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Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 176, April 2014 )

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  • Take a breath. Before you respond emotionally, take a breath and ask yourself, "What response, if any, would best improve my situation?"

  • Low level people argue with you because they don't have the power to do anything else. Move up the chain.

  • If it isn't broken, fix it anyway. Innovation shouldn't wait for a problem to instigate it.

  • If you regret being in a conversation in which you wished you could contribute but weren't able, read up on the subject. It's apt to recur.

  • The written and broadcast news is increasingly blurring the line among reporting, editorializing, and advertising. Don't simply believe and act on what you hear or see from one source.

  • If you don't think the show was worth it, don't give a standing ovation. Never behave in a certain way just because the rest of the herd is. That only enables herd mentality.

  • The most important person in the room when you're making a speech is the person who hired you, and whose objectives need to be met.

  • Delegate to those whom you pay for services. Why look into a visa when your travel agent can do it for you, or a foreign tax refund document when your accountant can procure it? (At the Four Seasons in Hong Kong, the management staff stands in line for you at the airport!)

  • If you spend a lot of time on the phone, invest in the best wireless headset.

  • Work expands to fill the allotted time (Parkinson's Law). I'd contend that messages and calls and email expand to maximally use the phone one carries around (Alan's Third Law of Time Destruction).

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You know, there must be such a thing as "writer's block," because I have nothing to say this month. It's strange, but I can't think of a thing that's worth determining or discussing, dissecting or debating.

It's sort of like the bizarre way that TV reporters keep referring to the anchors as "you guys" even when one or both are female. If you chugged a beer every time an on-air reporter said "you guys" you'd be drunk in ten minutes. We're not watching news anymore, we're watching look-alike Barbie and Kens engaged in happy talk, video at 11.

That's how vacant I feel. It's similar to the flight attendants who keep insisting that their primary job is safety, yet they spend five percent of the flight on safety and 95 percent on passenger service. Shouldn't THAT be their primary job? It creates cognitive dissonance for me, and it's why I can't think of anything to say about it.

I'm just idea-less, idea-deprived. Perhaps it's due to the current propensity to elect people who believe they should act like our parents and not people elected to be in service to us. My problem is that I'd love to see New York City's intersections unclogged again, but I need to learn that it's more important to set soft drink cup sizes and to remove horses from Central Park rides, despite the fact both people and horses seem quite content. But that's because I'm failing to look at the big picture, and I can't think of anything relevant to say.

I began thinking that when you give bullies an inch the next thing they do is to take a yard, and that Crimea is the first inch. But no one seems really excited, the Europeans are more concerned with natural gas than territorial rights, so once again, I'm not hearing a tree that hasn't fallen in an empty forest. Is that right? I'm not sure, I just can't get anything cogent down on paper.

It must be because I'm bored. After all, the following sectors are all showing healthy, positive improvement: healthcare, hospitality, housing, auto, manufacturing, professional services, unemployment, job creation, exports. It's kind of boring, right? Nothing much you can say about that, which must be why practically no one is talking about it.

Well, I apologize, there clearly is the phenomenon of "writer's block" and I'll try to shake it and have something interesting to say next month.

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The human condition: Macho

"Machismo" is a Spanish word meaning "strong masculine pride." I've noticed that it's not really gender-restricted any more, and it also has become an overbearing compensation for insecurity.

Bullies are actually very insecure (often abused as children). They seek to bring everyone down to their own perceived level of inferiority by emotionally and/or physically assaulting others. If you confront them, they'll usually wither.

We see emotional bullies everyday, much more subtle than the obvious cases of school children picking on each other or the loudmouth in the workplace.

When I go to church, I have to enter the parking lot by turning left against oncoming traffic. It's bewildering to me that many people (maybe half) who are in the opposite lane and turning into the lot themselves—and who clearly see my turn signal and recognize my car—don't stop to allow me to turn. I think it's a matter of false price, of misplaced machismo, that they will be "inferior" if they allow someone else to get ahead of them.

I know that may sound crazy, but I encounter drivers who informally "race" to always stay ahead of certain other cars; people who won't give up a seat or a view to share with others, but hoard it for themselves; who take the remainder of the candy or the largest piece of pie. There are people who claim they were in line before you, or they deserve special attention because of one claim or another.

These are all "false fronts," façades applied to cover up a feeling of rot within. It's the person yelling at the restaurant help because the service isn't fast enough, or talking during someone else's speech to demonstrate his erudition or her disdain.

Teddy Roosevelt talked about speaking softly and carrying a big stick. You might think these people speak loudly and carry a big stick. But they don't. They're merely carrying shtick.


THIS DAY ISN'T OVER YET: The Obstacle Buster

April 16, New York City area

Bring with you your toughest hurdles and obstacles and we'll deal with them then and there, whether a writing assignment, the creation of products, Internet concerns, financial growth goals, constant interruptions, inability to move projects along, "overwhelm," poor time use—and so on.

Can we do this in just a single day together? Of course we can, and you'll never be the same. Sign up now if you want to change your habits and life for the better.


Join a very small group in my suite on the morning of April 25 to be provoked, hounded, and intimidated into success. We'll develop more aggressive approaches and marketing expressly for each person in the room that morning. $2,500: [email protected]


We are forming groups for the third year of this very powerful mastermind experience. Use the link above or write to me to be placed in a group consistent with your goals, or to form your own. Groups renew or are created in March for the ensuing 12 months. These include personal meetings and group meetings with Alan and unlimited access.


April 1, New York City, Palace Hotel
June 3, LA, Airport Hilton Hotel

There are critical thinking skills which can be used instantly with impressive influence to solve problems, make decisions, innovate, negotiate, and so forth. This session will explain them in both detail and rapid fire use, and make you adept at utilizing them.


March 31 in New York, Palace Hotel
June 2 in LA, Airport Hilton Hotel

Learn improve in the morning, how to apply in the buyer's office and stay in the moment in the afternoon. Unique.


May 5-9, Newport, RI, Ocean Cliff Hotel

I keep moving out and they keep pulling me back! I've had requests and people throwing money, so I'll do another at a time of year when it's often possible to have drinks on the beach. Join me for the longest continuing major event I conduct, now in its ninth year.


Four Seasons, Palm Beach
Oct. 22-24
SOLD OUT, wait list only. Dan Pink thrilled everyone this year, and 18 of those participants immediately signed up again! The internationally famed political analyst James Carville is my special guest. The fee is $10,500.

Personal Power

London, April 23

This workshop will explore and build "presence" and charisma. We'll create and practice the traits that work for you to:

  • Command a discussion
  • Influence a meeting
  • Turn objection into advantage
  • Be instantly accepted and heeded
  • Enable others to be successful by being with you
  • Set the standard for others
  • Build personal and/or professional communities

We'll use actual examples and then create scenarios where participants will role-play with feedback from peers in a "fishbowl" environment.

In one day, we will increase your personal power. What's that worth to you?

Fee: $1,495 until February 1. $1,795 thereafter.
Growth Cycle discounts, Alan and Bentley Cards apply.

Note that Bali setting will be in a casual "retreat" atmosphere.
10% additional discount on Bali sessions until February 1!

The Pivot Point

London, April 24

The pivot point is that point at which you dig your foot into the conversational turf and change direction. You "run to daylight" in the immortal coach Vince Lombardi's words.

Great athletes turn quickly toward opportunity. People do the same in successful careers and conversations. This is how to escape wandering and meandering discussions and "run to daylight." Your daylight, of course, is a proposal and a project.

In this half-day session, we'll:

  • Practice the language and techniques to suddenly shift a discussion
  • Identify and master how to use others' language to change course
  • Accelerate the speed of progress suddenly
  • Practice standard and customized pivots

We'll use extensive role-play which participants are encouraged to record for personal reinforcement.

Bonus Option
In the afternoon, we'll practice in an informal discussion group for anyone who chooses to perfect these skills still more. We will challenge each other with instant feedback on progress. This will be a strenuous workout.

Fee: $750 for the morning until February 1. $1,000 thereafter.
Bonus afternoon: $495 until February 1. $$750 thereafter.
You must attend the morning to attend the afternoon.

Note that Bali setting will be in a casual "retreat" atmosphere.
10% additional discount on Bali sessions until February 1!


This is a free newsletter which is my fastest growing, with monthly, brief insights about consulting and expressing expertise. NEW: For those of you who would like more of an experiential approach and to accelerate learning and results, I'm offering a Professional Subscription. For just $50 I'll provide in addition:

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I have selected openings in the Super Coaching Program (KAATN: Kick Ass and Take Names)

I've helped people: obtain six-figure contracts, make major media appearances, gain meetings with top people (some nationally known), have proposals closed, start new businesses, gain greater visibility, build self-worth, obtain book contracts, create new brands, improve their web sites and blogs, and so on. The original group's nine months is about to end, so there are a few openings.

THE ALAN CARD and THE BENTLEY CARD now available for 2014:

now available for 2014

As of 2014 there will be a Diamond Alan Card. (Colleen Francis calls this "all in," which is a poker term, and Colleen gambles on cards. My biggest gamble is wolfing down shellfish at dives on the Jersey Shore.) The card will entitle the bearer to partake of my offerings below (I've indicated as much as I can about next year and whether fees will increase or be stable).


Use my excellent professional colleagues as resources in areas such as personal wealth building, positioning messages and brands, and establishing C-level relationships. You can see what Phil Symchych, Mark Levy, and Andrew Sobel�are offering with my endorsement here:

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Work with the strategic technological genius, Chad Barr, Master Mentor and Mentor Hall of Fame member, who is behind all of my web activity (and co-author with me of Million Dollar Web Presence). His team will create "instant" intellectual property from your material and place it in a variety of forms on the Internet on a continuing basis.

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I pull into the gas station for my first fill-up on my brand new Corvette Stingray convertible. The attendant makes a fuss, and then tells me he can't open the gas tank. We both struggle, I push an assortment of buttons, and then the two of us consult the owner's manual while trying to pretend nothing unusual is going on.

We finally find the answer under "fuel": the tank automatically unlocks when the engine is shut off. The engine is off, however. We look at each other, as cars are lining up. "Reboot" I think. I get back in, start it and stop it, and the tank pops open when he presses it. We both act as if nothing has happened.

However, I am happy my cars don't require operator's tests and that my license is good well into my 70s….

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Reading is not the same as comprehending. Hearing is not the same as understanding. Speaking is not the same as influencing.—Alan Weiss

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