Over the past 5 months, since first publishing my book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?I regularly get asked if I do any public speaking. The simple answer is an emphatic Yes! (And an emphatic Yes! is also the basic message of most of my public speaking.)
The truth is I never turn down an opportunity to speak if there is a chance I can work it into my schedule. Not just because I enjoy it. But also because it is my way of passing along all of the lessons, insights and encouragement that the world has shared with me. Plus, you usually get a free bottle of water.
I enjoy offering motivation and encouragement. I like to teach and share lessons from my own experience. Which is why I think about the following philosophy when I am asked to speak at an event:
“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.”
I also love to entertain. If I would have been born with more funny bones I would love to have been a standup comedian. (But alas, I only have the two not-so-funny bones in my elbows.) So when I get asked to speak I always try to find opportunities to make the audience laugh. And occasionally they will.
My recent speaking events include a book talk to a marketing association, company meetings, guest lectures, and 3 TV appearances.
Over the next weeks and months my speaking engagements include:
• A Career Day event for 8th graders. (A notoriously tough and attention-challenged crowd. I’ll probably resort to some potty humor to keep them engaged.)
• Moderating a panel discussion Tomorrow morning I’m hosting a panel at American Family Field with some interesting and well-known panelists. (Which is sure to induce some panel envy.)
• A talk in Cleveland for a large conference. (I hope they don’t throw any of those Cleveland rocks!)
• Speaking to the leadership team of a very large household brand in Columbus. (Ok, so it’s really more of a Garagehold brand.)
• Speaking to a conference in Chicagoabout branding. (I had to assure attendees that they would not be getting their hide seared.)
• Several association meetings. (I’d like to create a talk titled, ‘Is there an ass in your ociaton?’)
• Guest interviews on podcasts
Plus, I have at least 5 other events in the planning stages.
These speaking events are great opportunities for me to share what I know with the world. I get to pass along energy, enthusiasm and positivity. And I get to remind people that they are responsible for writing a great story of their own life and career every day.
I love the challenge of taking what could easily be a boring and forgettable event and turning it into something fun, entertaining and inspiring. Which is why I get so many speaking requests. And why I am often asked to fill the last slot of the day. (I’m the Keep-Them-Awake Specialist.)
If you have great experience and a positive perspective you should share it with the world. Look for opportunities to speak, educate and inspire. Not only will others learn from you, but you will learn from the experience too. The process of sharing with others forces you to organize and crystalize your own thinking. Which means everyone comes out ahead.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.
> If you are looking for someone to speak at your next event you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back in the fall of 2015, I knew I was going to launch my own business. It was such an exciting adventure that I decided to document it by starting a blog. But like so many big ideas (and Band-Aids on freshly washed hands), I didn’t know if this blogging thing would stick.
Well, it stuck.
Today I am proud to say I have published 700 blog posts. I don’t know many people in the 700 Club, besides Pat Robertson and Jim Bakker. The whole point of the blog was to share what I have learned. But through the process of writing this blog, I have learned a lot too.
My Learnings From Writing 700 Blog Posts.
To do something big simply start with something small. The 700th post is not really that important. The most important one was the first post. Just like an estate begins with a single dollar put away, you need that first post, or first step, most of all. If you have a goal (of course you have a frick’n goal!) take the first step!
2.I found my writing voice. I started my career in advertising as a copywriter. So I wrote a lot. But I wrote in the voice of the brands I worked on. Writing this blog has allowed me to dial into my own writing voice. Most people who know me would say my writing voice is exactly like my speaking voice. (I am one of those people.) I simply write this blog the way I think and the way I talk. That’s my style. Once you find your style, writing becomes easier. It just flows out of you. Like pee.
2.5 You can write anything you want in your own blog. (See the last 2 words of the last paragraph.)
3. Develop your good habits. I never think about whether I am going to write in the morning. It’s totally automatic. Like that Pointer Sisters song. Writing is a strong habit for me. Sunday through Thursday morning I am in my office writing by 6:10 am. I write until 7 or 8 am. On Friday and Saturday mornings, I write, read or exercise. Studies show that it takes an average of 66 times to create a habit. Then you don’t think about it anymore. You just do. Today I just do. Like Whitney Houston in So Emotional.
4.A blog lets you take control. The world is full of gatekeepers who are trying to keep you out. They are trying to not let you in up in da club you’d like to be in. I prefer to make my own club. I love musicians who put their music on YouTube. Artists who put their work on Etsy. And Dancers who show off on TikTok. Blogs let writers show off what they can do without anyone else getting a veto vote. The most beautiful thing about technology today is that it empowers you to create and share. So, create and share any way you can.
5. You can be read around the world. I publish my blog on WordPress. This platform is read all over the planet. Today, my writings have been read in over 120 different countries. That’s pretty crazy. This past Valentine’s Day I wasn’t scheduled to publish anything. I was just going to enjoy being in love. But I had an idea on my drive to work. So as soon as I got to work I sat down and hammered out that additional idea and posted it right away. Within 2 hours that idea I had on my commute had been read in 30 countries. That’s wild. That’s WordPress. (That should be their new tagline.) (No it shouldn’t.)
6.It’s not about who you know. Before starting my blog and launching The Weaponry, my advertising and idea agency, I read The Little Black Book of Connections by Jeffery Gitomer. In his book, he writes, ‘It’s not who you know. It’s who knows you.’ I took that to heart. By writing this blog I have been able to reach and connect with far more people than I could have met on my own. This has brought opportunities my way that I never would have had without the blog. That compounds over time. Like Compound W.
7. I think differently now. I have always been a creative thinker. I have always had a lot of ideas. But by writing a blog and needing to have new ideas to share 3 days a week you begin finding ideas everywhere. When I was a kid Tootsie Roll had a commercial with a jingle that said, “Everything I think I see become a Tootsie Roll to me.’ And the kid in the commercial saw Tootsie Roll-shaped things everywhere. Now, I am like that kid. Except, instead of seeing Tootsie Rolls I see business lessons, creative lessons, marketing lessons, and the ever-popular life lessons, everywhere. My finder is finely tuned to detecting lessons because of the blog. That has been one of the greatest gifts of writing this thang.
8. The Blog Was a Gateway Drug. I didn’t know it in the beginning, but the blog was just the start of something bigger. Eventually, all that writing built into more. I have now published a book, and have more books in the works. I don’t know how far this will go. I guess we’ll find out together.
9. Getting Paid To Write. All the blogging I do is free to read. I have never made any money directly from any of my blog posts. But people who read the blog encouraged me to write a book. So I did. And while writing a 50,000-word book is more challenging than writing a 500-word blog post, it is a natural extension of what I have been doing for 6 years. Three months ago I published my first book titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? with Ripples Media. Now I get paid a royalty every time someone buys a book. Which is exciting. Because it demonstrates that I am providing others with value through my writing. Which is rewarding in multiple ways.
10. Getting Paid to Speak Throughout my career I have spoken to many different groups. But since writing my book the opportunities have mushroomed. Despite having written 700 blog posts, it was the next step of writing a book that has made people seek me out for speaking engagements. Today I have paid speaking engagements lined up into August and September. By paid engagements, I mean that I am either being paid directly to speak, or the organization I am speaking to is buying books for attendees, or some combination of the two. The key learning here is that I wouldn’t have these opportunities through blogging alone. But I wouldn’t have written the book if it weren’t for the blog. Which means that first, you have to get started. Then you have to keep pushing yourself to the next level for greater rewards.
A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. And to get to 700 blog posts you have to first write one. But if you create a good habit it will compound over time, leading to bigger and better results and open doors to new opportunities. I don’t know where all of this will lead. But I am certainly glad I started 6 years ago. I encourage you to start that thing you have always wanted to do by taking that critical first step. If you have already created a good habit and developed some positive, value-creating work, ask yourself what’s next? Keep challenging yourself to take that next step. And make it worth writing about.
> For more of my lessons on blogging check out these past posts:
In 2016, after having been an employee of three successful companies for 19 years, I became an entrepreneur. I left behind the predictable employment, the benefits, the 401(k) and the Free Lunch Fridays.
I pushed all my chips to the center of the table and bet on myself when I launched the advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry.(The chip reference was supposed to be a poker thing. Not a potato chip thing. #JustClarifying)
But when I left my job as the Executive Vice President and Executive Creative Director of the largest advertising agency in Atlanta to start my own business it never seemed crazy to me. Because I knew a lot of other people who had started successful businesses. They seemed a lot like me. And they all looked like they were fed, sheltered and clothed. (Wait, yep, they were definitely clothed.)
I knew a bloggle of bloggers before I launched this blog.
I knew a stockyard of people who invested in stocks before I bought stocks.
I knew a neighborhood worth of people who owned rental property before I properly rented my property.
You Are Becoming More Like The People You Spend Your Time With.
Your peer group is your mirror group. To upgrade your likelihood of success upgrade your friends. Surround yourself with doers and diders. It creates positive peer pressure that pushes you to do better, more impressive things. The Joneses I know are badasses. And I want to keep up with all they are accomplishing. (Shout out to Bryan, Jill, Adam, Patti, Garrett, Kristen, Sharon, Courtney, Arnita and Rachel! Sorry you guys didn’t make it into that new truck commercial.)
Your friends are your on-ramp to success. Surround yourself with others who have already done the next big thing you want to do. It decreases the perceived degree of difficulty. It increases the odds of you successfully completing the same challenge. And the more successful your peers are the more insight they offer to all you can accomplish in your lifetime.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.
We could all use a good role model. Someone to model our behavior after. Someone who has work and life figured out. Someone who inspires us to think better about the big picture. For some that person may be Jeff Bezos, Sara Blakely, Jesus, Kim Kardashian, or Willie Nelson. To be clear, not all role models are created equal. No judgment. (Ok, a little judgement.)
If you are looking for a role model to pattern your thinking after I have a suggestion. Look to Hedge Fund Managers. (You thought I was going to say Bezos, didn’t you?) Like Jeff Bezos, the people who run hedge funds are among the wealthiest in the world. They bring in clinically insane amounts of money for their funds and their investors.
But the money itself is a lag indicator. It is a result. Which means you have to jump in the DeLorean and go back to the original lead indicator to see what makes the hedge fund manager so successful.
At the foundation of the hedge fund is a very simple philosophy. It’s a mindset that any of us can follow. The hedge fund is built on this basic belief:
No matter what happens, I will win.
-Hedge Fund Managers
The fund managers place Big Ben-sized bets on what they expect to happen. They place educated bets that derive from studying the past. They place data-driven bets on the future. And they place smart bets that I assume come from eating a lot of Smarties.
Yet all investment funds do this.
What sets hedge funds apart is the hedge. (Not the popular landscaping boundary made of bushy greenery.) The hedge in hedge funds means that you also place bets that things will go the opposite way that you expected or intended. Which means that you put contingencies in place to capitalize on shifts in markets, conditions, and trends. Or to protect yourself in case a dictator with small tators decides to invade a peaceful neighbor and jack up the world economy.
The hedge fund manager expects the unexpected and expects to win anyway.
I am an entrepreneur. But if you cut me open (please don’t) you’d probably find a hedge fund manager. Because I believe that I will win no matter what happens.
2020 was considered by most to be a doo-doo dumpster fire year. But there were many people who ended up benefitting from the pandemic in significant ways. I was one of them. Because the pandemic created new opportunities. My business, The Weaponry, did well because of how we responded. My personal life benefited from more time with my wife and children. I had more time to exercise than I usually do. I used the gift of time during the lockdown to write my first book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? Because I simply decided that no matter what happened, it was going to benefit me.
In every situation, there is a way to win. Find it. Think like a hedge fund manager. Find your way to profit no matter which way the wind blows. See the opportunities disguised as bad news. Swim when the sun shines. Read when it rains. There is always an upside. Find it. And make it work for you.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message please share it with them.
+If you’re on a personal growth journey check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? on Amazon. It features 80 life lessons the universe is trying to share with you.
Let me be totally clear with you. As the author of What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? I am totally biased towards this book. After all, I shared some of the best advice and nuggets of inspiration I have ever received in this book. Which is why I think What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media is the perfect Spring Break book.
So, what exactly makes this book so perfectly Spring Breaky? I’m glad you asked via that last sentence I wrote.
It contains 80 valuable life lessons the universe is trying to share with you. So if you are tired of books that only contain between 1 and 79 life lessons, this book will finally live up to your demanding expectations.
2. It was written to help readers learn a little, laugh a little, and lift a little. And who couldn’t use more L’s in their life?
3. The book fits easily into carry-on, checked, and road trip luggage. Best of all, this book is book-sized. So it is designed to fit easily anywhere books typically fit easily.
4. It’s packed with inspirational quotes from such notable thinkers as JFK, Peter Druker, Lincoln, Annonymous and My Kids. (Who occasionally say really smart and profound things by accident.)
5. You can learn inspirational personal growth techniques in as little as 1 minute of reading. Because this book is like the Minute Rice of Inspirational Books. In fact, you can sneak in full chapters of WDYFCS between naps, kid interruptions, or the cabana boy coming to ask if you would like another pina colada. (Fun fact: Pina Colada literally translated means ‘Ef-yeah I want another pina colada!’)
6. You can simply read the Last Bite summaries at the end of each chapter and get the gist of the book in about 25 minutes. However, the Last Bites are not funny. Because in the bare-bones summations of the Last Bites there was no room for the funny bone.
7. Each chapter provides an easy and actionable life lesson you can implement while still on vacation. Or as soon as you return to your regularly scheduled programming at home.
8. The book is funny. I sprinkled funnies throughout to keep people reading in the same way a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. The humor and pop culture references will have you smiling and laughing. And they will have everyone else asking you ‘What’s so funny?’ If you don’t believe me read this.
9. The book features 82 easy-to-read chapters. So you can read a lot of pages quickly. Which will make you feel like you got something out of that Evelyn Wood speed-reading class.
10. The book itself has a very high SPF rating. Holding it between the sun and your skin will augment your sun protection program. All without lotions, sprays or a zincy schnoz.
Leaving for Spring break without a book is like taking a bath without a rubber ducky. Sure, you could do it. It just wouldn’t be as fun. And there would be no reason to sing that Rubber Ducky song from Burt and Ernie on Sesame Street. So pick up your copy of What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? today. Or find out more about the book and the author at FortuneCookieBook.com.
*If you know someone who could use a good Spring Break book, please share this with them.
+If it is too late to order from Amazon before your spring break, and you are in the Milwaukee area, stop by Winkie’s in Whitefish Bay, or shoot me a message and I’ll get you a book for your trip. I’ll happily sign it for you too.
It’s March. Which in the Northern Hemisphere means spring. It’s time for us Northern Hemis to get out of the cold and into some warmth and sunshine before we become the inspiration for the movie Frozen 3: Cold and Pasty.
Spring Break is the perfect time for a great book. The right book makes time fly on the airplane. (Ok, so technically everything flies on an airplane. But you know what I mean.) If you are road tripping, a great book pairs perfectly with Funyuns and a Squishy.
Books are great at the pool because they can make you feel like you are doing something productive while you lie in the sun, doing nothing productive. Books are magical because not only are they great conversation starters, they also help defend you from unwanted conversations. And a good spring break book will send you home smarter and more motivated than when you left.
Need A Good Book To Pack?
What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media is the perfect spring break book. It is a personal growth book that shares 80 valuable life lessons the universe is trying to teach you. Like the fortune cookies referenced in its title, the book offers a quick, positive and inspiring look at your future. The bite-sized and actionable insights will help you look at your life through a new lens of expanding possibilities. And you will be able to put the lessons you learn in the book to good use before you even have to reapply sunscreen.
But don’t just take my word for it. Here is what other readers are saying About What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? I have linked the reviews below to the actual reviews on Amazon so you know they are totes legit.
‘How can I adequately describe this book other than I keep it with me at all times and send its special messages to friends and family. Adam’s gift of telling a story, making you laugh and possibly cry, but always encouraging you to be your best and do all you can to “win at life” is why this book is magical. Thank you, Adam!’ –Karri Schildmeyer
‘If you’re looking for inspiration and humor, this book has it all! This will be my go-to gift for graduates! Relatable pearls of wisdom and funny anecdotes that will open your mind and your heart! Well done Adam Albrecht!’ –Amy Urowksy
‘I just finished reading this fantastic book written by Adam Albrecht, a local author near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is chock-full of excellent, thought-provoking, helpful, and inspiring, practical lessons for moving forward in life. It’s the best self-help type book I’ve read in a long time.’ –Heidi Hilby
‘As an Olympian and Marriage and Family Therapist, this book checked all the boxes for me. Love the motivation and accountability this inspires, as well as the upbeat tone to the fortune cookie concept. Can be read straight through in the easy-to-absorb format, or flip through randomly for nuggets as you are able! Recommending to teammates, clients, and friends!’ –Kesley Card
The new age Bible
‘I absolutely love this book. Funny, motivational, sensitive and grabs your attention from page one. A book you can open daily and reread to discover a deeper meaning of your life through your own interpretation of each chapter. You are able to rediscover your own connection to inner spirit through the messages. Canada truly needs this book in each home.’ -Rosie Patterson
College Student Approved!
‘I’m currently reading What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? and it’s really good! It’s the first book I’ve read that wasn’t required for school since 7th grade and as a college student I’ve found it inspirational’. – Abbie Ravanelli
Spring break is a great time to catch up on your personal reading with a great book. So pick up a copy of What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? It will make you laugh. It will inspire you to do more with your free time. And the lessons learned from this book may be the most valuable souvenir from your vacation.
*If you know someone who could use a good spring break book, please share this with them.
+To order your copy today simply visit this Amazon link. If it is too late to order from Amazon before your spring break, and you are in the Milwaukee area, shoot me a message and I’ll get you a book for your trip.
Last week I was on 8 different airplanes. Not at one time of course. On 7 of those 8 planes, I didn’t talk to my seatmate. But on my flight Wednesday evening from Detroit to Columbus I had a great conversation with a fun and friendly woman traveling from Greensboro, North Carolina. When she asked me where I was coming from I said Milwaukee. She replied that she was a traveling nurse and that she had recently traveled to nurse people in Milwaukee at Ascension St. Mary’s Hospital
I told the woman that one of my great friends was an emergency room doctor there named Dr. Michael Brin. She said, “Oh, yes, I definitely know his name.” She probably found it on a list of the smartest, funniest, and sexiest E.R. doctors in Milwaukee named Michael Brin. Because he would totally dominate that list.
After establishing that she lived in Worthington, Ohio (Which is Columbus for those of you not down with the 614) she asked me what I did for work. But as soon as I opened my mouth to answer, the flight attendant cockpit-blocked me by jumping on the mic to make her unnecessarily loud announcements.
So I waited a moment. And during a break in the announcements, I tried to respond to the question. But the flight attendant came right back with more announcements.
This pattern repeated comically for quite some time. It reminded me of that scene from Austin Powers when he goes to the bathroom for the first time after being frozen for 30 years. And he keeps interrupting the voice declaring ‘Evacuation Complete’ with more tinkle noise.
After awkwardly trying to share what I do for work for about 2 minutes with no success, I noticed the copy of my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? that I had tucked into the seatback pouch in front of me. I reached down, slid the book out of the pocket, opened it to the author bio page on the inside back cover and handed it to my seatmate. I said, ‘Read this.’
My seatmate questioned, ‘Is this your book?’ I nodded ‘yes’. Then she proceeded to read the efficiently crafted story of me on the About the Author page.
I quickly recognized that having my book bio handy was the most efficient and effective way to introduce myself to a seatmate. In fact, we should all write an airplane bio, and have it added to the airline’s app. It should be accessible to the people sitting adjacent to us on our flights so that we can know who we are sitting near, what we may have in common, and whether they are on the sex offender list.
My seatmate asked if she could read the reviews on the cover. Which of course I encouraged her to do. I said, ‘Read anything you want. In fact, flip to the table of contents, find a chapter title that interests you, and read that. It was a fun experiment for me to see what someone who stumbles upon my book may find interesting.
The first chapter she picked out was ‘Fill your attitude with helium.’ Which is a great chapter. Within 10 seconds of flipping to that page, she laughed out loud. I asked what made her laugh. It was the reference to all the painstaking research I had done to discover that life is hard. She LOLed several times during that chapter. Each time I asked what made her laugh. It was fun primary research for an author on what kind of humor works in a book.
The next chapter she explored was very important. Chapter 63, Everything changes when you exchange names. This chapter is about how we transform from strangers into friends when we exchange names. Which was odd, because we hadn’t yet exchanged names. But during the reading of this chapter, she stopped reading, and she told me her name. Suddenly, she was no longer my seatmate. She was my new friend, Leslie, from Worthington, Ohio.
Leslie and I spoke the rest of the flight. We talked about our shared experiences. Our travels and our spouses. We took a selfie, just in case I would need it for a blog post. Which of course I do.
After we deplaned like Tattoo from Fantasy Island we walked through the CMH terminal together and decided to take another selfie by a Columbus sign. She then shared, that she would like to buy a copy of the book, and asked if Amazon is the best way to do it. I said that was a good way (and for most people around the world Amazon is the best way to buy my book.
I then said, ‘But, if you are interested, I have a couple extra copies with me, and I have a QR code that you could scan to pay instantly.’ She said, ‘Yes! Let’s do that!’
I handed her a new copy of my book. She scanned the QR code, which popped open a simple payment field. Then Leslie asked if it would be awkward to ask me to sign the book for her. I said, ‘That’s not awkward. Everybody asks that. It’s like signing a high school yearbook.’
So I pulled out my trusty non-smeary-smudgy Sharpie pen. Because I always carry one now for such occasions. I grabbed a nearby seat and signed my new friend Leslie’s book. After I handed her the book, we hugged. Then she headed to the baggage claim and I headed to the rental car shuttle.
As I sat on the shuttle bus, waiting to leave the terminal I was thinking about what a fun experience that was on a random Wednesday night flight to Columbus. Then I got an alert on my phone telling me that Quickbooks received payment for a book. Imediately after that, I heard a voice say, ‘Hey stranger!’ It was Leslie and her baggage claim bag. She once again sat next to me. This time it was by choice because we were friends. I took another pic to chronicle this chapter of the story.
Apparently, the universe had us well magnetized that day. Because we ended up walking to the same rental car counter too. (I rent from Hertz, because of OJ). But soon, we were in our rental cars and separated for the first time since Detroit. And I was thankful for the whole experience.
The greatest thing about writing a book is the new people I have met as a result. From the people at Ripples Media to the people that I meet at book talks, signing events, or on planes. It is the people who reach out to me because they have read the book, or got it as a gift and plan to read it. Writing a blog a book or a good social post can help introduce you to more people around the world. And at the end of our days, the only thing that will matter is the impact we had on each other. So put more good into the world, and more good will come back to you. And much of that good is likely to be good people. People like my new friend Leslie. From Worthington.
*If you know someone who would benefit from this message, please share it with them.
We all have multiple identities that form our self construct. When you were young they were simple. You were a boy or girl. A son or daughter. Maybe a brother or sister. Or perhaps you saw yourself as a Bo, Luke, or Daisy.
As you grow, evolve and participate in more activities you add identities. You become a student, a girl scout or a baseball player. Throughout your schooling and into your career your identities expand and multiply in interesting ways. All of which morph your self construct, without the need for hallucinogenics.
Your identities influence how you see yourself. But they also determine how the world sees you. Your identities help broaden your self-image and give you more flavor, complexity and stability.
Here’s a partial view of my identity stack:
Dude ( I recently entered this when asked for my gender)
Red Sox fan
Perpetually but non-offensively immature
In the past year, I have added a surprising number of new identities to my self-concept. Especially for a seemingly full-grown human.
Before last spring I would never have called myself a coach. Despite the fact that I coached a youth flag football team for 3 seasons. That just felt like the type of coaching that non-coaches do because the kids need a coach to be able to have a team. In other words, I simply identified as a dad doing some coaching. It’s like a dad playing the role of a chaperone, instead of adding the identity of bodyguard, or animal tamer.
But last spring I became a legit high school track and field coach when I started coaching the shot put and the discus for Homestead High School’s girl’s track and field team in Mequon, Wisconsin. In fact, 2 weeks ago I attended an all-day and all-evening event for track and field coaches in Madison. That really made me feel like I should walk around with a whistle or a stopwatch around my neck. Although you don’t really need either of those things to coach the shot put.
Then, last fall I began coaching youth tackle football. That was a multiple-times per week thing. With real strategy, conditioning and hype. I have a logoed polo, a hat and a picture of me and other coaches and 16 boys in full uniform looking very serious together to prove that I am now also a youth football coach.
The week before Christmas I published my first book called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? Now, I add author to my self-identity. Despite the fact that I have been a blogger for nearly 7 years, author feels different. It’s more official, more difficult to attain. More respected by others. And authors get asked to sign their books way more often than bloggers get asked to sign their blog posts.
It’s hard not to add the author identity when the internet adds it for you. Here is how my online footprint has expanded since I published my book:
The other surprising new identity that I have added to my self-construct is Speaker. I have done a lot of public speaking throughout my life. Over the past couple of decades, I have seen myself as a business professional speaking about what I do or things I know. But now it feels different.
Since I published the book I have received many requests to speak at local, state and national events. I have booked 6 speaking engagements in the past couple of weeks. It is an exciting and enjoyable new addition to my self-identity. And it helps me spread more positivity and inspiration with the world. Like Jonny Fortunecookieseed.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, at the end of January I also got my first dog ever. Now I add dog owner or dog haver or whatever this makes me to my life resume. It may seem like a small thing compared to the attention you receive as an author, entrepreneur or public speaker. But when you come home to that wagging tail and face licks it is special. And when I am picking up dog poo, it’s hard to deny that I am a real Dog Dad.
Adding to your self-identity keeps you growing and evolving. More self-identities not only make you more interesting and creative, they add to your stability and resilience. Multiple identities help expand your social circle. They expand your reach and influence. The more identities you have the less likely that any one of them has the ability to negatively impact you. Conversely, the successes you experience in any identity helps to add to your overall self-esteem. All while making you a more interesting and valued contributor to your family, friends, communities, and planet. So go on with your bad selves.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.
I had a fun start to my day yesterday! I was a guest on The Morning Blend, a great morning talk show in Milwaukee hosted by Molly Fay and Tiffany Ogle. Although I admit, I thought the show would be about all kinds of blends, you know, like blended foods, blending into a crowd, and blended families. But it turns out the name is some kind of play on coffee. Who knew.
We discussed why positive thinking is so important, and how it contrasts with negative thinking. We talked about the first thing I put on in the morning. We cracked open some fortune cookies on air. And we discussed the mindset needed for entrepreneurship.
We also talked about the challenge of finding a venue big enough for my book signing. Which was meant to be a joke. Because when I had to fill out the guest information form for the show it asked if I had a book signing event that I wanted to promote. But thanks to the Covid spike, bookstores and libraries are holding off on hosting live book talks and signing events right now. So instead of simply saying ‘no’, I wrote, ‘We’re still trying to find an event large enough and the proper crowd control for a book signing.’ But I love that Molly and the producer, Katie ‘Guestinfo’ Pinkowski shared my silliness on air.
For many people, 2021 was a year they would rather forget. But not me. 2021 was a year that I would take extra Ginkgo Biloba to remember. I had a remarkable year. Here’s a quick summary:
Noteworthy Happenings From My 2021:
I sold 2 homes during the hottest real estate market in history.
I bought the home I spent more than 2 years looking for. (Which means the soundtrack in my head finally switched from U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, to Kenny Loggin’s This Is It!
I coached high school track and field for the first time. (My daughter Ava made it to state in the discus as a freshman. Which made me look good as a freshman coach.)
I helped coach my son Magnus’s 5th-grade tackle football team. (I specialized in coaching the boys on their volume and hypeitude.)
I planned my high school class reunion in Hanover, New Hampshire. (And there was almost no drama. But enough to keep it interesting.)
I traveled to Vermont, New Hampshire Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Ohio, Alabama, California, Texas, Minnesota, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Pennsylvania New York, Rhode Island, Tennesee, Massachusettes, Kentucky, Connecticut, Arkansas and Missouri.
The Weaponry, the advertising and ideas agency I launched in 2016 celebrated its 5th birthday. (I invited Marilyn Monroe to jump out of the cake but she didn’t return my calls.)
I bought 2 new cars. Because the old ones (10+ years old) asked for a rest.
The Atlanta Braves and my guy Austin Riley won the World Series.
And my man Tom Brady won yet another Super Bowl.
(The last 3 are just fun for me. I had nothing to do with any of them.)
How To Make Your 2022 Great.
Great years don’t just happen. They are made to happen. And it all starts with planning. That’s why I call January Planuary. Because now is the time to plan your great year ahead.
What makes a year great is up to you. But if you don’t know what makes a year great feel free to use my plan, and adjust it to suit your own goals.
The 10 Things I plan in January. (Or Planuary)
Travel: Especially the Places I gotta See Before I Die type of travel.
Things I want to learn: This includes stuff like music, language, how to perform standup comedy, how to perform crouch down comedy, taking a hunter’s safety course, CPR certification, or getting my motorcycle license.
Books to read: I pick some important books to read each year. Or set a goal like reading a book per month. Or 3 books per month. Audiobooks count. And they are one of my great life hacks.
Career goals: I pick new challenges, set new targets to hit, make a change, or start a new business.
Life goals: Like writing a book, hiking the Appalachian Trail, coaching or volunteering
Connections to make: I ask, Who do I want to meet next? If you haven’t planned this before try it. It could change your whole life.
Reconnections to make: Like planning a class reunion, team reunion or a friend meetup.
Making time for big progress: I block time for progress against my goals. Like writing every morning between 6 am and 7 am. Or time for exercise. Or beard grooming.
Timelines: I determine when I will do the big stuff. And I create timelines and deadlines to bring the more complicated goals to life.
Other: This could be anything. Except for the 9 things above. Because if it is one of the 9 things above you don’t need a 10th category.
Great years don’t just happen. You have to make the year great through your plans and actions. Now is the time to create the plans. Put dates on the calendar. Make your year look amazing in January. Then make your plan your reality by living into it all year long. Then look back on New Year’s Eve at all you experienced and accomplished. Do this year after year, and you will have created a great life.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.