe that opposites attract. Like magnets. Or cops and robbers. These people think that it is our differences that make us interesting and holistically compatible.

These are both good theories. But neither one is quite right.

To be truly compatible over the long haul you have a Y-type relationship.

To understand this relationship, simply look at the letter Y. It will show you everything you need to know about creating a strong, long-lasting relationship.

The Y Relationship

To be a highly compatible couple you have to have strong, shared foundational beliefs. This is the base of the Y. It is made of your most important values, and ideals. They may include your views on money, religion, whoopie, parenting, and what home feels like to you. Including which way the toilet paper roll should be placed on the TP holder.

But upon that solid foundation, you need healthy, divergent, balancing elements. This is the top of the Y. This is created by the areas where you differ in style, temperament, strengths, and biases. These differences enable you to take on anything that comes your way. It ensures that the relationship has what it needs to face all challenges. Through these balanced strengths, you can help each other navigate the great challenges and opportunities of life. Plus, it helps you crush at games of trivia.

Key Takeway

It is a combination of alignment and balance that makes a couple work. Celebrate your similarities. But appreciate your differences. Together, they help couples thrive through thick and thin. Thanks to your balanced approaches and perspective, you will both grow more capable, more intelligent and more understanding with each new year you celebrate together. Happy Valentines Day. May you enjoy many, many more.

+ Thank you Dawn Albrecht for completing my Y. Finding you was the luckiest thing that ever happened to me.

Dawn and I, celebrating the new glass we picked up when we were back home in Vermont last summer. The cover pic was from one of our first trips to Vermont in 2001.

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?

Chase all your crazy dreams until you catch them.

I first met my wife Dawn in the summer of 2000. From the first moment I saw her on the elevator at my office I was cray cray for her. 6 weeks later we had our first date. 5 days later we talked about marriage. #WhenYouKnowYouKnow

We were young and just starting to build momentum in our careers. After college at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Dawn had lived and worked in New York City and Chicago. To this country boy she seemed like Christie Brinkley in the Uptown Girl video.

Dawn and Adam in 2001 in Vermont.

At the time, I had already lived in Ohio, New Jersey, Missouri, Vermont, and Madison. Then, like Joanie and Chachi, we met in Milwaukee in 2000. I was still living in my first apartment after college, but I had big ambitions. The kind that don’t keep you tied to a specific geography.

Like Bill and Ted, Dawn and I talked about our excellent adventures ahead. We wondered where they might take us. Our jobs, apartments and city all felt temporary. We knew we had much more to explore.

During that exciting first year, Tim McGraw released a new album called Set This Circus Down. The first time I heard the title track I thought the song was written for us.

Here is the chorus:

“Set This Circus Down”

And we go rolling down this highway
Chasing all our crazy dreams
I’ve gone your way and you’ve gone my way
And everywhere in between
One of these days we’ll find a piece of ground
Just outside of some sleepy little town
And set this circus down

I loved the theme of this song. An adventurous couple was traveling the highway of life together, pursuing their crazy dreams. But they knew that someday when they had everything they were chasing, they would stop running and plant themselves somewhere wonderful.

Us on Hilton Head Island, like the chair says.

We adopted this song as the unofficial theme of our relationship in that first year. Since then we have had quite an adventure. We have lived in 4 apartments and owned 4 homes in several different states.

My career has been as successful and rewarding as I could have ever wanted. We’ve added 3 great kids along the way. Our circus got a little crazier and more fun with each new performer we added. Dawn has been the amazing wife and mother I knew she would be when I asked her to marry me under the St. Louis Arch in a thunderstorm in 2002.

This land is your land. This land is my land. This land is Badland.

Five years ago we bet on ourselves and I started my own business called The Weaponry, an advertising and idea agency. We were living in Atlanta at the time. But due to a serious health scare in our family, we decided we needed to be closer to our parents. So we moved to Milwaukee. Which is where we bought home number 4.

At the time we said that if things went well with the new business we would look for one more home in 2 or 3 years.

Just after moving into The Weaponry’s first office in Milwaukee.

The Weaponry has been very successful. (Thanks to our fun and talented people, and really great clients.) So Dawn and I began looking for our forever home (#5) two years ago.

We have an excellent Realtor named Jamie Lubner who we love. But with all of the homes we have seen over the past 2 years, we didn’t make a single offer. We have been picky because we had waited a long time for this and wanted it to be special.

The process was growing long. And time was ticking because our daughter Ava was in high school. She only had 3 years at home before she left for college, or a van down by the river.

We found this cute little waterfall, delicious grapes and tons of honeymooners in upstate New York.

Then, on the morning of June 17th, 2021, Dawn and I saw a beautiful home listed for sale in our very favorite neighborhood in town. A great subdivision set in the middle of the Wisconsin countryside. We walked in and were amazed. It was just what we were looking for. A beautiful home on 1.5 acres.

We wrote a full-price offer immediately and had it accepted the next day.

We moved in 2 weeks ago.

Our new home is just a mile from this farm.

Today, September 28th, Dawn and I celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. While 20 years of marriage may look more significant on paper, this is the year we have been thinking about since we first heard Tim McGraw’s song back in 2001.

We have finally found our piece of ground
Just outside of some sleepy little town
And set this circus down.

Today it feels like we are winning at life.

Key Takeaway

Envision what you want your life to look like. Start with the end in mind. Then create a plan to get there. Chase all of your crazy dreams until you catch them. And enjoy the circus, wherever your tent is set.


Here is a link to the full song

And here are the full lyrics.

“Set This Circus Down”

Sometimes this road, it just keeps winding
Round and round and back again
But you’ve always kept me smiling
Over every hill, round every bend
Baby you’re the one smiling with me when the sun comes up
I got the wheel, you got the map and that’s enough

And we go rolling down this highway
Chasing all our crazy dreams
I’ve gone your way and you’ve gone my way
And everywhere in between
One of these days we’ll find a piece of ground
Just outside of some sleepy little town
And set this circus down

Sometimes I lie awake just thinking
Of all the horizons we have seen
And as another day is sinking
I thank God you’re here with me
‘Cause baby you’re the one laughing with me when the sun goes down
Living on faith and holding on tight to the love we found

And we go rolling down this highway
Chasing all our crazy dreams
I’ve gone your way and you’ve gone my way
And everywhere in between
One of these days we’ll find a piece of ground
Just outside of some sleepy little town
And set this circus down

And set this circus down

Maybe one of these days, gonna set this circus down
Set this circus down

Writer(s): William Luther, Josh Kear

A father-daughter track and field story.

This spring I took on a fun new challenge. My daughter Ava was a freshman in high school and was very interested in competing in track and field. She is a good runner and jumper, but she was most interested in throwing the discus and the shot put. I expect that had something to do with the fact that I used to throw the disc and shot myself. And that we have a few of each at home.

When Ava was in 7th grade she competed in the sprints and the throws for her middle school team. And because it was a minimal time commitment, I volunteered to help teach the kids some throwing techniques a couple of days a week after work.

But as Ava entered high school I reflected on my own high school experience and recognized that the only reason I was successful was because I had a great high school coach named Jude Dutille. Jude guided me to 2 school records in the shot and discus, 2 New Hampshire state titles, 2 New England championship titles in the discus, and a state record in the discus. What Jude taught me created the amazing opportunity to throw for the University of Wisconsin’s track team. Which was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

I debated whether or not I could commit to the demands of coaching at the high school level while leading my advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry. Ultimately, as with entrepreneurship, I decided that I would rather fail at my attempt than regret not trying. So in April I officially became the throwing coach for the girl’s track team at Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin.

I immediately recognized how little I knew. Because participating in a sport as an athlete and coaching are very different. I tried to learn as much as I could about coaching the throws by reading and watching videos on YouTube. I followed great throwers and coaches on Instagram. And I sought out insights and advice from experts, including my great high school coach, Jude Dutille, and Dave Astrauskas, the throws coach at the University of Wisconsin, who is one of the elite throwing coaches in America.

The season started with a lot of lifting. And masks. And blurry photography.

I enjoyed the experience very much. I had 9 girls on my team. Thanks to Covid-19, only one of them had ever thrown a shot or discus in high school before. So we had a lot to learn in a short amount of time. And while I would love to talk about all of my athletes here I don’t want to violate any coach/athlete confidentiality/anonymity issues. So I will only talk specifically about the athlete I sign the waivers for.

The Season

We started the season strong, and Ava won the discus in her very first high school meet. Which I thought was crazy, because I don’t think I won my first meet until my junior year of high school. Then, she went on to win her second meet in the discus too, throwing 12 feet farther than the first meet. And no, I didn’t set up a series of 1-person meets so that she would win, although that sounds like a great idea. (There were 20 throwers in both of the first 2 meets. And I was as surprised she won as anyone.)

The third meet of the season was our conference relay meet. In a relay meet you total the distances of your top 3 throwers’ best throw for a team score. Homestead won the discus and took 3rd in the shot put. And Ava had the second farthest throw in the meet.

A.C. was not afraid to work hard, or get dirty.

But then we began to struggle. And we couldn’t hit the same distances again. The low point was at the conference championships when Ava fouled all 3 of her throws and had no mark at all.

I felt the frustration of being a new and inexperienced coach. I was frequently disappointed that I wasn’t able to help Ava or the other girls more. I saw all of their challenges as my failures to help them with the guidance, feedback, and input they needed. While I have never experienced imposter syndrome as an entrepreneur, I felt it big time as a small-time coach. I felt like I was a phony baloney coach who didn’t have the answers my girls really needed to improve.

But we kept working and things began to improve again for Ava and her teammates. In the last meet that all 9 of my girls competed in, I think that we set 7 personal records in the discus and 7 in the shot to end the season on a high note, like Mariah Carey.

More hard work. We got busted for being in the weight room on a Sunday night, without having signed up for the time slot. I didn’t know you have to sign up for late night lifting sessions. Now I do. So now we sign up.

After that, we had a final regular-season varsity meet with all of the teams from our conference again. I had 4 girls competing. And all 4 of them threw their personal best. It was capped off by Ava’s last throw in the discus that not only won the event, but was the farthest throw in the conference all year as we wrapped the regular season. In Ava’s 3 meets with all the teams in our conference she came in 2nd, then dead last, and then first. Which was a great sign of resilience that will serve her well in the future.

The Post (Malone) Season

Last Monday we had our state regional meet, which was a mix of success and disappointment for my girls. The top 4 finishers in the meet move on to sectionals. But in the shot put, my 2 best throwers came in 5th, (just 3 inches shy of qualifying and moving on), and 6th, less than a foot from qualifying. We were close, like Glenn. But just short of our goals.

In the discus, my 2 great senior throwers both threw their best ever, one throwing her personal record by 4 feet! But they finished 6th and 7th, just shy of moving on. Ava was in 3rd place going into the finals. But then got bumped down to 5th when 2 other girls hit big throws in the finals. She then hit the distance she needed on her 5th throw to move back up to 4th place and qualify for the sectional meet.

The Sectional Meet

Thursday night was the sectional meet. Despite starting the season with 9 girls and having 4 in the regional meet, I only had one athlete left. A freshman named Ava, who also happened to be my daughter.

My parents drove up from Indiana for the big meet.

A.C. (short for Ava Claire) was now competing for a chance to go to the Wisconsin State Championship meet. Only the top 3 make it through. And it was obvious that all of the competitors were feeling the pressure. A.C. opened up with a decent throw, but then fouled her next throw. In fact, I saw more fouls per competitor in this competition than I had seen all season as the girls pushed to try to qualify for the state meet.

The finals were intense. Each throw had the potential to re-shuffle the girls. But after the final throws were made and the results were announced, my athlete, my daughter, the reason I got involved in coaching, was in 3rd place. She qualified for the Wisconsin Division 1 state meet as one of only 2 freshmen in the state to make it.

The podium at sectionals.

I am looking forward to the state meet next Saturday in La Crosse. A.C. But the win was simply getting to the meet this year. Anything else is a bonus.

Profound Reflections

At the end of every practice, and after every meet this track season, Ava has come up to me and said, ‘Dad, thank you for coaching.’ She recognizes the commitment of time and energy it takes. And all that I had to do to work my day job at The Weaponry around the coaching by going into the office early and working late into the night.

I have told Ava there is only one reason I am coaching. And that is to steal time with her. Because as a freshman in high school I recognize that I only have 4 years left with her at home. So I am stealing 2 hours of her life every day that was supposed to go to someone else. And while this season she may have won medals, taken first-place finishes, and qualified for the state meet, I was the big winner. Because I took home the most valuable prize of all: irreplaceable time with my daughter.

Me and my girl.

Key Takeaway

Remember to volunteer your time and talents to help others whenever you can. Pass along your knowledge. And spend as much time with your kids as you can, while you can.

Happy Father’s Day from one very happy and thankful dad.

The job title my Mother didn’t know she had.

When I was in 3rd grade my Mom, Jill Albrecht, attended my parent-teacher conference to hear how I was doing in class. Before the alliance began their conversation about my academic progress, or lack thereof, my teacher shared with my Mom that when filling out a form preparing for the conference I had listed my mother’s occupation as Zookeeper. With 4 kids under 10 years old, I thought that was an accurate description of my mother’s primary job as a Stay at Home Mom.

Her Real Job

However, today, as I reflect on my Mama’s career I have a different answer. My Mom has been my ultimate life mechanic. Whenever something went wrong in any area of my life she could fix it.

My Mama’s Life Mechanic Services

When I was hungry, she fed me.

When my clothes were dirty, she would clean them.

When my bed was was a mess she could remake it.

When I had trouble with my attitude she adjusted it.

When my wallet was broken she put a couple dollars in it to patch the holes.

When poison ivy blistered my skin she polished me pink with calamine lotion and stopped the itching and oozing.

When my confidence was cracked she welded it back together.

When my grades were broken she fixed them (before I could do anything else).

When my eyes leaked, she found the source and stopped the drips.

When my knee was broken my senior year in high school she organized the doctors to put it back together.

When my public speaking sputtered she fixed it. And fixed it... AND FIXED IT! (With a smile, a pause for impact, and eye contact.)

When she made chili and the muffler stopped working she… actually, she never could fix that one.

When my steering was off she aligned it.

When I ran too hot she added coolant.

When my headlights padiddled she always had a spare bulb.

To make sure my visibility was good she gave me fresh wipers, window washer fluid, and an ice scraper (because I grew up in Vermont).

My mom also taught me how to properly adjust the rearview mirror. Because some of the best views are behind you.

However, my Mom no longer needs to step in when things go wrong because she has taught me how to fix things myself. She has given me all of her tools. And today, there is no problem large or small that I can’t handle with the tools my Mama gave me.

Thank You Mama!

Happy Mother’s Day.

How much are your priorities worth to you?

Yesterday I was in Atlanta on a business trip. I had been there since Thursday. My return flight was scheduled to be the last flight back to Milwaukee on Saturday night. Pre-Covid, when I used to fly with a naked face, I took that 2-hour 10:30 pm flight all the time. Because it allowed me to get a full day of work in before hitting the airport. But yesterday I finished early and was thrilled to be able to try to catch an earlier flight from ATL to MKE. 

The Fee

I got to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport at 3 pm, and went to a Delta kiosk (unpaid endorsement) to try to change flights. Because when I tried to call to change flights the phone system told me there was a 2-hour wait time. Which I thought was phoney baloney. But after just a few taps at the kiosk (tap tap tap in) an option to take an earlier flight at 4:30 pm appeared. However, it also came with a $75 change fee. 

I considered the fee for a moment. And I did the following math:

For $75…

I get home at 6:00 pm CT. Not Midnight.

+ I get to see my kids today.

+ I get to run in the house screaming MAYDAY! MAYDAY! MAYDAY!

+ I get to have dinner with my family.

+ I can go for an evening walk with my wife.

+ I can watch the sunset over the pond in my backyard.

+ I can participate in family game night.

+ I can toss a lacrosse ball with my son Magnus.

+ I can work on some discus technique in the backyard with my daughter Ava.

+ I can look for the new baby geese that just hatched in the nest in our backyard.

+ I can tuck my 3 kids into bed.

+ I can have a glass of red wine with my wife Dawn. (I can, but I won’t because I have the palate of a 6-year old and think alcohol tastes ucky.)

+ I can watch Netflix and chill with my wife Dawn. (Or I can watch a repeat SNL and probably no chill.)

_______________________________________

I could do ALL of these things for $75.

In that moment, I had the clarity and insight to realize that there will come a day at the end of my days when I would spend everything I had for that opportunity. I swiped my credit card and quickly snatched up one of the greatest bargains life had ever offered me.

Thank You

Thank you Delta for getting me home early last night. I did everything on the list. Plus it was 88 degrees in Milwaukee, which is unseasonably awesome in Brew City. Game Night was Klask. Dinner was Culver’s Butter Burgers on our back patio. And I didn’t take a moment for granted.

Key Takeaway

Time is the most valuable commodity on Earth. Enjoy every moment you get. Steal it if you have to. If you ever find it on sale somewhere, don’t think twice about paying for it. You’ll never regret more time spent on or with your top priorities. 

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

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.

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

Today I am extra thankful for my partner of 18 years.

Your network is your net worth. Because humans offer each other greater value than anything else in the universe. You can think of your network as a series of concentric circles. The people in the outer rings are the people with whom you have the lightest connection. They are the friends of your friends. The people in your innermost circle are your greatest human connections. This space is reserved for your family and your closest friends.

But if you are lucky, you get one person to stand next to you at the very center of your network. They are your co-pilot. Your partner. Your best friend. They are the Adrian to your Rocky. Or the Rocky to your Adrian. And they got gaps. And you got gaps. But between the two of you, you ain’t got no gaps.

Since this date in 2002, my wife Dawn has stood beside me at the very center of my network. Today, we celebrate 18 years of marriage. And we have been able to accomplish, create and enjoy more together than we ever could have done alone.

The past year 6 months have been unusual, to say the least. And I hear people complain about 2020 being the worst year ever. They say 2020 is the toothpaste-and- orange juice of years. But in many ways, this has been a wonderful year for me. Because if you are locked down with the person you would most like to spend your time with, quarantining can feel like the best of times.

Over the past 6 months, Dawn and I have had unprecedented time together. I have had only one business trip. But Dawn and I have been able to load up the family truckster, and our 3 little Griswolds, and see the country together. We have traveled as far south as Savannah, Georgia, as far north as Fargo, North Dakota, And as far west as Idaho and Montana.

Johann, Dawn, Magnus, Ava and me hiking in The Badlands in July. But it wasn’t bad at all.

As my advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry, transitioned to remote work in March, Dawn led our family’s migration to homeschooling. She turned our house into a well-oiled education center that would have had a line around the block waiting to get in had it been open to open enrollment. And that’s the non-social-distancing distance.

Dawn secured the vital supplies necessary for our family in the new-normal, including masks, sanitizers, toilet paper and backups to everything in case things got worse. She attended to our family’s physical, psychological and emotional needs. It felt like war time, and I got to partner up with General Patton, only he was beautiful, a great cook, and knew we needed a deep freezer in the garage.

In 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic fallout, the isolation, the renewed focus on racial inequities, and toxic political climate have made the stability, comfort and enjoyment of our own homes more important than ever. And I couldn’t ask for a better home environment, roommate or teammate than the one I have enjoyed for the past 18 years.

Key Takeaway

If you want to enjoy a good life surround yourself with good people. But if you want an amazing life, partner with someone who amazes you every day. Someone who makes your world better in good times and bad. In 2019 and 2020. At the end of our days the only thing that will matter is the impact we had on others. And Dawn’s impact on me could never be overstated. Thank you for this wonderful adventure Dawn Albrecht. You are my certainty in uncertain times.

Take time off to tend to your other business.

I hold 3 jobs. I am the Founder and leader of the advertising and idea agency The Weaponry. Which is a full time job and then some. But I am also a husband. And as if those 2 jobs weren’t enough, I am the proud father of 3 kids. It’s hard to tell which of these 3 jobs is most important. But I know for sure that it isn’t the ad agency gig.

Up North

This past weekend I took a little time off from The Weaponry, and my husbanding duties (I wrote duties…) in order to take my kids camping. With August drawing to an end, this weekend offered a perfect opportunity for Ava(14), Johann (13), Magnus (10) and I (ageless) to spend some time together before the kid head back to school(ing) on September 1st. It also offered my wife Dawn some overdue alone time before she resumes the role of Chief Educational Officer of the Albrecht Family School System. Because this year, our school district will be virtually schooling for somewhere between 1 week and all of eternity.

Spending time together builds a family foundation on stone. (See what I did there?)

Dad’s Camping Adventure 2020 took us 200 miles north of our home in Mequon, Wisconsin. Our campsite was on Bear Lake in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Northern Wisconsin. (You just mumble-read through the word Chequamegon didn’t you?) To say we got away from it all was an understatement.

Kids, clouds and quiet.

There was no electricity. No lights. No internet. In fact there was no phone service within 10 miles of our campsite. And that’s exactly the way I wanted it. Not only were my kids and I refreshed by the clean air, and cool lake water, we participated in a 3-day digital cleanse. Because with no phone service and no electricity to recharge our digital distractors, our mobile phones were quickly and thankfully dead.

It was 61 degrees this evening. My kids have viking blood.

I didn’t have to compete with social media, video games, or text messages. It was a full weekend of me and my children, fully engaged with each other. We talked and told stories. The four of us piled into our 17 foot canoe to go fishing and explore the lake together. We hiked. We campfired (which really should be a verb, right?). We cooked our own meals together. We stared at the stars as if seeing them for the first time. At night we crowded our sleeping bags close together in the tent.

Larry the Log Hauler.

As we were camping all seemed right with the world. In the middle of the woods we weren’t worried about COVID-19. We weren’t masking up or wearing out the pump on the hand sanitizer. We were just enjoying life together like it was 2019. Or maybe 1819.

We decided to come home through Michigan, which marked the 6th new state of the summer for my kids, who have now seen 42 states.

As a working parent, I can’t think of a better cherry on top of the summer than getting to spend 3 full days alone in the woods camping with my children without digital distractions. We were all completely present. Completely engaged. And completely invested in each other. We made memories we will never forget. At least until the Alzheimers or amnesia kick in.

We capped off our weekend with lunch in Escanaba, Michigan. Our table was as close to Lake Michigan as you can get without getting pruney.

Key Takeaway

It is easy to forget that we all have more than one job. Remember to put time and energy into your other important roles. Take your vacation days. Enjoy your upcoming Labor Day. Spend time with your family and friends. And Dad’s, spend time with your children. You can’t get that time back. Remember, it will be your kids that will decide which nursing home you end up in.

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