BALANCING ACT: BLENDING LIFE, WORK, AND RELATIONSHIPS® A free monthly newsletter about balancing life, work, and relationships based on the books and popular workshops conducted by Alan Weiss, Ph.D.


Balancing Act®: The Newsletter

(No. 294, February 2024)

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Balancing Act® is in four sections based on famous quotations:

  1. Essays
  2. Musings
  3. Developmental Stuff
  4. ORTIYKMWOYBNT-O Department

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Was the Cold Worth It?

One football playoff was completed in near zero temperatures in Kansas City, where the home town Chiefs beat the warm-weather Miami Dolphins convincingly. Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes took one solid hit in the deep freeze that was so bad that it cracked his helmet.

Meanwhile, the Steelers/Bills game in Buffalo where a few feet of snow was predicted and rescheduled for two days later when just a few inches were expected. (If the governor declares an emergency, fans can’t commute to the games.) Last I heard, locals were being offered $20 an hour to help shovel out the stadium. (No doubt they would have done it for free.)

Homelessness “Solutions”

In Providence they are building “pallet housing” for homeless people. These are perhaps 70 square feet with heating, cooling, and can sleep two adults and two children. Pets are allowed. Cooking is accommodated. They will occupy a vacant piece of city land beside some highway on/off ramps. Also on the land will be a few permanent, common buildings: combination toilets/showers/sinks/laundry, and some administrative buildings which will be staffed 24/7 which I presume would include security.

This means that at 2 in the morning in 10° weather or a blinding rain, the occupants would have to get dressed and walk to the facilities and back. Supposedly the pallets are “only” $74,000 each. There will be 70 or more.

A local radio host has found that a new RV that has indoor plumbing (a shower, toilette, and sink) kitchenette, and sleeps four would cost $18,000 ($8,000 used). He’s wondering why we don’t buy the RVs at a volume discount and simply arrange to have them emptied and serviced as needed.

True Diversity and Inclusion

The columnist and political wit George Will, who is also a rabid baseball fan, has pointed out that Major League Baseball did not achieve true diversity when Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers in 1947, nor Frank Robinson became the first Black manager of the Cleveland Indians in 1975. He claims that the true measure of diversity occurred when the latter was fired as manager in 1977 because he had a lousy record, not because he was Black.

For former Harvard President Claudine Gay to claim “racial animus” in her firing is therefore disingenuous, because anyone without an academic book published, with paper-thin academic credentials, with a disastrous performance before Congress and a national audience, and refusing to protect Jewish students against calls for their elimination and possible violence on campus deserved to be fired.

Low Battery

Tesla is taking an earnings beating, in part due to their need to lower prices against very stiff competition, especially from the Chinese. No one has come up with a safe way to dispose of the kibillions of batteries current plans call for, fire departments are still allowing batteries to simply burn out, and the percentage growth of electric cars has declined. Hertz is selling off a boatload of what was to be a thousand-car order from Tesla, citing the expense of maintaining them and the drop in demand.

Hydrogen, wherefore art thou?


Recently, someone in our extended family suffered the abrupt death of her husband due to a heart attack. I quickly arranged for her and another relative to stay for a couple of days at a pet-friendly hotel near her New Jersey home.

I called that evening to leave my credit card with the hotel to cover all the costs. A woman with a very heavy, almost impenetrable Asian accent kept asking me the same questions over and over, and kept repeating numbers incorrectly. Finally, after two minutes of silence, she said, “Manager says no do.”

I told her to put the manager on. He told me that they don’t accept credit cards over the phone and that I’d have to appear personally with ID. I told him I was three states away and our relative had been traumatized by her husband’s death. He said to me, robotically, that I’d have to complete a credit authorization, it would have to be approved, and then I’d have to provide copies of a driver’s license or passport and proof I lived at the address listed. He wouldn’t budge, and admitted this might take a day or so.

This was an Embassy Suites. Where are we when a major hotel chain can’t grant a manager the authority to make exceptions in exigent circumstances, or can’t hire people smart enough to use such authority when needed? I wound up sending a check to our relatives to cover the expenses.

The House Manager at a Broadway play allowed my wife and I to enter even though the ticket source had not forwarded the tickets to the box office. She heard our story and made a decision that we were legitimate, not crooks looking for a free show.

People are bemoaning AI and expressing fear of its impersonality. I’m bemoaning the fact that we don’t bother to employ people with minimum English capabilities nor require people in authority to use their judgment and not just some bureaucratic rule book.

I occasionally hold courses in Embassy Suites because they’re reasonably priced for my participants. That won’t be happening again. What if there’s a fire and the judgment of the manager on duty is that it can be contained and there’s no sense sending people into the streets and damaging the hotel’s reputation?

So let me damage it here.

Development Opportunities
Using Contemporary Events to Generate Uniqueness and Extreme Value to Buyers

Just Created:

Using Contemporary Events to Generate Uniqueness and Extreme Value to Buyers

One day I was forced by my buyer at a St. Louis hospital to attend a board reception before my speech. I simply could not get out of it, so I began to “mingle.” I met a man who owned the largest trucking firm in Missouri and the eighth largest in the nation. I said to him, “How does the bankruptcy of consolidate freight affect you?” (I had read that in the Wall Street Journal on the plane.) He spoke for 15 minutes and asked if we could talk again later. He became a client.

Are you aware that supply chains are being “shrunk” in order to be less dependent on foreign sources and intervention? Do you appreciate the fact that use of telehealth has increased by a factor of 38 since the pandemic and is expected to grow almost 25% annually from its current $100 billion in revenues? There are 32 million small businesses in the US, small business comprise 99.9% of all global businesses, and 50% of all of them fail in the first five years due to clearly preventable factors.

Two bad service experiences prompt about half of your customers to quit the brand.

This will run on March 4 at 10:30AM US Eastern time, on Zoom, and will be recorded for distribution later. My birthday is the prior day, Sunday, March 3, and so your gift to me is $900. Includes recording. Bring your own coffee.

Alan’s five keys to guaranteed consulting success for the next two years


Alan’s five keys to guaranteed consulting success for the next two years

There are huge opportunities created by the turmoil of our times, the No Normal®. I call these the “New Realities.” But how do you know which are best for you? Is your expertise sufficient? Should you develop additional expertise? Are you in the right market? Do you possess the correct resources? We are moving toward a society and business culture where competence will trump credentials and results will rule. Sample key: Key #1: Transitioning is vital to survival.

Join me on February 13, 10:30AM US Eastern. $450.

Master Master Class III

Master Master Class III

The first two were sold out, hence this third one, with all new material, past “grads” are welcome back. Maximum 12 people. Learn and apply key marketing and creative techniques to reduce your labor and improve your profits. This is a live program but you may attend remotely, as well. This will be in Newport, RI March 19-21. The fee is $6,000, $5,000 for past attendees. Breakfast, lunch and favorable room rates are included.

I'm an Old Cowhand...

The server comes to our table to put appetizers for sharing in the middle. As I reach for the dish she says, “Be careful, it’s hot!” I pulled my hands back.

My wife asks, “Do you mean man hot, or woman hot?”

“Man hot,” smiles the server.

“Oh, give me that,” says my wife, takes it in one hand and starts to distribute the food.

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