Printer Friendly Format

Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 186, February 2015 )

Follow me on Twitter! You can find me here:
Every day I provide 3-5 brief, pithy pieces of advice for growth. Join the thousands who read these �quick hits� every morning.

And find me on Facebook:

Free consulting newsletter: The Million Dollar Consulting® Mindset:
Monthly, fast advice on consulting techniques with case studies.

Return to Top

  • Most people lose because they perceive they're behind. Change your thinking to "I'm best at coming from behind" (which is true for many athletes and teams).
  • Don't assume an action that hurt you was deliberate and try to immediately retaliate unless you ask first: "Did he or she do that to try to hurt me, or without realizing it would hurt me?" (Especially important in families.)
  • Trying to gain a favor without trust is like trying to buy milk with no money. You wind up stealing it.
  • Don't default to blame. Find the cause of the problem first, not someone to blame first.
  • Never argue with someone who doesn't have the authority to help you. Simply find out who does have the authority.
  • Smelling the cork does no more for your testing the wine than would licking the label. It's an affectation. Smell the wine in the glass and take a sip while breathing in.
  • "Concierge" is a French word that requires a "J" sound: con-see-arshuh. Many people, including many with the title, take on airs by incorrectly saying "con-see-air."
  • Driving a car with one foot on the gas and one on the brake is an invitation to disaster. Left foot on the floor�even if you drive a manual with a clutch (which I do).
  • Don't eat lunch at your desk or at the computer. Sit down and relax.
  • If you have friendly dogs and small children at home, be careful. The children might assume all dogs they encounter are as friendly and approach them carelessly.


Return to Top

Let me understand this:

  • We put a man on the moon within a decade from John Kennedy proclaiming we would (despite his death), yet we can't simplify the tax code?
  • We discovered a cure for polio and have significantly reduced cancer deaths, yet we can't prevent a common cold?
  • We can build passenger jets which travel at nearly 600 MPH at 38,000 feet with improving safety records, yet we can't reliably depend on our luggage being offloaded at the right place and the right time?
  • We can actually build and demonstrate "driverless" cars but we can't provide consistently clean and plentiful public rest rooms?
  • We can invent Velcro but can't create a zipper that is doesn't snag?
  • We can teach people of all ages, backgrounds, and education to drive a car in traffic in excess of 60 MPH, but not to figure out an automatic coffee maker?
  • We can automate payments and applications online for taxes, utilities, and mortgages, but not for the division of motor vehicles?
  • We complain about the car behind us tailgating but we tailgate the car in front of us which is going too slow?
  • We drive ten miles out of our way and spend an extra 30 minutes to save $5 with coupons?
  • We see the price of gas at the pump decline by more than a dollar putting more post-tax money in consumers' hands and the market plunges?
  • We want to attract and retain good customers yet we hire and tolerate employees with no enthusiasm or service ethic?
  • We decry poverty and crime yet we tolerate poor pay for excellent teachers and excellent treatment for poor teachers?
  • We see the majesty and magnitude of the cosmos every day, yet we think we're the masters of the universe?
  • We continue to complain about government sloth, impasse, and aloofness, yet we are the ones who vote these people in every time?


Return to Top

The human condition: Habit

The research I'm familiar with supports the position that you cannot eliminate or eradicate a habit. You have to change it, supplanting the trigger that gains a reward with something else. Whether alcohol, food, impatience, or biting nails, habits crave reward.

This is why enabling is so insidious. When we loan a gambler money to pay debts, or don't challenge someone who has asked you to point out poor behavior, or give in to a bully, we're exacerbating the problem. If a child steals and continually gets fired from an assortment of jobs and we merely repeatedly forgive and provide money, we're not helping.

I have always detested meetings. I find 95 percent of them useless, mere exchanges of information and ego rattling that needn't be done in person. My habit was to disrupt them, which wasn't very effective for my career in organizational life, or my volunteerism for charity, or my work as a consultant. So I began to use the time another way. I'd sit and listen while also outlining my next book, or creating points for a speech, or identifying traits in the room that helped or hindered progress. In other words, my reward was getting important work done instead of disrupting a meeting.

I've found that many people's trigger to smoke is coffee, and the trigger to drink coffee is smoking. When they gave up both concurrently, they were better able to end their addiction. When the trigger of a cousin's critique creates an argument at a family event and the reward is a feeling of defending oneself, a new trigger might be to walk the dog or play with the kids outside and reward yourself with their interactions and freedom from the cousin.

I don't procrastinate about anything because my reward for getting things done immediately is a free afternoon to play with the aforesaid dogs, or engage in one of my hobbies. A tough phone call triggers an immediate action, not a delay�get it done now, don't fret about it all day. (Hence, issues with the phone company or cable company are always dealt with at 8 am.)

If you want to change your habits, examine your triggers and rewards. They're far easier to manage, and your cousin will soon give up.



NEW! Million Dollar Consulting® Convention

March 11-13, 2015, Hyatt Regency, Atlanta, GA
There is no other gathering like this for consultants, coaches, and related professions. Join me and my special guest, Dr. Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism, along with nine expert concurrent session leaders. If you register before Dec. 31 you can save $200 on the full registration fee. Join global colleagues in 2.5 days of intensive learning and sharing.

NEW! The Power of Self-Worth and Personal Fulfillment

Beginning September 2, 2015

For almost pennies an item, receive very brief video, audio, and print assistance each week to build your self-esteem and deal with your life and career from a position of confidence and calm. Poor self-esteem is the biggest obstacle I've seen to people's progress. Join a thousand global colleagues and receive every past and future episode. 


April 14 (day prior to Mentor Summit in Washington, DC)

Spend a day with your colleagues going over the correct language in marketing meetings, proposal discussion, debriefings, and so forth. We'll use both your prepared issues and some I spring at you "in the moment." Become prepared for the tough situations with a day of intensive learning. Open to the public. 


April 17, (day after the Mentor Summit)

Spend a day going through an upbeat version of The Language of the Sale, Common Sense Consulting, Process Visuals, and Million Dollar Proposals, all among Alan's most popular. And take a big discount if you also sign up for Intensive Role-Play, above. Open to the public. 


May 18-22, 2015
December 7-11, 2015
Castle Hill Inn, Newport, RI

Join 300 people globally have participated in this intense, accelerated learning. Six seats already gone in May!


Four Seasons, Palm Beach
Oct. 7-9
Special Guest, Robert Cialdini, author, Influence and Yes!
This program is sold out every year, register now to claim your seat in an intimate program:


Build your energy, renew your focus, create greater growth by taking an ongoing, weekly break, guided by these five-minute videos. A breath of fresh air in a busy life.


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.

THE ALAN CARD and THE BENTLEY CARD now available for 2015:

now available for 2015

As of 2015 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).


Use my excellent professional colleagues as resources in areas such as personal wealth building, positioning messages and brands, and establishing C-level relationships.

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.

Return to Top

My wife and I show up at the Warwick Cinema on a freezing night, and I've cleverly placed a twenty in my gloved hand so I don't have to mess with anything and can just get our tickets. The ticket person says, "That's $22.50 for the two of you."

I look around in amazement and distaste in getting half-undressed to find my wallet. Then I see the sign, "senior discounts." I said, "Well, with the senior discount it should only be $17!"

The clerk looks at me as though she's caught a burglar: "Sir, you two are clearly not over 60."

"True enough!" I said and began to deglove and unzip in search of the other $2.50.

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.

You cannot think "outside the box" if you're still inside the box. —Alan Weiss

E-mail [email protected]
P.O. Box 1009
  • East Greenwich, RI 02818-0964
  • Telephone: (401) 884-2778
  • Fax: (401) 884-5068

    All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2013 Summit Consulting Group
    ISSN 1934-3116