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Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 155, July 2012 )

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Techniques for balance: Beginnings of sentences that immediately irritate me

  • Well, at your age….
  • Actually (you're wrong)….
  • If you want me to be honest (you're wrong)….
  • The fact of the matter is (you're wrong)….
  • If we ask for separate checks….
  • At the end of that movie, when she….
  • Hello, I'm a professional fundraiser….
  • I need 60 seconds….
  • I've volunteered you to….
  • You're free on Friday….
  • There's a financial problem….
  • Your payment hasn't been….
  • We're bottling our own wine….
  • Can I borrow….
  • I don't know how to tell you this….
  • I think I misplaced….
  • My family will be in the neighborhood….

And: Any time your kid is far from home, the wife picks up the phone, and hears, "Put Dad on the line…."

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Jim Furyk did his level best not to lose the U.S. Open Golf Championship, and he wound up doing exactly that: losing it. That's because he didn't try to win it, merely not to lose it when he had the lead.

Football teams in the U.S., when leading near the end of the game, often establish a "prevent defense" designed to allow the opponents to move the ball but not score, rather than continuing the aggressive play that generated the lead. What often happens, of course, is in moving the ball so well the opponents DO score and go on to win the game.

The least successful sales people try not to lose the business instead of trying to expand it and exploit it. They allow for unreasonable deals to be made, lower prices conceded, and more work delivered than is necessary. They crawl and grovel rather than sit eye-to-eye with the buyer across the desk.

There are people who lead their lives so as nothing bad will happen to them, never taking even prudent risk or a carefree gamble. These are the people who get caught in the tailwind of people racing by them. I recall leaving the corporate arena to go out on my own, and my erstwhile friends said, "You'll probably make more money than we will, but we'll have far more security." Well, guess what? I did make more money but also have far more security.

Since when is "hunkering down" a way to lead one's short existence in an unfathomable universe on a huge rock racing around an exploding star?

If you play only "sure bets" at poker, you'll lose your shirt. No one is going to be promoted at work for staying off the radar screen. Medals aren't awarded to those who preserve a crisp and clean uniform. They go to the people who are dirty and bloodied and fought in the war.

I'm not about to tell you to bet the family farm on a roll of the dice. But I am telling you that unless you are assertive and bold in life and work you will be relegated to the "also-rans." Those horses don't even go out to stud.

Wake up, smell the roses, grab the roses, and go romance life itself. If you're not trying to win, you're going to lose.

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The human condition: Fear of rejection

My wife has a "safe list" of women I'm allowed to take with me to events or dinners when my wife is out of town or otherwise unavailable and an escort is required. (I'm also allowed to become romantically involved with Michelle Pfeiffer or Sophia Vergara if the opportunity should present itself, but that's another story.)

On one occasion I took one of these attractive, professional women to dinner, and she talked non-stop for 90 minutes—about herself. She was a lot less attractive by dessert, and almost repellant over coffee. The media seems to dote on a narrow dimension of physical attractiveness with the exception of overwhelming talent, such as Oprah Winfrey or Danny DiVito.

I find that truly attractive ("pleasing or appealing to the senses") people are those who are enthusiastic, well-groomed, stylish, friendly, and interested in others. The difference in airline flight attendant attractiveness is not a function of how they look in uniform, but rather whether they greet you cordially, smile, provide help when requested, and make small talk while working.

I flew for 13 hours next to Dolly Parton one day en route to Sydney, and she was so charming that you fell in love with her. I asked her road manager if she were like this consistently, and he said, "That is Dolly." She asked a ton of questions about my work, rarely mentioned her own, and had no airs of celebrity at all. We walked off the plane together into a bevy of photographers and I told her, "I apologize, this always happens when I arrive here." She punched my arm and walked off to an interview.

All of us can be more attractive to others if we care to be, and if we step outside the confines of the arbitrary physical characteristics that the media portray (which often prompt me to think, "That person needs a solid meal."). Don't bemoan the way you were born, start working on the way you interact.

(I showed up at a charity event in a Newport mansion with one of the "safe" women. The executive director told the registrar, a friend of my wife, "Mr. Weiss has arrived." The registrar looked up and proclaimed loudly, "And that is NOT Mrs. Weiss!")



New York City, September 6

In this day-long workshop, you will learn in detail from Alan personally, and immediately apply:

  • How to reduce your labor intensity by eliminating, transferring, and streamlining professional and personal burdens, and gain a month a year in resurrected time.
  • How to use your head and common sense to provide value to any kind of client, public or private, and how to deal with the 11 most common issues that cause organizational difficulties—within a day on site!
  • How to monetize your ideas, intellectual property, approaches, and successes for active and passive income in a variety of media, including apps.
  • How to work with any size organization with a minimum of adjustment, and how to find those organizations most likely to have the means and money to pay.
  • How to stand out amidst the cacophony of social media and competition—large and small—to be an object of interest within a month.

AND: Free teleconference for registrants: August 22.
ALL of this for $490.

Thought Leadership Symposium

October 22-24, 2012
The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, FL

Our third annual event, this featuring Margaret Wheatley whose seminal book, Leadership and the New Science, is being re-released at the time of our session. Join us for three days of intense work to help make you the thought leader in your field. Seven places remain. Meals and lodging included.

The Super Language Practicum

November 12, 2012
Mandarin Oriental Hotel, San Francisco, CA

Learn how to use powerful, concise language in oral and written communications, including rapid rebuttals, reframing of issues, metaphor, analogy, and examples. Control every subsequent conversation and impress people in email and correspondence. Nothing else like this in the world, only 25 people admitted, 10 seats remain.

Million Dollar Consulting� College

December 3-7
Castle Hill Inn, Newport, RI

The only one taking place in 2012 and there is none scheduled for 2013. This is the 18th such offering over the years of a full week of intense work in all aspects of professional services development, from marketing to implementation. Small group, incredible property, includes subsequent mentoring.

And this terrific session authorized by Alan:

How to Acquire Clients, Value Based Fees, How to Write A Proposal

October 2, San Francisco Bay area

Learn from Linda Popky, who has mastered and applied Alan's approaches, the fundamentals of smart professional services business growth. Extensive interaction and wonderful learning from someone who can share her immediate experiences.


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 coming out next year). 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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People are about to gather in my suite in London for a light breakfast before we begin my Shameless Promotion Workshop. I find that one of my floor-to-ceiling windows, leading onto the balcony, had been left open by the cleaning crew, propped open by a towel. I remove the prop and close the window before people arrive.

From my bedroom I hear a disturbance, and rush back out to find two newly-arrived participants rescuing a cleaner from the balcony whom I had locked out while he was tidying up. I tried to apologize, but he grabbed his stuff, which I now saw quite obviously in the middle of the room, and ran off.

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2012 Teleconference Series

Next year there is a learning guide before each teleconference, and a free download, as always. Join us for �Conversation Domination� and �The Mental Gym,� as well at 8 other sessions of advanced skills building.

Shameless Promotion

East Greenwich, RI
Scheduled on demand

One-to-four people participate in a rigorous two days of promotional "mayhem," in which we create assertive and powerful approaches to mold thought leaders, "go to" people, interviewing targets, and objects of interest. The second course is now completed, and we ensure compatibility by vetting applicants. Nothing else like this if you seek to "rise above the noise." One to four people, scheduled at mutual convenience. The third one has recently been formed.

If you want to act big, think big.—AW

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