Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 218, October 2017)

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Balancing act is in four sections this month:

1. Techniques for Balance

2. Musings

3. The Human Condition: Personalization


Every day I provide 3-5 brief, pithy pieces of advice for growth. Join the thousands who read these "quick hits" every morning. Over 7,900 followers! Why aren't you among them?


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• The conflict isn’t between fast and slow, it’s between fast and procrastination. Do it now. Things won’t get done if you don’t.

• Don’t argue with the powerless. Ask, “Who has the authority to make this decision?”

• Start each day with the same positive, rewarding actions. That’s how stars prepare for a performance or a competition.

• The correct metrics are essential. Rhode Island brags about the two best school systems in the state, but neither is in the top 100 nationally. You may be better than the next person, but if that person is mediocre, so what?

• After someone preceding you has chosen dinner A, don’t ask the server whether A or B is the best. It’s an awkward question, you may not get an honest answer, and you may make the first person feel bad about the choice.

• To parallel park correctly (an ability unknown to any native Rhode Islander), dip your driver’s side tail light inside the driver’s side headlight of the car in back of you already parked, and then cut the wheel. Never pull in front first, which is a rookie move.

• Sugarless chewing gum can be fatal for dogs, careful where you dispose of it.

• There is zero scientific evidence that a gluten-free diet helps anyone other than those with celiac disease.

• You can see most sporting events better on TV, especially with instant replay, but in person you gain the perspective of how hard a ball is thrown, or a serve returned, a kick launched. It’s much more difficult than it looks on TV.

• “No worries” is not “you’re welcome": “no problem” is not “you’re welcome”; “right” is not “you’re welcome”; “yeah” is not “you’re welcome.” “You’re welcome” is “you’re welcome.”


I remember working in my early years as a consultant with a company that had a defective product problem. They responded by sending two of the products for every one returned. That’s right, they sent two defective products to atone for the original defective product. My company told them to find the cause of the defect, but they got all tangled up in blame and politics, and the company went under.

We often pride ourselves on “contingent” action. That is, we’re proud that we corrected ourselves once we found we were lost. Or we spend a lot of money on fire insurance. Or we jury-rig something to work that wasn’t assembled correctly the first time. And those are, of course, important traits.

But they aren’t the most important traits. We waste time being lost and may be late or inconvenience people. We won’t prevent fires with insurance, especially if we have poor building codes or allow people to smoke in dangerous settings. The jury-rigged will never perform as well as the original assembly’s integrity.

It’s important to do things right the first time, or at least to find out why we didn’t so we don’t repeat the error. That’s important with raising children, forming relationships, and determining your future. You want to steer your kids away from trouble, not have to “rehabilitate” or treat them later. You want to deal with relationship issues without have to wind up in a therapist’s office. You hope that the sprinkler system and fire insurance is never needed because you’ve been attentive to preventing fires.

Contingent action—which address effects, not cause—is expensive, time consuming, and embarrassing. And it’s nowhere near as effective as preventive action—addressed at possible causes. After the sprinkler system does what it must, the furniture is ruined. After you get back on the right course after being lost, you’ve still squandered a lot of time.

Take a look around. Do you find yourself, at home or at work, spending a lot of time dealing with symptoms and effects you’d rather have avoided altogether? If so, change your focus to preventive action. Stop fighting fires and start preventing them.


Have you met people who turn every single issue into something about them? They fail to comprehend others’ positions, and simply assume their experience covers everyone. And they’ll bend that experience to suit.

I might say, “That was a tough break last night when the player had to leave the game because the ball hit him.” And the other person will respond, “My son had a ball hit him and the insurance company wouldn’t pay because he didn’t miss any school and the tests were negative. This is the problem with insurance in this country….” and off we go.

There is a huge quotient of obliviousness in these transactions. I might say, “The Japanese restaurant last night had fresh uni,” and the other person says, “The Japanese are killing whales under the guise of scientific research and we ought to stop enabling them.”

I regularly have to deal with people who feel free to voice their opinions without any basis or experience. A third party will ask, “If you have experience with this kind of technology…” and the other person will say, “I’ve never used it but I’d suggest you do the following...”

I’ve had people give me advice about vacation sites they’ve never been to, and I’ve had them recommend things they’ve never done. Their frame of reference—their view of the universe—is Ptolemaic: everything revolves around them.

When I ask for a recommendation for a steak restaurant, I don’t expect someone who doesn’t eat meat to chime in, much less advise me on her recommendations for my health and a fish diet. I remember a guy looking at my Ferrari once and critiquing it. “Have you ever owned or driven one?” I asked. When he had to admit he had not, I said, “Well hold your critique until you do, because right now you have no idea what you’re talking about.”

We need to stop these people in their tracks. They’re trying to work our experiences into their agendas. It’s time to end that meeting.


A man walked out of the Aminta Resort in Stressa, Italy, a "5.5" star resort, and kindly offered us a ride in his van into the small town a mile or so away. We happily accepted. He was very pleasant and well spoken. When we disembarked in town I asked if he always wore a suite and tie to drive the van.

"Not for the van," he said, "but because I'm the general manager of the hotel."



I ran Master Class in June and it was so successful that many of the participants have signed up for the next installment in June of next year. But you can attend a repeat of this past one, 12 people only and 10 seats are open, by going here:

Here’s an example of the feedback, from Colleen Francis: 

- The Master Class worked us hard. I was particularly struck on Friday morning when a new exercise left us all dumbfounded, with no answers.

- The role plays were extensive, sudden and provided excellent learning points on delivery, reframing and communication style.

- We need to be outrageous but not ridiculous and there is a fine line.

- Being prescriptive in the sales process helps us to get to true value faster and more accurately.

- We need to think bigger - like raising my fees 2.5x bigger.

Best event of the year so far! I'll be back in June of 2018. Thanks Alan!

Join us: The Master Class



How to leverage social media to grow dramatically with less labor

Lisa Larter, master social media marketing strategist, and I are hosting a brand new experience in Naples, which includes:

  • How to “live” in a shameless social media mindset. Do you really think about “going on to the electrical grid” every time you turn on the toaster? Why would social media marketing be any different?
  • How to easily create a one-minute shameless Facebook live stream video that you can use over and over again on any platform. And you’ll do it with us and your colleagues after we demonstrate it.
  • How to create dramatic IP quickly and daily, and shamelessly promote it on social media to accelerate business growth
  • Five shameless strategies you probably haven’t considered using on social media to elevate your brand immediately.

Limited attendance! Go here for far more details on a program that can accelerate your business immediately: Shameless Meets Social


Colleen Francis, the global sales strategy thought leader, joins me for an intense session on creating annuity clients which, over the years, provide seven figures in income. Consultants believe that the key to building a huge, fulfilling practice is signing six-figure deals with every new customer. Just like baseball hitters who only swing for home runs, they also lead the league in strikeouts. The truth is that hitters who simply get on base score more runs.

The fastest path to annuity clients (clients generating strong seven-figures during your relationship) begins with five figure deals. The secret is knowing who to target and how to grow your perceived value and, consequently, their business with you.

Limited attendance! Learn more and register here: Evergreen Relationships and Million Dollar Clients


Join me for one or both of my new monthly series in 2018: The Genesis of the Sale, and Exponential Growth. There will be live questions during the broadcasts from global viewers, and they’ll be recorded for viewing at your leisure, as well. Both occur on the same day, consecutively, each month (except July and August).

See the detailed agenda and sign up here: Livestream Workshops 2018



        April 18-20, 2018, Boston

        Featuring my special guest Chip Bell, general sessions by Suzanne Bates and               Dorie Clark, 12 concurrent sessions, networking events, cocktail reception,                     and…me! We already have nearly 100 people on board, join us for what                           participants call "the best event of its kind in the world":                                            

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         Go here: Lifetime Growth Access

Endorsed Programming  

I offer fabulous resources through global experts in areas such as positioning, wealth building, fitness, social media excellence, coaching, and other areas, all of whom I personally work with and support. Consider this your "galaxy of expertise." Note that we now offer self-publishing ranging from ghost writing to editing, from artwork and design to printing.

Learn more: Endorsed Programming


        Watch a one-hour workshop, rich in content, and ask questions while in                           progress, no matter where you are in the world. They are also recorded, in case             you can’t make the live event or want to retain the actual broadcast. I’m offering               six, you can join any time and receive past episodes, as detailed below, at $75               each, or $400 for all six.

        You can register here: Livestream Workshops             


         • Feb. 23, 2017: The Strategist - How to set strategies for organizations or                          individuals (Completed but available on recording)

         • Apr. 18, 2017: The Innovator - A methodology for systematic innovation

         • Jun. 13, 2017: Creating 6-figure Projects - Consistently and effectively

         • Sep. 19, 2017: The Advisor - Advisory work as your primary intervention

         • Oct. 17, 2017: Abundance - The mindset of success, happiness, and growth

         • Nov. 16, 2017: The Expert - How to command a room, discussion, and direction


         Join me in New York on October 19-20 for two days on general business growth,            from marketing to fees, proposals to reduction in labor. Only $1,400. For entry,                send me an email at [email protected].


         My new podcast series, twice monthly, on iTunes:

          #1: Control: How to maximize control of your life and not surrender your future.

          #2: Energy: How the Second Law of Thermodynamics can erode your business               and your life if you don’t renew yourself.

          #3: Fear Not: Roosevelt was right, and we ought to stop being frightened by                     everything that goes “bump” in the night.

          #4: Marketing Magic: A manifesto on marketing—and buying—realities and why             usage trumps functionality.

          #5: Myths: A memorial service to the many friends you lost when they went                     swimming 55 minutes after having lunch.

          #6: Polarization: The vast, ignorant error in believing people who disagree with               you are stupid.

          #7: The Aggrieved: Why whatever you perceive your condition to be doesn’t                    warrant a vote in Congress or a newscast.

          #8: Conservatism: Why we are far too timid in our lives and work and how to stop           playing a "prevent defense."

          #9: Degradation: How standards begin to erode and what we can do to correct it.

         #10: Overprotection: The cosseting of youth, and how it's leaving them vulnerable          in the real world.

         #11: Overkill: Pounding away until the point is crushed under the weight of                      redundancy.

         #12: Denial: Why we make ostriches' behavior in the face of threat seem                          reasonable.

         #13: Selecting: We "settle" in stead of deliberately choosing what's best for us, and          we need to stop that.

         #14: Contrarianism: Why taking an opposite view is a public service and how to do          it.

         #15: Who Loves You?: Who's got your back and how you can tell, and why it's               important.

         #16: No, You Can't: A different perspective on the popular—and incorrect—belief            that you can do whatever you think you can.


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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 2017

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.


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