Printer Friendly Format

Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 151, March 2012 )

Follow me on Twitter! You can find me here:
Every day I provide 2-3 brief, pithy pieces of advice for growth. Join the thousands who read these �quick hits� every morning.

And find me on Facebook:

Return to Top

Techniques for balance

  • Confront people who cause you discomfort. You're not doing yourself or them a favor by mutely enabling their dysfunctional behavior.
  • Really: Stop and think for just ten seconds (sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat once, which takes ten seconds) before you send off an emotional or accusatory email. If you do, you'll probably rewrite or delete at least half of them.
  • Do what you want, but the proper pronunciation of an educated person is APPlicable, FORMidable, and Ofen (silent "t"). ApPLICable, for MIDable, and off-ten aren't right.
  • The more voluntary a choice is (e.g, buying an Apple computer), the less likely you are to complain about company policy or arrogance. The more involuntary a choice is (e.g., purchasing gasoline), the more likely you are to complain about those same issues.
  • People who complain about peripheral concerns boor me. For example, whining about the temperature or access to power strips at an event is tangential to the purpose. Bring a sweater and extra batteries. On the other hand, if the speaker's content or delivery is poor, then you have a legitimate beef.
  • Freud said that "wit is the denial of suffering." Most humor is rooted in pain, yours or someone else's. That's how we get through the day, by laughing at what would otherwise undermine us. (And I think that's why comics are both so bright and so tortured.)
  • In the U.S., the Global Entry system works very well in terms of speeding arrivals from out of the country through immigration.
  • It's not just the room price, but also the benefits provided by the hotel and/or an intermediary (e.g., American Express). At the Peninsula in LA, we're receiving a suite upgrade, Cadillac free rental for the entire stay, early check in, late check out, complimentary breakfast, hotel credit, and spa credit. You have to look at the net cost of the room, not the gross.
  • When you insist on payment for value provided, you're running a healthy business. When you insist on credit for your contributions, you're running an unhealthy ego.
  • Don't step on someone else's line or walk in front of their light. It's rude in the acting business and equally so in the relationship business.

Return to Top

Some fear is extremely healthy. The fear of a fire reaching us may cause us to install proper smoke detectors and fire extinguishers (and to have an escape route we can speed through). The fear of being harmed may keep us out of unsafe places. Certainly, the fear of the enemy encourages soldiers to keep their heads down.

But a great deal of fear is simply dysfunctional. Irrational fear can lead to procrastination (fear of failure and/or fear of success); or to intimidation (fear of the someone hurting us who really can't or someone smarter who really isn't); or to vacillation (fear of a wrong choice or disappointing some people); or to paralysis (fear of moving and bringing attention to yourself). Procrastination, intimidation, vacillation, paralysis—more like the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse than the Three Musketeers.

Sometimes my Beagle, Buddy, scares himself to the extent he jumps straight up in the air, like a crazed pogo stick. He retreats to a corner to figure out what happened (he stepped on something that made a noise or his tail knocked something off a table). One thing is certain: He's unlikey to return to that spot anytime soon. (A cat that jumps on a hot stove learns its lesson to the extent that it won't jump on a cold stove either after the experience.)

We can't afford to allow such fears to control our actions, behaviors, and lives. I find people filled to varying degrees with self-limiting beliefs, which are nothing more than false and unfounded fears—they can't face an audience, can't write an article, can't be comfortable in exclusive surroundings, can't confront those who require confrontation.

Self-limiting beliefs, the fuel of fear, can only be removed by performing the acts doubted, or by changing one's attitude about them and finding a better way. ("I don't have to memorize a speech, it's fine to use notes.") Otherwise, they continue to change us, and for the worse, narrowing choices and delimiting opportunity.

This is hard to do unilaterally. Ask others for help, and offer to help with theirs. Don't believe that others won't care, or won't help, or won't understand.

Those are simply self-limiting beliefs.

Return to Top

The human condition: Change (cents)

Don't think poorly of me, preludial, but I'm not concerned about change any more. Oh, I don't mean alterations and vacillations in the economy, society, technology, and so on. I mean what's become bothersome coins that don't seem to mean much in the moment.

The new U.S. quarters look like tokens you receive for winning in the arcade on the Jersey Shore. Most of the rest of the stuff is simply filthy. I haven't seen anyone use a dollar coin outside of the slots in Vegas in 20 years.

Habitually, any coins in my pocket I give to my wife every evening and she deposits them in a huge, old, glass water bottle that she intends to donate to charity when it's full. No one has any idea how much is in there.

I don't like carrying change. It tends to fall out of your pockets when you drive or go to the theater. You have to remove change to get through airport security, then scoop it up again. (Charities would make a fortune if they simply had canisters before security that asked for any loose change to be deposited. Or maybe we could use it to pay for interpersonal skills training for a few of those TSA people.)

It's absurd to wait in a line to pay for something while a woman opens her pocketbook, finds her wallet, opens the little change compartment, and counts out 86 cents meticulously—when the bill reads $5.87. Even stores leave loose change in dishes next to the register encouraging patrons to use THAT change and not force the store to make change.

I used to resent tip jars being everywhere, but no more. They're a haven to get rid of change. I tell everyone to keep the change. I just want bills back. (This almost backfired in a small, lobby bar where my wife and I had drinks waiting to see René Fleming, and I gave the bartender $20 for an $8 drink order. "ALL the change?" he honestly asked.)

Attorneys still charge an extra 45 cents for that letter they had to mail on your behalf. They need to "man up" and round it up to a dollar. I'm tired of writing in the cents on checks. It's a waste of time and just adds to the work of a physical or online check.

The traditional change is hard to anticipate and deal with. But this kind of change is simple—we need to stop using it. Before the advent of the euro, coins for small change in Europe were scoffed at, and usually left behind as if contaminated, or waved off with a condescending hand. Surely you feel that way now about small change, and I'm even starting to worry about the dollar.

We need to stick to bills and whole numbers. We need common sense, not common cents.



London, May 8, 2012: Baglioni Hotel

In an extensive day of recorded role-plays and case studies, learn how to establish objectives, metrics, and value that will gain conceptual agreement with a buyer and lead directly to large proposals with almost guaranteed acceptance. We will provide everyone with videos of their simulations, and everyone is encouraged to record their own and others. I'm buying dinner for the first ten registrants in each city. This will sell out quickly. Sold out in Miami.


March 6-7, 2012
Alan's Home, East Greenwich, RI

Learn how to create, deliver, market, and charge for your professional speeches. Add new income to your career and a dramatic marketing channel. Small group, includes meals and lodging. Six months of development in just two days.


March 27, 2012
The Palace Hotel, New York City

This is NOT how to write a book, but rather how to get more than a year's worth of high potential marketing leverage with your current book or one you are about to write. Join a small group of current and prospective authors like yourself to learn the best practices for scaling your book into solid consulting, coaching, speaking, and training business.


April 18, 2012
Alan's Home, East Greenwich, RI

January and February sold out. We take only six people through an intensive day of self-discovery and sustaining skills. Includes dinner the evening prior. Four seats remain for April. Join us for this personal and intense experience.


April 17, 2012
Washington, DC (venue to be announced)

Seth Kahn and Linda Henman, two award-winning veterans of Alan's mentoring programs, are presenting this content-packed, "turn key" day on how to identify, meet, and gain projects with economic buyers in all size private and public organizations. A small group with maximum personal application. You can immediately apply the skills and behaviors you'll develop.


May 22-23
New York City area (venue to be announced)

Learn how to implement strategy and change management projects. Implementation is where the value and the money are. Walk away with a huge tool kit to provide tremendous value where most organizations desperately need help: implementing strategic and tactical change. A two-day MBA.


May 24
New York City area (venue to be announced)

Learn from the master how to "run a room," provide your own IP to increase your value, handle discord and resistance, and gain consensus and accelerated speed. Discount if you attend The Implementation Workshop immediately before it (and observe the facilitation!).


June 7
Marriott Hotel, Los Angeles International Airport

We drew 250 people to the Boston session of this presentation. Join Alan at a ridiculous price for six hours on buyers, fees, objections, language, options, leverage, marketing plans, and much more. He's even buying lunch! Hear directly from his Master Mentors who will be helping small groups.


June 6
Marriott Hotel, Los Angeles International Airport

Go to the site above and watch the free, content-packed videos. The final one will provide a $550 discount for this unique event. The public price is $1500. Learn how to actually get things done without procrastination�how to organize, set priority, create speed, and see results. If you ever feel overwhelmed, or lost, or scattered, you can't afford to miss this event. One day, one time.


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

The third annual event, featuring as our special guest Margaret Wheatley, author of Leadership and the New Science, which is being re-released in an updated edition at the time of our conference. Our prior guests have been Marshall Goldsmith and David Maister. Join us to learn how to quickly emerge as a thought leader in your specialty or segment, using unique exercises and diagnostics. Includes lodging and meals. (The Graduate Program following is already sold out.)

Million Dollar Consulting� College

December 3-7
Castle Hill Inn, Newport, RI

The is the only Consulting College scheduled in 2012, and the first in over a year. There may not be another until 2014. This is a singular event for consultants seeking to raise their game. Still personally run by Alan in a world-class property. Including almost all meals and extensive materials. Limited enrollment.


Join me for a 15-minute Friday audio, a 10-minute monthly video, and a full day of workshops during the year. Charge yourself up each week with pragmatic and direct advice, including questions from the wrappers. We had over 40 people from all over the world join us in Las Vegas in 2011. This year we're in San Francisco in June.

$750 gives you access to ALL PAST recordings as well as this year's presentations!


Join me for topics such as processing information more quickly, constructive confrontation, and the "mental gym." This year there is a learning guide distributed prior to each teleconference. Free downloads within 48 hours. We begin next month. Free downloads after every teleconference.

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.



Gaining 1,000 subscribers a month. A quick-hit primer and booster on the essentials of consulting marketing and delivery.

Return to Top

I'm chatting with the outstanding manager who is taking care of my workshops at the Delano in Miami Beach, Florida. We're having a good time and, having listened to his speech pattern, I decide to lapse into Spanish which I love to practice and feel comfortable doing since I'm constantly told I have a good accent. Besides, every native Spanish speaker I've ever met has been helpful with my attempting to speak the language.

"De donde viene?" I inquire. (Where are you from?)

He looks at me blankly, trying to be polite. I ask again. And he doesn't say a word. The third time he says, "I'm sorry, but…."

"I'm asking where you're from in Latin America," I explain.

"I'm from Beirut," he says, smiling.

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.

Video Rant

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

Visit my blog

Two new podcasts every week. Special cigar smoking room.

Join the Friday Wrap�

Weekly, 15-minute podcasts with segments on current business events, new intellectual property, and some humor. Monthly, ten-minute videos on business and self-development. And a full-day, free conference in mid-year. Three full work days—24 hours—of programming for a few dollars an hour in investment. Get this weekly booster shot right away. You’ll get all the archived material.

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.

You can either try to learn from something or someone, or try to find something wrong with it or them. The first approach is used by life-long learners. The second is used by whiners and "victims." —AW

E-mail [email protected]
P.O. Box 1009 � East Greenwich, RI 02818-0964 � Telephone: (401) 884-2778 � Fax: (401) 884-5068

All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2024 Summit Consulting Group
ISSN 1934-3116