Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 239, July 2019)

A free monthly newsletter about balancing life, work, and relationships based on the books and popular workshops conducted by Alan Weiss, Ph.D. Past copies are archived on our website.
Copyright 2019 Alan Weiss. All rights reserved.
ISSN 1934-3116 

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.

Balancing act is in four sections this month:

1. Independence Day and Why It Should Make You Happy in the US

2. Musings

3. The Human Condition: Fandom


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• We live in a free country with tremendous potential in a nearly 250-year experiment in freedom and liberty.

• We are far from perfect and we expose our flaws to the world, debate them internally, and try to find resolutions which are acceptable.

• Every four years since 1789 an election for president has been held, as it will be for certain for the next 230 years, and you can’t say that about anyplace else.

• Even when politics are most heated, there are no tanks in the streets, no military might on display. Most of us accept wins and losses.

• We produce an inordinate amount of innovation, technical progress, medical cures and preventives, and a plethora of other breakthroughs for the world.

• We have defended most of the world against tyranny, often too zealously in our application, perhaps, but we’ve turned former enemies into staunch allies and rebuilt both Japan and Europe.

• Students from all over the world flock to this country to learn.

• We have striven to explore deep space and the depths of the oceans.

• We are generous with our time, money, information, and assistance. We are the first to offer disaster aid abroad and to come to our neighbors' sides at home.

• We are becoming increasingly diverse, with some pains and problems, but our progress is inexorable.

• We field world-class athletes, scientists, entertainers, and professionals.

• We are resilient, and we always recover from cowardly terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and illness.

• For all of our flaws and mistakes and misdeeds, we are basically good people with good intentions. Our contributions to the world have been overwhelmingly positive. We are a beacon of light, a city on the hill. We apologize for our errors but not for who we are. We have every right to be proud of what we’ve accomplished.

And that’s why the Fourth of July is important.

Last month, the Toronto Raptors won the National Basketball Association championship on the home court of the Golden State Warriors, who were heavily favored to win the series. The St. Louis Blues beat the Boston Bruins on the latter’s home ice to win the National Hockey League championship. The Bruins had been heavily favored to win that series.

We talk all the time about “home court advantage.” So why doesn’t it matter most in the most important games? Because the visiting team doesn’t allow itself to be intimidated. They retain their confidence, their cohesion, their belief in themselves.

Whether golf, basketball, tennis, or baseball (or any other sport or game), the controlling factors are usually emotional and psychological. Golfers miss easy putts, basketball players miss reliable shots, baseball pitchers can’t find the strike zone. These are not, in most cases, physical problems, they are “head issues.”

And we cause these “head issues” ourselves. They are self-inflicted.

Bill Russell, one of the greatest of all basketball players and a leading reason for Boston Celtic domination in the sport for a decade, wrote in his book, Second Wind, that the real test of a champion is how he or she plays under severe pressure. When you’re playing against a superb opponent, for a championship, on their turf, with their media in place, that’s severe pressure.

The teams (Yankees, Celtics, Patriots, All Blacks) and individuals (Ruth, Borg, Nadal, Williams, Brady, Koufax Brown, Gretzky, Nicklaus) who create dynasties and winning traditions are those who control their emotions and maximize their talents undaunted by pressures and unfazed by fear. There is no other way to win consistently.

I have to laugh when people are intimidated by being in a buyer’s office, or speaking to a group, or required to publish an article. They are not facing a hostile crowd, not dealing with unfriendly media, not competing with a tough opponent. They are merely allowing their emotions to override their skills.

They are fearful of their egos being bruised.

I have a mantra which some of you will not like, I’m sure: “No guilt, no fear, no peer.” When I walk into a room I intend to own it, whether with five people or five hundred. I know I can provide value under any conditions, I’m not guilty about anything I’ve done to get there, I have no fear of what might happen (no one is shooting at me), and if you’re as good as I am about what I do, then prove it.

You may not want to go to those lengths, perhaps, but for goodness sake, stop being afraid just because you’ve left your own home.

I’m always suspicious of “initials.” I don’t mean as in Alan J. Weiss (I never use my middle initial), but I mean as in Alan Weiss, Ph.D., CSP, CPAE, CMC, FCMC, all of which have been bestowed on me. Yes, those are 16 letters and I’m not counting the periods and commas. All of that and two dollars will get me on a bus.

Some people insist on putting MA after their names (master of arts) which at first led me to believe they were all from Massachusetts until someone corrected me. I’ve seen initials with subscripts, superscripts, diacritical marks, numbers, and, apparently, astrological references.

The more I see, the more I suspect people are insecure about their abilities and talents and are overcompensating by throwing up a barrage of strange symbols. I understand an engineer using PE (professional engineer) with colleagues and potential clients, I guess, but when I was consulting with the American Institute of Architects, at the time “AMA” after your name simply meant you had paid your dues and didn’t represent any additional skills or licensing at all.

I love it when people tell me they have their “coaching certificate.” Really? From whom? Who certifies the certifiers?! (Sed quis Custodiet ipsos Custodes? Who shall guard us from the guardians?—Juvenal) Every consultant I’ve ever known has had to coach clients and did so using common sense, not some arbitrary methodology promulgated by people who are collecting money as a pseudo-institute granting certificates in the arbitrary methodology.

Why can’t we be confident enough to simply engage others as who we are? Do we need someone else’s blessing or imprimatur to give us legitimacy? And even where it’s important, perhaps, with an MD for example, that would be relevant only in medicine. I’m bemused when a doctor writes a letter to the editor of a newspaper about economics or immigration or any other non-medical issue, and has “MD” after his or her name. It’s quite irrelevant, really.

Everyone wants to claim some recognition, stand in the limelight, be revered. Fair enough. The best way to do that is by providing high value, talent, hard work, and results. Others will see that without any attendant initials.

You heard that from me, Alan Weiss, EG, RI (East Greenwich, Rhode Island).

The boarding agent at United in O’Hare Airport is botching the process. He’s trying to tag bags, change seat assignments, assist the crew, and answer the phone. He’s doing nothing well and it’s clear departure will be late because of him.

Yet all the while he’s humming some tune.

Finally, we’re ready to board about 20 minutes late. I’m in first class so I’m in the lead and I find myself humming that tune as I walk down the jetway. It’s become an “ear worm.”

The flight attendant greets me and gives me a funny look. I keep humming. Another flight attendant offers me a drink and also looks at me peculiarly as I’m humming.

Finally, I pull out my iPhone and hum into Shazam to identify the song, which is driving me crazy.

Turns out it’s from the Wizard of Oz sung by the Scarecrow: “If I Only Had A Brain.”

Getting Started in Consulting and Reenergizing Your Practice

I’ve priced this ($300!) so that everyone can attend to begin their consulting journey or refresh the one they’re on. I’ve even arranged rooms, if needed, for about $270. You will spend an entire day with me, and I’m buying lunch. Your return should be about 10,000:1. The room size creates a limit on numbers, so sign up now for something I’ve never before offered but feel I should.

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Million Dollar Consulting® College 2019

I think this is my 25th and could well be the last, since I’m doing so many new things. But I already have ten people, so only four seats remain in this comprehensive, intense, 2.5-day program at a great property. You’ll also receive 30 days of coaching with me.

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Thought Leadership 2019

I’ve attracted the renowned Chip Heath, professor at Stanford, author, and consulting guru to be my special guest this year at my 9th such conference. We’ll be at the Four Seasons in Palm Beach where you’ll hear from Chip, colleagues, and me on how best to ascend to Thought Leadership in your field of expertise and use your powers for the good of all!

Sign up here: Thought Leadership 2019

Six Figures to Seven (627)

One of my most popular offerings of all time, this is only the fourth one and third in the U.S. In two days, master the skills and behaviors needed to move into seven figures (or whatever bandwidth you need for your ideal lifestyle and contributions). You’ll have plenty of “air time” with a small group. Three seats remain.

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Critical Thinking Skills

Join me in Dallas for a full day on the critical thinking skills I’ve developed to move fast, resolve complex issues, and make highly accurate decisions personally and with clients. You’ll feel much more powerful as you leave this never-before-offered program.

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Million Dollar Consulting® Growth Access

This lifetime access to my vast vault of intellectual property (workshops, video, podcasts, teleconferences, articles, etc., etc.) is now being added to bimonthly with items from my body of work. However, beginning November 1st, 2019, I’m adding to it monthly with new items expressly for Growth Access never before distributed and not to be distributed outside of Growth Access. The fee will go up to $5,000 at that point, but you can still obtain those benefits for life for $3,800 if you sign up before November 1st, 2019.

Sign up here: Alan’s Million Dollar Consulting® Growth Access

NEW: Creating Dynamic Communities

I’ve been asked for years how people can replicate my worldwide community, which is operating 24/7 virtually and in real time. Is it solely possible with entrepreneurs and the “retail” market, or can it be done with corporate clients and executives?

I’ve recently helped a global expert create her new community of corporate people involved in disruption and innovation, from concept to implementation. I’ve codified the process, and you can now adapt it to your purposes.

Specifically, I’ll help you to:

  • Identify your key potential community members
  • Create the Chain Reaction of Attraction by courting key early members
  • Determine fees and terms
  • Organize your time so you are efficiently moderating and driving the discussions
  • Use of appropriate media and support
  • Restricting membership and avoiding a “chat room” environment
  • Extracting business opportunities
  • Strategies for direct sales
  • The role of expert, chief-of-staff, arbiter, and general center of the universe that you should play

Limited participation.

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Balancing Act® is a monthly electronic newsletter discussing the blending of life, work, and relationships, based on the popular Balancing Act workshops and writing of Alan Weiss, Ph.D. Contact us for further information at: [email protected].
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© Alan Weiss 2019

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.


See Writing on the Wall, featuring Koufax the Wonder Dog.




Peers don’t raise their hands in a business meeting, they just say what’s on their mind. Stop waiting for permission to speak.

Alan Weiss