Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 207, November 2016)

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  • When you travel, create your "Plan B" in advance so you don't have to scramble when something goes awry.
  • Don't commiserate with whiners or you'll just enable their "victimhood."
  • If you want to receive a faster and more substantive reply, be specific. Don't say, "The service was awful," say, "The food was not hot and delivered after a wait of 30 minutes."
  • There is absolutely no downside to obtaining a second opinion.
  • A "secret" means only you know it. Otherwise, it's not a "secret." Therefore, once you're told or you tell someone, it ceases to be a "secret."
  • Confidentiality can be broken in the confessional or by a therapist if harm to others or the perpetrator is likely. There is no legitimate confidence to be kept if it may harm your buyer or client.
  • Consensus is something you can live with, not something you'd die for.
  • "And the Horse Your Rode Up On" is the greatest name for a bar I've ever seen.
  • A critic is offering his or her opinion, not an expression of unrefuted fact.
  • Don't pay attention to one-off (singular) feedback, pro or con. Look for patterns.



I'm fascinated by Facebook. Even attempting to be somewhat selective in accepting "friends," I find people who can only use profanity as adjectives. People who desperately need proof that others are reading their posts. People desperately in need of others' validation. People who share what should be intimate and private moments. People without respect for others' privacy. People who believe that anyone who doesn't agree with them is stupid (and that the country is "falling apart" if their own advice is not heeded). People who are immediately derivative when the see something appealing and rapidly republish it. People who see it as a vanity publishing platform.

There is a lot of neediness on Facebook.

It strikes me as a place where inner demons are exposed, private thoughts released, and uncertainties and weaknesses revealed. There is an impersonality in virtual reality. What I might be merely thinking but not saying when I'm with you, I'll print on Facebook. Where once people would be awkward and uncomfortable being seen in a hospital bed or with an injury, we now broadcast it in full color with specific, gruesome commentary. We demand that people see how much fun we're having on vacation, or how much pain we endure in a missed airline connection,

And we fear that not enough people are paying attention. We demand that they prove they are reading our words and watching our photos. We're offended when they do not.

Are so many people this lonely? Are so many devoid of real friends? Do they actually crave this much attention to bolster fragile egos?

I'm not sure of the answers, and I'm willing to agree that Facebook serves some purpose of community (it was designed to connect students on college campuses). But I do know this: If you ever want to be assured of how mentally and emotionally healthy you are, just read Facebook for a few minutes.


The human condition: Please read before disregarding

Almost daily someone will imperiously tell me that they didn't receive instructions for something I'm doing, although I sent them out and the email did not bounce. My missive, of course, landed in someone's spam, junk, or overlooked file.

I'm often asked the exact same question by the same person in the same circumstances. What do I do when this happens? Where's a good place to eat in this city? Who was the person who wrote that book? The reason for this is that the person in question isn't paying attention. They use my response in the moment, then promptly forget the information or fail to integrate the learning. They have already mentally raced on to something else. I'm reminded of water bugs which walk on water only because they don't pause long enough to allow themselves to sink.

People just aren't paying attention. I watch people go through stop signs, not because they're trying to speed their trip or flout the law, but because they didn't notice them. They're too busy on their phone, or listening to music, or practicing their presentation for later in the day.

We're not just distracted, we're obtuse. Comedian Stephen Wright said once that "I'd love to daydream, but I keep getting distracted."

In workshops I'm often asked questions which I've answered an hour prior. Sometimes someone will ask me to repeat something several times, copying what I say word-for-word. So they capture the words but miss the point. They have the language but not the logic.

Neither Bentley nor Buddy Beagle have to learn anything positive twice. They know when and how to mooch treats. They understand how to get the premium positons on the couch and bed. They can tell which door I'm going to use by the route I take. They know the UPS guy gives them a biscuit to shut them up when they make a fuss on his arrival.

I don't know whether this is your experience or if you agree with me or not, but understand I have no intention of repeating it.


The doorbell rings. The dogs start barking. I go to the main door, no one there. More ringing. I go to the side door. No one. Does the door to the yard have a doorbell? I notice the dogs are barking upstairs. I figure there's a defect in the bell, grab some batteries in the kitchen and run upstairs. As I'm trying to open the bell unit, the dogs bark at a new ringing behind me—from the police drama playing on the television.


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Role-Play Workshop  

December 2

Join a small group to work in a comfortable suite in New York City to practice conversations with any type of business contact. We'll cover referrals, initial meetings, follow-up meetings, not buyers, true buyers, debriefing, handling objections, coaching, and a variety of other interactions. Every participant receives extensive one-one-one with Alan, switching roles as needed.
Retreat: Developing Creativity, IP, and Brands  

December 7-8, 2016

Learn how to codify your current consulting, coaching, and other methodologies so you can create "retail" sales to others who purchase or license your program. Ideal passive income, small group.

December 13-16

My longest sustained offering, enormously popular after more than a decade. Join me and a small group for an intense four days to dramatically build your business, whether beginner or veteran, at a fabulous property.
The Mystery Workshop  

February 14, 2017

No, I'm not telling you what it's about, but it will be new, novel, and highly productive. Take advantage of $400 off the regular fee if you act before August. We already have 20 people willing to take the chance!
2017 Million Dollar Consulting® Convention  

February 14, 2017

After smash hits in Atlanta and Los Angeles, our third annual event will be in Chicago. We'll have five general sessions, six concurrent sessions, panel discussions, networking reception, and much more. Save $200 before August 3.
Alan's Nantucket  

June and September, 2017

Three days of informal discussions on life, relationships, careers, and the near future. Take the fast ferry, auto ferry, or plane to Nantucket. Opening reception on June 5, September 11. All meals are included. We officially end with lunch on June 8 or September 14, but anyone who wants to stay is invited to discussions, events, and dinner that evening. Lodging is included.
Thought Leadership 2017  

October 4-6, 2017

We sell-out every year and for our next one I've secured Harvard's Dan Gilbert, the expert on happiness, as my special guest for a discussion as well as dinner. His TED talk has been viewed by over 15 million people thus far. Three seats remain.
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**Special New Offer**

Lisa McLeod's Noble Purpose Institute

Nov 16-18, 2016

A three-day program for entrepreneurs, consultants, and small businesses.

How often do you struggle to articulate what makes your firm unique? Do prospects call you, or are you constantly calling them?

Without a Noble Purpose, you're just another salesperson. A Noble Purpose is the reason your firm exists. It tells the world why you're different. A ten-year growth study of 50,000 brands revealed: Organizations with a Noble Purpose outperform the market by over 350%. (Source: Stengel and Millward Brown, Optimor.)

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What will you take from the workshop?

  • A clear articulation of your own Noble Purpose.
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Stop asking permission all the time. The lack of permission is in your own mind, not a 'keep off the grass' sign.

Alan Weiss