Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 225, May 2018)

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 web site:
Copyright 2018 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 three sections this month:

1. Contemporary Issues

2. The Human Condition: Grandeur


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I’m convinced that we don’t pay enough attention to the world around us because we’re so busy immersed in tiny parts of it. We simply don’t notice things because we’re too “busy” with minor issues.

There’s the classic example of the law class experiment where an intruder suddenly breaks into the room, steals a briefcase, and disappears out another door. The 50 or so future lawyers in the room can’t even agree on a description of the perpetrator. In another famous case, people told to count the number of passes among basketball players failed to see a gorilla walk through the scene.

How many Corvettes do you think you see in your daily excursions? (Choose any car, but I chose Corvettes because they’re not that common and should, one would think, stand out.) If I asked you to guess, and then asked you to actually count the number the next day, I suspect that you’d be off the mark. Once I tell you to look, you’re on the alert (if you don’t forget).

Thus, we miss cues, or take for granted, a great deal of what occurs around us. Newton discovered gravity by watching an apple fall downward. The Wright Brothers (and others) saw that birds didn’t have to flap their wings as much in winds, which created lift, but did have to when there was calm.

In basketball, the great passers are looking for open teammates, the poor passers are merely looking to shoot themselves.

In business, some of us are so immersed in the trivial—computer backups, inventory recording, bank statements, and so on—that we miss the opportunities to dramatically grow the business. Have you ever walked into a retail store or auto dealership where the salespeople “ignore” you while talking to each other or reading the paper? They’re not sufficiently trained (or managed) to pay attention to anyone entering the place. They expect people to approach them.

Both a pilot and copilot fell asleep some years ago on a trip from New York to LA, and sailed on out into the Pacific on autopilot. Only the frenzied calls from the LA tower and a flight attendant beating on the cockpit door averted a huge tragedy. Too many “conveniences” in life mute our attention.

Be aware of what’s around you, or you may find yourself flying past the point of no return.


Have you ever been in the middle of the ocean with no land or other vessels in sight? I have, and it’s a wondrous sensation. All around you, to the curvature of the Earth, is water. Do you know that more people have walked on the surface of the moon than have visited the bottom of the Marianas Trench (the deepest spot on Earth, in the Pacific)?

Some of you have seen tornados, majestic in their terror. I’ve experienced hundred-mile-an-hour winds, ripping up trees, while ducks placidly paddled around our pond. I’ve watched snow fall so fast that it quickly covered all attempts to plow it and it was waist-deep to walk through.

Human creations can rival nature in grandeur. When I flew in the Concorde at about 1,400 miles per hour at around 50,000 feet, I could see that actual curvature of the Earth that formed the horizon around my ship at sea. When I visited the Great Wall of China I found a structure far more mind-boggling than any photos or narrative could depict, built thousands of years ago with portions the Chinese feel are too dangerous to try to repair today with even modern technology.

We need a sense of the grand. Remember Carl Sagan’s “millions and millions of stars”? We can see grandeur all around us, for free or in the course of other activities which engage us, IF we take the pains to look around. I’ve seen baby rabbits when a rock was accidentally dislodged. I watched a cormorant surface and eat a fish almost equal in size. I remember the Aurora Borealis once appearing over New York City when I was young (and there was so much less ambient light).

I was once lost in the Norwegian woods (it’s a long story) and, while scared out of my mind, also stopped to watch a sky that had more light than darkness, more stars than space.

These experiences, these observations, provide us with perspective. I find that they put the last client meeting, or the fender-bender accident, or the missed luncheon date, or the winter flu seem that much more trivial.

I’m watching at the moment a group of crows march around my back yard in the rain because the water will tend to drive worms and other critters to the surface. They are methodical and have a certain swagger.

They are grand.


While on the road by myself, I dined in the expensive hotel’s very fine restaurant. It’s one of those places that don’t put condiments on the table as if they’re canaille compared to the chef’s offerings.

Nonetheless, the food needed salt.

I asked politely and the server delivered it, having taken some time to locate the seldom used but nevertheless ornate device. I began shaking but nothing happened.

Almost apologetically, I called to the server who was busy but took the time to say, “You have to grind it, not shake it.”

I began twisting, but nothing came out. As I began to call again, the server appeared, apparently having been watching, turned the salt grinder upside down, began to grind out the salt, and said, “Just tell me ‘when’, sir.”

These are exceptional and unique development experiences, there's nothing like them elsewhere, and some won’t be offered again. I appreciate you taking just a few minutes to review them, let me know if you have any questions, and/or visit the sites listed to learn more and register.

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This is an entirely new offering comprising what I’ve learned over the past two years in my global work and communities. I’m delivering it in London in May and Adelaide in November. I’ll be covering leads, compelling messages, the new kinds of sales evangelism, innovative marketing, virtually labor-free relationships, and much more. I anticipate participants will call the office to change practices and rewrite proposals during the program.

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Thinking BIG

You can’t “think outside the box” if you’re still in the box. And any box is too small for any true entrepreneur. Yet, you probably don’t realize the dimensions of your current, unconscious confinement. Join me for a BIG day in Miami in January to learn how to instantly think in larger terms, be seen in a larger light, and live large.

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Thought Leadership

I’m now in my eighth year of presenting top global thinkers in an intimate setting (including dinner and a small group of attendees), at a world-class property. Join me and Charlene Li, a global expert on service, social media influence, and performance, herself a former CEO, who has been consistently quoted in major print and broadcast media as well as having written a seminal book in the field. Five places remain.

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Evergreen Clients and Never-Ending Value

Once again, Colleen Francis - THE global sales strategy expert - joins me in an intensive experience on creating long-term, seven-figure clients. We call this “never-ending value” which results in “evergreen” customers. This is our second such offering, and we’ve expanded it to two full days to accommodate all new material and specific evergreen exercises that can lead to immediate application. Limited attendance.

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SAC Webinar Series and Special Membership Offer

If you haven't yet taken advantage of one-time-only special promotional pricing to join the Society for the Advancement of Consulting (SAC), time is running out. The deadline to join, rejoin, or extend your membership for 12 months for only $195 is May 11. Positioning expert Mark Levy will kickoff SAC's new Best Practices Webinar Series (no charge for SAC members) on Wednesday, May 9th. For those of you outside North America, take advantage of the new International Membership option.

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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 2018

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.





If you ask for money, you’re like to get advice. But if you ask for advice, you’re likely to get money.

Alan Weiss