Summit Consulting Group - The Balancing Act� E-mail Newsletter

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BIGGER NOTE: This will be the final Balancing Act in plain text, since we have very few subscribers who desire that format. We hope you'll use this opportunity to convert to HTML and continue to enjoy Balancing Act, now in its 9th year.

Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 112: December 2008)

Happy Holidays from Maria, Koufax, Buddy and me to all of you. May you rejoice in love and life throughout the coming year. Thanks to all of you who have continually send prayers and best wishes for our grandchildren. Progress is very good, and you may follow them here:

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Techniques for balance when in new surroundings

Holiday balance suggestions, no matter what or how you celebrate:

  • If you're worried about tipping people at the holidays, err on the high side. It's a small difference to you and a big difference to them.

  • Give more of yourself, whether money or time, to charities, shelters, and similar causes.

  • Don't drink alcohol with clients or prospects. It's never smart. Similarly, you don't belong under the mistletoe unless you're with your true love.

  • Don't make a New Year's Resolution unless you really intend to keep it. It's not just that it's otherwise a waste of time, but it's a downer when you realize that you've "failed" again to change a certain behavior or result.

  • Create a financial plan for the year with these priorities: 1) normal living expenses; 2) funding special needs (e.g., college fund); 3) retirement funding; 4) impulse purchases and unanticipated needs.

  • Plan all your vacation time, whether distant or local, before January 1 and place it in your calendar, sacrosanct. There is nothing wrong with taking long weekends within a car drive or even telling people you're away and just relaxing at home (which Maria and I have done).

  • Try smiling at people first. You don't have to say a thing. But on the elevator, in a hallway, on the street-don't immediately try to lose eye contact.

  • There is no reason that you can't have a great time and still eat reasonably or workout on a schedule.

  • When you pass the guy with the beard, red suit, and bell and that kettle outside of a store, put something in the pot.

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Christmas and the New Year's create such an odd juxtaposition. (Okay, I realize that different people celebrate or don't celebrate different holidays, but I'm weary of political correctness and, admit it or not, we celebrate a holiday environment at Christmas which has become a secular festivity.) Within a week we're celebrating our lives with family and friends, and then ending a traumatic year while looking forward to what we hope is a better one.

This has always been a bit of a social shock for me, sort of like extreme hot and cold, or sweet and sour, or wet and dry. An example: I was told that Kenny G, the gifted saxophonist, can breathe through his nose while blowing through his mouth, thus holding a note for 40 minutes or so. I've tried to do this, when there is no one near, and I cannot comprehend how it is done. This is another social shock I'm dealing with.

It's tough to simultaneously say farewell and hello, to breathe out and breathe in at once.

This may be why rates of depression and suicide rise in January. Suddenly you're thrust out there, facing the cold (sometimes literally) new year, Thanksgiving and Christmas gone, no family events being forced onto your particular stage until there is a wedding, graduation, or death, and you're expected to come out swinging into 2009.

I suggest that we all create some momentum. Use these approaching holidays, while we still can influence our own actions, to build some acceleration that will take you through the January doldrums. (This term comes from areas around the equatorial oceans where there is no wind to fill ships' sails.) Plan family events early in the year. Don't make unrealistic "resolutions" that will leave you feeling like a failure instead of fulfilled. Don't look to next year to "bail you out" of this one, look to it as an opportunity to improve your life yourself.

We shouldn't come to an "end" of the current year, and a standing start for the new one. Nor should we kiss family goodbye at the holidays.

We should use the Christmas spirit to catapult us into a terrific New Year which we make better than ever for ourselves and our loved ones.

You don't have to breathe in and out simultaneously. You just have to breathe.

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I've been slightly astonished not merely by the fact that we have adjusted to these unprecedented economic times, but that we've done so in such rapid order. The human capacity for acceptance is enormous.

What choice is there? Perpetual agony? Eternal victimization? Infinite regret? They sound like reform schools in hell.

People are going about their business. Those who are out of work are trying to find a new job. Those who run small businesses are trying to figure out how to provide additional value. People are cutting back where they have to. Others are trying to take advantage of bargains in the market.

The resilience of people is dramatic, not merely in reaction to this financial mess, but in general, in reaction to illness, death, disappointment, loss, or unfair circumstances. Resilience is based on the intrinsic belief that you can muster the learning, behavior, and strength to overcome. It applies to athletic teams and neighborhoods, to actors and accountants, to white collar and blue.

There's a need to regain normalcy in our lives. We need regularity in order to make calm and rational decisions, to avoid overreacting, to establish smart priorities, and to allocate and include balance in our lives.

In short, we can't walk around scared. And we can't walk around blaming "them."

We can take accountability for our own lives and act accordingly, or we can walk around scared and blaming. We can accept, or we can resist.

We have a great capacity to accept adversity and overcome. The question I always wonder about is whether we have as great a capacity to accept the best of life and relish it while we're here and while we can.

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I lost my wallet the other night, called the restaurant where we had dinner, and had the hostess crawling under tables with a flashlight in her good clothes, to no avail. I whined all morning, then called Amex to cancel my cards and have them reissued. I asked Bentley to create a new registration for my car, and was preparing to go for a new license right after my teleconference on Friday.

Still grumpy at the teleconference sign-in, I was adjusting my phone and chatting with some early participants on the line and, finally happy with the arrangements, I sat back to put my feet on the credenza and immediately began to yell, rather excitedly. The people on the line began yelling back, as people (and beagles) do in a crowd.

"Alan, are you all right?"

"What happened to you?"

"What's gone wrong?"

"Do you need help?"

I had sat on my wallet, which was lying in the rear of the chair. At that angle, a titanium card hurts.

Alan's 2009 Teleconference Series
Monthly, March through December
early registration: Email Alan

These extraordinarily popular teleconferences, with over 50 in existence on CDs and downloads, will continue in 2009.

Patterned after the enormously successful hour-long content of "How to Accelerate Business in A Dismal Economy," Alan's most widely attended and purchased teleconference ever, the 2009 series will focus on separate topics with deep and rich content. There will be no interviews or role-plays. There will be relatively brief question-and-answer segments at the conclusion of the sessions, and one session dedicate to an "open channel" in September, prior to our "Million Dollar Fourth Quarter" topics, themselves worth the price of admission.

These are professional consulting development experiences simply not available through any other resource.

"I just invested my first $100 with you on your teleconference. Best $100 I've invested!"

These teleconference will sell for $95 each. The entire year can be purchased for $750. However, if you purchase the series prior to December 31, 2008, the fee is only $450 ($350 for Mentor Members; SAC members receive all ten for free). The fee includes the teleconference, a two-week recording window to listen to it, and an MP3 download within 48 hours of the event (sorry, we are discontinuing CDs as an option).

All teleconferences are at noon, Eastern, for one hour. Instructions are mailed in advance and then mailed a second time several days prior to the event.

Here are our topics:

March 27: The Future of Professional Services
What opportunities await you in the short-term

April 24: Two Business Models
How to build-and move between-a solo practice and a small business

May 22: The Global Consultant
How to create and expand a profitable, global practice

June 19: Value Based Fees Redux
Advanced techniques on creating and raising high-margin fees

July 24: Exploiting Opportunity
How to build new revenue streams while sitting around the house

August 14: Achieving Celebrity
How anyone can become a "stah" and for more than just 15 minutes

September 25: Open Channel
Our one participative session for the year, questions in advance and "live"

And our Million Dollar Fourth Quarter:

October 23: Lessons from the Million Dollar Consulting� College
Best practices from 12 colleges and 180 people

November 20: Million Dollar Speaking
Maximize direct and indirect revenues while obtaining major speaking assignments

December 11: Lessons from the Million Dollar Club
Insider tips from a dozen of the world's most successful entrepreneurs

"Thank you for a great teleconference call this morning. Three outcomes already:

  • My confidence went up
  • I ditched some tentative obligations that were like rocks around my neck
  • This afternoon I sold a 350K project "

Constance R. Dierickx, Ph.D.
Senior Consultant
RHR International Co.

Balancing Act® is our registered trademark. You are encouraged to share the contents with others with appropriate attribution. Please use the ® whenever the phrase "Balancing Act" is used in connection with this newsletter or our workshops.

Video Rant

See Writing on the Wall, featuring Koufax the Wonder Dog.

Visit my blog

Two new podcasts every week. Special cigar smoking room.

$0 to $300,00

January 14-15, 2009 Warwick, RI

Whether you are at $0 or $200,000 in annual revenues, the goal is to help you, in the toughest of economic times, to move toward very high margin work very quickly. This is not a duplication of my Million Dollar Consulting� College, or Six Figures to Seven Workshop, except insofar as my philosophy about buyers, fees, and relationships remain paramount.


January 20-22, 2009 East Greenwich, RI,
at Alan's home

This is an opportunity to do in 2.5 days what takes most people most of a year: Create, practice (live and on video), and plan to market, a speech. That includes content, examples, fees, stage mechanics, potential buyers, the works. We do that in the comfort of my home with a professional videographer making DVDs you can keep. There are never more than six people. The fee includes lodging, all local transportation, and all meals (we have incredible dinners together at my favorite restaurants, breakfast and lunch is catered). The preparation work ensures that you focus on your own issues and objectives, and makes the best use of our time.

From Six Figures to Seven

Sydney, Australia, February 19-21, 2009
US Session in Las Vegas in March sold out!

Only unique people will share this 2.5-day program to learn the major tactics required to move to and through the million dollar mark. THE US SESSION IS ALREADY SOLD OUT IN MARCH. We will help you become a visible thought leader in your field, create "communities" of support, engage in advanced promotional tactics, and a lot more. We'll also be sharing the best practices of the Million Dollar Club. This will be quickly sold-out.

The Million Dollar Consulting® College

Newport, RI,
April 27- May 1, 2009

The finest developmental experience for professional service providers, featuring business acquisition, fee setting, branding, market gravity, the language of the sale, proposals, and much more. Read the testimonials and look at the photos. November 2008 sold out!

"Every day ought to look like a holiday." - AW