14thApril 2006

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

Dear High Performance Person and Visionary,

It’s been some months since my last newsletter. I have been busy working on my new goals I set on my last birthday. I am spending about 70% of the time on the road on both sides of the globe.

I have taken on 1 additional mentee and 2 have gone the way of the buggy whip for various reasons. The mentee program is still working well and that with the Guthrie Group’s business I have more than a full plate.

Whilst on my recent trip to Europe and the USA I realized I had been limiting my own growth by my own biases! Yes it can even happen to me. My own experiences can and have been a limiting factor on my filtering opportunities. I asked myself, just because it didn’t work in 1998 how can I know it won’t work now. Ergo I am now looking at deals I would have normally passed on based on my previous experience. Now don’t get me wrong. I still use my gut instincts all the time. But the difference is when I see something I would say no to, purely because it didn’t work before I am having another look and am doing more due diligence.

Now if this can happen to me, what prey tell can happen to most of the people that read this newsletter? Yes you got it! And it happens more than you think. You become trapped by your previous failures and mistakes and you don’t even realize it most of the time. Hence, you are by definition limiting your possibilities on a daily basis.

In the past due to my previous experiences I have steered away from 3rd world countries. My experiences in those areas with one or two exceptions were bad! But the irony is those areas are now some of the best areas for future growth on the planet. The obvious choices are China and India. Now both are where the action is happening. Now there are layers beneath these including South America, the old Eastern Block, the Pacific Rim, and the less developed South African countries.

Recently, for the first time in over 25 years I am looking in for opportunities in selective areas.

As you all have been reading commodity prices are going through the roof and some are at 25 year highs. For instance gold is at $600 per ounce. For those of you that remember I suggested a hard asset play back in early 2001.  Some are calling it a commodity super cycle! Now even orange juice futures have doubled in price. And virtually no one is saying that these prices will come down anytime soon. If you look at inflation adjusted gold and silver prices from 25 years ago they are under valued if you believe the pundits by 90 and 70% respectfully. Should you own paper gold or real gold? There is 70 times more paper gold than hard gold bullion.  What does all this mean?

On the housing front starts are slowing down. House inventories are increasing to over load status. Interest rates continue to rise. Mortgage levels are at all time highs. The ratios of personal income to housing mortgages are severely higher than they have been in the last 20 years.

The dot com bust is over and the stock markets are booming almost everywhere. Multiples are at 5 year highs. (And remember I also said in early 2001, “What if the markets had a 60% correction?”).  Mergers and acquisition activity is at record levels. Private equity and venture capital are raising more money than anytime before. Hedge funds, according to many, have replaced venture capital money as the leading force for shaping the future of big cap public companies. Bricks and mortar companies are back in vogue. The old stogy steel companies are making money hand over fist.

I could go on and on! I can only guess what your stock brokers and property agents are telling you! Most are probably saying you better jump on before you miss the entire bull move.

Enough on the state of the world!

My second edition of Your First Hundred Million (really 3rd edition counting Build Your Own Guthrie) will come out later this year with up many dates and a special chapter by mentees.

My next castle seminar will be from 15th  – 22nd July 2006.  Email Paul at, for more information or go to to see the schedule of events. The last castle event was terrific as indicated by video clips from several attendees that can be found at:

As I said in my birthday newsletters I would keep you apprised of my new health regimen:  With in a few weeks of me starting I benched pressed 300 pounds again; and now I have lost 20 pounds. Where it only took me a few weeks to do the 300 it took 8 months to lose 20. The bottom line is I eat much more healthy and less at night than I did for 30 years.

My family is all doing very well! And my father continues to amaze people at almost 88 though he has slowed down considerably.

To Your Quantum Leap,

Dan Peña

P.S.  If you’re wondering what the economic impact of what I have written above is you’re in the majority. Bottom line is, follow those that have lived through several cycles and be careful.  Nothing last forever and never under estimate how wrong you can be!