Spend quality time with people who know things you don’t.

From the moment you were born you were programmed to grow stronger and smarter every day. Which is why you don’t come out of the womb with a driver’s license and a scalpel.

One of the most important ways you become a stronger, more capable machine is by simply interacting with other people. In fact, you learn more from other humans than from any other source. Even if you have a killer set of encyclopedias.

When you engage with humans they add:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Insights
  • Perspective
  • Confidence
  • Connections
  • Resources
  • Joy
  • Entertainment
  • Ideas
  • Tools
  • Support
  • Kindness
  • Happiness
  • Inspiration
  • Motivation
  • Charcuterie (Definitely spend more time with anyone who offers a solid spread.)

Key Takeaway

Seek out human interaction. When you spend time with people who are ahead of you on your development journey they naturally pull you forward. Make sure to share with others too. You have gifts and knowledge that offer great value to those around you. And everyone improves in the process.

*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.

The amazing moment that made writing my book worth the effort.

In December of 2021, I published my first book titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? It takes a lot of effort to birth a book. The process is like running 3 marathons back to back to back. There is a writing marathon, a publishing marathon, and a promoting marathon. And the promoting marathon only ends when you quit. And I’m no quitter.

Is all that work worth it?

I wrote my book to help share the best life lessons I have learned with anyone interested in growth and self-improvement. I didn’t write the book for money. I didn’t write it to become famous. I simply felt that I had accumulated a valuable library of life lessons. And I felt that by sharing those lessons I could make my own valuable contribution to the world. Because teaching the world to sing and buying the world a Coke were already taken.

The feedback I have received has been extremely rewarding. Readers as young as 15 and into their 80s have told me how much they have enjoyed the book. I assume the 90+ crowd is too busy to provide feedback.

Leigh Peine

Shortly after my book was first published by Ripples Media, my client-friend Leigh Peine, Senior Director of Marketing and Client Solutions at Education Credential Evaluators (ECE), contacted me to say that she wanted to order copies of the book for her team to read like a book club. She then requested that after they all read the book we gather for a book talk.

Fast Forward

We gathered for our book talk 2 weeks ago. The ECE marketing team brought their copies of the book with them for me to sign. It was amazing to see a team show up at a talk with copies of the book that they had already read.

The questions asked by the group were different and deeper than they are at talks where people are first introduced to the book through the talk.

But the moment that stood out to me was when I saw Marybeth Gruenewald’s book.

Marybeth and her Technicolor Dream Book.

Marybeth, the Director of Global Initiatives at ECE not only read the book, she made the book her own. She flagged new and interesting ideas that stood out to her. She made notes. She highlighted lines. She turned the book into a beautiful piece of art. And her liberal use of Post-it Notes will likely impact 3M’s Q3 revenue numbers.

I was absolutely stunned when I saw Marybeth’s book. Not just because it was so interesting to look at, which it was. But this copy of the book visually demonstrated where a reader found value. Where they encountered ideas worth remembering. Where a new thought had reached them. Or where a new phrasing of an idea connected.

This book visually represents what I hoped would happen to people as they read. Their minds would light up and expand. Their brains would grow and add dimension, depth and texture. Their thoughts would brighten, and lighten and lift. (Oh my!)

Marybeth’s copy of the book is beautiful. I wish I owned it. (Perhaps I will make a replica of it in art class.)

Thank you Marybeth for bringing your copy of the book to the talk. Seeing it was one of the great pleasures of my author’s adventure.

Thank you Leigh for sharing the book with your team and organizing a talk. It was more rewarding for me than I can express. (Although I suppose this blog post probably expresses it fairly well. I’m just a big fan of hyperbole.)

Thank you Greg Haag, Leigh Peine, Melissa Ganiere, Marybeth, Zak Holochwost, Whitney Mosby and (joining via Zoom) Kimberly Hejec for your time and your interest in the book!

Key Takeaway

Share what you know. Pass along your lessons and learning and ideas. If it works for you, chances are it will help others too. We can all benefit from hearing new and differing perspectives. If you lead a team, find ways to introduce new ideas to keep your team learning and growing. Like Leigh Peine did for her team at ECE.

*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.

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.

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.

The absolute best way to climb the corporate ladder fast.

Every year, throughout your career, you will gain another year of valuable experience. Which means that you will get a little bit smarter every year. This process of steady improvement could go on for 40 or 50 years. The accumulated knowledge makes you more capable and more valuable to your organization. Which leads to more responsibility and more income. Which is good.

The problem is that everyone else who started their career when you did is gaining knowledge and experience at the same pace. So while you are growing as an individual, you are maintaining pace with the cohort who began their careers when you did. Which is like the nuclear arms race. Only without the threat of global destruction and Olympic figure skater subplots.

The Key To A Highly Succesful Career.

The key to a highly successful career is to outpace your peers. This means that instead of gaining 1 year of experience and knowledge in 1 year, you gain 2 years in one. Or 3 years in 1. Heck, why not gain 20 years of experience in just 12 months? That’s what Doogie Howser would do.

How Do You Do This?

To pack multiple years of growth into one year you can’t simply rely on your own experiences. You have to borrow from others. Luckily, there are many ways to absorb mass quantities of knowledge and experience from others in a short time. And none of them involve cannibalism.

1. Books. Books are quite literally the lessons and experiences learned by others, captured and summarized for you. Which means that you can buy 10, 20 or 40 years of knowledge and experience for under $30. Crazy, right? (Do this.)

2. Workshops: Workshops are designed to put you through time-compressed experiences to help you improve your skills at a highly accelerated pace. During a workshop, there are eyes on you to make sure you learn how to perform a task the ideal way. You receive quick and constructive feedback. It’s the kind of feedback that may have taken you years or decades to receive on your own. Especially if you and your Swingline stapler are still stuck in the basement.

3. Coaching: Coaching comes in many forms. From actual career, business or executive coaches. From mentors. From experts who take you under their wings. Coaches feed you their knowledge and experience like a mama bird feeds a baby bird. Which means they are directly regurgitating their knowledge into you. Just not usually by barfing it in your face.

4. Podcasts: Podcasts drop knowledge like an audio college. Podcasts are often great knowledge aggregators that share insights, ideas and experiences from many different perspectives. It’s easy to listen to a podcast while doing something else, like commuting, mowing the lawn, or sitting at your child’s sporting or religious event.

5. Blogs: Blogs are full of smart, informative and actionable tips. They usually come at you fast-paced with dense growth nutrition. Eat that stuff up. If you need a blog to subscribe to I suggest adamalbrecht.blog.

6. Magazines: Magazines that are specific to your industry or role are extremely helpful. The great advantage here is that the knowledge is purposefully fresh and well-polished by a professional staff. There are many different topics covered in every issue which has the potential to add a lot to your knowledge base every month. Pro Tip: Choose magazines where everyone wears clothes.

7. Documentaries: I love watching a film or TV show about a successful person. It’s an easy way to learn what made them successful. Then simply start doing what they did. You just may end up with your own documentary.

Next Level

To gain the most knowledge and experience in the shortest amount of time, stack multiple knowledge sources. Read books, listen to podcasts, and attend workshops. Or any combination that works best for you. The pace at which you gain knowledge will quickly surpass your peers. It will turn heads. And make you seem like you are smarter and more capable than others in your competitive set. Then you will Usain Bolt past those in front of you. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can overtake others who are gaining one year of experience per year.

Key Takeaway

Don’t settle for the natural pace of growth and improvement. Accelerate your knowledge, experience and skill acquisition by learning from other people. The accelerated path is available to anyone interested. But far too few people take the opportunity. Be one of those who do. It’s possible to pack a decade of growth into one year. And you will feel yourself pulling away from others. And when you do, make sure to share what you have learned so that others can benefit from you.

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

+To learn more of what I have learned through decades of accelerated learning check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

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.

Do you make money from your writing?

My son Johann saw me writing in my office early this morning, as I do at least 5 days per week. Today Johann stopped and asked me, ‘Dad, do you make money from your writing?’ I paused for a moment. Then, instead of answering his question, I said, ‘Come back and ask me your question again when I am done writing. And bring me the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of The West. NOW GET OUT…’ (Ok, so half of that is true.)

The answer is not cut and dry.

The simplest answer is no, I don’t get paid to write this blog. I am not making it rain up in this URL. I don’t have advertisers, sponsors, or paid subscribers. In that respect, my blog writing is not a job. It is a volunteer activity. An elective.

Your Electives

However, I have found that what separates us from each other are our electives. The things that we undertake that we don’t have to do. The things that not everyone does. Those are often the things that make you different, interesting, and valuable to others. But not so different and interesting that the circus wants to add you to their Tent of Freaks.

Adding Value

What I am trying to do when I write my blog is provide value to others. I am trying to share insights, experiences, ideas, techniques, inspiration, motivation, positivity, or humor. By sharing these things I am creating a value-adding resource.

Universal Math

I believe in a very simple math equation. The value of your income is equal to the value of your contribution.

Income = Contribution

So if I add more value to the world, eventually, somehow, the world will add more value to me.

But there is more to my writing than that.

  1. It keeps me top of mind.
  2. It demonstrates relevant capabilities.
  3. It means more people know me.
  4. It helps expand and strengthen my network.
  5. It keeps me engaged with my clients, customers, friends, and family.
  6. It allows me to share my expertise.
  7. It makes me a thought leader.
  8. It makes great people think about joining my team.
  9. It helps my team think they are on a pretty good team with a leader who thinks about and cares about their wellbeing and happiness.
  10. My writing, if funny enough, may someday cause someone to blow milk out of their nose. This is the superpower I have always wanted. As in, ‘You saved us, Snarf Man! We never would have escaped if you hadn’t made that bad man laugh and blow his beverage out of his nose!’ My catchphrase would be, ‘Can I buy you a drink…?’

The Greatest Reward

Perhaps most importantly, as I write, I am learning. I am sharpening my thoughts, perspectives, and techniques. All of which makes me better and more capable in other areas of my work and personal life. This enables me to do better work for others. Which ultimately helps me make money. Sorry for the long answer, Johann.

Key Takeaway

The more you write and share your thoughts the more you will profit from it. The value may not come in direct cash payments. In fact, it probably won’t. It will come through the inevitable compensation you will receive for the value you created and shared with the world. It will come through your connections with others. Through your own learning and development. Through the awareness and positivity you generate. So keep writing. Or start writing. Be patient. But persistent. And good things will come your way.

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

To be your best always be wet clay.

Throughout your childhood, you are wet clay. Moldable, impressionable, flexible. Capable of becoming anything. Sometimes a mess. But always ready for change and improvement. And always ready for your big scene with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze.

Most people remain wet clay throughout their schooling. And into the beginning of their careers.

Then people separate into 2 groups.

  1. Those who dry and (James) harden. (Either they throw themselves into the kiln or are simply left out to dry.)
  2. Those who continue to evolve.

Key Takeaway

Don’t harden. Remain wet clay. Remember that you are not finished until you are dead, or give up. Keep growing, learning and improving. Keep working towards those goals you set when you still felt like wet clay. Because you are wet clay as long as you think you are.

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

Why it’s important to give yourself permission to be an amateur.

When I became an entrepreneur one of the greatest gifts I gave myself was permission to be an amateur. Or perhaps the only reason I became an entrepreneur is that I was okay with being an amateur. It’s hard to say.

Entrepreneurs ultimately need to know everything there is to know about starting and running a business. Yet the vast majority of this knowledge comes from on-the-job training. Which is how you learned to ride a bike. It’s how the Wright Brothers learned to fly. It’s how MLK learned to give great speeches. And how we all learned to do the Electric Slide. #boogiewoogiewoogie

By allowing yourself to be an amateur you allow for mistakes. You put a premium on learning, not knowing. Remember, you could never learn to juggle without making mistakes. The same is true for standup comedy. And parenting your children. (Don’t tell my kids that.) We start every area of life stupid. Being okay with that is the smart way to begin.

I make progress by doing what I know to do until I discover a better way. The secret is to always be looking for and open to that better way. Once you find it, you add it to your personal weaponry and you take another step forward. Those who reach the highest level of achievement simply never stop taking steps forward. Neither should you.

My kids and I recently learned to surf. Which is kind of like learning to ride a bike. Only with tighter fitting clothes.

Key Takeaway

Allow yourself to be a beginner. It makes you much more likely to begin. Allow for mistakes. When you accept your amateur status the journey from ignorance to intelligence is more enjoyable and rewarding. Learn and grow as you go. Recognize your improvements. And know that you can apply the same approach to anything in life.

*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.