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Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 168, August 2013 )

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  • Okay, it's elitist, but: When someone in coach puts their bag overhead in your first class space so they can retrieve it easier on the way out, just tell the flight attendant that an abandoned bag from the prior flight is in your overhead bin.

  • Why do I think that proclaiming love for your partner on Facebook is a poor substitute for demonstrating that love every day?

  • If you want better service in a restaurant, try thanking people every time they do something for you. It takes a half second.

  • Folks, you do not put ice in brandy. Ever. If you want to do it in the privacy of your home you can, but you'll look guilty the next day.

  • Change all the batteries in your smoke detectors, thermostats, clocks, and so on the same time you change the clocks twice a year, and you'll never have anything that runs down.

  • Anyone who asks you to pay them to host a radio show, host a cable TV show, insert a chapter in a book, or be interviewed by an ancient C-list celebrity is running a scam. Talent doesn't pay, talent GETS paid.

  • Just tell the truth, to colleagues, family, friends. The problem with lying is that it's so difficult to remember everything.

  • Unless you're in the penthouse suite, it is rare to check into any decent hotel where  you can't get a room better than the one assigned to you.

  • I love Apple, but arrogance is manifest when you create a new iPhone and change the power connection for no convincing reason.

  • Remember the Facebook initial public stock offering? And Brazil and India as emerging super-economies? And the paperless office? And the checkless society? Don't believe everything you hear, not matter how often you hear it.

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A guy writes me to tell me that my last segment in Balancing Act, about ridiculous things I've unwittingly done, is actually an arrogant act which subliminally tells people I'm smarter than they are. He goes on to analyze me, telling me how Balancing Act manipulates the readers.

"Then stop reading it," I suggested, and moved on with my day.

There is a tendency, slight or severe, to overanalyze. Something that one can accept at face value. Face value isn't always accurate, of course. An unused one-cent stamp from 1847 in the U.S. is probably worth a few thousand dollars, because of rarity and demand. But a jack is a jack in solitaire and a 20-euro bill will obtain 20 euros of goods in most places where it is accepted.

I like to accept new acquaintances, buyers, and chance meetings at face value. I don't read in ulterior motive. I tend to based my conclusions on observed behavior and evidence. I pay no attention to eye contact or body language or graphology (the study of handwriting very popular in France). And if someone says something or writes something, I try to understand it based on the wording, not my reading of some deep intent hidden five layers deep.

This tends to make communication easy and lively. Unless you specifically disappoint me or lie to me, as borne out by subsequent events, I'm going to treat you the way I'd like you to treat me. Listen to what I say and read what I write with the expectation I'm conveying honest sentiments without manipulation of maneuver—I'm working at face value.

Of course, you can waste your time trying to conjugate my words and engaged in declension of my language. But you're much better served just looking at the eight of clubs and assuming it's nothing more or less than the eight of clubs.

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The human condition: Bending

I'm sitting near the ocean during a storm watching some large trees sway, rock, and bend in the wind. Their elasticity is fascinating, and essential to survival. (Even large office buildings are constructed with some flex, as are bridges.)

If the trees don't bend, they will snap, from the winds as well as from accumulations of ice and snow. Weak and dead branches are knocked away, so that the healthier ones receive more nutrients. The leaves, deceptively fragile looking, are quite firmly connected, otherwise the tree would be stripped bare in no time.

I've met many people who can't bend. They are doctrinaire, deliberate, ossified. Their way is the only way. When they don't get their way, they "break." The leave the meeting, they resign from the club, they vow revenge, they send nasty emails.

They are "stripped bare" easily, when they encounter a sharper intellect or a stronger argument, their petulance reveals their lack of depth. They are weighted down by the branches that never fall off—beliefs and biases which, though long dead or obsolete, cling to their being.

We're far better off bending in the wind. I'm not willing to lose branches arguing about matters of popular taste. Like an outstanding defensive team, I'll give up yardage but not a score, bending but not breaking. I'll submit to minor choices but will stand for major values.

You can see the "unbending" every day, those who have an "agenda" which must be raised in every conversation, email, and social media posting. They make personal attacks on others when their own weak arguments fail to persuade.

The trees that can flex at the proper time enjoy healthy lives. The grow to their full size, consistent with that type of tree.

The trees that can't flex tend to die early, and never reach any great height at all.




Available on August 15, 544 pages hard cover, or as an ebook, and with optional 40 hours of audio with additional material. Interviews compiled over a year, a must for every consultant's bookshelf, and an ideal gift.


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.


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Lasting Impressions
How to convert appointments into business every time

New York City
October 10, 2013
9 am to 4 pm
Venue to be announced, midtown

My analysis is that the "conversion rate" among consultants is far too low. That is, when you are successful finding and meeting the true, economic buyer, the potential business slips away like water in a sieve. In Lasting Impressions, we will use extensive role plays (every single person who volunteers and most who don't) and examples of the language, behavior, demeanor, and nuances that will create lasting, positive, impressions.


December 9-13
Newport, RI

I've had to add another due to demand, and it's a third filled already! Join the 220 elite people who have participated in this unique program that has been offered in Newport, Boston, London, and Sydney. Everything you need to begin a business or dramatically grow an existing business, from marketing to delivery. There is no other offering like this in the world.


Sept. 11, 2013, 10-11:30
Eastern US

In this unprecedented live streaming event, I will play the role of a consultant with a buyer (who will be played by Suzanne Bates, a globally-recognized expert and author on communications, with scores of CEO clients). In the first role play, I'll portray an "average" consultant, and the conversation, questions and results will reflect that. In the second role play, I'll portray an excellent consultant who pursues the true value and results of the project, and produces a more effective proposal for the client and the consultant.


Sept. 17, 2013
The Sanctuary
Kiawah, Island, SC

I'm going to be tackling a new but vital topic: How to manage your money, because it's not what you make, it's what you keep. I'll be discussing how to use or not use debt; how to pay your bills most efficiently; how to vary your salary and use external sources (bookkeeper, financial advisor, tax experts); how to bill clients and ensure payment; how to pay yourself first; how to create credit with your bank; how to maximize retirement savings; how to be dollar/euro/pound-wise, and not penny/farthing/sou-foolish. And of course, I'll touch on how to charge $125,000 instead of $25,000 for the same value. 

How's that for something different? The investment is $750, $650 before June 15. 



October 21-35, The Breakers, Palm Beach, FL

In the all-new Fundamentals Experience, Oct. 21-22, you'll learn how to formulate, nurture, and consistently create the IP which leads to thought leadership. MY SPECIAL GUEST IS RANDY GAGE, the global thought leader in prosperity and abundance-thinking whom you would otherwise never hear in a small group.

Oct. 23-25 is the Thought Leadership Graduate Experience, focusing on leveraging prior participants' success and solidifying thought leadership. MY SPECIAL GUEST IS DAN PINK, author of "Drive" and other best-sellers, who will chat interactively about gaining and sustaining thought leadership. Both Randy and Dan will be at some of our meals for more informal talk.

There is no place else in the world to experience a week like this in your development and success track. ONLY ONE SEAT remains in the Graduate Experience. Can you afford NOT to attend? If you attend the first two days you are qualified to attend the next three if you so choose.

CONSULTING TRIPLE PLAY: How to Acquire Clients, Value Based Fees, How toWrite a Proposal

October 15, 2013, San Francisco Bay Area

Back by popular demand. Three of Alan's most popular topics covered in one jam-packed day by marketing expert Linda Popky, who has mastered and applied Alan's approaches for smart professional services business

Digital Empire Creation
Provided by Chad Barr and his team

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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My wife justifiably regard me as incapable of any kind of food preparation outside of a sandwich. She was going to a meeting, but told me that she had some nice leftovers to reheat for my lunch. She told me to simply follow her post-it note instructions on the microwave.

At noon I went down to the kitchen with the dogs. The note on the front of the device said, "Push the button above." I did so and the microwave turned on for a pre-programmed two minutes. Then it pinged and said "Done."

However, I could not figure out how to open the door. My lunch was inches away and the dogs were pacing back and forth, but there was no way to open the door. I opened a can of tuna and ate it with a fork out of the can, sharing with the dogs. In frustration, I tore the note from the microwave to remind my wife she had somehow locked the machine.

When I did so I saw the button that said "Open" behind where the note had been. The food was cold, but dogs don’t care about a heated lunch.

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One-to-four people participate in a rigorous two days of promotional "mayhem," in which we create assertive and powerful approaches to mold thought leaders, "go to" people, interviewing targets, and objects of interest. The second course is now completed, and we ensure compatibility by vetting applicants. Nothing else like this if you seek to "rise above the noise." One to four people, scheduled at mutual convenience. The third one has recently been formed.

This issue brings us to the end of the 14th year of Balancing Act, hard to believe. On to #15! —Alan Weiss

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