I had a totally messed-up travel day. And it was amazing!

On Monday I flew from Milwaukee to Cleveland for work. I was excited about the trip. And not just because I have seen all 3 of the Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Videos. (If you haven’t seen them before take a moment now. You’ll thank me later.)

The trip had been planned for 5 months. And you know what they say about the best-laid plans…

Here is a list of things that went wrong with my travel:

  • My Sunday morning flight from Milwaukee to Cleveland was canceled.
  • I was rebooked on connecting flights 24 hours later.
  • My return flight from Cleveland to Chicago Monday evening was delayed by 4 hours.
  • I missed my connecting flight from Chicago to Milwaukee.
  • I arrived in Chicago at 11pm Monday night.
  • All rental cars were sold out.
  • There were no buses to Milwaukee
  • I had to spend the night in Chicago.
  • On the way to my Chicago hotel the cab driver kept taking wrong turns and turned a 15-mile cab ride into a 25-mile ride.
  • I had to sternly talk to him about his mistakes and let him know I wouldn’t pay for them.
  • I checked into my hotel at 1am
  • Tuesday morning I had to take a bus from O’Hare Airport to Milwaukee’s General Mitchell Field.
Getting my work on, on a bus!

That Was Interesting

It’s easy to say I had a terrible trip. But it was amazing! I would do it all over again in a second. Here’s why.

1. The Talk

The travel to Cleveland was for a speaking engagement. I got to talk to teachers, and teachers of teachers, at the NAEYC 2022 Professional learning Institute. (To know what NAEYC is just click the link.)

Here’s me and one of my slides. Which is not as fun as a slide on a playground.

I shared lessons from my book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? The audience was amazing. They listened intently, asked great questions, laughed at the funny parts, and they made the whole trip worthwhile, even with all the surprises. Thanks to my friend Jenn Koel for inviting me to speak.

Look, no one is asleep!
Talking to attendees and signing books.
Me and Jenn Koel of ACCESS. Jenn was one of the first people to request a speaking engagement after my book was published.

2. The Once In A Lifetime Experience

After my talk, I thought I would have an uneventful flight home. But my flight from Cleveland to Chicago was fouled up by the epic thunderstorms that rolled through Chicago like a Garth Brooks song on Monday evening.

If you know your Great Lakes geography (I know most of you don’t), you know that Cleveland lives a few hundred miles east of Chicago. And if you know your garden variety weather patterns, you know that weather typically flows from west to east.

This means that a flight from Cleveland to Chicago would pass a storm system traveling from Chicago to Cleveland like 2 youth sports teams high-fiving each other after a game. #GoodGameGoodGameGoodGameGoodGame

And that’s exactly what happened with my plane and that thunderstorm.

Once our 6:45pm flight finally left Cleveland around 10:30pm we started seeing flashes through the windows on the right side of the plane. However, I was in a window seat on the left side of the plane. Boo.

As a storm lover, I was eager to see what was happening on the other side of the aisle. (Kinda like a political pundit.)

When we first pushed back from the gate in Cleveland 4 hours earlier the plane was completely full. But because of the delays we returned to the gate and deplaned like Tattoo from Fantasy Island. Many of my flightmates were rebooked because of missed connections. So when we finally reboarded for The Windy City about 1/3 of the seats were empty.

I looked around and noticed the exit row on the right side of the plane was now empty. So I snuck down the aisle and slipped over to the window seat. I eagerly peered out the airplane window. And I was awestruck by what I witnessed.

I have been in a hurricane. I have seen the northern lights in Alaska. I have seen thundersnow. And I have seen lightning strike the same place twice within minutes, just yards from where I was standing. But none of the epic Mother Nature shows I have seen were as intense as what I saw out that little plane over Northern Ohio and Indiana.

The strobe lightning was non-stop until we reached Chicago. I filmed and photographed the storm so I could share what I saw.

On Tuesday, while riding the bus from Chicago to Milwaukee, I shared a video on Twitter. Fox News retweeted it. Then I was contacted by numerous media outlets asking if they could reshare the video. I have also been asked for interviews about the experience. Crazy right?

Here’s the video I shared. Note: that is NOT a time-lapse video. This all happened in real-time.

I assume someone below yelled ‘Rat Farts!’ on a golf course.

Here’s another video I took that you are seeing here first.

This pairs nicely with the song Thunderstruck by AC/DC.

The Twitter Activity

In 24 hours this has been seen over 14,000 times on Fox’s Twitter account alone.

Key Takeaway

Look for the good things in life and you will find them. Because of this trip, I made new friends, I enjoyed new experiences and I was able to share some of the best lessons I know with people who were eager to hear them.

Because of my flight delay going home, a window of opportunity opened that allowed me to witness the most incredible light show I have ever seen. (Sorry Trans Siberian Orchestra Pyrotechnics Director.)

After hours of delays, the view out of my window was so incredible and lasted so long, that I would have paid money and waited again just to see the show.

I will forget about the time I spend waiting for the plane. I won’t worry about the night I had to spend in Chicago or the bus ride back to MKE.

But I can never unsee what I saw out that plane window. So I’m not mad. Not even a little. I’m thankful for the opportunity, and the experience.

Remember to look for the great gifts that are wrapped in bad paper. And you will accumulate more rewards than you can imagine.

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

+If you enjoy a good life lesson, you’ll find many more in my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Special shout out to my new friends Vijay Shah and Apshara Ravichandran whom I met on my flight from Chicago to Cleveland Monday morning. #Row27Crew

My book is 25% off for 25 hours on May 25th!

My book is on sale until on May 25, 2022! You can get it here now. But if you want the backstory of this promotion read on!

Making Things Happen!

I am a huge believer in the power of false deadlines. Your hopes, dreams, and goals will just float in infinite space until you set a deadline to make them real. The false deadline is my secret weapon to achievement. I’ve used it for everything from starting businesses, to writing books, to having babies. Ok, so I have never actually had a baby myself. But I am a member of a 2-person Baby Cooperative. And the co-op has resulted in 3 babies thanks to false deadlines.

The Book

During the Covid Lockdown in 2020 I gave myself an aggressive false deadline. I told myself that I would finish the first full draft of my first book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? by May 25. The book is a collection of 80 life lessons that have had a significant impact on my happiness and success. And lookie here! Lesson 33 is The Path To Great Achievement Is Lined With False Deadlines.

Why May 25?

I chose May 25 as my deadline to complete the rough draft for 2 significant reasons.

  1. It was the last day of the Covid lockdown in Wisconsin.
  2. It was my birthday.

Then I got to work. And just as planned, by May 25, 2020, I had the first full draft of my book completed. Thanks to that false deadline, I pushed myself to create a 50,000-word manuscript in just 2 months.

I then put the manuscript away for a couple months, as I was instructed to do by Stephen King in his book On Writing. This helps you gain perspective and come back to the manuscript with fresh eyes and a fresh mind. (And I assume it helps Stephen King figure out who should die next.)

Then, I set a second false deadline to finish the second draft of my book by the end of 2020. And just as planned, I finished that draft by December 27th. (My parents’ 51st wedding anniversary.)

Finally, I set a 3rd false deadline to have my book published by the end of 2021. And I hit that too. But it all started with the first deadline of May 25th. Because it’s the first step that matters most. (That’s chapter 9.)

This was the first time I held my book. Or maybe this was when I accidentally squirted lemon juice in my eye.

25-Hour Sale!

Now, to help celebrate this significant book day, and my birthday, I am having a 25-hour sale. Starting at midnight on May 25th and running until 1am on May 26th, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? will be 25% off.

That means that paperback copies will be just $12 on Amazon. You can buy up to 25 copies at that price! (Just kidding. You can buy 25 million copies if you like.)

Even better, the hard-to-find hardcovers are just $19.50. However, you have to contact me directly for those at adam@theweaponry.com. (You can also get the 1-day discount price on paperbacks from me too if you are in the Milwaukee area. (Otherwise Amazon is just as good.)

Author Adam Albrecht and NFL running back Jonathan Taylor. Or what I like to call A couple of Badgers and a book.

What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? is a great read of summer vacations. But it is also a great gift for graduates. So if you need to pick up something for that grad in your world, here’s a chance to do it for less.

Thank You!

Thank you for continuing to read my stories, ideas, articles and musings. Thank you for supporting my book and for helping share worthwhile ideas and inspiration. I hope you all have a Happy My Birthday!

Enjoy What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? for 25% off on May 25th by clicking here.

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.

To enjoy a happier life invest more time in your personal projects.

If you want a better, more interesting and more fulfilling life take on more personal projects. If you don’t, a disproportionate amount of your life will be taken up with your must-dos, and not your want-to-dos.

Personal projects allow you to take on exciting new roles in miniature. Because they let you dip your toe into a new world on a small scale. (Unless you have really big toes.)

Your personal projects are experiments. They let you test and learn. They let you take action and observe reactions. They enable you to adjust the variables to get new and better outcomes. No Bunsen burner required.

Your personal projects are small investments you place on yourself. With a small investment of time, money or energy you can generate significant personal returns, Jedi.

Matt Mullenweg says that WordPress, the platform this blog post is created and published on, was started as a project. It was simply interesting and enjoyable for him to develop. He never thought of it as a business. But that small project is now the hostess with the mostesss, as it now hosts more websites than any other platform in the world. Which allows millions of people to create their own personal projects.

My Projects.

I love starting personal projects. Here are a few of mine:

  1. I love to regularly print original t-shirt designs that interest me. That has evolved into a business called Adam & Sleeve, and a whole bunch of fun shirts I love to wear.
  2. I started an illustrated cartoon series called Kirky. Because I always thought that would be fun. And it has been. Thanks to Dan Koel for teaming up with me on this.
  3. I began writing a blog in 2015. This is my 726th post. But who’s counting? (The WordPress platform counts them automatically. Thanks, Matt Mullenweg!)
  4. I began taking on freelance advertising projects early in my carer. That eventually lead to me starting my own Advertising and Idea Agency called The Weaponry.
  5. A few years ago I volunteered to coach a middle school track program a couple of days a week. That evolved into becoming a high school assistant track coach at Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin. Which led to me coaching a handful of other Milwaukee-area discus throwers and shot putters on the side. Which means that my side projects have spawned side projects.
  6. During the Covid lockdown of 2020 I started a manuscript writing project. That evolved into publishing the book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? with Ripples Media in December of 2021.
  7. Since the beginning of my career, I have regularly volunteered to give talks to college and high school students and professional groups. I have gotten pretty good at sharing a good and compelling story. Now businesses, schools, clubs, conferences, tradeshows and other organizations across the United States have invited me to come share what I know. (And I am always up for more.)
  8. I volunteered to organize my high school reunion last year. A few months later I was hanging out in Hanover, New Hampshire with fellow Marauders who I hadn’t seen in decades. Thanks to Covid, we all walked away with a new appreciation for our time together, and some fun new stories to share from our shared experience.

Key Takeaway

Take on more personal projects. They are highly rewarding investments of your time and energy. They are great experiments that let you test, learn and improve. They can add great joy. They can unlock new doors and offer you more control over your life and time. When you take on a personal project it has the potential to both add to your story and change the course of your life. All you have to do is get started.

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

+For more life lessons I have harvested, check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?

I guest-hosted a TV show!

An interesting life is simply a collection of interesting experiences. This week I added to my collection by guest-hosting The Morning Blend on TMJ4 in Milwaukee.

It all started during the Covid Lockdown of 2020 when I decided to fill my newfound free time by writing a book. That book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? was published by Ripples Media in December of 2021. A funny thing happens after you write a book. Not only are people interested in what you wrote, but suddenly people are interested in what have to say too.

My friend Mike ‘Borto’ Bortolotti (I have no idea where Borto’s nickname came from) introduced me to his friend Molly Fay, host of The Morning Blend on NBC in Milwaukee. Borto shared that I had recently written a book and that he thought I would be a great guest on the show.

Soon after that introduction, Molly’s co-host, Tiffany Ogle, posted a question on Instagram asking what new book she should read next. Over 20 people insisted that she read What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? So she reached out to me too. That afternoon I delivered copies of my book to both Tiffany and Molly, and within a week I was a guest on the show via Zoom. You can watch the segment here.

The first time I was on The Morning Blend. I was the meat in a Lady in Red sandwich.

Then a couple of weeks ago, Molly called me to say that Tiffany was going to be on vacation at the end of April and that they had guest hosts lined up for all but one of the days she was going to be out. Then she popped the question. (When I typed the last sentence I initially typed a double O instead of a double P in popped...)

Molly asked if I was available and interested in guest hosting on April 27. I quickly checked my calendar to see if the current date was April 1. It was not. Which was crazy. So I checked April 27, and thankfully I was available. So I quickly agreed.

Then on Friday, April 15th I received another call from Molly, saying they just had a cancellation for the Tuesday, April 19th show. She wondered if I could pull together a segment in time. I said I would. And like a certified letter, 2 business days later I arrived on set, and talked to Molly and Tiffany about how to create Power Habits. You can see that segment here.

My second appearance on the show, talking about Power Habits and demonstrating the 2-handed hand gesture.

Guest Hosting

This Wednesday was my guest-hosting experience. I received a list of questions that Molly planned to ask me ahead of time. I received a rundown of the show segments that I would be involved in. This included the opening chitty chat, an interview with Tyler Mader, whom I was super impressed with, and the Sound Off Question of The Day responses.

I began Wednesday morning by putting on clothes because they have a dress code that requires it. I showed up at the studio 30 minutes before the show went live. I met with Molly and the producer, Katie Pinkowski. They gave me a few pointers and reminders. Like don’t chew tobacco on-set. Don’t say Let’s Go Brandon, even if Brandon calls in and asks for some encouragement. And resist the temptation to say Scotch, Scotch, Scotch, I love Scotch, or Stay Classy San Diego on air.

I skipped the makeup chair as part of my Men, You Are Beautiful without Blush campaign to empower guys to not feel pressured to wear makeup on camera, on stage or in the bedroom.

I got mic’d up by Dorraine. And I told her the next time I would wear a spandex shirt so she would really have to work to fish the wire up my shirt. Then, about 3 minutes before 9am CT Molly and I made our way to our chairs. Ben gave us our countdown, our camera cues, and pointed at us to get the party started. You can see the opening segment here.

Can you tell I was excited about the opportunity?

At 9am sharp cheddar (Wisconsin Time) we were off to the races. It was fun and fast. I never had time to get nervous. Mostly because Molly is a pro.

You can see my opening to a segment on farming and Culvers here.

You can see my interview with Tyler Mader here.

This was my favorite part of the show. It is the last few minutes of the show when Molly and I talked about fruit...

Tyler ‘The Smiler’ Mader, Molly ‘The Magic Maker’ Fay, and me.

Thanks for the opportunity Molly, Tiffany, Katie and Kim. Thanks for the on-air chat Tyler. Thanks to Ben for keeping things rolling. Thanks for the mickity-mic check Dorraine. And thank you to all of my friends and family for encouraging and supporting me before and after the show aired.

Key Takeaway

Write a book. It opens the door to amazing new opportunities. Then make sure you take advantage of your opportunities. Because as JFK said, ‘Things do not happen. They are made to happen.’ So make sure to make things happen for you.

*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?

Be more you in 2022.

Here we are at the beginning of a new year. Just as each new day presents an opportunity for improvement, each new year presents an opportunity to write a great new chapter in the story of your life. You get to decide if this year brings rising action, a plot twist, the climax, falling action, or if pages are missing and the story doesn’t make any sense.

Remember, Life is Short and Precious.

Last Thursday night I received the type of call you never want to get. My brother-in-law, John Scufsa’s mom, Pat Marsnik, was killed in a terrible car accident. She was out with her husband Ray and brother Bob celebrating Pat and Ray’s wedding anniversary when another driver crossed into their lane near Ely, Minnesota. The accident put a final period on an outstanding story. Pat was in her early 70s and still full of twinkles. She had been an important member of my family for over 25 years. She was a wonderful, warm, friendly, funny woman who no one here on Earth was ready to part with it.

But let Pat Marsnik’s unexpected passing be a reminder that our time here is limited. You never know when your final page will be written. You have to take advantage of the time you have been given. Just like Pat did.

My Mantra for 2022.

There is a phrase that has been pinging in my brain the last few days: Be More You in 2022.

It is a reminder to do more of the things that your ideal you would do. Take on the great challenges. Grow. Go. Improve yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. Develop more and better relationships. Mend fences. Heal wounds. Build bridges. Read. Learn. Travel. Go snipe hunting. Try the Rocky Mountain oyster BOGO special.

In 2022 you have to do things on your bucket list. Take initiative. Take on greater challenges. Do things that scare you. Make the year an amazing part of your story.

There is a very good chance that this is the year that Covid shrinks from lion to house cat. That’s not just my wishful thinking. There is data and science behind it, as reported in this article in the New York Times titled Reason For Hope. (Which I only read because I thought it was going to be about Bob Hope.)

Key Takeaway

Get going. Live your life as if you don’t have a lot of time left to become who you always wanted to be. Pick a couple of big things to focus on this year. Add some small, easy wins. Get a little bit better every day. And be more you in 2022.

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

If you are looking for more positive ideas on growth and self-improvement check out my new book titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

I did my first podcast about my new book.

I dreamed about writing a book for a long time. But I never had the time or focus to make it happen. Then came Covid. I quickly recognized that the Covid lockdown, which began in March of 2020, was a golden opportunity to write something significant. So I did. I emerged from the lockdown with a 50,000 word first draft of a manuscript. And a Boo Radley-type of tan.

Today the book that only existed in the back of my mind before Covid is now all of the United States. Just as the baby bird learns to fly and leaves the nest, my paper baby has left the printer and learned to hitch a ride with an Amazon delivery driver.

I’ve seen pictures of What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? in homes from California to New Hampshire, and from Florida to Oregon. It’s a pretty amazing feeling.

My little friend Drew Lowsley delivering a book in Dallas. If I could get him to deliver all of my books like this I’m sure I would top all the bestseller lists. #DarnChildLaborLaws

Now I have started interviews about the book. Which is an interesting process. It forces you to answer questions like:

  • Why did you write this book?
  • Who is the book for?
  • Why are you the perfect person to share this message?
  • What was the inspiration for chapter 56?
  • Why did you say that entrepreneurship is a game that is sometimes Monopoly, sometimes Go Fish! and sometimes The Running Man?
  • Why didn’t you prepare more for this interview?

My first interview on Jeff Hilimire’s Begin The Begin podcast is available here now. Or you can find it by visiting your favorite podcast dealer. But hitting that link above is pretty easy, so I would just do that.

Jeff and I had a really fun discussion about my book and his interesting role in bringing it to life.

I realized during the fun interview with podcast host and entrepreneur Jeff Hilimire that I hadn’t answered most of the questions he asked me before. No one had ever interviewed me as a published author before. No one had read my book and asked me about the details. No one cared about my inspiration, because they didn’t know I was inspired. And no one knew about chapter 56.

I am happy to have my first interview complete. But I recognize that I will become better at telling the story of my book and of me as an another as I do more interviews. I am preparing now. So if you know a podcaster, blogger, vlogger, reporter, or a student who needs to do an interview for a school project, send them my way. I’ll be ready.

Key Takeaway

Don’t worry about not being great when you start something new. Simply start. Learn. Then get better as you go. Each attempt will teach you how to prepare better for the next time. Stack your learnings. And let your accumulated experiences make you greater and greater as you grow.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them. If you would like to read the first few pages of my book from Ripples Media you can do it here.

Writing a book is like running 3 different marathons.

This is a really exciting week for me. And not just because of Christmas and that Michael Buble Christmas Special/Bubly Sparkling water commerical on NBC last night.

This week I published my first book called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? It’s a project I have been working on for nearly 2 years. You may think that publishing a book is like running a marathon. It is not. It’s like running 3 different marathons. So you will want to carb up before hand.

The 1st Marathon

The first marathon starts with the idea for the book. It includes all of the researching, writing, and re-writing. It ends when you think you have something worth sharing. Sharing your manuscript is kinda like getting into good enough shape that you wouldn’t mind if someone saw you naked. It’s kinda awkward. You’re kinda proud and excited. But you don’t know how you stack up against the other people your publishing partner has seen naked. It’s fun and interesting. As long as they don’t pull out a laser pointer to point out your remaing flaws.

The first step to writing a book is to sit down and write. Or stand up and write if you have one of those stand-up desks. But that doesn’t sound as good. So sit down to start, just so that you can say you did.

The 2nd Marathon

The second marathon is getting the book published. Which includes researching your publishing options, deciding whether to self-publish, other-publish, or a hybrid option. (I published with the amazing team at Ripples Media.) Then you work to eliminate all of the flaws in your book and add anything that may be missing. And things will definitely be missing. This part is like preparing to go to the ball. You get a literary spray tan, botox, and mani-pedi. You get your eyebrows on fleek. You get your hair did. Then you are ready to jump in your carriage, which was recently a pumpkin, and head to the Amazon Ball.

There is my new baby book on Amazon! (I now keep this picture in my wallet.)

The 3rd Marathon

Today, I am at the very beginning of the third marathon. My book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? is published and available on Amazon in both physical and digital form. It’s easy to assume that this is the finish line. It is not. It is critical to remember that getting your book published is simply the end of the second marathon. Now it is time to let the world know your book exists.

A beautiful finished book is a powerful thing. Perhaps the most powerful thing on Earth after the human mind. Because a great book can teach, inspire, entertain, and make you snort cofee out of your nose.

But people have to know about your book in order for it to do the job it was born to do. Others have to be aware that the book exists. They need to understand that there is real value in the book for the reader. They need to know that other people read the book and felt like it was worth their time and their money. Which is why you need to promote the book.

People will also want to know about you, the author. Who are you? Why did you write the book? What is your story? What is the story behind the story? Who have you seen naked? Did you use the laser pointer on them?

Me talking to a class at Marquette Univeristy. Letting people know what I know.

The author’s story is often the bridge to the book itself. This is why the big publishing companies would rather work with famous people. The public has already bought into them. So they will naturally buy their books too. I know it’s lazy, but it’s true.

Key Takeaway

When you commit to writing a book, commit to running all 3 marathons. Write a great manuscript that offers real value to others. Publish your book. Then promote it so that it can have the greatest positive impact on the world. And we all have a world-improving book in us. I hope you write yours.

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

The path to perfection is like making pancakes.

I am not a perfectionist. Perfectionism is a curse. While it pushes you to create the highest quality result possible, it is paralyzing. Because life is not perfect. And if you need it to be you are highly unlikely to get the first version of a new creation out the door in time to make a difference. A difference to you, to the world, to those you can serve.

Instead of a perfectionist’s mindset, I have adopted a pancake-making mindset. If you have ever flipped a flapjack you would bet Mrs. Butterworth that the first pancake won’t turn out quite right. There is some combination of temperature, oil, and griddle seasoning that can’t seem to get synchronized in time to make that first pancake just right. So it always falls short of the glory.

But don’t let that frustrate you. Ask yourself, ‘What would Denny of Denny’s do?’ (#WWDODD or simply #WWDD)

The Prince of Pancakes would work through that first pancake and get to the next round of griddl’n. Because the improvement in the next batch of pancakes is always remarkable.

Real World Example

Right now I am putting the finishing touches on my first book called, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? And I can’t help but think that I have done something wrong in the creation of this book. Maybe I should have made it different in some way. Maybe it should have been longer. Or shorter. Or funnier. After all, I never sprayed milk out my nose while proofreading it.

Maybe my dedication is off. I reworded it about 25 times. (Which shows my dedication to my dedication.) Maybe my bio is too unbio-y. Maybe I didn’t finish it early enough, which caused me to miss the bulk of the holiday gift-giving window. Maybe I shared too much value and would have been better off splitting it into multiple books. Like a cliffhanger-ending double-episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. #yeeeeehaw

Instead of letting my second-guessing about the book stop me, I’ve pushed through. It is my first pancake. I have to make it to be ready for something even better to follow. The second printing of the book would be better. The next book I write will certainly be better in some way.

I have no shame or embarrassment in this. Neither should you. It is how life works. You go and do and try and learn and improve. You can only do what you can do with the conditions as they exist. Each new attempt means that you add more experience to the conditions. Which gets you closer to the ideal. It is the process of perfecting over time that I enjoy. Like a good pancake, covered in real Vermont maple syrup.

Key Takeaway

Don’t be afraid to make your first pancake. It will be less than perfect in some way. But simply by making the first one you will improve, learn, and grow. That is how you make amazing things. Make your first version, and let the challenge of improvement drive you to keep improving. Keep stacking up your attempts like pancakes. It is the true path to perfection.

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

Have you written a book? Or want to?

I am in the final stretches of publishing my first book titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? And there is still so much I don’t know about publishing and successfully promoting a book. However, I know how to ask for help. And I know there are a lot of published authors in my universe. If you are a published author I would love to have you join an Author’s Zoom call.

We’ll talk about your author’s journey. Which is like a hero’s journey if authors were heroes, fighting for those in need with word processing software. We’ll discuss what went right, what went wrong, and what you would do differently next time. You know, the basic advice you would give to pre-published you with the wisdom and experience of authorized-you.

The Author Zoom will be author-to-author education. It will also be a chance to promote your book. Which is reason enough to attend. #amIright

The preliminary discussion guide:

  1. Tell us about your book?
  2. How did you publish it?
  3. What was the best thing you did to promote it?
  4. What did you do wrong?
  5. What were your most important learnings?

If you are a published author and would like to join, please leave a comment, or message me directly here or at adam@theweaponry.com. I plan to have this Zoom call in December so that we can all hit the new year with actionable new knowledge.

Epilogue:

If you haven’t published a book, but have been thinking about it, and would like to join the Zoom as a student, please let me know. And please pass this along to any authors or aspiring authors you know. And if you know any Arthurs, let’s get them there too.