Your motivation works like lava.

Motivation comes in unexpected ways. Motivation is always in you, either in a dormant or active state. Like lava. (Or magma to be geologically correct. Which is like being politically correct. Only you’re trying not to offend the more sensitive rocks.)

There are times when you don’t feel your own motivation at all. But there are other times you’ll find your motivation hot and flowing, like red hot lava. When that happens you experience excitement and visions of new possibilities becoming reality.

When you feel that motivational lava flowing through you it is time to channel your inner Young MC and bust a move. It’s time to plan, call, create, write, organize, go, do, buy, move, schedule, or whatever your motivation requires you to do next.

Because here’s the important truth to remember about motivation:

You have to act before your motivational lava cools.

You get a small window to transform your hot motivation into results. The universe is constantly bombarding you with distractions. When they come along they cool your lava. And when your lava cools your inspiration and energy go dormant again too. Like the genie going back into the bottle. Or Lady and The Tramp going back into the Disney Vault.

Key Takeaway

Your motivation will ebb and flow. When it flows you have to ride the wave. Make as much progress as you can when you feel the heat of your own motivation. If you do, the progress itself will create more heat and more motivation. Which has the power to create transformational results. Just like lava.

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

If you like motivational ideas check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media. You should probably do it now before your lava cools.

The path to perfection is like making pancakes.

I am not a perfectionist. Perfectionism is a curse. While it pushes you to create the highest quality result possible, it is paralyzing. Because life is not perfect. And if you need it to be you are highly unlikely to get the first version of a new creation out the door in time to make a difference. A difference to you, to the world, to those you can serve.

Instead of a perfectionist’s mindset, I have adopted a pancake-making mindset. If you have ever flipped a flapjack you would bet Mrs. Butterworth that the first pancake won’t turn out quite right. There is some combination of temperature, oil, and griddle seasoning that can’t seem to get synchronized in time to make that first pancake just right. So it always falls short of the glory.

But don’t let that frustrate you. Ask yourself, ‘What would Denny of Denny’s do?’ (#WWDODD or simply #WWDD)

The Prince of Pancakes would work through that first pancake and get to the next round of griddl’n. Because the improvement in the next batch of pancakes is always remarkable.

Real World Example

Right now I am putting the finishing touches on my first book called, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? And I can’t help but think that I have done something wrong in the creation of this book. Maybe I should have made it different in some way. Maybe it should have been longer. Or shorter. Or funnier. After all, I never sprayed milk out my nose while proofreading it.

Maybe my dedication is off. I reworded it about 25 times. (Which shows my dedication to my dedication.) Maybe my bio is too unbio-y. Maybe I didn’t finish it early enough, which caused me to miss the bulk of the holiday gift-giving window. Maybe I shared too much value and would have been better off splitting it into multiple books. Like a cliffhanger-ending double-episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. #yeeeeehaw

Instead of letting my second-guessing about the book stop me, I’ve pushed through. It is my first pancake. I have to make it to be ready for something even better to follow. The second printing of the book would be better. The next book I write will certainly be better in some way.

I have no shame or embarrassment in this. Neither should you. It is how life works. You go and do and try and learn and improve. You can only do what you can do with the conditions as they exist. Each new attempt means that you add more experience to the conditions. Which gets you closer to the ideal. It is the process of perfecting over time that I enjoy. Like a good pancake, covered in real Vermont maple syrup.

Key Takeaway

Don’t be afraid to make your first pancake. It will be less than perfect in some way. But simply by making the first one you will improve, learn, and grow. That is how you make amazing things. Make your first version, and let the challenge of improvement drive you to keep improving. Keep stacking up your attempts like pancakes. It is the true path to perfection.

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

Everything is a game. Here’s the best way to learn how to play.

Last night was game night at our house. We played a card game that my children had never played before. To begin, I read them the instructions on how to play the game, how the game is scored, and how to win. After reading the last of the instructions, I looked up to find my kids staring at me as if I had just read them the instructions in gibberish. Or Swahili. Or Swahili gibberish. Which is extra hard for native English speakers to understand.

I’ve seen that look before. In fact, it feels as if I’ve seen that WTF-ish look every time I’ve ever played a new game with anyone, ever.

The simple fact is that games are complicated. It’s very difficult to absorb the complexities of a new game as the rules of the game are read to you. And if you take a moment to step back, you quickly realize is that everything in life is a game. Not just sports, or things that Milton Bradley and those good-timing Parker Brothers dreamed up. EVERYTHING is a game. Including:

  • business
  • investing
  • real estate
  • relationship building
  • entrepreneurship
  • test taking
  • sales
  • technology
  • surfing
  • riding a bike
  • coaching
  • cooking
  • gardening
  • driving
  • flying
  • writing
  • art
  • mechanics
  • parenting
  • That thing couples do that turns them into parents

Learn By Playing

To learn a new game you simply have to play it. There is no way around it. You have to learn the rules as you go. You learn through the process of playing. Not by absorbing an overview of the rules of the game before you start.

Far too often we delay playing the most interesting games (entrepreneurship, investing, writing, pickleball) until we have studied it completely. But studying the games of life is largely procrastination. Learn 10% ahead of time, and then start. You’ll learn the rest on the chutes and ladders.

Key Takeaway

You don’t learn how to play the games of life by reading the instructions. You learn by actually playing the games. The details reveal themselves as you go. The games you will play are far too complicated to comprehend through simply reading. So start playing. Clarity will come quickly when you are rubbing against the rules rather than reading them.

It’s your turn.

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

How to make magic with just 10 minutes.

It’s remarkable what you can do with just 10 minutes. In fact, it only takes 10 minutes to kickstart your biggest, wildest ambitions. You can sketch out an initial plan for anything. And in doing so, you perform the most important work of the entire process.

Things You Can Do With Just 10 Minutes:

  • Outline a vision for that business you want to start.
  • Begin researching a career change.
  • Start writing a book, blog, or screenplay. (Or get crazy and write a screenless play.)
  • Book travel to that destination you’ve always dreamed of visiting.
  • Create your bucket list.
  • Hit Zillow to look for a new home.
  • Find a class you want to take to expand your skillz. (Remember what Napoleon Dynamite said about skillz.)
  • Start reading that book you’ve always meant to read.
  • Sign up to volunteer your time.
  • Introduce yourself to someone you want to meet.
  • Listen to 5 Minutes of Funk by Whodini, twice. (That’s my jam!)
  • Book tickets to an experience.
  • Start learning an instrument.
  • Complete 8 Minute Abs. Then watch a Chuck Woolery commercial break.

Key Takeaway

You can always find 10 minutes. And in those 10 minutes, you can do the most important work of all. You can begin. You can plan. You can sketch. You can outline the process. You can unfold the roadmap and detail the journey. And once you do, you’re sure to find 10 more minutes to take the next step.

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

Do you have a bias towards yes or no?

Every situation provides you with reasons to act. And reasons not to act. You can rationalize every decision you make. And you would be right. Just point at the reasons.

Whether you are looking for reasons to get into action or reasons to opt out of action, you will find what you are looking for. (Unlike Bono) Those reasons will provide the rationale that will govern your commitment, participation, and effort.

Because it is not the conditions that determine what you do. It is your predisposition. It is your default approach to life, work, and opportunities that determine what you will do in every situation.

Develop a bias towards action. Towards Yes. Towards attendance. And involvement. This bias will lead to an expanding life. This mindset will lead you to the experiences, successes, and learnings that will make your life interesting, enviable and valuable to others.

Look for reasons to do. To act. To try. Life is a yellow traffic signal. It is up to you to decide to stop or go.

 

How to be successful, summed up in 4 words.

I have a 4-word philosophy for success. I lean on it every time I want to do something new. It applies to fitness goals, to business and career success. It applies to creative endeavors, and charitable giving.

It applies to all manner of self-improvement and behavior change.

It is not secretive or complex. And because it is only 4 words long it’s useful even if you have a really, really short attention span.

It is:

Start Small. Think Big.

Start Small.

The key to success is action. You have to get going to get results. Too often people make the mistake of starting big. When you focus on the fully formed, fully finished version, the vision itself becomes intimidating. Which prevents people from taking the first step.

By starting small you create an easy on-ramp.  By giving yourself permission to start small you create an invitation to action. And that action, as small as it may be, changes everything. Think about how small COVID-19 started. #amIright

Think Big

Once you’ve begun, go all in. Think about what is possible if you keep going and growing. Think about momentum. Think about compounding actions. Once you have begun the results are only limited by your thinking. So go as big as you can.

Mom’s Know This

Every Mom knows that this is exactly how you raise a successful child. You start small. You teach the most basic skills, rules, and manners. Then you think big. You think of the successful person you want your child to become. And you do all you can to empower your child to grow into the best version of themself.

Thank you Moms. Thank you for giving us a great start when we were small. And for thinking about all we would need to be successful when we became big. It has made all the difference. Sorry we can’t take you to brunch today to show our appreciation.

Happy Mother’s Day.

You can change your life in one day.

Earlier this week I filmed a video with a group of very talented health and wellness coaches. The work was for my client, StayWell, which pioneered corporate wellness programs more than 40 years ago. Today StayWell works with many of best companies in America, where they help improve lives every day. (Unlike Chick-Fil-a, who will not improve my life with a delicious Spicy Chicken Deluxe sandwich on Sundays.)

During the video shoot I heard inspiring story after story of how the coaches had a transformational impact on the lives of those they coached. But there was one particular story that really hit me in my profunditude receptors.

The Story

The last coach of the day told us a story about a man who she coached who had a variety of health and lifestyle issues to address. One of which was that he was an enthusiastic smoker. Which I translate to mean that he really liked standing outside, alone, by a backdoor that no one else uses.

The man knew he should quit. The warning labels on the cigarettes packs that told him that he was going to die if he actually smoked the cigarettes made that clear. But he had not yet summoned the resolve and a master plan to make it happen.

The coach suggested that he try  just one day without cigarettes. It was a pretty small challenge. Much easier than really quitting. The man tried it. And succeeded.

At the end of the day he realized that it had been several decades since he had gone a full day without a cigarette. He was very excited about his big day. And he wondered if he could do it again the next day.

That was 2 years ago. And he hasn’t smoked a cigarette since.

Easy Does It

Too often we think we have to do something monumental to get results. But that is poppycock. All you have to do is start. Do something. Anything. The littlest step in the right direction is progress. It helps you build momentum. Because success builds like a snowball. It always starts small. But as it rolls it can become massive.

It Worked For Me.

I always wanted to start my own advertising agency. But entrepreneurship seemed daunting. Until I broke it down into small, simple steps. Then I simply started taking one small step after another. Today I’m the Founder and CEO of The Weaponry. Which sounds like a pretty cool title. Because when you start your own business you get to give yourself any title you want. The Weaponry now has 2 offices, 17 clients from coast to coast, and more on the way.

Key Takeaway

Big accomplishments start with small steps. So take the smallest, easiest step forward you can. You’ll find that it is so easy that you can’t help but take another step forward. When you do, the next step will reveal itself. When it does, you take that step too. You don’t have to be prepared for the whole journey. You just have to be prepared for the next small step. Knowing and believing this secret is the first and most important step of all.

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

If you want results do what my son does.

When I first became a parent I was prepared to drop knowledge on my kids. I had prepared a syllabus of over 30 years worth of life lessons. They were sorted into 3 files. The first was labeled Smart Things I Did. The second was labeled Dumb Things I Did That You Should Avoid. And the third file was simply labeled Bill Cosby.

Magnus

What I wasn’t prepared for were are all of the lessons that my children would teach me. My latest lessons have come from my 9-year old son Magnus. Magnus, has taught me a lot about socializing. He has a remarkable ability to make instantaneous friendships anywhere. His social intelligence is as good as the best adults I know. He’s like a little Dale Carnegie on the playground, just winning little friends and influencing little people.

Losing Teeth

But as impressive as Magnus is at socializing, he is world class at losing teeth. It’s an odd thing to be great at, I know. But lately Magnus has lost teeth at a meth addict rate. I think he has lost 8 teeth in the last 2 months. In fact, I don’t know how he actually chews anything anymore. #popsiclesfordinner

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Me and Magnus and all of our hair at the top of the Astoria Column in Astoria, Oregon. 

Talk Is Cheap

However, it is not his quantity of tooth loss that impresses me. It is the style. You know how I know when Magnus has a loose tooth? He puts the tooth in my hand. Before that he doesn’t talk about it, complain about it or brag about it. He says nothing until the tooth is out. Even then he doesn’t really talk about it. He just shows me the results, and smiles an ever toothlessier smile. And every time he surprises me (and the Tooth Fairy) with absolutely no advanced warning, I am more impressed by his ability to quietly take care of business.

The Reminder

I meet people all the time who go on and on, (like Steven Bishop, down in Jamaica, with lots of pretty women), about their big dreams, lofty goals and ambitious plans. But talk doesn’t bring a dream to life. Discussions don’t achieve goals. And ambition doesn’t execute a plan. Talk is the cheapest of all commodities. Action is the the most valuable. And it’s the only currency you can use to buy your goals and dreams.

Key Takeaway

Success requires action. To be successful do more. Talk less. Complain less. Analyze less. And focus on results. Don’t tell the world what you are going to do. Show them what you’ve done. Then, after the work is all done, you can sit back and enjoy the rewards. Just like my son Magnus does.

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

 

 

400 words on how my Dad taught his kids to be successful without using words.

In 2015 I started The Perfect Agency Project blog when I began planning the launch of my advertising and ideas agency, The Weaponry.  I wanted to share my experience, learnings and insights with others. Today I publish a new post 3 days a week. I enjoy writing this blog because I like sharing what I know. You name a topic and I can write about it. Because I have philosophies on everything. In fact, even my philosophies have philosophies. The wide range of topics I cover include:

My Father

Today is Father’s Day. So naturally I am thinking about my father, Robert Albrecht. He knows so much about so many subjects that he could easily write a great blog and share all of his accumulated wisdom with the word. But he won’t. That’s not his style.

My Dad is not a writer. He is not a philosopher, reflector or pontificator. He would never write a book of Roberts Rules of Order. Although that title sounds like it would be a hit.

My Dad didn’t tell me and my sisters how to be successful, productive or impactful. He showed us.

My Dad is my action hero. Because he is always in motion. He’s a doer. A maker. A baker. A builder. A griller A gardner. A fixer. A shower-upper (meaning he shows up, not that he shows you up). And he’s a see-things-througher. (meaning he completes things, not that he has X-Ray vision).

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My Dad taught me the most important ingredient of successful entrepreneurship: Action.

He is a Can-Do, Will-Do, Did-It, What’s-Next? kind of guy.

He is an early riser. He’s a frick’n workhorse. He makes the most of each day. And he’s really hard to keep up with. I love that about him.

Thank you Dad for being such a great example. You didn’t have to write a blog, a book or a manifesto to teach Heather, Alison, Donielle and I how to be great at life. You showed us. So we get up early. We put in the work. We make and we bake and we do and we don’t complain. We are people of action. Just like you taught us, through your actions, not your words.

I love you Dad. Happy Father’s Day. Thanks for stopping for a moment to read this post.

Why you should be proud of your slow progress.

I love podcasts. I use them as part of my continuing education. Most of what I listen to is somehow related to business. One of the podcasts that I listen to always ends by asking guests what they think separates people who are successful in business from those who fail, or never get started.

I Say

Every time I hear this question I repeatedly shout out, ‘Action!’ as if I was an audience member on The Price Is Right. I believe that action is the most important ingredient to entrepreneurial success. In fact, I wrote about it in the post: The most important ingredient to entrepreneurial success.

Confucius Say

Earlier this week, while writing a post called The one thing you need to have if you want to start a business, I started exploring the philosophies of Confucius. I quickly found out that he wasn’t as hilarious as I always thought he was. It seems that all those funny sayings the my crazy Uncle Jonny attributed to Confucius most likely came from my crazy Uncle Jonny himself.

Actual Confucius philosophy is smart, insightful, and deep. With almost no double entendres referring to your private parts. The Confucius saying that sticks out to me today is:

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. -Confucius

This is another great way to emphasize the importance of action. There will be times when your progress will feel snail-y, or turtle-y, or glacier-y. Sometimes that is just how the process works. But remember, that by simply moving forward a few inches every day a glacier can change the entire landscape.

Key Takeaway

There is a fine line between slow progress and no progress. But that line makes all the difference. Keep moving forward. Keep acting. Keep doing. And you will get a little closer to your goals every day.

If you know someone who could benefit from a little Confucius, please share this story with them.