5 Reasons why I got vaccinated.

On March 16th, 2020 my family and I began playing an epic game of dodgeball with the COVID-19 virus. We played to win. And winning meant not getting the virus. Every day the virus didn’t hit our home felt like a win. Like we made it to the next round on Frogger.

Gamifying COVID avoidance made it a competition that my family and I could win. But we didn’t hibernate. Not even close. In 2020 we traveled to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and road tripped from Wisconsin to Idaho. But we were smart and precautitory. We wore masks, socially distanced, washed, sanitized, wore garlic necklaces, burned our stuffed animals as sacrifices, and drank the blood of albino newts. You know, the basic CDC stuff.

The Vaccine

I have been a big fan of a vaccine for Covid-19 since, well, since the first talk of developing one. Because it is the only way we as a planet can beat the virus and party like it’s 2019.

Just as polio, chickenpox, measles, and corded telephones feel like challenges of the past, I wanted Covid-19 to be retired to the lore of yesteryear. That’s why I was ready for the vaccine as soon as I could get it.

On Saturday I got my second round of the Pfizer vaccine. I had no side effects other than my arm looked band-aidy. I know that there are still a few days before I reach maximum resilience, but I feel like I have won the game of dodgeball. And I am taking great pride in defeating my opponent, thanks to an army of scientists who quickly whipped up a sweet vaccine like Tom Cruise whipped up sweet cocktails in that movie where he whips up cocktails. (I forgot the name of the movie.)

Reasons For Getting Vaccinated

I was never afraid of getting sick. I’m not high risk. I have a robust immune system from all the dirt I ate as a kid, and as an adult. But I have plenty of other reasons to get vaccinated. Here they are in a particular order.

5 Reasons I got vaccinated.

  1. Because my kids can’t. I didn’t want to bring COVID home and infect 3 kids who didn’t have an option to get vaccinated. I didn’t want to be the reason they missed school, sports, music programs, or the Dad Appreciation Parade (that I am organizing).
  2. I don’t want to get other people sick. Other friends, family, coworkers, and lovely elderly people would be vulnerable if I got infected. I don’t like the idea of doing avoidable harm to others.
  3. Flying In a non-COVID year I fly a lot. Flying is odd right now. And the empty middle seats are going away. To fly again regularly I will feel best if I am not immunally naked.
  4. I want to see people again. Getting together with other people who have been vaccinated is a no-brainer. Getting together with people who have not been vaccinated is still a brainer. I don’t want people to have reservations about seeing me. I just want people to have reservations with me.
  5. To get back to business. Yes, my team at The Weaponry has been fully functional throughout the pandemic, with one notable exception. We really haven’t spent time with our clients or prospective clients in person in well over a year. There has been very little in-person relationship building. That is one of the greatest joys of business. And my next 2 weeks are already filling up with plans to see clients and friends (and client-friends) for the first time in 15 months.

Key Takeaway

Getting vaccinated feels like a win. It is how we defeat the threat of COVID-19. It is how we protect each other, especially those who can’t or shouldn’t get the vaccine right now. It is how we get back to life as we want it to be. And it is how we get back to developing culture within our organizations, and relationships within our communities. I am thrilled to be fully vaccinated, and I hope to see you in person soon!

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The job title my Mother didn’t know she had.

When I was in 3rd grade my Mom, Jill Albrecht, attended my parent-teacher conference to hear how I was doing in class. Before the alliance began their conversation about my academic progress, or lack thereof, my teacher shared with my Mom that when filling out a form preparing for the conference I had listed my mother’s occupation as Zookeeper. With 4 kids under 10 years old, I thought that was an accurate description of my mother’s primary job as a Stay at Home Mom.

Her Real Job

However, today, as I reflect on my Mama’s career I have a different answer. My Mom has been my ultimate life mechanic. Whenever something went wrong in any area of my life she could fix it.

My Mama’s Life Mechanic Services

When I was hungry, she fed me.

When my clothes were dirty, she would clean them.

When my bed was was a mess she could remake it.

When I had trouble with my attitude she adjusted it.

When my wallet was broken she put a couple dollars in it to patch the holes.

When poison ivy blistered my skin she polished me pink with calamine lotion and stopped the itching and oozing.

When my confidence was cracked she welded it back together.

When my grades were broken she fixed them (before I could do anything else).

When my eyes leaked, she found the source and stopped the drips.

When my knee was broken my senior year in high school she organized the doctors to put it back together.

When my public speaking sputtered she fixed it. And fixed it... AND FIXED IT! (With a smile, a pause for impact, and eye contact.)

When she made chili and the muffler stopped working she… actually, she never could fix that one.

When my steering was off she aligned it.

When I ran too hot she added coolant.

When my headlights padiddled she always had a spare bulb.

To make sure my visibility was good she gave me fresh wipers, window washer fluid, and an ice scraper (because I grew up in Vermont).

My mom also taught me how to properly adjust the rearview mirror. Because some of the best views are behind you.

However, my Mom no longer needs to step in when things go wrong because she has taught me how to fix things myself. She has given me all of her tools. And today, there is no problem large or small that I can’t handle with the tools my Mama gave me.

Thank You Mama!

Happy Mother’s Day.

Why it’s important to give yourself permission to be an amateur.

When I became an entrepreneur one of the greatest gifts I gave myself was permission to be an amateur. Entrepreneurs ultimately need to know everything there is to know about starting and running a business. Yet the vast majority of this knowledge comes from on-the-job training. Which is how you learned to ride a bike. It’s how the Wright Brothers learned to fly. It’s how MLK learned to give great speeches. And how we all learned to do the Electric Slide (boogie woogie woogie).

By allowing yourself to be an amateur you allow for mistakes and put a premium on learning, not knowing. Remember, you could never learn to juggle without making mistakes. The same is true with standup comedy. And parenting your children. (Don’t tell my kids I said that. Who am I kidding, they already know.)

In every area of life, we start out stupid. Being okay with that and adopting a trial-and-error-and-correction mindset is the smart approach.

As an entrepreneur, I do what I know to do until I discover a better way. The secret is to always be looking for and open to that better way. Once you find it, you add it to your personal weaponry and you take another step forward. Those who reach the highest level of achievement simply never stop taking steps forward. Neither should you.

Key Takeaway

Allow yourself to be a beginner. Allow for mistakes. When you accept your amateur status the journey from ignorance to intelligence is more enjoyable and rewarding. Learn and grow as you go. Recognize your improvements. And know that you can apply this technique to anything in life.

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Why I have so much confidence in the power of confidence.

When I was a kid there was a famous commercial where a group of idealists sang, ‘I’d like to buy the world a Coke.’ The commercial made me believe that together we could solve world-thirst. But despite how much I enjoy an occasional ice-cold Coca-Cola, if I could give the world anything at all, it would be more confidence.

The Dictionary Definition

Merriam Webster, a woman who knew a lot of words, defines confidence in the following way:

Confidence: 

a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers

b: faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way

c: the quality or state of being certain 

Becoming A Confidence Donor

Many years ago I made a conscious decision to contribute to individual confidence whenever I could. I began handing out compliments liberally. I complimented people on strong performances. I noted how much potential or ability I saw in others. I highlighted skills and talents that people were really good at.

I let my positive inner dialog about others become an outer dialog, where I tell people the good things I am thinking about them. Kinda like Jim Carey in Liar Liar. I comment on quick math skills, strong customer service, a smart suggestion, good hair, a great attitude, a fun clothing choice, or the refusal to stop drinking Tab just because the rest of the world did.

I don’t feel awkward about offering others such positive comments either. Because I know it is like making a valuable deposit in their confidence piggy bank. And the fuller the piggy bank the more valuable it is when you need to butcher the pig.

Just as we can pay each other with money, we can also pay others in confidence. In fact, some of the compliments, encouragement, feedback, and support that I have received throughout my life have been more valuable than money. Because they have forced me to see myself as better, stronger, smarter or more capable than I recognized. Which in turn encouraged me to take bigger bets on myself.

The bets I’ve made on myself include raising my hand for challenging assignments, speaking up when I thought someone needed to, and stepping out of my comfort zone to develop new abilities. In fact, when I decided to start my own business it was my confidence in both myself and my team and our ability to make the business successful that made all the difference.

I string together my own successes like popcorn on a old-timey Christmas tree. Or Cheerios on a preschool necklace. That string of successes helps me believe that my next attempt will be successful too. Of course this is not guaranteed. And I have plenty of failures, missteps and mistakes. But I don’t string them together to tell a story about myself. Neither should you. Because it simply doesn’t help.

Key Takeaway:

Confidence is one of the planet’s most valuable forces. It fuels a can-do, will-do mindset. It provides courage to take on new challenges. It is like armor that helps you survive the attacks of life. Help build confidence in others through genuine compliments, support, and encouragement. It will prove amongst the greatest investments you will ever make.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message (because they are amazing) please share it with them.

How much are your priorities worth to you?

Yesterday I was in Atlanta on a business trip. I had been there since Thursday. My return flight was scheduled to be the last flight back to Milwaukee on Saturday night. Pre-Covid, when I used to fly with a naked face, I took that 2-hour 10:30 pm flight all the time. Because it allowed me to get a full day of work in before hitting the airport. But yesterday I finished early and was thrilled to be able to try to catch an earlier flight from ATL to MKE. 

The Fee

I got to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport at 3 pm, and went to a Delta kiosk (unpaid endorsement) to try to change flights. Because when I tried to call to change flights the phone system told me there was a 2-hour wait time. Which I thought was phoney baloney. But after just a few taps at the kiosk (tap tap tap in) an option to take an earlier flight at 4:30 pm appeared. However, it also came with a $75 change fee. 

I considered the fee for a moment. And I did the following math:

For $75…

I get home at 6:00 pm CT. Not Midnight.

+ I get to see my kids today.

+ I get to run in the house screaming MAYDAY! MAYDAY! MAYDAY!

+ I get to have dinner with my family.

+ I can go for an evening walk with my wife.

+ I can watch the sunset over the pond in my backyard.

+ I can participate in family game night.

+ I can toss a lacrosse ball with my son Magnus.

+ I can work on some discus technique in the backyard with my daughter Ava.

+ I can look for the new baby geese that just hatched in the nest in our backyard.

+ I can tuck my 3 kids into bed.

+ I can have a glass of red wine with my wife Dawn. (I can, but I won’t because I have the palate of a 6-year old and think alcohol tastes ucky.)

+ I can watch Netflix and chill with my wife Dawn. (Or I can watch a repeat SNL and probably no chill.)

_______________________________________

I could do ALL of these things for $75.

In that moment, I had the clarity and insight to realize that there will come a day at the end of my days when I would spend everything I had for that opportunity. I swiped my credit card and quickly snatched up one of the greatest bargains life had ever offered me.

Thank You

Thank you Delta for getting me home early last night. I did everything on the list. Plus it was 88 degrees in Milwaukee, which is unseasonably awesome in Brew City. Game Night was Klask. Dinner was Culver’s Butter Burgers on our back patio. And I didn’t take a moment for granted.

Key Takeaway

Time is the most valuable commodity on Earth. Enjoy every moment you get. Steal it if you have to. If you ever find it on sale somewhere, don’t think twice about paying for it. You’ll never regret more time spent on or with your top priorities. 

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

The harder you work the luckier you get.

I’ll take inspiration anywhere I can find it: books, podcasts, even Snapple caps. I have a Hang In There Kitty! poster on the back of my office door. Yesterday I found inspiration on Spotify. A song came on that grabbed my attention with the very first line. Both the music and the lyrics were energizing. It had a good beat, and I could dance to it. I give it a 10 Dick Clark.

Here are the lyrcis. If you click on title you can watch a live performance. And the band name is fun to say.

The Luckier You Get by American Aquarium

The harder you work, the luckier you get
The more you get done, boy, the less you’ll regret
Write it down so you never forget
The harder you work, the luckier you get
The harder you work, the luckier you get


When I turned thirteen, my old man sat me down
He said, “Boy, there’s only two ways out of this town
A Greyhound bus that’s boot camp-bound
Or put your nose is a book and keep your ear to the ground”


So I set off to college, but it weren’t for me
So I bought a guitar and started playin’ for free
Wrote a couple hundred bad ones ’til I had two or three
That I thought were good enough folks might pay me to sing


I’ve heard far less “Yes”s than I have “No”s
Seen far less highs than I have lows
I’d rather get to the top steady and slow
Than end up there too fast with nowhere to go


The harder you work, the luckier you get
The more you get done, boy, the less you’ll regret
Write it down so you never forget
The harder you work, the luckier you get
The harder you work, the luckier you get

Key Takeaway

If you want to improve your luck don’t pluck a 4-leaf clover or amputate a rabbit’s foot. Put in more work. Good things seem to keep happening over and over to those who do the most to help their own cause. Prepare for good things to happen. Hard work is like a net that catches good luck. The harder you work the bigger your net becomes. And bigger nets catch more and bigger luck.

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

The great value of scheduling your Saturdays and Sundays solid.

For most of us, the weekends are our free time. But when you consider that time is your most precious and un-renewable resource, wasting your free time comes at a very high cost. That’s why I employ time investment strategies to help me get the most out of my days.

Yesterday, was a Saturday on my part of the planet. And I only really had one must-do obligation. But I scheduled my entire day on a calendar so that I could get the greatest return on my free time. Here’s what it looked like.

Adam Albrecht’s Yesterday

6:30am Wake Up (I set my alarm for no later than 6:30am every Saturday, Sunday, Holiday and Vacation Day.)

6:45am Read Principles by Ray Dalio (It’s not about Victoria’s family or leaders of high schools)

7:45am Take Ava to driving lessons (I dropped my little girl off to drive around in a car for 2 hours with a dude I had never met. She said the strangest part was that he was listening to sports talk radio. And commercials about erectile disfunction came on at least 3 times during her drive. #awkward )

8:10am: Eat Breakfast (3 eggs)

8:30am: Finish Planning My Day (This is when I finished out my calendar)

9:15am: Clean Bedroom/Bathroom and Laundry (Every Saturday morning I make sure to clean up the stuff I didn’t put away properly during the week. Don’t give me too much credit for the laundry. That’s mostly to-and-from laundry room stuff. Dawn doesn’t trust me to do much more.)

9:50am: Pick up Ava and run to the library. (Ava was alive. And her arms were tired from all the 10-and-2ing. We dropped off Chronicles of Narnia books and picked up 3 science project kits for the kids. Yep, we are those parents.)

10:15am: Yardwork (The kids picked up sticks and I mowed the lawn for the first time this spring. It felt good to get back in the saddle of my John Deere lawn tractor. #shethinksmytractorssexy)

12:00pm: Magnus’ Lacrosse game (First game ever. Only 4 practices to prepare. They won 6-1.)

2:00pm: Eat lunch

2:30pm Nap (I scheduled this)

3:00pm Work on T-shirt Business (I love making t-shirts. And I have bigger plans in the works. Which I worked on at 3pm yesterday.)

3:30pm Organize next steps on my book (I have written a manuscript for my first book. And I needed to focus on what needs to happen next.)

4:00pm Plan next steps for Tucker Hill Properties (The property investment business Dawn and I started has some serious work in the works right now.)

4:30pm Go to the gym with Ava and Johann (My kids and I lift weights together 4 times per week.)

6:15pm Dinner (I eat. It helps me stay alive)

7:00pm Walk with Dawn (We take a regular 1.5 to 5-mile walk-and-talk. It’s good for marriage.)

8:00pm Family Game Night (Mexican Dominoes)

9:00pm Reading (This is the only thing on the calendar that didn’t happen. Because game night went until after 10pm. Then I worked on a puzzle for 20 minutes instead. Because I am a party animal.)

The Result

By scheduling my Saturday full and putting it into my Google calendar I made the most of my day. I prioritized my activities, which were a combination of work, play, togetherness, exercise, and responsibility. And aside from my evening reading, my day went exactly as planned. The time felt well invested and purposeful. And I moved a lot of my important trains forward.

Key Takeaway

Schedule your free time. By making a specific plan for your evenings, weekends, and vacations you will make the most of your ever-dwindling time. It is a great way to feel productive. Yet it lets you bake in your perfect combination of work and play. Plus, by utilizing a time-blocking calendar you face the reality of how much can actually be accomplished in a day. No overestimating. No underestimating. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish this up. I have a lot of other things to do today.

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

What my first boss said when he found out I was starting my own business.

While researching a longer post about key people who supported my entrepreneurial adventure I came across an email from my first boss in advertising, Neil Casey.

Neil was a partner at Cramer Krasselt and the Executive Creative Director. I started as a junior copywriter and thought I would get fired every day for the first 6 months. Neil and I were opposites in many ways. But I liked his style, and he tolerated mine. Neil is a really great swearer. I am not sure he knows this. He also taught me a lot about advertising, writing, strategy, creative thinking and how to stand up for your ideas.

The following email was from August 25, 2016. I had officially launched The Weaponry, an advertising and idea agency just a few months earlier. I was moving form Atlanta to Milwaukee for family reasons. Neil found out what I was doing and shared this note.

The note:

Hey Adam, Paul told me you were opening an ad agency in Milwaukee. ARE YOU NUTS?! Yeah, Paul had I went bonkers circa 1980 and opened Counsell & Casey. After melding back into C-K things turned out pretty well. Luck is always a component, bad or good. We were fortunate to have good luck.

Put yourself in situations and environments that foster good luck. Then add your unique talent and you’re on your way to fame and fortune. Oh yeah, I forgot about all the drudgery and long hours. Hang out with talented people. Keep the faith.

I always saw you as a Brand Enthusiast, Adam. Milk it for all you can.

Let’s have lunch sometime soon.

Neil

Key Takeaway

Support and encourage people whenever you can. Every bit helps.

Sidenote (actually below note): Neil hates the name The Weaponry. But I love it. And I have always enjoyed being the pea under Neil’s mattress.

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

Why you should embrace the bumps and the resistance.

Humans are full of potential. We are loaded with more energy and ability than you can possibly imagine. Unless maybe you are John Lennon.

Thomas Edison said, “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” It was that type of enlightened thinking that enabled Edison to invent both the modern light bulb and the ‘How many does it take to screw in a light bulb?’ jokes.

As you work to become all that you can be, like the United States Army, you will encounter bumps and resistance along your journey. It is important to recognize the full value they provide. Because humans are like matchsticks. #RobThomas We are meant to be set on fire. It is the bumps and the friction we encounter that create the sparks and the heat that ignite us. It is the adversity and struggle that strengthen us and bring out our best. Like Budweiser in 1984.

Key Takeaway

Embrace the struggle. Value the resistance. Don’t avoid it. Go through it. It helps reveal all that you are capable of.

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***If you think 3 asterisks are too many, you are probably right.

Are you surrounding yourself with the best people?

If you are growing and developing at a rapid rate, you are likely to outgrow your peers. That means outperforming and outranking friends and co-workers who are your age. It means that the professional group you belong to will someday feel less stimulating and helpful. It’s what happened to Doogie Howser in daycare.

As you learn, grow, and advance you will need new peers to support, inspire and push you. Seek out those who are already at the next level. Or 2 levels up. Put the power of positive peer pressure to work for you.

Jim Rohn once said, ‘You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.’ (Actually, I bet he said that a whole bunch of times because it’s a really good line.)

Attitudes and expectations are contagious. Surrounding yourself with ambitious and accelerating humans is like sharing a lollipop with someone who has Chicken Pox. (Or huffing with someone who has COVID-19.) You are likely to catch what they have. Which makes you more likely to do the things they do. Like UB40 said.

Key Takeaway

Pay close attention to your peer group. Seek out the best people to spend your time with. Find others who have been where you are going. Or people who are on their way now. You’ll travel farther and faster together.

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