Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 230, October 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 website:
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 four sections this month:

1. Techniques for Balance

2. Musings

3. The Human Condition: Situational Forgiveness


Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Free consulting newsletter: The Million Dollar Consulting® Mindset:
Monthly, fast advice on consulting techniques with case studies.

Listen to my new, free Podcast Series on iTunes or on The Uncomfortable Truth. We are now on a WEEKLY schedule!

• I’ve found that for most trips up to five days I can fly with just a carry-on. If I need more than that, I FedEx the larger stuff. Baggage claim is the airlines’ gift to show us what hell is actually like if we don’t behave well.

• The test of an excellent show on TV is whether I can concurrently read during it. If not, and my full attention is required, it’s a good show.

• If you want to read a fascinating book, try Indianapolis, the story of the single worst naval disaster in American history at the very end of World War II.

• It’s often hard to get your shoes back on when the plane is landing, which is why I carry a shoehorn in my briefcase.

• Here’s how I deal with long flights, for example, ten hours: first two hours, take-off routine, change into pajamas, read the newspapers, have a meal; next five hours, sleep (I use Tylenol PM); next two hours, watch a movie (or read, or write); final hour, landing routine, second meal, change out of pajamas, stow bags, go over limo, hotel, etc.

• There are a lot of “two-day cities” in the world, highly worth visiting but not requiring a return (Prague, Beijing). Then there are some cities I’d return to monthly if I could (anyplace in Italy, Hong Kong).

• My own unconscious bias: A Chinese-American client used her family connections to get us into my favorite Chinese restaurant in the country, the R&G Grill in San Francisco. When the waiter came for our order, I told her what I wanted and asked her to order. She looked at me strangely, then ordered for us both—in English. She looked at me for a moment, realization hit, and she said, “Why on earth would you assume I speak Mandarin?!”

• My stock reply to phone charity solicitations is: “I’m sorry, our policy is not to respond to phone solicitations for donations. However, feel free to send us literature.” I’m suspicious about the validity of people asking me for money.

• If they’re ever voluntarily mentioned, try to learn and make note of the names of your buyer’s spouse and children.

• There is a growing prevalence of Chicken Littles in the population these days, people who can’t accept good times and are cynical about prosperity. They’re not people who are fun to be around. Don’t enable them by listening.

I’m writing this from a private lodge in a preserve in Madikwe, South Africa, near the Botswana border. I’ve taken the entire family on a safari as my wife’s birthday present. Everyone, without exception, with whom I’ve spoken about this and who has done something similar has told me it was a fabulous experience.

They were entirely accurate.

A Cessna Citation deposited us on a tiny airstrip in the middle of nowhere, an hour’s flight and 135 miles north of Johannesburg. Out guide picked us up in a vehicle out of Disneyland which accommodated the seven of us on three levels with plenty of room to spare. He had a .337 rifle attached to his dashboard and bullets on his belt.

Within 30 seconds, down a torturous dirt road we encountered an elephant ambling across our path, which briefly examined us and moved on. (I wondered if it were “the airport elephant,” showing up for the twice-a-day plane and then hanging out at the bar.) Within the next 30 minutes we saw wildebeest, impalas, rhinoceros, kudu, giraffes, and zebras.

It was rather astounding.

This is a private reserve, which is rare, and the animals were imported and are contained in tens of thousands of square acres. We have a private staff—guide, beater, chef, housekeeper, and so on. The lodge has four bedrooms, a deep pool, outdoor dining, and so on. The bar is better stocked than most restaurants, and it’s just for us.

We spent the one night at each end of this journey at the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg, one of the top five I’ve ever been to, and we slept in the suite and the bed where Nelson Mandela slept after he was released from prison.

There are poaching problems even in this private preserve. Seeing these animals in their natural habitat, unperturbed by our presence, was a startling reminder of how much we may lose as the years unfold. I decided on the spot to take the family on another safari in another country in the near future, and to contribute to an African wildlife fund.

Disney reproductions, intelligent zoos, documentaries are all fine and valuable. But seeing these creatures—in my view, God’s works of living art—from just yards away, is a reminder for me of the shared nature of the planet.

I’m not easily stunned, but perhaps I need to be more often. And that’s why I’m going to come back.

“Forgive and forget” is not a bad motto when it refers to minor transgressions, family spats, and errors on the road. The failure to observe the dictum means eternal enmity, alienated family members, and road rage.

I forgave my kids when they cracked up the cars, and my father for almost never coming to see me play ball, and (after a few epithets cast within the confines of my car) the driver who cuts me off with no warning. I forgave Columbia for rejecting me as a student, and the guy who fired me as a CEO and, in so doing, turned both instances into dramatic advances.

We’ve forgiven Tiger Woods, a charismatic golfer but lousy husband, and crowds pursue him on the golf course even through his first win in five years. Louie C.K. slunk back into a New York City comedy club unpublicized, and is searching for our forgiveness. We haven’t forgiven Lance Armstrong, but I suspect some day we just might. The same for Pete Rose, who deserves to be in the baseball hall of fame, despite having bet on the game. There are a lot of people in that institution who were frequently drunk on the field, were addicted, and/or used illegal substances, as well as some guilty of spousal abuse. We seem not to forgive the transgression but we forgive them as athletes. Pete Rose simply bet on the game eons ago.

The basis of most religions that I know of is tolerance and forgiveness. We try to teach our kids to win but not to be sore losers if they don’t (or sore winners if they do). Unfortunately, many parents in the stands can’t seem to abide by that dynamic. They curse the officials, fight with other parents, and even berate their own kids for not doing better (academically as well as athletically).

We’ve forgiven former enemies whom we fought in vicious wars so that they’re now our allies. Yet we can’t seem to “forgive” those who hold disparate political views or root for some other team.

So we forgive some things but not others. The danger in the latter is that we become prisoners to the grudge, to the resentment, to the antipathy. Your choices are either to forget about the stupid choice someone makes on the road, or let it haunt you for days, or go after them in the moment and confront them.

That’s not much of a choice, on the road or off, is it?

And if you don’t agree with that, well, I forgive you.

I rarely stay at Hiltons but I was hosting a major event in New York and my wife and I decided we’d be better off staying at the hotel. When we arrived, the lobby was awash in people, two conventions checking in, you could barely move.

I had no patience for this, and I spotted a frequent guest desk with no one in line. I told Maria to follow me, I was going to talk my way in even though I wasn’t a member. She rolled her eyes and trailed along.

My story to the desk agent was that I couldn’t find my Hilton card and, in what I thought was a convincing effort, I was leafing through the cards in the back of my Filofax while asking if she could possibly process us anyway.

Suddenly, she stuck her finger into my flipping pages as a volunteer would in a magician’s deck of cards and said, “There it is!”

It turns out, I was a member after all and had forgotten.

Maria said, “You’re such a slick talker.”

Super Best Practices 

This is an entirely new offering comprising of what I’ve learned over the past two years in my global work and communities. I'm delivering it in 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.

Sign up here: Super Best Practices

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.

Sign up here: Thinking BIG


Sign up here: San Francisco Double 

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. This year we're at The Breakers in Palm Beach. 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 written a seminal book in the field. Four places remain.

Sign up here: Thought Leadership

Fifth Annual Million Dollar Consulting® Convention—2019

Almost 60% of our 2018 attendees immediately signed up for next year in Washington, DC during cherry blossom season. We already have an Emmy-winning anchor woman and Hall of Fame speaker; the global leader and author on sales strategy; two marketing and strategy experts from Europe; and someone who will demonstrate how you can instantly create super media promotion, among others in our lineup.

Sign up here: Fifth Annual Million Dollar Consulting® Convention—2019

Growth Access

This is my intellectual property repository, well over $75,000 of video, audio, textual, and workshop materials available to you without restriction and for life for a one-time fee of $2,500! We add to it regularly, and most recently included six livestream recorded broadcasts of an hour each from last year. Imagine reviewing the video “In the Buyer’s Office” just before you go to the buyer’s office.

Sign up here: Growth Access

Million Dollar Consulting® College - The first in two years.

I’ve slimmed it down to three days, take only a dozen people, and deal with all aspects of attraction, conversion, implementation, and expansion. Extensive role plays and exercises. Who knows if I’ll do another in two years—or ever? We’re half full, join us in December in a world-class property. Lodging and most meals are included in the fee.

Sign up here: Million Dollar Consulting® College

Workshop Workshop

Learn how to create, organize, deliver, and support a workshop with minimal labor and time. A lot of people attend my sessions twice, the second time to watch how I do it. This is the first reprise of a session I did five years ago. You’ll emerge with a template to create and deliver workshops effortlessly and rapidly for any client or for public sessions.

Sign up here: Workshop Workshop


Don't forget to share this on social media:

Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

Having problems viewing this email? Click here.
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].
To subscribe, send an email to: [email protected].
To change your address or to unsubscribe:
Web link:

© 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.





There’s a place between unctuous and apathetic, as rare as Oz, where really great service has been known to occur. 

Alan Weiss