Balancing Act: The Newsletter

(No. 251, July 2020)

Balancing act is in four sections this month:

  1. Emerging Observations
  2. The Human Condition: Rumors
  3. Musings
Techniques For Balance

• The infection percentage and death percentage of the general population is lower than predicted.

• It seems at times that social policy dictated medical policy.

• There may well be more economic deaths than medical deaths.

• There were clearly well-defined people at risk who weren’t commensurately protected (e.g., nursing homes, tightly packed people on cruise ships, those in highly congested neighborhoods).

• Organizations have become much more adept and accepting of virtual meetings.

• Both the advantages and disadvantages of working from home have been exacerbated. 

• People have been remarkably receptive to restrictions but there is a clear point at which continued restrictions will be counterproductive and not observed.

• Personal outrage has trumped personal caution.

• There are always sectors or organizations within sectors that do well.

• Both companies and individuals with liquid reserves fared better, and I suspect we will see increases in savings rates anticipating such need for the future.

• Some officials were far more effective in communicating than others, and a large part of this was reliance on empirical evidence and observed behavior over predictions, models, and projections.

• “An abundance of caution” is not an effective substitute for “an accuracy of need.” Mindless overreaction can cause more harm than that which you’re trying to prevent.

The Human Condition

Fact can have traction and “great legs” but, unfortunately, rumors often have jet engines. Rumors fly farther and faster than facts. They’re more exciting and easier to understand and pass on.

And, they’re highly dangerous.

We embrace rumors, which usually hold some germ of truth to make them plausible, because we’re otherwise “out of the loop” and we prefer to be “in the know.” They can give us leverage over others, more popularity, more importance, better attention. We defend rumors by citing “inside sources” or “personal contacts.” And we’re seldom held accountable when they turn out to be false.

Thus, there’s not much of an adverse consequence for mongering rumors.

We don’t line up the financial prognosticators, or the sports outcome predictors, or the rumor mongers at the end of the year and test their accuracy. We don’t ban them or exile them or, really, hold them in disrepute. I still remember a sports analyst idiot named Jim Rome predicting in the pre-season that the Patriots would not make the playoffs one year.

They won the Super Bowl. Rome still had a job and it was never referred to again.

Gossip columnists and television “personalities” make their livings on rumors, either conveying them or actually starting them. It’s an old and not so honorable profession, from Hedda Hopper to Walter Winchell. Today, we have banal television shows, such as Entertainment Tonight, dealing with celebrities’ lives and loves.

Think twice about passing on the next rumor. They can be fatal to careers and deadly for relationships. I remember one woman, years ago, asking me in an accidental meeting about my serious illness. I didn’t even have a cold. I traced the comment back through three people over a week and found the perpetrator. I told him I didn’t want to hear his excuses, I just wanted him to hear that if it happened again a trainload of lawyers would descend on his house and ruin his entire life.

That took care of that. Don’t be an unwitting member of what is, in all reality, a dangerous game.


I hear people say, justifiably, “I want your best effort.” This is a frequent lament of coaches, especially ones who are losing. “We’ll only win if I can have your best effort.”

What is a “best effort”? We know it’s not perfection. Yet we can exceed expectations.

It depends upon the metric.

I have nearly four million air miles, and my metric for a landing is that it’s safe and no one is hurt. I think that’s the airlines’ standard as well. No one is counting the number of bumps or amount or braking force. (On aircraft carriers the popular saying is that landings at sea on moving platforms are simply “controlled crashes.”)

In my experience, the best metric for performance is “success.” Success may be a financial goal, a pleased customer, or a reduction in stress, for example. If “success” is a completed report filed on time, and that report is ready at 3PM the day before it’s due, that’s fine. Working until midnight to try to improve it still more is dysfunctional and unhealthy.

In fact, anything taken to an extreme is usually dysfunctional. That’s why people who over-exercise fall ill or suffer injuries. It’s why workaholics have no life. It’s why people take far too long to finish their work.

I’ve never known what the platitude “Give me 110%” means. I can try to do my best, but I can’t give you more than I have to give. No exhortation from a motivational speaker or walk across hot coals is going to change that.

I’ve told countless coaching clients: Prepare well, show up on time, do your very best, and go home. I had one speaker tell me, after she finished earlier than anticipated in her talk, that she was very upset. I told her, “Don’t worry, you were fine.” She screamed back, in tears, “Fine isn’t good enough I have to be great!”

That’s quite a burden to carry through life. If you do your very best, you can be proud of yourself. Sometimes that’s in a losing effort. Always, it’s short of perfection. None of that matters. Sometimes your best isn’t good enough, and sometimes you succeed with less than your best, because it wasn’t needed.

Make sure that’s your mindset. That way you’ll always have a safe landing, despite some bumps.

Only Read This if You Know Me Well

When my daughter was getting married and, as a traditional father, I was funding a rather lavish affair in a Newport mansion, my wife decided that she and I should learn ballroom dancing. As a practicing heterosexual, my idea of dancing is to hold a lovely woman in my arms and slowly rock back and forth, but that wasn’t enough.

Being on the board of the ballet, my wife obtained a professional and highly regarded dance instructor. At our first session, the instructor explained the basics of the Fox Trot, and then turned on the music and said, “Begin!”

Her fee, and the entire wedding cost, was more than justified when, within one minute she stopped the music and shouted, “Marie, you must let Alan lead!”

Development Opportunities
The Martial Arts of Language

The Martial Arts of Language

Control any situation, influence anyone, succeed in negotiations, achieve your goals. This is based on my seminal work in language, vocabulary, metaphors, examples, and similar techniques readily mastered. Everyone receives a copy of my ebook on the topic, as well. This is a Zoom program where everyone will get plenty of “air time” to practice and watch me demonstrate on their individual issues.

Manifesting Your Personal Power

Manifesting Your Personal Power

Stop being intimidated, procrastinating, subordinating yourself. This unique livestream presentation will deal with how to “unleash” your power within pragmatically and relevantly. Walk into a room ready to command it. Stop worrying about “humility.” No one ever demanded a humble heart surgeon or criminal attorney, and the same is true for any professional services provider

Creating Provocative Dynamics

How to Create Provocative Dynamics that Generate Irresistable Appeal

People ask me all the time how I can be contrarian, provocative, and stimulating “in the moment” with no hesitation, turning the conversation around and becoming an “object of interest.” I’ve deconstructed the techniques and will equip you, in a half-day via Zoom, how to be the center of attention, stand out in the crowd, and look good while you’re standing there!

Sentient Strategy

Sentient Strategy Training

I created this remote (or “live”) formulation of strategy with transition to implementation that takes only one full day or two half-days, ideal for these times, including a social consciousness consideration. Thirty people have been certified and a sale was made just last week in Melbourne, Australia. Learn more here.

Contact me for eligibility.

Contact Alan
Getting Started in Consulting and Re-energizing Your Practice

Getting Started in Consulting and Re-energizing Your Practice

Sold out in Boston, approaching 100 people in LA, grab your seat quickly, spend six hours with me at a ridiculously low fee and gain a 1,000:1 return. And I’m buying lunch! Note: This is now scheduled for September 15.

Million Dollar Consulting®️ College 2020

Million Dollar Consulting® College 2020

First time in the Big Apple! Join me for an unprecedented 2.5-day experience, October 27-29, in marketing, implementation, referrals, proposal writing, advisory business models, and a great deal more. Accelerate your career by years, no matter what stage you’re currently in. Apply to me directly: [email protected]. Fee: $16,000, includes lodging and meals.

Creating Dynamic Communities

Creating Dynamic Communities

This is now a virtual program designed to help you build the kind of community that continues to flourish during this crisis. Instead of scrambling for business, or reaching into your savings, wouldn’t it be better to have an ongoing community of clients and prospects who are connected to you and each other, no matter what the conditions? Well, here’s how you do it for individuals or for corporate clients.

The Den

The Den

Confidential, weekly sessions one-on-one (or with couples) covering relationships, business challenges, illness, family matters, and related life balance issues. 60-day duration, $4,500, focused on life-changing issues.

Private Coaching KAATN

Private Coaching KAATN (kick ass and take names)

Work with me for seven months with specific assignments and weekly reporting in addition to unrestricted access to me by phone, Zoom, Skype, email, etc. Expand your market, create a book, raise your fees, overcome your business fears.


Alan Weiss’s Balancing Act® Newsletter is a registered trademark of Alan Weiss and Summit Consulting Group, Inc.
© Alan Weiss 2020

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