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Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 172, December 2013 )

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  • Don't let a single negative peace of feedback get you down, or a single positive piece bloat your ego. Instead, seek patterns.

  • You always need a "Plan B." That client who would never leave will, that secret that would never be leaked will, the amount you've save as a secure nest egg won't be. An insurance policy is an example of a Plan B. Would you live in a house without one?

  • If you have trouble falling asleep, try crossword puzzles or word games. And don't eat anything substantial just before you want to sleep.

  • Swipe the hotel amenities for your travel kit. They are meant to be swiped.

  • Always be early. It's the most powerful, inexpensive advice I know of.

  • When you hear a dramatic statistic, ask for its source. I lot of people still believe you can't go swimming until an hour after eating.

  • If you have to ask about how much the insurance costs, you can't afford the item.

  • Your bread dish is to your left, your glassware is to your right. Remember that, and you can enjoy any dinner. (If you're ever unsure at a table, just watch what your host does.)

  • If you take umbrage at the postings on Twitter or Facebook and you don't simply block the offenders, you have way too much time on your hands or you're wasting valuable time on trivial matters. (I find that half the Facebook crowd seems to feel obligated to show up daily, and then tries to figure out something to say.)

  • If you have a performance in mind you'd love to see, spend the extra money for the best tickets. It makes a huge difference in the enjoyment value.

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I've had still another great privilege to travel around the world, from New York to Dubai to Beijing, and from Beijing to Hong Kong to Dubai to New York. That's around 20,000 air miles.

My wife and I met women in burkas, American rock group road managers, hotel executives, people scurrying on bicycles, local store owners. We've come to the conclusion that there are, perhaps, 95 percent similarities and only five percent dissimilarities among all people (I've been to 62 countries).

People smile and laugh the same. Their facial expressions are not hard to translate. They love their families. They go about their work and chores. They have moods. They make mistakes. They cherish free time. They hunger for affiliation.

At the same time, we are profoundly grateful for our own accidents of birth. As I write this, my access to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia and an array of other sites is blocked by the government. All of the pilots on our long-haul flights with Emirate Airlines have been American. We've observed limited or denied access to common opportunities and services that we take for granted every day.

My iPhone worked as soon as we landed in Beijing. Every sign here is in Chinese and English. The outlets accommodate American electrical connections.

When we return to JFK, we'll go through Global Entry at immigration in a matter of a minute or so. But what must it be like for someone from China or Kenya or Brazil, where the waits are long and it's not likely that someone will speak their language? We passed through Chinese immigration in two minutes, and all the inspectors handling "foreign" visitors spoke English. (A friend from Germany, who speaks better English than I do and also travels the world, tells me that American immigration is often an hours-long process and entirely inappropriate.)

Travel widens your horizons, and shows you the world in color, not merely the media's "black and white." But it also enables you to realize how fortunate you are. We need that perspective. Too often, sitting back with the remote for the 50-inch TV, or deicing which of two cars to use that day, or making an impulse purchase, or relying on excellent public health and sanitation—we don't appreciate what we have.

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The human condition: Luxury wanes

I'm writing this in a private cabin in first class on an Emirates Air A380 behemoth, with every creature comfort imaginable, including huge, expansive private shower areas. We have two lounges, private beverages in each personal cabin, our own snack basket refilled, personal stationery, and more electronic doodads than I can describe.

Yet I was momentarily miffed that, at 41,000 feet over the Atlantic, I couldn't obtain an internet connection. (While my computer, iPad, and iPhone are being individually charged in outlets that provide U.S. power.)

It occurred to me that A) I don't have to connect to the internet to write Balancing Act, and B) something is a luxury until you become accustomed to it which, for me, is single use. (A Hollywood starlet in the 1930s, said, "A private railroad car is not an acquired taste, one gets used to it instantly.")

We all remark on luxury and innovation until we use something for its intended purpose, it works and makes our lives better, and we become quite demanding without it. A remote control garage door opener is quite a significant advancement for humankind, especially when utilizing those magic buttons built in to the vehicle. But if you pull up in the rain and the battery is dead, well there's only one thing to do—pick up your cell phone to call inside and have someone open the door for you.

I've called my kids into the room on an intercom to have them fetch the TV remote control, which was out of my immediate reach and beneath the dogs' dignity to pursue. It wasn't my proudest moment, though it was one of my most comfortable.

We've become accustomed to an easy life, one where luxury and wealth are almost commonplace. By that I mean the ability to fly almost anywhere cheaply; to own a decent and safe car; to make phone calls at any moment; to watch a staggering assortment of entertainment at any time; to find information almost instantaneously.

The concept of "luxury" is waning. It's been replaced by ostentation—the 400-foot yacht, 20-carat ring, entourage, trip into the stratosphere. We're not impressed that we can call China in a few seconds while walking down the street, or that we can have a knee replaced and be out of the hospital in a day.

But that's okay. That's life as we now live it. And life shouldn't be an acquired taste. We should get used to it instantly, so long as we continue to appreciate the wonder that is our world.



Up to six people only, at my home, Feb. 26-27. Four seats remain. Some feel it's the most powerful experience I create.


LAST CALL: I'm forming a new group, six months in duration, starting in the next month, includes group meetings with me, group meetings with the team, teleconference interactive sessions, and so forth. You should be making at least five figures at the moment to best gain from this experience.

Write me at [email protected]. $7,500.


Date: April 1, 2014
Venue: The Palace Hotel in New York City
Time: 9 to 4

There are critical thinking skills which can be used instantly with impressive influence to solve problems, make decisions, innovate, negotiate, and so forth. This session will explain them in both detail and rapid fire use, and make you adept at utilizing them.


Date: December 17, 2013
Time: (11 am Eastern US)
Length: one hour

Don't be left in the dust, kick some up.


March 31 in New York, June 2 in LA

Learn improve in the morning, how to apply in the buyer's office and stay in the moment in the afternoon. Unique. $1,495.


Four Seasons, Palm Beach
Oct. 22-24
I have on 5 spaces available of 25 maximum attendance. Dan Pink thrilled everyone this year, and 18 of those participants immediately signed up again! I'm in negotiations for our next world-class speaker and am creating all new material for the next program. The fee is $9,500 until December 31, $10,500 thereafter. You can claim one of the few remaining seats by writing me at [email protected] or by using this site:


BRAND NEW! Personal Power

London, April 23
Bali, July 10

This workshop will explore and build "presence" and charisma. We'll create and practice the traits that work for you to:

  • Command a discussion
  • Influence a meeting
  • Turn objection into advantage
  • Be instantly accepted and heeded
  • Enable others to be successful by being with you
  • Set the standard for others
  • Build personal and/or professional communities

We'll use actual examples and then create scenarios where participants will role-play with feedback from peers in a "fishbowl" environment.

In one day, we will increase your personal power. What's that worth to you?

Fee: $1,495 until February 1. $1,795 thereafter.
Growth Cycle discounts, Alan and Bentley Cards apply.
Note that Bali setting will be in a casual "retreat" atmosphere.
10% additional discount on Bali sessions until February 1!

BRAND NEW! The Pivot Point

London, April 24
Bali, July 11

The pivot point is that point at which you dig your foot into the conversational turf and change direction. You "run to daylight" in the immortal coach Vince Lombardi's words.

Great athletes turn quickly toward opportunity. People do the same in successful careers and conversations. This is how to escape wandering and meandering discussions and "run to daylight." Your daylight, of course, is a proposal and a project.

In this half-day session, we'll:

  • Practice the language and techniques to suddenly shift a discussion
  • Identify and master how to use others' language to change course
  • Accelerate the speed of progress suddenly
  • Practice standard and customized pivots

We'll use extensive role-play which participants are encouraged to record for personal reinforcement.

Bonus Option
In the afternoon, we'll practice in an informal discussion group for anyone who chooses to perfect these skills still more. We will challenge each other with instant feedback on progress. This will be a strenuous workout.

Fee: $750 for the morning until February 1. $1,000 thereafter.
Bonus afternoon: $495 until February 1. $$750 thereafter.
You must attend the morning to attend the afternoon.
Note that Bali setting will be in a casual "retreat" atmosphere.
10% additional discount on Bali sessions until February 1!


Hard copy with audio files optional (containing a great deal of additional material). We expect actual printing on August 15, will ship thereafter. Great reference work, rich in techniques and approaches, provocative philosophy. A great gift, the book should be on every consultant's shelf.


Do you have a small niche audience, or a book commercial publishers don't understand, or a need to launch a book quickly? I've self-published, have a crack team, and we can get books into print that are highly impressive, hard copy and/or electronic. We can even create special web pages and video promotion.


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.


now available for 2014

As of 2014 there will be a Diamond Alan Card. (Colleen Francis calls this "all in," which is a poker term, and Colleen gambles on cards. My biggest gamble is wolfing down shellfish at dives on the Jersey Shore.) The card will entitle the bearer to partake of my offerings below (I've indicated as much as I can about next year and whether fees will increase or be stable).

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 Skype camera wouldn't work on my main computer, and I had an important call with two of my clients in Melbourne. I told them I had a backup plan, I'd simply use my laptop and its built-in camera. They said fine, and called back.

I whipped open the laptop, fired it up, and stared at a completely black screen. I could hear my colleagues speaking, but couldn't see a thing, not even my desktop. Out of sheer frustration, I hit the screen, at which point the black, leather cloth I use to protect the screen from the keyboard fell off the screen, and, behold, I could see again.

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If you refuse to invest in yourself because you don't believe in borrowing money for your development, then you'll never enjoy the compounding interest of a really great investment. Wouldn’t you have borrowed money to purchase Apple stock when it was $17? Or weren't you sure it would go up, and aren’t you sure you'll go up?—Alan Weiss

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