Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 193, September 2015)

Follow me on Twitter! You can find me here:
Every day I provide 3-5 brief, pithy pieces of advice for growth. Join the thousands who read these "quick hits" every morning.

And find me on Facebook:

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


  • You don't need affection from everyone in your life, but you should merit respect.
  • CVS apparently has a policy against employees saying "thank you." I've never believed that "There you go" or "No problem" was equivalent to "Thank you."
  • Folks, the person in front of you on the plane has a right to recline the seat (though not with rocket-like speed), that's why they were built that way, with the expectation, and purchase right, of reclining. Get over it. When you kick their seat you're acting like a child.
  • I love it when people on an island in the South Pacific complain that their cell phone call to Frankfurt has too much static and interference!
  • Have you read about the absolute lawlessness that occurs on the high seas, because there are no authorities to patrol or control it? I think of it every time someone wants to reduce the size of the police force to save money.
  • A vacation is someplace you should look forward to going, and home is the place you should look forward to returning.
  • If you want to impress someone with a gift, don't wait for a special occasion.
  • I'm weary of platitudes without meaning, such as "don't be the smartest person in your group." Why not, can't you learn by teaching and coaching and giving, or must you be a taker? I guess you can always dumb down...
  • Birds flap their wings least and soar with least energy in high winds. How about you?
  • The way to stop bullying behavior is to confront the bully, regardless of what others think or which way they run. Otherwise, the bully is enabled.


At the moment I read a column in the New York Times by a woman who claimed her publishing efforts were frustrated by gender bias, I was reading six books, one by a man and five by women.

When unemployment dipped to under six percent (and I believe five percent is chronic unemployment) I read that "experts" thought it was illusory, and the economy had "underlying weaknesses."

I had read that A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez) would never be accepted back with the Yankees or at his age or by other players after the drug scandals and suspension. Yet here he is having a fabulous year for a first place team and colleagues arguing that he should have been included on the all-star team.

I've been told thousands of times that hard copy books would not be published much longer, that we would have a checkless society, and that we'd see paperless offices. Yet I'm surrounded by paper, see books printed every day the old fashioned way, and gladly accept checks, which I get a lot of.

Of course, Apple was going to decline post-Steve Jobs, there was a democratic "Arab Spring" around the corner in the Mideast, and diet products were good for us, then no good for us, and now are good for us again. These opinions change as frequently as the San Francisco weather, which is minute-by-minute.

I'm increasingly convinced that you have to abide by the old dictum, "consider the source." An insurance professional will always tout the benefits of investing in large insurance policies, although it's almost always the worst investment you can make, short of swamp land. The worst stuff I hear about internal combustion engines is from the electric car investors. (Tesla seems more like a charity looking for government help than an auto company.)

Whether you agree with my positions or not, my point is that people too often tell you what they are paid to tell you and not what's true. Defense attorneys don't seek "the truth" or even "justice," they try anything they can to achieve an acquittal for their client. Doctors used to endorse tobacco.

It's our responsibility to use our judgment and explore the facts. I'm never convinced by mere passion (the scientific evidence is clear that there is no connection between vaccinations and autism, for example), not by position (Brian Williams, the former NBC news anchor, appears to be a pathological liar). I need to check things out.

I've always respected Bertrand Russell's insights, who observed, "Don't ever be sure of anything—not even if I tell you."


The human condition: Capture

When I was younger, my uncle, something of an iconoclast, asked one Christmas, "Why are you all taking hundreds of pictures? Do you really ever look at them again? Can't you remember what it was like?"

We all laughed, but he had a point. I've arranged my screen saver to show randomly all the photos I have on my computer, and sometimes I become mesmerized and have to tear myself away (I've put a timer on it so the screen goes dark eventually). But hard copy or digital, I don't think all that many people habitually look through the kibillions of photos being taken.

I marvel at concerts and sporting events at how many people are glued to their iPhones taking video and snapshots of the action, and missing most of it! There is no way that looking through the confines or any phone or camera is equivalent to watching the action live. Every year we watch dolphins heading for lunch off the Jersey beaches in the morning and, here in Nantucket, the seals cavorting at any time at all. A lot of people miss the fun—because they've run to fetch their camera or are seeking the right shot.

Seldom does life or nature pose for you.

We are intent on capturing what we see but with no real intent to use it later. Please don't tell me that photos on Facebook are interesting, because 99% of them are not. ("Here I am in front of the pyramids. Here I am on the bus. Here I am boarding the plane." There are photos of wounds and accidents.) The pursuit of the "selfie" is hysterical, the ultimate narcissism available anywhere, any time, even with an extension that might poke someone's eye out.

There have been wonderful events captured on film and digitally, and it's great to be able to see your kids when they were small or remember a pet. I understand special occasions (although not the event where the photographer has carte blanche to intrude, shove, and direct everyone's lives). What I don't understand is the need to capture the mundane and inane, the ordinary moments that just might mean more if we enjoyed them instead of trying to preserve them in the amber of photography.

There's a butterfly that's landed outside the window next to me, profiled against the Atlantic Ocean. It would make a fine shot, I suppose, but I'd rather enjoy the moment than go seek my camera. The longer I watch the real thing, the more special the moment.


A couple of years ago I saw peripheral flashes around both eyes and was afraid I may have detached retinas. The eye doctor told me that the flashes were simply the result of some glutinous stuff dissolving with age and were quite common. In fact, they tended to make detached retinas less likely. But he said to let him know if they got worse.

A week ago, the flashes suddenly started again as I walked about the house, in bright blue. I had never seen them so intense and colorful, and only on the right eye's periphery. I decided to look in the mirror to see if there were anything physically different about that eye.

In the mirror I saw that I had been walking around with my phone's headset after my last call, and the blinking blue light was its indicator that the battery was fully charged.

This is a year of twice-monthly programming (videos with role play, interviews, live coaching, etc.), and the option for email and phone access to me as well as a free entire day in Boston in April. Is it time to start making solid plans to change your life instead of just hoping it happens. All of this can be had for less than $400 if you act by Aug. 31. Click on the link.


Las Vegas, Feb. 8, 2016

This is a year of twice-monthly programming (videos with role play, interviews, live coaching, etc.), and the option for email and phone access to me as well as a free entire day in Boston in April. Is it time to start making solid plans to change your life instead of just hoping it happens. All of this can be had for less than $400 if you act by Aug. 31. Click on the link.


Teleconference, Sept. 18

Hear my views on value billing in contemporary business and society, including two different types of retainers, maximizing monetization to justify high fees, when to discuss fees and when not to, when it's easiest to maximize your fees, and much more. You can apply this immediately and all it costs you is $95 if you register prior to Aug. 15!
Gain access to my entire body of work—video, audio, print, electronic, hard copy, workshops, etc. Imagine your productivity gain watching a video of a first meeting with a buyer before you walk into one, or listening to a referral request on audio before calling for one! Tens of thousands of dollars of material for a few dollars a week. Order now and you get a bigger discount on Consulting Convention, below, if you so choose.
Both books will arrive next year, here's a chance to make an advance, discounted purchase and I will sign both books and pay for shipping.

October 20, 2015

Abandon the scarcity mentality and adopt an abundant mentality:
  • Lack of guilt of afterthought when acquiring something for yourself
  • Genuine pleasure in obtaining items you desire to have
  • Comfort with your position and no need to "beat" another’s position
  • Original views and actions, not derivative ones ("He flies first class!")
  • Positive self-talk (“It’s time to do this,” not “What will people think?”)
  • Philosophy that more income is always possible
  • Not constantly seeking “deals” and deferred payments
  • Ignoring credit card cycles and interest
  • Helping yourself in order to better help others
  • NOT doing things that don’t suit you even if others do them
  • Refusal to constantly evaluate “ROI” on every investment
  • High faith and belief in one’s self and one’s talents
  • The understanding and acceptance of success

March 16-18, 2016

There is no other gathering like this for consultants, coaches, and related professions. Join me and my special guest, Marshall Goldsmith, author of the soon to be released Triggers, along with a variety of experts, experiences, and interactions. Nearly 200 people attended the Atlanta event which continues to draw rave reviews. Major discounts if you register now. Twelve countries were represented in Atlanta.

Launched September 2, 2014

For almost pennies an item, receive very brief video, audio, and print assistance each week to build your self-esteem and deal with your life and career from a position of confidence and calm. Poor self-esteem is the biggest obstacle I've seen to people's progress. Join a thousand global colleagues and receive every past and future episode.

December 7-11, 2015

I've been asked to create this extended workshop for years but always resisted. The closest I've come were the Rainmaking Seminars that lasted for a day and a half and were presented three times a year. But it's time, because I want to codify all that I know about establishing, operating, and growing a consulting practice in one place.

October 7-9, 2015

THE master of influence, Robert Cialdini is my special guest. Join a small group of global colleagues for three days of learning and exchange, and an intimate dinner with Dr. Cialdini. Every past offering has been sold out, secure your place now. SOLD OUT, ask for wait list.
I've helped people: obtain six-figure contracts, make major media appearances, gain meetings with top people (some nationally known), have proposals closed, start new businesses, gain greater visibility, build self-worth, obtain book contracts, create new brands, improve their web sites and blogs, and so on. Most recently: Four six-figure contracts, five book proposals purchased by publishers, to start-up business thriving within six months.
THE ALAN CARD and THE BENTLEY CARD now available for 2015-16
As of 2015 there will be a Diamond Alan Card. (Colleen Francis calls this "all in," which is a poker term, and Colleen gambles on cards. My biggest gamble is wolfing down shellfish at dives on the Jersey Shore.) The card will entitle the bearer to partake of my offerings below (I've indicated as much as I can about next year and whether fees will increase or be stable).
Digital Empire Creation
Work with the strategic technological genius, Chad Barr, Master Mentor and Mentor Hall of Fame member, who is behind all of my web activity (and co-author with me of Million Dollar Web Presence). His team will create "instant" intellectual property from your material and place it in a variety of forms on the Internet on a continuing basis.


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:
To subscribe, send an email to:
To change your address or to unsubscribe:
Web link:

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.


Two new podcasts every week. Special cigar smoking room.


Too many "experts" I know never played the game.

Alan Weiss