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Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 144: August 2011)

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Techniques for balance

  • See some live entertainment. There is s certain sterility that sets in listening to music through ear buds and watching performances on a flat screen. It�s far more invigorating.

  • The other person may be rude and inconsiderate, but it�s probably not a personal affront, so don�t take it personally. They are rude and considerate to everyone, and you have no special claim to retribution.

  • Ask your host who you�ll be seated with at the charity event or dinner, and then Google them. You�ll learn enough to be a brilliant conversationalist.

  • Anyone who gives you references is going to have provided sterling references. Don�t waste your breath asking about the individual, but ask the reference if they know others for whom the person has worked, and call them. You�re apt to get much more balanced and honest feedback.

  • Every two weeks take an entire day to yourself during the week. Or, take every Friday afternoon �off.�

  • Don�t try so hard to �win,� try to enjoy. When you do win, it�s wonderful, but you�ll have a good time all the time. You�ll also be looser and less tense, so you�ll play better. (I�ve seen people curse their tiles in Scrabble.)

  • I met a guy shoveling sand off the boardwalk in Cape May. �Doesn�t it just return tomorrow?� I asked. �Yes,� he said, �but this keeps it safe for the joggers in the mornings.� Focus on the outcome of your work!

  • Never argue rules with a bureaucrat�charm and compliment them.

  • With an expensive purchase, never sweat the small stuff. If you need to know the heating bill of the large house or the gas mileage of the sports car, you can�t afford it.

  • If you are not happy, optimistic, and energetic when you first arise in the morning, you need to change some things about your life.

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I’m watching the waves inexorably grind against the beach here in Cape May, New Jersey. A sinuous line of humans clings to the high tide mark, baking under a bright sun ameliorated only by a sea breeze redolent of shells, seaweed, and sand.

I’ve come to the Jersey beaches since I was about 4, probably the third generation to make the Hadj, my granddaughters being the sixth. I came infrequently at first, money being in rare supply in my youth, even with gas at 36 cents per gallon. But when my parents could afford the trip and a couple of nights’ stay, we would embark in our ancient DeSoto, despite overheating cars, bumper-to-bumper traffic, no air conditioning, and pinball machines constituting the most complex form of entertainment.

Over the decades, however, the regimen is as unchanged as the liturgy of the church: some chairs, towels, and an umbrella; something to read and/or listen to; and some food and drink. The changes from transistors to digital and from packed sandwiches to food service on the beach are but miniscule evolutions, not even blips on the radar of time. Except for the cars, we could be in a time warp from a century ago, especially with a backdrop of Victorian-style houses and hotels here in southernmost Jersey.

As the years went on our visits became frequent and deliberate, an ancestral return to birth and mating grounds, as if we are pterodactyls assembling each year on sacred soil. We have come every July, unceasingly, for 17 years now (as we will also return yet again to Nantucket in August).

Intellectually, it is a curious phenomenon to sit on sand, occasionally immerse oneself in salt water, and remain fairly stationary for the greater part of a day over the course of a week or more. But viscerally, there is a great psychotropic joy in it, a oneness with the gulls and the fish, a calmness not always available under other conditions.

The ocean’s unique gravitas has a wonderfully calming effect, a combination of humility and awe. I’m told many people have never seen the ocean. I suppose it’s relaxing to camp in the wild, or to climb a mountain, or fish in a lake. But those, to me, are lesser orders of magnitude, a dwarf star to a supernova, a finger painting to a Titian.

Floating over waves while looking at the ramrod-straight horizon, I often wonder what will become of me. I’ve never found the answer, but I enjoy asking the question.

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The human condition: IKMTYD

There’s an ancient story of a salesman who told a thrilling story of his escape from the Jamestown Flood. He actually gave up sales and made his living simply telling this story. After a long life of recounting this to tens of thousands of people, he passed on and found himself at the Pearly Gates.

St. Peter welcomed him and asked if he had any requests. “May I tell my Jamestown Flood story to the assembled multitudes?” he promptly asked. “I guess so,” replied St. Peter. “Tell me,” asked the salesman, “do you think it will be a tough audience?”

“Well,” replied St. Peter, “Noah will be there….”

Too many people seem to believe that “I Know More Than You Do.” They’ll advise you on a movie, car, restaurant, or beach without bothering to inquire if you’ve been there or, perhaps, someplace even better. I don’t believe in one-ups-man-ship—if someone has loved the Cyclone roller coaster you don’t have to brag that you were on the Death Star coaster. Let them have their moment.

But there’s a certain obliviousness that pervades people’s psyches when they simply assume you couldn’t possibly have tasted the wine, eaten the food, or visited the landmark that they have. Maybe you do know more than I, it’s a fair bet, but why assume it without the slightest inquiry such as, “Have you seen….” or “Have you been….?”

It’s great to want to be helpful and share a fine experience or important lesson. Just keep you audience in mind.

Noah just might be there.



November 16-17, Sydney, Australia

A “mini-Consulting College,” with a quarter century of consulting success presented in terms of thought leadership, Million Dollar Referrals, exploiting the two sales you make with a proposal, remote coaching and consulting, setting the highest fees of your life and getting them before the project begins, and much more. First 25 people get a free, third morning with a personal debrief by Alan. Dinner for 12 the first evening sold out. If you attend from outside of Australia/New Zealand, I’ll buy dinner on Friday! The one-time opportunity of a lifetime.


August 15, 2011, One Hour, Noon Eastern US Time

Includes a free download within 48 hours!

Learn practical techniques to turn every sale into multiple sales through intelligent pursuit of referrals, and stop leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table each year. This is one of the fastest routes to short-term business and revenue. I�ll share the latest, greatest techniques and language in this unique, new teleconference.


October 31-November 4, Castle Hill Inn, Newport, RI

Participate in the finest development anywhere for consultants and related professionals. Visit the pages above for testimonials and photos. Join 200 elite consultants worldwide who have participated. I have not scheduled any Consulting Colleges for 2012 because this will be my third in 2011.


October 4, Toronto, Four Seasons Hotel
October 14, Boston, Hyatt Harborside (Logan Airport)

For people who want to use breakfast meetings to create a room full of buyers and short-term business. Quite a few of Alan�s mentorees have now hosted these with significant success�often instant business. Participate in one that Alan runs for participants over a breakfast from 7:30 to 9:00, then spend three hours deconstructing what occurred and building your own, including market plan, facilitation support, and follow-up actions.


In association with David Lahey and Predictive Success, Alan will be conducting a full day on building your business. You can register and pay in US or Canadian dollars. Look for this on


Miami, February 7, 2012
London, May 8, 2012

In an extensive day of recorded role-plays and case studies, learn how to establish objectives, metrics, and value that will gain conceptual agreement with a buyer and lead directly to large proposals with almost guaranteed acceptance. We will provide everyone with videos of their simulations, and everyone is encouraged to record their own and others. I�m buying dinner for the first ten registrants in each city. This will sell out quickly.

The Odd Couple�

June 1 - 3, 2012

Join Patricia Fripp and me for the Victory Lap of The Odd Couple��our final Odd Couple Workshop, June 1-3, 2012, with global, streaming video. Deep discounts if you act very quickly.


Gaining 1,000 subscribers a month. A quick-hit primer and booster on the essentials of consulting marketing and delivery.

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Having seen my son in an off-Broadway play, I was telling him in the lobby afterward that he had been excellent, as had the cast—in fact they were doing great work with terribly written material. I told him I could have written a better play over lunch.

Jason kept protesting and trying to stop me, but I told him not to be so modest. I was also annoyed that a woman behind me was clearly trying to hear what I was saying, ignoring her own companions.

Finally, Jason put his hand on my arm and gestured behind me. “That,” he said, “is the writer.”

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I make assumptions every day, as do we all. How else can you run your life? Just because �assume� can be childishly broken down to �ass,� �u,� and �me,� we�re saddled with an empty-headed bromide with no substance. —AW

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