The 2 things that can help anyone become happy, fulfilled, and successful.

Everyone has the potential to be highly successful. Everyone. Regardless of your background or socio-economic factors. Regardless of the opportunities you thought were or were not available to you. Even if you don’t currently maintain a minimum standard of personal hygiene.

The 2 Things

There are 2 things you need to achieve greatness, happiness and any other type of ness you are after.

  1. A Model

You need a model of success to follow.

Ask yourself some simple questions. Who do you want to become? What do you want to be like? This could be anything. A great parent. An influential teacher. A successful business person. An accomplished athlete. A great stay-at-home Dad.

Then look for your model. The person who has done what you want to do. A model that can show you what you could create or become.

Best of all, you don’t need to know what you want to do to find a great model. Simply start looking for people who are happy and fulfilled. When you find a person you admire or envy and want to emulate, you have found a model. But you still get to choose which model to choose as your North Star.

2. A Path

Once you have a model, you need a path. Your path is like your personal Yellow Brick Road. It is the course you must travel to achieve the model. And depending on your path it may or may not contain lions, scarecrows and trees that throw apples at you.

In short: The model is your destination. The path is how you get there.

The path provides the instructions and the coursework. The path includes the dos and don’ts. The path shows you the roads to travel, complete with onramps and interchanges.

The path includes books, schools, and teachers. It includes habits, practices and processes. And it may include other models to study.  And in my experience studying models doesn’t even feel like studying.

Mapping The Path

Once you find the model you want to follow you need to discover their path. Mapping their path becomes your research project.

Potential Questions To Ask Your Model

  • What did they do?
  • How did they do it?
  • When did they do what?
  • And where?
  • Why did they make the decisions they made?
  • Who helped them?
  • What would they do differently now that they know what they know?

Don’t guess. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Don’t spin your wheels either. The answers are there for you to discover. If your model is someone famous, or dead, research their story. You will find many of the answers you need through a little digging. (To be clear, I mean you can dig into their story, not dig up their dead body.)

Key Takeaway

Begin looking for your model today. And when you find that person, discover their path. The path is where the transformational magic happens.

If you have become a model, share your path. Share what you know. Inspire others. Bring others along. If you have found joy, happiness, success, and fulfillment in your life consider showing others how you did it. It may be the most valuable work you ever do.

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

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

21 things that I am thankful for from 2021.

The beginning of each year is full of hope. Hope that the next 365 days will be full of success, progress, fun, friendship and fulfillment. But as my friend Steve Swanson is fond of saying, hope is not a strategy. I learned long ago that if you want to have a great year you have to make your year great. You do this through both your actions and your mindset.

Now that all 365 slices of 2021 are toasted, buttered and eaten, I am taking a moment to reflect on the things that made my 2021 great. If you haven’t done this yet, today is the day to do it. Recognizing the good things in our lives humbles and happies us. So let’s get to it!

21 Things I am thankful for from 2021.

  1. This Blog: I love having a blog to share my thoughts and experiences. I love that I can write anything I want here. I can even make up words, and no one can tell me they are not real words. They are real as soon as you use them. Innovation comes from writing. Remember, all of our words were once made up. You don’t have to be Latin or Greek. You can just be dumb. Or be Will Ferrell playing George W. Bush.
Write on.

2. The Hot Housing Market: This year the housing market has been as hot as it has ever been. Like Nashville Chicken hot. Or Death Valley hot. Or Pam and Tommy home video hot. Which is great if you have a house to sell. I started 2021 with 2 homes and sold them both. Which allowed me and my family to start a new chapter this year.

3. Our New House: My family found our long-term Wisconsin home this year. We had been looking for our next house for over 2 years. On June 17th we walked into our new house the day it went on the market. We made an offer that day because of the Pam & Tommy market conditions. The offer was accepted within 15 hours. We moved into our new home in September. It is our family’s nest. It is the main stage for our lives. And it is a source of pride. Now, we are trying to fill the home with great memories. And trying to figure out what all the light switches are for.` (If you are in Milwaukee and want a great, and patient Real Estate Pro, contact Jaime Lubner.)

4. Family. I couldn’t be more thankful for my family. My wife Dawn and kids Ava, Johann and Magnus are incredible, talented and funny people to do life with. I was able to see my parents, sisters, nieces, and nephews this year. Plus, my extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins extends farther than most. My mom is one of 9 kids and my Dad is one of 12. I role deep with family on both the Albrecht and Sprau branches of my family tree. Which gives me lots of options when I need to post bail.

Our first Christmas in our new house.

5. The Weaponry Launching The Weaponry, the advertising and ideas agency that I started 5 years ago was one of the best moves of my life. (At least it was one of the best moves not made on a dancefloor. #amiright) It has taught me the importance of taking responsibility for everything in my life. It has filled my life with great people. And it has provided a project to continuously improve. A business is a great tool to do good in the world. And I feel like we are just getting started with all that we can do with this tool.

6. My Work Teammates. An organization is simply a collection of humans working towards a common goal. My fellow Weapons are amazingly talented and good people. We have been able to grow our team this year. And each new teammate helps expand and improve who we are as a collective. It’s amazing to experience the expansion of good in a way that doesn’t land you a starring role on My 600-Pound Life.

7. Old Friends I had a major high school reunion in 2021. And I was concerned that the reunion wouldn’t happen. Both because of Covid, and because nobody really wants to plan a high school reunion. But if you really want to have a reunion you have to be willing to make it happen. So I planned my Hanover High School class reunion in Hanover, New Hampshire from 1000 miles away in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And like they said in Field of Dreams, if you build it they will come. Classmates gathered from all over the country. Some whom I hadn’t seen since graduation. And while it takes someone to plan such a thing, it takes people showing up to make it real. I appreciate all of my classmates and their families for showing up and making our together time real.

Some reunion pics.
Some other reunion pics.

8. Vaccines: Covid-19 really has thrown us a curveball over the past 2 years. I really appreciate the 3 companies that have developed the Covid vaccines. They enable us to experience life much closer to normal. My whole family has been vaccinated with Pfizer’s magic defender. My 11-year old son Magnus just got full-vax status before Thanksgiving. I got my booster yesterday. Get your vaccine if you are able. It’s not a conspiracy. I’ve seen a lot of wealthy, educated Waspy men doing it. And they are the ones to be suspicious of.

9. My Book: In 2020, during the Covid Lockdown, I started writing my first book called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? I finished the first draft by Memorial Day 2020. I finished the second draft by the end of 2020. I have spent 2021 working on the publishing process. The book was picked up by independent publisher Ripples Media. I received the first copy I ordered from Amazon on December 19th, 2021. The reviews have been amazing. I am so thankful for everyone who has taken a flyer on buying this new book from a first-time author. I was committed to writing something that would help readers learn a little, laugh a little and lift a little. I can’t wait to see where we go from here. In case it goes really well I am studying how to be an intriguing recluse. #JDSalinger

The first time I held my own book.

10. Coaching Track & Field: My daughter Ava was a freshman track athlete at Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin this past spring. To ensure that she had a coach that could help her with the shot put and discus I offered to coach her and her throwing teammates. Although I never imagined myself as a high school coach, it was an extremely rewarding experience. Ava had a strong freshman season. She became the second-best freshman discus thrower in school history. She made it to the Division 1 state meet, where she was the top freshman finisher. I really enjoyed coaching all of the girls on the team, not just Ava. It was incredibly rewarding to see the progress the ladies made throughout the season. And I was especially thankful to be able to work with my 2 seniors, Sammi and Bella during the spring of their senior year. It was rewarding to add a fun final chapter to their Covid-Era high school experience. In the process, l learned as much as they did.

My varsity throwers.

11. Coaching Youth Football: In the fall of 2022, I helped coach my son Magnus’ 5th-grade tackle football team. It was an amazing experience that brought back memories from my own football experience. While I helped coach positions, plays, techniques and drills, I considered myself the Hype Coach. And these kids got hyped! It was fun to be a part of. And I look forward to more. If you have a chance to coach youth sports you should absolutely do it. Unless you are terrible with kids.

Not a bad way to spend fall of 2021.
Magnus and Me.

12. A Home Full of Music: My 3 kids all play instruments. Ava plays violin and guitar. Johann plays piano, saxophone and violin. Not to mention harmonica and melodica. (Although I did just mention them.) Magnus plays cello and piano. My house is often full of wonderful live music. It gets better every year. And I already know I will miss it when it’s gone.

13. Podcasts: I have accelerated my consumption of podcasts this year, Kobayashi-style. Specifically when driving or mowing the lawn. I have learned a great deal from these audio interviews and lessons. The podcasts I listen to are like mini-courses. So I get a little smarter every time I drive to or from work or cruise around my lawn on my John Deere.

14. Seaside, Florida: Our family spent spring break in Seaside a year after we originally intended to because Covid tries to ruin everything. Our experience was excellent. We ran into 3 different friends and their families while we were there. It was definitely a highlight of our year. And our kids loved it because it was like a family-friendly Panama City for teenagers with bicycles.

My daughter Ava skimboarding in Seaside.

15. Friends All Over I continue to be thankful for my friends and family all over the world. As I traveled in 2021 I saw my people in real life in California, Texas, Minnesota, Atlanta, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Boston, Vermont, New Hampshire and Wisconsin. It makes me feel at home everywhere. I want more of that in 2022.

A great day of water stuff on Mascoma Lake in New Hampshire with the Richards Family.

16. The Gym I was thankful to get back to the gym regularly in 2021. After a funky Covid situation in 2020 and early 2021 that forced me to exercise at home, I got back to working out at the sports club where we are members. The gym offers good mental and physical therapy for me. I would feel a lot more like an angry David Banner without regular trips to the gym. (Although as of this week I am pausing that again because of Covid. Fortunately, we have weights at home. You wouldn’t like to see me without weights at home. #namethatshow)

17. Cheese Curds I increased my cheese curd consumption in 2021. And I am happier because of it.

18. Great Clients I am extremely lucky to have really wonderful clients at The Weaponry. I appreciate all of the work they have entrusted us with this past year. But it’s the personal relationships that I enjoy the most. We work with great people. That makes all the difference. (That, and taking the road less traveled by.)

19. Great Collaborators We also work with some really great collaborators at The Weaponry. There are production companies, editors, photographers, freelancers, developers, influencers, agents, accountants and more. They make the work we do better and more fun. Here’s to much more in 2022.

Some Weapons and some Outsiders in California last month.

20. Being Able to Buy New Cars My wife and I both came into 2021 with cars that were 10 or more years old. We have been able to buy new cars. Not have new cars. Dawn’s car had to be ordered and won’t be here until February or March. (Notice that the global supply chain is not on my list of favorite things of 2021.)

21. A New Driver In The Family: My daughter Ava turned 16 in September. I am thankful and excited for her new adventures, and thankful that I am not the only option to run to the store when we need a loaf of bread, a carton of milk, and a stick of butter.

My new driver.

Bonus Round

22. Live Concerts: My family and I all went to see The Zac Brown Band in concert at Summerfest in Milwaukee this year. It was great to get back to live music again. Although ZBB had to cancel concert dates the week after we saw them because of Covid. So we’re not totally out of The Woods. Which is also a ZBB song.

Key Takeaway

Happiness is the great win in life. Recognize what makes you happy. Study it. Do more of it. And thank you for reading my writings and for contributing to my happiness. Let’s all have a great, safe and healthy 2022. #BeMoreYouIn2022

*If you’ve read this far and would like to read more good stuff to kick off 2022, consider my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media. There’s a fortune cookie in it for you.

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.

If you want to be happy, plan to be all you can be.

I am a huge fan of the thinking of Abraham Maslow. Not just because he was a University of Wisconsin psychology student like me. But because he did so much to help us all understand our pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness is amongst the 3 greatest pursuits in life. (Along with Trivial Pursuit and Roscoe P. Coltrane’s Hot Pursuit! from The Dukes of Hazzard.)

Here’s a new Maslow quote I heard recently. To be clear, it is new to me. Not something he said recently. He hasn’t produced any new material since June 8th of 1970.

“If you deliberately plan to be less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be deeply unhappy for the rest of your life.

-Abraham H. Maslow:

Key Takeaway

Plan to become all that you are capable of. The pursuit is more important than the achievement. Think big. Working to become a fully realized, best-possible version of yourself is the most rewarding life-long project. And it is the best way to finish with no regrets at the end of your days.

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

The most valuable asset to leave school with is not a high GPA or SAT score.

The end of the school year is fast approaching. And what a school year it has been! At graduation time I often reflect on my own schooling. It’s interesting to see just how much detail I can remember from that time. I can still picture where I sat in each class, the grades I received, and the number of times I laughed until I sprayed milk out of my nose.

The Numbers

There were a lot of numbers in school. And not just in math class. Do you remember your high school GPA? Or your class rank? How about your College GPA? Or your ACT, SAT, GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT scores? (If you had experience with BVDs, HPV or OPP you probably remember those too.)

Most of us have a pretty good memory for these scores. Because it is how we measured how successful we were in school. They represented the scorecard of academic success.

However, there is another number from our school days that is even more important to your long-term success and happiness. Very few people think about it. Almost no one has it memorized.

Perhaps the best indicator of long term happiness and success is the number of friends you make in school. While the overwhelming focus is on academic statistics, the great residual value of your schooling is measured in humans.

Me and some of my University of Wisconsin dorm mates. We had a pretty good time in Madison.

Chuck the Clique

It can seem cool to find your core group of friends and circle the wagons. Or to create an exclusive group. But that won’t serve you best over time. A much better approach is to become part of many different social circles. This vastly expands the total number of people you are exposed to. And if you volunteer to be a sketch or sculpture model for art classes you get exposed to even more people.

Me and some of my high school friends just before graduation. With t-shirts. And no masks. It was a simpler time.

Get Involved

There are a wide variety of high school and college opportunities that are ideal for developing long-lasting relationships.

  • Sports
  • Dance Team
  • Cheerleading
  • Band
  • Orchestra
  • Streaking The Quad
  • Clubs
  • Plays
  • Smoking In The Boys Room
  • Volunteer Programs
  • Yearbook
  • Food Fights
  • Homecoming Committee
  • Fraternities
  • Sororities
  • Epic Prank Planning
  • Class Trips
  • Outing or Adventure groups.
  • Special Interest Groups Of All Sorts
  • Breakfast Club
  • Detention
Me and my college track & field teammates. I am still in touch with many of these guys. We smile more now.

High School

In high school, make a point of knowing as many people as you can. Get involved in extracurricular activities. Introduce yourself to your classmates. Learn names. Meet the kids in grades above and below you. It is especially easy and beneficial as an upperclassperson to introduce yourself to younger students. Because younger students will highly value having older friends, who can drive a car, and grow a mustache like Pedro.

A high school graduation night party pic. We’re looking tough because we just slammed some Capri Suns.

College

In college, live in the dormitory for 2 years, or even become a Resident Hall Advisor (dorm leader). By doing this you are exposed to far more kids than you are living in off-campus housing by yourself or with a handful of roommates. Having hundreds or even thousands of other kids within your orbit on a daily basis vastly increases the total number of friends you are likely to make during that time.

Me and some of my college roommates revisited our off campus house several years after graduation. The wallpaper was still there. But they were out of paper towels.

Introduce Yourself

At parties and at bars introduce yourself to other people. Make a point of meeting someone new every time you go out. Then connect with them on social media too. Because social media is an easy and informal way of turning weak relationship into strong ones.

My college roommates at Dave and Angie Schatz’s wedding. (I have no idea if that is how you possess a plural word ending with Z.)

The Number That Really Matters

My GPA in high school and college was fine. My SAT scores were fine. But I know far more people than most people I know. And that has been one of my greatest advantages in life and business. And one of my greatest sources of happiness and fulfillment.

Me and my high school friends at our last class reunion. The guys with bad backs asked to be up front.

Key Takeaway

Make as many friends in school as you can. Because the benefit of having many friends lasts the rest of your life. And while there is little chance for you to Billy Madison your way to a higher GPA or class rank later in life, it’s not too late to make more friends. Make it a lifelong habit. Or hobby. Or both. Collect as many people as possible. Because at the end of our days the person who has made the most friends wins.

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

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

I am in New Orleans right now. I love this city. There is nothing else like it. Not even Old Orleans. The combination of architecture, music, history, food, geography, climate, and culture makes New Orleans both a truly unique city and a distinct brand.

Every time I am in NOLA I see the saying Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler. I’m not sure if it is the official or unofficial motto of the city. But it means Lazy The Bones Temporarily 12-inch Wooden Stick. No. Wait. That is what I told my kids it means.

The real translation of this French phrase (for those who have never dated anyone from New Orleans, France, Quebec, or Haiti) is Let The Good Times Roll.

I love this phrase. It is a great motto for a night out, a vacation, a celebration, or a life well-lived. It represents such a fun-loving, positive attitude that the saying and the mindset it creates helps manifest more good times. Like Jimmie Walker, which is dyn-o-mite!

Me and my muffuletta at Napoleon House, right before the guy in the tank top asked me to dance.

We as a planet now have a variety pack of COVID-19 vaccines to get the corona-cooties under control. So let’s all do our part. And put this pandemic behind us. Let’s get back to full business and full employment. Let’s all enjoy the prosperity available in the 21st century. Let’s enjoy our time together, our sense of freedom, and all the social pleasures we now realize we too often taken for granted. Let’s put down our little digital devices and enjoy being with other humans. Let’s eat, drink, play, create, explore and experience the best life has to offer. And like they say in New Orleans, Louisiana, let’s let the good times roll!

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

If I could do it all again I would make more friends.

I always laugh when someone says ‘If I could go back in time I wouldn’t do anything different.’ I appreciate the conviction of such a statement. But it shows that they have not learned and grown much during this dress rehearsal. So they obviously wouldn’t profit much from a life mulligan anyway.

My Re-do

I can find a seemingly endless supply of things I would do differently on my life do-over. I would have slowed down that night when I lost control of my car and flew it into a pasture full of cows Duke’s of Hazard-style. I would have skipped that Wednesday football practice when I tore my ACL my senior year. I would NOT have bought that cheap home printer that constantly jammed and guzzled ink like a drunken donkey. And I would NOT have taken work from that client who was like a real-life Mikey, and really did hate everything. Even Life cereal.

I have been thinking a lot lately about things I would change If I could do it all again. And there is one clear answer that rings out every time I ponder this question. It’s not a regret that haunts me. It’s not a mistake I would fix. And it’s not a detour I would take to avoid pain or punishment. It is something I wish I had more of.

More, More, More

If I could go back and do it all over I would make more friends. There is no greater asset on Earth. There are nearly 8 billion people on the planet. But when I think about the tiny percentage of those people I actually know it gives me a major case of FOMO.

When I was younger I remember people saying that the person who dies with the most toys wins. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It is the person who collects the most friends, who develops and maintains the most and best human relationships that really wins this game. And if those friends have lots of toys, even better.

Friends With Benefits

Friends deliver on our most basic needs. They offer a sense of home and belonging. They offer support, encouragement and inspiration. They make us smile and laugh and sometimes blow things out of our noses involuntarily. And as I have gotten older I have found you can never have too many people in your friend column.

Collecting Friends

I still maintain friendships from pre-school, elementary school, middle school, high school and college. I am still in touch with friends from all 9 cities I have lived in. I have friends I have met on airplanes, while on vacation, and while playing at the park with my kids. But I can’t help but think of all of the amazing friends I haven’t met. Especially the ones who have kidneys just like mine.

Work Friends

Friends have been the most important ingredient of my career success. My coworker-friends, client-friends and partner-friends have not only contributed immensely to my workplace wins, they have made me feel as if I am hanging out with friends all day long. In fact, I met my all-time best friend Dawn at work. And we have now been married for 18 years. #CompanyPicnicsAreTheBest

Entrepreneurship

When I launched The Weaponry, my advertising and idea agency, it was my friends who became my first clients, coworkers and champions. Today, the business and all of the peripheral activities that come with it are a great source of new and growing friendships. In fact, I think of the ability to develop and maintain strong relationships as the greatest input to entrepreneurial success and the greatest fringe benefit of entrepreneurship.

The Greatest ROI

I have friends in every state in America and in dozens of countries around the world. They offer the greatest return of any investment I have ever made. But like the dollars I have squirreled away in my 401(k) plan, I wish had invested even more. Alas, if wishes were fishes we would all have a fry. So the best we can do is make more in the days and years ahead.

Key Takeaway

Keep growing your tribe. Make as many friends as you can in as many places as you can. Connect your friends to each other. Invest in your relationships. Make them deep and wide. At the end of our days, the only thing that matters is the impact we have made on each other. So create more impactful relationships, and enjoy the positive impact they have on you.

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

Hey adults! It’s time to make your wish list too.

One of the highlights of childhood is making your Christmas list. Which involves writing down all the things you want in life, with no regard for your parent’s tax bracket. Then you share your list with Santa so that he can overcome your parent’s financial limitations, and bring you exactly what you are looking for. It’s a nearly perfect idea. Nearly.

However, as an adult, it is just as important for you to write down your wish list. Taking time to think about what you want, what you really, really want in life is key to long term happiness and achievement. Just ask the Spice Girls.

If you don’t think about what you want you won’t recognize it when you see it. You need to know specifically what you are after. It is the only way you’ll know how to prioritize your time. Your list will determine how you budget your efforts. And like a good cult, your list will show you what you need to sacrifice to get what you want.

Don’t simply think about what you want. Like that note to Santa, it is time to write down that list of things you want most in life. Seeing those things on paper makes a difference. Revisiting the list often makes it important. Taking the actions required to attain the things on your list makes them real.

Key Takeaway

Creating a wish list of all the things you want in life is not just for kids. For adults, it works like a shopping list that tells you where and how to spend your time and energy. I hope you get everything you want in life. But first, you need to know what that is.

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

The great value of sunshine people.

Last Wednesday afternoon the doorbell rang at my house. I didn’t panic. Instead, I calmly got up from my desk and walked through my house to the front door. Just like I was trained to do. Based on the time of day, past experience, and that fact that only authorized professionals should be ringing your doorbell right now, I expected it was our mailman, Mike. It was either him or some rascally kid was leaving me a flaming bag of dog poo.

Mike

Luckily, when I opened the door Mike was standing on my front porch. He had a very special delivery for me. And it wasn’t a flaming bag of poo. Truth be told, I have no idea what was in the boxes and envelopes that Mike delivered that day. The most valuable thing Mike brought to my house wasn’t in a package. It was his I-am-so-happy-to-see-you smile.

Every time I see Mike he is like a ray of sunshine. He emits such positive energy that he makes me want to send boxes to myself, just to see him show up at my front door. Because you can’t help but feel good when you are around him. Its his super power.

Right now, as we are sheltering at home, a smile from the outside world is a rare and welcomed treat. A treat that many people are having a hard time serving up during the COVID-19 Circus World Tour. Today, there seems to be an optimism shortage. Which makes sunshine donors like Mike even more valuable. Because good vibes are even more important and more impactful now than ever.

Key Takeaway

If you are a naturally positive person make sure to share your sunshine with others. If you need a sunshine donor, reach out to someone you know who has an abundant supply. A friendly smile and a warm hello go a long way to offset the news media’s focus on the bleak. An optimistic perspective is like a breath of fresh air to others in your orbit. So if your light is glowing bright, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. It will illuminate a brighter path for others to follow. I know. Because right now I wanna be like Mike.

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

Is your work preventing you from feeling joy?

There is a unique word that popped up in my news feed twice this week: The word was Joy. It appeared as a key reason that 2 high profile Americans quit their jobs. What was even more unique is that both of these Americans played a game for a living. And if anyone should be experiencing on-the-job-joy it should be people playing a game for money.

Work Takes A Toll

But Andrew Luck, the recently retired 29-year-old quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League, and 30-year-old tight end Rob ‘Gronk’ Gronkowski, who recently retired from the New England Patriots, the best football team in the history of history, both stated this week that their jobs had actually taken their joy from them.

Whoa…

If you had heard that Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble quit their jobs because it was stealing their joy you would understand. After all, those dudes worked in a rock mine, operating dinosaurs. So if they told you they didn’t want to yabba-dabba-do it any more you would get it.

Money Isn’t Everything

But we are talking about 2 guys whose jobs have brought them fortune and fame. Luck earned over $100 million dollars. Gronkowski made $53 million by the time he turned 30, while winning 3 Super Bowls.

AP COLTS LUCK FOOTBALL S FBN USA IN
Andrew Luck announced his retirement at 29, saying that football has taken his joy. Then he Eskimo kissed the mic.

Yet the work robbed them of their joy. The pain, the grind, the mental and physical fatigue, the injuries, surgeries and stress that came with it all negated the benefits of the handsome compensation.

The Reminder

This is a reminder to that money and fame are no fair trade for our joy. Because without joy, a delicious cocktail of pleasure and happiness, it’s hard to find value in our work and our careers.

The Question

This raises an important question for us all.

Is your work adding joy to your life or taking it from you? 

For some people that answer is easy. A quick check of the ole joy-meter may show that your joy is at maximum levels. Others will find their work is more or less joy-neutral. Which is fine. But just fine. However, if your work is exporting your joy like Art Vandelay, you need a new job. Or a new career.

Search Yourself

A little self evaluation will tell you whether you need a new environment, new boss, new challenge, or new career. This may be the right time to focus on an old life goal that has gathered dust, moss or rust. Because by making a career change or launching a new business you may experience a flood of joy and excitement that will make you wonder why you didn’t do it earlier. That’s exactly what happened to me when I started my entrepreneurial adventure. And 3 years after starting my own company I am shocked that more people don’t do it.

Key Takeaway

If your work is depleting your personal joy you have to make a change. Life is too short not to enjoy your work and the people you work with. Money is not the most important contributor to a joyful life. So make sure you are not trading money for happiness. Make joy your number one goal. And everything else will fall into place.

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