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Life Balance: How to Convert Professional Success into Personal Happiness

Life Balance: How to Convert Professional Success into Personal Happiness

Alan Weiss

ISBN: 978-0-787-95509-0 April 2003 Pfeiffer 272 Pages


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A popular aphorism suggests that in the end, no one ever regretted not spending more time in the office. Yet during our lives and careers we often seem to confuse our priorities, shifting our focus so that we end up with clients whom we know extremely well and families who are de facto strangers. In this book, widely renowned consultant Alan Weiss—cited as ""a worldwide expert in executive education"" in Success Magazine—tells how to blend life, work, and relationships in a way that will help anyone to work smarter and live better.

Weiss draws on scores of interviews and vignettes with highly successful consultants to offer nontheoretical, pragmatic advice on living a balanced life, including how to:

  • Work smart and not hard
  • Have time to fulfill your passions
  • Build on success, not on correcting weakness
  • Give yourself short- and long-term personal rewards
  • Take risks and reinvent yourself (again and again)
  • Play to win— but ignore the score and reward the effort
  • Influence others while surrendering the need to control
  • Visualize the future

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PART ONE: Balance at Work.

CHAPTER 1: Identify with Contribution Not Task.

It’s Not Where You Start, but Where You Finish.

The Input/Output Rule.

We Build Our Houses; They Shouldn’t Build Us.

Prisoners of “Deliverables”.

The Strategic vs. the Tactical.

Alan’s Ultimate Lessons.

CHAPTER 2: Leverage—Archimedes Was Right.

There’s a Reason Why the “Big Eight” Have Slimmed Down.

Reducing Work to Occam’s Razor.

Working Smart and Not Hard.

Beyond Perfection.

How to Have More Time than You Need.

Four Choices for Action.

Alan’s Ultimate Lessons.

CHAPTER 3: Innovation and Risk.

We’re Here to Make Waves, Not to Stick Our Toes in the Water.

The Willingness, Not Merely the Freedom, to Fail.

Testing the Envelope.

Mid-Flight Test.

Reinventing Yourself (Rep eatedly).

Building on Success, Not Correcting Weakness.

Alan’s Ultimate Lessons.

PART TWO: Balance at Rest.

CHAPTER 4: There Is Nothing Wrong with Playing to Win.

If Winning Doesn’t Matter, Why Does Anyone Bother to Keep Score?

How You Play the Game May Not Be Enough.

Creating Personal Challenges.

The Rational Child Within Us All (Even the Big Shots).

Freeing the Rational Child.

How to Ignore the Score and Reward the Effort.

Alan’s Ultimate Lessons.

CHAPTER 5: If You Don’t Reward Yourself, You Reward No One.

It’s Hard to Lead from the Rear.

Tithe to Yourself.

Short-Term and Long-Term Personal Rewards.

Instantiating Your Dreams.

When You Wish upon a Star (Making Dreams Come True).

Daily, Small Victories.

Alan’s Ultimate Lessons.

CHAPTER 6: How Stress Can Help You.

No One Moves at All Without a Sense of Urgency.

Constructively Piling It On.

Working It Off.

Alan’s Formula for Working Off Stress.

“Anchor” Positions (Your Stake in the Ground).

Changing Tomorrow.

Alan’s Ultimate Lessons.

PART THREE: Balance in Relationships.

CHAPTER 7: The Other Person’s Self-Interest

May I Please See Your Vacation Slides?

Influencing Others Is an Art Form.

Intelligent Tradeoffs.

Avoiding Generalizing Specifics.

Surrendering the Need to Control.

Alan’s Ultimate Lessons.

CHAPTER 8: Communicating in the Light of Day.

I Don’t Believe You Might Have Heard What I Perceived I Thought I Meant.

Honesty and Authenticity.


Cause vs. Blame.

Selective Openness and Receptivity.

Alan’s Ultimate Lessons.

PART FOUR: Synthesis.

CHAPTER 9: Self-Possession and Control of One’s Fate.

Was Maslow Wrong All Along?

The Invidious Nature of Guilt.

The Courage to Stand Alone.

The Fallacy of Perception (It’s Not Reality).

The Platinum Asset: Intellectual Breadth.

Alan’s Ultimate Lessons.

CHAPTER 10: Essays on Life Balance.

Periodic Refreshment and Reinforcement for a Better Life.



Fear of Ambiguity.








Freedom from Failure.



Not Giving Up.

Bad Days and Good.

APPENDIX: 150 Techniques for Balance.