Make the most of your magic ingredient.

Yeast is like magic. It is the secret, almost invisible ingredient that makes bread rise. It creates action and life. It creates transformation. And alcohol. And stank.

But yeast only works if the conditions are favorable. If the environment is too cold it won’t activate. If the temperature is too hot it kills the yeast that makes the magic. #TooHotInTheHotTub

The human spirit is like yeast. It is your magic ingredient. It is the will to win. The drive to succeed. The hunger for more.

The human spirit fuels your resilience and determination. It is the force that will transform you into something even more remarkable tomorrow. Something far more remarkable than bread. Or beer.

But just as yeast needs the proper conditions to activate, so does the human spirit.

Remember

If you are a business owner, leader, parent, teacher, coach, or the person who runs Fight Club, you are responsible for creating the environment.

Your most important job is to make sure the environment doesn’t kill the magic ingredient.

Great people won’t stay in a toxic work environment.

Great athletes won’t stay to play on a negative team.

A lion tamer won’t stick his head in the mouth of a stressed-out lion. (At least not more than once.)

And most importantly, a poor home environment will prevent children from growing into the amazing adults they were born to be. We can’t let this happen.

Key Takeaway

Create an environment that lets the human spirit work its magic. Or seek out a supportive environment for yourself. And magic will surely follow.

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

For more, check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

The reason you make mistakes is because you are human.

Easter is not about eggs.

It’s not about baskets and bunnies.

It’s not about bonnets and brunch. (Despite the Pavlovian response I just had to the word brunch. #drooling)

Easter is about forgiveness.

Easter is a reminder that we all make mistakes. That we all fall short of the ideal. That we often offend or disappoint others through our actions or inactions.

We are imperfect humans. Despite our best efforts and intentions, we don’t always do the right thing. (Sorry Spike Lee.)

The human mind is the most complicated of all machines. Our outputs are not always logical. Just ask Will Smith.

Remember that you are on your own learning journey. And so am I.

Canceling a human for making a mistake is a mistake.

You’re only human. You’re supposed to make mistakes.

-Billy Joel

It is far better to celebrate growth and improvement through the infinite Earthly game of trial and error.

Forgive others. Forgive yourself.

Key Takeaway

You have been forgiven by a higher power. That is the great news of Easter.

Pass it on.


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

+For more life lessons I have learned on my journey check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Do you process your feedback for growth or defense?

When you receive feedback from the world you process it with one of two devices in your noggin.

  1. Your Growth Processer
  2. Your Defense Processor.

The Growth Processer says: I have the ability to get better with this feedback. I can learn and improve and enhance my abilities and capacity. It acknowledges that you have room for improvement, and you have discovered an opportunity to press your advantage further. Think of this as the Billy Joel Processor. Because it starts evaluating feedback by saying, You may be right. I may be crazy.

The Defense Processor says: I should not change. I am already where I should be. The world doesn’t know what I know. There are important reasons for doing what I am doing and I need to defend against change or modification. I need to build a wall to protect my processes, decisions and style. Because they are not only as good as they ever need to be, they are better than anyone else. Therefore, I need to defend against decay. Think of this as the Donald Trump Processor. Because like Franks Redhot, he uses his defense processor on everything. Which offers a sense of confidence and superiority. But it prevents all possibility of growth and improvement. (Because just imagine how many times his hairdresser offered up a less imaginative hairdo.)

Real-World Example (But not from the MTV Show.)

If you are part of a race team you have to always be looking for ways to get faster. Speed is growth in racing. Everything that ultimately leads to speed should be sought out, embraced, and accepted. It’s simple. It’s scientific. It’s how you get better faster.

Key Takeaway

Always look for opportunities to improve. Find the valuable gems in your feedback. Consider everything. Think like a race team. Seek out and soak up everything that presses your advantage forward. It will help you get a little bit better every day.

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

+For more ideas on personal growth and self-improvement check out my book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

10 things I have learned from writing 700 blog posts.

Back in the fall of 2015, I knew I was going to launch my own business. It was such an exciting adventure that I decided to document it by starting a blog. But like so many big ideas (and Band-Aids on freshly washed hands), I didn’t know if this blogging thing would stick.

Well, it stuck.

Today I am proud to say I have published 700 blog posts. I don’t know many people in the 700 Club, besides Pat Robertson and Jim Bakker. The whole point of the blog was to share what I have learned. But through the process of writing this blog, I have learned a lot too.

My Learnings From Writing 700 Blog Posts.

I do this a lot.
  1. To do something big simply start with something small. The 700th post is not really that important. The most important one was the first post. Just like an estate begins with a single dollar put away, you need that first post, or first step, most of all. If you have a goal (of course you have a frick’n goal!) take the first step!

2. I found my writing voice. I started my career in advertising as a copywriter. So I wrote a lot. But I wrote in the voice of the brands I worked on. Writing this blog has allowed me to dial into my own writing voice. Most people who know me would say my writing voice is exactly like my speaking voice. (I am one of those people.) I simply write this blog the way I think and the way I talk. That’s my style. Once you find your style, writing becomes easier. It just flows out of you. Like pee.

2.5 You can write anything you want in your own blog. (See the last 2 words of the last paragraph.)

I started the blog when I started my business. Both have grown into healthy adults.

3. Develop your good habits. I never think about whether I am going to write in the morning. It’s totally automatic. Like that Pointer Sisters song. Writing is a strong habit for me. Sunday through Thursday morning I am in my office writing by 6:10 am. I write until 7 or 8 am. On Friday and Saturday mornings, I write, read or exercise. Studies show that it takes an average of 66 times to create a habit. Then you don’t think about it anymore. You just do. Today I just do. Like Whitney Houston in So Emotional.

4. A blog lets you take control. The world is full of gatekeepers who are trying to keep you out. They are trying to not let you in up in da club you’d like to be in. I prefer to make my own club. I love musicians who put their music on YouTube. Artists who put their work on Etsy. And Dancers who show off on TikTok. Blogs let writers show off what they can do without anyone else getting a veto vote. The most beautiful thing about technology today is that it empowers you to create and share. So, create and share any way you can.

5. You can be read around the world. I publish my blog on WordPress. This platform is read all over the planet. Today, my writings have been read in over 120 different countries. That’s pretty crazy. This past Valentine’s Day I wasn’t scheduled to publish anything. I was just going to enjoy being in love. But I had an idea on my drive to work. So as soon as I got to work I sat down and hammered out that additional idea and posted it right away. Within 2 hours that idea I had on my commute had been read in 30 countries. That’s wild. That’s WordPress. (That should be their new tagline.) (No it shouldn’t.)

A circle of my people.

6. It’s not about who you know. Before starting my blog and launching The Weaponry, my advertising and idea agency, I read The Little Black Book of Connections by Jeffery Gitomer. In his book, he writes, ‘It’s not who you know. It’s who knows you.’ I took that to heart. By writing this blog I have been able to reach and connect with far more people than I could have met on my own. This has brought opportunities my way that I never would have had without the blog. That compounds over time. Like Compound W.

7. I think differently now. I have always been a creative thinker. I have always had a lot of ideas. But by writing a blog and needing to have new ideas to share 3 days a week you begin finding ideas everywhere. When I was a kid Tootsie Roll had a commercial with a jingle that said, “Everything I think I see become a Tootsie Roll to me.’ And the kid in the commercial saw Tootsie Roll-shaped things everywhere. Now, I am like that kid. Except, instead of seeing Tootsie Rolls I see business lessons, creative lessons, marketing lessons, and the ever-popular life lessons, everywhere. My finder is finely tuned to detecting lessons because of the blog. That has been one of the greatest gifts of writing this thang.

8. The Blog Was a Gateway Drug. I didn’t know it in the beginning, but the blog was just the start of something bigger. Eventually, all that writing built into more. I have now published a book, and have more books in the works. I don’t know how far this will go. I guess we’ll find out together.

The first time I held my own book. I didn’t know yet not to cover up my name.

9. Getting Paid To Write. All the blogging I do is free to read. I have never made any money directly from any of my blog posts. But people who read the blog encouraged me to write a book. So I did. And while writing a 50,000-word book is more challenging than writing a 500-word blog post, it is a natural extension of what I have been doing for 6 years. Three months ago I published my first book titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? with Ripples Media. Now I get paid a royalty every time someone buys a book. Which is exciting. Because it demonstrates that I am providing others with value through my writing. Which is rewarding in multiple ways.

Me at a recent book talk at the Milwaukee Athletic Club.

10. Getting Paid to Speak Throughout my career I have spoken to many different groups. But since writing my book the opportunities have mushroomed. Despite having written 700 blog posts, it was the next step of writing a book that has made people seek me out for speaking engagements. Today I have paid speaking engagements lined up into August and September. By paid engagements, I mean that I am either being paid directly to speak, or the organization I am speaking to is buying books for attendees, or some combination of the two. The key learning here is that I wouldn’t have these opportunities through blogging alone. But I wouldn’t have written the book if it weren’t for the blog. Which means that first, you have to get started. Then you have to keep pushing yourself to the next level for greater rewards.

Key Takeaway

A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. And to get to 700 blog posts you have to first write one. But if you create a good habit it will compound over time, leading to bigger and better results and open doors to new opportunities. I don’t know where all of this will lead. But I am certainly glad I started 6 years ago. I encourage you to start that thing you have always wanted to do by taking that critical first step. If you have already created a good habit and developed some positive, value-creating work, ask yourself what’s next? Keep challenging yourself to take that next step. And make it worth writing about.

> For more of my lessons on blogging check out these past posts:

What I have learned about blogging after 200 posts.

12 things I’ve learned from writing 300 blog posts.

+To see where all this writing has led check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?

Start with 1 blog post and you just may end up with your own book in 3 formats.

Are you still adding to your identity?

We all have multiple identities that form our self construct. When you were young they were simple. You were a boy or girl. A son or daughter. Maybe a brother or sister. Or perhaps you saw yourself as a Bo, Luke, or Daisy.

As you grow, evolve and participate in more activities you add identities. You become a student, a girl scout or a baseball player. Throughout your schooling and into your career your identities expand and multiply in interesting ways. All of which morph your self construct, without the need for hallucinogenics.

Your identities influence how you see yourself. But they also determine how the world sees you. Your identities help broaden your self-image and give you more flavor, complexity and stability.

I’m a father, adventurer and Corn Palace visitor.

Here’s a partial view of my identity stack:

  • Father
  • Husband
  • Son
  • Brother
  • Uncle
  • Friend
  • Christian
  • Entrepreneur
  • Creative
  • Marauder
  • Badger
  • Dude ( I recently entered this when asked for my gender)
  • Vermonter
  • Wisconsinite
  • Adveritisng professional
  • Blogger
  • Patriots fan
  • Bucks fan
  • Red Sox fan
  • Perpetually but non-offensively immature
  • Exerciser
  • Initiator
  • Problem Solver
  • Homeowner
  • Adventurer

Adding Identities

In the past year, I have added a surprising number of new identities to my self-concept. Especially for a seemingly full-grown human.

Coach

Before last spring I would never have called myself a coach. Despite the fact that I coached a youth flag football team for 3 seasons. That just felt like the type of coaching that non-coaches do because the kids need a coach to be able to have a team. In other words, I simply identified as a dad doing some coaching. It’s like a dad playing the role of a chaperone, instead of adding the identity of bodyguard, or animal tamer.

But last spring I became a legit high school track and field coach when I started coaching the shot put and the discus for Homestead High School’s girl’s track and field team in Mequon, Wisconsin. In fact, 2 weeks ago I attended an all-day and all-evening event for track and field coaches in Madison. That really made me feel like I should walk around with a whistle or a stopwatch around my neck. Although you don’t really need either of those things to coach the shot put.

This was my best day of coaching. All 4 of my athletes threw their best ever. And I wore the shortest socks I own.

Then, last fall I began coaching youth tackle football. That was a multiple-times per week thing. With real strategy, conditioning and hype. I have a logoed polo, a hat and a picture of me and other coaches and 16 boys in full uniform looking very serious together to prove that I am now also a youth football coach.

Me and Magnus after our last game of the season. We played on turf, which is why neither of our uniforms are dirty or grass stained.

Author

The week before Christmas I published my first book called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? Now, I add author to my self-identity. Despite the fact that I have been a blogger for nearly 7 years, author feels different. It’s more official, more difficult to attain. More respected by others. And authors get asked to sign their books way more often than bloggers get asked to sign their blog posts.

The time my first book emerged from its brown, paper Amazon cocoon. (As seen on the table.)

It’s hard not to add the author identity when the internet adds it for you. Here is how my online footprint has expanded since I published my book:

  1. If you search my name at Amazon.com you will find my book here.
  2. Beyond carrying my book, Amazon has an Adam Albrecht Author Page which you can see here.
  3. My publisher, Ripples Media also feature’s an author page which you can see here.
  4. There is a website for the book here.
  5. I also have a Boothy set up for giving online book talks that you can find here.

Speaker

The other surprising new identity that I have added to my self-construct is Speaker. I have done a lot of public speaking throughout my life. Over the past couple of decades, I have seen myself as a business professional speaking about what I do or things I know. But now it feels different.

Me speaking to a round table at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. Here I am demonstrating the starting position for juggling watermelons.

Since I published the book I have received many requests to speak at local, state and national events. I have booked 6 speaking engagements in the past couple of weeks. It is an exciting and enjoyable new addition to my self-identity. And it helps me spread more positivity and inspiration with the world. Like Jonny Fortunecookieseed.

Dog Owner

As if all of this wasn’t enough, at the end of January I also got my first dog ever. Now I add dog owner or dog haver or whatever this makes me to my life resume. It may seem like a small thing compared to the attention you receive as an author, entrepreneur or public speaker. But when you come home to that wagging tail and face licks it is special. And when I am picking up dog poo, it’s hard to deny that I am a real Dog Dad.

Key Takeaway

Adding to your self-identity keeps you growing and evolving. More self-identities not only make you more interesting and creative, they add to your stability and resilience. Multiple identities help expand your social circle. They expand your reach and influence. The more identities you have the less likely that any one of them has the ability to negatively impact you. Conversely, the successes you experience in any identity helps to add to your overall self-esteem. All while making you a more interesting and valued contributor to your family, friends, communities, and planet. So go on with your bad selves.

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

Are you making each day an original?

Your alarm clock invites you to the day at the same time each morning. And if you follow the best sleep science you are probably going to bed at the same time each night. But in between those 2 bookends, remember this:

Each day is meant to be a work of art. Not a reproduction.

Your time is your life. In order to create a colorful, beautiful, interesting or epic life you have to treat each day like an original piece of art in your collection. Try new things with each new day. Experiment and explore. Learn and grow. Smack it up. Flip it. Rub it down. Like BBD would do.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of simply copying and pasting each day. (What we used to call carbon copying. Or Xeroxing. Or dittoing.) But those identical days simply produce identical experiences, identical feelings and identical perspectives. The new and the novel make you more interesting. They help expand your thinking. And they make the world around you more interesting too.

Key Takeaway

Don’t simply go through the same motions every day. Add to your portfolio of experiences and successes. Fill your personal gallery with new memories and unique ideas each day. It is how you turn your life into a work of art that others will want to imitate.

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

+ If you enjoy ideas on personal growth check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

To increase your value surround yourself with better people.

In real estate, it is valuable to be the smallest home in the nicest neighborhood. It is not just for the smaller utility bills, and because there are fewer places to lose your keys. It is because the rest of the bigger, nicer homes will drive your value up by association. #HomeOwnersAssociation

Humans

The same holds true for humans. There is tremendous value in associating with humans that are better than you. Think of better as further developed than you in areas that you want to improve. (Because rockstar, there ain’t nobody better than you are going to be!)

But what does it mean to be a better human? It could mean the people you are spending your time with are:

  • Smarter
  • Braver
  • Kinder
  • Funnier
  • More adventurous
  • More driven
  • More generous
  • Healthier
  • Fitter
  • Wiser
  • Sexier (not a chance)
  • Wealthier
  • More patient
  • More thoughtful
  • More educated
  • More confident
  • More openminded
  • More Benjamin Moore

The Positive Pull

When you associate with people who are better at the things you want to be great at they will pull you along with them. They serve as a constant source of inspiration. They provide a better model for you to use as a measuring stick. And they can show you the path to get where you want to go. Like Glinda showed Dorothy.

Key Takeaway

To increase your personal value spend more time with people who are better than you. They will motivate you to grow, learn and act. They provide a gravitational pull towards better. And they will enhance your personal brand through association. Because good people who spend time with great people are destined for greatness themselves.

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

Are you maintaining or progressing?

As you put in your work this week recognize how much of what you are doing is maintenance. How much of your work is done just to remain where you are? Cleaning. Fixing. Taking out the trash. Paying rent. Trimming your nose hairs.

This is work. And it needs to be done. But it is doggy paddle type of work. It keeps your head above water, which keeps you alive. But it won’t get you on a box of Wheaties.

Progressing

The valuable work creates progress, growth and improvement. Things like learning. Reading. Studying. Experimenting. Asking yourself big questions. Expanding your skills, social circle, or comfort zone.

Key Takeaway

Dedicate more of your time to progress. It is where the magic happens. It is what makes life fun, exciting and fulfilling. Do it day after day. That compounding effect transforms you and enables you to become the best version of yourself. And better every day.

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

How to use the power of unhappiness as motivational fuel.

The more of life that I experience the more I realize that my happiness is fueled in large part by my unhappiness. It feels dumb to write such a thing. But it is absolutely true.

Here’s how it works.

  1. I have a vision for who I am, and what my life is like.
  2. Everything that is already aligned with that makes me happy.
  3. All the areas where I fall short of my vision make me unhappy.

The unhappiness is a combination of unsatisfied, disappointed, frustrated, and embarrassed. However, that unhappiness is where my motivation comes from.

Family And Friends

In my head, I see myself as a great parent, husband, friend, and family member. But in reality, I am not always great at those roles. Certainly not as great as I want to be. I’m not as level-headed or as patient with my kids as I would like. I am not always as supportive or responsible as a husband-partner as I should be. I’m not always the kind of friend who walks in when the world walks out, or whatever the cross stitch about friendship in your grandma’s bathroom says. And I am unhappy about all of this.

Business

As an entrepreneur, I experience a lot of unhappiness. Because I have significant goals and expectations of my business. And I have high expectations of myself as the leader of the business. But if it all came to an end tomorrow I would be massively disappointed that me and my businesses didn’t accomplish more. Which is how the first kid tossed out at the National Spelling Bee must feel.

However, that unhappiness I experience, which stems from my personal and professional shortcomings, drives me to work, grow and improve. That drive is a huge source of happiness for me.

  • The work makes me happy.
  • Growth makes me happy.
  • Improvement makes me happy.
  • Hitting new milestones makes me happy.
  • Contributing the way I expect to in my relationships makes me happy.
  • Clapping along, and feeling like a room without a roof makes me happy.

Getting To It

Getting up at 6am to get back to work makes me happy. (It is currently 6:55am and I am about to finish writing my second blog post of the day.) Every step forward makes me happy. Executing the plan makes me happy. Laying the groundwork makes me happy. And watching Adam Sandler golf movies makes me happy. Especially when he fights Bob Barker. #ThePriceIsWrong

I recognize that I don’t have to be at the destination to be happy. Traveling there does the trick. Building, growing, and progressing are highly rewarding. As long as I am on the right path and moving in the right direction I get a little happier every day.

Key Takeaway

Your unhappiness is a great navigational tool to lead you to happiness. Determine the source of your unhappiness and you will know the direction to travel to find what you are after. Lose weight, get in shape, start that thang you always wanted to start. Do more. Strengthen your weaknesses. Become the person you always wanted to be. Those things can lead to a lot of happiness. Unhappiness is simply point A. Let it motivate you to get to point B.

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

Prepare to turn your opportunities into inflection points.

All of the good things that have happened in my life have a common theme. They happened because I prepared to take advantage of an opportunity point. Which means I put in work or research before an important moment. Like a Boy Scout would do. Although I was never a Boy Scout. I heard the Be Prepared motto and felt I got the gist of it.

When my big moments came, I drew on the work or the research I had performed to maximize the opportunities. I performed impressively. I made a strong impression. I drove a result. I became memorable for being prepared, capable, smart, insightful, knowledgable, interesting, thoughtful, or resourceful. Then, I was able to cash in my preparation for rewards. Just like you cash in your tickets for prizes at Chuck E Cheese.

Opportunity Points

Make sure you know what your opportunity points are. Here are a few examples:

  • Competitions
  • Meetings
  • Job interviews
  • Sales calls
  • Tests
  • Dates
  • Sorority rush
  • Meetups
  • Performances
  • Parties
  • Introductions
  • Tradeshows
  • Seminars
  • Auditions
  • Conferences
  • Social media encounters
  • America’s Got Idols

Preparation allows you to convert an opportunity point into an inflection point. A point where things change for you. A new door opens. An angle of growth steepens. The trajectory of your life alters in a positive way. Suddenly, people want more of your time. Which means the value of your time goes up too.

How to capitalize on your opportunities.

To turn your opportunities into inflection points try the following approach:

  1. Look at your calendar. (You do have a calendar, right?)
  2. Identify the opportunity points. (They are everywhere.)
  3. Determine what you could do today, and each day before the event to be best prepared to make that event a moment of inflection. (Start with researching all you can about the people and the topic you will encounter. Don’t be afraid to stalk. That’s how I found my wife. Training and practice are also important.)
  4. Do the prep work you determined would be beneficial. (It is not enough to know what you should do. You gotsta do it for realzies.)
  5. Convert preparation into performance. (Boom!)
  6. Make the most of your moment. (Like in that Eminem song about spaghetti.)
  7. Come out the other side on a new trajectory.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

-Maybe Seneca (But maybe someone else. They can’t find any credible witnesses.)

Key Takeaway

Every week we encounter dozens of opportunity points. Once you recognize them you can prepare for them. That preparation allows you to capitalize on the opportunity. Sometimes the rewards are small and grow over time. Sometimes the rewards hit in major ways that alter your life path immediately. But if you don’t prepare it is as if the opportunity wasn’t even there. Don’t let that happen.

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