Yesterday I had lunch with people I hadn’t seen in over 20 years.

Social distancing is really odd. Suddenly we don’t see the people we are used to seeing every day. This includes co-workers, that dude or dudette at the coffee shop with the tattoos and the people at the gym, with the tattoos. (Okay, maybe I just miss tattoos right now, because my kids don’t have any. Yet.)

Right now we don’t see the people we regularly run into at school or practice or the movie theater. And we’re quietly hoping those people haven’t been voted off the island by the coronavirus.

Please enjoy this flashback while you miss the people in your neighborhood

My Lunch Bunch

Yesterday I found a replacement for the people that I regularly see in my neighborhood. In fact, yesterday I had lunch with 16 of my college track teammates from the University of Wisconsin. While it would have been great to gather at Mickies Dairy Bar, The Memorial Union Terrace, or State Street Brats, none of those places would have let us in yesterday because of the corona-cooties

Instead, we gathered over the lunch hour, via Zoom, from our home offices, kitchens and couches. We gathered from a hospital and from an Olympic Training Center.

And it was amazing.

We gathered from Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Madison, Chicago, Atlanta, Ft. Lauderdale, Green Bay, Omaha, Denver, San Diego, Houston and Phoenix. Some of these people I hadn’t seen or spoken to in over 20 years.

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This answers Aretha Franklin’s question, ‘Who’s Zooming Who?’

Badger Brothers

This group of guys has a very special relationship. We trained, suffered, traveled, competed, studied and partied together throughout our college experience in Madison. We learned how to succeed as a team. We won multiple Big Ten Championships as a team. And our head coach, Ed ‘Nutty’ Nuttycombe won more Big 10 championships than any coach in any sport in Big 10 history. Which makes us feel as if we are part of a legacy. Better yet, we all have funny Nutty stories to share. #tripletnieces

Nutty Said

Coach Nutty used to say, ‘It feels good to feel good.’ And yesterday if felt good to tap into the strong bond we still share during this challenging and isolating time. Our hour together reminded us that we are not alone. That we have brothers across the country to lean on, laugh with and learn from as we all go through this strange time together.

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Thank You

Thanks to Matt Downin, Louis Hinshaw, Tom Burger, Tony Simmons, Brian Veit, Jabari Pride, Bryan Jones, Matt Vander Zanden, David Sengstock, Jason Vanderhoof, Jeremy Fischer, Scott Brinen, Kevin Huntley, Scott Sullivan, and John Christensen for making the time to get together. I look forward to more. Because we are better together. Just like Coach Nutty, Coach Napes, and Coach Smith taught us. And we have the rings to prove it.

Key Takeaway

I encourage you to take advantage of this unique time to find and reconnect with your people. It only takes one person to get a video meetup started. So be that person. Channel your inner James Taylor, and let your people know that even in this time of social distancing and self-isolation, they’ve got a friend.

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My Badger Brothers.  Back before color photography.

Now is the perfect time to reconnect with your tribe.

I love the word tribe.  There is no other word quite like it. It’s stronger than the words family or friends. Which are vanilla descriptions. The word tribe has energy, magnetism and exclusivity. And if you want to accomplish great things, you better first find your tribe. Because it is a tough go on your own. Just ask David Coverdale.

What Is A Tribe?

A tribe refers to a distinctive, close-knit group. The distinctiveness is often clearly established and easy to articulate. You grew up together. You are sorority sisters. You are family members. You were teammates, bandmates, playmates or primates.

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The Hanover High School Hit Squad. So tough. So young. So tan.

However, the close-knit-ness of a tribe is complicated. It isn’t automatic. Just because you were classmates or roommates doesn’t mean you were close. Which begs the question, How do members of a tribe become close-knit?

There are a few important factors:

  1. You have meaningful shared experiences.
  2. You have spent significant time together.
  3. You find value in your distinct relationship.
  4. Your common thread is highly important to you.
  5. Members want to remain close to each other.
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College roommates who made it out alive.

Time To Gather

Now, during this period of historic social distancing, is the time to gather your tribe. In the midst of our isolation we could all use more positive and supportive social interactions. Luckily, thanks to modern technology, it is easier than ever to gather your tribe without catching corona-cooties. or violating government ordinances.

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Atlanta neighbors. It’s not a party without a bottle of Pellegrino. 

Here are 2 things you can do right now to bring your tribe together.

1. Create A Tribe Text

It is extremely easy to create a group chat. I have a wide range of chat groups with college track teammates, high school football teammates, my sisters and parents, college roommates, former coworkers (which I always read as cow orkers) and more.

This is a quick and easy way to huddle up your tribe and remind them that they are part of a special group. It sends a message that you value them and want to hear from them. In challenging times it creates an open forum for sharing your feelings.

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Badger track teammates from UW Madison, and alcohol.

These group chats can provide a rapid-fire feed of good news and comedic commentary in good times. And they create a quickly deployable safety net when someone (or everyone) in the tribe is going through tough times and needs support.

2. Create A Video Conference Meetup

There are a multitude of platforms you can use to create a video meetup for your tribe.  I use Zoom, or Google Hangouts. You can also use Webex, Skype and others. Simply invite the members of your tribe to call in at a scheduled time, and show up. Depending on your tribe, you can gather early in the morning, at coffee time, lunch hour, happy hour, or in the evening, Led Zeppelin-style.  Keep an open mind and find what works for you.

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Badge-wearing members of my CEO roundtable.

Structure

I like to structure my meetups, whether in person or online, to get the most out of our time together. This involves an introductory routine for everyone to offer their latest updates, usually limited to 1 to 3 minutes per person. Then we move through a discussion of various topics, either predetermined, or group-sourced during the meeting. Each topic discussed has a time limit. Which allows you to spend time discussing several different topics of interest and value to the group.

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My original tribe.

Key Takeaway

Now more than ever, we can all benefit from our tribes. Connecting via group text is easy to do. Yet the results can be profound. Now is a great time to start a video meetup for more meaningful discussions, with real faces. Then continue the meetups online or in person once our social distancing prescription expires. At the end of our days, the only thing that matters is the impact you have on others. And that impact is much needed right now.

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Some of the Albrecht Tribe. #werolldeep

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

How to make the most of the global timeout.

Over the past month the world has been introduced to an interesting new term. Social distancing is what the doctors have ordered to help minimize the spread of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Social distancing means we all go to our own homes and stay there until we are told we have been there long enough.

The Timeout

For some people this is a strange concept. But parents will recognize this as a timeout. It’s a time when you tell your children that they have to stop what they’re doing (cuz they’re about to ruin, the image and the style that you’re used to). For decades we have been sending our kids to their bedroom, the stairs or a faraway corner to give them time to calm the eff down, and think about their actions.

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This woman looks like she is calming the eff down. She also looks like she could use more furniture.

The social distancing ordered by governments, the Center For Disease Control and the World Health Organizations (led by Roger Daltrey, Pete Townsend and Keith Moon) is really a global timeout for citizens of the world. And it may just be the best thing to ever happen to us.

Time To Think

Just like timeouts for kids, this Global Timeout gives adults time to think about their choices, actions and repercussions. It reminds us that we shouldn’t take our liberties or our opportunities for granted. It reminds us that life is short. And that time is our most precious commodity.

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Taking the WHO’s advice seriously, Tommy is taking a break from playing pinball to think.

The Global Timeout, also known as Wuhan Soloing, is a perfect opportunity to reevaluate and adjust your goals and the action required to attain them. Now is the ideal time to think about your personal life, health, faith, family and friendship.

Career Evaluation

The Global Timeout offers the ideal time to think about your career. Are you on the path you want to be on? Are you making progress towards your goals? Are you as fulfilled as you want to be? And if you are a member of 2 Live Crew, are you as nasty as you wanna be?

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Think about it. There must be higher love.

Getting Down To Business

The Global Timeout is the perfect time for businesses to think about the future. To determine where you want to go, and what you want to become 3 to 5 years down the road. If your business has quieted substantially during this time, see this as an opportunity. The slowdown provides you with time to think. And big results are a result of big thinking. The type of thinking that is hard to do when you are busy with your day to day operations and responsibilities. Or on a ventilator. So remember to keep washing your hands.

Key Takeaway

Social Distancing is a gift. This forced timeout offers an opportunity to think and evaluate your life, your career and your business in a way that you may never have again. Don’t waste it. Make sure that when we reach the end of this period, in a matter of weeks or months, that you emerge from this better, smarter, more focused on your next chapter. Those who take advantage of this opportunity will win. Both at work and at life. Make sure you are one of those people.

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

What role will you play in the coronavirus story?

I love a good story. And right now I am in the early chapters of a really interesting new story. Only it is not a book, movie, or TV show. It’s real life. And you are in the story too.

The Coronavirus

The new reality caused by COVID-19 is turning into one of the most fascinating experiences of my life. And we are just getting warmed up. What began as a health problem in Wuhan, China is now impacting all manner of life on my side of the planet in ways that would have been unimaginable a week ago. Unless, of course, I was watching what was happening in Italy a week ago. But I wasn’t. Because sports were still on TV.

War of The World

Remember hearing the story of Orson Wells’ War of The World radio broadcast when we were younger? This feels a lot like that. Only the Aliens are viruses. And what was a fake newscast is really happening.

Shut’n Er Down

Sports of all sorts are cancelled. Schools are closed. Amusement parks, museums and zoos are shut down. Travel is greatly restricted, and will likely restrict even further. And I am not just talking about the economy class seating.

The Upside

Yet within these unprecedented times are amazing opportunities. Opportunities to connect with those closest to you. To slow down. To go for walks, hikes and bike rides. To play games at home. To cook more. To read more. To create more. And in 9 months, I expect to see a global wave of tiny little coronavirus-inspired Earthlings.

Do Good

Today, there are new opportunities to volunteer and contribute. Support the organizations that support those who are most impacted by this pandemic and the economic repercussions.

Build

There are new business opportunities all around us. The new reality means new unmet needs. And unmet needs are the seeds from which businesses grow.

Lead

There will be opportunities to lead. To take actions that help your community. Both in the prevention of the spread of the virus in your community, and in the recovery and return to normalcy after the threat passes.

Key Takeaway

A significant chapter of global, national and personal history is being written right now. Be thoughtful about the role you will play in the story. Keep washing your hands. And be patient. This too shall pass. And we will all have an interesting story to share.

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

Now is the time to be bold.

This has been an interesting 2 weeks for our planet. Like the movie Parasite, the coronavirus has come out of nowhere, and messed up plans from Wuhan to Hollywood. As a result, the financial markets have gone totally Tom Petty. From Learning to Fly Into The Great Wide Open, to Free Falling.

In the midst of one of the strongest sustained period of economic growth in American history, suddenly we are dealing with travel restrictions, cancelled national and international events, medical supply shortages and panic at the disco.

The Stock Market

Today, the stock markets are in the toilet. And I couldn’t be more pleased.

Because if you are looking for an amazing financial opportunity, this is it. In bad times, when people are panicking, the table is set for you to dig in and take advantage. If you need a refresher course on this lesson, rent the movie The Big Short or Trading Places tonight.

Be Bold Like Barbecue Sauce

If you have a little money to work with, it is time to be bold. You have to find your chance, and take it, like Steve Winwood. Which means picking up an asset that others have dropped like a bad habit in January. It means doing your homework. Taking action. And having faith, like Tim McGraw. Because nothing is guaranteed. And you could go bust. But there is a very good chance that you will go boom boom pow.

The Mortgage Crisis

During the subprime mortgage crisis from 2007 to 2010, American banks were in major trouble. There were fears that some banks would not survive. And some didn’t. But there was an opportunity with those that did. To take advantage of the opportunity you had to buy into those stocks during the darkest days of uncertainty.

During that time I went dumpster diving, and bought stock in 4 different banks that were in the trash. I bought those stocks for as low as $2 per share. And I learned a valuable lesson from that experience. I swore that if I was ever in such a position again, I would buy far more next time. Because those banks stocks have proven to be the smartest financial investment I ever made. Aside from my decision to start my own advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry.

Key Takeaway

I am not telling you to buy stocks. Or to start your own business. I am simply reminding you that fortune favors the bold. And this is a prime time for the bold. So be bold. Make bold choices. And see what happens next.

5 things I do in the first 5 minutes to start my day right.

I am a morning person. I love a new day, a new start, a new opportunity to get better.  Basically, I love everything new. Like Huey Lewis. In fact, I am a self-proclaimed Newdist. And I’m thinking of starting my own colony.

My Morning Routine

I don’t drink coffee. But I do 5 things every morning that help me get the party started right. When I do these 5 simple things before breakfast, I feel like a winner, ready for chicken dinner.

5 Things In 5 Minutes

1.  I wake up before my alarm. 

Waking up before my alarm is one of my favorite things. It makes me feel like I am fully-cooked and ready to rock. It is a sign that I have had a healthy dose of sleep, and that my body and brain are prepared for the day. It is way better than having an alarm clock kicking you in the eardrum.

However, in order to wake up before your alarm you need good sleep. I set my alarm for 6am. But I usually wake up between 5:30am and 5:45am. I think of the early awakening as a lag measure, indicating that I went to bed early enough (usually around 11pm). Which sets me up for success the rest of the day.

2. I smile.

The first thing I do after I awake, while still lying in bed, is smile. I smile a big, broad, toothy smile. And It helps me feel good, right out of the gate. It’s like taking a happy pill. Only there is no pill. I wrote about this habit in the post: Kickstart your day with this powerful and simple habit.

3. I get out of bed before my alarm would have gone off.

Waking up before your alarm in great. When I proactively turn off my alarm it makes me feel like I have defused a bomb. #TheHurtLocker  But the very best thing is getting up and started ahead of schedule. It sets your entire day up for success.

4. I weigh myself.

I weigh myself right away each morning. I do this for a couple of reasons.

  1. I am lightest in the morning, before I put my contacts in.
  2. I have a healthy target weight that I measure myself against. I like to stay at or below 215 pounds, which is how much I weighed when I graduated from high school. So my weigh-in helps me chickity check myself, before I wrickity wreck myself.

This morning I weighed 213 pounds. When I am at or below my target weight, I feel like I am starting my day in a great place. It is proof that my exercise and eating habits are working. And I feel as if I have won a personal challenge within the first few minutes of the day.

However, even when I am over 215 pounds, I take it as a reminder of what I need to do today to be where I want to be tomorrow. The feedback is great for me either way.

5. I drink a glass of water.

I make a point of drinking a tall glass of water right after I weigh myself. It is easy to do. But the impact is significant. It helps me rehydrate. I can tell right away that this sharpens my brain and makes me feel more alert and ready for the day. No caffeine, sugar, taurine or alcohol needed. In fact, I often wonder if the active ingredient in coffee, tea and energy drinks is actually the water itself. #DrEvilPinkyToMouthPose

Key Takeaway

The best way to have a great day is to have a great start. Turn your morning routine into a game of positive actions. By taking these 5 simple steps you will start your day feeling proactive, positive, productive and prepared. All within the first 5 minutes.

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

Happy Leap Day! Now make your extra day count.

Happy Leap Day! February 29th is your lucky day. In fact, it’s luckier than a 5-leaf clover. And it’s rarer than a mooing steak. In fact, it is so rare that it only happens every 4 years. Like the Olympics, a Presidential election, or Halley’s Comet.

Opportunity Day!

However it is not the rarity of Leap Day that matters. It’s the opportunity. Today is a totally free, bonus day! Which means that today is the perfect day to do something extra. Like Michael Jackson said, today, ‘You got to be startin’ somethin’. Or finishing somethin’. Or working hard on somethin’. #MaMaSeMaMaSaMaMaCooSa

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Saturday Day Fever

Even better, this year Leap Day is the perfect bonus day. Because it falls on a Saturday. Which means you probably don’t have to work or go to school today. So take a few minutes to think about those things you have always wanted to do. Those things you can never seem to find the time to start, plan or complete. And get rolling.

Possible Leap Day Activities:

  • Exercise
  • Take a hike
  • Play a Game
  • Start a blog, vlog, slog, or drink Glogg
  • Start a business
  • Pick up a new hobby, or re-engage in an old hobby, like Holly
  • Create a podcast
  • Play an instrument
  • Create a product
  • Start a book (reading or writing)
  • Paint
  • Marie Kondo your house
  • Volunteer, or sign up to volunteer
  • Go to church (or find a place of worship to go to this week)
  • Start a meetup
  • Join a club or worthy organization
  • Ask someone to be your mentor.
  • Call someone you haven’t talked to for too long
  • Find a dentist
  • Find a doctor
  • Find a nurse
  • Find a lady with an alligator purse
  • Start your taxes
  • Plan a vacation
  • Organize a girls night, or a guys night, or a Michael Knight.
  • Make a career or life plan
  • Do something that’s more you, because no one knows you better than you.

Start Now

I started planning my own business, The Weaponry, during a little bonus time like you have today. Now we have 2 offices and clients from California to Quebec. I also started this blog during a little bit of free time. And this is post number 411. #Information Now it’s your turn to go do something meaningful today.

Key Takeaway

Time is your more precious resource. Use it wisely. Alchemize it into magic. And when you get a bonus day, or a bonus hour, take advantage of it. Otherwise, when you come to  the end of your time, you will wish you had.

Which begs the question: What will you do with your Leap Day?

Note: Happy Leap Day Birthday to my great friend Jeff Hilimire, who turns 11 today. I wrote a review of his book this week, not even remembering that it was his birthday this week too.

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Jeff  ‘The Leap Day Birthday Boy’ Hilimire, showing how big he was when he was born. He looks kinda manly for being 11, right?