From Dan Peña – Executive Coach and Mentor to the High Performer.

Dear Subscriber and Friend,

It is Christmas Eve and I am reflecting on how all of you are preparing for a festive holiday season. It is 11am and I worked with a UK colleague until 1am their time on an engagement letter I had promised would get out today from The Guthrie Group (TGG) ( Whilst I do not think anything unusual about this, I am sure many of you might – and I am positive most in the business world think I was extraordinarily odd! Well I’ve been odd a long, a very long time.

In this vain I, and the same colleague had an appointment at 3pm in London with one of the largest banks providing private equity in Europe on Friday not realizing the bank had been shut down for the holidays since 12pm. The Director was there and we had a productive meeting. In fact I had a "world class" idea that could possibly help our largest corporate client while sitting there waiting for the meeting to start.

This year has been an unusual year notwithstanding the terrible tragedy of 11 Sept. It makes this holiday season more special indeed.

I have closed out my last office in the USA and will focus on a handful of projects going forward for 2002. I will also continue with a very few mentees on a very special basis. One especially has made such giant strides it is hard to believe. I am proud of all of them, but especially he and the one who runs our corporate finance consortium, The Guthrie Group (TGG)who has also made great strides.

My websites have been changed dramatically to reflect my new positioning as The Head of The Guthrie Group (TGG). I encourage you to look at them again. ( – They have been updated yet again and will be changed often. My Dan Peña web site reflects my QLA methodology and how it is still available through the purchase of product and my book. We have also liquidated a lot of old product in recent weeks. The product is still good because it is timeless. The new product merely uses different, updated, examples. There is still some available and Paul, my assistant, will let you know how to get it. Seminars will only be given to corporate clients of TGG going forward. These bespoke events will happen infrequently by design.

The new chat room was initiated last month and was a great success. The faceless element worked better than anticipated. I was surprised at the questions asked and the ability to answer in simple terms. The next chat possible with me will be in late January. I am looking forward to it.

The beginning of the year is a good time to plan for the future. I have used this time frame for 30 years to look at what I have done and what I could have done better. I also look at what I can do for the upcoming New Year.

For those of you that have been in business with me, you know this is a similar format to that I require as a one page weekly report with three sections:

Weekly accomplishments; Next weeks goals; Problems in the week just ended.

This is a very simple method to measure if you are making real progress vis-à-vis your plan and goals. As one of my favourite people would say "what gets measured gets done." For myself most of my goals were accomplished in 2001. The ones that weren’t had other participants who had a part to play. If my leadership skills had been better all my goals could have been accomplished. I take full responsibility. Man plan and god laughs!

As a leader of some experience, it has taken me almost 20 years to understand how much communication and leadership effects this process. Remember communication means: message sent; message received; and message acted upon. Of course leadership is having others do what you want them to do, when you want them to do it, not when they want to do it consistent with the plan. Without these two intellectually simple processes QLA methodology is not possible. They both require great withdrawals from our emotional bank accounts. As some of you know I am blessed by being able to make these very difficult withdrawals with seemingly little effort. I have made such difficult decisions so many times it appears as if it does not have an effect on me. I am not letting a secret out of the bag – it does have an effect! Proceeding, in spite of fear, is a primary difference between a high performance person and a non-believer low expectation person. As I have said countless times "I may be wrong, but I am never in doubt". Remember to act as if you had no limits to your abilities. Act in a robust and enthusiastic manner and you will attract people that will allow you to accomplish your goals. But be cognizant that all people do not share your goals and aspirations. That’s OK! Find people that share high expectations and you will, by definition, start accomplishing more. I have said for many years, "Get a mentor that has been there and done it"! Modelling on someone that has been successful will help immensely. That is a big part of the Quantum Leap Advantage.

I have decided to add, as post scripts, to this year-end newsletter emails from two of you without your names. These emails illustrate some important points about what keeps people from making their own Quantum Leap. In almost all cases it is the lack of taking action and in some cases it is the fear of what will happen when failure is a result. But surprisingly, in some cases if someone takes action, but the wrong action it is the further fear of the consequences of yet another action that keeps them in the status quo. It then becomes a self fulfilling prophecy of non-action due to fear of failure. Remember you will act mostly based on whom you surround yourself with and what they might think until you are trained to act following QLA precepts. If you surround yourself with low expectation, low self esteem dummies it is next to impossible to go against the trend of conventional wisdom, with strongly opposed actions. As one of the emails writes back, almost immediately, they know part of their problem is they care what other people think of them too much. Most people care about what other people think. That is a simple fact of life. As long as it is moral, honest, ethical and not against the law in my judgment it is OK! "Don’t go out of your way to be horrible", as one of my partners says. Being all you can be is not meant to hurt anyone. QLA teaches you to be the very best you can be.

I have said ad-nauseum, "You can’t be a good son/daughter, father/mother, brother/sister, partner in business, or anything without feeling good about yourself – you are not being selfish thinking of yourself". I am not trying to get religious, but all religions talk about loving yourself and others!! Why not you?

Have a great holiday season. I prey for the men in the "War on Terrorism". I spent the holidays of 1967 and 1968 away during a different kind of war and remember them vividly. It was a very different world then, but the experience helped make me who I am over three decades ago.

I look forward to 2002 like few years before. I have said there are opportunities for all that may never come again in our lifetimes. Take action and do something different. Take a risk! – and do it again! and again! and again! Remember it is the things we did not do we are repentant and sorry for when our end comes. Live life to the fullest each and every day. Live life on purpose. Just think about 11 September and the tragic massive loss of life. When those men, women and children got up that fateful morning they did not know it would be their last. What if it was your last? How would you have been measured? Would you have been proud of your efforts?

To your Quantum Leap in whatever you want and God bless you! Happy holidays and may you have the most promising year ever!

Respectfully, Dan Peña

P.S. Letters:

Letter 1:

"Dear Mr Peña,

I have two questions which maybe you can touch on in your next Newsletter:

The first problem I am having with growing……is dealing with personal relationships. I call this particular problem the…"I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t". I have a long time friend who was raised in a disciplined manner and it’s very hard for him to pay a genuine compliment – or ask for help for that matter……and yet when I try to grow or change it’s instantly noticeable……he doesn’t have to say anything……he sends the message in so many unspoken words that I am being deceitful somehow by not telling him everything I am up to……and when I do share the things I am up to……he becomes judge, jury and executioner……he’ll usually find something wrong or negative to say, or if he likes it…… he’ll just take the idea/knowledge etc I’ve laboured for……and not say a damn word of "thank you" or praise or anything!!! I value the friendship but I am having problems keeping it on the same plane it was formed!

As for the second question – well I’ll just make the tough and right decision.

Thank you again Sir"

Letter 1(b) – from the same writer as Letter 1 (above)

"Dear Mr. Peña,

Never mind about that question……at least for me……I realized after I sent it that I still care too much what other people think of me or will think of me."

Letter 2

"Dear Dan,

I’m an Entrepreneur.

I am 35 and have not achieved anywhere near the financial goals I set for myself at a young age.

If I were to stand trial, accused of the following, I would be found GUILTY on all accounts:

1. Failing to set BIGGER goals than I could achieve in my lifetime; 2. Spending thousands of pounds buying tapes, books and attending (some) useless seminars over 15 years; 3. Lotus 1-2-3ing too much and getting paralysis via perfection; 4. Writing detailed business plans; 5. Picking the "wrong" idea or vehicle or business too many times; 6. Thinking that getting significant financing was something I could do only when I already had money; 7. Thinking I could "catch two rabbits" at once (not focussing); 8. Failing to find a REAL mentor; 9. Taking too long to make decisions.

Of course I could go on, but 9 counts of GUILTY should see me put away for life.


I would have been found NOT GUILTY on ALL of the following counts:

1. Lacking integrity, being unreliable or unable to make appointments; 2. Having a negative or pessimistic attitude; 3. Working 9-5 everyday and watching 40 hours of TV a week; 4. Living life according to the daily tabloids; 5. Drowning my life in misery after I’ve been beat down; 6. Being small minded or stagnating my personal growth; 7. Failing to buy a personal fax machine or returning messages and other correspondence within 24 hours; 8. Not willing to do whatever it takes or failing to act when I needed to even if it was uncomfortable or inconvenient; 9. Dressing inappropriately for success.

I have bought everything I could, that you have written or recorded for training purposes since I first came across your path and now I am doing 10 hours a day on the QL methodology until I achieve a QL.

I place you on a pedestal as far as "high performance people" go, or I would not be writing this tonight – and this is a "spur of the moment decision".

You truly are a unique individual – congratulations on stepping where others fear to.

Recently I decided I would pick a vehicle that could handle QL, instead of all the "Mickey Mouse" ones I have been playing with in the past. Therefore, unless I find something better, I decided I would focus on PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT.

Although I have a small advertising company with a partner (we have a contract with a major TV company for selling text advertising space), I wanted to start building a "big dream" and so I hunted out some "winners" from the Property Field. I found a company and a gentleman who was MD of a 1.1Bil property company in the 1980’s. I said I would work for free in return for learning what I could etc. I have implemented many positive changes and assisted them diligently, however I can see now after a few months, that QL is certainly not in their blood (anymore) – well if it is, it has taken a large sleeping pill!

As you were offering it on your web site, my plan was to sign up as many people interested in your QL Newsletter as I needed in order to win a one hour consultation with you, but whilst I am still planning to do this (yes it is a written goal), I was thinking: "why should I work for NON-QL people for free, when I could possibly be working under the same terms, but for / with PRO-QL people?"

On this very thought, I have written this email, knowing that the "everyone wants to work with Dan and his associates" cliché exits, but trusting at the same time that maybe you might recognise I do not categorize myself as, "everybody".


I am willing to work for free for / with yourself (pending a meeting in person) or with some other PRO-QL individuals you might put me in contact with.

Say "No" if you will, but I dare you to test my commitment and integrity. I am well "pissed off" (with myself) for not having made it yet and therefore hungry and willing to do deals. I’ll meet you at four in the morning or on a Saturday night if that’s necessary.

My details are below, so, will you set aside 5 – 10 minutes, let me buy you a coffee and assess the possibility of initiating my offer?

Kind regards"