- Karen Putz and Dan Miller
If you wake up on Monday mornings, muttering to yourself, "I hate Mondays," you're not alone. Judging from the tweets on Monday mornings, a lot folks are dragging themselves to work.
"Experts estimate that as many as 70% of American workers are unhappy with their jobs," says Dan Miller, in his book, 48 Days to the Work You Love .
That's a lot of unhappy people.
I first came across Dan after interviewing Joel Boggess for ChicagoNow: "Leaving a Corporate Job to Embrace His Passion." Joel lead me to Dan Miller's site, 48 Days. I ended up exploring his site for hours, getting lost in all the stories and information he shared. I ordered the 48 Days book as well as No More Dreaded Mondays. I signed up for his Coaching with Excellence workshop.
In the middle of reading 48 Days while on a train trip to a speaking gig, there was a paragraph that sent chills up my spine:
The fulfilling path is usually discovered right under a person's nose. Normally there are recurring themes in life--moments of recognizing being "connected" or "in the zone." In the great old movie Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddle is told by his sister to forget his passion for running and to return to the worthy family missionary ministry. I still get goose bumps when I hear Eric reply, "God made me fast, and when I run I feel His pleasure."
I sat there pondering that passage. And with a start, I realized the same thing: When I water ski on my bare feet, I feel His pleasure. I'm "connected" and "in the zone."
And it was the same thing every time I sat down to write.
I put the book down. My mind was racing far too fast to read more. I started writing down ideas and random thoughts. I sat for a long moment and asked myself questions from the book: what did I learn in the last several years that I could share with others? What are my gifts? What are my abilities? What does success mean for me this year? How did I want to be remembered?
In the process of answering those questions, an idea came for my next book. Never mind the fact I had three books already in the works, the urge was so strong to start this next book: a simple guide for the competitive aspect of barefoot water skiing. So I wrote. Every now and then, I took a break and dove back into Dan's book and was inspired once again. I was determined to finish my own book in 48 days.
When I arrived at the Coaching with Excellence workshop and met Dan, I handed him my printed book. "You wrote this book," I said with a smile. Yes, thanks to the 48 Days book, I published "Barefoot Water Skiing, From Weekend Warrior to Competitor."
Dan is a man who is definitely living his passion and it shows. Through his books, workshops, podcasts and more, Dan helps others find their passion. He hosts several different seminars with his family as equal partners at The Sanctuary, a beautiful, converted barn nestled among the woods in Tennessee. "For the people who have been here, it’s not always what I teach, but our family as well," said Dan. "Seeing us here in the country is enough to help people do something significant when they return home. For me, it’s pretty awesome to be involved with that."
And Dan has helped many people profoundly change their lives. Perched on a wall in his office sits a beautiful painting crafted by a former pastor. The man came to Dan during a time when he was struggling with his vocation, something he thought was a Godly calling he was supposed to abide by. He was earning a pittance, and instead of being fulfilled by his path, he was miserable.
"What makes your heart sing?" Dan asked him. "What puts you 'in the zone'?"
The pastor discovered every time he held a paintbrush and expressed himself through painting, his passion was speaking to him. He immersed himself in his passion and today, he earns five times the amount of money he earned as a minister. "It was a turn around from what he was doing, not only in the sense of fulfillment he receives now, but the money he earns and his ability to live out God's calling for his life," said Dan.
Dan says most of us have a tendency to look at trends-- who’s hiring, what's the best opportunity-- and we look around us for answers instead of looking inward. "How we have the confidence to do what’s the perfect fit for us is to look inward first," Dan explained. "Eighty-five percent of the process of knowing you're doing the right thing is to look inward first. It’s easy when you’re young to please others and do what they want, but we have to be willing to find our own authentic path."
Of all of the mentors in his life, (and he credits many), one of his greatest mentors is Zig Ziglar. Years ago, Dan attended one of Zig's events and discovered a down-to-earth man eager to help others. "Zig taught me the greatest lesson, on that is easy to remember: 'You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want,''said Dan. "Success is not taking from other people; but the more you give to others, the more success shows up unexpectedly." A similar encounter with Mark Victor Hansen lead to a friendship that went beyond the writing seminar which Dan took from Mark.
One of Dan's close friends is Dave Ramsey from The Ramsey Show. The two of them met 22 years ago at a very low point in their business lives and struggled to figure out what to do next. "We tried to figure out what wanted to do. Dave took the path of teaching people to learn from their financial mistakes and I took the path of helping people through career changes," said Dan. "Our businesses are based on helping people-- based on our experiences-- and we help other people do those things well. We can be honest with each other-- helping, encouraging and challenging each other."
On the topic of bucket lists, Dan revealed that he didn't really have one. That's what happens when you're living a life in line with your passions--you're doing what you love and being fulfilled in the process. And "retirement" isn't even a word in his life. Dan plans to continue doing exactly what he's doing now for many more years.
But Dan has a message, and it is a message he wants to work on getting out to many others: TAKE ACTION. "People wait too much," said Dan. "Take action! Give yourself exposure to new ideas and new opportunities. Procrastination is the friend of failure. Many people are losing by living under their potential. We need to change that."