Balancing Act: The Newsletter

(No. 248, April 2020)

Balancing act is in four sections this month:

  1. Techniques for Balance (Questions I Can't Answer)
  2. The Human Condition: Misplaced Compassion
  3. Musings
Techniques For Balance

1. Why do people think by constantly switching lanes they’ll make better time than everyone else in traffic jams?

2. Why do people in New York try to hail cabs with their lights out and people already in the car? Are they ALL from Kansas?

3. Why can’t a Rhode Islander use the tenth of an ounce of pressure to utilize a directional signal?

4. Do people who pause in emptying theater doorways to chat also have warnings inside their shoes that say “place toes in first”?

5. Do people who show up late to a meeting and then interrupt it by asking others about what they missed have a negative self-awareness?

6. Why would the manufacturer shrink-wrap pliers or screwdrivers?

7. Where can I find an old fashioned Yum-Yum like we used to have in Union City, New Jersey, one of the very few highlights about the place?

8. Since when have they allowed police and firefighters to qualify for the jobs at 12 years of age?

9. How is it that to this day and in this age no one is as good at physical comedy as Laurel and Hardy? 

10. Why do people think false praise and avoiding honest feedback helps someone more than telling them their speech was poor, their photo is inappropriate, or their attire is not suitable?

The Human Condition

Misplaced Compassion

There are actually people writing on social media that we should shun automated checkout stations in favor of using human cashiers so as to ensure their jobs. Despite the sentiment, that’s akin to demanding people use horses and not cars so that buggy whip manufacturers and maintain full employment.

And are those same people about to give up automated airline boarding passes, ordering on Amazon, downloading the daily newspaper, using the pharmacy blood pressure machine, or foregoing the robotic trains between airport terminals?

Compassion is fine when it makes sense, but you don’t attempt to retard progress that helps millions to save a few people’s jobs. You help those people obtain better jobs. I’m not saying we send them back to school and make them surgeons, I’m just pointing out that they can work as receptionists in medical offices.

Trying to retard progress didn’t work for the Luddites and doesn’t work now. Taxi drivers tried to protest in the streets to stop Uber’s encroachment, ignoring, somehow, the fact that drivers who don’t speak English, don’t know where destinations are, have filthy cabs, talk loudly on the phone, and eat vile-smelling food drive passengers away. Now, of course, the cabs are cleaned up and have their own ride-sharing software and remote hailing ability.

People gamble online, without having other players and a dealer in the room with them. They would rather deal with ANY division of motor vehicles remotely than stand in line for the “human contact” at their offices. People who belong to my Growth Access platform use my help every day without interacting with me.

By all means, let’s give people jobs, but meaningful, modern jobs which are better done with people. To simply try to preserve a non-essential position for the sake of charity is condescending and disrespectful. It says the “saver” is doing some “favor” for the unfortunate.

I have more respect for people than that.


I'm repeating my "special edition" advice here. 

Maintaining Your Mojo in Crisis Times

In these times we have to rely on ourselves to create high energy and momentum so that we can help others do the same—family, friends, community, clients. Working as a solo consultant for as long as I have, here are the techniques that not only work for me but that I’ve seen others use successfully. Surely some will work for you.

• Take stock of your finances, current business, and future business and determine exactly what you’re facing. Deal with the current reality and not “what if?”

• Utilize a support system. Talk candidly with your spouse or partner about your personal and business situation. If you don’t have family—or your family members aren’t supportive, which can happen—find like-minded colleagues and friends. I have an online Forum where people who share my values are chatting 24/7 and exchange best practices, failures, and victories. You can find similar groups.

• Don’t work eight hours a day (or worse). Four hours of quality output beats eight hours of procrastination any day. Don’t beat yourself up by looking at the clock. Focus on achieving a few top priority results daily. Hard work doesn’t solve problems, smart work does.

• Engage in your hobbies. Don’t feel guilty. Arrange your work so that you also have legitimate “down time.” If you don’t have engaging hobbies, develop some. Haven’t you wanted to learn about music, or play chess, or paint, or take photographs? (Or haven’t you always wanted to reorganize your photos or clean out the garage?)

• If you must, listen to the news in the morning (what happened overnight) and in the evening (what happened during the day) but not continually or even sporadically. The media just keeps reporting the same dismal news and you don’t want to inundate yourself with negativism.

• If you have kids, spend creative time with them. If you have pets, spend some time with them (which is why I’ve always favored dogs over goldfish, but that’s me). Over the years I was virtually unbeaten in monopoly and hearts.

• Count your blessings. I know that can sound trite, but if you and your loved ones are not sick (and that applies to the overwhelming part of the population), and you have a business that has been successful, and you have talents that you can apply, and you have family, friends, business colleagues you can rely on—then you have a good life. You’re alive and you have options.

• Listen to humor. Watch a movie, listen to a recording, play a comedy special on cable. We need perspective. We need to laugh. Laughing mitigates stress and creates a better mood for your next call, project, or effort of any kind.

• We’re talking probably months here, and then who knows how long in recovery, but the quickest recovery will be among those who have the most energy and resilience.

• Keep perspective: The Viet Nam war lasted for 20 years with about 58,000 US military deaths, 250,000 South Vietnamese military deaths, and over a million deaths in North Viet Nam. The American Civil War killed about 800,000 people in about four years. The Spanish Flu infected about 500 million people and probably killed about 50 million globally in a world of about 1.5 billion or so. About 38 million people globally are now living with AIDS or HIV.

• Consider who you can safely help. You can support and coach others by phone, Zoom, Skype, etc. You can support your local restaurants if they’re closed by ordering take-out or delivery. You can contribute to charities that had to cancel fundraisers and arts groups that had to cancel performances. When you help others you feel even better than helping yourself (which you are concurrently doing).

• Most of all, stop being afraid and stop feeling guilty. This, too, shall pass. We will resume our lives and businesses, hopefully somewhat wiser and kinder. The question is never about what’s happened to us. The question is always about what we’re going to do about it.

Only Read This if You Know Me Well

I was concerned that I didn’t receive a confirmation of my dinner arrangements made with the Pierre Hotel concierge for my arrival in a few days. I Googled the hotel, which I found in a list under “best hotels in Manhattan,” and asked for Manuel, the concierge.

“There is no Manuel here,” said the concierge who answered, “but I’m happy to help you.”

“Don’t be silly,” I said, “I have his confirmation email in front of me.”

“That’s impossible,” he replied. “I do know Manuel who’s the concierge at The Pierre. But this is the St. Regis. What hotel are you staying at?”

“The Pierre,” I said, sheepishly.

“Why don’t you stay with us, instead,” he suggested, “as long as you’re on the line with me?”

Development Opportunities
90-Day Coaching

90-Day Coaching

I’ll share best practices and help you with both professional and personal issues with a weekly call and unrestricted email. This is not a regular offering of mine, it’s intended to help you not just weather the storm but to find sunny skies, and to be part of your support system. Obviously, I have limited slots, write me at [email protected] to sign up: $2,500.

Contact Alan
Sentient Strategy

Remote Sentient Strategy Training

I’ve created a simplified, one-day approach to setting strategy for small and medium-sized businesses and for divisions of larger businesses. A dozen people have been certified, and two have already launched the program, which is applicable for both non- and for-profits. It can be delivered remotely to clients, ideal in these times, and in person after these times return to normal. I’m holding a virtual training program for certification via Zoom. Write me for details: [email protected].

Contact Alan
Alan's Million Dollar Consulting Growth Access

Reduced Growth Access Fee

My Growth Access platform, with well over $100,000 worth of my audio, video, workshops, texts, models, IP and so forth has been available for $5,000 for lifetime access, and I add something monthly expressly created for the platform. I’m offering it to you now for $3,500 because a great many people need these resources to sustain their businesses, and there is now time to thoroughly mine the huge content. Simply go here, ignore the actual fee, you’ll only be billed $3,500

Society for the Advancement of Consulting

SAC Offer: Thriving Through Ambiguity

The Society for the Advancement of Consulting wants to help consultants be more productive and profitable during this challenging time. SAC has created a new webinar series called Thriving Through Ambiguity, to help members be as effective as possible in this environment. Membership includes access to this series as well as all other webinars. Join SAC between now and May 15th and SAC will waive the application fee, offer a reduced price for first year membership, and make a donation to a food bank for each new member. Fill out the membership application here and use the discount code THRIVE-NOW.


Alan Weiss’s Balancing Act® Newsletter is a registered trademark of Alan Weiss and Summit Consulting Group, Inc.
© Alan Weiss 2020

You are subscribed as: _email_
To REMOVE or CHANGE this address,
click here: