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Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 129: May 2010)

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Techniques for Balance

  • Don't schedule "back-to-back" activities or appointments. You're guaranteed to run late on occasion and it's a stressful way to manage your day.
  • Enjoying something and feeling you must work on it are two entirely different, unrelated points. For example, I love the yard and the surroundings, but I've never owned a lawnmower and I'd hate the place if I spent my free time pruning bushes and cutting grass.
  • People who whistle, crack gum, and yawn with sound effects on public vehicles or in others' homes have given you a free pass to avoid that setting or deny that invitation.
  • When someone insists that "you must read this book" or "promise me you'll see this movie" and you would rather have root canal than comply, simply respond, "Why don't you just tell me about it now?" (This technique is best if you have a drink in your hand or on the way.)
  • My Facebook account was hacked recently. I changed my password and assured the few people who asked if I had sent them a recent message that, of course, it wasn't me. Then I went on with my life. If you overreact to this you merely accentuate the discomfort that the low-lifes who perpetuate this garbage seek to create.
  • There are a lot of ways to enjoy good wine, but putting ice in the glass isn't one of them.
  • If you want free, expert help with any kind of minor health issue, ask your local pharmacists. They are a wealth of information and always seem more than happy to help out.
  • Don�t seek advice from people whose careers support a very different orientation from yours. For example, lawyers will tend to be highly conservative and accountants do not like to deal with ambiguity when it comes to numbers. Entrepreneurs, however, require prudent risk taking and the tolerance of very high degrees of ambiguity.
  • Mother's Day and Father's Day (in the U.S.) are in May and June, respectively. Why not plan one great celebration or occasion in the middle?
  • That Icelandic volcano should prove this to you: Always have a contingent plan.

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It's spring here, and I love spring. Everything is blooming, returning, triumphant in resilience. The hostas around the pool which disappear in the winter, looking as though they've been obliterated, return first with tentative shoots and then full-blown verdancy. Bare trees suddenly acquire attire.

After snows (and, this year, floods), insects, vermin, and human discharge, spring regenerates the countryside.

I'm enamored with metaphors, and this time of year (in this hemisphere, at least) creates an irresistible tropism for change, renewal, and reinvention. In our case the "winter" has been tough economics, natural disasters, and political dissent. But clients come and go, disasters abate, and politics is an old game.

We re-emerge.

Perhaps we all need to be more seasonal, willing to prompt our own revival and our own new growth. What are you doing to avoid the repeat of the regular recital of the normal? What are your triggers of reinvention and new tests?

What would you like to accomplish, or at least initiate, in the two months before summer? Do you need to fix up the house, buy a new car, create a new job, patch up a relationship, enroll in a course or join a group? What would it take for you to feel renewed?

Nature has a mechanism for prompting the earth to respond. We can recognize it easily, so why not accept that same prompt to form our own new response? Consider it nature's viaticum, sustenance for our journey.

The hostas reappear from nothing. We're already on the surface moving about.

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The human condition: The waiting game

Recently I published a podcast on Alan's Blog ( about the story of Diane, who had remained married for nearly 30 years just to please others. (You can listen to it here if you wish: Today my wife told me of two children who wanted to throw a 50th Anniversary party for their parents, but the mother refused, saying, "I've hated this marriage for a long, long time, and I'm not about to celebrate its existence." When her kids persisted, she realized that it was a manageable problem, and she obtained a divorce.

Too many people play a waiting game with unpleasantness of all types. A loveless marriage is simply one of the most dramatic. But whether it's rude relatives, a tyrannical boss, an intrusive neighbor, an annoying habit, or a meaningless ritual, why do we believe that time will provide a magic answer? Time will usually do exactly the opposite: In it majestic passivity, it will exacerbate the unhappiness and irritate the wound.

People tend to engage in divigation when (rarely) confronted about their lassitude over these matters. At first I thought it was some kind of self-imposed penance, an inertia that serves as an atonement. Then I thought it was rationalization and guilt that perpetuated so many impediments to an emotionally-healthy life.

But I've come to think it's really a dysfunctional hope, a profound grief about the time that's been lost coupled with a cosmic long shot that the situation will reverse by itself�or from the fates�and all of that invested time will suddenly produce a return. It's like people who engage in inefficient business practices but refuse to change, because acknowledging that they've wasted time and money for all these years is too self-damaging.

However, the point is that there are many more years ahead. That woman married for 50 years who had finally had it realized that there was still time. There was no preterition involved, only her own volition.

"Patience is a virtue," and "all things come to those who wait." Not necessarily. "There's no time like the present." We certainly have a responsibility to others, but not to the extent that one person undermines your ability to help yourself and therefore many others.

Whether a relationship, a job, or a commitment of some kind, examine your own needs, your past investment, and your future.

What are you waiting for?

Upcoming Events


September 16-17
Crowne Plaza Hotel
Warwick, RI

A rare third offering, due to popular demand. Building on my work with individuals around the globe, I want to help you:

  • Identify the uncertainties, perceived vulnerabilities, and situations which cause you to perform at less than your optimal capacity.
  • Understand the causes of those dynamics, and receive timely yet non-threatening feedback about how to resolve them.
  • Master and apply techniques that will help you maintain and manifest a high self-esteem level "in the moment" when it is most needed.
  • Avoid the debris and detritus in your life which tend to damage self-esteem, and focus on the routes of least resistance to self-worth and its manifestation.

In brief, personally and professionally, you will be able to deal with daily routine and exceptional circumstances; with varied and often tough personalities in your life; and to overcome the problems caused by pressure, unfamiliarity, and perceived threat.


September 27, 2010
Sea Pines Plantation
Hilton Head, SC

The ability to write with influence, facility, and speed is critical in creating articles, position papers, proposals, blog entries, business correspondence, reports, inquiries, and, of course, books. Imagine being able to write a superb article within an hour, a winning proposal within two hours, an enticing booklet within a day, an exciting book proposal within a week (and a book in two months)?! I'm inviting you to join me to learn my secrets (over 10 million words in print) in a single, intensive day of learning. Optional small group Writer's Circles will emerge for monthly phone meetings with me. (This is scheduled immediately prior to my Private Roster Mentor Program Summit at the same property.)


October 26-27
Crowne Plaza Hotel
Warwick, RI

If you've ever wanted to create your own products and passive income, this is the experience for you. Through a combination of workshops, teleconferences, podcasts, and print materials, we will take you through conceptualization to creation. There are three optional levels of participation, including third-party promotion and selling the product on my web site!


October 28
Crowne Plaza Hotel
Warwick, RI

This is a methodology workshop analogous to The Strategist and The Coach. I only touched on change management in my Best Practices Workshop, due to the volume of material I was covering This workshop is intended for consultants who are (or who seek to be) engaged in change management efforts in large and small businesses, non-profits, government, and/or educational institutions.

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While we were eating at the bar of one of our favorite restaurants, a very attractive waitress stopped over to give me a big hello. I realized she probably didn't notice my wife sitting next to me in the crowd. I nudged my wife so that she would realize just how much of a "catch" she was married to.

Without looking up, and somewhat embarrassed, the waitress said, "How is that great looking son of yours? I haven't seen him for quite a while."

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.

2010 Teleconference Series

A powerful, exciting lineup for the coming year. For the first time we'll be dealing with setting priorities, living large, spirituality, creating communities, and much more. Free downloads and recordings of every session are included.

The Art and Science of Process Visuals

Las Vegas, NV
(site to be announced)

A second offering of the popular original program, scheduled the day prior to The Odd Couple� in Vegas (see below). During this intense day, you will:

  • Create prepared process visuals to use consistently
  • Create potential process visuals to use opportunistically
  • Learn to create process visuals "ad lib" to shine stylistically

The program includes both my books on the subject with their two CDs which you are free to use to incorporate these great time savers into your own work. You will emerge with both the content�multiple process visuals for your brand and value—and the process�the ability to create them ad infinitum.

The Odd Couple®

Las Vegas, NV,
June 12-13, 2010

We're baaaaaack!! Alan Weiss and Patricia Fripp in Vegas, for their 13th presentation of this now legendary workshop. Two days solely on marketing for professional and aspiring speakers, including technology, social platforms, building communities, and the accelerant curve! Don't miss the learning or the fun!

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're not making progress, the first thing to do is to stop saying "I can't."—AW

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

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