Abject fear is paralyzing. It's why people (and animals) freeze even when they should know that staying where they are is calamitous and even fatal. The best way to deal with any kind of adversity is to stop being scared and grab control of those things you can.


Balancing Act®: The Newsletter

(No. 275, July 2022)

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

  1. Some of my favorites
  2. We have nothing to fear but fear itself
  3. Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
  4. I’m An Old Cowhand…

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Some of my favorites

Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
—George Bernard Shaw

To punish me for my contempt of authority, fate has made me an authority myself.
—Albert Einstein

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it think.
—Adam Grant

How camest thou in this pickle? (Alonso to his butler Stephano, “The Tempest”--Act V, Scene 1)

Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas. (Fortunate is he who understands the cause of things.)
—David McCullough

Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.
—Eric Hoffer

Any man who calls himself a religious leader and owns more than one suit is a hustler as long as there is someone in the world who has no suit at all.
—Lenny Bruce

Luck is the residue of design.
—Branch Rickey

I have often reflected that the causes of the successes or failures of men depend upon their manner of suiting their conduct to the times.
—Niccoli Machiavelli

Technology is just a way of organizing the universe so that man won’t have to experience it.
—Max Frisch

Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.
—Robert Frost

When a tree decays it is not normally from sickness and never (one assumes) from sin. It decays because it has reached its maximum growth maintaining that size and weight for the period usual with that type of tree. It cannot live forever in any case. Institutions, whether political or industrial, are not essentially different.
—Professor C. Northcote Parkinson

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.
—Anatole France

If you can do it, it ain’t braggin’...
—Dizzy Dean

I am not against youth as such. They are wonderfully teachable. But that they should be teaching us; that we should invest them with oracular powers, read into their shrugs and moans some great gnostic wisdom--that is an American superstitions so crass that one scarcely knows where to begin with it.
—Wilfred Sheed

We have nothing to fear but fear itself

In his 1933 Inaugural Address, in the teeth of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt uttered his famous line, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Abject fear is paralyzing. It’s why people (and animals) freeze even when they should know that staying where they are is calamitous and even fatal. The best way to deal with any kind of adversity is to stop being scared and grab control of those things you can. Bullies and terrorists want to create fear while using relatively few resources in order to gain the leverage of the “upper hand,” being able to act while others are afraid to.

I think the police in Uvalde, Texas are brave people, but their local leader showed up without a police radio, wasn’t sure what he was facing, and acted in fear of choosing the wrong course of action. So he chose to wait, which turned out to be precisely the wrong course of action.

I, and many of my contemporaries, have been through polio pre-vaccine, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Viet Nam, the inner cities burning, the assassinations of John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the worst of the Cold War, the great recession and the near collapse of the financial markets, and 9/11. Those who persevered the best in my view were those who weren’t defeated by being afraid, but who took control of what they could, kept informed, were parts of mutual-help groups, and maintained perspective.

After all, our fathers were fighting prior to our birth on land, sea, and air to try to save the world from racist tyrants.

No generation has it “easy,” but the way we respond to threat is a key to resiliency versus hopelessness.

When Roosevelt died in 1945 after having been elected to four terms, millions lined the streets for his funeral procession and openly wept. That hasn’t happened with any presidential death since. That’s because Roosevelt acknowledged fear, but helped people to overcome it.

Today, we have to stop being afraid of inconsequential things, like calling for referrals, or addressing a group, or writing an article, or confronting silly practices and statements. Ask yourself if the impediments to your movement and success are just vague fears that you’ve yet to face and overcome.

If you can do that, you’ll be totally free.

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

About three years after the onset of World War Two, Churchill said, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” He was referring to the success of the Royal Air Force in ending the worst of the Blitz and what is known as “the Battle of Britain” in the skies.

We tend to regard issues with ourselves and our clients as having a beginning and an end, and we search for the “switch” that will take us from one to the other. Of course, we often neglect the “middle” which would seem to be required to get from a beginning to an end!

There is the prizefighter who’s knocked out seconds after the opening bell, of course, and certain abrupt decisions (that might have benefitted from a “middle” and a lot more thought). When Will Smith jumped on a stage to slap Chris Rock for a perceived sleight at the Oscars, he would have benefitted from a lot longer “middle” between his outrage and his violence.

The “middle” is often critical in compromise, negotiations, de-escalating arguments, and avoiding accidents with terrible consequences (you steer into a skid you don’t reflexively steer away from it, which makes it worse; you escape a rip tide by swimming perpendicular to it, not against it). “Shoot first and ask questions later” has no middle.

In a fast-paced, turbulent world we want instant gratification, instant action, instant resolution. We seek to try to solve client problems (as well as our own) with minimum worry and maximum hurry. We drive over the limits, fast-forward through commercials, search for short-cuts. But we need to realize that moving away from the beginning is the route toward reaching the beginning of the end, and that’s the middle whereof I speak.

You often have to slow down to speed up, to gain some perspective in order to act effectively. Successful medical treatments often take extended time with specified behaviors and regimens before they are successful. You don’t change a client culture overnight and you don’t change your own bad habits during a “motivational” workshop (and in some of those we all wish the end would come a lot faster!) or stomping over hot coals.

Don’t waste time seeking shortcuts that don’t exist. Reallocate your time to move from the beginning of the issue through the middle toward a successful end. Life is neither a sprint nor a marathon.

It is solely your reality.

I'm an Old Cowhand...

I was the vice president for North America when I worked for a firm in Princeton, and to celebrate a record year, I took the entire team to a dude ranch somewhere in Arizona. It was fabulous.

One twilight, three of the cowboys gathered to escort several dozen of us on horses to a dinner under the stars. They mounted me on a horse named Lucky Charm and we rode, single file, with me following the cowboys and leading my team. The cowboys told me the boss has to ride first. My troops gave me hell about it and told me not to fall off. They asked if I knew where the gear shift was.

We had a great bonfire and dinner—a chuckwagon was on site—and a lot of beer and whiskey. At the end, they told us to mount up and then told me that I was to lead everyone back because they had to clean up the site.

“I don’t know my way back!” I said in the coal-mine blackness of the night, “and I’ve had a lot to drink!” They told me I was a far better horseman than I thought, and to start out to the right of a tree up ahead and I’d recognize the trail. There was more heat from the troops and I thought I might just kill the entire North American field force.

But I moved well, did instinctively find my way, and with very subtle direction moved the horse in the right direction, a perfect team. It was like second nature. Apparently, I was born to ride.

About 40 minutes later we were back on the ranch, all of my people had to admit I had done incredibly well in the dark finding the trail, and as everyone dismounted the cowboys caught up with me and the leader said, “It’s appropriate to tip us for the evening, and we reckon we’d be happy with a hundred dollars.”

“That sounds steep,” I said, “but what the hell, it was great,” and I handed over the money.

“What do you do,” I asked, “if someone doesn’t tip you?”

“Well,” he said, “at breakfast the next morning we manage to make it known that Lucky Charm knows the way back to the ranch by himself.”

Development Opportunities
How to consult with, serve on, and lead boards of directors in the for-profit and non-profit worlds

How to consult with, serve on, and lead boards of directors in the for-profit and non-profit worlds

More and more people are asking how to do this.

For the record, I’ve served on seven boards, two for-profit, five non-profit (including one at Harvard), have chaired two, and have consulted with over two dozen, private and public. My wife has served on six boards and has raised, literally, tens of millions for non-profits. I’ve turned around organizations as a board leader from poverty to wealth, from aimlessness to strategic leaders.

The program will be three hours on Zoom with prep work that will include a book on board membership. The fee is $2,500. As an option, I will work one-on-one with any participant who seeks active coaching to either attain a board membership or to become an officer on an existing board. That will be $2,500 for 30 days which can start when you are ready, but with payment made at the outset. That offer is good for up to a year post-program.

While board membership has helped my business directly, it has more powerfully helped me indirectly to gain business because of governance expertise and to sell strategy work to boards. Most boards are not run well because of fine people elected to the board or as leaders who don’t understand the distinctions and requirements of those positions.

Return to Australia

Return to Australia

I’ll be making my 19th trip in October, this time to Brisbane, to present a week of unique offerings from passive income and global “reach” to a new strategy approach. Join me and your peers for my latest value to grow your business and decrease your labor facing our “new realities.”

There is limited seating capacity, and the fee increases at the end of July

Return to London

Return to London

I’ll be hosting a two-day, high-level discussion of likely business futures globally, financial considerations, global passive income, the new realities of sales, new approaches to strategy, and so forth. There would be a limit of eight people. I’ll also conduct a full-day experience for a larger group, probably a limit of 30, for an entire day which will address new approaches to value based fees, the five essential short-term revenue generators, role playing difficult conversations, the advanced Accelerant Curve, and scaling the practice.

November 29: General Session, 9 to 4.
November 30 and December 1: Intimate Session, 9-4 both days.

Ferocious Time Management

Ferocious Time Management

This was a huge hit “live” in San Diego, but so many people globally couldn’t make it, and I was unable to simultaneously do it remotely, that I’m conducting two half-day sessions to duplicate the full day, and it will be recorded.

In this six-hour, two-part Zoom session, we’ll:

  • Create greater output in a 20-hour week
  • Focus on simple, highly effective priority systems
  • Convert from sequential activities to concurrent activities
  • Eliminate time-suckers (non-human and human)
  • Transfer as much work as possible to the client
  • Stop doing failure work
  • Stop doing others’ failure work
  • Create effective calendars and planners
  • Learn how to effectively say “No”
  • Achieve a truly blended life

July 6-7, 6-9 am US eastern time. I want to accommodate my global community time zones.

Million Dollar Consulting® College

Million Dollar Consulting® College

I’ve been asked to run this again, and I miss it, so I’m going to do it on December 13-15 (2.5 days) in Castle Hill, Newport, RI, my usual stomping grounds. The beach houses in the winter are fantastic. There’s a great holiday atmosphere that time of year. I’ll be focusing on what I’ve seen as the critical areas for success: brand-building, accelerating referrals, provocative IP, low labor revenue focus, the post-pandemic lasting realities, and so forth.

The fee is $15,000, which includes lodging, breakfast, lunch, breaks, and one dinner. If you catch me at the bar, it could include two dinners. I’m also going to take time to show how I create this and other workshops, step by step, live or remote. If you register with me prior to June 1 the fee is $12,000. If you buy a Bentley Card before June 1, you can attend the College for free, no deduction on the card. Past grads are welcome to attend for $5,000.

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 43 countries.

Beyond Thought Leadership

Beyond Thought Leadership

Six “stars” from my community from five countries will be interviewed by me in this live, 2.5 day experience. I’ll be introducing new IP, case studies, and role-plays. And the final interview will be with me. This is one-time only, it was very difficult to organize, and there’s no one else, anywhere, who can bring this talent together in one place at one time. Limited participation, in Miami in November, register now, this will not occur again.

Miami, November 8-10.

Creating Dynamic Communities

Creating Dynamic Communities

This is the future of our marketing in professional services, evangelism and peer referrals. Over 40 people have begun building their communities through this program. Join me on August 30-31 for two, three-hour Zoom sessions covering every aspect of building, sustaining, and capitalizing on professional communities of buyers and prospects.


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