When things go bad you are just getting to the good part.

I like it when things go wrong.

I love it when reality departs from the script and improvisation is the only way forward. (I just made that up.) In fact, most of my best stories are born when life doesn’t go according to plan.

It is the plot twist, that creates interesting stories. #ChubbyChecker.

When a wrench gets thrown into your plans it is a gift, not a grenade. Because on closer inspection you’ll see that that wrench is actually a memory maker.

The pop group AJR has a fun song called 100 Bad Days that talks about bad things that have happened to them. But it’s not a sad song. Far from it. It’s delightfully upbeat and positive. And I can dance to it.

Here’s the song’s hook:

A hundred bad days made a hundred good stories. A hundred good stories make me interesting at parties.

-AJR

I love that line. It’s a reminder to adopt a crazy straw mindset. Because when life starts to suck the twists and turns also make it fun and interesting.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

Key Takeaway

The best stories often start with something going wrong. Accept the challenge. Embrace the adventure. And overcome the obstacle that was placed in your path specifically for you to overcome. Then share your story. It will make you more interesting at parties.

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

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

Why I love my gaps and you should too.

I’m willing to bet that you are not as great as you want to be. If you are, you can stop reading here.

(I see you are still reading. Which means that either I was right, or the brakes on your eyeballs don’t work.)

You may not be as fit, rich, successful, kind, patient or brave as you wish you were.

In fact, you probably fall short of your ideal on a lengthy list of skills, states, and attributes.

That’s a gift.

The gap between where you are now and your ideal provides the motivation to act. It provides the motivation to improve. It creates the silent force that propels you. It fuels your hunger, drive, and growth.

And ultimately, your gap helps close your gap.*

*If The Gap at your local mall has recently closed it’s not your fault. Unless you were the manager.

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.

You don’t need a passion to have a fulfilling career.

I used to think that in order to be really happy in your career you had to find something you were passionate about. Then you just make that your life’s pursuit. But I no longer believe that is true. And neither should you.

Passions are: 

  1. Difficult to find
  2. Difficult to define
  3. Difficult to turn into a lucrative career.
  4. Likely to make you cut off your ear and mail it to someone you admire. #WayToVanGogh

The problem is that most people’s passions are things like music, art, yoga, puppies, food, sleep, alcohol, video games, and sexual activities. These are all good passions. And it’s easy to express how much you love these things with bumper stickers. It’s much harder to turn them into lucrative careers.

To become really happy with your career you don’t need to start out with a passion. 

You simply have to find an interesting challenge. 

If you are into problem-solving or skill development, almost anything can be considered an interesting challenge.

Next, focus on getting really good at that interesting challenge. As you get better and better at it, people will notice. They will turn to you first as a trusted resource. Then people will turn to you as an expert in that area. And that feels great. (Unless you are a hired assassin. In which case you probably have mixed feelings.)

Through the process of becoming really good at your chosen work, you are highly likely to develop a passion for your area of expertise. Consider that most people aren’t born with a passion for supply chain management, textile manufacturing, or currency trading. But a surprising number of people die with those passions.

Which means that when you dive into an interesting challenge, the challenge itself can ignite your passion. We develop passion in areas that make us feel strong, skilled and admired. We become passionate when we understand nuances and develop extreme intelligence in specific areas. Because what we are really becoming passionate about is self-improvement, mastery, and excellence.

Key Takeaway

Passions develop over time. Don’t make finding your passion your goal. Instead, recognize that the world offers an endless supply of interesting challenges and problems to solve. Grab one of them. Any of them. Then dive in. The challenge itself will be interesting. Your professional development will be fun and rewarding. Your expanding knowledge, skills and perspective will increase your value to others. Which is highly rewarding. And somewhere along the way, your interesting challenge alchemizes into your passion. When it does your work no longer feels like work. It feels like passion. And it will make others wonder how to discover their own passion so that they love their work as much as you do.

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

+ For more life lessons the universe is trying to share with you check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

How to know where you are on your improvement journey.

Anytime you try something new you will be bad at it. Or at least relatively bad at it. And I don’t mean like Michael Jackson or George Thorogood.

But when you are trying to develop your skills and abilities there is a useful way to think about your improvement journey.

Simply focus on increasing the percentage of times you get it right.

At first, you may get a specific technique or execution right 1 in 1000 or 1 in 100 tries.

This means that you’ve moved your percentage from 0% to 0.1%, or from 0% to 1%.

That’s amazing progress.

In fact, it is the most important progress of all.

Then just keep going.

At 2% you are 100% better than you were at 1%. Or at least that was true according to old math.

Now, focus your efforts to increase your success rate from 1 in 100 to 1 in 10. 

Then advance to 5 in 10.

Next push yourself to 9 out of 10. Like the dentists who recommend Crest toothpaste.

Then keep pushing yourself until you can nail 99 out of 100 attempts.

Key Takeaway

Self-improvement is a percentage game. You’ll likely never get every task right 100% of the time. But get as close as you can. Pay attention to your performance percentages. It is the easiest way to track your progress. Keep pushing yourself. The challenge is fun, rewarding, and most importantly, quantifiable.

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

+For more tips and techniques for your self-improvement journey check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Don’t be one of those people.

I pay close attention to the language that people use. I always have. I notice local nuances in word choice, phrasing and pronunciation. And I can tell the difference between the cursing of an educated and uneducated human.

I also quickly recognize when new words and phrases gain popularity.

A few years ago I noticed the increased popularity of the phrases, If I’m being honest…, and To tell you the truth… There is a time and place to use those phrases. But they shouldn’t be sprinkled before everything you say or you sound like your default setting is Big Fat Liar.

The latest phrase to ping my ears is One of those. Here are a few uses:

He’s one of those guys who….

She’s one of those bosses who….

They are one of those friends who…

I dislike the use of this phrase for 2 reasons.

  1. It is unnecessary. Whatever you say after this introduction could simply stand on its own. She’s one of those bosses who people love to work for could simply be: People love working for her. And, He’s one of those guys who never seems to have a bad day could simply be: He never seems to have a bad day. Or He’s always in a good mood. Or, I think he’s on drugs.

2. I don’t like to think of people as being common types. Humans are complicated, nuanced and unique. We are oversimplifying when we lump people into one of those categories. And I hate to be lumped.

As a champion of marketing, advertising and branding I am constantly looking for the unique, unoccupied spaces for brands to live. It’s important to own distinct real estate in customers’ minds. It is how brands become irreplaceable.

The same holds true when it comes to your personal brand. You don’t want to be one of those types. It decreases your value. It makes it sound as if there are a large number of you. As soon as you are one of those types, you are interchangeable with all the others. Like a commodity. Don’t be that kid.

Key Takeaway

Don’t allow yourself to simply be one of those. Lean into your uniqueness. Develop your own intriguing combination of strengths and style. Become uncategorizable. Be unlabelable. Own a unique place in the minds of those you interact with. It is the best way to maximize your value and memorability. It’s true of brands, products and services. And it’s true for humans too.

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

+ For more thinking like this check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

What Does That Say About Me?

Yesterday was the Saturday morning of Memorial Day Weekend. It was a great day to sleep in, relax and recharge.

But I was up at 5:30am. Which was 30 minutes before my alarm was set to go off. I had things I wanted to do and didn’t want to waste any time. Because like Ben Franklin said, the early morning has gold in its mouth. (And so does Lil’ Wayne.)

After starting my morning by investing 90 minutes in a personal project I quickly got ready for my day. I headed down to my office in Milwaukee. On a Saturday. I was there from 8 am until 5pm, working on a special project that I will share more about soon.

After I wrapped up things at work I quickly drove home, cleaned up, and within an hour headed to American Family Field, home of the Milwaukee Brewers, for a fun night with my wife Dawn and my kids Ava, Johann and Magnus. We went to a concert featuring country artists Parker McCollum, Brothers Osborne, and headliner Eric Church. The show was incredible. And long. Eric Church played so long that I was afraid that when I returned to my parking space my Ford Expedition would be replaced by a pumpkin and a family of mice. #BibbidiBobbidiBoo

By the time we got home, it was after 1:00 am. I got to bed at about 1:45 am. It was a Jam Master Jay-packed day.

This morning, on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, after getting to bed at 1:45 am, I woke up at 6:30 am. Because I have things to do.

I could have slept in. I had a hard day of work yesterday. I had a late night of play. And today is the Sunday of a long holiday weekend. If any day was made for rest, this is it. Like Kenny Loggins said.

But you are what you do. Your actions are proof of your commitment and character. I have made a commitment to myself to show up and take care of my business. To work on my personal projects. I have long-term goals. And they require consistency, no matter what.

I like doing hard things. I love delaying gratification. I enjoy sacrificing comfort and ease. Because you can trade them for bigger prizes later.

This morning I have the chorus to one of Parker McCollum’s hit songs playing in my head. Reflecting on his recent actions in the song Pretty Heart, McCollum asks the question, ‘What does that say about me?’ This morning, I’m doing the same.

Key Takeaway

What do your actions say about you? Are they proof that you are who you say you are? Are they reminders that you can count on yourself? That you are consistently investing in you? That you are taking care of yourself? That you are living up to your values and personal vision. These are important questions to ask. And the answers are in your actions.

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

+If you appreciate this message you’ll also like my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

This week I was blowing out candles and a new list of goals.

It was my birthday on Wednesday. I had a lot of friends and family members reach out to me to wish me a happy birthday. But my birthday fell on a cool and rainy Wednesday. Which meant that I wasn’t able to enjoy the outdoor activities I usually enjoy on my birthday, like biking, hiking, fishing, kayaking, and nude sunbathing.

While my birth day itself was not remarkable, I spent time planning for a memorable year. This is one of my favorite annual traditions. It helps me focus on the things that are most important to me. I want to experience happiness, fulfillment and success in all areas of my life. So I set a number of goals. Here are the areas I focused on for my next 365 days.

  1. Marriage: I set goals to strengthen my relationship with my wife Dawn. This makes everything else work.
  2. Health: I have to take care of my machine. But I haven’t seen a doctor in 7 years. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did see a doctor walking down the street. But this year I plan to see one at a checkup.
  3. Parenting: This is my most important job. So I am focusing on how to further build my children’s confidence. And keep them out of government-issued jumpsuits.
  4. Travel: I have major life travel goals. And I want to cross 2 of my major destinations off my list this year. (I also want to go visit them.)
  5. Business: These are my goals related to the growth and success of The Weaponry, the advertising and idea agency I launched 6 years ago. It’s my 4th baby. But probably the best behaved.
  6. Career: I focus on where I am going next. (I have a long way to go and a short time to get there.)
  7. Job: I focus on becoming better in my current role. Sidenote: Entrepreneurs can’t say take this job and shove it. Because you are both the shover and the shovee.
  8. Self Education: I set goals for becoming smarter and more capable. (There are a lot of books involved.)
  9. Fitness: The best way to feel young is to feel fit. So I have a couple of important goals here. Including building out the workout room in my new home so that I can maximize my personal fitness.
  10. Faith God knows this is important. (I can’t tell if I just used God’s name in vain, or out of vain.)
  11. Financial: This is what funds everything else. I keep it simple and focus on my net worth. Like Shakira’s hips, the numbers don’t lie.
  12. Home: I have goals that focus on our family nest. And how to make it our favorite place in the world.
  13. Key Relationships: At the end of our days the only thing that will matter is the impact we had on each other. Here I focus on my relationship with my parents and my sisters. I focus on my relationship with my high school friends, college teammates, college roommates, and local friends. And if I am a good friend, I will have more people to focus on next year.

Key Takeaway

A great year doesn’t just happen. You make it happen. And it all starts by knowing what will contribute to your happiness and success. Refocus and rededicate yourself every year to your personal improvement and relationship development. It’s the best way to live the life you imagined.

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

+For more ways to get the most out of life, check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

12 important life lessons for new graduates.

It’s graduation time! Students across the country are thrilled to finally be done with classes, done with books and done with teachers’ dirty looks. But what they will soon find out is that the real life lessons start after school ends. Because suddenly your life becomes one big multiple choice test. And if you thought you were done with all that writing, here comes the big surprise:

Now you have to write the story of your own life.

Looking back, I can see that I have learned far more since graduating from Hanover High School in Hanover, New Hampshire and The University of Wisconsin than I did in school. In fact, I read more now than I did in school. I ask more questions. I study people and events, and people at events.

I have been collecting the best lessons I have learned since the day I graduated from high school. Then, during the Covid lockdown, I turned my collection of most valuable life lessons into a book called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?

I thought the book would help people like me who were trying to get the most out of life. I wanted to help my contemporaries maximize their happiness and success. I wanted to share some of my accumulated knowledge, inspire others, and make people laugh. Not necessarily in that order.

Since publishing my new book I have heard 2 responses over and over from readers.

  1. I wish I had read this when I was younger.
  2. This book will make an excellent graduation gift.

The positive response to the book confirms that the life lessons I pass along offer real value. For new graduates, the lessons will help build the life and career you imagined. Which is why so many people are picking up copies now, during graduation season to give as gifts.

My friend Kris picked up these copies for some special graduates in her life. Including her daughter Emma!

If you are a new graduate, congratulations! Welcome to the club! Here are a few things that will help you in your exciting next chapter of life. (And you thought you were done with all that reading…) (If you graduated last year or last century the lessons still apply.)

12 important life lessons for new graduates.

  1. Constantly Upgrade Your Thinking: You may have graduated, but you are not done growing. Never stop improving yourself. You are like an iPhone. You should constantly be creating better versions of yourself. Each one is smarter, stronger and more capable than the one before. (And now that you will start paying for your own phone you’ll want to put a screen shield and protective case on that thang. Phones are frick’n expensive.)

2. The best way to live a great life is to start at the end. By viewing your life from the end you can clearly see what you could have done and what you should have done. Do this now, while you can do something about it. And you will be able to turn your life into an epic story as big as your imagination. (And go to funerals. They will teach you more about life than death. Plus, there are always free ham sandwiches.)

3. It’s the first step that matters most. Far too many people dream about the things they want to do but never take a single step towards making it happen. Your dreams start with that first step. Take it. Make it happen. (And watch Hamilton. That dude did not throw away his shot.)

4. Let envy be your guide. Don’t get fooled into thinking envy is a deadly sin and try to squash it. Envy offers insight. Note the things you envy and truly want and add them to your life list. Then create a plan to make them yours. And get to work. (Sloth, however, is a deadly sin. Don’t mess with sloths, Sid.)

5. Your Success Is Directly Related to Your Contribution. Success is easy to understand. If you want more, contribute more. If you want to earn more money, add more value. If you want more social capital, add more value. If you want more political capital, add more value. It is the value you bring to the world that determines what the world offers you in return, Jedi.

6. Nothing will happen unless you make it so. JFK said, ‘Things do not happen. They are made to happen.’ Remember that action is everything. It is the difference between dreaming and doing. If you want something to happen you have to force it and will it to happen through your vision, action, and energy. This wisdom applies to friendship, entrepreneurship, and every other ship in between.

7. Kickstart your day with a smile. The first thing you should do every day, while still lying in bed, is put a big smile on your face. Science has proven that not only do we smile when we feel good, we actually feel good when we smile. Smiling is the easiest positive thing you’ll do all day. Yet it has the power to propel and protect you until you crawl back into bed at night. (So, if you haven’t smiled yet today, do it now, brown cow.)

8. Fill your attitude with helium. Life is unpredictable. One moment you feel like you are on top of the world. the next moment you feel like the world is on top of you. But a helium attitude rises anyway. Don’t let setbacks, curveballs, and negative people drag you down. Do what helium does, and just keep rising. Your attitude is everything in life. Make sure you fill it with the right fuel. (And if you ever need a good laugh, suck in some real helium and say ‘Luke, I am your Father.’)

9. Always bet on yourself. Don’t buy lottery tickets. Don’t bet on sports or horses. Instead, bet on yourself. Bet on your ideas. But on your intuition. Bet on your determination. And on your willingness to affect the outcome. Stack the odds in your favor. It is the easiest way to mitigate risk and set yourself up for an epic payout. (And add Take A Chance On Me by ABBA to your life soundtrack. It’s a real toe-tapper.)

10. Find your Sliver Mentors. Everyone will offer you advice. But only take advice from people who are already doing what you want to do be doing. And rather than have one mentor for everything it is useful to have many mentors for slivers of your life. Learn the tips and tricks of the people who behave the way you want to behave. Don’t listen to every voice in the wind. Instead, carefully curate the advice you accept from those who offer great examples. (And keep a good tweezer around for regular slivers.)

11. Ask For What You Want. Never be afraid to simply ask for what you really want. A closed door will often open when you show just how much you want to go inside. Remember, someone holds the key to unlock every locked door. (Don’t simply take what you want. Unless you look great in an orange jumpsuit.)

12. Don’t Build A Network. Build Friendships. Throughout your career, people will tell you that you should network. This essentially means you should meet people who can help further your career. This is bad advice. Don’t network. Instead, befriend as many people as you can. Prioritize developing genuine relationships. When you make great friends you will have a great network. Because when you make people the most important thing in your life, everything else magically falls into place. (And keep eating Lucky Charms. They’re magically delicious.)

Key Takeaway:

Commit to a lifetime of learning and growing. Get a little better every day. Read. Think. Make friends. Find people who can teach you. And always bet on yourself. The best is yet to come. But it’s up to you to make it happen.

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

+If a $16 graduation gift fits into your budget, consider grabbing a copy of What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? for a graduate in your life.