Balancing Act: The Newsletter

(No. 256, December 2020)

Balancing act is in four sections this month:

  1. Life Balance Ironies
  2. The Human Condition: Adaptation
  3. Musings
Techniques For Balance

Life Balance Ironies

• Why are we only so concerned about THIS flu and not concerned in non-pandemic times about the flu which also kills people?

• Why are there beliefs that otherwise healthy people over 60 are more at risk while the government is calling for retired medical personnel to report back to work?

• How is it that Zoom is working so well for so many but was not thought of as a replacement before for wasteful, huge corporate conferences?

• Why do speakers reduce their fees when appearing remotely and not “live” when their value is absolutely the same?

• How is it that unemployment is such a burning issue when it is currently only about a percentage point above what it was in 2014 and 2015?

• Why is it that 2019 auto deaths were down from 2018 but 2020 appears to be an increase despite so many fewer cars travelling?

• Why aren’t health measures such as masks and isolation requirements a national issue instead of a state issue, especially since the Boston to Washington, DC corridor is one, large megalopolis?

• Why are auto sales soaring in this environment, especially among pickup trucks?

• Why are hospitals becoming perceived as dangerous places instead of healing places?

• Why does it take a disaster of epic proportions to encourage people to save and to adopt pets from shelters?

The Human Condition

We’re much more resilient than we think. We find ways past traffic jams, manage to obtain tickets for limited productions, put up with flight delays, and deal with tough family matters.

Now we’re consumed by a pandemic for which we have no easy answers, where science is often compromised by politics, and even when it’s not, predictions turn out to be grossly inaccurate. Schools are in horrible shape, sports struggle to continue, and the hospitality industry is in grave trouble. Yet we all soldier on.

We take local vacations and Airbnb has made a brilliant strategic move changing its algorithms and offerings to locations within 50 miles instead of outside the 50 states. Remote learning, imperfect but widespread, is attempting to be better than nothing. Online meetings, on the other hand, may threaten the hospitality industry long-term, since Zoom is the new telephone and television in terms of technological innovation.

We’ve put off or downscaled weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties, and even funerals. We’ve had to live with the pain of not being with seriously ill relatives when they need us the most. We’re working from home while home schooling, seeking take-out food while taking supplies to those who can’t retrieve necessities themselves.

We’ve conducted a very tight presidential election without tanks in the streets and with the highest voter turnout in our history. We’re using alternate, streaming forms of entertainment and we’re keeping our distance while we go about our lives. We’ve accommodated social protest and protested social rioting.

We are resilient, we adapt. We come through. We triumph. If this is a test, we’re passing it. There are no grades here, just pass/fail. And, having passed it, presumably we’ve learned a lot and can go on to better things.


This is a holiday message I posted on for my community. I wanted to express it to my subscribers here, as well:

I looked back 52 weeks (hard to believe) and found I couldn’t really improve on what I wrote then at Christmas, especially in view of what we’ve been through globally with pandemic and locally with politics. I believe this is even more true today. Montesquieu, the great French political philosopher and judge, wrote The Spirit of the Laws, which I had to read in college. This book is said to have had more of an impact on the Founding Fathers in the US than any other. And in it, Montesquieu emphasized that the one characteristic that was absolutely key to freedom and liberty is virtue.

This is a festive time of year. Christmas, which is not the great Christian Holiday (Easter is) is a time of joy, paralleled by Hanukkah. And, of course, Christmas has become a secular holiday, where non-believers also rejoice in gift exchange, reunited family, time off work, and (one hopes) general feelings of good will.

We all watch Christmas movies and listen to Christmas songs. We all shop, and exchange gifts, and marvel at “Black Friday” and the volume of UPS and FedEx parcels, and the growing online purchasing power.

There’s nothing wrong and everything right about rejoicing. It doesn’t matter whether you believe in God or not. What matters, however, is good will toward others. There’s something hugely wrong with being rude while purchasing Christmas gifts! There’s something wrong with trying to outdo the neighbors with lighting, or to have the biggest tree in the neighborhood.

The basis of all the great religions, I believe, is tolerance and forgiveness, despite the distortions that result from zealots and bigotry where religion is used as the excuse for heinous actions, from the auto de fé to jihad. Tolerance and forgiveness have always struck me as passive, in response to an act or behavior. Therefore, I would add generosity to the mix.

We can be generous with our time, energy, resources, information, coaching, and attention, as well as with money. I think it was Samuel Johnson who said that an act of charity should be defined not by how much one gives, but by how much one has left after giving. It’s easy to write a check, it’s not as easy to invest your time.

My suggestion for this Holiday Season is to share your “wealth,” no matter how you define it. If we cared more for each other, we’d do less advertent and inadvertent harm. And that includes family, not just friends and acquaintances.

So, in the true spirit of the times, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Maria, Bentley, Coco, and me. May you make others happy and better, thus improving yourself. We wish you a safe, healthy, peaceful, and prosperous future.

Only Read This if You Know Me Well

When I bought a house to rent out in order to use the detached carriage house for my train layout, I knew I’d have to put a new furnace and air conditioning unit in the carriage house. As winter approached, I called a local firm which advertised one-hour service once you’re a customer.

They installed the units flawlessly, and without disturbing the trains that filled the room. A week later, when the cold weather set in, I adjusted the thermostat—and nothing happened. After trying everything I could, I called the company, irate, pointing out that it was a brand new unit and I now expected service within an hour.

About 50 minutes later, a friendly repair guy drove up, said “Hi,” walked to the back of the room, opened the utility door, turned a large red switch to “on” and, while the furnace roared, told me to have a nice day as he saw himself out.

Development Opportunities
How to Write with High Impact, High Speed, and High Success

NEW AND NEVER BEFORE: How to Write with High Impact, High Speed, and High Success

Would you like to blog three times a week without stress and in a manner that creates a positive reaction from readers? Would you like to finish writing your next book two months ahead of the deadline without major revisions, without tedious self-editing, and with tremendous appeal to your ideal buyers (and without stress)?

Would you like to write literate, influential emails, reports, recommendations, and even social media postings that stand out in a crowd and make you an object of interest?

Join me for a three-hour Zoom experience during which you’ll master:

  • Powerful openings
  • Brilliant metaphors
  • Succinct but dramatic argument
  • “Assertive tact” and persuasion
  • Brevity and focus
  • How to market and sell through your written words

The session will include prep work for you to include a specified piece to submit, examination of writing of ourselves and others, specific IP to use to elevate your writing immediately, and much more.

Is it worth spending three hours with me so that can reduce your writing labor by half and increase your productivity by 100%?

I won’t be asking you to be me, but I will show you techniques and options that I use which you can use immediately. I will guarantee that you will be capable of (assuming you have the discipline and accountability) writing a book in 90 days, writing a blog post in five minutes, posting on Twitter in 30 seconds, and cutting in half your email labor.

You have the opportunity to submit further pieces to me for 30 days after the session, with 48-hour or better critique and turn-around.

Date: February 2, 2021
Time: 11-2 US eastern time (west coast and Europe-friendly)
Fee: $1,400

Option A: In addition, you and I will co-write an article for publication online, of any length, or in a hard copy publication, wherever. You may include my name or not, up to you. We will finish this within a week. Fee, including the above program: $1,900

Option B: In addition, I will walk you through an eBook of up to 50 pages, critiquing the entire work and adding to your writing, if needed, examples, case studies, IP, etc. I’ll help create the table of contents and contribute narrative. It is up to you whether or not to use my name. We will finish this within a month. I’ll also help you with the topic and premise if you like. Fee, including the above program: $3,000

Million Dollar Consulting®️ College 2020

NOW VIRTUAL: Million Dollar Consulting® College 2021

Join me for the second virtual college, over three mornings, January 26-28. We’ll have group exercises, role plays, case studies, and great interaction. I can only accept a limited number of people. Use this opportunity to help launch you into the emerging economy with new energy and new techniques. If not now, when?

Sentient Strategy

Sentient Strategy

We’ve certified 35 people in Sentient Strategy, an ideal methodology to remotely create a one-year strategy in just two mornings. Four sessions have already been sold to various size businesses. The training sessions are just two mornings on Zoom. Learn more here. Write me to apply for the training.

Contact Alan


MacKay CEO Forums: My long-time client and colleague, Nancy MacKay, is seeking additional chairs for her vast network which provides virtual meetings for business owners and executives. The chairs, while continuing to run their own businesses, also facilitate these meetings periodically, and gain exposure to potential clients by also addressing the groups and becoming known within the network. Here’s a video conversation with me and Nancy with more information. You can reach Nancy for further discussions here: [email protected]. Just mention that I sent you to receive a quick response.

Prestige Mastermind Groups: I’ve been told that some people would greatly prefer that I offer coaching to an intimate group, sort of a Growth Cycle on steroids, which would work with me on a regular basis and whose members could get to know each other well for long-term support.

I’m proposing an elite mastermind group (I’ll form more than one if there’s interest) with these criteria:

  • Maximum of five people
  • Time adjusted to accommodate all members comfortably globally
  • Meeting schedule set with all members for convenience
  • 90 minute sessions over 90 days: January 1-March 31, 2021
  • 10 meetings over that time span, virtually
  • One-on-one work as needed and requested
  • Video of all sessions within 48 hours
  • Conditions permitting, an additional, live, full day meeting during March, 2021 with Zoom attendance for anyone who can’t make it

The fee is $5,000. The first five applicants are in the first group. Additional people will be placed in subsequent groups. I’m predicting a “business Renaissance” for late first quarter 2021. Do you want to be a part of it or not? 

Register here.

Alan Weiss’s Balancing Act® Newsletter is a registered trademark of Alan Weiss and Summit Consulting Group, Inc.
© Alan Weiss 2020

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