YOU Are Why I Do What I Do.
I get it. You’re probably skeptical. I don’t even know you, right? How could I know that you — the person reading these words right now — are part of my ‘why’?
Well, we may not have the exact same experiences, but I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve always had big dreams and a desire to make a truly significant impact in the world. Unfortunately, I’ve spent a lot of my life not understanding how to get from where I was to where I wanted to be. In fact, at times, it felt like an impossible dream. Growing up, I never felt like I fit in. We certainly didn’t have money. I was hidden from my father for 6 years when I was young, I remember eating half of a hot dog while my mother went hungry, and, thanks to my extended family, I was exposed to violence, drugs, and abuse. But, through it all, I was committed to doing something that mattered. My life would be different, but not only mine. I was committed to creating generational change that would affect my family and the world around me. Since that time, it’s been a powerful journey for me. When I look at myself, I see someone who is living proof that environment may exert influence, but choices create change. That is what has driven me from there to here and what continues to push me every day to help as many people as possible to transform their lives and believe that dreams ARE real.
So, the big question is, WHO are you?
- An entrepreneur who’s eager to get your business off the ground? or
- An artist, musician, creator, or innovator striving to build the skill and confidence needed to achieve your dreams, even if
society (and maybe even a friend or two) tell you differently? or
- A business owner looking for the next step of growth, possibly even after years of stable success? or
- A sales leader or manager ready to break through the next performance ceiling?
Our current clients live all around the world and cover well more than a dozen industries. They are musicians, chiropractors, chefs, mortgage brokers, authors, retailers, landscapers, artists, gamers, insurance agents, professional speakers, and even hairstylists… you name it, they’ve worked with us in order to begin creating the life they want to lead.
What do all these people have in common with you? You know you can be the person you’ve always wanted to be. You know your vision has the ability to change people’s lives. You don’t need someone to do it for you. You just need a little guidance and advice along the way.
Good news! If any of these sound like you, I can help.
To be clear, I’m not here to do the work for you — nobody can do that — but I absolutely can provide the right tools to make it easier and empower you to reach your goals. I work with clients to help create strategy, build skills, share encouragement, and find freedom. Together, we can ensure you’re moving in the right direction.
Think of it this way: my job is to dust off the tracks and help you know which switches to throw. Your job is to put the coal in the engine to keep the train moving down the tracks.
My Mission and the Early Days of Leaders Must Lead
My job, my mission, is to help you along in your journey to success, and show you strategic, actionable ways to achieve your dreams. I passionately believe we’re stronger as a team than as individuals and, if I do everything in my power to help those around me, the rest of life will fall into place.
I grew up in a small town in the Midwest. The majority of people I grew up with stayed where they were and I respect that. It was fine for them, but I was driven to do something different. After I moved away to college at the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) I had an opportunity to work with and learn from companies of various sizes across several different industries and cities. I was eager to please, so pushed hard, gained knowledge, and helped wherever I could. Learning and studying were two of my biggest passions, and I truly became a student of my craft. For every company I worked with, I didn't just go to follow my responsibility and move up the ladder in a job that made me rich but others richer. I went to learn, grow and study. Over the years, I found myself becoming an expert in sales, management, leadership, strategy, communication, and more. I knew if I kept learning for long enough, I’d find a way to fulfill my dream and help others in a powerful way to reach their goals and find success.
As time passed, I moved from selling, to managing small teams, and finally leading larger groups and business units with more than 2000 members. Even as responsibility increased to include hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue per year, I found myself searching for more. Our teams were amazing, and we worked together to create success and growth at every level, but I never truly felt fulfilled. The thing is, I’ve always wanted to help people in a big way, to make a real difference in their lives. For many years I wasn’t sure how to make that happen and couldn’t figure out why continuing to follow my path up the corporate ladder wasn’t working. At some point, after way too many years working hard for a big, corporate career, I began to recognize the bureaucracy and lack of freedom that comes with most jobs were restricting my ability to do what I felt—in many cases what I knew--was right for our people. Every day, both at work and elsewhere, I would meet amazing people who I knew I could help if only I had more time and freedom to do so.
As it turns out, I didn’t want what other people wanted. I didn’t want a career that would move me gently towards retirement. I didn’t dream about big houses and fancy jewelry. Those things will never answer the deep need I have to make a difference in peoples’ lives. So I made the leap. I decided to do what felt right for me. I followed my dream. I was offered a promotion, declined, and jumped off the cliff to start my own company, hoping I would be able to build a parachute on the way down. In May 2016, Leaders Must Lead was born.
I'm a refiner, not a creator, so I quickly discovered that building a company from scratch would be, in many ways, the hardest part of my personal journey. I did the work, fought through the struggles, and learned a huge amount in the process. The biggest lesson? It’s absolutely worth it. Personally, my life is much better and far more balanced. With the freedom that comes from finding my place in the world, I’ve had an opportunity to spend time with my teenage son, travel, study multiple martial arts, and even spend some time gaming. Life is good.
Even more, I’m so grateful we’ve been able to help hundreds of people, each with an incredible story, and a dream to pursue. The win isn’t just doing something different, it’s making a difference that matters. That, for me, is what following your dreams is all about.
“Dan talked with me about ways to increase my revenue as a gigging musician. He helped me to look at the bigger picture and consider not just where I am, but where I want to be heading. Increasing what I am earning without increasing my hours performing means I can focus more energy into songwriting and creating — and that's the dream!”
— Abigail Stauffer
Ready to Start Your Journey?
I’m often asked why I’m so passionate about helping people to reach their goals, no matter their background or current skill level. The simple answer? It’s because I understand everyone has their own story, and with the right expertise, dedication, and a lot of hard work, we all have the power to build an incredible life.
The first step toward achieving your dreams is to overcome the momentum of zero. Take a step. Let the motion dispel the emotions of fear, worry, or self-doubt. No matter where you are in your life or your career, only you can make that choice. The good news? You’ve got this! Why? Because Dreams ARE Real.
Take a moment to consider your situation and what may be holding you back. Wherever you are in your life, whatever your background or your story - if you’re pursuing your dream, we can help you get there.
I wish you the very best!