How badly do you really want what you want?

Seth Rogen is a funny guy. He is so funny that he recently appeared on an episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. You know you are funny when Seinfeld wants to drink and drive with you. And, of course, ask you about comedy.

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Back In The Day, Eh.

On CICGC Rogen told the story of how he started performing standup comedy when he was 15-years old in Vancouver. I’m not sure how old that is in American years, but I think that is still pretty young. He performed stand-up regularly, like several-times-a-week regularly, until he was 18-years old.

One particular joke from one particular comedian from that time period still stands out to Rogen today. He shared the joke with Jerry Seinfeld, and with me as I eavesdropped on their conversation from home. Here it is:

I wanted to be a boxer, until I met someone who reeaally wanted to be a boxer.’ -Mr. Former-Boxer-Turned-Candian-Stand-Up-Comedian

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Ali reeaally wanted to be a boxer. A soldier, not so much.

The Set Up

Rogen shared that line, not just because it was funny and interesting, but to provide insight into his next chapter. After high school he moved to Los Angeles where he planned to further pursue his stand-up comedy career. But upon being introduced to the highly competitive L.A. stand-up scene he concluded:

‘I wanted to be a stand-up comedian until I met people who reeeeeallly wanted to be stand-up comedians.’ -Seth Rogen

Ain’t That The Truth!

I love this story. There are things we think we want, until we see how competitive it really is. Or how hard it really is. Or how good other people already are at it. Or how hard people will punch you in the face if you stand in front of them.

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This dude reaaaally wants it. I am not sure what it is. But he wants it.

To determine if you reeaally want to take on your next challenge ask yourself these 5 questions:

  1. Do you reeaally want to do this thing?
  2. How committed are you, reeaally?
  3. Are you prepared to compete with others who reeaally want what you say you want?
  4. Are you prepared to sacrifice what reeaally needs to be sacrificed?
  5. Are you willing to trade the pain required to achieve your goal for the pain of having not achieved it?

I Reeaally Want To Be An Entrepreneur.

When I first started planning to launch The Weaponry, my advertising and idea agency, I had to ask myself these 5 questions. And the answer to all of them was a loud and resounding YES! (Is there really such a thing as a quiet and resounding yes? Maybe if Clint Eastwood says it.)

I was committed to succeed. I was committed to the pain. I was committed to the sacrifice. I was committed to fight and compete. In fact, my commitment was well illustrated in a story I shared in A real entrepreneur’s reaction to my desire to start my own business. And I am just as committed today as I was on day one.

KNocked Up

It’s Okay To Not Really Want It.

To be clear, it’s okay if the answer to any of the questions above is no. That means the thing you think you want is not the thing you reeaally want. That’s good. It frees you up to discover the thing you reeaally want. Just like Seth Rogen. Who went on to write the hit movie Superbad, act in Knocked Up and 40-Year Old Virgin, and direct This Is The End. 

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Seth Rogen telling Steve Carell he has to reeaally want to have sex in 40-Year Old Virgin

Key Takeaway

You will always be most successful at the things you want the most. Be honest with yourself. Don’t waste time with things you wish you could do, or that you are sorta into. Find a career, an adventure or a cause that you can go all-in on. That you can double down on. Or go any-other-gambling-term on. Going all-in is the most rewarding way to go. It’s most likely to lead you to your greatest potential for success. So find your thing and fully commit. It’s the best way to reeaallly enjoy what you do every day.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them. And if this post reeaally resonated with you, please consider subscribing to this blog.

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What kind of motivation fuels you best?

Do you ever think about your motivational fuel source? It’s valuable to understand what encourages, inspires and pushes you. Because once you know what fuels your personal fire, you can stockpile kegs of it. Then ignite it whenever you need another boost.

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Stockpile your motivational fuel like Wildfire. #GameOfThrones

Background

I have been a heavy consumer of motivation fuel my entire life. When I was young I guzzled it to help me perform my best in school and athletics. After college I started using motivational fuel to enhance my career, personal fitness and financial success.

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I’ve transitioned my competitive drive from athletics to my career.

My Current Focus

In 2016 I made  a strategic decision to push both my career and financial success to the next level. As a result I launched my own advertising and idea agency called The Weaponry.  When I was in the planning stages of my entrepreneurial adventure I started this blog to document what I learned along the way. One of my key learnings is that you need to keep a steady stream of motivational fuel flowing into your system at all times.

Finding Your Fuel

Take some time to analyze what motivation fuel sources power your inner drive. Then acquire as much of it as you can. I find that I am inspired by many things. Which means that I have a lot of options when it comes to motivation propellents.

My 15 Sources Of Motivation Fuel

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My vision is a strong motivator. There is a long road ahead and life is short. So I gotsta go!

1. My Vision.

This is a major source, if not my primary source of motivation. I have a clear vision of the fully-formed Me. Unfortunately, it’s a lot better than the current Me. But I am already better than I used to be. Closing the Me vs Ideal Me gap is an always available fuel source.

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My friend Dan Richards is a badass, and a constant source of motivation for me.

2. Impressive And Successful People. 

I love to see others have great success. When I see my friends crushing it, I want to crush it too. This is true in my career and in my personal life. I fancy myself successful, so I want to keep up with others I think are like me. It’s the most positive way to keep up with the Jones. Keep pace with their successes, not their expenditures.

Examples: My rockstar entrepreneur friends Dan Richards, Troy Allen, David Florsheim and Jeff Hilimire.

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I read this quote every day in my office.

3. Great Quotes  

I am highly susceptible to a great quote. If you have them send them my way. I love the way a great quote summarizes an important lesson or reminder in a simple way. Quotes are like my nitroglycerin.

Examples:

  • ‘You are either getting better or you are getting worse.’
  • ‘There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.’
  • ‘A man with miles on his car has money in the bank.’
  • ‘You can’t take a pair of pants off a bare butt.’
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When all else fails crank up some ACDC.

4. Music 

Great music can help me power through anything. I use it to start my day, to power a workout and to push me through a long day at work.

Examples: Anything by ACDC or My Spotify Motivation Mix

5. Books  

Reading supplies me with steady, slow-burning motivation. I like to read biographies about successful people. I read How-To and Self-Helpy type stuff all the time. Book fuel is really a cocktail of numbers 1, 2, 3, 10, and 12.

Examples: See images above.

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If Tony Robbins can’t inspire you, you may be dead.

6. Motivational Speakers 

If motivational speakers don’t fuel you up nothing will. Seek them out in person, or online. YouTube and Social Media platforms are thick with them.

Examples: Tony Robbins, Gary Vee, Zig Ziglar, my college coach Ed Nuttycombe’s spaghetti speech.

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If I don’t keep moving this will be me.

7. Poverty  

When I see others in poverty it propels me forward like the other side of a magnet.

Examples: Driving through a depressed part of town. India.

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One of my greatest fears.

8. Unhealthy People  

People who are obviously unhealthy are a constant reminder that I need to keep moving and eating right. I am thankful for them. And they are everywhere. Except the gym.

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These people fuel me like caffeine.

9. My family  

Taking care of my wife, daughter and 2 sons is a major motivating factor. They are a constant source of motivation. But so are my parents, my 3 sisters and their families.  Even broader, I am very proud to be a member of the Albrecht Family and The Sprau Family. (My Mom’s maiden name is Sprau. It’s fun to think of your Mom as a maiden.) I am always trying to be an asset to the family and enhance our brand reputation.

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The more you have, the more freedom you have.

10. Financial Freedom  

I am driven to acquire enough money to be able to choose how I spend my time. I want to be in control of my life. This is the way to maintain as much control as possible.

Examples: Hundred dollar bills. Fifty dollar bills. Twenty dollar bills

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I want more time to do my favorite things with my favorite people.

11. Time Freedom 

See number 10.

Examples:  Fishing, Camping, Mountain Biking, Boogie Boarding, Traveling, Hammocking

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I have quantifiable goals that keep me chipping away.

12. My Goals 

My goals provide constant motivation. They have big gaudy numbers on them. And they provide a constant measure of what I have left to accomplish in order to live up to my own standards. I really like raw, quantifiable number goals.

Examples of how I measure progress towards my goals: On my bathroom scale, In Quickbooks, Through my WordPress Blog Stats, the amount of weight I lift.

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I look for pride in every hire. Because it is the greatest intrinsic motivator.

13. Pride 

I think pride is the ultimate motivator. I look for it in employees. Because someone who values pride won’t let you down because they don’t want to let themselves down.

Examples:  People who work at The Weaponry.

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My University of Wisconsin track teammates.

14. Teammates 

I never want to let others down. When I competed in athletics I never wanted to let my teammates down. As a business owner I am motivated to take care of my team and their families.

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My competitors motivate me. Although usually I don’t want to punch then in the face.

15. Competitors 

I like to compete. So when I see others do well, I want to do well. Your competitors are one of the best motivators you have. Use them.

Key Takeaway

Life and work can be hard. Motivation isn’t automatic. You need to seek it out. Stockpile it. Refine it. And consume it when you need a boost. Like the variety of foods in a well balanced diet, it’s best to keep a wide variety of fuel sources handy so you can quickly tap into the kind of motivation you need at any given moment. By understanding your motivational fuel sources you can ensure you will always have an abundant supply. And if you have an endless supply of motivational fuel your possibilities are endless too.

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

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

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

Albrecht Island

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

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

Uh Oh…

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

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

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Trying to formulate a plan.

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

The Plan

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

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Dawn and Ava Bonding Time.

Preparing For The Worst

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

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

Upon Closer Inspection

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

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The new album cover for Dawn And The Deadwoods.

Let’s Do This!

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

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

Yee Haw!

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

He immediately shouted back ‘That was awesome!’

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

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

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

Reunited And It Feels So Good

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

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

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I love a good adventure.

 

The Reminder

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

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

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

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

Key Takeaway

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

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

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

The valuable skill new entrepreneurs should focus on first.

Being an entrepreneur is like being an astronaut. Not just because they are both weird words. But because both jobs require you to know a little bit about everything. However, no one starts out knowing all the things they need to know. Which means that when you begin your entrepreneurial adventure you start in an uncomfortable, if not vulnerable position. Like astronauts.

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Sometimes entrepreneurship feels this way.

When I first launched The Weaponry, my advertising and ideas agency, I was curious to discover which newly-required skill area would test me the most. Accounting? Contract Law? Human Resources? Dry Erase Board Maintenance? But 3 years later there is one skill I find I need to use more than any other. It’s my humanity.

Honing Humanity

Being a great entrepreneur, first and foremost, requires you to be the best human you can be. Because businesses are not businesses. They are collections of people. To help people be their best you have to listen, understand and care about the issues they are dealing with.

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This picture includes clients, partners and employees. Which are all the basic kinds of humans you need to create a successful business.

Human challenges regularly get in the way of business. That’s simply a fact of life. Entrepreneurs have to be good at working with those challenges. They come from everywhere. From your clients, employees, contractors, vendors and suppliers. Over the past few years I have had the honor or working through a wide variety of human challenges with my teammates, clients and partners.

Human Challenges I Have Worked Through As An Entrepreneur

  • Pregnancy
  • Home Buying
  • Home Selling
  • Mental Illness
  • Balance Issues (real, physical balance, not work-life or checkbook related)
  • Cancer
  • Care for Aging Parents
  • A Desire To Go Back To School
  • Weddings
  • Changes To Hopes and Dreams
  • Surgery
  • Home Power Outages
  • Family Vacations
  • Spousal Job Loss
  • Doctor’s Appointments
  • Major Dental Procedures
  • Drug & Alcohol Testing (which we are required to do for a client)
  • Criminal and Financial Background Checks
  • Sick Children
  • Alzheimers Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Hearing Loss
  • School Events
  • Financial hardships
  • Business failures
  • Lawsuits

Preparing Yourself

Working through these issue doesn’t require an MBA, finance degree or a Wall Street internship. It simply requires you to be a good compassionate and understanding human. It requires you to put people issues before business issues. It requires good listening skills and good problem solving skills. It requires you to be prepared for life to get in the way of business. And to be okay with that.

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Weaponry Humans

My Favorite Part

Still, the humanity is my favorite part of business. It provides a constant reminder that we are people first and clients, employees and contractors second. We work to live. We don’t live to work. At the end of your career you will be remembered more for how you impacted lives than how you impacted products and services.

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Business people having a very human experience.

Key Takeaway

Humans are critical to business success. If you want to create a thriving business you should always put the humans in them first. Because you can’t succeed without them. When you show that you care about the human issues that your team, clients and partners are dealing with, those same people will care even more for you and your shared business in return. So remember the Golden Rule. It’s the most golden entrepreneurial lesson I’ve learned so far.

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

A quick review of the 15 books I am reading right now.

I love to read. Reading is my primary source of education and inspiration. I read to accumulate knowledge and connect dots. As an entrepreneur I read to fill my knowledge gaps. And to discover how successful people became successful people.

I am always reading multiple books at one time. Well, not literally at one time. More in the way you watch multiple TV shows. Or listen to a several different radio stations. My reading is like written programming. But not like computer programming. Ok, now I am just confusing myself.

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It’s Gettin, It’s Gettin, It’s Gettin Kinda Hectic.

Lately I seem to have more books going at once than usual. So I gathered them all together in one place to count, compare and contemplate why I currently have so many books in progress.

I would have guessed that I had 6 different books started. So I was quite surprised to find my current mid-read book list totals 15 books! What follows is a summary of the books in my current active collection. And my review of the books so far.

The 14 Books I am Currently Reading and why.

 

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  1. Leondardo DaVinci by Walter Isaacson

DaVinci is one of the greatest thinkers and creative minds in the history of the world. I thought I might learn a thing or two from him.

Thoughts so far:  I am wowed by DaVinci’s curious mind, his notebooks and how painting was a relatively small part of his life and self perception. Also, he had a lot of trouble finishing his art. In fact he only finished a small number of paintings. I guess we all have our flaws. Thanks for the reminder Leonardo! 

 

Born to run

2. Born To Run  by Christopher McDougall

This book is about a barely known ancient community in the remote mountains of Mexico that is unnaturally good at long distance running. The author is trying to gain insights from exploring these people and others who are way into ultra distance running. I picked this up because it kept showing up on my radar as a book friends had read or a hot new book, or a book available at my library. So here we are.

Thoughts so far:  This is my leading physical book right now. It is entertaining, educational and super funny. I love how it dives into the evolution of ultra marathoning. The personalities profiled are fascinating. And the overview of the various high profile races make me feel like I have learned something new. Plus, the investigation into what our running shoes are really doing for us, or not, is eye-opening, and potentially paradigm shifting. I highly recommend. Even if you are more Michelob Ultra than Ultra Marathoner.

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3. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

This is the book that started a cultural phenomenon. After Lin-Manuel Miranda read this book he was inspired to create his famous broadway show about Hamilton. I wanted some of the same inspiration. So I picked up the audiobook at my local library.

Thoughts so far: Wow! What a life Hamilton lived! It started rough. And ended moronically.  #AaronBurr  But in the middle of his life he became one of the most influential men in history. Especially if you think The United States has been an influential institution. Which I do.

 

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4. Destiny and Power by Jon Meacham

My wife gave me this book after President George Herbert Walker Readmylips Notgonnadoit Thousandpointsoflight Bush passed away. This biography of Bush Senior was even more interesting to me because I watched the funerals of George and Barbara Bush on TV. Jon Meacham spoke at both, and was fantastic. I wanted to hear more of the Bush story from his perspective.

Thoughts so far: This book is great. Bush was super interesting, and his story is told extremely well. Starting with the night he lost his re-election bid to Hilary Clinton’s husband. I look forward to more. But not yet. Wouldn’t be prudent.

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5. George Lucas by Brian Jay Jones

Lucas knows a thing or two about making interesting ideas come to life. I wanted a glimpse at his process and his path.

Thoughts so far:  I am not totally sucked in yet. The force of this book is the weakest with me right now.

The Millionaire RE Investor

6. The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller, Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan

I own a rental home and would like to add more real estate investments to my portfolio. I study the real estate investment space a lot through books and podcasts. This book came up over and over as the go-to guide for real estate investors.

Thoughts so far:  This book is excellent. It is exactly what I was hoping it would be. It is inspirational. It is clearly a resource book, and not just an interesting read. If you are thinking about buying real estate as an investment you should read this book. Plus it has that yellow starburst on the cover. Which is the international symbol for ‘Buy Me!’

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7. The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T.J. Stiles

This is the biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt. I love reading about business people who totally dominated. And he totally dominated like few others in history have. Other than maybe Rockefeller, Carnegie and the Gangnam Style guy. I first picked this book up at the library when I lived in Atlanta. But because it is about 800 pages long I couldn’t finish it in one 3-week session. So I asked for it as a Christmas gift last year and started again from the beginning.

Thoughts so far:  Vanderbilt was a badass. His focus, vision and determination were like weapons. He was such an imposing force that everyone referred to him as the Commodore, despite the fact that he never served in the military or sang with Lionel Richie. However, he was not a model father or husband. Although I have been to his son’s shack outside Asheville, North Carolina. So I know he ends up spreading the wealth around. But that hasn’t come up yet. If you want to be inspired by a hard-driving, take-no-prisoners tycoon, this is the book for you.

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8. Soar!  by T.D. Jakes

My parents attend a major book publisher’s annual clearance event in Indianapolis every year. I am always a beneficiary of their annual treasure hunt. They find business books, biographies, sports stories and other titles they think I’d like. Then they surprise me with a delicious new pile every year. This book was in the pile this year. I took it with me on a recent trip to Seattle and read a good chunk of it on my return flight.

Thoughts so far:  Jakes is a good, motivating writer who plays the part of both inspiring  entrepreneur and uplifting pastor. The book is best for those who are looking for inspiration to spread their wings and launch their first business.  3 years into my entrepreneurial journey I found it entertaining and nice. But I didn’t need the heavy doses of encouragement.

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9. On Writing by Stephen King

I like to rummage through the book section of Goodwill Stores for hidden gems and good deals. This was both. King is one of the most prolific and broad-ranging writers in America. So I was curious to hear what he had to say about the art of writing itself.

Thoughts so far: I have found this book interesting, although I haven’t really gotten to his writing advice yet. He begins the book with a biographical sketch of his life, starting with his surprisingly challenging childhood. So the story is good so far. But I am still not to the part where he teaches me how to write Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption (Shawshank Redemption), The Body (Stand By Me) or The Shining. But when he does, I expect this blog will get a lot awesomer.

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10. The Hustle Economy  by Jason Oberholtzer and Jessica Hagy

This is another book I received from my parents, courtesy of the annual publisher’s book sale. The book is a collection of 3 to 6 page essays from creative thinkers who have used their creativity to create their own streams of income. Some have started businesses. Some are freelancers. But they all have something to say about how they did it and what you can learn from their independent creative hustle.

Thoughts So Far. I read 80% of this book on my recent flight to Seattle. It was light enough reading that it made for a nice plane book that I could fly through. It is a good book to read in a day. The chapters are short. There are fun little illustrations, charts and diagrams that are insightful and entertaining. And I found little nuggets or quotes to take away with me. Plus I knew one of the writers, Drew Collins, from Columbus. So that was a fun discovery.

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11. Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

This is one of my favorite books of all time. Napoleon Hill had a conversation with Andrew Carnegie, who had more money than Davey Crocket and the whole cast of Dynasty combined. Carnegie told Hill that he should study successful people and find out what they had in common. So he did. Hill wrote one of the best selling books of all time as a result.

Thoughts So Far: I have read this book several times. It is a reference book. An inspirational book. A how-to success guide. I think everyone should own this and reread it once a year. Right now I am reading a page or two at night. I can’t say enough good things about this book. If you haven’t read it put it on your list now. And if your name is Rich, it will really help you think and grow.

 

The One Thing

12. The One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

I love listening to The Bigger Pockets Podcast on real estate investing. At the end of the podcast they ask each guest to name their favorite real estate book and their favorite business book. I write all of the answers down. This book came up as a guest favorite over and over. So I ordered it.

Thoughts So Far: As the title alludes to, this book is about focus. I love the message. It is a great reminder of the power of focusing on the most important thing in front of you. I look forward to reading more of this. But, you know, I have 14 other books vying for my attention.

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13. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling

This is the first book in the Harry Potter series. I am reading it for the 4th time. I read it once on my own. Then read the next 2 books in the series of 7. But I decided that I didn’t have enough time to read all 7 of these children’s books, so I stopped. Then I had kids. I have read this book to my daughter, Ava, and my son Johann. Now I am reading it to my baby boy, Magnus, who turned 9 yesterday.

Thoughts so far:  This books is fun to read, and just as entertaining the fourth time around. It is really fun to read with kids, because each kid sees it with their own sense of wonder. Magnus is no different. It is such a good story and such a fun series that I may decide to take Magnus through all 7 books. We’ll see. We’re just a couple of Muggles after all.

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14. How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book is an all time classic. The title tells you everything you need to know. Friends and influence are important elements of success and happiness. This book takes a very positive approach to both. I have read this book twice on my own. Now I am reading it with my 12-year old son Johann.

Thoughts so far:  Everything in this book is gold. It is a reference book that we should all keep on hand and revisit often. I love reading this with Johann. Because he brings up examples of people who are good at the points made in the book.  There are constant aha’s on his face. And when we recap a chapter I know he has learned important principles of friendship and influence. I highly recommend reading this with kids. (Look at me trying to positively influence people!)

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15. Rich Dad. Poor Dad.

When I first heard about this book I thought is sounded like a cheesy, infomercially, get-rich-quick book. So I avoided it for a long time. But I kept hearing about it from people I respected. So eventually I picked it up from the library. And it changed my outlook on money forever.

This book compares and contrast how rich people and poor people view money differently. It provides an eye-opening look at assets and liabilities that everyone needs to know. I now own this book and have read it several times. I am currently reading this with my 13-year old daughter, Ava. Clearly I am trying to be more Rich Dad than Poor Dad.

Thoughts So Far:  Reading this with Ava makes me feel like a good parent. I feel like I am taking her through a college course in junior high. I can tell she is seeing the world differently now that she has almost finished reading this. This may be the most important book I have ever read to her. Sorry Goodnight Moon and Harold And The Purple Crayon.

Key Takeaway

There are more great books to read than you will ever have time to read in one lifetime. That’s why it’s fun to keep many books going at once. They satisfy your needs for learning and growing. They entertain you. The feed your curiosity. And they make you feel more learn-ed (say that with a Forrest Gump accent).

Plus, it is easier to tackle dense, long and challenging books when you give yourself a break by switching up to a light and easy read once in a while. #AtlasShrugged #WarAndPeace #TheBible  If you haven’t tried multiple books at once, give it a shot. It just might spice up your reading life, and show you just how much is out there to discover.

A lesson from the most important plates in the weight room.

I love to workout. Lifting weights is the core of my workout routine. When I started lifting weights as a high school freshman it changed my life. Suddenly I had a way to burn off my teenage energy supply. I enjoyed it so much that I added 65 pounds during my 4 years of high school without getting an inch taller.

Today

As an adult who no longer competes in anything athletic-y I still love to lift weights. My teenage energy has been replaced by the energy created by the opposing forces of adulthood. But the energy is still there, and still needs to be burned off.

man in black reebok shoes about to carry barbell
The best way to make stress go away.

The Plates

For most of the past 30 years I thought of the large 45-pound plates as the most important plates in the weight room. When I was a high school freshman I couldn’t wait to put 45-pound plates on each side of the barbell when I was bench pressing. By my senior year I could put 3 of those bad boys on each side. During college I could bench 4 of those on each side, and squat well over 5. Those 45-pounds plates were milestones. And they were all I focused on.

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There’s a lot on your plates. But which ones are the most important?

A Different Perspective

Today my thinking has changed. The 45-pound plates may be the most high profile pieces of iron in the gym. But they are not the most important. Not even close. The most valuable plates in any weight room or home gym are the littlest. The 2 and a half pounders.

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These little guys make big things happen.

The 2.5-pound plates are the key to progress. Every time you workout you need to push yourself a little bit more. Just a little. And that small, consistent push keeps you growing and getting stronger.

Mini Magic Makers

When you put one of those little 2.5 pounders on each side of your barbell you can increase your total load by 5 pounds. Not a lot. Just 5 pounds. But that is how progress is made. Little by little. Consistently. Like a slow and steady, sustainable march forward. You can’t jump 45 pounds at a time. But the 2.5 pound plates will build you a bridge to your next major goal.

Beyond Weights and Plates

All of our personal and professional improvements comes through slow and steady progress. Small steps add up to big steps. That’s why there is immense value in incremental improvements. The small steps are sustainable. They are the building blocks of success. And they are the foundation upon which all forward momentum is built.

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Small steps are a big deal.

Key Takeaway

Small improvements are the secret to success. Together, your small improvements add up to the quantum leaps and major breakthroughs that others notices. But giant steps forward are really just little steps blurred together. Focus on the little steps. They will take you where you want to go.

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

Are you in the career you are supposed to be in?

Monday night I had dinner with my friend Greg Rozycki at his home in Emeryville, California. Zyck and I grew up together in Norwich, Vermont. We went to high school together at Hanover High School in Hanover, New Hampshire. Which is just across the Connecticut River from Norwich.

Fun Fact: Our school district was the first interstate school district in the United States. It took a bill signed by JFK to be approved. And it was the last thing JFK signed before he was assassinated (so maybe he shouldn’t have signed it… hmm…).

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Zyck and I holding a board during our high school talent show. (that was our talent).

Zyck and I have known each other since we were 12-years old. We played football together. Zyck was a star athlete. Not only did he make the All-State football team, he was an All-American lacrosse player in high school. He went on to have an outstanding college lacrosse career at Brown University. Then he went to medical school at Dartmouth. Today he is Dr. Rozycki, a Pediatrician in the San Francisco Bay Area. He’s a pretty amazing dude.

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Zyck and I and our Buddy Rett Emerson.

The Introduction

Before Monday night Zyck and I hadn’t seen each other in person in 8 years. When I arrived at his home he re-introduced me to his two children, Sanam (13) and Sachin (11). Then he said something really interesting to his kids:

‘Of all of my friends Adam is the one who has the most perfect career for him.’ – Dr. Greg Rozycki

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Me, Zyck and Sanam on Monday night in California.

Advertising!

Since I first started my career as an advertising creative I have heard this same sentiment many, many times. My great childhood friend Marcus Chioffi says this every time I see him. My Uncle Rod says he is glad that I am finally able to put my unique thinking to good use.

Rett's with kids.
Spending time back home in Vermont. That’s little Sanam in the green shirt.

Finding Your Perfect Fit

I always laugh at these comments. But they are true. I have found a career that is perfectly suited to my strongest and most natural skills and abilities. I love the work I do and I think it shows. When I launched my own advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry, I found the hard work of starting a new business as enjoyable as anything I have ever done. Because I love what I do.

The Big Questions

Would your closest friends and family say you are doing exactly what you should be doing with your career?

  • If not, what should you be doing?
  • What are you really great at?
  • What do you love to do that you are not doing right now?
  • How can you make money doing that?
  • Why aren’t you doing it?

Key Takeaway

Finding work that you love to do is one of greatest discoveries in life. It makes it exciting to get out of bed on a Monday morning. It makes it easy to put in the extra effort that will make you extra successful. It gives you special energy that makes long hours not seem so long. Best of all, you don’t spend any time thinking about the career you wish you had. Thanks for the reminder Zyck.

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