7th December 2005

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

Dear High Performance Person and Visionary,

I just finished another week long castle extravaganza! What a great week! You will be able to see video testimonials on my site very soon. Recently I added to the front page a sample of the video mentor section of the seminar.

I have been asked when the next weeklong castle seminar will be and I don’t know at this juncture. Please email Paul of your interest:

Whilst going through final preparations for the seminar just completed I came across the fax I sent partners in 1998. It is an extremely effective and powerful message, so I decided to send it out again!

It is as germane now as it was when I wrote it.

I wish you all Happy Holidays and an awesome 2006!

To Your Quantum Leap,

 Daniel S. Peña Sr.


Today I received terrible news! My only living mentor’s wife will not live out the month. They have just moved back to Houston to be near their children and grandchildren. This couple were like a second set of parents to my wife and I. They were the role models we never had. Happily married for decades with a large family and extremely successful! Linda and I would sit in their Bel Air, California home in the middle of the seventies and say, “When we grow up we ant to be just like you.” We even wanted to buy their lovely home on the 9 th fairway of Bel Air Country Club. It was worth millions and we had just bought our first home.

During the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s (and even now) he has been a working dynamo with his wife always being supportive. He traveled all the time and did many deals. At one point during the 70s he averaged one acquisition a month, for three years! As most of you know, he grew a great conglomerate by buying revenue then operating profitably. (Sound familiar?)

He currently sits on several Boards with me and actively participates – at almost 80 years of age. When I talked to him about his beloved wife and my role model, surrogate mother, I was stunned at what he had to say: i.e. as a family I want to thank you for your friendship and love; thanks that all you’ve done for our family over the years; thanks for the support and allowing us to participate with your family and in business. He went on and on with compliments! I was shocked because I felt I had done next to nothing. He and his wife had done almost all the giving! I had mostly taken, or so I thought.

What he didn’t say, as some of you have heard him say, many times, he knew what I would accomplish the first time he ever met me. He says he knew I would surpass his success many times and never look back. Some of you have heard me say the same.

As life (and a lot of hard work and many difficult times) would have it he was correct. I modeled what he and others did correctly. But mostly I did what he said, when he said – not always getting the result I wanted, but still always learning. Listening and always learning as Constentine Gratsos (another mentor) used to tell me often.

At the end of our conversation I vividly remembered that countless times the only thing that kept me going was merely that fact that he told me I would be more successful than he, in a major league way! The only thing I had was the memory of his confident words! His expectations for me were higher than mine. (Sound familiar?)

Recently I was given the attached poem to reflect upon. AS I read it I was reminded by the various phases of my life, my parents lives and my second parents lives (Mr. & Mrs. Ormond). I slso reflected on Jim Newman’s life, (another mentor) that passed away on 4 th July 1997.

AS you read it you will probably do the same. Think ahead, to see if what you will see will make you happy. Perhaps it will make others happy – but will it you happy? You are the important one! BE truthful with yourself.

We all engage, or have engaged in activities that we wished we didn’t – or are not proud of! Yet we repeat these actions! Why? Why is it easier to do non-productive stuff? Why is it easier to do things that are bad for us? Usually it’s because we don’t believe we deserve any better – low self esteem! We all make excuses why it’s OK at the time i.e.: so and so did it, why not me?

In many of my faxes and in my talks I discuss this (to many of you) ad nauseam. But it doesn’t mater unless we learn and grow by this process, so I keep saying it! We all learn at different rates, some of us take a lifetime and then it’s too late. Some of us don’t really believe we deserve better so we do the same and continue to self sabotage ourselves.

Life is a series of mistakes! Don’t stop making them! I know I still make a lot of them! I’ve made some rather large ones recently, but I don’t stop trying. In fact it’s easier to admit mistakes now at 53. Many of you think I’m hard. I was much less forgiving 20 years ago, yet I still push the hardest on the ones with the most unqualified potential.

To Our QL

Dan .

P.S. I’ve just got off the phone from I guy I have known since September 1956. We talked about our 35 th High School re-union in two weeks. We talked about our successes, sick parents and friends that had died. He waited til 50 to marry and is in great shape and said he regretted not going to OCS ( Officers Candidate School) with me during the Vietnam War in 1966, we had joined the Army with another friend on the “buddy (pal) plan.” He said we were lucky not to get hurt during that tragic period. I agreed!

With all his success he focused on health and what he didn’t do in 1966. Our backgrounds are similar, except OCS. He said he loved me and would see me at the re-union if his Dad’s health stayed ok. HE probably won’t go! Why?

When he said he loved me and remembered 10 th August was my 53 rd birthday, he called me an “old fart”. We were (are) like brothers, yet I haven’t seen him since his wedding 2½ years ago. When he said the word “love” I had flashes of the few times I wanted, or should, have said it (love) and didn’t. I cried when he hung up because I didn’t say it back. I rationalized to myself that, at least I did call him – B.S.!! I will always regret these emotional shortfalls. It’s my shortest suit! I am a product of my socio and economic milieu. We all are!

A few days ago I told my eldest son, Dan Jr. that I was proud of him and that I loved him and would die for him! He said, “I know Dad! I know!” I hope h does, because I would!

These regrets I’ve described, for me, are emotional in nature, but all take some sort of physical action – opening the mouth and talking etc! Sounds easy. NO! If it were only easy! You all “know what I mean!”

The regrets you have when your time comes (now and later) will be emotional as well, but manifested by lack of action. No different!

The difficulty in the QLA program is it always takes some sort of pro-active action! QLA can’t work on being re-active. The most successful call as many as 10 or 20 times to get a response – any response! They practice until they get results – not until it’s perfect!

As I’ve outlined briefly, I too have regrets just like you. My emotional risks are just as hard to cope with as yours. Many of you may find this difficult to believe. I share this with you to illustrate we all have emotional bank accounts, and all are short in some respect or another. I am more aware of this than most. Especially since I became a coach.

The high performance person learns to cope and e proactive, the rest don’t! They blame it on someone or something else and never take responsibility.

P.P.S. For me it’s easier to take “No” from financial institutions than say “I care”, or how I feel. To some this is a tremendous strength. To me it has been a regret I have only recently have diligently worked on! I will continue to be hard on you and myself for more empathy.

Crabbit Old Woman

What do you see, nurses, what do you see?

What are you thinking when you look at me?

A crabbit old woman, not very wise.

Uncertain of habit with faraway eyes.

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply

When you say in a loud voice, I do wish you’d try!

Who seems not to notice the things that you do

And forever is losing stock or shoe,

Who, unresisting or not, lets you do as you will,

With bathing and feeding the long day to fill.

Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?

Then open your eyes. You’re looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am, as I sit so still,

As I move at your bidding, as I eat at your will.

I’m a small child of ten with a father and a mother,

Brothers and sisters who love one another,

A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet,

Dreaming soon a lover she’ll meet.

A bride soon at twenty, my heart gives a leap,

Remembering the vows I promise to keep.

At twenty five I have a young son of my own,

Who needs me to build a secure and happy home.

A woman of thirty, my young now grow fast,

Bound to each other with ties that should last,

At forty my young will now soon be gone,

But my man stays beside me to see I don’t mourn,

At fifty, once more babies play around my knee,

Again we know children, my loved ones and me,

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead,

I look to the future, I shudder with dread,

For my young are all busy with young of their own,

And I think of the years and love I have known,

I’m an old woman and nature is cruel

‘Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body it crumbles, grace and vigor do depart,

And now there is a stone where I once had a heart,

But inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells,

And now and again my battered heart swells.

I remember the joys, I remember the pain.

And I’m loving and living life over again,

I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast,

I accept the stark fact that nothing can last,

Do open your eyes nurse, open and see,

Not a crabbit old woman…LOOK CLOSER…SEE ME.


Found amoung the possessions of an old Irish Lady after she had died in a Geriatric Hospital and reprinted with thanks to John O’Dea of Goatacre House.


A lesson to us all.