One of my long-time online mentors was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. The cancer had already spread into his liver and bones. The prognosis was not good.
When I heard the news that Dan Miller is coming close to meeting our Lord and Savior, my heart sank. This man who has poured into thousands, if not millions, of people around the world will soon be leaving us. He’s already shuttered his podcast with a goodbye episode.
Not only did he inspire me, but he introduced me to wonderful people. From Skip Prichard to Michael Hyatt, his son Kevin Miller, Jerrod Easley of Podcast Movement, Kent Julian to others… He opened my eyes to the possibility around me.
As he’s leaving this mortal plane, he’s still inspiring those who have gotten to know him over the years. He’s not bitter, angry, or frustrated. No, Dan Miller is excited about what this next stage of being brings him.
Watching this man face death with clarity, determination, and love inspires me to leave the world in the same way when it’s my time. It also made me reflect on the lessons that I’ve learned from Dan. Did you know I wouldn’t be writing this blog if it wasn’t for Dan Miller? He was the kickstarter of all of this.
12 Lessons I Learned From Dan Miller
I discovered Dan Miller when I worked at Family Christian Stores. I would grab a book off the shelf during my lunch breaks, go to the backroom, and read. His words filled me with hope, inspiration, and aspiration.
In honor of Dan, I want to share just a few things he’s taught me over the years.
1. You have a skill or talent that will bless others:
Dan Miller’s biggest book, and one that profoundly impacted me, was 48 Days To The Work You Love. The book led you through the steps to find, create, and nail down the work you love. I remember reading that everyone had a skill that would bless others at a time when I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life.
I began looking inward at myself. I discovered I did have skills and talents that would bless others. I began to pursue them.
2. There’s always a bright side:
Dan is exemplifying this as he transitions into the next life. He could be bitter, angry, frustrated, or regretful. He’s not. He’s at peace because he knows where he’s going.
But this isn’t the only area of life that he’s held this view. Even when business wasn’t good or he made a bad financial decision, Dan kept his focus positive and on the bright side.
You can, too!
3. Great leaders open their hearts to others:
Since Dan announced his diagnosis, tributes to him have poured in. Countless numbers of people have shared how Dan has touched their lives.
Why are people so passionate to share what Dan has done for them? Because Dan opened his heart and life to those around him. He invited people to his home in Franklin, TN, when he lived there. He treated people with respect. He loved others.
4. Take criticism seriously:
There were times when I felt Dan’s current words went against what he’d shared previously. I messaged him privately to share my concerns.
He was nothing but gracious when I shared what I saw as a departure from what he had preached for so many years. Dan didn’t argue. No, he admitted that he, too, had concerns about it. He thanked me for sharing and being open with him.
That’s how a great person deals with criticism. They listen. They share. And then they decide what to do next.
5. Respond to people:
No matter how often or little I emailed Dan, I always received a response. Dan would respond with a quote, an idea, or just a short message. He didn’t ignore others when they reached out.
I learned to respond to people better because of Dan.
6. Be consistent:
Dan hosted a podcast for 17 years. He never missed a show. He was consistent.
He could have taken time off. He could have missed a show here or there. But he didn’t. He chose to do the hard work of being there when people expected.
7. Dream big:
What does the next stage of life make possible? That’s something Dan always talked about.
He also shared how we should dream big dreams. We should dream about the possible and impossible.
He instilled in me to set big goals, to dream big, because even if I didn’t reach the goal, I was closer than I had been before.
Are you dreaming big? Dream a little bigger today. Take the steps to move toward that dream. Even if you don’t reach it, you’re closer than you were.
8. Care for your family:
Dan, even through his success, was a family man. He loved and cared for his wife, Joanne. His kids were well cared for in the good times and the bad. You can see how that love is being repaid today as they care for him in his last days.
Your business and career are important. What’s more important? The love and care you give to your family.
9. Connect people:
I don’t know of anyone who has been more of a connector than Dan. He created the 48 Days Community, where people shared their hopes, dreams, and aspirations. He also connected people through this community.
It eventually shifted to the Eagles Community, where Dan continued to connect people together. This formed successful businesses, startups, and sole proprietorships.
Relationships are important. Connect people to one another.
10. Share your journey:
Dan’s always shared his journey. From his humble beginnings and follies to his success and now to his exit from this world. He has been a sharer of who he is and what he does.
Do the same. Don’t be afraid to share what’s going on in your life. You’re going to have trouble, so will others. By sharing what you’re going through, others will know they’re not alone.
11. Have fun along the way:
Boy, did Dan know how to have fun. You could hear the joy in his voice every time he took to the air in a show. He loved what he did.
Make things fun. Enjoy what you do, even when things aren’t so fun. You can make it fun.
12. Leave a legacy:
The biggest thing that Dan has taught me is that you can leave a legacy. His legacy is the life-change he has brought to thousands around the world. It also includes his wonderful family and friends.
Your life will impact others. Make sure it’s a positive, long-lasting legacy you leave.