10 things Dads should teach their kids to love.

Over the past 16 years, I have learned a lot about what it takes to be a good Dad. Most of what I now know I have learned by making mistakes. Like the time I dropped my 6-month-old over a railing at the Zoo. I knew I had made a mistake when everyone around me started screaming. #truestory

One of the things I’ve learned is that to be a good father you should spend more time with your kids than writing blog posts on Father’s Day. So let’s get right to the list.

10 things Dads should teach their kids to love.

  1. Books

Collect Books. Read to your kids. Let them see you reading. Dads who read books keep getting smarter, more creative and more capable. It’s a great way to teach kids to fill their free time with something positive. I recommend the books with more words than pictures, but do what you have to do.

2. Alarm Clocks

Love your alarm clock. Set it every day. Let your kids know that the alarm clock helps you get the most out of every day. Let them see you get up and get productive in the morning. It will teach them to find gold in those golden morning hours.

3. Their Mom

The greatest gift a Dad can give his kids is to love their Mom. Treat her with respect and kindness, even if you are no longer together. If you are still together gross your kids out with how much you love their Mom. It’s like forcing them to eat really healthy food that they think is icky, but is really good for them.

4. Travel

Show your kids the world. Roadtrips. Camping trips. Trips to the store. Sunday drives. Overseas trips. They all count. Show your kids new places and it will spark new ideas, new understanding, and a new appetite to see even more.

5. Hard Work

Teach your kids how hard work leads to great results. Show them that there is no elevator to the top. You have to take the stairs. And if they see you taking the stairs 2 or 3 steps at a time they will too.

6. Encouragement

Kids who receive encouragement encourage others too. It’s one of the best ways you can improve the world through your children. You can do it. I know you can!

7. Saving Money

A kid doesn’t need a role model to know how to spend money. But as a Dad, you can teach them the critically important value of saving. Teach them to accumulate money by always saving part of what they earn. So like 50 Cent, they can watch the money pile up. And as the money piles up so do your options and your peace of mind.

Bonus: Read Rich Dad. Poor Dad. to your kids. I have read that book to each of my kids. It’s the best way to teach them about money.

8. Laughter

The world is full of funny stuff. Enjoy it. Laugh loud and often. Teach your kids to laugh at all that goes wrong. It is the best medicine. And while it may be addicting, it doesn’t cause constipation.

9. Donating

Teach your kids to love donating to causes they care about. Show them how to give without expectations of a return. There are endless ways to give. Share your time, talents and treasure. Or, if you are like my Dad, give blood as often as they will let you. That stuff is more valuable than gold to a fellow human in need.

10. Friendship

Be a good friend to your friends. Collect and maintain as many great friendships as you can. Let your kids see you connect and share love with others outside your family. It will teach them to connect and extend their love too.

Happy Father’s Day!

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media. It makes a great belated Father’s Day gift. Or a great be-earlied Father’s Day gift for next year.

12 important life lessons for new graduates.

It’s graduation time! Students across the country are thrilled to finally be done with classes, done with books and done with teachers’ dirty looks. But what they will soon find out is that the real life lessons start after school ends. Because suddenly your life becomes one big multiple choice test. And if you thought you were done with all that writing, here comes the big surprise:

Now you have to write the story of your own life.

Looking back, I can see that I have learned far more since graduating from Hanover High School in Hanover, New Hampshire and The University of Wisconsin than I did in school. In fact, I read more now than I did in school. I ask more questions. I study people and events, and people at events.

I have been collecting the best lessons I have learned since the day I graduated from high school. Then, during the Covid lockdown, I turned my collection of most valuable life lessons into a book called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?

I thought the book would help people like me who were trying to get the most out of life. I wanted to help my contemporaries maximize their happiness and success. I wanted to share some of my accumulated knowledge, inspire others, and make people laugh. Not necessarily in that order.

Since publishing my new book I have heard 2 responses over and over from readers.

  1. I wish I had read this when I was younger.
  2. This book will make an excellent graduation gift.

The positive response to the book confirms that the life lessons I pass along offer real value. For new graduates, the lessons will help build the life and career you imagined. Which is why so many people are picking up copies now, during graduation season to give as gifts.

My friend Kris picked up these copies for some special graduates in her life. Including her daughter Emma!

If you are a new graduate, congratulations! Welcome to the club! Here are a few things that will help you in your exciting next chapter of life. (And you thought you were done with all that reading…) (If you graduated last year or last century the lessons still apply.)

12 important life lessons for new graduates.

  1. Constantly Upgrade Your Thinking: You may have graduated, but you are not done growing. Never stop improving yourself. You are like an iPhone. You should constantly be creating better versions of yourself. Each one is smarter, stronger and more capable than the one before. (And now that you will start paying for your own phone you’ll want to put a screen shield and protective case on that thang. Phones are frick’n expensive.)

2. The best way to live a great life is to start at the end. By viewing your life from the end you can clearly see what you could have done and what you should have done. Do this now, while you can do something about it. And you will be able to turn your life into an epic story as big as your imagination. (And go to funerals. They will teach you more about life than death. Plus, there are always free ham sandwiches.)

3. It’s the first step that matters most. Far too many people dream about the things they want to do but never take a single step towards making it happen. Your dreams start with that first step. Take it. Make it happen. (And watch Hamilton. That dude did not throw away his shot.)

4. Let envy be your guide. Don’t get fooled into thinking envy is a deadly sin and try to squash it. Envy offers insight. Note the things you envy and truly want and add them to your life list. Then create a plan to make them yours. And get to work. (Sloth, however, is a deadly sin. Don’t mess with sloths, Sid.)

5. Your Success Is Directly Related to Your Contribution. Success is easy to understand. If you want more, contribute more. If you want to earn more money, add more value. If you want more social capital, add more value. If you want more political capital, add more value. It is the value you bring to the world that determines what the world offers you in return, Jedi.

6. Nothing will happen unless you make it so. JFK said, ‘Things do not happen. They are made to happen.’ Remember that action is everything. It is the difference between dreaming and doing. If you want something to happen you have to force it and will it to happen through your vision, action, and energy. This wisdom applies to friendship, entrepreneurship, and every other ship in between.

7. Kickstart your day with a smile. The first thing you should do every day, while still lying in bed, is put a big smile on your face. Science has proven that not only do we smile when we feel good, we actually feel good when we smile. Smiling is the easiest positive thing you’ll do all day. Yet it has the power to propel and protect you until you crawl back into bed at night. (So, if you haven’t smiled yet today, do it now, brown cow.)

8. Fill your attitude with helium. Life is unpredictable. One moment you feel like you are on top of the world. the next moment you feel like the world is on top of you. But a helium attitude rises anyway. Don’t let setbacks, curveballs, and negative people drag you down. Do what helium does, and just keep rising. Your attitude is everything in life. Make sure you fill it with the right fuel. (And if you ever need a good laugh, suck in some real helium and say ‘Luke, I am your Father.’)

9. Always bet on yourself. Don’t buy lottery tickets. Don’t bet on sports or horses. Instead, bet on yourself. Bet on your ideas. But on your intuition. Bet on your determination. And on your willingness to affect the outcome. Stack the odds in your favor. It is the easiest way to mitigate risk and set yourself up for an epic payout. (And add Take A Chance On Me by ABBA to your life soundtrack. It’s a real toe-tapper.)

10. Find your Sliver Mentors. Everyone will offer you advice. But only take advice from people who are already doing what you want to do be doing. And rather than have one mentor for everything it is useful to have many mentors for slivers of your life. Learn the tips and tricks of the people who behave the way you want to behave. Don’t listen to every voice in the wind. Instead, carefully curate the advice you accept from those who offer great examples. (And keep a good tweezer around for regular slivers.)

11. Ask For What You Want. Never be afraid to simply ask for what you really want. A closed door will often open when you show just how much you want to go inside. Remember, someone holds the key to unlock every locked door. (Don’t simply take what you want. Unless you look great in an orange jumpsuit.)

12. Don’t Build A Network. Build Friendships. Throughout your career, people will tell you that you should network. This essentially means you should meet people who can help further your career. This is bad advice. Don’t network. Instead, befriend as many people as you can. Prioritize developing genuine relationships. When you make great friends you will have a great network. Because when you make people the most important thing in your life, everything else magically falls into place. (And keep eating Lucky Charms. They’re magically delicious.)

Key Takeaway:

Commit to a lifetime of learning and growing. Get a little better every day. Read. Think. Make friends. Find people who can teach you. And always bet on yourself. The best is yet to come. But it’s up to you to make it happen.

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

+If a $16 graduation gift fits into your budget, consider grabbing a copy of What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? for a graduate in your life.

6 Tips To Establish New Power Habits.

A great life is built on great habits. Do the right things repeatedly and you will build momentum. Do the wrong thing repeatedly and you build a rap sheet.

Your great habits have a compounding effect. Each great step helps amplify the step before. All of which will earn career, social, health, and even financial capital that will open doors for you.

I was on The Morning Blend this week talking about habits. You can see the segment here.

But How?

Habit development is a process. Here are a few of the most important things to know to get the process right, like Bob Barker.

6 Tips To Establishing New Power Habits.

  1. Start with your identity.  Identify as an exerciser, reader, money saver or a neat and orderly person. Once you identify as the person who does these kinds of activities you will do the kinds of activities your identity identifies with. It’s always a case of the chicken and the egg. So just decide that you are a chicken and start laying eggs.

Remember: Identities are all made up anyway. (Just ask Madonna.) None of us came out of the womb as runners, readers or pop singers. We were all just naked and unemployed. One day you simply decide you want to take on an identity and you go with it. The great news is that you can add to or change your identity any day.

2. Make it easy at the start. If you have chosen to identify as a runner, don’t go out the first time and run until you barf. You won’t want to come back. Instead, run until you feel good. Don’t go past that point. Stop before it hurts or feels negative. Run for a couple of minutes. Not a couple of miles. Make it enjoyable, make it easy. Make yourself want to do more next time. In the beginning (#NameThatBook) the most important thing to do is simply create the system or process. The length doesn’t matter.

3. Optimize and intensify over time. Once the routine is established you can adjust it to be more productive. Lengthen the duration of activity. Increase the intensity and focus. But raise the bar slowly and you will build even more momentum.

4. Market the habit to yourself by putting cues in your path.  If you want to journal, leave your journal and pen out where you will be reminded to write. Put your exercise clothes on your dresser or bathroom counter so they are easy to pick up and put on. Place your laundry to be put away on your bed. This provides additional obvious cues and reduces friction to action.

5. You can change your life in one day. Quitting smoking may be hard, but it’s not hard to not smoke for a day. The same holds true for exercising, eating well or playing an instrument. Commit to one day, each day. It will make you feel like a winner every day. You will be inspired to do more when you feel like you are winning.

6. When you have a problem starting or maintaining a habit there is a problem with your system. If your habit is failing it isn’t you. It’s the system. Tweak it to make the habit stick. Make it easier. Change the timing. Change the setting. Use technology for prompts, reminders or encouragement. Pair it with a different reward. Find what you need to nail it.

Key Takeaway

Use good habits to create good habits. Set your identity and your actions will follow. Underdo it at the start. Allow yourself to be an amateur. Create obvious prompts. Optimize and intensify over time. Keep stringing together good days. And just don’t stop.

*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 valuable life lesson Will Smith could use right now.

Everyone makes mistakes. Will Smith reminded us of that on Sunday night. And if you are a learning, growing, improving human your mistakes make you better prepared for the next challenge life throws your way. And life is going to throw more challenges your way. It’s what life does.

Early in my career, I made a mistake kinda like Will Smith’s. Granted, there were no Oscars involved. It was not on national television. I wasn’t mad at Chris Rock for saying that my wife looked like one of the fittest, most beautiful Hollywood actresses of all time. (You go Demi!) And I didn’t actually touch anyone.

But I did overreact to a coworker who had done something wrong.

In the moments that followed my overreaction, my boss gave me one of the most valuable lessons I have learned in my career. He simply and calmly told me:

When you are right, don’t respond in a way that makes you have to apologize.

It was great advice. It perfectly reframed my mistake for me. I could see that I was in the right, until I wasn’t. Yes, I had been wronged. But I became wronger. The court of public opinion would have acquitted me, until my behavior was such that they could no longer support me. #IWishIKnewHowToAcquitYou…

For two decades now that piece of advice has been written into my decision-making code. When I am processing how to respond to aggravations, slights, irritations, and insults I frequently access that code. And it always helps me make better decisions. As a result, I don’t give my power of rightness back to those who have wronged me.

Key Takeaway

When you are right, don’t respond in a way that makes you have to apologize.

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

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

How highly successful people win even when they are tired.

Sunday was the first day of Daylight Saving Time in America. We all gained an hour of sunshine but lost an hour of sleep. Which is a pretty good trade, unless you are a vampire.

Late Sunday afternoon I told my 14-year old son Johann that it was time for us to go to the gym. Not surprisingly, he told me he didn’t want to go. He said he was tired. I told him that I was too. But that we were going to go lift weights anyway.

When we got into the Jeep I knew it was time for a Father-Son talk. Thankfully, it wasn’t going to be one of those Father-Son talks where you have to use all the anatomically correct language and try not to giggle.

Me and Johann the moment I first held my book.

As we pulled out of our neighborhood and headed towards the gym I told Johann that I was about to share one of the most important lessons I would ever share with him. And I wanted him to listen closely. Here is what I said:

The Daylight Saving Day Lesson

You will always be tired. For the rest of your life, you will be tired every frick’n day. And being tired will always be an excuse you can use to get out of doing anything.

But if you use the I’m tired’ excuse you will never accomplish great things. You will never have big successes. You will never break away from the massive pack of average.

When you are tired, you have to go anyway. Work anyway. Compete anyway. Exercise anyway. Maintain your best habits anyway.

Become the type of person who does things despite being tired. And you will build momentum. You will separate yourself from others who use being tired as an excuse to not do what they know they should do.

You will do special things. You will make something great of yourself. You will make your parents proud. You will make yourself proud. And you will know that you are a badass. A badass who gets tired, like everyone else. But when you are tired and don’t feel like doing hard work you do it anyway. That’s how you win at life.

-Dad

Key Takeaway

You will always be tired. Don’t use it as an excuse. Go anyway. And use it as proof that you are a tough mofo who does the necessary work, even when you are tired. Because that’s what great people do.

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

+If we are on the same frequency, you’ll also enjoy my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Why I take my mom to work with me every day.

When I was a kid my Mom was my public speaking coach. Not that I wanted one. But my Mom insisted that public speaking was an important life skill. And if she did one thing right in her parenting role, she was going to have kids who knew how to speak well in front of others. And if she did one thing wrong, it would be that those kids wouldn’t know how to stop talking.

Jill Albrecht knows a thing or two about public speaking. She is a funny, energetic and dynamic woman who comes alive on stage. When I was a young boy she was involved in the Jaycettes, which was the women’s version of the Jaycees, a leadership and development organization. And every year the Jaycettes held a public speaking competition.

I remember my mom entering the local competition, and to my surprise and delight, she won. She moved on to the Wisconsin state competition, and won that too. That win qualified her for the national competition in Cincinnati. I was excited to go, and hoped to see WKRP, and meet Loni Anderson (who went to high school with my Aunt Carol).

The national competition, which was held in a large auditorium in downtown Cincinnati, was the first time I had ever seen my Mom deliver her speech in public. And I couldn’t believe how good she was. She commanded the stage. Her pace, her pauses and her power were mesmerizing. The way she emphasized key words and phrases made you underline those important words in your head too. Her masterful use of hand gestures made her fun to watch. And her effective use of eye contact made it feel as if her message was intended specifically for me. Like when she shot me daggers in church.

Then, after all the speakers were finished, and the judges had a moment to confer, the top finishers were announced. And the last person announced, with the top score, and winner of the national speaking competition, was Jill Albrecht. My Mom! And in the back of the auditorium, I practically exploded with pride as my Mom took center stage to rousing applause to accept her award. My Mom was a baller!

My Career

Throughout my career in advertising, I have given thousands of presentations. In fact, I have already guest-lectured to two college classes this week, and it is only Wednesday morning. In other words, I use my Mom’s public speaking lessons practically every day.

But I also pass those speaking and performing lessons that my Mom taught me on to others. Over the course of my career, I have directed performances by well-known TV personalities like Rachael Ray. I have directed NASCAR drivers including Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kevin Harvick, and Danica Patrick. And I have even directed movie star Julia Roberts. And every time I provide guidance on how to deliver a line, I am channeling my Mom.

San Francisco

Two weeks ago I flew to San Francisco to film the CEO of one of The Weaponry’s great clients. This CEO is a rockstar. The company she co-founded is now a $10 billion company, and taking off like a rocket. As we worked together she soaked up direction like a moisture-wicking workout shirt. And on multiple occasions she stopped and asked me how I would say a line or a phrase, noting that she liked the way that I delivered the lines.

As I sat in the CEO’s downtown corner office, where pictures of her with President Obama hung on the wall (she has met him 3 times) I couldn’t help but recognize that it wasn’t my direction she liked. It was my Mom’s. It was the lessons on style, pace, and emphasis that she taught me as a young boy that I was simply passing along. Like a family recipe.

Happy Birthday

Today is my Mom’s 71st birthday. Today also marks the 24th anniversary of my career. I know this because I started my first job on my Mom’s birthday. And today I recognize how valuable her lessons on public speaking have been to my career. They helped me as I interviewed for jobs. They helped me as I presented ideas to clients. They helped me in new business pitches. They helped me as I gave speeches and lectures. And they helped me direct major celebrities and rockstar CEOs.

Key Takeaway

The lessons we teach others can benefit them for a lifetime. Keep teaching and sharing what you know. Empower others with your skills, knowledge and life lessons. You never know how many people you may positively impact in the process.

Thank you Mom. You have directed me well. Happy Birthday. Love, Adam

I’ve been teaching my son about business. And here’s what I have learned.

Being a dad can be hard. One of the great challenges for me as a dad is not laughing at the really funny but inappropriate things my kids say and do. Potty humor has not lost its power over me. I regularly get in trouble with Dawn, my parenting partner, for laughing at things I’m not supposed to laugh at. I am told that I am encouraging my kids’ behavior. But hey, I want to be an encouraging Dad.

To counterbalance my chronic immaturity, I also try to be a good influence and teach my kids important life lessons. I have been reading Dale Carnegie with my 13-year old son, Johann. I have read Rich Dad. Poor Dad. to my now 14-year old daughter Ava. And I  am currently reading Rich Dad. Poor Dad. with my 9-year-old son, Magnus.

Magnus is really fun to teach about business. Even though he is only 9 he is displaying the same type of interest in business ideas that he has in sports. Which is great, because business is the ultimate competitive sport. And because Magnus is now my retirement plan.

IMG_6832
Me and Magnus and our hair and some wind in Astoria, Oregon.

As we read Rich Dad. Poor Dad. Magnus is fascinated by the good financial advice offered by the book. He now knows that assets are things that make you money and that liabilities are things that cost you money. He knows that poor people work for money and that rich people make their money work for them.

Over the past few weeks, Magnus has shared a steady stream of business thoughts. He has a notebook that he is filling with ideas. The ideas range from a garage cleaning business to a business idea for boys with long hair. Because Magnus has long hair, like his father. And like 9-year-old girls. Which I expect is why he likes wearing baseball caps. And why he doesn’t like wearing pink dresses.

Magnus and I have talked about business processes, research, pricing, margin and the value of good employees. What started out as a father wanting to teach his son a few important ideas about business has turned into a son asking lots of great questions to extract more information in order to help him paint a more complete picture in his head.

Last weekend as we were working on a yard project, Magnus revealed with great excitement that he came up with a business that he and I could partner on. I was proud and curious about what he was thinking. So I asked him to tell me more about his business idea. He started by sharing that he picked out a great name for the business already.  Curious, I asked him what the name of the business was going to be. He said, ‘We’ll be Madams! It’s a combination of Magnus and Adam’s!

It tried not to burst with laughter. He was so proud of his name. It was the perfect mashup of our first names. But little did little Magnus know that it also sounded like this 9-year-old boy thought it would be a great business idea to run a brothel. It seems I have much more to teach. 

Key Takeaway

Take time to teach your kids, nieces, nephews and neighbors what you know. Whether it is about business, how to fix a lawnmower, applying first-aid, or any of the millions of things in between, your knowledge is valuable. Pass it along. You may be surprised how enthusiastically a child responds to your teaching. It can help develop confidence and prepare them with life skills. But it could also expose them to a career path or hobby that will positively influence the trajectory and quality of their life. Who knows, you may also enjoy a good laugh along the way. Because kids say the darndest things.

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

The top 4 things I have enjoyed about entrepreneurship.

For many years I dreamed of owning my own business. Like Bruce Springsteen, I loved the idea of being my own boss. I liked the idea of making my own money. I thought that starting your own business sounded badass. Because that entrepreneurial leap seemed like Evel Knievel jumping a whole fleet of school buses on his motorcycle. And I wanted to try it myself to see how it felt.

My Leap Year Leap

4 years ago this week I did it. I launched the advertising and idea agency The Weaponry.  And the leap certainly has offered an Evel Knievel-type thrill. Yet with very little risk of broken bones. Which is nice.

However, the things I have enjoyed most are not being the boss, making my own money, or feeling like a badass. In fact, I could not have predicted the things I have enjoyed most ahead of time. They are benefits that you have to take the leap to discover. Unless of course someone takes the leap, writes those things down, and shares them with the world in a blog post. Like I am doing right now. 

The Top 4 Things I Have Enjoyed Most About My 4 Years of Entrepreneurship  

1. Getting To Say Yes To Anything.

People long to get to a position in life where they can say no to things they don’t want to do. But that is small thinking. When you own your own business you get to say yes to anything. Kinda like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally.  If an opportunity comes along that seems too small, too crazy, or needs too be completed too fast I can say yes to it anyway. In fact, I can decide to work on anything that interests me. The budget can be small, or nonexistent. And I can still say, ‘Yes, we will help.’ In business, that is a super power. 

2. Paying People.

I always imagined that making your own money as an entrepreneur would be amazing.  What I couldn’t imagine was the feeling of sharing thousands of dollars with others for their hard work. And then tens of thousands of dollars. And then hundreds of thousands of dollars. The first day that I noticed The Weaponry had paid people over a million dollars I just stared at my Quickbooks screen and smiled, like a perv watching online porn. Ironically, the payouts have been the great reward in the adventure. Because I know we are positively impacting many lives. Not just mine.   

3. Creating A Valuable Tool.

Early in my career I was in a focus group full of power tool enthusiast. And when asked what his favorite tool was, one Tim Taylor-type said, ‘My favorite tool is the right tool I need right now.’ Then he grunted.

I’ll never forget that.  Over the past 4 years we have developed The Weaponry into a valuable problem-solving tool. Our clients turn to us because The Weaponry is the right tool they need right now.

This business is a valuable tool because it helps convert opportunity into reality.  It helps make the invisible visible. It opens new paths. And it magnetizes brands and helps draw people to them. When clients call us they are saying, you have the tool our business needs right now to be successful. Which makes building and owning that tool extremely rewarding.  

4. Having Wet Clay.

Before I started The Weaponry I thought of a business like an office with people and desks and a logo. But once you create your own company you realize that a business is really wet clay. And as an Entrepreneur you have the ability to shape and reshape the business any way you want. In fact, it is your responsibility to continuously reshape the clay to improve and optimize it. As businesses respond to the COVID-19 crisis, we are all reshaping the clay to make sure we are prepared for what the world needs today, and tomorrow. Because the world needs small businesses. 

Key Takeaway 

Entrepreneurship offers one of the greatest adventures on the planet. It is empowering,  rewarding and infinitely creative. It offers the opportunity to positively impact others in ways that are hard to imagine before the journey starts. Thank you for sharing in my journey. I can’t wait to see where we go next!

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

What will you do with your bonus hour?

There are not enough hours in a day to do all of the things you would like to do. That is just a fact. Time is the most precious commodity on Earth. It’s worth more than diamonds, helium and CBD. At the end of your days you won’t wish for more money, a nicer car or a fancier home. You would trade all your worldly possessions (and some of your purely regional possessions) for more time.

Bonus Hour

Today marks the end of Daylight Saving Time. Most people focus on the negative fact that the sun now sets earlier. But don’t be a Debbie Sundowner. Today is a great day. It is the one day a year when the universe, Father Time, and the American Clocker’s Panel give you a bonus hour.

At 2am local time you received your annual 1-hour time bonus. With that additional hour the universe also handed you an important question:

‘What will you do with your bonus hour?’ -Universe

When you receive a work bonus, a tax refund or a lottery payout, you spend a lot of time thinking about what you will do with the money. But have you spent any time thinking about what you will do with your extra hour? You should. Because until you can buy a time machine from Marty McFly, your hour is more valuable and more precious than any monetary bonus you will ever receive. 

Invest Your Time

Take a moment today to think about how you will invest your bonus hour. If you came to Albrecht Time Investment Advisors LLC, we would encourage you to invest your time in one of the following areas:

  • Your health
  • Your family
  • Your faith
  • Your friendships
  • Your personal growth
  • Your peace of mind
  • Your community
  • Your future
  • Your career
  • Your hobbies
  • Your bucket list
  • Your experiences
  • Your personal legend
  • Anything that will make you laugh.

Key Takeaway

Don’t waste time. Invest it in the most important areas of your life. By spending your time wisely you will enjoy a richer, more fulfilling and more impactful experience on Earth. Remember, you will be dead sooner than you want to be. So take advantage of all the time you can get while you are still here.

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

The important life lesson I learned from a day on the water.

There is nothing I like more than a good adventure. That’s why my family and I went for an 8.5 mile paddle down the Milwaukee River last weekend. The weather was perfect. The water level was ideal. So we loaded up our 3 kayaks and our 17-foot canoe and set out for an afternoon of paddling, floating and fishing.

Albrecht Island

3 miles into our trip we spotted an inviting island in the stream. We paddled towards it, half expecting to see Dolly Pardon and Kenny Rogers. We pulled our boats onto the island and had a fun break in our trip. My kids swam. I fished. My wife Dawn relaxed and took pictures.

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Swimming near Albrecht Island. This is why we live in Wisconsin.

Uh Oh…

When I got out of my canoe I noticed something alarming 200 yards down the river. From bank to bank, in a straight line across the river, I could see the water was frothing, foaming and white. It looked dangerous, like a low overhead dam. That kind of water obstruction is never something to mess with.

As I mapped our trip I hadn’t noticed any damn dams that we would have to portage around. But that’s exactly what this looked like. I anxiously pulled out my phone to see if I had missed something. But I didn’t find any insights to the boiling water just below me.

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Trying to formulate a plan.

I didn’t notice any good place to portage around the water obstacle either. This wasn’t good. Especially since we had over 5 miles to paddle to get to the takeout point where our other car was parked.

The Plan

I called my family together to discuss the challenge in front of us. I told them that I was going to paddle down and scout the boiling water. I wanted them to paddle to a spot on the right side of the river where they would be close enough for my followup instruction, but out of the current.

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Dawn and Ava Bonding Time.

Preparing For The Worst

I gathered all the valuables (phones, wallets, sunglasses and beef jerky) and sealed them in the waterproof pack in my canoe. I filled the pack with plenty of air so that it would float downstream if the boat flipped. Then I reminded my children that if they got flipped out of the boat that they should float feet-first down the river to avoid hitting their head on a rock. I thought my advice would make me look good when Family Services came to visit me afterwards.

With my family as prepared as they could be, we pushed off Albrecht Island. The Celine Dion song from Titanic was playing in my head as I slowly paddled down river for a closer look at the whitewater. To add to the pressure of the moment, my 9-year old son Magnus was my co-pilot, sitting in the bow of the canoe. If things went bad, he was my first priority.

Upon Closer Inspection

As we approached the whitewater I could see that it was as lively and frothy as it appeared upstream. But as I scanned the water from bank to bank there were no signs of a dam, boulders or a tree in the water. There wasn’t any banjo music either, which was a huge relief. What I saw was textbook whitewater rapids. The kind of rapids that add an exciting roller coaster moment to any paddle.

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The new album cover for Dawn And The Deadwoods.

Let’s Do This!

I smiled broadly knowing we were going to run the rapids, rather than portage around them. I shouted instructions to Magnus that we were going to point the boat straight downstream, then paddle hard, directly into the foaming, rolling rapids. I signaled enthusiastically to Dawn, Ava (13) and Johann (12) to follow us.

Then Magnus and I dug our paddles into the water, and sped into the roiling water. All around us the water was loud, heaving and foaming. The speed was exhilarating. And the rocking of the boat was thrilling. A moment later we had passed through the whitewater and found ourselves floating on the rapidly flowing flat-water below.

Yee Haw!

I was giddy, My heart was pounding. And I shouted to Magnus, ‘What did you think of that?’

He immediately shouted back ‘That was awesome!’

We quickly wheeled the canoe around and paddled back upstream to wait for the others to shoot the rapids. We positioned our boat so that if anyone tipped we could quickly paddle to them. We were prepared to grab their kayak, paddle, flip flops, or any other items lost in the adventure.

One by one Ava, Johann and Dawn approached the rapids and shot through them, fully intact, fully upright and with full sets of pearly white teeth flashing in wide smiles.

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Post rapids. Note: Magnus had his lifejacket on when we went through the rapids.

Reunited And It Feels So Good

A minute later we were all reunited downstream. Everyone was smiling, laughing, high- fiving, and talking about how much fun that was. The kids said the rapids were the best part of the trip so far. Dawn and I agreed.

We pointed our boats downstream and paddled for 2 more hours, covering 5 more miles. The river was beautiful and we had a great time. But the highlight of the trip was the rapids.

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I love a good adventure.

 

The Reminder

There was a great lesson in this experience. The part of the trip that I was most worried about turned out to be the most fun of all. It was when I felt most alive and most engaged. Life often works that way.

It was a reminder to take on difficult challenges. We must continue to try new things, and hard things and scary things. By pushing ourselves we grow and learn and enjoy life to the fullest. We gain experience, confidence and perspective. And we add interesting chapters to our personal story.

When I launched my advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry, it was a lot like approaching whitewater in a canoe. The adventure was full of threats and opportunities. But the scariest parts have turned out to be the most exciting and rewarding. The rapids provide the best stories. And the best opportunities to learn and grow. I’ve come out stronger than I went in. I’ve also learned the rapids are more fun when you have others with you. Because life and business are team sports.

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Post paddle we stopped for burgers at Hefner’s in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

Key Takeaway

Don’t avoid the scary stuff. Scout it out. Prepare for it. Then paddle towards it, fast and straight. You’ll navigate your way through it, and find that it wasn’t nearly as scary as  you thought it would be. In fact, the scary parts are often the best parts. You just don’t know that until you reach the other side.

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

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We paddled from Saukville, Wisconsin to Grafton’s Veterans Park. We all thought the name of the park where we put in was pretty funny. But the Tendick family probably didn’t think so…