In your career you will have the opportunity to work with a broad range of clients. Some will help you make a lot of money. Some will help you make a little money. Some will help you grow old friendships. Some will help you make new friendships. Some will be strictly business. And some will be a party. Some will enable you to do great work. Some will help you make a difference. Some will build your confidence. Some will test your limits. Some will cost you money. Some you will love. And some, you will wish you never met. But if you pay attention, they will all help you grow smarter, stronger and more capable. So on the toughest days with the toughest clients, and the best days with the best clients, don’t forget to learn.
I enjoy going to church. I like the routine and rituals. I love taking time to reflect. I like the grounding it provides. I always appreciate the music. And I like that it is the only time that I am ever in a room with hundreds of other people who all decide to put their little digital buddies down and be present.
But what I like most about church is learning. Through the sermon, the scripture and the stories, a church service shares wisdom, perspective and philosophy. It teaches lessons on morality and history. I always learn something new. In fact, I find that a good church service feels like a combination of attending a class and reading a book.
Speaking of books, as an Entrepreneur, blogger and professional creative, I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go. I take notes in meetings, while on airplanes and while grabbing chocolate milk . But I don’t bring a notebook to church. Suddenly, after 40+ years of attending services, this seems really odd to me.
Sure, I have written notes in church. Sometimes in a bulletin or on a spare offering envelope in the pew rack (pew, it smells like church!). But I have never had a dedicated notebook that I take to church, and use to collect all of the pearls of wisdom, words of inspiration, worthwhile bible passages, and funny thoughts that I have that I can’t share with anyone in the moment.
Searching For Another Good Book
Now I am considering what the best notebook would be. Should it be something created specifically for church? Or is a blank Moleskin the perfect receptacle? Size matters too. Should it be small and easily tucked into my pocket, so I don’t forget it. Or should I carry a large stone tablet with room for 10 lessons that begin with Thou?
What do you do?
Do you bring a notebook to your church, synagogue, mosque, tabernacle or other place of higher learning? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Does anybody type notes into their phone, and risk looking like they are texting during worship (with one eye on the screen, and one eye looking for lightening)? If you think bringing a dedicated notebook to a place of worship seems odd, I’d like to hear that too.
Happy Sunday. I hope you all have a noteworthy day.
When I was a child I was fascinated to learn that the brain is not one solid organ. The brain is actually divided, down the middle, into two hemispheres un-creatively known as the right brain and left brain. The brainispheres have different job assignments. Essentially they work like a great team, dividing the responsibilities of braining for humans into separate but equal parts. Which means your brain works like Siegfried and Roy, Abbott and Costello or Dumb & Dumber.
People often talk about being either right-brained or left-brained. If you have not heard such talk, it goes like this: The right side of the brain is thought to control your creative and artistic thinking. While your left brain controls your logic and rational behavior. As with politics, when it comes to braining, people often identify with one side or the other.
I have spent my entire career as a professional creative thinker. I started out as a Copywriter and progressed to the title of Chief Creative Officer. Every title I had for 20 years had either the word writer or creative in it. So it’s natural to sort me into the right-brained team. People do it all the time. In conversations I hear people say ‘You right-brained types…’ or ‘Us right-brained types…’
I have never thought of myself as being right-brained. Not once. Ever. I have never thought of myself as being primarily a creative thinker. It’s not that I don’t think creatively. I know I do. But I also use careful analysis and logic every day. I love the scientific method and the absoluteness of math. I enjoy calculating my taxes. But I don’t enjoy stereotypes. Except for Bose. Those guys make great types of stereos.
The latest role in my career has been as an Entrepreneur. As the Founder & CEO of the advertising and idea agency The Weaponry, I am required to use all of my brain at work. While our service offering is unquestionably creative, everything else about the business is decidedly based in the left brain. I have to think about our accounting, finances, benefits, and human resources. I have to establish processes for project management, account management, and invoicing.
There is not an element of business that I don’t I feel comfortable with. I understand, appreciate and enjoy all of the thinking that goes into starting and running a business. I see it all as a big system of constants and variables. Some disciplines require more creative thinking. Others require very practical analysis. I am thankful that my brains get along like Bert and Ernie. Their daily cooperation helps me function as one whole person.
It is limiting, if not damaging to label people, including yourself, as right-brained or left- brained. According to Dr. Daniel G. Amen in his book Making A Good Brain Great, it is a myth that we only use 10% of our brain. Our entire brain is on and working our entire lives, even when we sleep. If you were born with, and still have, both hemispheres of your brain, use them. Some skills and processes may come more naturally. But that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t work to develop the others.
The danger in the right-brain, left-brain labels is that you will start to believe that you can’t do things. Then you won’t take on tasks or challenges, because you have told yourself you are no good at them. But you can be. You just have to make sure you are not limiting your thinking.
Today is Election Day in America, and I love to vote. In fact, I would vote for more voting if I could. I never feel more powerful than when I walk into an election booth and personalize my ballot. I love weighing in on officials and referendums. I love voting for obscure roles, like Coroner General, Keeper of the Records, Chief of Lawns and Registrar (which sounds like a role that should be held by lions).
I love wearing the sticker that says I Voted. Or I V(Ohio)ted or I V(peach)ted, depending on the state I live in during the election. It’s a great way to show the world that you have lived up to your civic responsibilities. That sticker is a great little advertisement that reminds others to vote. And when you put that badge of honor on your shirt it also tells your friends, family and co-workers that even thought you are a legal adult, you still like wearing stickers on your clothes.
The Other Team
Not everyone feels the way I do. Not everyone votes. Or cares about voting for anything more important than the next American Idol, a Who Wore It Best poll, or the Pringle flavor they want to munch next. That’s why the following question is worth asking in job interviews:
Did you vote in the last election?
The answer to this simple question reveals a great deal about your job candidate. It offers insights about their sense of responsibility, time management and teamwork. It tells you whether or not they feel empowered to make a difference. And it may reveal whether of not they know how to read a calendar, and a map.
My Dream Team
If I knew that a candidate didn’t vote it would be a deal breaker for me. As an entrepreneur, I want my team members to have an opinion, to take initiative and to feel empowered. I want team members who believe their ideas matter. I want coworkers who want to weigh in, speak up and tell me when there is a better way. I want people who want to continuously improve the world, and our business.
Honoring The Sacrifice
Today we should also honor all of the men and women who have sacrificed in order to defend our ability to vote. The least we can do to show our gratitude is go fill in some tiny circles.
Vote. Have an opinion. Exercise your duty as an American. Know that your views and your values count, and are counted. Help determine the direction that your country, state and local community are headed. Show that you care, and that you are involved, even if you are not fully informed. It doesn’t matter if you are a Republican, Democrat or an Independent voter. Get your vote on today. Because the only thing that matters to me, is that it matters to you.
Today marks the end of Daylight Savings Time. Which means that today it will get darker one hour earlier than it did yesterday. According to my AcuRite SmartHUB weather station, today the sun will set on my backyard at 4:41pm Central Standard Time. If you have a Charlie Brown outlook, you might think this is the worst day of the year. But good grief people, you couldn’t be more wrong.
The Best Day
Today is absolutely the best day of the year. Why? Because if you have ever wanted to get more out of your day, and more out of your life, today is the day to make it happen. Today, Ladies and Gentlereaders, is the Unicorn of Days! The Once-In-A-Blue Moon Event! Today, is the needle in the haystack, and you have found it! Today is the 25-hour Day!
Your Chance To Do More
Today is like a bigger pair of jeans, which means that you can squeeze more in. I woke up today like a kid on Christmas morning. At 5am I was fully cooked and ready to get after this 25-hour day. I hope you are ready to make the most of it too. Because it’s go time!
Think Of The Possibilities
Today you can literally spend more time with family and friends (kids, notice how I literally used the word literally correctly). You can get to church or your place of worship (God knows we could all use it). You can find time for exercise without feeling like you are running behind. You can go for a hike, or a drive, and fall in love with fall. You can visit a museum. You can read and get inspired and learn something new.
You can trade in some fast food for slow food by cooking, baking or grilling yourself (I mean that you are doing the cooking yourself, not that you are literally cooking yourself). You can organize your closet, garage, basement or sock drawer, which will help you enjoy this day for many days to come.
If you like to draw, write, paint, sew, knit, build, photograph, or create any of a billion other things, do it. Do it now.
Today, you can even catch up on the sleep you never get enough of.
Plan Your Next Chapter
You can start planning your next vacation. Or that job or career change you wish you had more time to think about. You know that business idea that you think would be so exciting to launch, but never seem to have the time to focus on? Well, today is a great day to tap into your inner Richard Branson and sketch out a plan, even if you are an entrepreneurial virgin (see what I did right there?)
Time To Give Back
Today you can spend time thinking about how you can give more of yourself to others. You can think about giving of your time or money to worthy causes and charities. Or create a new worthy cause or charity to benefit others.
Today is a great day to put the electronic time wasters in a drawer, so that you can get the most out of this beautiful, rare 25-hour day. Go do more. Take time to recognize, embrace and wallow in the good that is all around you. If time is precious, and life is a gift, a 25-hour day is the most valuable present we will ever have. So be present. Be productive. And spin your extra time into gold.
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Milk is in my blood. In 1870 my Great, Great Grandpa Fred Albrecht came to America from Schwerin, Germany and began dairy farming in Minnesota. His son Hermann Albrecht, and grandson Alton Albrecht continued pumping out the white gold. Five of my Grandpa Alton’s sons, my uncles Jerry, Tom, Paul, Chuck and Tim Albrecht, spent their entire careers as dairy farmers. My father Robert Albrecht managed dairy farms. Then he oversaw the Dairy Herd Improvement Association work for the states of Missouri, Vermont, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. Throughout my childhood, milk put food on our table.
A New Path
I did not continue the family tradition. I decided to go into advertising instead. I started as a copywriter, and worked my way up to Chief Creative Officer. Then, in 2016, I launched my own advertising and idea agency called The Weaponry.
What I have discovered is that dairy farmers are really entrepreneurs. I have to believe that coming from a long line of farmers has somehow prepared me for entrepreneurship. I get up early, before the sun, and get to work, just like each generation before me. And just like dairy farmers produce milk, we produce new ideas everyday.
Farming and entrepreneurship are both risky endeavors. I remember a farmer once saying to me,
You will never find a farmer in Las Vegas. Because we are gambling out here every day.
Words of Wisdom
To be an entrepreneur, or a farmer, you have to be bold and take on risks. And sometimes things will go wrong. As I face the unavoidable risks of entrepreneurship I am emboldened by one of my favorite dairy-isms:
Don’t worry about how much milk you spill, as long as you don’t lose your cow.
As an entrepreneur I have faced challenges that have cost us money. And trust me, that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Kinda like a swig of milk from a cow that grazed in the onion patch. But it is part of the process. You learn, and grow and then head back to the barn the next morning, where the cows are anxious to be milked.
Things sometimes go wrong. Sometime you lose money. Or lose a client. Or lose your job. It may feel terrible in the moment. But don’t focus on the milk you spilled, or the money you lost. Focus on your cow: your skills, experience and know-how that provide great value to others. As long as you have that, you will always make more money. Because as I have seen for generation after generation, if you take good care of the cows, they will keep providing you with more milk, twice a day, every day. And they will take care of you.