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Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 148, December 2011)

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Techniques for balance

  • Do you really need to give everyone holiday gifts? Why not give the kids presents and agree among the adults that you�ll make contributions to admired causes?

  • I like to drink, but I always felt that getting blind drunk on New Year�s Eve ruined the end of the current year and the beginning of the new one.

  • Make a resolution or two right now, and start on them, so you�ll hit the new year with a running start.

  • Eliminate the two biggest time-wasters of the past year.

  • Have you planned, scheduled, and safeguarded your vacations and family time for 2012?

  • Don�t be hesitant to say, �Merry Christmas!� Your intent is positive and well-meaning, and if someone takes umbrage then that�s really their problem.

  • If you don�t drink or don�t like the drink offered for a toast, simply take it graciously and don�t drink it, but raise it for the toast. Why cause a commotion that can be avoided?

  • Inexpensive gifts that are appropriate for personal interests are the best. My wife gives me a year�s worth of New York Times crossword puzzle reprints, sent monthly.

  • The best holiday gift: Ask your local welfare office, social services department, or place of worship if they�ll accept a donation for families in need. Two hundred dollars in early December can completely change a family�s holiday.

  • Choose some people you really like but don�t see often enough and make plans to see them regularly in the new year.
Welcome to all the new subscribers from the UK in response to kind words from Andy Bounds!

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I�ve met too many people who insist that I create magic which would defy Houdini and the Sorcerer King: They want me to square a circle.

They tell me that they are not being paid enough, but don�t want to upset the apple cart by asking for more pay. Or they ask how the can get a key client to change his behavior without having to confront the individual or describe the behavior. Or they want to know how to find enjoyment spending time with someone whom they hate.

You can�t square a circle, not with a compass, protractor, formula, or alchemy. You can�t flap your arms and fly. You can�t expect someone to change their behavior without informing them of it, and you can�t expect them to love you for telling them that their behavior is a problem for others.

Get over it.

People do run around in circles trying to square circles, but that doesn�t help. The more you enable someone in doing something you detest, the more they will do it and the more you will detest it. �Overlooking� things or cutting people slack is your business, but you then forfeit the right to complain that they continue to do it.

Either tell people what you need to in order to change their behavior, or get over it and simply accept the inevitable. But to continue to complain and be agitated about something you refuse to confront, contradict, or clarify is just raising futility to an art form.

�I don�t get any respect,� I was told.

�Stop whining about it, and tell people how they have to change their behavior with you,� I suggested.

�Oh, I don�t want to be unpopular and seen as a complainer,� she whined.

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The human condition: Drawing a blank

Rick Perry recently self-destructed in a political debate by proclaiming he’d close three government departments and then promptly forgetting one of them. Inexplicably, he drew the proverbial “blank” after having presumably prepared for a major, televised debate.

This is a guy who wants to lead the country. One would assume that such a goal requires at least as much preparation as, say, a high school geometry test.

Yet we’ve all been in the position, searching for a word, forgetting our place, losing a train of thought which is now headed for the wrong station. I have been a professional speaker for 25 years, and a in Australia on a speaking tour as I write this, and I never memorize my speeches, even keynotes. I always have notes, because I feel I’m paid to deliver value not demonstrate memorization skills, and since I ad lib often, my mind is apt to be going in twelve directions. My notes remind of where I’m supposed to be headed.

We draw a blank because we’ve often repeated something so often that we’ve lost the meaning, and it’s meaning that helps us recover our place, not mere words. We draw a blank when we are so intent on anticipating what will happen that we’re not listening to our current words. Blanks occur when we’re preoccupied and thinking of a personal issue while talking about a different one. We “blank” when we are so impassioned, or enraged, or furious, that we can’t focus adequately to choose the appropriate words—emotion trumping logic.

It’s usually not the end of the world unless it’s done in excruciatingly public forums and/or with critical issues. Drawing a blank is easily prevented by preparing notes and focusing on what you’re doing—remaining “in the moment.”

The term originated in the 16th Century lotteries of Elizabeth I in England. You lost when a blank paper was drawn.

You still do.



October 22-24, 2012
The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, FL
The third annual conference, limited to 20 people, which has featured Marshall Goldsmith and David Maister the past two years. In 2012 we have MARGARET WHEATLEY, author and consultant whose works include the seminal Leadership and the New Science. Learn how to rise to thought leadership in your field with practical techniques and ongoing support. The graduate session is already sold out a year in advance! Fifteen spots remain. There is no other opportunity like this in the world. The finest venue, great interaction, top people. All lodging and meals are included, discounts only until December 15, 2011.

Read about the 2011 session here.

Sign up for 2012 here.


January 25, 2012
Alan's Home, East Greenwich, RI

A maximum of six people will engage in both skill and behavioral development to raise and sustain high self-esteem levels. Based on Alan�s longer programs in the U.S., Sydney, and Dublin. Three spots remain. Meals included.


March 6-7, 2012
Alan's Home, East Greenwich, RI

We have space for only 6 people in this session which provides six months of growth in two days. Create a powerful speech, practice it, set the right fees, and establish a marketing plan. Extensive prep work. All meals, lodging, local transportation included. A unique, intensive opportunity with ongoing and detailed feedback from Alan. Three spots remain.


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.


March 27, 2012
The Palace Hotel, New York City

For the first time, detailed techniques on how to convert a published book into exponentially increased business. And that doesn�t rely on how many books you sell! Bring your book or manuscript with you. This isn�t about how to write a book, but how to market it to grow your business. A unique day for serious authors.


Washington, DC (venue to be announced)

By special arrangement with Alan, Seth Kahan, Master Mentor and Mentor Hall of Fame member, presents a full day on these two powerful topics. Attend a day of intense learning with a master presenter.


San Francisco, CA
June 1 - 3, 2012

The final Odd Couple with Fripp and Alan after nearly two decades. Be there for the final show! This is being live-streamed globally, with virtual participants from around the world, so you can attend wherever you are! Expanded session, speakers, topics. A Twitter gallery! Largest discounts last only into September. We already have 30 registrants, limited seating for the live show!


Join me for a 15-minute Friday audio, a 10-minute monthly video, and a full day of workshops during the year. Charge yourself up each week with pragmatic and direct advice, including questions from the wrappers. We had over 40 people from all over the world join us in Las Vegas in 2011.

December 1 was the discount deadline, I�ll honor subscriptions from Balancing Act readers until December 3, midnight Eastern time.


Next year there is a learning guide before each teleconference, and a free download, as always. Join us for �Conversation Domination� and �The Mental Gym,� as well at 8 other sessions of advanced skills building.

There is a combined discount if you also subscribe to Friday Wrap, above. Offer good through December 31 only!


A quick-hit primer and booster on the essentials of consulting marketing and delivery.

Digital Empire Creation
Provided by Chad Barr and his team

In response to many of his clients' requests, Chad Barr, who has helped craft and create Alan Weiss's digital empire, has developed an exciting and stimulating intellectual property creation program to help you create your own digital empire and achieve huge success.


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I arrived at a nice hotel, but one that I never ordinarily stay in. I was speaking the next morning, and the client’s meeting was there.

There must have been 40 people in a serpentine check-in line, but I noticed only one person in the elite/platinum/snobs line to the left. I wandered over and prepared my story about losing my diamond/kryptonite membership card. As I moved to the desk, I began the charade of looking through all my membership cards in front of the desk clerk.

“I don’t know what I did with it,” I moaned.

“Oh!” she said, “There it is!” and plucked out one of my cards. “Welcome back to our Distinguished Guest Program!” she enthused.

Apparently, I was already in the club. I spent more time working on my illegitimate story than looking to see if I were actually legitimate.

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.

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2012 Teleconference Series

Next year there is a learning guide before each teleconference, and a free download, as always. Join us for �Conversation Domination� and �The Mental Gym,� as well at 8 other sessions of advanced skills building.

Shameless Promotion

East Greenwich, RI
Scheduled on demand

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.

If the other people are always wrong, it�s you. —AW

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