If you want results stop chipping and start chopping.

Not all actions are equal. Which means the return on your invested time and energy is not equal. Occasional effort put into an activity, practice, or exercise is not the same as fully-dedicated effort with a plan, a schedule, and a timer. #TimeToMakeTheDonuts

Chipping

Chipping is the occasional effort you put towards a task. Sometimes you go for a run, eat a salad, read, or play an instrument. Chipping is going to church at Christmas and Easter, which makes you a  Chreaster. Chipping is shooting hoops in the driveway, sometimes, in your flip flops.

Chipping means you partake occasionally, when you feel like it. You write, sometimes. You study, now and then. You work late once a month.    

Chipping lets you say you tried. But it doesn’t move the needle. It doesn’t build momentum. And it won’t help your New Year’s resolution survive until February.

Chopping

Chopping is focusing on your goals, making a plan, writing it down, creating a schedule. Chopping means declaring a goal. Or declaring war. Chopping means setting a timer to your activity. Chopping is creating a habit. Chopping is swinging away and working up a sweat like clockwork. Over and over again. Like Nelly and Tim McGraw.

Key Takeaway

Chipping allows you to say you tried. Chopping brings down the tree.

Why you should approach life like an otter.

In July my family and I visited Glacier National Park in Montana. ‘Visited’ is probably an understatement. We fully immersed ourselves in the experiences available within the park for 2 full days. For anyone who hasn’t been there, Glacier is one of the greatest places on Earth. Full of spectacular scenery, animals and, as the name would indicate, glaciers.

One of our many hikes in the park was along a glacial-fed stream. As a reward after the hike, my 3 children and I swam in the swiftly flowing, ice-cold stream. We slid down the long, flat rocks just under the crystal clear water. The rocks were like giant non-yellow Slip N’ Slides that dropped us into deep, swirling pools. It was the kind of waterpark that would have offered Pebbles and Bam Bam a yabba-dabba-doo time.

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Despite the very cold water, our hardy viking children frolicked and played as if the water was the perfect temperature. Which it may have been, given the July heat that was eating the glaciers like Joey Chestnut.

While my kids and I swam and played in the frigid trailside stream, a regular trickle of hikers trekked past us. After a few minutes I spotted an interesting trend. The hikers all stopped to watch us. As they did, they looked on with a sense of envy. It was as if we were more interesting than the epic natural beauty that surrounded us. And despite the fact that everyone there was on vacation, my kids appeared to be having a better time than anyone else.

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Why? Because we weren’t just following the trails. We were diving into the water. We were playing. My kids and I were drinking it all up and fully experiencing all the wonder the national park had to offer.

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When I stopped swimming to watch my kids awhile, I saw what the spectators saw. My kids were like otters in the water. They were having more fun than anyone else in the vast national park. They were finding the full joy in a glacier-fed stream. They were as alive as humans get. It was clear that we were watching a lifetime memory in the making.

Key Takeaway

Be the otter. Dive into all that life has to offer. Take on adventures. Play and enjoy the simplest things. Create fun. Do what others wish they were doing. Be a model for others to follow. Life is a one way trip. Make sure to experience each day fully, both in your work and in your play. Don’t settle for memories of watching others having fun. Experience it for yourself. Or someday you will wish you had.

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

This is how many people I hope to reach with each blog post.

When I first started writing this blog 5 years ago I thought a lot about the growth of the blog. I focused on how many subscribers I was getting. I thought about how many people liked, commented on, and shared my posts. But over time, as I should care more and more about such things, I find myself caring less and less.

It’s not because I don’t think growth and significance are important. It’s because I have thought more about the power we all have to add real value to just one person.

A Critical Post

Back in 2015, as I was preparing to launch my advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry, I read a blog post that unlocked a critical door for me. It was written by my friend Christien Louviere. Christien is an entrepreneur in Atlanta. And he wrote a blog post about the top 10 things you don’t need to do to start your own business.

In the post he conveys that it is a lot easier to start a business than you thought. He encourages readers not to worry about the many things they likely thought were speed bumps, or impediments to entrepreneurship.

It was a very useful post. And it contradicted Johnny Paycheck’s take-this-job-and- shove-it philosophy. In fact, one of the 10 points was that you don’t need to quit your job to start your own business. In fact, he encouraged readers NOT to quit their day jobs until they absolutely have to. Instead, start your new business on the side (either side will do), and let your day job fund the night job, or side hustle, as long as you can.

The Entrepreneurial Track Change

When I read that post I already had potential clients encouraging me to start my own business. Which I was excited to do. The problem I couldn’t figure out was how and when to switch from salaried employee to on-my-own entrepreneur, like Patti Labelle. At that point, I was 42, making the highest salary I had ever made. I had a significant mortgage. I had 3 kids, and a wife I really wanted to keep.

Good Advice

The advice to get going while still holding onto my job was exactly what I needed to hear, when I needed to hear it. It unlocked a critical door for me to pass through. (And I have found that passing through is far better than passing out or passing on.)

But the funny thing is that I bet not that many people read Christien’s blog post. Christien wasn’t the French Seth Godin. He didn’t have millions of followers. For all I know I was the only person who read that post.

But Christien had knowledge and insights that I needed. And he shared it, like Sonny Bono. With that one post, I found exactly what I was looking for, unlike U2. I don’t know how things would have unfolded for me given other timing and circumstances. Because so much of life’s success is about getting the timing right. #TWSS

A Better Measure

I no longer concern myself with how many people read my blog. I am not trying to impact or influence the masses like a televangelist. I don’t expect to ever get paid for my blogging. Or be considered an important influencer.

Instead, what I think about is sharing what I know, what I have learned and what I have experienced. I think about sharing my accumulated knowledge on entrepreneurship, creativity, advertising, marketing, networking, positivity, wellbeing, and adventuring.

I expect that what I share will be valuable to one person who reads it. And that’s all that matters to me. I don’t even worry about whether or not they tell me that something I wrote was impactful to them. I trust that there is a person meant to read each post I share. And that it will help them in an important way. Even if it is just getting through a challenging day.

Proper Perspective

At the end of our days, the only thing that really matters is the impact we had on each other. If I can share something I have learned, and have a positive impact on another human, then my effort is well rewarded.

Key Takeaway

If you have a blog, vlog, podcast, newsletter, twitter feed, Pinterest board or Instagram account where you are sharing what you know, what you think, or what you enjoy, don’t be discouraged by a small following. Focus on adding value. If one person benefits from what you are creating you are positively impacting a life. That is our highest calling. Thank you for answering. And keep sharing. Someone is listening. And that someone is everything.

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

Want more tips on blogging? I think you’ll like these:

What I have learned about blogging after 200 posts.

12 things I’ve learned from writing 300 blog posts.

One day I started a blog. Now I have published 500 posts.

One day I started a blog. Now I have published 500 posts.

When I first heard about blogging I loved the concept. Thanks to the internet, suddenly you could write and publish your thoughts as often as you wanted, without having to own your own newspaper, magazine, or bathroom stall.

I knew this was a great platform for me. Because I could fill my writings with silly comments and there would be no editor to edit them out. Then again, there would be no editor to catch my spellng mstaks. And I have a type-O personality.

Over the following decade I took several good swings at blogging. I now have 9 random blogs to my credit. But to 7 of them I’m just the Bloggy-Daddy. You know, the guy who created that poor little abandoned blog and, like Tom Petty, don’t come around here no more.

Sailing The Entrepreneurship

In the fall of 2015 I began plans to launch my own advertising agency. I loved the idea of sharing my experience with the world through a blog. I figured the creative inspiration would be endless. So I began writing The Perfect Agency Project blog. I applied the same proven success formula to both my business and my blog. Which is to say I started and never stopped. #DontStopGetItGetIt

The Weaponry

Today, my advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry, is set to have our best year ever. Which is amazing considering that 2020 the year is nothing like 2020 the TV show.

What began in my home office in Atlanta now has offices in Milwaukee and Columbus. We have clients in Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Raleigh, Philadelphia, Manchester, New Hampshire, Columbus, Cincinnati, Madison, Milwaukee and more.

The Blog

This blog that began my entrepreneurial journey with me is stronger than ever too. Because I just keep writing. However, back in March, just before the world went sideways with Covid-19, I changed the name of this blog from The Perfect Agency Project to the Adam Albrecht Blog.

I made the change for two reasons. First, because I wanted to have greater latitude to write about my learnings, experiences and observations beyond entrepreneurship. Because entrepreneurship teaches you lessons that reach far beyond business.

Second, I wanted the blog to be easier to find. Now, anyone typing my name into a search engine will easily find this blog. Today, I am also working on a book. And connecting your name to your blog creates better connectivity to all of your writing. And some of your wronging.

Mr. 500

The post that you are reading right now is my 500th post on the Adam Albrecht blog. I have shared a considerable collections of experiences, ideas, learnings and observations since the fall of 2015.

What I have enjoyed most is that the process of writing this blog forces me to think. It makes me think about what I am learning and experiencing. It makes me think about my life and career and the journey I am on. Which means that life isn’t simply passing me by. I’m evaluating it, studying it and appreciating it every day. And like a tech-enabled Elvis Costello, every day I write the blog.

Thank You!

Thank you for reading this blog. I know your time is valuable. The fact that you have spent some of your time reading my blog means a lot to me. I appreciate your support, comments, likes and shares. I appreciate it when you challenge my thinking. I appreciate it when you find a spelling mistake for me. And I appreciate it when you let me know that you picked up on the obscure reference I dropped in the story.

Key Takeaway

The key to success is simply starting and never stopping. If you do those 2 things, you can build a business from dust. You can write 500 blog posts. And you can do anything else you set your mind to. Far too many people come to the end of their days and regret the things they didn’t do. Don’t let that be you. Start today. And just keep going.

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

Are you sharing your gift with the world?

On Tuesday I was visiting a home and saw an interesting piece of art hanging on the wall. It said, ‘The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.’ The quote was attributed to William Shakespeare. Although that didn’t really seem like the type of thing he doth writeth or sayeth.

I was tempted to take a pic of the artwork because I liked the quote so much. But I refrained. That night when I got home I looked the quote up on the Googler. I found that the quote is often attributed to Shakespeare or Pablo Picasso. Although there is no evidence linking either of them to those words. Other than a couple of enterprising Etsy shops.

David Viscott

There is much concrete evidence that these words came from David Viscott. Viscott was a psychiatrist and professor at UCLA who had his own radio and tv shows in the 1980s and 90s. You know, like Frasier. Perhaps Picasso liked to tune in.

Here is the full quote:

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift; the work of life is to develop it; and the meaning of life is to give your gift away.” — David Viscott.

That’s a pretty great idea, David. No wonder Shakespeare and Picasso wanted to take credit for it.

Key Takeaway

Discover your gift. Develop your gift. Share it with others. And if you discover you have more than one gift, develop and share them all. The world becomes a better place with more of your magic. And remember, gifts come in all shapes and sizes. You don’t need to be a singer to be a rockstar. You simply need to find what you are really good at, make yourself great at it, and gift it to the world.

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

The cure for disappointment is getting back to work.

Sometimes things go wrong. Actually, things go wrong all the time. It’s as predictable as a celebrity divorce. You will miss out on opportunities. You will lose games, money, clients, and jobs. You will get knocked down and spun around. Because life offers up a never ending conveyor belt of challenges. And not all of them go your way.

Bouncing Back

The best way to deal with loss and disappointment is to get right back to work. It’s as simple as that. Because there is something magical about the feeling of making progress that heals the bites, burns and bruises of life.

She is highly bummed. And highly bunned.

As you work towards your next success you are putting the past failure in the rear view mirror. You are investing in the next win, instead of dwelling on the last loss. You positively reorient your attention and focus as you begin traveling towards your next accomplishment. And the psychological effect is huger than Hugh Jackman.

Building, improving and gaining momentum lead to happiness. They are clear indicators that you are heading in the right direction. The more work you put in the more gravitational pull your next great goal creates. Which is far better than the gravitational pull donuts create.

Getting back to work is beneficial in every area of your life, including your career, relationships, fitness, athletics, academics and spirituality. I have used work as my bounce-back strategy as a student, as an athlete and as an entrepreneur. And it has never failed me. Yes, the past spring and summer have thrown us all adversity. But don’t let that define your fall. Get yourself back on the right track, by getting right back to work.

Key Takeaway

Don’t let disappointment stop you. Let it start you. Get back to work. Rebuild momentum. It is hard to feel sorry for yourself when you are making progress. And don’t wait for someone else to give you an opportunity. Make one yourself.

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

Want to be happy? Work on your work ethic.

When I was a kid I worked. My parents were both Minnesota farm kids with annoyingly untiring work ethics. My Grandparents were active farmers throughout my youth. So were my Uncles Allan, Jerry, Randy, Rod, Kendall, Jim, Gerald, Tom, Paul, Chuck and Tim. Which meant I had a lot of opportunity to work. (It also means my grandparents liked to get busy.)

At an early age I began breaking child labor laws. I baled hay, picked rock, mowed lawns, painted houses and barns, and hauled firewood. I worked in construction during high school for my neighbor Tom Kearney, whose daughter Hannah Kearney would go on to win the Olympic Gold Medal in mogul skiing in Vancouver, and the Bronze medal in Sochi. My college summers were spent swinging a sledge hammer driving tent spikes into the granite of Northern New England. If you’ve never seen someone ring the bell in the strongman game at the fair, I’ll show you how it’s done.

I know the hard, physical labor I performed at an early age has benefited me ever since. The work ethic my parents, Robert and Jill Albrecht, natured and nurtured into me has been an important driver throughout my career. It mentally prepared me to step fearlessly into the entrepreneurship arena when I launched  The Weaponry, my advertising and idea agency. But apparently I am not the only one who understood how important a strong work ethic is to your success.

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Working late one night, this guy invented the white computer screen, then shared it on Instagram.

George Vaillant

Harvard psychiatrist George Vaillant spent his career studying predictors of success. He found that childhood work ethic was perhaps the best and most accurate predictor of adult success and mental health.

The Work Ethic Study

Vaillant conducted a longitudinal study of 456 men from the inner city of Boston. The study began when the men were just 14 years old. As barely-teenagers they were rated for their ability to work. Their lives were then tracked regularly into middle age. The results showed that the men who had the highest work ethic rating at 14 years old earned 5 times more than their lower ranked counterparts. They were also happier and had far more successful marriages and other social relationships. I assume they liked the 80s band Men At Work more too. #WhoCanItBeNow

Vaillant’s finding means that your willingness to work relates not only to your financial success, but to your ability to work on your relationships. Even more importantly, it indicates your ability to pursuit your own happiness. Which means that your capacity for work is actually the greatest predictor of how much you will enjoy your life.

Key Takeaway

Your work ethic drives your actions. Which drive your financial success. The ability to put work into your relationships means you get more out of your relationships. So develop your work ethic. Lean in. Build your endurance, your grit, and your tolerance for pain and discomfort. Grow your ability to delay gratification. Don’t just eat the first marshmallow you are given. Teach your kids to work too. And to enjoy the rewards of their labor, like my parents did for me. It is a lesson that will last a very happy lifetime.

*If you have kids, consider sharing this with them.

How to choose between two good ways to spend your time.

The world is full of good things. At any given time there are hundreds, if not thousands of worthwhile activities for you to partake in. In fact, life is a giant a la carte menu of enjoyable ways to spend your time. So, how do we choose, if we are not choosey moms? Because everyone knows what choosey mom’s choose. #ExtraCrunchy

Priorities

The key to determining how to spend your time is establishing your priorities. Your priorities serve as a tiebreaker between two good ways to spend your time and energy. When you are forced to choose, always invest in the activity that aligns with your priorities.

(If you are pressed for time, you can stop reading this post here. Because you have already discovered the main point of this post. Everything that comes after this is simply time away from your priorities. But if you are like Richard Gere in An Officer And A Gentleman, and have nowhere else to go, by all means, please keep reading.)

Morning Time

Every morning I have to decide between sleeping longer, and getting up and jumping into my pre-determined activities. I always choose to get up and get going. Because I schedule my most important activities to start just 10 minutes after my alarm detonates. By important, I mean my self-improvement activities. I always start my day with exercise, reading, or writing. Because those activities align with my priorities. Even when my bed is very comfortable.

If I get one or more of my self-improvement activities in before breakfast, even if my breakfast gives me food poisoning, I will have made progress that day. (Ok, now I’m a little apprehensive about eating breakfast…)

Declaring Your Priorities

If you don’t have your priorities determined, do that now, before you do anything else. Because they will help you determine everything else.

This post is not intended to teach you how to choose your priorities. But since we’re here, here’s the simplified process:

  • Think about the end of your life.
  • When your completed life story is told, what’s the story morning glory?
  • What did you do?
  • What impressive accomplishments will you be remembered for?
  • Whatever you come up with, those are your priorities.
  • To determine the priority of all priorities, narrow your accomplishments down to just one in an Ultimate Accomplishment Royal Rumble.  The last accomplishment standing is your Ultimate Priority.
  • Your Ultimate Priority should drive all time management decisions for the rest of your life.

Key Takeaway

Time is your most valuable and scarcest resource. To determine how and where to spend it, know your priorities. And invest as much time and energy into your priorities as possible. Even when the alternative is attractive. Because life is like the Playboy Mansion, and there will always be attractive alternatives. But the more time you spend with the attractive alternatives, and not your priorities, the less likely the story at the end of your days will be the story you wish was written.

If you liked this post and want to read more like this, I recommend reading this post on the book The One Thing.

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How to convert negative energy into positive results.

Dams take the potential power in water, focus it, harness it and use it to create electricity. We call it renewable energy, because the planet will always create more water. Wind turbines do the same thing. And because the Earth will continue to create more wind, there will always be more to harness. Plus, everyone knows it’s windy.

As humans, we can do the same thing. There are powerful forces on this planet that will never run dry. Forces like stress, rejection, failure, anger, teasing, bullying, disappointment and loneliness. And of course all the isms. Racism, sexism, fascism and the unappreciated euphemism. Instead of letting them wear and weaken you, harness their power. Like a turbine in a dam.

You can use negative fuel sources to fuel your positive response. These fuels can drive your most productive and meaningful actions. They can push you further, faster and longer. Like that stuff Lance Armstrong once swore he wasn’t using. #LiarLiarLycraOnFire  Use the negative energy to create endurance, passion, and commitment. When you think of slowing, suspending or stopping, the negative fuel will keep you keeping on.

When you develop the ability to harness and focus negative energy, every time bad things happen, good things follow. One step back is followed by many steps forward. Disappointment becomes drive. Rejection becomes response. Stress feeds success. Anger amplifies action.

The most successful people aren’t immune to negative forces. They use those forces to propel them forward. In many cases, the most enviable people have dealt with the most unenviable adversity. They have simply set their course and let the power that so many try to avoid fill their sails, and drive them towards their goals.

Key Takeaway

The world will provide you with an endless supply of negative energy. But you can transform it into an excellent source of energy for good. Harness it. Focus it. And it will power the most positive actions in your life.

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

When your opportunity comes you have to be prepared to jump.

Every opportunity has a time constraint. If you don’t jump, you miss out. You have to be ready and willing to act when the chance comes along. Which means that before the opportunity arrives you have to prepare yourself.

The Start-Up Opportunity

I had thought a lot about starting my own business over the course of my career. Then one day an opportunity came my way. A former client called me and encouraged me to start my own advertising agency so that we could work together again. Two hours later another former client called me with the same conversation.

After checking my office for candid cameras and Ashton Kutcher, I realized I wasn’t being punked. The opportunity to start my own business had arrived. I quickly arranged phone calls and meetups with other former-and-potential-future clients. I discovered there was great interest in what I was planning to do. And Morris Day told me this was the time.

So I jumped. I launched The Weaponry. I have been growing and improving it, and preparing for new opportunities ever since. The key was that I was ready to roll when the opportunity pulled up and asked if I wanted to get in.

The Opportunity Party

The COVID-19 crises and the economic fallout have created unprecedented opportunities. Great businesses in many categories have disappeared during these unusual times because they weren’t prepared for this storm. But the storm will pass.

For the vast majority of the businesses that have failed the issue was a short term demand issue. And those ready and willing to step in and fill the demand on the other side will find the opportunity of a lifetime. And I don’t mean television for women.

The health and economic crisis of 2020 has also created amazing new opportunities. Did you own a face mask before this year?  Have you ever seen so much plexiglass? Or hand sanitizer? Or stickers on the ground saying stand here?

There are new needs that are not being met yet (like perhaps the 2-Yard Stick). There are also new wants. Like the want to be connected to others. To socialize. To get away from home and still feel safe. To exercise in a non-frightening way. To laugh more. To watch sports with a community. Take on any of these opportunities now before someone else does.

Hot & Cold

Remember that hot coffee and hot chocolate are only hot for a short time. The same holds true for ice-cold beer and ice-cold lemonade. If you don’t drink them quickly the opportunity to enjoy their perfect state passes you by.

Key Takeaway

Prepare yourself to take action before opportunities come along. Read, train, learn, network, save, and build up your confidence so you are ready to take action when your time comes. Then don’t dilly or dally. Don’t miss your opportunity. Jump. Make things happened. Find your happiness, your money, your purpose, your calling. And do it quickly. Before the opportunity slips away.

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