How much does it take to make you happy?

Happiness can be elusive. So can peace, comfort and contentment. But when I was in college I regularly found a state of complete peace, comfort and happiness. It wasn’t alcohol or drug-induced. Although I did listen to Dr. Dre’s The Chronic more than this parent of 3 would like to admit. But I skipped the Gin, and was simply sipping on juice. #sobersincebirth

Different Times

Looking back, I really can’t tell if college was a simpler time or more complicated. School, with its odd schedule, intense studying and testing seemed harder than my job seems now. Despite the fact that I now run a multi-million dollar business.

Dating was far more complicated than marriage.

My track and field demands at the University of Wisconsin were both significant and complex from a mental, physical and nutritional perspective.

My finances seemed much more complicated back then too. I had to wrangle a combination of my own money, my parents’ contributions, student loans, grants and an athletic scholarship. I was in a perpetual state of relative poverty. And I remember one of my roommates commenting that it looked as if I did my grocery shopping at Goodwill. Maybe that is why dating felt so complicated.

Despite the complexities of my college life, I remember a state in which I felt whole, complete and longing for nothing. In fact, I still remember summarizing that feeling in a brief email to my parents during my junior year.

When updating my parents on my wellbeing in Madison, Wisconsin, 1000 miles from my home in Norwich, Vermont, I wrote:

I have a fridge full of food. A tank full of gas. And a dresser full of clean clothes. Bliss.

With those 3 simple needs met I had everything I needed in life. I have never forgotten that feeling. Ever since that time I have felt whole and at peace with my minimum needs met. And it has led to a tremendous amount of happiness. Like Pharrell Williams, in a room without a roof.

Key Takeaway

I hope that in this complicated time that you can find happiness in the simple pleasure of having your basic needs met. The rest is all gravy.

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

My unique spin on the coffee meeting has come full circle.

One of the great traditions of networking is grabbing coffee. When you meet someone for the first time you suggest grabbing coffee. When you see someone you haven’t seen in a long time, you talk about grabbing coffee. Coffee gets grabbed more than an aspiring actress at a Harvey Weinstein pool party. #timesup

I don’t drink coffee. Ok, that’s not fully true. I have now had 4 cups of coffee in my life. That’s about one per decade. But the coffee meeting is one of the most valuable elements of professional development. It is a useful tool for developing and maintaining relationships. It can be used for research, informal mentoring and for stay at home moms to have sanity-preserving conversations with full-sized rational humans.

Despite the fact that coffee tastes like burnt bark juice, I love using coffee meetings to catch up with old friends or get to know new people better. I just do it differently.

Barista, The Usual.

My go to beverage at the coffee shop is chocolate milk. I love that stuff. It reminds me of Fridays in elementary school. Which was the only day chocolate milk was served at school when I was a kid. Today, drinking chocolate milk still feels like a party.

 

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This is my friend Andy. We regularly grab beverages,where we compare and contrast the merits of different hair styles. 

Andy Salamone

One of the people I regularly grab chocolate milk with is my friend Andy Salamone. Andy is an amazing guy. He started a business called CarSpot right out of college. He developed a way of aggregating used car inventory from dealerships into a centralized, customer-friendly online shopping experience. Andy and his team developed innovative technology to transform and grow the business until AutoTrader made Andy an offer he didn’t refuse. He sold the business several years ago, and now enjoys the fruits of his exit.

It is fascinating to talk to Andy as he scans the landscape looking for the next great entrepreneurial opportunity. He sees businesses the way an engineer sees a machine. He can talk you through the mechanics of creating an efficient device to deliver a great idea. He has been a great influence on me and the way I think about my advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry.

Recent Visit

Andy texted me last week and said he wanted to swing by and see The Weaponry’s new office. I was thrilled to have him see our space. He arrived with some really fun surprises. He had a gallon of Oberwies chocolate milk. Which is the chocolate milk equivalent to a Goody McGood bottle of Scotch. That alone would have been a great office warming gesture. Then Andy reached into the bag that contained the milk and pulled out four glasses with the five Great Lakes printed on them. On each glass there’s a heart printed right where Milwaukee sits on the shores of Lake Michigan.

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Cheers to friends, good fortune and frothy chocolate milk.

A Moment To Absorb.

Now picture this. As I poured my glass full of that chocolatey nectar of the Guernsey’s, I was sitting on a couch at the adverting agency that I always dreamed of creating. I toasted my good fortune with a friend and fellow entrepreneur. Then I set my new Great Lakes glass down on my custom-made The Weaponry surfboard coffee table.

My life was coming together just the way I had always imagined it would. Even my fellow Wisconsin Badger, Abraham Maslow would have grabbed one of my new glasses, raised it towards me and said, ‘Kid, it doesn’t get any better than this.’ #selfactualization.

A Toast

Make the time to grab a drink of your own choice with the people of your own choice. May you find your own version of The Weaponry, and chocolate milk and custom surfboard coffee tables. I hope that you look forward to going to work every day. I hope you get to design your life, your work and your tribe. May your days be full of great moments that are uniquely you. Here’s to feeling as if you are winning at life.

*To find out what happens in my life and business when I am not chugging chocolate milk consider subscribing to this blog.