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.

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.

How to make great choices when you have many options.

My wife Dawn and I have started scheduling our dental cleanings at the same time. It’s a cute couple quirk I have enjoyed. Yesterday was our big day for getting scraped, polished and flossed as a couple.

When we pulled into the dentist’s office there was one open parking spot. So I took it. It was the easiest decision I made all week. Because it was the only option available. It seems we have a very popular dentist. Or they have a very small parking lot.

But this morning I drove to the airport to catch a very early flight, and the parking structure was practically empty. Which reminded me of something Dawn said to me early in our relationship.

The hardest place to park is in an empty parking lot. 

-Dawn Albrecht

The statement sounds moronic. But it’s highly insightful. 

If every parking spot is open you have to think more than you do when there is only one spot. And you probably have not predetermined your empty parking lot decision-making process. Which means that when you arrive at an empty lot you have to make a decision on the spot.

That decision could involve simply taking the closest space to the entrance. But there are often 2 or more highly coveted close spaces. Plus, many times when you park you are not going to one specific entrance. Like when you park at a park. Which is totally meta.

There are a host of other factors to consider.

  • Is there shade I should consider on a hot and sunny day?
  • Will I be going in one door and out another?
  • Do I have multiple places to visit while in this parking lot?
  • Should I consider staying away from shopping carts?
  • What space makes it easiest to drive away? 
  • Where do I want to be when the parking lot fills up?
  • Does it look like Joni Mitchell or Counting Crows were here before they paved paradise?

These are the branches on the decision tree that suddenly sprout when you arrive at the naked parking lot.

But who cares?  It’s just a parking lot. There is no real way to get this decision wrong, Long Duk Dong.

However…

The parking lot is an analogy for your life.

When you only have one option in life you take what you are given. The decision is simple. Because it is a nondecision.

But when all of the options are available, how do you choose?

  • How do you decide where you will live when you could live anywhere?
  • How do you decide which career path to take when you could do anything?
  • How do you decide where to go to school when you could study anywhere?
  • How do you decide where to invest your money?
  • How do you decide what to eat?
  • How do you decide what clothes to wear?
  • How do you decide if you should add a silly final bullet to a list of serious bullets?

How Do You Decide?

You need to develop your own decision-making criteria. Your criteria should be based on your values, philosophies and beliefs. Developing your personal criteria for decisions large and small helps you make better decisions faster in every area of your life.

It is highly valuable to consider what influences your decisions. What are your core beliefs? What are your priorities? And which factors are simply non-factors to you?

Consider the following exercise related to the empty parking lot.

Rank the following factors when deciding where to park:

  1. Speed to my destination
  2. Exercise opportunity
  3. Ease of exit
  4. Isolation from dings
  5. Access to my car
  6. Most privacy for making out

Once you know which of these are most important you can make better choices faster, pussycat.

Your decision-making criteria apply to the parking lot and your bigger life decisions. Establishing and prioritizing your values before you encounter challenging choices related to drugs, sex and stealing help you make better decisions. Knowing your priorities related to your career, investing, family, relationships, health and religion will enable you to make big decisions faster too.

  1. What is the most important factor that will drive your decisions?
  2. What is the second most important?
  3. What is third?

When you take the time to consider these questions and answer them before you pull into the empty parking lot, or make a more important life decision, the answers become easy and obvious.

Key Takeaway

Know what is most important to you. Consider your decision-making hierarchy before you need it. It enables you to make great choices when you have all of the options. And remember, you always have options.

*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 source of inspiration I didn’t expect to find at a rock concert.

On Saturday night I went to a massive concert in Boston. I saw the legendary rock groups including Joan Jett, Poison, Motley Crue and Def Leppard in what was called The 2022 Stadium Tour. Or what I would have called The Soundtrack Of My High School Weightroom Tour.

Despite the fact that all of the members of all of the bands I saw were in their late 50s or 60s (and Mick Mars of the Crue was in his 70s), they all rocked. But there was one senior rocker who impressed more than all the others.

Rick Allen

Rick Allen, the drummer for Def Leppard not only rocked, rocked never stopped, he looked like he was having the time of his life. In fact, Rick and Poison’s lead singer, Brett Michaels, both looked as if they were having more fun than the fans at Fenway Park. Which is wicked hahd to do.

But what makes Rick Allen almost unbelievable is that he is a rock n’ roll drummer with only one arm. To be clear, he started off with a full set of arms. In fact, he and his 2 arms celebrated their 16th birthday by playing drums for Def Leppard while opening for AC/DC. I think I celebrated my 16th birthday by eating dinner with my family at Friendly’s in West Lebanon, New Hampshire.

On New Year’s Eve 1984, Allen crashed his Corvette, severing his left arm. Doctors reattached the arm but then later detached it because of infection.

But the show must go on. And Rick was determined to go on with it. So he designed an electronic drum kit that he could play with his feet to create the sounds he would have made with his right arm. Less than 2 years later Allen was back drumming for Def Leppard at the Monsters of Rock music festival.

When I saw Rick Allen on Saturday night with my high school friends Dan Richards and James Colligan we couldn’t believe how hard he rocked. He plays what looks like a normal acoustic drum set, augmented by the electronic foot pedals.

Rock n’ Roll is alive and well in Boston.

The 2 things that stand out about watching Rick play are that he has no left arm and that he plays the drums barefoot. The bluegrass look appears out of place amongst the glam boots and platform shoes of a big hair rock concert. But I dug it.

Besides tickling my eardrums with his foot drums for 90 minutes at Fenway Park, Rick Allen also provided a massive dose of inspiration. Because when you see a one-armed drummer rocking a packed stadium with a smile on his face you realize that with the right mindset there is practically no setback you can’t overcome.

What I have experienced through losing my arm, I wouldn’t change. The human spirit is so strong.

-Rick Allen

Key Takeaway

You can handle whatever you are facing. When a wave of adversity rolls into your life you can either let it take you under or you can surf it. You can use that adversity to drive you forward and take you further and faster than you could have gone without it. Setbacks set you up for greater success, but with a better story and a stronger sense of all that you are really capable of. Adversity is a gift. Use it to your advantage. And just keep rocking.

*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.

To create more opportunities first become great at what you do best.

Friday night my family and I had dinner in Las Vegas. It was the last night of our southwestern adventure, and we didn’t really plan our last meal. At least not the way Jesus did.

Through a strange confluence of forces, including a rare desert thunderstorm that created flash floods in Vegas, we ended up eating at Buddy V’s Ristorante. I realized once we reached the restaurant that it was named after Buddy Valastro.

Shortly after we sat down to eat I spotted Buddy V himself walking into the restaurant. A few minutes later Buddy stopped by our table to say hi, check on our experience, and thank us for coming to the restaurant that night. (I refrained from saying that I loved him in Elf.)

Buddy then greeted the table next to us. The family at that table asked if they could take a picture with Buddy. Which tipped off our kids that this guy was a celebrity. So they asked us why he was famous.

Dawn and I explained that Buddy V owned Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken, New Jersey. (Fun Fact: Dawn lived in Hoboken right after graduating from college as she worked at Lifetime, Television For Women, in New York City.)

We told our kids that Buddy was so good at making cakes that he got his own show on TLC called Cake Boss. He has now starred on 5 other TV shows. He owns 18 bakeries. And he is currently launching other restaurants.

After explaining this to our kids, I said that the real lesson from Buddy V was that if you want to create a lot of opportunities for yourself you should first become really great at something. And that something could be anything.

Buddy V was so good at making cakes that the world took notice and wanted to see and know more about him and his work. His personality made him interesting to a broad crowd and the opportunities just keep coming.

But it all started because he became great at his craft.

And maybe because he has a sweet accent.

Key Takeaway

Become really great at what you do. Expertise opens doors to new opportunities. It offers you career capital. Which leads to social capital. And financial capital. Keep practicing and improving your skills and you will become sought after. And when you are sought after everything changes.

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

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

Why you should declare your lifespan today.

You are a lean, mean, scheduling machine.

When you have both a destination and an arrival time, you can easily figure out when you need to leave to get to the destination on time.

When you have work to do and a deadline to meet, you know how to complete the work on time.

It’s simple.

The amount of work to be done, and the time allotted, determine the pace. (But not the Picante sauce.)

Pace = Effort / Time

This is the basic computation we do every day to accomplish everything.

It determines how much time we allot to commute to work.

It determines how much time we need to run an errand. Or exercise. Or make whoopee.

When you know the task to complete and the time that task requires you know your start time and your pace.

Life Goals

But when you apply this innate ability to schedule and complete activities to your life goals there is a problem.

Because you don’t know the deadline.

So you don’t know how much time you have to complete the task.

Which means that you can’t determine your start time.

And you can’t determine your pace.

As a result, there is no sense of urgency.

Even to your biggest, most important goals.

The Fix

But there is a simple fix.

Declare your lifespan.

Determine the age that you will die, or no longer be capable of performing the task or achieving your goals.

This exercise helps you live more effectively.

Determine if you will have 100 years or 80 or 60 or 40 or 25.

A declared lifespan provides the proper motivation.

Equally important, it provides the math your brain needs to figure out how to get from point A to point B on time.

It makes your life-goals urgent. Like Foreigner.

Then you can get to work. And achieve your goals within the time you have left.

The deadline is the only way to make the required pace tangible. (Which I always think sounds like the ability to turn into a tangerine.)

It’s Go Time

Set your own death timer and you will find yourself moving faster.

My assumed death provided the timeline I needed to launch my own business.

My assumed death motivated me to write and publish a book.

My assumed death is driving my financial savings, investing and spending.

My assumed death is driving my travel plans.

My false deadlines are making life manageable, goals achievable and days productive. Which makes false deadlines far more attractive than false eyelashes. (What’s up with those thangs?)

Key Takeaway

Declare how much time you have left. It will provide the missing data you need in order to schedule and pace the rest of your life. It will motivate you. And it will enable you to achieve your dreams. It is one of the greatest gifts you will ever give yourself. Because the best way to spend your time is knowing that you are quickly running out of it.

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

+For more of the best life lessons the universe has shared with me, check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

I met a man who loves my all-time least favorite job.

Yesterday a window washer came into my office to wash my windows. I found the experience fascinating. Not because I had never seen someone wash office windows before. But because I have.

My summer job before my freshman and sophomore years in high school was working at the office complex where my dad worked in Vermont. I was on the grounds crew. Actually, I was the grounds crew. (It was just me and ol’ ground.) I also helped with construction as they built and remodeled buildings. I painted and did other odd jobs. The odder the better.

But on days when it rained, Frank Gilman, the owner of the office complex, sent me inside to wash windows.

I hated that job.

In fact, if we were sitting around a dinner table, bar or campfire and we started swapping stories about the worst jobs we have ever had, mine would be washing windows. And mind you, I have shoveled manure and picked rocks out of fields all day long.

The last time I was asked to wash windows I washed a couple and then said I wasn’t feeling well so that I could go home. I wasn’t exactly lying. Because I was really sick of washing windows.

But the man in my office washing windows clearly enjoyed his work. He was experiencing no pain from all those panes. I’m no doctor, but he didn’t look the least bit sick of washing all those windows.

Realizing that I could learn something from this man, I asked him how long he had been washin’ dem windows.

He proudly replied, ’30 years!’

Wow!

30 frickin years!

What struck me about his response was that it contained the enthusiasm that I would offer if someone asked me how long I have worked in advertising.

Yet this man had made an entire career out of my least favorite job of all time.

But I didn’t tell him he was wrong. And that his job was horrible. Or that I would have rather spent the past 30 years in the Gulag than firing Windex and dragging squeegee.

Instead, I sought understanding. I asked him what he liked best about his job.

He smiled and replied, ‘The views.’

Key Takeaway

We are all wired differently. We see, experience and enjoy the world differently. Your views and opinions are your own. They are not universal. There are other humans with very different ideas and ideals than you. And there is far more value in learning from others whose experiences and choices are different than yours than in telling others how wrong they are for being different. Step back and see the big picture. It offers quite a view.

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

+For more of the best life lessons the universe has taught me, check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

The most important declaration you can make on this day of independence.

Happy Independence Day! On the 4th Of July in 1776 America declared its independence from, well, everyone who was not American. You may remember the Dear John letter the guys in Philly wrote, signed, and sent to the world. In essence, it said, It’s not you, it’s me.

In reality, it said:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

– The U.S. Declaration of Independence

Boom! I imagine the 4th of July fireworks are like the sound made when they dropped the mic after signing that bad boy. (Although the mic was actually a quill pen.)

Freedom

On the 4th of July, there is much talk about our freedom. Which is perhaps the greatest nepotistic gift our forefathers could have hooked us up with.

Today, we listen to great songs about freedom by Francis Scott Key, everyone who sings country music, and Wham.

We think about and thank those who fought and died for our freedom.

Happiness

But Thomas Jefferson saved the best part of that epic sentence for the end. Because the greatest adventure in life is pursuing your own happiness. And the most important declaration you can make is that you have found it.

The Pursuit

It is not enough to be free. Use your freedom to pursue your happiness.

Find your happy places.

Spend time with happy people.

Find work that makes you happy.

Work with other happy people who enjoy what they do.

Find hobbies and play that make you happy.

Perform volunteer activities that contribute to your happiness.

Eliminate addictions that make you unhappy.

Eliminate people that make you unhappy. #buhbye

Listen to music that makes you happy. #PharellWilliams #BobbyMcFerrin #MoreCowbell

Personal Note

My wife and kids thought that a dog would add to our family’s happiness. And I admit they were right. So maybe get a dog. Unless you are allergic to dogs. (Or to picking up their poop.)

Mini-golf, flip-flops and family time all contribute to my happiness.

Key Takeaway

Let the 4th of July be a reminder to relentlessly pursue your own happiness. Discover, embrace and collect all the things that contribute to your happiness. Eliminate the things that make you unhappy. If you are unhappy with your current situation remember that you can change your whole life in one day. Our forefathers taught us that on July 4th, 1776.

God Bless America.

Have A Happy America’s Birth Day!


*Please share this message with anyone you think would benefit from this reminder.

+For other ways to discover your own happiness check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

The 2 things that can help anyone become happy, fulfilled, and successful.

Everyone has the potential to be highly successful. Everyone. Regardless of your background or socio-economic factors. Regardless of the opportunities you thought were or were not available to you. Even if you don’t currently maintain a minimum standard of personal hygiene.

The 2 Things

There are 2 things you need to achieve greatness, happiness and any other type of ness you are after.

  1. A Model

You need a model of success to follow.

Ask yourself some simple questions. Who do you want to become? What do you want to be like? This could be anything. A great parent. An influential teacher. A successful business person. An accomplished athlete. A great stay-at-home Dad.

Then look for your model. The person who has done what you want to do. A model that can show you what you could create or become.

Best of all, you don’t need to know what you want to do to find a great model. Simply start looking for people who are happy and fulfilled. When you find a person you admire or envy and want to emulate, you have found a model. But you still get to choose which model to choose as your North Star.

2. A Path

Once you have a model, you need a path. Your path is like your personal Yellow Brick Road. It is the course you must travel to achieve the model. And depending on your path it may or may not contain lions, scarecrows and trees that throw apples at you.

In short: The model is your destination. The path is how you get there.

The path provides the instructions and the coursework. The path includes the dos and don’ts. The path shows you the roads to travel, complete with onramps and interchanges.

The path includes books, schools, and teachers. It includes habits, practices and processes. And it may include other models to study.  And in my experience studying models doesn’t even feel like studying.

Mapping The Path

Once you find the model you want to follow you need to discover their path. Mapping their path becomes your research project.

Potential Questions To Ask Your Model

  • What did they do?
  • How did they do it?
  • When did they do what?
  • And where?
  • Why did they make the decisions they made?
  • Who helped them?
  • What would they do differently now that they know what they know?

Don’t guess. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Don’t spin your wheels either. The answers are there for you to discover. If your model is someone famous, or dead, research their story. You will find many of the answers you need through a little digging. (To be clear, I mean you can dig into their story, not dig up their dead body.)

Key Takeaway

Begin looking for your model today. And when you find that person, discover their path. The path is where the transformational magic happens.

If you have become a model, share your path. Share what you know. Inspire others. Bring others along. If you have found joy, happiness, success, and fulfillment in your life consider showing others how you did it. It may be the most valuable work you ever do.

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

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

Here’s what new graduates should do now to improve their careers.

Most high school seniors will graduate within the next week or two. High school commencement is one of the most exciting events in a human’s life. And with good reason. The best, most interesting chapters of your story start after high school. Unless, of course, you were in an epic high school-based movie. In which case, it’s all downhill from here.  (You can check the 50 Greatest High School Movies of All Time here to make sure you weren’t in one).

As you begin down the yellow brick road of life you will constantly encounter new challenges and opportunities. You will find people who are trying to help you, people who need your help, and people who just want to steal your slippers.

You’ll benefit from as much good advice from those who have traveled the road before you as you can get. So please allow me to contribute a little worthwhile advice from someone who has been there, done that, and discovered some secrets to a successful journey.


An Open Letter to High School Seniors.

Dear Seniors,

Four to ten years from now, when you graduate from college, finish your military obligations, or give up on your Hollywood/Nashville/YouTube/Lottery dream, you will start focusing on your real career. When you do, everyone will tell you that you need to start building your network.

But they are wrong. You need to start building your network now. So before you throw your binders in the trash, your graduation cap in the air, and carve your initials into the wood paneling of the senior lounge, you should begin building your professional network.

WTH Is A Professional Network?

Your professional network is a collection of the people you know that may be able to positively impact your professional career. The people in your network, or community, will be able to help with career advice, finding a job, and connecting you to other people and businesses that are important to your career advancement. You will also be able to provide the same sort of help to others in your network. Because it takes a village to keep a child from moving back into their parents’ basement.

Who Are My Connections?

Your connections are your friends, your family, and your teachers. Your connections are your friends’ parents. They are the adults you know from church, and the extracurricular activities you’ve participated in. They are your coaches. They are the kids you competed both with, and against, in sports. They are the kids you know from camp (like that one girl who played the flute).

Starting A Connection Collection.

The best career move you high school seniors should make right now is to create a profile on LinkedIn and start collecting your connections. LinkedIn is an online social networking site for the business community. And right now is the best time to start collecting your network. By starting now, you will collect the most connections. And the more connections you properly maintain, the stronger your network will be. It’s kinda like being popular in high school. Only this type of popularity can dramatically impact your salary (your salary is the adult version of an allowance).

Grow As You Go

You will want to continue collecting your friends and acquaintances throughout college, trade school, military service, your walkabout, or your creative exploratory period. Every time you meet someone new, don’t just think about adding them to Snap or Insta.  Sure, do that too. But definitely add them to LinkedIn. Granted, the filters on LinkedIn aren’t as good as Snapchat. But having a good job makes you look better than any photographic editing or augmented reality can.

It’s All About The Network, (and the Benjamins)

Eventually, everyone is going to tell you to network and build your network, and that it is all about your network. That’s just an adult way of saying:

Stay in touch with the people you know, because it will connect you to opportunities, advice and endorsements that will prove highly beneficial down the road.

Why Start As A High School Senior?

You know a lot of people now that you are going to forget. Those kids you go to school with are going to do amazing things with remarkable organizations. And they are going to have opportunities for you, but only if you stay in touch. You are also going to have opportunities for them. Even better, in the real world, there are things called referral bonuses. Which means you can make extra money for helping your organization find good talent. #cha-ching

Monitoring Your Classmates

Adding your friends to LinkedIn is like putting a tracking device on them. It will allow you to collect intel on each person, like where they went to school, what they majored in, and where they worked after college.

It also puts a tracking device on you, so that others will remember your educational track, your career path and your special interests and activities. That way your connections will know when their opportunities intersect with your skills, interests and abilities.

The Adult Rock Stars Around You

Your neighbors, teachers and friends’ parents are more successful and connected than you know. Four or five years from now you could end up in a job interview with them. Or with their friends or relatives. When that happens, you will want every advantage you can get. Like a good endorsement from someone who knew you were always such a good kid. (You were always a good kid, right?)

Trust Me. I Know.

I started my career in advertising as a copywriter. But I always envisioned becoming an entrepreneur and someday starting my own ad agency. 19 years later, that’s exactly what I did. In 2016 I launched my own advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry.

Do you know who my very first client was? My friend Dan Richards, whom I have known since 7th grade. Dan is the Founder and  CEO of a badass company called Global Rescue.  Which means that Dan and I went from high school classmates, and football and track teammates, to summer job coworkers, to trusted business partners. We have helped each other launch highly successful companies.

Today, one of my important clients is Sarah Wilde at Sonic Foundry, an innovative technology company based in Madison, Wisconsin. But Sarah and I have also known each other since 7th Grade, and we grew up together in Norwich, Vermont.

Sarah helped plan a couple of our Hanover High School class reunions. And I planned the most recent one. At that reunion back home in New England, we talked about potentially doing work together. Since then we have launched 2 completely new brands together from dust. As we would say in Vermont, that’s wicked awesome.

Note To Self

They say the best day to plant a tree is 20 years ago. And the second-best day is today. The same holds true for building your network. Start now by collecting your connections before you leave high school. But if you are already in college, serving your country, or in the middle of your career, and you haven’t been building your network, start now. (By now I mean after you read the next paragraph.)

Key Takeaway

There are amazingly talented people all around you. So start collecting them today. It’s the very best way to assure an abundance of everything you will need later in your career. By doing so you may help one of your high school classmates find their dream job. Or launch their own business. Or they may help you launch your dream business. I know. Because it happened to me.

-Adam Albrecht

Founder & CEO of The Weaponry

+If you realize that this is worthwhile advice, you might also like my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? It is full of more lessons like this. It features 80 of the best life lessons I have learned since graduation. Good luck graduates! It just gets better from here.

* If you know a recent graduate that you think could benefit from this message, please share it with them.