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. 293, January 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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Listen to my free Podcast Series on Apple Podcasts or on Alan Weiss’s The Uncomfortable Truth®. And watch A Minute with Alan® daily on all social media and my blog.

Our 25th Year!! Happy New Year!!


The Law of Entropy

There has been a Netflix streaming series for eight seasons called “Suits,” about a high-end corporate law firm and its star litigator, and egotist named Harvey Specter. It clearly cost a fortune to shoot, and it has the novelty of main characters leaving the series. But it became a caricature of itself when the writing ran out of steam and the exact same situations kept reappearing. People walk into a room just in time to overhear key dialogue and profoundly comment at least three times every episode. I’ve been able to recite dialog in advance, to my wife’s frustration. (Every time someone knocks on a house door, the person opening it immediately says, “Why are you here?!”)

When you run out of creative juice in your work or your life, seek different sustenance. Nothing tastes better after recycling.


When you greet someone with a smile (in our and many other cultures), you’re going to improve the ensuing relationship or dealings most of the time. That applies whether you’re dealing with a customer or you are the customer. Smiles were developed by ancient humans as a way to attract less-aggressive mates, according to a new study. A team of scientists is claiming that the kindness humans can show via facial expressions was a key factor in our evolution.

It’s surprising to me how many restaurant hostesses do not smile when you provide your name and reservation, but act as if you’re disturbing them! I begin right away with a negative view of the place.

Now that we’re on Zoom so much this applies as well, but even on the phone you can usually “hear” someone smiling or not. It’s not a bad idea to look in a mirror during critical phone calls, because that will reveal your attitude and impact.

Frequency Creates Disregard

Many of us have been on airplanes where the pilot simply leaves the seatbelt sign on for hours, with no turbulence at all. I don’t know if this is perverse or simply absent-minded, neither of which I’d favor in a pilot. When it happens, people eventually get up and use the restrooms with the passive approval of the flight attendants.

This means that after being seated, many people aren’t concerned about the seat belts any more. That means they are unnecessarily taking a risk. But they’ve lost respect for the warning.

The highways are full of speed limit signs that 90 percent of drivers exceed to some degree in cars that are built to exceed them. Don’t create “blanket” rules for clients. Create specific directions that you follow up on to show they’re important.

What’s the Current and Future Target?

While I still run into a few people who refuse to use email in their businesses, I find them ridiculous. When people still use invalid and debunked personality tests, I don’t try to dissuade them, I simply won’t work with them. You can’t stay still as the world changes around you.

In the late 1930s Singapore, a British colony, was considered impregnable, with a jungle at its back and huge naval rifles pointing out to sea. The problem was that the Japanese found a way to come through that jungle and those huge guns couldn’t be turned around.

I can fill the rest of this newsletter with discarded management and leadership models. Change with the times. Or better still, change in advance of the times.

Machiavelli: “I always thought that the success or failures of men was due to the ability to suit their manner to the times.”



We’re engaged in constant symbolism: The use of a thing or event to represent certain values and ideals. Hence, there is usually the singing of the Star Spangled Banner in the US prior to many athletic events. Most people stand, take of their hats, put a hand over the hearts, and/or sing. Some do not, and some have knelt in symbolic protest over various issues.

TSA is a symbol that we are vigilant in our anti-terror crusade. Periodically we’re shown how many weapons TSA has confiscated, though these are probably the results of stupidity or mistakes, or bad memories, since it’s hard to believe a terrorist would pack weapons that were subject to X-ray inspection. Moreover, we’ll never know how many weapons were missed by TSA.

We even attend meetings symbolically, knowing we don’t need them, won’t learn from them, and will waste our time. But we need to “show the flag” or please the boss, or set an example for others. Meetings probably devour more otherwise useful time in the country than anything else short of social media.

And now we have “virtue-signaling,” condemning otherwise innocent words (one editor recently suggested removing the word “depressed” as an afront to the disabled), placing signs on the lawn, and joining in protests. Of course, all of this pales in effectiveness to actually doing something, like sending money, petitioning representatives, or engaging in pro bono work for the cause.

Protesters burning a flag are symbolically destroying a symbol. That is their right, but it is relatively harmless and meaningless.

In our work and relationships we need to provide more than symbols. We need to provide help (time, money, information) and to engage to create pragmatic improvement. It’s always better to show someone how to do something, rather than to pontificate on how you do it.

How did you learn to ski, or scuba dive, or ride a bike? It certainly wasn’t symbolically. I have the scars and bumps to prove it.

Development Opportunities
Creating a maximally productive week with plenty of time to spare

NEW! Creating a maximally productive week with plenty of time to spare

God didn’t rest enough—He rushed things in six days. You arise Monday morning with great energy and vision to accomplish a vast amount of things. You take a deep breath, shut your eyes…..and it’s Friday afternoon and you haven’t done a damn thing. The week has been absorbed with unexpected requests, failure work, presumed “opportunities” that didn’t pan out, family issues, writer’s block, and the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse: guilt, fear, stress, and obligation.

Join me for 90 minutes which will change your life view and expand your business results immediately:

  • Learn the techniques for setting priority amid tumult in the No Normal®
  • Master methods to create “instant IP”
  • Move from “to do” lists to “results” lists
  • Drop the unimportant without guilt or shame
  • Adopt Alan’s rare self-disciplinary approaches
  • Enlarge meaningful discretionary time

January 30, 10:30AM US Eastern Fee: $695

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

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

It’s not easy being green, but it IS easy pulling down the green if you know where to look

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

If you join both of the above you can do so for $1,000 in total, over a 12% savings

The Advisory Suite

Alan’s Advisory Suite

Nine options for groups or individuals to receive “real time” coaching to build their practices and lives on a continuing basis. The strongest, best people in business, entertainment, sports, the media—all use coaches.

For individuals and/or groups.

Million Dollar Consulting® Global Online Program

Million Dollar Consulting® for the World

I’ve provided 14 modules with videos from me, from your colleagues globally, slides, and text. They include everything from launch to self-esteem, proposals to fees, closing business to creating a brand. No upsells! It’s only $115. What do you think about a 10,000:1 ROI? We have over 500 people from 47 countries.

Million Dollar Consulting® Global Online Program ADVANCED

New: Million Dollar Consulting® for the World ADVANCED

The new program contains over 60 videos and has 15 modules focusing on what to do in the buyer’s office, overcoming crises, financial planning, and much, much more.

Sentient Strategy Certification

Sentient Strategy Certification

My new book on the topic released in March so this is an ideal time to market Sentient Strategy. Write me to apply, join over 70 people certified in six countries. One-time fee of $12,000, includes 90 days of my support, free admission to all future certifications, and admission to a private web board with other Sentient facilitators. In a recent program a particpant sold a $100,000 strategy program within 48 hours.

Speaking with Alan

Speaking with Alan

Perhaps my most popular and pragmatic program over the years, spend 2.5 days with me creating a speech, practicing it, revising it, pricing it, and then marketing it. Whether you’re new to this or a veteran, I can increase you frequency, effectiveness, and fees in a very brief time. It includes 90 days of my support. First time in Boston, Jan. 23-25.

I'm an Old Cowhand...

I was at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island to make a speech. As I usually do, I visited the room an hour beforehand, at 8 am. It was set up incorrectly. I wasn’t using power point, the seating was theater, not classroom, sightlines were wrong, and so forth. I picked up the white phone and the meeting people were there within five minutes.

They rearranged everything to my specifications, and I told them I was going to tell my client how helpful they were. “The Steel Foundation will be very appreciative,” I told the manager.

“Steel Foundation,” he repeated, “this room is for the Auto Dealers. Your room is down the hall….”

Alan Weiss’s Balancing Act® Newsletter is a registered trademark of Alan Weiss and Summit Consulting Group, Inc.
© Alan Weiss 2024

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