Something I did 30 years ago rewarded me in a fun way this week.

A couple of weeks ago I got a very interesting direct message on Instagram. It came from the great Bleav in Badger Football Podcast account. Here’s what it said:

Hey Adam! My name is Matt Perkins and I’m the producer of the Bleav in Badgers podcast (and a fellow Hanover high school alum) and I wanted to reach out to you to first connect in general and then see if you’d be willing to come sit down on the show with us and talk about your story. Former badgers FB and captain Matt Bernstein and I sit down with former badgers (mostly football players but not exclusively) to talk to them about their journeys on and off the field. We’ve had a couple former track guys before (Scott Brinen most notably) and I was hoping you’d be interested in spending a little time with us sometime. We had AJ Taylor on a couple months ago and I know he’s affiliated with your company so I figured I would reach out. Thanks so much and hope all is well, and On Wisconsin (and go Marauders!)

-Matt Perkins

I love it!

I was thrilled at the prospect of being a guest on the podcast. And just as importantly, I was thrilled about talking to Matt about our shared-but-unshared experiences of going to the same high school in New Hampshire and the Univerity of Wisconsin, Madison. So I responded:

Wow! I love Badger Marauders!!! I would love to be a guest. And I have a lot of angles that I could talk about. I have many connections to the football program that will likely surprise you. Let’s do this!

-Adam Albrecht

Then the story got even better when Matt responded:

Awesome! Also, quick Marauder story – I was also a thrower and finished HS 2nd behind you in all the school records. I walked on freshman year to the track team at UW too but got cut end of first semester. Would love to connect! Shoot me your email and we’ll get something on the books

-Matt Perkins

WOW!

I was blown away to make this connection. Matt’s DM combined 4 of my favorite things:

  1. Hanover High School Marauders
  2. Wisconsin Badgers
  3. Connecting with new people.
  4. Instagram (Next to my Grammy, and Teddy, Insta is my favorite type of gram.)

Connecting

I reach out to people I don’t know a lot. Like a lot a lot. I love connecting dots and developing new relationships with people. Especially when we have something fun or interesting in common. But I do it so frequently that it is a real surprise when someone beats me to it.

Inspiration

Matt told me that my high school shot put and discus records served as a source of inspiration for him beginning his freshman year in high school. My discus record was also the New Hampshire state record for 12 years, including the years when Matt was in high school.

Matt Perkins became a great thrower too. He hit 52′ 8 in the shot put and 156′ in the discus. He was the state champion in both events. But he also crushed in the hammer, throwing 194′, and winning the New England championship. Which is wicked frick’n awesome!

Matt, in the sweet headband, went on to have a great career as a rugby player after his throwing career ended.

Offer A Model

It is extremely rewarding to know that someone saw what I accomplished, and it served as a model to follow. Because when you see that someone who lives where you live achieved something that you would like to achieve, it is a reminder that you have the same potential to do great things.

Set Good Examples

Every time you do a good deed, or accomplish something worthwhile, whether it is large or small, you are setting a good example for others to follow. This creates a lasting impact of positivity and success that amplifies the good you do on a daily basis. Thanks for reminding me of that Matt!

The Podcast:

We talked about a whole lotta stuff! Including our opposite attitudes towards our high school weight room.

Matt Perkins, Badger football legend Matt Bernstein and I just recorded the podcast. You can hear the podcast here. (Hear! Hear! to that!)

Key Takeaway

I am excited to say that Matt Perkins and I have developed a quick and strong friendship based on our shared history. If there is someone you’ve always wanted to have a relationship with, especially if they have had a positive impact on your life, reach out to them. You’re likely to have a lot in common, which is the recipe for a meaningful relationship. And at the end of our days, the only thing that matters is the impact we have on each other. Go Marauders! And On Wisconsin!

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

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

Why you should reunite your tribe.

I am a dreamer. I love to think about things that would be cool to do, have, make or experience. But I have also learned that if you step towards the things you dream up, you can also make them real. Like Real Deal Holyfield.

One of my favorite things to dream about is people gatherings. Recently, I had a conversation with my high school classmate Kelly (McKeown) Gaudet, who lives in Denver. We talked about how fun it would be to have a Zoom call with our classmates from Hanover High School in Hanover, New Hampshire.

That’s Kelly. (She’s the one on the left.)

What Kelly didn’t know is that I am kinda like an assassin. Because once I start talking about a social gathering like that I won’t stop until the deal is done. Ok, I don’t know if that’s how assassins really work, but that’s what they said in the movie The Bodyguard. Which is where I got most of my assassin knowledge. (Side note: I always think assassin sounds like a verse of the Hokey Pokey: You put your assassin, you put your assassout, you put your assassin and you shake it all about…)

Taking Action

The week after Kelly and I talked about how fun it would be to have a class reZoomion, I announced that we would be having a reunion on our class Facebook page. Because I have learned that if you make thing up, and act like they are real, them somehow magically become real.

Some of my classmates at our last in-person reunion. (Before there were non-in-person reunions.)

Getting The Party Started

A funny thing happened last Thursday night at 8:28pm ET. People who haven’t seen each other in years, or decades, started piling into our class Zooom call. In fact, It was the most attended Zoom call I have been part of in the past year.

It was amazing to see so many friends from our class of 150-ish students together again. We debated exactly how many kids were in our class, with several participant noting that their class ranks were lower than the class population I stated (it’s hard to be 155th out of 143).

Unlike a traditional high school reunion where you tend to gravitate to the people you knew best, we all spent the whole call together. As if we were sitting around a campfire back in the Upper Connecticut River Valley, one by one, we each took a couple of minutes to update our fellow Marauders on our lives since graduation. We each shared:

  • Where we lived now
  • What we have been doing
  • Who we have been doing it with (snickering)
  • Who was the last person/people we saw from our class in real life

You’re Unbelievable, Like EMF

What we heard was amazing. Unlike at our 10-year reunion when we all just getting started, the stories now are remarkable. We were all blown away by the adventures and accomplishments of our classmates.

We had become educators and doctors. NASA scientists and lawyers. Sales experts and IT specialists. Entrepreneurs and professional singers. Marketing executives and CEOs, Nurses and farmers. Financial experts and artists. Hospitality leaders and physical therapists. Engineers and End-of-Life Doulas (bet you didn’t see that coming). Musicians and carpenters. Therapists and consultants. One of our classmates joined from Africa where she is working on human rights initiatives (thanks for joining in the middle of the night Willow!) And best of all, we had stay at home Moms, busy with the most important job we will ever have.

Many of our classmates had written books and traveled the world. We have spread across the continent and well beyond. I couldn’t help but be inspired by all that my classmates have done. And all that We have done as a class.

ProTip: The best time to do a social Zoom call is on Thursday night, starting at 8:30 ET. This avoids weekend conflicts. It also clears work obligations in all 4 U.S. mainland timezones.

Zooming Overtime

We stayed on the call for over 3 hours, with some people staying for 4 hours plus. We laid plans for an in-person class reunion in July, which I am thrilled about. Because you don’t get to make new old friends. And no one knows you like the people you grew up with know you.

Over the past year, we have all learned not to take the ability to simply spend time with friends and family for granted. Make sure to connect with your favorite people and reconnect with your long-lost people. Life is short. And at the end of our days, the only thing that really matters is the impact we have on each other.

Key takeaway.

To reunite your social groups, don’t be afraid to make the first move. You are likely to find others grateful for you taking the initiative. Strengthening our social bonds strengthens our mental and emotional well being too. Gather your tribe. Fuel that sense of belonging. And reinforce your social safety net. You never know when you may need it.

Thanks to my classmates for a fun and surprisingly profound Thursday night. I look forward to more!

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