100 Things I love.

Happy Valentine’s Day! I have been thinking a lot about love this weekend. Love is the most powerful and most positive emotion in our collection. To make the most of your time on Earth you should spend as much time as you can doing things you love, with people love, in places you love.

The first step is to know what you really love. Today, take an hour to write down 100 things you love. Not only will it force you to think about your favorite people, places, and things, it will serve as a guide, and show you how to live a life you love.

Here’s what I came up with. Surely there are many more things that should be on this list that I didn’t come up with in my limited time this morning. (And I’ll stop calling you Shirley.)

100 Things I Love (in no particular order, except the first ones.)

  1. My wife Dawn
  2. My kids Ava, Johann and Magnus
  3. My Mama, Dad and Sisters
  4. The rest of my ginormous family.
  5. My work
  6. Sweet Tea
  7. Hammocks
  8. Cliff jumping
  9. Road tripping
  10. Vermont
  11. Fishing
  12. Glacier National Park
  13. Boogie boarding
  14. Pizza
  15. Great puns
  16. Snowmobiling
  17. Laughing
  18. Making people laugh
  19. Mountain biking
  20. A great church service
  21. Great books
  22. Weddings
  23. Shawshank Redemption
  24. Lobster
  25. Hiking in the mountains
  26. Sunrises
  27. Black olives
  28. Elkton, Minnesota
  29. Thanksgiving
  30. Stompers
  31. Playing the card game Pit
  32. Throwing the discus
  33. Cheese curds (squeaky or fried)
  34. India
  35. Winning new business
  36. Running into people I know in random places
  37. Inside jokes
  38. My best friends from high school
  39. Outside voices
  40. The fresh tortilla chips from the Whole Foods in Dublin, Ohio
  41. Sabra Field art
  42. Wisconsin Badger football games
  43. Simon Pearce Glass
  44. Needing 4 wheel drive
  45. Montreal
  46. The Art Institute of Chicago
  47. Perfectly ripe pears
  48. Snowfall measured in feet
  49. My college track teammates
  50. Hilton Head Island
  51. ACDC
  52. Zucker Brother’s movies
  53. Canoeing
  54. Game night
  55. Roller coasters
  56. New York strip steaks
  57. Iceland
  58. My Madison Hall friends in ATL
  59. My funniest stories
  60. Investments that paid off
  61. Hearing that someone found value in something I wrote or said
  62. Energizing people
  63. Game of Thrones
  64. Real maple syrup
  65. Driving a tractor
  66. The smell of roses
  67. Handing out bonus checks
  68. A great quote
  69. The Patriots winning the Super Bowl (never gets old)
  70. Flip flops
  71. A great baseball cap
  72. Lifting weights
  73. My Dad’s Carmel Rolls
  74. A Red Sox World Series win
  75. Breaking Bad
  76. A military flyover
  77. Cheesecake
  78. The grand finale at a fireworks show
  79. A great performance by my kids
  80. My wife’s smile
  81. A great creative presentation
  82. Water parks
  83. Owning my own business (The Weaponry)
  84. Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream
  85. Discovering common friends (meaning finding out people we both know, not finding commoners and befriending them.)
  86. Raincoats
  87. Boots of all sorts. (Except the monkey from Dora the Explora)
  88. G-Shock watches
  89. Making my own t-shirts
  90. Making my sisters snarf
  91. The show Yellowstone (The park isn’t too shabby either.)
  92. The How I Built This Podcast
  93. Anything with Will Ferrell
  94. American Giant hoodies
  95. My Gerber tool
  96. My Kraken belt buckle
  97. Mount Ranier
  98. Manhattan
  99. Convertibles
  100. Overdelivering
  101. Campfires
  102. People who read my blog posts all the way to the end.

Key Takeaway

Fill your life with the things you love. The people, places, activities, feelings, food, and drink you love will lead you to a life you love. And life is too short to fill with anything else.

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

How I designed my life. And suddenly it became true.

On the eve of my 40th birthday I sketched out a vision for the rest of my life. I wrote in great detail about what I felt was my personal legend. By starting with the end in mind, I was able to determine the actions I needed to start making in order to accomplish all of my personal and professional goals.

It was a transformational evening.  In the last hours of my 39th year I determined the best way to grab control of my life, and design it exactly the way I imagined, was to start my own business.

I became totally focused on bringing my design vision to life. I put my plans into motion. Two years later, I launched my own advertising and idea agency in Atlanta. I named it The Weaponry. And I have been living into the vision ever since.

One Life. One Wife.

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We are family. Except on the last day of school. Then it’s every Albrecht for her or himself.

 

My wife, Dawn, gets co-creator credit on my life design. Like Al Jarreau said, we’re in this love together. Because a good marriage is like a 3-legged race, my life plan had to accommodate Dawn’s, and vice versa. We also had to consider our 3 children as part of the design. While we liked Atlanta, it didn’t quite fit all of our design requirements for our perfect long-term home base. So we had to plan our next move.

We didn’t mind moving our children while they were young. But we wanted to stop moving by the time our oldest child, Ava, reached middle school. We wanted to be closer to our families. And as a couple who grew up in Wisconsin and Vermont, we wanted winter. So we began looking for a northern headquarters for our family and bouncing baby business.

The City Search

We began looking for our 13-year home. A 13-year home would mean none of our children would have to move again before they graduated from high school. We drew a circle of acceptability around an area that included Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Minneapolis. All of these cities are in the Central Time Zone, which we felt was the best time zone for a well designed life, and maximum business flexibility. These cities also put us within a comfortable driving radius of our parents. And we like our parents.

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As part of our life design we like to cut down our own Christmas tree. We like them full, with a lot of sap.

In the Goldilocks And The 3 Bears analysis of these cities, we decided that Chicago didn’t offer the best quality of life (cost of living and the commute were Boos). Madison was too small for the business I wanted to build. And Minneapolis needed another ad agency like an NBA player needs another tattoo.

The Brew City Sweet Spot

After much deliberation, we chose Milwaukee as our 13-year home. It put us within a 3.5 hour drive of both of our parents. I have a substantial network in Milwaukee, that includes former clients and co-workers from my time at Cramer Krasselt. Dawn and I both graduated from the University of Wisconsin, and Milwaukee is ground zero for Badger alumni. The city offers a great quality of life. The suburban schools are excellent. Plus, it offers easy access to Madison and Chicago, both just 90 minutes away.

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This is the view in front of my office on The Milwaukee River. Full disclosure: this photo was not taken in January.

But I’m A Rolling Stone…

While I wanted to provide my wife and children with long-term stability, deep down, and maybe not that deep, I like moving. By the summer of 2016 I had lived in 9 different cities. I wasn’t sure I could commit to one place for 13 years. So I built a solution into the master design.

The Home Office Strategy

As part of my life design, I developed The Weaponry’s Home Office strategy.  Which is my strategic plan to have an office for The Weaponry every place I’ve had a home. This strategy would provide regular travel and consistent interaction with the friends, co-workers and clients I have made along the way. It would also make me feel like I am part of several communities, so I don’t have to choose just one.

The cities on The Weaponry Home Office Strategy list include Milwaukee, Columbus and Atlanta. Because I grew up in New England I also want an office in either Burlington or Boston. Both of which are wicked good options.

Laying The Groundwork

When I began looking at potential employees and freelancers to join The Weaponry, I was biased towards people based in the cities listed above. So I began forming little clusters of resources in the Home Office Cities to help me live into the dream. In the fall of 2017 we signed a lease on 1000 square feet of space overlooking the Milwaukee River in, you guessed it, Milwaukee.

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It’s great having an office where you can point at someone with both hands.

What’s Next…

Today, I am really excited about the next step we are taking to bring the Home Office Strategy to life. We have been putting a lot of time and effort into the next phase, which may mean a new office in a new city. So tune in next week, when I share the unfolding news of our HQ2. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

ancient antique antique map atlas
Our next office will be somewhere on this map.

Key Takeaway

If you want to live your ideal life you have to write down a vision of what you want your life to look like. You have to map out the steps to get you to your ideal design. Then you have to take deliberate actions to make it all come true. It’s an amazingly rewarding and fulfilling adventure. I’m typing proof.

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