Join Dan is the search for a personal success coach and UK life coach.

In continuing the search for a personal success coach and UK life coach, Dan takes a trip into the world of entertainment. In specific he talks about the reality shows on television which have turned out to be blockbusters on small screen simply because success sells the best and everybody deep inside wants to be all they can be. The premise is very clear – it’s all about taking the right decision changes everything rather than just wishing for it.

Bringing out the spirit of a personal success coach, Dan goes through the selection process in meticulous detail where out of 215,000 applicants only 2 were short-listed. While it all seems fun, the final 16 get to do some rudimentary to simple acts and Dan takes a dig wondering how they would survive in real life situations.

Dan also brings out how being intense and devoted makes a winner. That was the stuff that the winner – an intense entrepreneur who successfully sold cigars on the Internet was made of. The facts are a personal success coach needs to also be a good leader and that was lacking among the teams that were participating. It is always that the best man wins but being able to digest someone else being the winner can be hard.

Dan talks in detail of a few personalities who suit a personal success coach role. Trump is one of them and he talks about how he handles stress. Another personality is Mark Burnett who pioneered "Reality TV" and his struggle to become one of America’s popular entertainer, a personal success coach and of course a UK life coach.

Dan discusses about Castle Experience graduates who are different and each of them being mentored to become either a personal success coach or a UK life coach.


23rd April 2004

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

Dear High Performance Person and Visionary,


Over the Easter break I spent a couple of weeks in the USA with my family. After spending a few days in NYC with my daughter looking as schools she might go to next year, I went back to California. It was a lot of fun, but one of the high lights was seeing "The Apprentice" finale, which is produced by Mark Burnett, the "King of Reality Shows." (More about Burnett later.)

I had received a number of emails telling me Donald Trump’s new hit show was very much in line with QLA methodology. I got to see the penultimate and final shows. The Apprentice was voted #1 in American TV. That’s a staggering fact! Just think about all the competition! What does this mean? Of all the regular shows and reality shows, business and personal, success ranks way ahead of all the others! Why?

Success sells the best! Down deep inside we all want to be, as Joe Baton (mentor of Ross Perot) said – ALL WE CAN BE!

Of course, because it’s American TV, all the 16 finalists were reasonably attractive and some, so I’m told, were better than reasonably attractive. I really didn’t notice! The country (USA) got completely caught up with the process. Out of 215,000 applicants it came down to 16 and then 2. It has been announced that the second season’s show already has 1.3 million applicants.

I personally thought the tasks given to the final 16 were rudimentary to simple. In fact it has already been announced the second season will have potential partners like Dupont and GE. I joked whilst watching the programme with my kids – I could give them some real life problems that would stump them all!

Trump said, "The finalists all had intensity, drive and were super smart". The 215,000 ranged from drop out to medical doctor. The two finalists pitted a laid back Harvard MBA (who quit a great job at Goldman Sachs to participate) against a very intense entrepreneur who successfully sold cigars on the internet, with a degree in criminology from the University of Loyolla Chicago. The intense candidate won!

As Trump’s lawyer, who was part of the programme and had been with him 30 years, said, "When the team needed him most, the laid back guy wasn’t there for them". The best input of the finalist performance came from Trump’s own senior staff, all people who had been there and done it! When the two finalists own teams were pushed for comments both criticized their leaders.

Whilst reviewing the 2 final tests, Trump would say, "where is she? If it goes wrong – you’re fired! Time is money!" And he liked using the word – pathetic!

When Trump told Rick (the ultimate winner) he was hired, he said to report to work in 15 minutes. Perhaps it was a joke! Trump told the winner he had 3 minutes to decide on which massive project he could choose from to manage the next year. No research! No time to ponder the choices! He said, "It was an easy choice!"

Over the course of the last 2 episodes, the winner said business and life are tough and so am I! One of the 16 finalists paid $250,000 cash to Trump to work for him for one year, (more about that later!)

Trump said, "She (a team member of the laid back MBA) hurt him badly twice and he did nothing. And to be successful you must be able to deal with bad – NOW!" And Trump didn’t like the MBA not dealing with it. He said, "When deceived, don’t move them aside – fire them now!" Trump asked of the winner, "Why are you sitting with all of the people I fired? Sit over here! Don’t make excuses – I just fired them!"

Trump – "You were too happy when you lost!" he said to the final loser. I know real life’s not that theatrical, but the outcome is the same.

Based on watching the show and deciding to do seminars at Guthrie again after a long layoff, I am now considering doing a new mentee programme. I have had many since 1993 offer to work for me, with me for no pay, or for only fees generated, or out of the start up when it made money. I have also had (like on The Apprentice Show) young, middle aged and old offer to pay me to work along with me. I will consider all options in my new mentee programme!

At the end of the show, all were "lovey dovey" with hugs and kisses! This is not my experience. The MBA said, "The best man won!" This wasn’t him! As has been said many times before, "You show me a good loser and I will show you a good loser! How can you be happy for someone else to win and you lose?"

Personally I am suprised Trump would pick an apprentice from two people who organised a golf tournament and a charity pop concert. I am sure marketing had something to do with it!

I was not surprised to see in the final Board Room scene of all 16 finalists to see the 2 finalists get their throats cut by their own teams. I was not surprised to hear Trump say, "When I am in the Board Room I am the Boss!"

Trump, when asked how he deals with stress answered, "I say it doesn’t matter! When I see thousands die in India or wherever – and I look at me, I know it doesn’t matter!"

Having seen and enjoyed the programme I am more convinced than ever there is a need for more QLA. As I am writing this I took a call from an investment banker from Geneva asking after he read "Your First 100 Million" about the Castle Experience in August. People continue to send me deals. Whilst I read them I won’t seriously consider them unless they are Castle Experience graduates. My experience shows me without the actual QLA background experience gained at a seminar there is too much gap between QLA knowledge and working with me. It also shows me there is a real commitment to their dream and if I can get on with them. And again the deal that I describe in my book is no longer valid. Now I look at each potential deal individually. There is no set model. I now do what feels correct to me at the time vis-à-vis the project.

To Your Quantum Leap,


P.S. In the months to come I will develop other ways to spread QLA Methodology!

P.P.S. Mark Burnett pioneered "Reality TV". He now lives in Malibu, California with the rich and famous of the entertainment world. He is a Brit who went to the USA after serving in the Falklands War in 1982. He sold T-Shirts on Venus Beach. A California lawyer who was skating by stopped and gave him a book – "The Art Of The Deal", by Donald Trump. Ever since then his dream was to meet Trump and be his partner. They are now 50-50 partners in their new venture. The Apprentice is now being syndicated in many other countries!