You made a great plan. Then life got in the way. What do you do now?

Humans are extremely intelligent animals. We have been able to transform the planet to better suit our needs. We envision a world that doesn’t exist and then we create plans to make it a reality. We are like the Walt Disney of the animal kingdom. (Meaning the real animal kingdom, not the Animal Kingdom that Disney created to illustrate this point.)

Humans are really good at knowing what actions we should take to get the result we want. In a perfect world, we would always get the results we wanted. Because we would always take the right steps. Like John Travolta.

But between deciding on the right actions to take and actually taking them a funny thing often happens. Not funny haha. Funny strange.

Every day, all over this big blue marble, the regular events of life get in the way of our plans.

Things change. New demands pop up. Curveballs get thrown. Wrenches get thrown. And eventually, the towel gets thrown in the ring.

But there is one simple solution that will prevent your plan from failing.

Remember that play that you were going to run to make your plans a reality? Before the noise and static?

Run the play anyway.

Do what you set out to do.

Modify your execution if you have to.

Take shorter actions.

Or change the time frame.

Adjust your process to work with the new conditions.

But don’t make excuses.

Change what needs to be changed.

But not the play.

You know that play will work.

Key Takeaway

Run the play anyway. You know it is right. You just need to run it.

*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 the computer in your head is your greatest asset.

In 2006 Apple began running a popular ad campaign called Mac Vs PC. In the campaign, the 2 computers were personified and represented by 2 very different spokespeople.

The Mac dude was an easy-going, fairly hip cat who always seemed to know things. The PC guy was nerdy, out of touch, and always seemed less ready for the world. The 2 guys were clearly supposed to represent Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, only without the telltale money coming out of their wazoos.

Watching the commercials felt like you were being forced to choosing which team captain you were going to join for a game of Red Rover, nerd style.

But the idea that there are just 2 different types of computers is a gross oversimplification. The truth is that there are as many different computers as there are humans on the planet.

Your Personal Computer

We all run on the personal computers in our heads. Yours is unlike any other. It has different hardware. It operates different software. It arrives at different calculations and conclusions based on different inputs, filters, and if-then statements.

Your machine also has its own bugs. And its own glitches. Which are affected by how many windows are open, how long it has been since you rebooted, and that soda pop you spilled on the keyboard.

The computer in your head has rare and valuable capabilities. It can produce outputs that no other computer on Earth can. Never forget that. And never underestimate the power that your unique thinking has on the world around you.

Key Takeaway

We all think differently and process the world differently, thanks to the personal computers in our heads. Take good care of yours. Appreciate it. Upgrade it as you are able. Respect the conclusions of others. They are processing the world differently than you are. It’s all part of the master design. And we all benefit from the diversity of thought.

*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.

My new podcast interview is out. And we talk about everythang!

There are 2 main reasons that people want to hear you tell your story.

  1. You have experienced success and others want to hear how you did it.
  2. You have failed in a spectacular way and people want to hear how you did it.

I’m not sure which category I fall into.

But I was recently invited to sit down with the great Justin Honaman to record an episode of his ContenderCast Podcast. Justin interviews entrepreneurs and people doing interesting thangs. I either qualified or found a useful loophole.

Like you, I was not born an entrepreneur. In fact, I spent 19 years working for someone else. But in my early 40s, with a significant mortgage, 3 kids and a wife that I really wanted to keep, I switched from Team Employee to Team Entrepreneur when I launched the advertising and ideas agency, The Weaponry.

When I started the agency I also started writing the Adam Albrecht blog, which now has 775 published posts. Most recently, I published my first book called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? Did I mention I also juggle? (And jiggle.)

If you want to hear more, check out the podcast. I share my backstory that led to my front-story. I talk about a lot of different stuff. And Justin asks great questions.

Things I talk about on the podcast:

  • Growing up in Vermont
  • My track & field success, setbacks and comebacks
  • My college track & field experience at the University of Wisconsin
  • My advertising career
  • My real-life advanced degree in business
  • How the universe turned me into a mid-career entrepreneur
  • How you can become a mid-career entrepreneur
  • Launching The Weaponry, the advertising and idea agency
  • The inspiration behind the name The Weaponry
  • The technology we used that made us pandemic proof
  • Sharing financial information with our team
  • The No A-Hole Rule
  • How and why I started the Adam Albrecht Blog.
  • Why blogs are amazing platforms for sharing ideas
  • Recognizing the power of positive messages
  • How I wrote My new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?
  • My next book on organizational culture with Jeff Hilimire
  • If you’ve read this far you might as well just listen to the whole podcast
  • How to continuously upgrade your thinking
  • Why I collect keys
  • The first thing I do every morning
  • The 2 questions my wife uses to inspire my career progress.
  • Much much more!

If you want a quick and entertaining recap of my story you can hear the podcast here. Or look for the ContenderCast Podcast from your favorite podcast dealer.

Have a great weekend!

-AA

10 activities to do away from work that make you better at work.

Happy Labor Day! This is the day we set aside to honor working people like you. Your work is important and noble. It helps you pay for your groceries. And therapy. But today I hope you don’t work at all.

Instead, consider these 10 non-working activities that make you better on the job.

  1. Rest Recover, refresh, and renew. Take time to rest so that you don’t burn yourself out at work. (Yes, I realize that activity #1 is technically an inactivity.)

2. Exercise This keeps your body strong. A strong body is a strong asset during the work day. And if you can run a 5K, rock climb or lift Instagramable weight, then stapling the coversheet on your TPS report should be a breeze.

3. Read: Reading helps you discover new ideas. It inspires. It sparks creativity. It expands your worldview. It enables you to bring new thinking and perspective to work. And like Southwest Airlines, reading helps you get away.

4. Socialize: Develop and maintain relationships to improve your mental well-being. Socialize to expose yourself to new opportunities in a clothes-on-kind-of-way. All of this contributes to your workplace success.

5. Sleep: Experiment to discover your optimal amount of sleep. Then hit your number as often as you can. Getting the quantity of sleep your body loves will help you wake up ready for the world, like an 80’s band. And ready for the work day ahead. Waking up each day feeling strong and rested for the work day ahead is a beautiful way to start your day.

6. Travel: When you see new things it exposes you to new ideas. It leads to a greater understanding of the world and all of its beautiful diversity. Which contributes to creative thinking, problem-solving, and points with your travel loyalty program. (You did sign up for the loyalty program, right?)

7. Spend time with nature. Spend time away from the human-made world to recharge and gain perspective on life. It is a great way to slow down, destress and break out your cute outdoor clothing. While you are out there you have time to think. And thinking is the worker’s most valuable activity.

8. Volunteer: Offer your time, talent, and energy to do meaningful work without pay. It reminds you of the ways your work can create a better, more caring world. It reminds you that there are many ways to add value and contribute. And that there are many ways to be compensated for your efforts that are not monetary.

9. Laugh: Laughing is living. It relieves stress. It makes you feel like everything will be alright. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh. See the world as a great comedy and your perspective will contribute immensely to your enjoyment of both your work and play.

10. Spend time with your family: Make sure to balance your commitment to work with a commitment to family time. Spend quality time with your spouse and children. (If you have them.) Spend time with your parents and siblings. (If you have them.) It will remind you why you are working in the first place. (Especially when you see your kids’ smiling, crooked teeth in need of orthodontia.)

Key Takeaway

You don’t become a better teammate, employee, or leader by spending all of your time at work. You become better away from work. Use your time off to become a better, smarter, more relaxed human. Up your creativity, connectedness, and curiosity away from work. Then show up to work a little better every day. Now go make the most of your Labor Day. I want to hear all about it on Tuesday morning.

*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.

My best advice on how to enjoy a concert more.

This has been an amazing summer of music concerts for me. After covid cleared stages around the world in 2020 and left groupies fawning over grocery store stockboys with access to the new shipments of toilet paper, live music is thankfully back.

Here is the list of artists I have seen since Memorial Day weekend:

  • Eric Church (Milwaukee)
  • Brothers Osborne (Milwaukee)
  • Parker McCollum (Milwaukee)
  • Zac Brown Band (Atlanta)
  • Night Ranger (Mequon)
  • 38 Special (Mequon)
  • Poison (Boston)
  • Motley Crue (Boston, where I saw ladies do things they only do at rock shows and biker rallies)
  • Def Leoppard (Boston)

Tonight my family and I are closing out our Summer Concert Series by seeing Keith Urban and Ingred Andress at the Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee.

Seeing ZBB in ATL with my FMLY

Getting The Most From The Music

I am always looking for better strategies for success and happiness. And that applies to my concerting too.

Here are 3 of my favorite concert-going tips:

1. Bring Ear Plugs. Ear plugs are cheap and slip into your pocket. Use them as needed. But you hate to want them and not have them. The closer you are to the front, and the more tattoos the artists have on their face, the more likely you are to need them.

2. Live Nation’s Concert Week

Around Memorial Day Live Nation has a concert week promotion. During the promotion they sell tickets to shows for $25 all-in. That means that the tickets, including all the sneaky concerting fees, is just $25. I snagged 5 tix for the Eric Church, Zac Brown and Keith Urban shows. Which meant my family of 5 saw 3 major concerts for just $125 per show. When we saw Zac Brown Band as a family last year each ticket was nearly that price.

2. Set List Prep

A couple of weeks before I see a concert I look up the artist’s setlist online. The setlist is the list of songs the artist performs at a concert, in the order they perform them. I usually look up the setlist from their last few concerts to see if they are consistent or if they mix it up a bit. I like Setlist.fm, but there are others.

Then I take the setlist from the most recent concert, and the additional songs that pop up from the other shows I research, and I create a playlist of those songs, in order, on Spotify.

If there is an opening act, or multiple headliners I will also add their setlists to the playlist. Then I share that playlist with my family or friends with whom I will be Rock’n into the night, like 38 Special.

Then I listen to that playlist when I am driving, working or chillaxin over the next couple of weeks.

This approach has 3 major benefits:

  1. It gets me excited for the concert. (I am a naturally excitable boy, so it doesn’t take much.)
  2. It helps me freshen up on the lyrics of the songs I know, or know-ish, but haven’t heard or sung in a while.
  3. I learn the songs off the new album. Traditionally, the new songs played at a concert are a downer because even if they are good songs you don’t know the words. So when they are played, it’s like a participatory timeout for anyone who doesn’t know the lyrics.
  4. I know which cover songs to expect. Cover songs are songs by other popular artists. Zac Brown Band is the best at working in amazing cover songs into their setlist. By adding these songs to your prep playlist you will be able to sing along and sound like you know every song by every artist ever. Like ever, ever.

Key Takeaway

The best way to maximize success and happiness is through strategic preparation. Do your homework. Find great deals. And find great ideas that help you maximize results and enjoyment. Remember that when people show up and know every word to every song, there was probably a great deal of prep involved that you just didn’t see. It’s true at concerts. It’s true in sports. And it’s true at work. Spandau Ballet taught me that.

*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.

What’s worth more than money?

If you are given the choice between money and confidence, choose confidence.

It is more powerful than money.

It is the spark that inspires the attempt.

It is the key that unlocks doors.

It is the fuel that powers success.

It is the wind that fills your sails.

It makes you raise your hand, and feel dry and secure,

Confidence works like faith.

It tells you that if you jump, your parachute will open. (But if you are literally jumping make sure to double-check that you actually have a parachute and not a backpack.)

Confidence minimizes the downside.

Confidence is like fertilizer that will help you grow a bigger life.

And ultimately, confidence helps you make more money.

Where To Find Confidence

Confidence comes from your belief in your own ability, skills and experience.

To increase your confidence, continuously improve your skills and ability. Make more attempts. Experience will follow. And confidence naturally grows.

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.

A sign of things to come.

Last night I was walking after enjoying dinner with my family.

As I walked along a busy promenade packed with pedestrians I noticed a mural that said The Best Is Yet To Come.

The message grabbed my attention as if it had been painted there specifically for me. (Although I rank just low enough on the narcissism spectrum to realize it probably was not.)

The sign served as a reminder that there are even better days, opportunities, successes, and feelings ahead.

But it also reminded me that we see what we look for.

And perhaps most comforting, it reminded me that I can still read 2,3 and 4-letter words.

Key Takeaway

Look for good news. Look for optimism. Look for positivity. And you will surely find it.

The important career lesson my daughter learned from her summer job.

My 16-year-old daughter Ava has a new job this summer. She is a cashier at our local Piggly Wiggly grocery store. The store name sounds both deliciously made-up and midwestern. Ava doesn’t know it yet, but it will also provide her with a fun talking point for all future job interviews.

Like any eager Dad, I like to talk to Ava about her job and what she is learning about life, business, and pigs. In my head, I imagine that our talks will be an important part of her success story. Like Robert Kiyosaki’s childhood talks that inspired the book Rich Dad. Poor Dad. In reality, she’s probably going to write a book called Nosey Dad. Annoying Dad.

Ava really enjoys her job at The Pig. The store is central to our community and she gets to see people she knows all day long. When she gets home from work I like to greet her with questions like, How was work? And, How was the paper-to-plastic ratio today? And, What are the Bosleys having for dinner tonight?

The Bigger Lesson

Last night I asked My-favorite-child to share the greatest lesson she has learned from her job so far. So she did. And the answer was far better than I was expecting. Which is why I am writing about it now. Here’s her answer.

What’s the greatest lesson you have learned from your job so far?

I’ve learned that a good job is not so much about the actual work you do as much as it is about who you are doing it with.

I expect that in your actual career the kind of work probably matters more. But the key to happiness at work is to surround yourself with people you enjoy spending your time with.

The wrong people can make you miserable, even if you enjoy what you are doing.

But the right people can help you enjoy what you are doing, even if you are not crazy about the work itself. And even if it’s not your dream job.

Being surrounded by the right people will help you do your job better than when you are around miserable people. Because when you are around happy people who take pride in their work, you will want to too.

Happy people rub off on each other, and lead to better customer service.

I’ve now learned that both good and bad atmospheres build on themselves. But in opposite directions.

Last summer my work environment was terrible, all the way from the top managers to the lowest levels of the staff. It was a hard place to work. And toxic.

But this summer, the work environment is so positive and enjoyable that the positive relationships between coworkers keep building, and then spill over to positively impact the customers’ experience.

-Ava Albrecht (16)
My deep-thinking cashier.

Key Takeaway

A good job is less about the work you do and more about who you do it with. Find work you like to do, and people whom you enjoy spending time with. And you will win at life. And work.

*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.

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.