Category Archives: Personal Improvement

What Do You Need, What Do You Want?

I observe in amazement people who pile-on every digital gadget that comes out, and upgrade from 4.6.541a to 4.6.541b. They have to have it first and fast. I have no issue with that. My own inclination is to wait three weeks for the new iPhone to be delivered and not wait on a long line in Manhattan. I’l also set it up when I have time, not the moment that UPS drops it in my hands.

I have my own foibles. I don’t need exotic cars or watches, but I want them. They are legal, ethical, and I can afford them, so that’s my prerogative. Chacun à son goût. (I would never wear the Apple watch in place of one of my current ones. Their ubiquity on wrists reminds me of the old pocket protectors—pragmatic but entirely nerd-like.)

The important thing is to realize the difference. Some people think they need things they really don’t (just look at garage shelves or closet floors to find the discards) and some people merely want things they really need (the never-taken vacation, the coaching help).

With clients, determine what they really need before you cater to what they want. That’s not bad advice for yourself, as well.

© Alan Weiss 2014


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Sorry, I’m a PROFESSIONAL Victim

A guy registers for my new Power of Personal Worth program to begin in September. He did this when I had a discount offer a couple of months ago. But his credit card was denied. We sent him a notice and told him he’d have to resubmit.

He wrote me two days ago to say the notice was just found in his spam folder, and he’d like to know how to get the original, expired, discounted price. So: He sends a credit card that isn’t honored by  his bank, doesn’t check his own mail or has the wrong filters, and wants me to make an allowance for him.

That’s not self-worth, which involves accountability, that’s victimization as an art form. None of it’s his fault, so I should make it up t0 him.

There’s a free lesson if you want to take control of your life.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Flipping Pages

I was asked for an appointment next month, and as I flipped through my Filofax (no, I don’t use electronic calendars) I realized I had gone too far and I was in mid-October, not September.

In a half-second, I had lost a month. How often do you think you’ll get to something, there’s plenty of time, no hurry, and you’ve lost a month? Whether it’s a half-second or it’s weeks, it’s very easy to watch time go by with no action, no results, nothing happening.

Have you accomplished what you intended over the past 30 days?

© Alan Weiss 2014

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The Power of Personal Worth—Yours!

About two weeks to join us at the outset for the Power of Personal Worth. Build esteem privately and consistently for the kind of life and career you prefer:


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17 Days Left…

…to join from the very outset the Power of Personal Worth and Fulfillment, brief weekly video, audio, and print reminders and reinforcers of self-esteem and how to build and sustain it.

Find details, samples, testimonials, and registration here:

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One Straw At A Time

We had to have a large tree cut down recently, so I removed the bird house that had resided there for years to move it to another tree. I had to open it to secure it on the trunk, and found about six inches of nesting material inside.

The house was used by sparrows, I know, because I could watch them from my den  doing their commuting each day. The height and tiny opening are apparently perfect for them. Twig by twig, with the occasional piece of pilfered cotton or napkin shred, the birds built a formidable, comfortable nest.

That’s how our businesses can grow, twig by twig. A great many people look for the “magic bullet” and the get-rich-express. They usually fall victim to some sharpster making HIS money preying on them or to their own impractical dreams. If you can build an internet empire overnight, more power to you. If you can create the strategic approach that propels business giants to seek you out, I’m happy for your success.

But most often, building a consulting business (or any business, for that matter) is a question of constantly moving forward, one step at a time. You make a call, have a meeting; create marketing materials, gain referrals; develop new IP, write an article. Home run hitters swing for the fences and usually lead the league in strikeouts. The people with high batting averages merely try to make contact with the ball on a consistent basis.

Of course, some people are born on third base but think they’ve hit a triple.

The key for all of us is to build our business every day, always moving forward, one step at a time. Pretty soon, you’ll have a very comfortable nest. Once you do, of course, it’s time to start thinking about building a bigger one.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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The Analysts

Apple had a brilliant last quarter, ahead of last year’s, but not quite up to the analysts’ “expectations.” By any empirical measure, Apple is a phenomenon, innovative beyond the death of its founder, with giant cash reserves, and huge profit margins, a global player making deep inroads in the China market.

But the “analysts” were disappointed because their arbitrary goals weren’t quite met. (Apple stock slightly declined that day, but then went up significantly the next day, obviously from investors taking advantage of the slight dip.)

As consultants, we have to agree with our buyers about what’s reasonable and expected in terms of project goals. We need metrics to both measure progress AND validate that our contribution is making the difference. We also must stipulate the value of achieving the new levels of performance, so that our fees demonstrate a significant ROI.

Don’t allow anyone else—from accounting, procurement, HR, or the owner’s family if a small business—to become the “analyst” making independent and arbitrary conclusions about performance. That’s between you and the buyer, as partners in the project.

I bought Apple stock at $17. “Experts” told me they were a niche player; that they were lucky; that too much of my portfolio was in technology; that Apple wouldn’t be a player without Steve Jobs. I ignored them all, because I use their products and have known people who have worked there. I know they’re the best, both products and people. I’d guess my portfolio is far larger than most of the “analysts.” So is my income.

March to your own drummer. Just make sure you buyer shares the beat. Ignore the critics who claim the music should be different but who can’t play an instrument.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Talent Outs

There was an extensive article in the International Wall Street Journal a few days ago about talent. And it cites research that refutes the “practice 10,000 hours” nonsense. It shows that in some pursuits, very little practice (or none at all) still provided for top performance.


I’ve always thought speakers who claimed they practiced the same (boring) speech they’ve given for 20 years regularly before they delivered it yet again were either lying or had a severe learning disability. When you’re really good at something, you can do it regularly and easily “cold.”


The amount of practice I put in (with my coach’s evil glare presiding) to shoot free throws (then “foul shots”) didn’t improve my average. On a “cold” day with no practice, I could still shoot 90%. No amount of guided practice made me into a decent baseball pitcher, but I made the all-star team as a lousy shortstop who could hit like crazy. An observer told me, “You have the most natural swing I’ve ever seen.” Still do. Don’t ask me why, I never had a batting coach.


I’m not saying that practice doesn’t help many people. I’m sure it aids concert pianists and maybe some golfers, but no amount of it could help me master the simplest of songs or hit a ball on the ground by swinging a club. A great deal of practice hasn’t helped a lot of speakers, from clergy to executives, yet I can speak extemporaneously and galvanize a room.


If it were only as simple as “practice” then everyone would master whatever they chose. There is improvement possible, no doubt, but not guaranteed.


Talent outs.


© Alan Weiss 2014

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The Power of Personal Worth and Fulfillment

There are 10 days remaining for the deep discounts for this series beginning in September. It comprises very brief videos, podcasts, and electronic print techniques and boosters each week to continually build and nurture self-esteem.

I’ve found that poor self-worth is the primary reason for less success in one’s endeavors than one’s talents should provide. People allow themselves to be “beaten down,” fall prey to peer pressure, and accept all kinds of unsolicited and destructive feedback.

Esteem can atrophy, like a muscle. This is your weekly strength training. For what amounts to almost pennies per item, receive these three boosts and pragmatic insights weekly. You’ll find the improvement in your self-image and your performance amazing.

You can see videos and details as well as register here:

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Alan’s Truths

1. You create your own truth. State what the reality is. “You are wrong about attrition.”

2. Friends can kill you. Choose them carefully, and don’t regard them as permanent.

3. Behaviors are consistent. Always act correctly, not just “when it matters.”

4. “Someday” is not a day of the week.

5. Drive-by learning doesn’t work. Appearing somewhere once a year with a bundle of news or two dozen posts and then leaving again isn’t impressive.

6. If you really want to learn, try coaching someone else.

7. IP is silent without the amplification of leverage. How can you expand your visibility and reach?

8. The deeper you go, the slower it gets. Hawks are faster than moles.

9. The hotel doorman is the key. What is the first and last impression people have of you?
10. Don’t ask “how,” ask for critique. Tell me how you’d do it, don’t ask me how I’d do it.

11. Invest in yourself first. If you can’t do that, don’t expect dividends.

12. Do it without preparation. Experts are easily extemporaneous.

13. Look around in awareness. Don’t look back in nostalgia or ahead in fear.


© Alan Weiss 2014

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