Understanding God’s Gifting with Dan Miller
Today’s show features Dan Miller, author of the New York Times best-selling books, 48 Days to the Work You Love, No More Dreaded Mondays, and Wisdom Meets Passion.
Dan offers online training programs, tours the country as a popular speaker, and is the producer of the 48 Days Podcast.
Ray: Hello, this is Ray Hilbert, your host here at Bottom Line Faith. This is the program where we bridge the gap between faith and business and leadership in the marketplace. I am really excited about our guest for today. Our guest today is Dan Miller. He’s calling in from Franklin, Tennessee. Dan is the president of 48 days. Dan is a three time New York times best selling author, his three books, 48 Days to the Work You Love, No More Dreaded Mondays, and Wisdom Meets Passion, have been on the New York times bestselling list. We are so honored today to have Dan calling in. Dan, welcome to Bottom Line Faith.
Dan: Oh, thank you so much, Ray. I’m delighted to be your guest today.
Ray: Well, I have been looking forward to this and I know that God has uniquely and wonderfully gifted you and positioned you to influence leaders globally. And so would you take just a couple of moments, give us a little bit of your background. I want to get to know you a little bit of your family life, early days, that sort of thing. What can we know about you?
Dan: Well, we can do a real brief overview because I love my family story. I was raised the son of a farmer. Now my dad was also pastor of a little tiny church in our town for which he received no pay. So farming was the means by which he was responsible to provide for our family. Now interestingly, neither of those roles were really clearly his purpose and passion. Those are superimposed on him by other’s expectations. Thus explaining some of the frustration I saw on him and it prompted in me at an early age, right? The desire to figure this out, to see life here on earth, not just as something we get through and then we go to heaven and things are wonderful there, but rather as something to be enjoyed. Right now as I read Scripture, growing up as a young guy myself, I kept seeing these challenges to enjoy our work here.
Work here had some meaning and purpose and so I became attracted to that very early on. I was destined to be a farmer with my dad. That was the expectation, to go to school as long as the state required me to go to school and then quit to help my dad. I wanted to keep going to school, finish high school and go to college so that it would increase my opportunities because I was really convinced there were things out there where I could do more, be more, see more, have more than just by being a farmer. So I was very inquisitive, went on to school, much to my parents dismay, but that indeed did open some doors for me. So I left my dad’s farm and went on to other kinds of things. And in light of the work that I’ve done, I’m one of these oddities.
I’ve never had a job for which I received a paycheck. I’ve never had a real job. I’ve always just seen opportunities and just put waves on those things. And I continue today just to see opportunities around every bush. And just find fun ways to put some kind of an economic model together and make that work. So I’m an entrepreneur from the top of my head to the tip of my toe. And in the last 25 years I’ve had the privilege of working with people to help them figure out how has God gifted you? What would this look like on Monday morning to integrate God’s best, most precious gifts to you, but integrate those into work that you do so you blend your talents, your passions, and have an economic model to create income from that. And I can’t imagine a sweeter spot to have those converge together.
And that really happened kind of by accident. There was, nothing is an accident, but it was not an intention of mine to take something that I saw as a ministry gift and turn it into the means of providing financially for my family. My wife and I were teaching a Sunday school class and it just grew exponentially and I was spending a significant amount of time in 20, 30 hours a week just meeting with those in the class who were new to me to ask questions about their personal situation and then seeing the volume of need there. And with my wife’s encouragement, I finally turned that into the focal point for what I was doing, eliminated the other things I was doing in business, generate income, moved into this. It was challenging, theologically, to move into that and have this be my means of support for. When I did, it was like a dam burst in terms of response from the marketplace in wanting to see me and get my coaching now. Not as just a nice guy at church, but rather as a professional who can help them find that sweet spot that I described.
Ray: That is amazing. And I want to go back, if you don’t mind. What were some of the early indications or some of the early experiences that you had, Dan that began to speak to you to say, Hey, you’re going to have a unique and different path. You’re not only not going to follow your father’s footsteps, but you’re also not going to have like a traditional career, go get a job in a company and advance. And so what were some of those early indications and things that told you your pathway was going to look a little different?
Dan: I think I ruined myself for any kind of traditional employment just as a little kid because I had no opportunity to create my own income in being part of the farming operations. That was just expected. That was an obligation because I had a place to live and food to eat. So it was part of being the family. But I would look at these magazines and see moneymaking opportunities. Then when I was six years old, I ordered a little kit and went door to door. And door to door in our community was like a mile apart between houses. We’re not talking… and I would knock on doors and sell Christmas cards and I took orders for Christmas cards.
And then we lived on a dirt road, which a couple times a year they would coat with oil just to keep some of the dust down. Well then immediately the cars were tacky with oil and dust. Next year I would clean our neighbors cars, clean all that off, and I just saw an opportunity to do that. Then I would see the sweet corn in our family garden when my mom had canned and frozen, all that we could possible use as a family and there’s still sweet corn there. I’d get up at 5:30 in the morning, as like a 10 year old. And I picked that sweet corn, put it in a little wagon behind our one family Ford tractor, drive the two miles up to where there was a paved road and I put up my little signs: sweetcorn 30 cents a dozen.
So I was doing things like that from as early as I can remember. So as I got older there was never an appeal to me to, well I need to go find some place that’s going to give me a paycheck. Just know what’s the next idea that I’m going to pursue. And that’s just never stopped. So I just kept pursuing ideas and the ideas have always been in abundance.
Ray: So to me as I’m listening to that, Dan, though it begs this question around an entrepreneur being an entrepreneur. Is being an entrepreneur something that someone is naturally wired to pursue, or is it acquired over time, or how, from your perspective, how does all that look?
Dan: Yeah, that’s, I love that question. I’ve asked myself that a thousand times because my siblings, there were five of us children. None of them took anything remotely close to the path that I did. All of them went in very traditional paths, their entire working history. I have to believe that there’s something about DNA that God put in me that gave me that perspective. But I do think it’s something that can be developed. I love helping people see the broad spectrum of work opportunities. You can have the traditional job where you work 40 hours a week, get two weeks off, you know, have 401(k) contributions and so on. And you can be, you know, some kid who works in his T-shirt and shorts, you know, updating sports information on the internet where he works two hours a day and makes it $100,000 to a net.
Ray: That’s very true. Nontraditional, very unstructured.
Dan: But we’ve got a broad continuum. There’s all kinds of things in between there. Somebody with an illustrious corporate career can become a consultant where they position themselves to do just the one or two things that they do really, really well. We have somebody who says, yeah, I want to use something in my own, but I don’t want to really be on my own. Well, I just kind of declined a franchise so you can get a franchise where you are in business for yourself but not by yourself. So there’s all kinds of models. There’s no wrong or right, but I want people, even if they’re going through an unexpected transition or between opportunities as we call it, around here, I want them just to realize the broad spectrum of opportunities today. If in fact they discover they really do have the wiring to do something on their own. Most people when they do that, they wish they had done it sooner. But it’s not a matter of, gee, as you get more mature and you know, healthier and more confident that you’ll ultimately end up as an entrepreneur. No, not at all. There are people who are meant to be team players and need to do so with excellence.
Ray: So as I’m listening here, my brain is just racing because I think about like over the last 20, 25 years in the, I don’t think I’d be exaggerating to say few hundred conversations, where I’ve sat across the table from individuals. Sometimes Dan with tears coming down their face because they had a dream, they had an idea, they had something that they felt they wanted to pursue, or launch or try, but maybe their current lifestyle prohibited from doing that. Maybe their current financial obligations prohibited them from doing that. And you could just see like the dream was dying right there in their heart. What thoughts would you have to offer to someone who’s listening to the program right now who maybe they think they’ve got this entrepreneur edge about them or they want to try something or launch something or they see a problem worth trying to solve, but they, something’s holding them back. Would you speak to that? What would, what would you say to them?
Dan: I hear a lot of people who by virtue of their academic background and work experience, feel trapped. As an example, physicians, attorneys, dentist, engineers, accountants, pastors, a lot of them at 45, wake up and think I’m living somebody else’s dream, but I don’t know how to get out of this cage that I’ve created for myself. But I would encourage anybody to realize you’re not trapped. You really aren’t. There are so many opportunities today, but it’s not a throw the baby out with the bath. When I help somebody make a transition who may have been a dentist as an example, it’s not likely that we just throw that out totally. We probably validate that in some way, but just approach it in a creative way where they may never again have to have their hands inside somebody’s mouth but can still create income. Now, here’s the other thing.
As you, as you lay it out here, people anticipate that if they’re making $300,000 a year, now, surely anything else is going to cause a reduction in that. That’s a fallacy. That’s not true at all. The idea of change, I mean we have to realize change is going to require, you know, something is different. True, but change when, when I hear from somebody who just lost their job, I just got an email just a few minutes ago from the guy who said to, they didn’t give me any warning, no severance. They gave me a box, told me to clean up my drawer. I’m gone. You know, this is ridiculous. Well, anyway, when that happens to somebody in a way that’s unexpected than welcome, the immediate thought is, wow, no vacation for the family this year. We’re going to lose the car that we just bought. We’re going to have to take the kids out of private school.
You know everything’s going to be– they, they assume less because of change, but in reality, a lot of people who go through change, even if it’s unexpected like that, 18 months later say, wow, that’s the best thing that ever happened to me because it forced me to look at my options in a way that I would’ve never done if the status quo continued. So sometimes those things that seem like a crisis is a wonderful window of opportunity to take a fresh look. Now also somebody may have a dream. Let’s say somebody wants to write a book as an example. You mentioned my writing as we started here. Well that’s not something for which you would quit your job and just go to a cabin in the woods and write a book. No. Devote 15 hours a week to that. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 90 days.
If you do 15 hours a week to get it out there, leverage it, do whatever, see if you can get to where you are generating 50% of your current income with what you’re doing on the side, your dream with legs on it. If you can get to that point, and I recommend that people expect to get there within 90 to a hundred days, 50% of their current income, if they can do that, wow, we’ve got a trajectory that can give you a lot of confidence where you can say, if I devoted the rest of my time, this surely I can make up the other 50% and they’re often around him. So we create a runway rather than just a total abandonment of everything. And feel the feeling like we’re starting over.
Ray: Well, I love that because it’s really is quote unquote, the best of both worlds, right? Because they can develop and pursue this dream, this idea, this concept, this product, this company or what have you. And also not put their family at great risk and lose it all, if you will. That’s what I’m hearing you say. That’s, that’s really excellent. So you mentioned Dan, if someone, as they’re listening to our conversation and they want to learn more about you and what you do and what you have to share with folks, what’s the best way for people to find you or contact you?
Dan: Well, sure. 48 Days to the Work You Love is the title of really my core book. When I wrote, when I was teaching a Sunday school class, pretty much launched everything I’m doing today. So 48 Days is our brand. And if you simply go to 48days.com, it’ll lead you right to all the other resources that we’re talking about.
Ray: And in addition, you also host a podcast. Is that right? What is the best way for them to find and listen to your podcast?
Dan: Just put in the search 48 Days and it’ll come up. Yeah, I’m one of, I’m one of the old timers in this arena, in the podcast in arena. I love the opportunity. We have to speak hope and encouragement to people who are hungry for that. So I’ve been in the podcast world quite awhile.
Ray: Oh, that’s fantastic. So then I’m really curious about kind of the, this next part of what I want to talk about and that is, and I touched on it in my earlier question about someone feeling trapped, someone feeling trapped by their lifestyle, by obligations or what have you. Help us understand what are some of the most important steps, questions, things that someone needs to do to begin to explore about how to become untrapped and become, I know your passion is helping people become who and what God’s called them to be as it relates to their work. Walk us through some of that. What would be some early steps or first things that I, that we should do if for someone who is feeling trapped?
Dan: No, absolutely. This may seem counterintuitive, but the first thing is to take a deep breath and look inward. 85% of the process of having a confidence, a proper direction in our career comes from looking inward and offering people sidestep that they simply go to the want ads or see what the business opportunities are and what franchises are hot right now and they get a bandaid solution. Now I realize it may be great for somebody down the street, but it may not be right for you. So take a deep breath, take a fresh look at three areas. What are your skills and abilities, not just the things you know you can do, but the things where you feel energized and you would like to continue doing. Be very, very clear on those. Number two is your personality tendencies. How do you relate to other people? What kind of environments are you most comfortable in?
How do you manage, persuade, sell? Those are things you need to know about yourself. The third area is what I call values, dreams and passions. What are those recurring things that just seem to keep coming up where, Oh my goodness, it’s when I was doing, I’m doing this that I really feel I can in that of genius. It’s when I’m working with the elderly or it’s when I’m like outside when I’m working with ideas rather than people. All those things are just segments of what make us unique individuals and the more we know about ourselves, the more confidence we can have about knowing what can be next. So if somebody is feeling trapped or is in that period of transition, that’s the first thing to do. Once you do that, then you can create a clear focus for what would fit, what kind of work, what kind of career, what kind of business would in fact blend those things I just described, bring those together.
Give me an opportunity to do that anyway, do something that nobody else is doing and maybe some and they confirm. Once you have been doing that, it really is a good fit. All those things are possibilities, but it’s doing that first, that 85% of the process, 15% then is the application. And frankly that’s the easy part. Once you really have a clear focus, then you can walk out with your head held high, confident, boldness, enthusiasm, and people will see you as a great candidate because you’re so clear about what you do that brings value. But a lot of people go through those transitions and they go out and just kind of, you know, knock on doors and stick their toe in the water. I’ll do whatever you want me to do. That’s a really weak position. That is not how you move ahead.
Ray: Okay. So we’ve got to really have a good understanding of our skills, our skillsets, our personality, how we’re wired, how we interact with people, environments, those sorts of things. But then to really be intentional about evaluating our values, our dreams, and our passions, and really what’s going to drive us over a long period of time. So right on. So in this process, Dan, where, where’s the role of our faith in all of this that we’re talking about today?
Dan: So I just don’t understand a division between those two. I can’t be one person on Sunday morning and be authentic and be somebody else on Thursday morning. There’s an old Hebrew word Avodah from which we get both the words work and worship. I think that what we’re doing on Friday morning ought to be a better expression of our faith and what we do for 58 minutes on Sunday morning. You know, you can sit and sit in the pew and have somebody look at the back of your head and they don’t know much about you, but if they interact with you in the marketplace, they’re going to know your values, your beliefs, what’s your faith is really all about inaction. I had just this week, I had one of our 48 Days coaches was rear ended. She was sitting at a stoplight and an SUV slammed into the back of her, did massive damage to your car.
Gentleman got out, he was mortified. He immediately accepted responsibility. He was mortified. His hands were shaking. He was trembling and they got over to the side of the road and this lady who is our coach, she said, let’s just take a deep breath. She said, would you mind if I just took your hands and we prayed for you? Prayed for the situation. She did, before the police got there. He’s like, what do you do? What kind of woman do you slam into the back of her car and she wants to pray for me to calm me down? She explained what she does. It turns out he is the owner of the biggest construction company in her city. He said, will you come in and do a workshop for my 500 employees on teaching them grace under pressure? He said, it can transform our culture. That’s faith in the marketplace. We’re in a situation like that. It could have been very adversarial. You know, her faith was evident because it’s an integral part of who she is, not just who she is on Sunday, an integral part of who she is every day, and that immediately transformed into a marketplace intersection.
Ray: Thank you for sharing that story. I mean, as I’m listening to that, that is a gripping, gripping story of really living out faith in the marketplace and it’s amazing. So I’m just curious, Dan, as you know, in addition to writing three amazing books, you know, Dan, you’ve had the incredible blessing and platform. You’ve been on CBS on the early show, you’ve been on Hardball with Chris Matthews on MSNBC, you’ve been on the Dave Ramsey show, Success magazine, Washington Post, on and on and on. God has really given you an amazing platform. Would you share with us that as God has expanded your platform and your, your entrepreneurial-ism, if you will, how have you seek to leverage that as a platform for you to share ministry in the marketplace?
Dan: Yes. Now I have a business where I write books, I coach, I speak. However, I don’t have the kind of business you drive up to and there’s a big sign, and there’s 300 employees there. I work out of a converted barn on our property here in Franklin, Tennessee. I have no employees. Now. I need to be quick to say that doesn’t mean I do everything myself. I have a wonderful team, but they’re all independent contractors. This is a question that I’ve struggled with. Do I have the obligation to grow bigger and bigger, bigger buildings, more employees? Because I had the opportunity to do that. Is that a stewardship responsibility in my part? I take that very seriously and I decided for me the answer is no. I have a very streamlined life that I live. I do spend, I’m energized by solitude.
I have a lot of time that I spend in writing but then I have platforms in which I can interact with people. I have the large podcast audience. I have an even larger newsletter audience. We have an online community called 48 Days Eagles, so there are ways that I have groups that I connect with, but usually those are leaders. I’m not looking for ways that I can reach millions and in the process deplete myself. Personally, I believe in the concept of serving best from the full cup. A lot of Christians think they’re serving well when they’re so depleted emotionally, physically, relationally, financially, they have nothing to give. I want to make sure that I steward my temple, my resources, my relationships, my time. And in some ways it could look like I’m being selfish in that because I have plenty of opportunities to speak more, to coach, more to write, more to do, you know, to go other countries, lots of opportunities. But that’s a delicate balance for me and for me, I’m very intentional about how I structured my time, but I’m not looking to grow in the way that most people would expect a successful business to grow.
Ray: And so how did you get to this point to where you knew this about yourself, that the best way you could serve is to have your cup full? Because to your point, some might say, well that is selfish. You know, you’re going to take care of you first. How’d you get to that point?
Dan: It came from that 85% that I mentioned a minute ago of looking inward. First it came from understanding Dan Miller so well that I knew what made sense, knowing my personality, knowing how I functioned best, knowing what drains me emotionally, what energizes, what gives me creativity to bring new hope and inspiration to people. I mean all those things. And so it’s really a process of knowing myself so well that I figured out how I can serve in the most effective way. It’s an ongoing process and it’s not one that had easy answers from me. Here’s an example, right? I’ve been friends with Dave Ramsey for 30 years. We’ve been best friends since the time when we both just crashed and burned and cried together. Try to figure out what we were going to do. Today, I already described my life. I work out of a converted barn in the back of our property in Franklin, Tennessee.
I have no employees. Dave is building a new campus as we speak. Part of the commitment to the city of Franklin is that he will have 1,000 employees. That to me, would keep me awake at night and make me throw up in the morning. But that’s me. I mean, I love what he’s doing. He loves what I’ve done. We’re both in that sweet spot, but it looks very, very different. This is not a cookie cutter process. It’s a matter of understanding how has God uniquely gifted you and then being true to that in the way that you live it out.
Ray: That’s a perfect example. So there’s probably someone listening right now, Dan, who has been frustrated because they’ve been faithful in leadership. You know, maybe they started a business, they’re leading an organization, whatever the case may be. And they’re comparing their journey or their results with someone else’s. And would you just take a moment on this note and just give them a word of encouragement? What would you say to that person who is like, Lord, I’ve been working so hard at this and I thought it would look like what Joe’s done over here, what Sue’s done over there. What would you say to them?
Dan: It’s so easy to get caught up in comparison and thinking, wow, I wish I had to drive that kind of car or go to that place on vacation or have that kind of Lake house. That’s a dangerous path to go down because this is not a mathematical issue at all. You may choose to live a life of authenticity and integrity and character where you don’t end up a multimillionaire, but if that’s true to who you are and you are faithful in that role, fantastic. So it’s not a matter of just looking at everybody around you. Don’t try to be an imposter. I had a pastor recently, who I worked with who was very frustrated. And he came in to see me and we were working on through just his anger about what he was doing, but he knew that he had been called and went to seminary and was pastor of a church.
I mean, how are you going to walk with me? I said, man, who sold you this bill of goods? And he was really taken back. He’s like, what do you mean? Isn’t this the most godly thing I could possibly do? I says, no, not at all. I said, you’re an imposter. You’re trying to be something you’re not. This is not what God gifted you to do. So even in that situation where we think we’re doing something godly, if it’s not a fit in, how many people have we seen who decided after 14 months of not being able to secure employment, decided God called them to be full time missionaries and now they’re asking friends for support? Oh, I cringe when I see that that’s the default position. Following God’s will, should not be a default position; it should be the first thing on the horizon and we ought to recognize that as such. But it’s just a matter of finding your authenticity. So personal understanding, of course the Scripture is rich with provision for us as well about understanding ourselves as we understand ourselves. Then we recognize the gifts that God has given us so often look externally and just say, here’s an opportunity. Well, I’ll do that now. Look inward first.
Ray: Oh, well we see that reflected in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, you know, the gifts and service to the body. But isn’t that just how the devil loves work? He loves to put the seed of comparison in our hearts and jealousy and all those things. And so you’ve really given us some great, great insights on it. Thank you for that. That’s good stuff. Real good stuff. Well, Dan, as we kind of transition, I’d love to just talk a little bit about advice and kind of insights, and so I’d love for you to share that over the course of your career. What is the best advice that you were ever given that you could recall and who gave it to you, and how does it continue to impact you today?
Dan: I have been impacted dramatically by a lot of what I call masters of achievement. I was really pulled into that whole space. I mean, I’m talking Zig Ziglar, Jim Brown, Brian Tracy, all those old masters of achievement. There are so many things that I’ve learned from them about running this race with excellence. But one of the things, it’s never too late to have a new beginning. I encounter so many people who had, I mean, I ran into people who were at 27 years old and say, Oh man, I made you the wrong thing in college. And the implication is now I’m just kind of drifting a degree. I think you got to be kidding me. I know enough to ask good questions yet. It’s never too late to have a new beginning. And I talked to 65 year olds who are coming out of the illustrious career and they’re looking for what’s next? Well, let’s figure that out. That can be an exciting two decades of your life to figure it out at that point.
Ray: Well that, I wrote that down, you know, never too late to have a new beginning. And one of the first persons that come to mind is, you know, my co-founder at our ministry, Truth At Work. His name is Matt Pailin and Matt’s 84 years old. And we started in ministry together 20 years ago. So he was exactly 65 when he and I began and he’s 84, and I was just talking with him this morning and he says, retirement is nowhere on my radar screen. And he said, as long as the Lord’s given me health, I’m out here going to be serving him faithfully in the marketplace. So I love that. It isn’t ever too late.
Dan: And it’s exciting to encounter people like that who figured out, but it’s a matter of continuing to walk this out in faith and serve. Serve well till we take our last breath.
Ray: That’s right Dan. One more time. Best website for folks to check out to learn more.
Dan: 48days.com is the connection to lots of resources. Then also 48DaysEagles.com an exciting new community that we have people who just don’t want to settle for mediocrity, but people are willing to share ideas and resources freely. And so that’s a really exciting community that we started just recently. 48DaysEagles.com
Ray: So Dan as you look back now, if you could go back and sit down across the table from the 20 year old Dan Miller, you’re sitting across the table from the 20 year old version of you, what advice would you give yourself? Or in other words, what do you wish someone might have said to you when you were 20? What would you say to that?
Dan: Well, the implication in your question is that I wish somebody would have told me how to avoid some of the things along the way. And to be honest, I don’t really wish for that. Those bumps were also the things that prepared me to do what I do today. I don’t think I could have gotten here without that.
Ray: Okay. I’m going to stop you then. Tell me one of the big bumps. I can’t let you just, I’d be a bad host if I didn’t like, I didn’t mean to be rude there, but tell us about one of those bumps and then we can come back to the advice. But give us, one of the big ones.
Dan: I indicated that Dave Ramsey and I went through a major catastrophe the same month, same year. We didn’t know each other. Then we met about a year and a half later, but I had built one business on top of another being an entrepreneur and things that had gone pretty well in a lot of different ways. And then I had a business where the banking relationships changed. The bank that I had a relationship with changed ownership three times in two years and the people with whom I had those handshake relationships were long gone. They put the pressure on me. I ended up selling the business at public auction thinking I’d at least walk away with sure that my back. But instead I woke up the next morning realizing I owed about $430,000 to the IRS and vendors. So that was a big bump in the road. But at that period of time, even the thing that serves me well as an entrepreneur is I didn’t point fingers.
I didn’t blame. I got up the next morning and looked at that dude and said, okay, you got us into this. How are you going to get us out? And began a process of walking that out. That was a major obstacle and there are a lot of things that happened in that instance that really were expressions of my faith as well as an example. Immediately it was recommended that I filed bankruptcy and I have done that and I says, nah, that’s not the way I was raised. My grandparents were Amish. My dad pastored a little tiny Mennonite church. If there’s one thing that’s true of my heritage and the Amish, that community, is that your word is something that can be counted on it. Don’t look for a loophole legally to walk away from it. And I thought, man, I gave my word to these people. I don’t care if there’s a legal mechanism by which I can just walk away. No good. Dig a hole and push me in. I’m finished. So I walked out of that challenging time, took me longer than I anticipated, but I walked out of that, you know, with the integrity that I hope I was known for then and I’m still today.
Ray: Thank you for sharing that. I’m sure many of our listeners can relate to it. I know that, listeners that my story, I can relate to that. Having been through a very difficult season in business, just as you’ve described, creditors calling every night and so forth, it’s terribly difficult and lonely. And so looking back then, what advice would you give yourself now that you are on the backside of that and seeing how God has used that, but in the middle of that storm, what advice might you have given yourself?
Dan: One of the things that I gave myself as advice, I know our minds are like gardens. They’re pretty blank by themselves. If a lead starts to grow, it’s going to multiply. It takes effort to plant a kernel of corn. But if you do, you’re going to get back. Not a kernel, but a whole ear. So I force fed my mind during that period of time. Pure, positive, clean, inspirational kind of content every minute that I was alone so that I would not allow those negative, self-defeating thoughts to take root and grow. That was a really important principle. I dedicated at least two hours a day to simply listening or reading positive material. The effect is so profound. I never quit. That was years ago because it’s practice. I continue today because of the effect that I continue to experience from that.
Ray: Well, I love that. I’m reminded from Philippians, right, chapter four. Whatever is pure, whatever’s lovely, excellent, praiseworthy, fix your thoughts on these things. Well Dan, we’re down at the end here and I can’t thank you enough for being on the program today. As I’ve said, I’ve taken notes, I’ve been inspired, I’ve been encouraged, but our last question that we get to in every conversation here at Bottom Line Faith is based out of Proverbs 4:23 where Solomon writes above all else, guard your heart for it determines the course of all of life. So then I’d love for you to kind of fill in the blank for me. Let’s pretend for a moment that you’re at the tail end of your time, this side of eternity, and you have a chance to pass along that one piece of advice or encouragement to your family, to your friends, to your loved ones. And in this case to our audience here at Bottom Line Faith. Would you fill in the blank for us on that one piece of advice? Above all else…
Dan: When I was a 13 year old farm kid, I came across an audio recording called the strangest secret. I got that and started to listen to it again and again and again. And the principle is we become what we think about. Now that’s not a new principle. Certainly Proverbs tells us that, but somehow it really impacted me and became a foundational principle for my life. So guard your thoughts, guard your heart. Absolutely. We become what we think about. So what I allow into my mind in terms of what I listened to, watch, the kind of people I’m around, those things are part of guarding or not guarding my heart. So I’m very careful about what I listened to when I read the kind of that I spend a lot of time with. I’ll certainly, we encounter people from all walks of life, but I’m not going to go on a three day vacation with somebody who is exhibiting things in their life that I don’t want to be part of mine.
Ray: Hmm. That’s incredible. I had a friend once tell me that you will become in life the product of the books you read and the people you associate with. And I was told that when I was 20 years old and you’ve just reinforced that. Dan, thank you so much for being on our program today. You have just been a blessing and an encouragement and I just can’t thank you enough. So thank you so much.
Dan: Well, it’s been my pleasure, Ray. Thank you for asking me.
Ray: So folks, we have been learning from Dan Miller, check out his website please. At 48Days.com. Also his new online community, 48DaysEagles.com. We’d really encourage you to check out his podcast, 48 Days podcast with Dan Miller. If you are a Christ follower and you’re in business and you want to learn about what it might look like to be in a community of your fellow Christian peers in business and in a round table group with Truth At Work, go to our website at truthatwork.org, click on the link there that says round tables. Leave us a message. We’ll follow up with you and see how we might work together. Again, I am your host here at Bottom Line Faith, Ray Hilbert, encouraging you to live out your faith each day in the marketplace. Thanks for joining us.