Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 194, October 2015)

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  • Don't argue with people who can't help you. Politely inquire about who has the authority to help.
  • Arguing with people on social media platforms reminds me of the debates we had as kids when we put our hands over our ears and yelled so as not to hear the other side.
  • Brand power will continue to increase because it's one of the few phenomena that rises above all the "noise."
  • In the US, if you don't leave something for the kids at Halloween, you've grown callous.
  • Don't offer free advice but do offer free compliments.
  • Ask your clients what they're reading for professional development and read it yourself (and try to be published there).
  • The more demands you make of a waiter or the chef, the less likely I am to join you again in a restaurant.
  • It's simply rude to arrive late for a business meeting or phone call in the US.
  • If someone wants a recommendation (for the theater, a restaurant, a vacation spot) give them choices, so that they can factor in their preferences.
  • Pay the tip based on the total bill, don't do miserly things like subtract out the tax and so on. It's not going to kill you to be generous.


I've become quite fascinated by what I refer to as "mindsets." I believe that people are successful or not based upon what they tell themselves and what they believe as soon as they get out of bed.

There are people I've coached who tell me they love what they do but are "dreading" a required phone call, or meeting, or presentation. Many people don't engage in conversations so much as proceed through "checklists" to achieve the quantity of responses they need, though not nearly the quality.

Still others are deathly afraid to challenge a client (or friend, or family member, or prospect, or social acquaintance) because they are petrified of not being "liked." (It's no psychological accident that social media sites enable "likes" for postings.) I've heard people leave an Uber vehicle and say "five for five," meaning that they will give the driver a five-star rating on the survey if the driver gives them one—despite what the service level was.

One of my favorite Wall Street Journal cartoons was of a man getting out of bed with red-rimmed eyes, beard stubble, and clear pain. His wife, standing nearby, said, "Just imagine—in two hours you'll be giving a motivation speech to help cheer people up!"

We can begin our day as an opportunity to vastly learn and grow or we can begin a long, slow crawl through enemy territory.

I suggest you begin the day with a routine that will guarantee the former if you're not regularly capable of automatically attaining it. You might take two minutes to: be thankful for your life; review what you've done well the day prior; listen to some music you like; listen to a tape of positive messages; say a prayer; meditate. It's vital to begin the day positively, because it sets the course for the remainder.

I don't normally observe people who get better as the day goes on. I often observe people whose energy and zest seem to flag. If you start the day in the dumps, you're going to end it underground.

Keep yourself on the surface or, better yet, soaring above it.


The human condition: Argumentatiousnessity

Have you met people who seem to want to argue with every statement they hear? They seek to find exceptions to everything, the typo-finders of oral communication.

I mentioned on Twitter that consultants shouldn't expect to grow rich from their book sales, but rather from the business the books generate in leads and clients. Some guy wrote back that book sales certainly didn't hurt James Patterson or Danielle Steele. Say, what?

There are people so utterly punctilious that they will find some minor figure or event in the 16th Century to try to disprove your assertion that water flows downhill or cows can't fly. These are the people who memorize the Scrabble dictionary to use words like muzjiks and za. Sort of defeats the purpose of a game testing your language skills, right?

If I use Marie Curé as an example of a famed female scientist, do I really care about the person who has to stop me to point out that she wasn't really French or bred greyhounds? What's the point? Is the person going for a PhD in non-sequiturs?

Don't argue with the waiter over the pronunciation of cordon blue or gnocchi. Stop pointing out exceptions to pragmatic advice. ("You may think that the left lane is the fastest moving, but in traffic congestion of less than 35 miles per hour, you're better off alternating between center and right.")

I find these people pugnacious and punctilious. They are always looking for a fight. I think it's because they think so little of themselves that they overcompensate by trying to undermine everyone else's credibility. The didn't think of an idea first or succeed fastest, so they will try to take the wind out of everyone else's sails. They are, therefore, also highly sarcastic: "You're using a pen and paper to take notes instead of a tablet? Do you also wear pocket protectors?" No, but would you like to see my obnoxious person protector?

I do become giddy imagining these people trying to make a decision they're uncertain about, arguing with themselves. They probably get nothing done while frothing at the mouth and incapacitating themselves. Should be quite a sight. I have no argument with that.


I wanted to be ready for the conductor on the busy train. I retrieved my ticket to be scanned.

But when he reached me, I had misplaced the ticket. I peered into the seatback pocket, checked to see if I were sitting on it, looked through my briefcase.

"I really do have a ticket," I assured him, "can you come back after I've searched more?"

"I can," he said, "but what's that you've been holding in your left hand?"


Palm Beach, FL, Four Seasons

Join me and a small group for our eighth year, this one with my special guest Dr. Daniel Gilbert from Harvard, seminal thinker in human happiness and spirit. We sell out every year early, and half the seats are already taken. Act now, large discount ($1500) until Oct. 9.
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.

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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

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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).
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