MY 20TH YEAR OF COACHING QLA – REFLECTIONS ON SUCCESS, FAILURES AND WHAT HAS BEEN!
CHALLENGE YOUR PRECONCEPTIONS OR THEY WILL CHALLENGE YOU!
I am happy to be writing my 99th QLA Newsletter in my 20th year of coaching and assisting high performance guys and gals achieve their dreams! It has been extremely gratifying and self-fulfilling for me and countless others! I can’t begin to tell you what a thrill it has been, and this newsletter is dedicated to that journey and the many people that touched and changed me forever!
TW: For those that were around reading my QLA Newsletters in 1993/4, you will recall there were also audio cassettes back then! WTF! Hell, was that a lot of work!
I am also using this 99th QLA Newsletter to reflect on myself reaching my 68th birthday this month! Of course I don’t feel 68 and people say I don’t look 68, but I will let you be the judge! LOL! I am incredibly fit compared to a 40 year old, let alone a 68 year old guy! But I work very hard! And I work at almost everything very hard – and men/women and boys and girls – that is the primary secret to being a high achiever! HARD WORK, A MENTOR, laced with EXPERIENCE, as you get older ALL lead you towards BEING A HIGH PERFORMANCE PERSON! In my case, they were countless 18+ hour days for more years than I can count, and the aid of 3 GREAT MENTORS: Costa Gratsos; Jim Newman; and Jerry Ormand!
As many of you heard me say in seminars and speeches, most people thought I would never reach my 20th birthday! When I volunteered for the draft as a 20 year old mischievous guy at the height of the Vietnam War, most thought I was destined to pass from this earth early! Plus, when I also volunteered to attend INFANTRY OCS where the average life span of a novice platoon leader (which I would have been) was only a few minutes in the heat of battle – virtually all felt I had a death wish! Of course I fooled them all and made it to 30, 40, 50, 60 and now approaching 70 in a couple years! I have done a lot of crazy things as a young kid and adult that almost caused me my life and my parents to age! LOL!
WITHOUT PUSHING THE EDGES OF THE ENVELOPE – WHERE ARE YOU?
All my life I was always in a hurry! I was always hustling! This hustle and pushing is only partially exhibited by: taking as much as 26 semester units at a time, when I came back from the army to complete my college education; finishing a 4 year degree in 2 ½ years; attending 2 different universities at the same time; countless people saying, “Gee Dan thanks for your quick reply to my email, call, etc”, because I expect them to respond to me quickly as well; installing a desk over my stationary bike so I can work with my PC while exercising: having my many various medical procedures and surgeries on birthdays/holidays so not to waste valuable time; as a younger man taking countless red eyes to save time; taking meetings on holidays, birthdays, anniversaries (in hind sight perhaps not the smartest thing I ever did! LOL!); playing 72 holes of golf in a day from sunrise to sunset NOT in Scotland where the sun is up almost 20 hours; following Sam Walton’s sundown rule – meaning clearing your desk before you go home way in advance of knowing who Walton was; retiring at a very young age to live in a castle; turning a $60,000 option into about $75 million (now about $160) in 3 ½ months; taking $820 and a leased fax machine and creating a $450 million (now about $1 billion) empire in less than 8 years in a collapsing market; and more things than I can write here! Hell, I am still in a hurry and anyone that knows me understands this simple fact – though I believe I have slowed down a bit! LOL! But looking at my travel schedule below, perhaps I am not slowing down! LOL!
And now after more than 40+ years hustling and busting my own chops to be ALL I CAN BE, I am not sorry in any way! In fact, I know I could have accomplished more, but I am at an age that I take GREAT solace in what I have done against the grain for all my adult life!
Only in recent years have I been aware that Abraham Lincoln said, "Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle…" but I certainly lived by this each and every day of my adult life! I have set and accomplished countless goals over my life time and I still do – completing most of them! For example, a few years ago I formalized MY BUCKET LIST of things I wanted to do before I left this earth! Now this was not easy, because I had already done a great deal in my life, all over the world! The list was 47 things to do! I felt it would take me the rest of my active life! Well I was very wrong! I have only have about 10 left to do because I am always in a hurry! One of these items is to fly in space on Richards Branson's space ship with my wife Sally! Without goals I am not sure where I would be today!
MY FATHER ONLY HAD ONE GOAL FOR ME!
And as I have told many – the only goal my Dad had for me was to keep me alive to reach the age of reason! He had no aspirations for me vis-à-vis education, wealth, or anything else! Of course he wanted me to attain happiness, but I needed to stay alive to do that and there was certainly some question, if that would occur! And I could write a book on the crazy things I did as a kid and adult, but here are only a few: 1963 fell (or jumped depending on who you want to believe, LOL!) out a car going 50 mph on Malibu Canyon Rd;1964 I jumped (not pushed LOL) off a 100’ dam hitting my head at the bottom and almost drowning; from 1964 to 1977 I was arrested 5 times for drinking related incidents; 1984 sued (which was better than the alternative, LOL!) by active NYC Mafia Boss for not succumbing to blackmail; in 1990 a charging water buffalo ran over me while hunting in Australia; in 1999 suffered multiple internal injuries racing dune buggies with my sons in Cabo, San Lucas, with no helmet, or seat belt; and I could go on, but my kids might read this newsletter! LOL!
All the above incidents caused me multiple surgeries, procedures – a hip replacement, titanium collar bone and various bolts and screws holding my body together! LOL! And I also currently have torn rotator cuffs in each shoulder and a ruptured long head bicep!
Hence, when I go through airport security, I light it up like a fire alarm!
LIFETIME OF EXTRAORDINARY GOOD HABITS!
Many years ago, the world record holder for the mile, Jim Ryan told me – motivation gets you going and good habits keep you going!
I hadn’t really thought about this statement, till I started to write this newsletter, although I mention it in my seminars. But I have set high standards for a very long time! And I have maintained extraordinary good habits, since I graduated from OCS1, 1967! In fact, I have written and said, since I went to INFANTRY OCS in the US Army, for 6 gruelling months of confinement, where I found out just how far the human body and mind can be pushed – I have set high benchmarks for myself! And when I went through OCS, it was “the old fashioned brutally tough” style with nothing politically correct about it! (Hell, now they let you go home over the weekends to your wife!) Since then, I have set those same high standards, to the chagrin of many, including my children! I am an equal opportunity high performance guy! I treat ALL the same – with the exception, if I believe you have real talent – then I beat you even more! And I beat Priests, Nuns, Rabbis, Mothers, seminar attendees, et al, with NO exceptions!
MAN’S TRUE ENEMY IS DOUBT!
Since that faithful day July 1, 1967, The Congress of The United States deemed me – An Officer and a Gentleman – I have lived by a single mantra! I may be wrong, but I am never in doubt! And anyone who has been around me for even a minute understands that my self-confidence and self-esteem is sometimes overwhelming! And again, as I have said many times, I owe my high opinion of myself to my dearly departed Mother, who raised and nurtured me, in my formative years, age 1 through 8!
LIFE SHRINKS OR EXPANDS IN PROPORTION TO ONE'S COURAGE
About 20 years ago, while speaking at The Centre For Entrepreneurial Management, I was asked what I attributed my success to: balls or brains? I said without a micro second of hesitation 50 – 50! And today, I stand behind that statement with 20 years more experience and countless more decisions, deals and transactions under my belt! And the more success I have achieved, the easier it is for me to make the REALLY TOUGH decisions quickly, for myself and others!
I have written many times how high performance individuals are separated by their mental toughness and emotional bank account! Yes, not their financial bank accounts!
WHAT HAPPENED IN 30 YEARS?
Thirty years ago this month, I accomplished 4 pretty remarkable achievements:
- I ran 38 miles on my 38th birthday, on a dare, from Palos Verdes to Santa Monica and back with a group of very talented young college age athletes which included the # 2 University of Southern California quarterback, a former high school cross country star and my kid brother who was a rookie LA County Fireman (now an assistant Fire Chief) – my kid brother was the only guy who completed the entire 38 miles with me;
- I was honoured to be featured (with a giant photo) on the front page of the Los Angeles Times in an article that won a Pulitzer Prize, describing the New Breed of Wealthy Latinos;
- My second son Derrick was born! And I was further blessed with 2 other children – a son before this and a daughter after!
- I had my 20th year high school reunion on the retired Queen Mary ocean liner in Long Beach Harbor, where I was Honorary Chairman. As I greeted fellow graduates, I had not seen in 20 years, they didn’t recognize me! And many said, Danny died in Viet Nam – which was a popular sentiment at the time!
Not a bad month, for a kid who they didn’t think would reach the age of 20!
Of course, 30 years ago I was just getting started and the rest of my career, as they say, is history!
Now this month, 30 years on: Guthrie Castle, where I am a humble part time proprietor, is featured on BBC national TV; and I celebrated my 68th birthday with my lovely wife Sally in Australia, where I also took the time to see a few QLA devotees! Strange, though my life 30 years later seems a lot more calm and relaxed, it appears the way it should be, after being in the EYE OF THE TIGER for so many years!!
Having shared part of my birthday trip with QLA devotees, I feel it incumbent upon me to share my QLA Australian experience in this newsletter. I do this in the spirit of candor, so you might learn a couple of don’ts! LOL! Well, I had 8 well planned meetings scheduled by my assistant Thelma, in 10 days! Really, an easy schedule for me! And guess what – only 6 showed up and no 1 died, or was in a coma – which are the only reasons I accept! And it’s even worse:
- One guy didn’t show up and Thelma called him – and he answered his cell surprised! Apparently the idiot forgot! Can you fucking imagine it! And he wonders why he hasn’t got a pot to piss in, or a window to throw it out of! I won’t tell you the business he is in – but you can guess! LOL! Back in the 80’s they called such a fool – LOSER! Now this is a grown (or supposed to be) man; and
- The next guy admits he got wasted the night before and was out of commission! Wasted! WTF! And he is not a kid anymore, so how is this possibly acceptable? Are you fucking kidding me! And he is a well-known personal development guru that some of you probably follow! Again WTF!
On a much more positive note, I met an ex Aussie football player – 6’ 7” and 320 pounds! Now I am not a midget at 6’ 1” and 210 – but he dwarfed me! Unlike the bums who missed seeing me, he flew from Jakarta to meet me! He has a deal I know well and perhaps we will do something, if he decides to come to the castle experience, so I get to know him better! Time will tell! Like with most, it will depend on his emotional bank account! I liked the guy, but I will not allow that to influence me! LOL!
I guess I should be happy I saw 6/8! LOL! I would like to say the 6/8 made it worthwhile, but I would be disingenuous! Because time is extremely precious to me, as with all high performance people – and not just because I charge 3k Euros an hour for consulting and all these meetings were FREE!! Hence, I feel cheated by the 2 bums that wasted my time! But as it turned out, my wife and I were able to walk on Surfers Paradise Beach a couple extra hours! So there was a silver lining to the unprofessional acts of these 2 bums! Enough said! And this is no reflection on Aussies! LOL! All countries have idiots! I have good friends and mentees from Down Under!
TRIBUTE TO MY FATHER!
In addition to my coaching and mentoring business success, I have been actively supporting: rescue animals for many years, currently with 3 dogs and 3 cats which all live in harmony; several other entities including 3 orphanages (about 18 nuns and 150 children); and college students in the name of the Manuel S. Pena Student Athlete Scholarship Fund, in honour of my Father, who was an All-State athlete at Lincoln High School in East Los Angeles in 1935/6! This fund has sponsored many scholar athletes sending young adults to some of the best schools in the USA. But this young man I touched personally:
My name is Sam V. I am one of the 2010 Pena Dollar for Scholar scholarship recipients. After having lunch with Mr. Daniel Pena in summer 2010, I started learning about investing and eventually changed my major from engineering to Business Economics. Now, I am a portfolio manager of a $100,000 student managed investment fund at UC Irvine. I would like to have an opportunity to have a coffee with Mr. Pena to thank him about changing my life. I will be available any dates from September 2 – 6 to meet with him.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration. I look forward to seeing Mr. Pena in September.
When I get emails like this I am gratified that I did make it beyond my 20th year of life, against the odds! Of course I will see this young man when I am in LA in Sept! I remember him well, when I told him as important engineers are to the world, he should consider changing the world through finance! It was an interesting meeting, where I took all the Scholarship recipients to lunch! It was a very insightful meeting and the first time any of the 5 young adults had been in a big limo! If stuff like this doesn’t encourage you that the world has a chance – nothing will!
TWO EXAMPLES OF DETERMINATION AND FOCUS!
And of course, I could not write a reflection newsletter without mentioning “Mikey the pizza boy” turned limo driver and now actor/movie maker! WTF! (BTW: I have a speaking part in his movie MIKEYBOY, soon to come out!) And on top of that he has spawned, with some of my help, Jennifer who at age 22, owns two successful pilates studios for the rich and famous! Both are pictured with the co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak! Hell when I first met Mikey, he could not spell Apple, let alone Wozniak! LOL! How can I not feel good about successes like these and many more? Even I, am that human! LOL! I will be seeing Mikey and Big Jenn for tea in a couple weeks in LA. Yes, neither drink, nor smoke! And obviously the other tall good looking gal on the right is Jenn’s sister – obviously they have some sort of Viking genes! LOL!
I AM OFTEN ASKED – WHAT MAKES DAN CONTINUE TO COACH AND MENTOR? HELL HE DOESN’T NEED TO PROVE ANYTHING TO ANYONE! SO WHY?
As much has been written about me reference my success, I am prouder of what I have done for others through coaching and mentoring and I will illustrate just two more examples of what can be done with determination! These are not the most successful people I have assisted in the past 20 years, but it does show a couple of the people I made a difference in their lives! As I have written, I have coached countless people from varied backgrounds, which have included a spectrum from Global 25 CEO’s, Olympians, Priests, Nuns, atheists, born agains, reformed crooks, uneducated, orphans and all races and creeds! Many of these people I have not even met in person, but have influenced them since 1993 through my QLA products, newsletters, and my website! Here are two examples of what I receive regularly from people I have touched:
1) (A few words and names changed to protect the innocent/guilty! LOL)
Tell me and I’ll forget.
Show me and I may remember.
Involve me and I’ll understand
Happy Birthday wherever you are on this August 10th, 2013.
Dan, over the years – in between seeing mentees fall off the rails – I’ve seen many thank you notes cross your desk.
Many are from mentees thanking you for having a positive impact on their lives, others from individuals who’ve crossed your path, or read your material and applied your advice in one way or another.
However, I don’t believe anyone on the planet can hold a candle to the positive, and profound life changing affects you’ve had on my own life.
When I look back at the myself before my involvement with you and the guy who exists now, I see trace elements of the same naïve, sensitive, inexperienced guy today.
For your 68th birthday, I want to thank you all of the lessons you’ve taught me both directly and indirectly, the many journey’s you’ve taken me on, and for opening my eyes on the MANY life & business issues that I had ZERO knowledge about…
The list is pretty long, so I’ll start from the beginning…
Thank you for entering the personal development field, w/o that, I would never have met you…
Thank you for speaking those 2 hours at Le Grand’s seminar on April 20th 1995. For a guy washing trucks and pumping gas who wanted more out of life, that was a life changing 2 hours for me…
Thanks for meeting me in ’03 for coffee in Long Beach, and explaining that things, if not done correctly, could (and probably would) go sideways at some point…
Thank you for helping me purge, and unwind out of my life the many toxic life draining and money draining people, including:
- “X” – You gave me the courage to consider a ‘fresh start’, and the strength to survive it.
- M – An expensive lesson of what a ‘recommendation’ from Dan really means.
- L/G, et al – You exposed the riff-raff I had around me, and taught me that I was the true brain behind the business, and I could get on fine (if not better) w/o those guys.
- C boys – could I step in any deeper shit?
- D – Oh yes, I could
- Etc., etc. ( The list is pretty long as you know… )
Thank you for pushing me far outside my comfort zone, releasing my mental brakes, and standing by my side during some of those most difficult moments of my life (closing my co, leaving ‘X’, moving and taking me to a ‘new place’ mentally.
Thank you for introducing me to some very special people over the years (I wish I could’ve met your father)…
Thank you for teaching me the simple real world lessons that Gratsos taught you…
Thank you for teaching me anyone in a company can be replaced… and Dan, working so close to you has been an experience like none other….
Thanks for beating me like a “rented mule”…and always keeping me looking forward, thinking forward, and moving forward…
Thank you for teaching me that any decision is better than no decision…
Thank you for teaching & pushing me that I must make hard decisions, and the sooner those decisions are made the better…
Thank you for giving me thicker skin…
Thank you for teaching me the value of our rarest commodity – time…..The better lesson you’ve taught me: “Now is the opportune time”.
Thank you for teaching me how to be more disciplined…
Thank you for letting me be a witness to your (almost religious) discipline in the Gym. In spite of your own ailments (knees, arm, shoulder, etc.) and the pain, you press on to keep yourself in good shape & your body fully functional. The lesson: ‘Do what’s necessary’.
Thanks for telling me to spend more time with my mother… (I’m sure she would thank you also)
Thank you for always walking your talk, and practicing everything you preach…
Thank you for placing your trust in me, which few on the planet possess …
Thank you for helping me mature into a more focused, more driven, and more secure adult…
Thank you for teaching this once extremely naïve young man the life lessons he needed to learn….
I think at the end of our life, we want to go down with some damn good stories under our belt – chasing our dreams, reaching for the stars, knocking down barriers, and getting some scar tissue creates those stories for us. You have helped me achieve many amazing stories already ……. Then I met you. Since meeting you, I’ve have had multiples of that experience – so many new experiences in fact that I rarely think about my time in …… anymore. You’ve given me the opportunity to create and be a part of so many unique experiences which I can’t even count! Thank you for helping me discover those experiences, the special (and at times difficult) moments of self-improvement, self-discovery, personal growth, and accomplishments – I have some pretty good stories to tell. I could write a book about my life since I met you.
I’m sure there are at least 1,000+ other things I can thank you for, but they escape me at this time. For all those 1,000+ things I can’t think of: THANK YOU!
But most of all – I want to thank you for believing in me years ago.
Happy Birthday Dan ~ Enjoy Australia, and get home safe.
P.S. Also – thank you for Sally. She’s the brightest, most tenacious female I’ve ever met. She is full of pragmatic insight, articulate thought, and has been another great teacher of sorts for me as well.
Emails like this above are pretty hard to beat, but there are countless others that are meaningful in other ways like below:
2) Dear Dan,
It is 18:00 o'clock here in – – – – 40 degrees Celsius of heat and I am reading your newsletter after a long hard day in the warehouses of our company. I must admit that you speak a "LITTLE HARD" but truth must be told and in the business world you must learn to face the truth in the face and not through other people. My Father and my Uncle, two very successful businessmen in the area of Foodstuffs, always said to us "do your business and don't look back but try to be successful for you and those who depend from you". From our business partners we here all the time how can you have a good business in – – – – when the business environment is not good? I guess you must believe first in your business, in yourself and to where you want to go as a person and businessman. If the owner of a company does not go out of his CZ then he will never be able to see what he is capable of. I must admit you are totally right in that crucial point.
Business means taking risks and setting goals all the time day by day , month by month , year after year and trying to reach those goals not just for the sake of the business but also for the people who follow you and believe in you even when you don't believe in yourself.
There are times that I see other businessmen do better things and feel depressed or sad that I cannot do the same things and it always comes to my mind an advice that was given to me when I was in my teens "My Child you can do anything you want as long as you want to but you must prepare the ground step by step so that it is solid and not build castles in the sand as they will be wiped out faster than they were build" , the guy who gave me this advice had one of the biggest supermarket chains in – – – -.
To sum it all up Dan thank you very much for sending me your newsletters which are inspirational and motivate some young businessmen as myself and others to reach their goals.
SEPTEMBER CASTLE SEMINAR
In a few weeks the QLA Castle Extravaganza begins with some exceptional attendees! Again, one of our most successful since 2010 is attending for the 4th time (in 3 years) and the 3rd time in a year! You might ask why? But if you do – you are not as bright as you think! LOL! And if 4 times was not enough of Dan – a guy who will be attending his 9th Castle experience in 7 years will be joining us again! And if you have to ask why – well again, you are just not as bright as you think! LOL! But I will give you a hint! World Class athletes use coaches ALL the time! Not just when it is convenient, or when they are in a slump! As of now – no Castle seminar is planned for next year!
To your Quantum Leap!
P.S. I am planning a QLA Reunion! One of my star mentees, Doris from Florida (who I am having dinner with in NYC in Oct – ya she lives in Florida and is coming to NYC to see me), who has followed me since 95 (and been to 3 castle events) suggested such an outing. At first I discounted it, but after some more thought, I saw the good it would show to all my many QLA followers! The challenge would be where to hold it? Of course I can put in one room at Guthrie Castle Pavilion about 350– so maybe that is the answer! Time will tell and I would appreciate any thoughts! Whenever and wherever it will be – it will be first come first allowed in!
P.P.S. I have said in my QLA Seminars since 1993 and above, motivation gets you started and good habits keep you going! But someone more articulate than I said it much better:
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Though my thoughts have been pretty grandiose since I left the Army – I had no idea then, thoughts = words = actions = habits = character – which led to my destiny – to be successful then to lead, coach, and mentor countless others! I have often talked about why I was spared, when many of my classmates at US ARMY OCS were not? I know why I am blessed to be the leader/coach to so many! I know what I will do the remainder of my active years! I know my destiny: continue QLA; watch my children grow and mature; and enjoy life with my lovely wife Sally!
P.P.P.S. As many of you know since 2010, all the QLA Castle Seminar attendees get a full year mentoring FREE from me! I am asked why I do this for no additional compensation. Well I do it for 2 reasons: 1) by 2010, after about 17 years of giving the QLA seminars it was obvious to me the individuals I worked with the closest prevailed geometrically greater than those I didn’t spend extra time with; and 2) I really and truly want the people to excel, so they can achieve their dreams and more of Dan works the fastest for them!
P.P.P.P.S. And again, read and listen to the clip from newsletter #98, because it had such a GREAT impact on the QLA readers: If you are on the fence about what to do next – listen and watch this short 4-minute video from a recent webinar from Guthrie Castle. It will put your thinking in proper perspective! It is pretty graphic, so be careful who you give it to – LOL! But it is vintage me and I make no apologies (other than I look like I have just got out of bed, but I had just completed a gym workout! LOL!) for its content or aggressive posture! When I was live during the webinar, I saw the audience numbers fall as I hit many tender trigger points with the audience all over the world! Listen and learn! Pass it on to someone you want to help achieve more in their life! I personally feel very strongly you should make it mandatory for your kids over 15, to listen to it daily! LOL! https://www.youtube.com/embed/c1gaes7YfZA?rel=0&autoplay=1
P.P.P.P.P.S. Don’t panic! LOL! I am still reviewing deals all the time! And if you want to see me: