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Beyond Mediocrity

By Dan Miller Be sure to check out the ongoing success stories on the front page of 48 Days to see what others just like you are doing to grow their ideas. And speaking of growing, this week’s featured success story is Julia Stewart’s gardening advice Web site. I checked it out this morning to see how we can enjoy our momma deer and baby – without having them eat all of our flowers!

We’ve got lots of other stories waiting for their turn there, but please do continue to send them in. Tell us in 100 words or less how 48 Days or No More Mondays has helped you develop your idea. We will feature one success story each week! E-mail it to: I got a note today from a reader who said: “I recently tore through No More Mondays like scissors through a wet paper bag.”

We’ve got The Eaglepreneur Package, which includes No More Mondays and other materials that will help find and release your passion – for only $48.

" Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time." —Sir John Lubbock

Give Me a Bump in the Road

Wow! Last week’s lead article here stirred up some interesting comments. I had referenced Michael Phelps' stunning accomplishment at the Olympics – and that he had ADD, divorced parents, no college degree, and a DUI in his background. I went on to say that too many advantages early in life may be more of a disadvantage than a blessing. Challenges often are the motivating factor to bring out our very best.

Well, the questions came pouring in. Questions from people who suspect that their lives have been too easy – and consequently, maybe they have missed developing skills or levels of success that hardships would have stimulated.

Here are just a couple of those questions:

I may be one of those... So, now what? I'm not ready to give up, but don't know how to overcome this "early-life-blessing-later-life-curse" thing. Do I need to go back and pick up some success stuff I somehow unknowingly left behind? Am I still doomed to mediocrity just because I got blessed on the front end of life? How do I learn to convert this blessed life-currency at a positive exchange rate for my future?

Or this one:

Dan, You hear a lot of success stories about those who have had something to overcome, but not many about those blessed from the beginning. Can you give some more insight for the mediocre, middleclass, in middle management, who know we have something else to offer, but were never blessed to experience the challenges of more successful leaders?

No, I don’t think you’re guaranteed success if you had nothing but rice and beans growing up and that you had to walk to school, barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways. Or that you’re doomed to mediocrity if you had six pairs of blue jeans, vacations in exotic ports, and got a new Mustang on your 16th birthday.

But we do know from lots of lessons in nature that struggle produces strength. Help a caterpillar out of a cocoon and it never becomes a beautiful butterfly. Protect your muscles from any resistance and you’ll stay soft and weak.

So there’s the key. If life hasn’t forced you to struggle for survival, set some goals that you know will stretch you. Here are some ideas:

  • Decide to run a marathon. The physical discipline required will allow you to experience the immediate benefits of daily training.
  • Give more. You may set a goal of giving 20 percent rather than 10 percent. The extra stretch here will loosen up the blindness that greed causes and make you see new ways of generating income.
  • Commit to spending one hour a day for personal growth. Choose positive materials for meditation, go to workshops, or sign up for teleseminars. There are many opportunities for stretching yourself in this area.
  • Read at least one new book a month. This will accelerate your ability to increase your “preparation” and to see new ways to grow. Remember, “Luck” is when “preparation” meets “opportunity.”
  • Design a break in your normal schedule. Getting away from a routine is one of the best ways I know of unlocking creativity and innovation. I have spent three to four days at a monastery, just as an attempt to tap into new insights and inspiration. (The Abbey of Gethsemani)
  • Create your own timelines. If you want to write a book, decide when you will have the chapter outline completed. If you need to update your resume, decide now to have that completed in two weeks. Whatever it is you want to accomplish, set your timelines to propel you on.

All you’ve got to do to reach new levels of success is to stretch yourself beyond complacency. Recognize that if you are not setting goals that push you forward, you’re likely to be far below your real potential – whether you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth or in a one-room shack in Bangladesh.

And if these don’t work – let’s see – you could put a pebble in your shoe or tie one hand behind your back or try to pick up an addiction. No, don’t wish hardship on yourself. There are better ways to prompt yourself to greatness!

And just for the record, yes, I was one of those that got my annual pair of blue jeans and an orange for Christmas, got my bicycle from the county dump, built my first car from junk parts, and had to shovel snow in Buffalo, N.Y., to get to the unheated barn to milk cows (by hand) at 5:00 a.m. starting when I was 5 years old. I wouldn’t change a thing – but I wouldn’t wish it on anyone and certainly did everything I could to provide more for my children.

If you don’t set goals for yourself, you are doomed to work to achieve the goals of someone else. —Brian Tracy

What Will Make Your Heart Sing?

Joanne and I spent the weekend at one of our favorite romantic getaways, Whitestone Inn.

While there, we met a pastor who was on his last week of a four-month sabbatical. This wonderful opportunity to step away from the urgent demands of daily church life and to be immersed in a period of renewal and reflection came at the generosity of the Lilly Foundation. The gentleman we met had received a $45,000 grant for his time away.

Here’s what the Lilly Endowment Web site says about this program: “We ask pastors to consider ‘what will make your heart sing,’” said Craig Dykstra, senior vice president for religion at the Endowment. “Pastors and congregations both benefit from this period of renewal. Pastors are given a rare chance to get away from the demands of daily parish ministry. The renewal of a pastor’s heart and spirituality is part of his or her ‘job description’ and is essential to the spiritual quality of a congregation’s life.

“As they explore the roots of their religious traditions, write poetry, practice contemplative prayer, or spend weeks or months in significantly different cultural contexts,” Dykstra said, “they come to see their ministry with fresh eyes.”

Wow – what would emerge in you if you had a four-month time frame to just think, write, and contemplate? Are the daily demands of your life releasing your greatest talents? Or are those demands restricting or smothering your most important gifts?

Incidentally, Whitestone Inn is called “A Sanctuary for the Soul.” I trust you allow yourself time each week in your own “sanctuary for the soul.”

"Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen." —Leonardo Da Vinci

48 Days Online Radio

Each week I create a new online radio podcast — that you can hear in iTunes or at the 48 Days Online Radio Show link below.

You may be like the lady in question No. 3 – looking "to find a career that feeds my soul and my pocketbook?"

1. Is it okay to work in something that is not my passion but pays the bills?

2. Should I leave a government job – “with security” – to go with something that has more potential?

3. Is it too late to start at 50 to find a career that feeds my soul and my pocketbook?

4. Is it wise to borrow money to cover my income while I get my coaching biz started or continue working full time?

5. The company I work for is losing money and sure to close down soon. Should I move on or stay to the end?

If you have a question, just click on the 48 Days Online Radio link below and you can ask about starting your own business, getting a better job, or finding your purpose in life.

That’s the same place you can listen to this week’s broadcast immediately – no downloading – no wait.

48 Days Highlights

The Extra Degree
Michael Phelps won one of his gold medals by beating the second-place finisher by .01 second. That’s one hundredth of a second. Think a little bit extra is insignificant? At 211º water is just hot water; at 212º it can move locomotives and blow up mountains. Take three minutes to watch our 212º video. You’ll see why we call our business building community the . Just scroll down to the 212º Movie. You’ll be inspired to go for that extra degree in your own life.

Personal coaching
Many of you are asking about my personal coaching. Yes, I still work two to three people a month. And, yes, we get a lot of requests. I screen each request and either contact you myself – or refer you to a matching coach in our network. I take seriously the confidence shown by the requests and make sure each one is given personal attention. If you want to review the options and give me some basic information, I’ll be honored to evaluate it and give you some feedback. Just go to Personal Coaching and get started.

Chuck Bowen Coaching - Financial, Career & Business
Need to do better (maybe a lot better?) with your personal finances? Is your business as profitable, or enjoyable, as you'd like it to be? Contact Chuck Bowen Coaching. If you want to transform your life permanently for the better, he's your guy. Dave Ramsey trusts Chuck to train his financial coaches, and he serves as President of Dan Miller’s 212ºConnection. What better proof is there?!"

Product Highlight

Need help finding your extra degree?
The most popular product in the 48 Days arsenal continues to be the 48 Days Career Profile. Before you begin seeking a better job or self-employment, you need to be sure you are pursuing opportunities that match your personality style and will fulfill and reward you for a lifetime!

Humor: Strange Books

I found a very interesting book about anti-gravity.

I just can't put it down!


Two trucks loaded with a thousand copies of Roget's Thesaurus collided as they left a New York publishing house last Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Witnesses were stunned, startled, aghast, taken aback, stupefied....

Dan MillerDan Miller is the bestselling author of 48 Days To The Work You Love and a renowned Life Coach specializing in career fulfillment. His weekly newsletter reaches 70,000 subscribers. Dan’s articles are featured here at CBN every Tuesday, and you can find out more about Dan at

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