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Episode 302 | July 27, 2023


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Alan Weiss PhD

Meet Your Host, Alan Weiss

Alan Weiss is one of those rare people who can say he is a consultant, speaker, and author and mean it.

His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients such as Merck, Hewlett-Packard, GE, Mercedes-Benz, State Street Corporation, Times Mirror Group, The Federal Reserve, The New York Times Corporation, Toyota, and over 500 other leading organizations. He has served on several boards of directors in various capacities.

His prolific publishing includes over 500 articles and 60 books, including his best-seller, Million Dollar Consulting (from McGraw-Hill) now in its 30th year and sixth edition. His newest is Your Legacy is Now: Life is not about a search for meaning but the creation of meaning (Routledge, 2021). His books have been on the curricula at Villanova, Temple University, and the Wharton School of Business, and have been translated into 15 languages.

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Show Notes

What do you mean? What do we mean? What is “meaning”?

We seem to be engaged existentially in some search for meaning. The Beatles were famous for a spiritual odyssey with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. We seek such spiritual guidance in many (often strange) forms: sweat tents, therapy, 12-step programs, trodding on hot coals.

The meaning in our lives needn’t be religious or spiritual, but one would think it’s above and beyond the trite and every day, sort of a North Star providing guidance. Yet it’s often normative, derived from others. We compulsively seem to emulate others’ styles, behaviors, and beliefs. 

The definition of meaning is “an important and worthwhile quality or purpose.” We often consider it a magical breakthrough. We picture the guru on the mountaintop (somehow living without running water or electricity, but strangely content) to be consulted and answering in runic complexity.

Is this a practical pursuit? Does it matter? Does it make a difference in our daily lives, suiting us when it’s convenient but ignored when “meaning” gets in our way? 

I think that meaning is like a rudder that provides the direction when we’re not consciously steering. It can provide and enhance resilience and decision making, and can reduce stress and conflict. It can guide our daily actions. Which begs the question: Is meaning an ever-moving goal or is it on our shoulder, sometimes unrecognized and unheard, but available for daily guidance and direction?

I’ll reveal what I think it truly is at the end of this podcast.

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Alan Weiss’s The Uncomfortable Truth® is a weekly broadcast from “The Rock Star of Consulting,” Alan Weiss, who holds forth with his best (and often most contrarian) ideas about society, culture, business, and personal growth. His 60+ books in 12 languages, and his travels to, and work in, 50 countries contribute to a fascinating and often belief-challenging 20 minutes that might just change your next 20 years.

Introduction to the show recorded by Connie Dieken