4th October 2005

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

Dear High Performance Person and Visionary,

It’s been a few months since my last newsletter.  I will use this letter to catch you up and pass on some thoughts and changes in my life; to share with you an email from a mentee who I have written about before; and make a few general comments about change and how difficult it can be even for someone like me!

As you know I had a big birthday a few weeks ago.  Arriving at my 60th gave me pause for thought, especially since it coincided with my daughter going away to university in Texas.  She was my last child to leave the nest.  Hence, I took time and the opportunity to reset some of my own goals and habits:

1. I gave up salt, sugar, mayonnaise, candy/cookies and all sweets, and all red meat.  Yes I still drink! So far with no effect that I can notice other than I have lost some weight.

2. I decided to change my work schedule to mirror my work habits during my 40s, i.e. increase my work time at least 25% to over 100 hrs per week.  To exhibit and launch this new work ethic I embarked on a well planned and coordinated trip that began 22 Aug and ended 17 Sept.  This trip took me from a 6am flight from Aberdeen through London, NYC, LA, Cleveland, NYC, London, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Meppen Germany, Antwerp, Amsterdam, London, NYC, Houston, Honolulu, Guam, Manila, Guam, Honolulu, LA, Palm Springs (to have brunch with my dad and oldest son on his 87th), LA, Phoenix, Santa Fe NM, Houston, Chicago, Cleveland, London, to Guthrie (to play in a Pro/Am golf tournament to celebrate my 60th).  And to cap it off the next day I started a week long castle seminar.  For those that were at the seminar they can tell you I finished stronger than I started!  How did I do it?  Just relating the trip tires most.  It’s simple!  I am still doing what I love and now I am going to do even more of it!  Of course being in very good shape, except for the 20 pounds I should lose, helps enormously.  And with the diet change perhaps that will cut pounds off me. 

3. I fired my personal trainer who I started with in Jan because she was too easy in my 90 minute 3 times a week sessions.  She trains 1 of the local football teams.  Her sessions are called “beastins” and she is called the “beast!”  So much for nick names.  I train myself now and want to be as strong as I was when I was 45!

4. I changed my eating habits further having 5 – 6 small meals a day when ever I can.  Though I won’t carry food with me as has been suggested.  I also take probiotic stuff and use probiotic yogurt regularly.  And I do feel the difference though I was a big sceptic at first.

5. I will not stay at a hotel whilst travelling unless it has cardio equipment and weights.  This has precluded me from staying at some of my favourite small hotels. 

6. I am pushing myself, my staff and the deals I am involved in harder.  Always remembering “what gets measured gets done!”  I have adopted a new saying, “you’re looking at you’re calendar/diary and I am looking at my f _ _ _ _ _ _ watch!” 

7. Restructured how and why I get involved in deals.  And am re-examining the deals I am in. 

8. I have eliminated most of the  fluff in my life!  Though I still see my family/kids every 4 – 6 weeks.  My daughter being in a small town in Texas will be more of a challenge than my sons who are both in the LA area. 

9. To get all the deals I am currently involved in to their respective IPOs or Exits as soon as humanly possible. 

10. And to focus and drive my various future teams so we don’t leave any talent wasted, even at the beginning whilst we are getting used to one another.

You might ask why I would do any and especially all the above?  Well my friends, we all get sloppy! Especially as you get older.  Over the last summer I looked at what was the difference between my 50s and 40s?  I didn’t go back to my 30s, but I was more like my 40s than 50s.

In summary it was focus and the driving follow through I became famous, or infamous, for during the big money creation years I had.  It’s the same focus I teach at my seminars. Remember the whip at the old seminars? But when I looked at myself in absolute candour, I saw I was not performing as well as I know I can, though it was way more than enough for anything I was involved in the last 10 years..  I had fallen into the trap – what do I have to prove to anyone?  I even think subconsciously I started to measure myself against the best seminar attendees and a few partners and what I conveniently remembered of my past. Whilst I have very successful partners and mentees, and I have coached some super stars, all could be much more successful if they held themselves more accountable and were much harder on their partners, employees and themselves!  But very few want, or like being tough.  Almost all people want to be liked.  And though I hold them accountable, I am with them only a short period of time per month.  And even though they give me a weekly report that isn’t the same as being there to instil and create what they should be doing on a daily basis.  I know the most successful ones say, “What would Dan do in this situation?”  And that seems to work, but my foot up t! heir ass is better for most, because I am not a person who is easily let down.  I still remember my dearly departed partner, Charlie, saying “You are the most difficult person to let down I have ever met. I would rather crawl over broken glass!” And he had very few glass cuts!

Even people I am in business with have periodic doubts, as we all have from time to time, even with our “Dream Teams” and professionals! Though I can’t really say that I have these feelings very often, it can happen.  After all, my task for QLA devotees is, “to get them to do what they don’t want to do (the hard stuff), to be what they want to be!”

Hence, thinking all this through over a period of nights sipping some splendid beverage, I had an epiphany.  I knew I had changed a number of things about my daily life and how I transacted business! In short a got a lot easier! But I had deluded myself in to believing I had grown more efficient over time. Whilst this was partially true, I was not admitting to my self I had grown soft! Ergo,  I knew over many years, I got too relaxed. For those of you that have been to Guthrie, you know it’s a place you can get used to very easily!  In fact one of the recent seminar attendees stated he didn’t want to go home, except for the fact he wanted to get started on his new QLA action plan.  Most people don’t want to leave! And I know I was one of them!

I hadn’t made a tough trip like the one described above in a very long time.  In fact the only comparable trip (and it was not anywhere as tough) was from the UK to India and Australia and back about a year ago.  And that trip only had a couple stops. As we all know it’s hard to push ourselves past our comfort zone unless we are constantly pushing the edges of the envelope.  Or if we have someone pushing the edges with us.  We must make a concerted and constant effort or we will not be able to do it. I am fully committed to that effort once again!

I had allowed myself to get way to comfortable!  And I am positive if I had grand kids, I would be bouncing them on my knee! Hell the summer of 2004 I spent on my big machines cutting fairways, etc, because I enjoyed it! I should count myself lucky my kids are not at that stage of life yet to give me grand kids and I found a great greens keeper!  Now I am doing what it takes to get myself out and about as I once did. Even for someone like me deals aren’t just dropped in your lap. You must keep kissing those lovely frogs till you find a princess! Of course this has afforded me a great opportunity to expand my investment horizons and what I spend my valuable time doing.

In fact one of the companies I am Chairman of,, will be going public in the New Year and part of my mandate will be to grow the business in the USA.  This should put me on the road a great deal.  Our plan is to be in all 50 states over time.  In fact many of you may be interested and I will write more about the tremendous opportunity in due course.  We are presently in the UK, Ireland, India, Australia, and New Zealand.  Suffice it to say, it’s not a coincidence that the name is “Quantum!”

Now just ponder the thought.  If Dan says he can fall victim to the “getting to comfortable” syndrome – what about you?  Admittedly my work ethic, even slowed down, is significantly higher than most that read this letter – but it’s all relative.  At my peak I worked 120 hours per week and more.  Now I probably work 80, plus now being pushed to 100.

In conjunction with this new altered action plan I am in the process of opening an office in India and will be travelling to it regularly and I am still looking at China.  As you all have read the opportunities there are spectacular and I could probably spend my 60s there alone. 

I will keep you updated on my progress vis-à-vis my new quantum action plan!  After all “what gets measured get accomplished!” And I sincerely hope this jogs some of you to look at yourself! As I have often written, “if today was a test would you have passed?”

My Hero!

My mentee said I could share this email with the last seminar attendees, which I did, but I knew it had a much larger potential market.  Again, because QLA though designed and memorialised for business purposes, it has a much greater life fulfilling application.  As I have written, people in all walks of life have used these precepts.  Tony Ward, a good Irish lad started in business with me, but switched his focus away from business to athletics.  Many others have used the QLA precepts in religion and for losing 150 pounds, etc. I have written before Tony is my hero.  Whilst blind before turning to running he accomplished much more than most that follow the QLA methodology with full sight in business.  As a trained chartered account he is perhaps the brightest person I have ever coached and that takes in a lot of super brain power!  And as those that know me, I am not for too many compliments!  Because I have always believed those that feel good about themselves with high self esteem don’t need all the “TLC.”  Trump, Branson, Gates, Dell, Onassis, et al, didn’t and don’t need it, but that’s the basis for another newsletter! But remember: when you are successful, it’s much easier to get your head screwed on straight!

Here’s Tony’s short email:

“Hi Dan

I’m pretty sure you have a castle event on this week and are probably up to your eyes in it.  I told you about the challenge I was doing around Ireland – well as always when I achieve something nowadays I often reflect with some emotion on how I happen to do the things I do and inevitably my friendship and association with you comes to the fore.

Log on (and have your castle attendees log on to)  It’s slightly different than success in a business sense but it will aptly demonstrate what can be done if you put your mind to something and pursue it with enthusiasm.  It started off as a dream a year ago, the plans changed hundreds of times, but now it’s a reality. I better stop now or I will be accused of plagiarism!!

Please use my recent success as testimony to your beliefs, methodologies and success coaching.

Hope all is going well and look forward to catching up soon.

To your Quantum Leap


I get a number of emails a month and am always honoured and never surprised to hear what people with dreams can and do accomplish. I still get a lump in my throat when I think of the success Tony and others have had, once they began to believe in themselves more.  Tony proposed to his fiancée here at Guthrie earlier this year.  She’s a wonderful woman, notwithstanding she’s a lawyer.  The good news is she is a lady Irish lawyer and that makes her quite different!

Next 10 Years

My overall goal is to accomplish more in my 60s than I did in my 30s, 40s and 50s!  I have the guts, knowledge, expertise and acumen and now reinforced by my new determination, focus and desire I will go in to my 60’s on a new search and destroy mission to implement and execute! My only challenge is to find the correct opportunities for me!  I’ll make mistakes, but I understand that’s the game.  And knowing you can’t hit another grand slam without swinging at the plate!

To Your Quantum Leap,
Daniel S. Peña Sr.

P.S.  As was announced by my office recently, the week long seminars have been so successful I am having another.  It will run 30th Nov to 7th Dec.  We already have a few current mentee/partners coming. It seems that the current working partners are very much desired at these events.  Of course, to be able to interface with people that are living the QLA dream is a real benefit.  Of course, it isn’t lost on new attendees that something must be very special for the partners who keep coming back as a paying attendee!

P.P.S. At a recent dinner with my youngest son, Derrick, I was told he wanted to go head to head with me in business! I told him I would wait with baited breath. He went on to say when people say the  name “Peña,” he wanted them to mean “Derrick Peña!”  He turned 22, 6 August and is a senior in university! At the same dinner, I told him of a 26 year old that had made $15 million by selling his business. Derrick said, I better get going Dad! From his lips to the Lords ears!

P.P.P.S I just came across a young man named Kyle Maynard. He has written a new book “No Excuses.” This is an incredible story that makes Rudy, which I often make mandatory viewing at seminars, look like a nursery tale. It’s a story about a young man who has transcended hardships since childbirth, beyond your wildest imagination and succeeded against all odds! You can’t read the book and ever again, think or say you have an excuse not to be whatever you want to be!

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