Balancing Act: The Newsletter

(No. 253, September 2020)

Balancing act is in four sections this month:

  1. Ten Things To Help You Feel Good About Yourself
  2. The Human Condition: Attention Bias
  3. Musings
Techniques For Balance

Ten things to help you feel good about yourself:

• Find someone or some cause to help. It needn’t be financial, you can provide coaching, information, volunteer for an activity, and so forth.

• Reach out to someone with whom you haven’t spoken for some time and ask if they’re doing well. If you can, offer help if needed.

• Don’t set up “sales meetings.” Set up “help meetings.” Find out what others need, don’t simply pursue what you need.

• Conform with the laws, but take advantage of the freedoms provided. If you need a negative test result to go somewhere you want to go, obtain it.

• Maintain perspective. Most people don’t get the virus, or get it and recover from it, or get it and don’t even realize it.

• Socialize, because today’s technology enables it. Use face-to-face means when you can, especially with distant family and friends.

• Stay informed. You can’t listen to just one news source or, heaven forfend, social media rants. Try to understand the facts as much as possible and base decisions on them.

• Pursue your hobbies and interests. Don’t feel guilty. Provide some enjoyment for yourself.

• Read some books you wouldn’t have otherwise read. Try classic fiction (Dickens, Tolstoy, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald) or biographies or history.

• Create a new promotional medium for your business. Start a new newsletter, blog three times a week, create podcasts, record videos, offer free webinars.

The Human Condition

We were dining in Cru, one of the hottest restaurants in Nantucket recently. We watched an elegant woman in a stylish outfit and stilettos sanitize a nearby table, leaning over to clean the banquette and then bending down to clean the floor area.

My wife asked, “Are you going to work all night in those shoes?”

“I certainly am,” she smiled.

“I assume you’re the manager,” I said.

“I am,” she confirmed.

“You’re dressed for the role,” I said, “but you’re certainly not avoiding the tough work.”

“We lead by example here,” she explained, smiled, and walked away. We watched her greet guests, talk to employees, and clean other tables when needed.

Troops follow leaders into deadly battles when the leader says, “Follow me!” and not, “You go ahead, I’ll meet you over there.”

The strongest influence on behavior in an organization is never what’s read or heard, but rather what’s seen. Change the behavior of the exemplars—boss, informal leaders, those highly respected—and others will change behavior. If people who cheat get ahead, others will cheat. If those who succeed are those who work hard and smart, others will work hard and smart.

Many people who attend my experiences more than once tell me that the first time they learned what I was teaching, but the second time they wanted to watch how I did it.

Be careful. You’re constantly demonstrating behavior to others—family, friends, colleagues, subordinates, clients, suppliers, and so on. What are you “teaching” them about the values you exemplify and what you stand for?

How many times have you heard your kids say, “Why can’t I do this, you do it!?” Don’t hate your kids for citing the obvious.


People are astounded by what they see but don’t expect. They spot someone they know on the same plane. There’s a deer on the side of the road. A fender-bender occurs. A TV actor is in the same restaurant. They meet an old classmate at a professional meeting.

What’s interested me is that no one ever thinks about what they might have seen but didn’t. There is a friend on the plane whom they never notice. Across the road from the deer is a large herd. A minute after they drive by the spot, a major accident occurs that they don’t connect to the next day when they read about it. That TV actor is with a more famous movie star whose back is turned. At that professional meeting is also a childhood best friend.

I know, you’re thinking, “How can we notice something we don’t realize is there?” How do you know the famous black swan exists if no one has ever seen one?

Well, I’d mention two points. First, you have to hold out the possibility that a black swan can exist, and not deny it simply because neither you nor anyone you know has ever seen one. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Perhaps people who have never bothered to report their sightings have seen them, thinking they are normal, no big deal.

Second, we all have to be more aware of our surroundings. We notice the deer or the actor by accident. The deer, well camouflaged, makes a move. The actor motions to a waiter, drawing your attention as well as the waiter’s. When we were on safari in South Africa, we learned that we had to be very focused on finding the animals, who are naturally endowed with the ability to blend into their surroundings and who do not necessarily call attention to themselves. It was easy to spot giraffes, and that became “normal.” But it was hard to spot lions and even harder to spot leopards. My son became very adept at finding the wildlife that was all around us and our guides were well trained in this kind of constant awareness.

Driving home from our coffee run the other morning, Bentley had his head out the rear window, staring forward into the wind, his nose constantly twitching. As we drove around a curve, I realized that he could smell what I couldn’t yet see. He was smelling a future that I was not yet aware of.

It pays to have more than one sensory apparatus focused on your surroundings, and a lot more head-turning. There may well be UFOs, and we’re just not looking up.

Only Read This if You Know Me Well

I detected a Spanish accent in the speech pattern of our restaurant server, so I launched into my showoff mode and asked, “De donde viene?” (Where are you from?) He simply repeated my phrase. I then asked, in my limited Spanish, if he was from Spain, South America or Central America. He repeated the phrase with a quizzical look.

I finally asked in English, “Are you from Spain or South America?”

“Bulgaria,” he said.

Development Opportunities
Deep Secrets

Deep Secrets

I’m offering “Deep Secrets” for business and personal improvement on a weekly basis, with a brief video containing my best business and interpersonal techniques, and a brief audio demonstrating the correct use of tricky language and how to sound (and BE) learned and sophisticated. Would you like to know how to quickly determine which of only five categories of issues your buyer is concerned about, and provide clarity on the spot? There’s a process for doing that.

Or would it be important to be able to read The Wall Street Journal (or an equivalent publication) with relevant comprehension in just 20 minutes? There’s a technique for doing that. Would you like to write a 500-word article in 30 minutes instead of 30 days? Guess what, you can.

Sentient Strategy

Sentient Strategy

I created this remote (or “live”) formulation of strategy with transition to implementation that takes only one full day or two half-days, ideal for these times, including a social consciousness consideration. Thirty people have been certified and three sales already made. Learn more here.

Contact me for eligibility.

Contact Alan
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. And I’m buying lunch! Note: This is now scheduled half-days for September 15-16 as a livestream.

Million Dollar Consulting®️ College 2020

NOW VIRTUAL: Million Dollar Consulting® College 2020

The Million Dollar Consulting® College is going virtual.

On the dates it was to be in New York City, October 27-29, I'm going to conduct three long mornings (afternoons in Europe) on Zoom. We'll have prep work, group work, exercises, role plays—the regular stuff, but I'll also be demonstrating an elongated workshop on a virtual basis.

The value is the same but I'm going to give anyone who wants to attend two large incentives:

1. The fee is cut in half: $8,000. (For returning "grads," $4,000.)

2. I'm rescheduling the live event, conditions permitting, mid-first quarter.

Anyone who attends the virtual event can attend for free, just paying their personal expenses. Everyone will receive copies of my slides, notes, and the key books. When life hands you a lemon, build a lemonade factory and dominate the market.

Sign up on my site, which doesn't bill you, and my office will bill you the correct, discounted amount. (That would actually be me and Bentley.) We will also have a virtual cocktail reception and chat during the College.

I'd like three additional people, but I'll accept more. What else do you have to do?

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-day 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.



MacKay CEO Forums: My long-time friend and colleague, Nancy MacKay, is expanding her CEO Forums into the US and is looking to bring on board new chairs. The entire operation is virtual and chairs may market their services to Nancy’s entire participant list of over 1,000 business owners and corporate executives. If you mention my name, Nancy will personally discuss the opportunity with you: [email protected].

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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