Balancing Act: The Newsletter

(No. 249, May 2020)

Balancing act is in four sections this month:

  1. Things I learned or that were reinforced in the crisis
  2. The Human Condition: Hoarding
  3. Musings
Techniques For Balance

• How to quickly put on and remove gloves.

• Opening doors with my elbows.

• Staying away from people I don’t like by claiming social distancing.

• Cutting my own nails.

• The importance of having a yard.

• The vital nature of the mail carriers, delivery people, and essential store owners.

• The astounding hearts and help of first responders and medical people.

• The power of a daily, transparent, press conference to create common understanding and calm.

• The immense power of a simple gesture such as checking in on people.

• The need to have a significant amount of cash in the house in small bills.

• The need to have a great deal of liquidity available and not everything invested in the market.

• Virtually ignoring broadcast news programs has no disadvantage and reduces stress.

• Blame is a waste of time and distracts us from finding a cause.

• You can order nearly anything online.

• The craze for hoarding toilet tissue is so Freudian that it’s scary, and justifies my investment in a $12,000 Japanese toilet.

• We can overreact even in emergencies.

• It turns out that cigars and booze are “essential services”— Who knew?

The Human Condition

Let’s separate hoarding as an illness or symptom of an illness (ADHD, OCD, etc.) and as a human behavior situationally triggered as it is in the current health crisis. Thus, I’m not talking about people whose homes you can’t walk through because of stacks of magazines from the 50s, but rather those where closets are full of a thousand rolls of toilet tissue and the freezer stuffed with scores of boxes of frozen kale.

I think in times of crisis, what people really fear is loss of control. Right now, in Michigan, you are forbidden to mow your own lawn, for example. New Zealand mandated at one point that, wherever you were when notified, you had to stay there and shelter in place, even if you weren’t home. Prisoners of war are often denied all control—prevented from sleeping, from going to a toilet, from moving their limbs—in order to force them to provide information. Tyrannical bosses micromanage and allow very little personal discretion at work.

How does one fight against such loss of control? Prisoners make up codes to communicate with each other. School children try to pass surreptitious notes. When the great songwriter Cole Porter was agonizingly hurt and helpless after a fall from his horse, he composed the legendary Night and Day while he was on the ground awaiting help.

I don’t have to dust off my psychology textbooks to remember that Freud was obsessed with bowel movements and toilet habits and based a great many theories on anal habits and control. But I digress.

Hoarding gives people a sense of control, and there is an inverse proportion between control and hoarding. The less control one has, the more one attempts to create control by behaviors such as hoarding. And maybe Freud was right, because they’re not hoarding tissues one uses for the nose, but the other kind at the other end.

During a great Russian depression, toilet paper was not to be found anywhere. In public institutions, every stall had one textbook by Lenin or Trotsky or Marx. One would tear off as many pages as necessary.

I’m just sayin’…


“We don’t have time to chat, we don’t want to miss the boat.” The phrase “missing the boat” (sometimes, “missing the bus”) has been around since the late 18th Century. It means to literally miss your transportation’s departure and figuratively to miss an opportunity.

No matter what your politics, I’d like to make an observation that former President Obama missed the boat by not backing his erstwhile vice president, Joe Biden, when such backing might have made a difference earlier. His support, well after Biden has become the presumptive candidate, is unimportant and actually rather pitiful.

I can’t tell you why Obama didn’t offer support earlier, but I can tell you that he vitiated his potential clout. So did Elizabeth Warren’s very late endorsement of Biden. There is no special power or prestige in bowing to the inevitable.

People often miss the boat because they are tentative, afraid to take a risk, or to stand out in a crowd. We’ve seen that with the coronavirus under- and over-reactions, and the great confusion about curves and rates and predictions, most of which have been horribly wrong. You can miss the boat by accident, misjudging or being caught in traffic jams and late meetings. But most miss it through poor planning, fear of taking bold steps, and lack of speed.

I remember once in Hong Kong, rushing with my clients to catch the final Star Ferry of the night from Kowloon to the Hong Kong side. My wife had a bad knee but we soldiered through and rushed the ticket vending machines just before they pulled the gangplanks in. We didn’t want to miss that boat.

One of my favorite cartoons ever was of two Tyrannosaurus rexes watching Noah’s Ark disappear over the horizon. “Oh crap,” said one of them, “was that today?”

Only Read This if You Know Me Well

My wife and I were in one of our favorite restaurants when a particularly attractive female server we knew became very friendly.

She inquired about how I was enjoying the food, standing quite close to me, I thought. She told me that she hadn’t seen me in some time. I was blurting out responses while trying to keep my wife in my peripheral vision. She didn’t seem concerned.

So I figured I was fine, and managed to say to my flirtatious friend, “You’re looking very good tonight!” “Why thank you,” she said. “You know, I’ve been meaning to ask you something.” “What’s that?” I said, feeling like a million bucks. “How’s that great looking son of yours, and why doesn't he come by more often?”

I didn’t hear what she said next because my wife was laughing so hard.

Development Opportunities
Special Development for Crisis Times

Special Development for Crisis Times

We had nearly 3,000 people watch my livestream in April, live or with the recording, on Sustaining and Building Business in Crisis Times. You can still watch it here. I continue to host free audio, video, and text on my site ( I’m also offering the following experiences for you to build your own, and your clients’, businesses as we emerge from this crisis in the months ahead.

Watch the Livestream
90-Day Coaching

90-Day Coaching

I’ll share best practices and help you with both professional and personal issues with a weekly call and unrestricted email. This is not a regular offering of mine, it’s intended to help you not just weather the storm but to find sunny skies, and to be part of your support system. Obviously, I have limited slots, write me at [email protected] to sign up: $2,500.

Contact Alan
Sentient Strategy

Remote Sentient Strategy Training

I’ve created a simplified, one-day approach to setting strategy for small and medium-sized businesses and for divisions of larger businesses. A dozen people have been certified, and two have already launched the program, which is applicable for both non- and for-profits. It can be delivered remotely to clients, ideal in these times, and in-person after these times return to normal. I’m holding a virtual training program for certification via Zoom. Write me for details: [email protected].

Contact Alan
Alan's Million Dollar Consulting Growth Access

Reduced Growth Access Fee

My Growth Access platform, with well over $100,000 worth of my audio, video, workshops, texts, models, IP and so forth, has been available for $5,000 for lifetime access, and I add something monthly expressly created for the platform. I’m offering it to you now for $3,500 because a great many people need these resources to sustain their businesses, and there is now time to thoroughly mine the huge content. Simply go here, ignore the actual fee, you’ll only be billed $3,500. I am honoring this reduced fee until May 2nd, midnight EST.

StratCon: Setting a strategy as a solo consultant or boutique firm owner

StratCon: Setting a strategy as a solo consultant or boutique firm owner

Join me for a livestream session on setting a new strategy (or testing your current one) to emerge powerfully as conditions improve in the near future. The recorded video session is on my site and available for $750.

Buy Now
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. Subscribe here. And I’m buying lunch! Note: This is now scheduled for September 15.

Million Dollar Consulting®️ Convention in Sydney

Million Dollar Consulting® Convention in Sydney

Join me for the first such event ever held outside of the US. We have 86 people registered, we can only accommodate 100, and there is a special discount for people from Australia and New Zealand. I’ll also be donating 5% of gross revenues to wildlife support groups in Australia. Subscribe here. Australia is in dire need of restoring tourism and investment, join me and extend your stay if you're from outside the country. Note: This is rescheduled for December 1-3.

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 will now be via Zoom. Create the kind of perpetuating community that most people wish they had in place pre-crisis. Two mornings with complete instructions and examples to create a community of real and virtual interaction which creates client evangelists.

Creating Dynamic Communities

Livestream: How to Organize Your Time, Priorities, and Life IN A NEW WORLD

May 21, 11 am US Eastern time, includes access to the recording, live questions during the session, questions submitted prior to the session. Learn how to escape “overwhelm” and take control. Never miss a deadline or a commitment again.

Thriving Through Ambiguity

Thriving Through Ambiguity

On May 4, a webinar to help you shine the light for others as you navigate through uncharted waters and help your clients do so through your help.

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 days’ 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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