Ignite The Hunger In You: How To Develop Your Greatness And Ignite Humanity With Les Brown!

BYW S4 11 | Developing Greatness

Every single one of us holds unfathomable greatness waiting to be unleashed. It all comes down to igniting the hunger within you to develop that greatness. Who better to teach you how than the Great, Les Brown himself! Les is one of the world’s most renowned motivational speakers and a sought-after coach, personality, and resource. He chats with Dr. Gary Sanchez for a deep dive on the inspiration of his latest book, Ignite the Hunger in You: How to Develop Your Greatness and Ignite Humanity. In their talk, Les discusses his anecdotes of people and events that helped ignite the hunger in him and how he aims to inspire personal growth to many more. Listen to their moving discussion on achieving that greatness and passing it forward to ignite humanity.

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Ignite The Hunger In You: How To Develop Your Greatness And Ignite Humanity With Les Brown!

Welcome to the show, where we go beyond talking about your why and helping you discover and live your why. If you’re a regular reader, you know that every week we talk about 1 of the 9 whys and bring on somebody with that why so you can see how their why has played out in their life. We are going to do something different and something that we have never done before. Usually, what we do is we reveal our guest’s why before the interview, and then you get to hear their stories about how their why has played out in their life. We are going to do the reverse. The reason we’re doing that is so many of you already know our guest.

You have heard him for many years and experienced his presence and talks. I will be interviewing him. I want you to read and figure out what his why is from the stories that he tells. We will reveal his why online to see how you did. Read and try to decipher his why. We have a very special guest for you. I have been looking forward to interviewing this guest for many years. I have been trying to get him on the show but things didn’t work out at certain times.

For a man who needs little to no introduction as one of the world’s most renowned motivational speakers, and one of the most highly sought-after resources in business and professional circles for Fortune 500 CEOs, small business owners, nonprofits and community leaders looking to expand opportunity. His charisma, warmth and humor have transformed ordinary people into extraordinary achievers by using his own life and in-depth study of others’ challenges to build an understanding of what works, what doesn’t work and why.

He never tires from energizing people to meet the challenges of the world around them. He has a way of turning what he touches into gold. He is here to talk about the book he co-wrote with JB Owen called Ignite the Hunger in You: How to Develop Your Greatness and Ignite Humanity. Les Brown, welcome to the show.

Thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity to be here and spend some time with you. I want to congratulate you on the work you’re doing, helping people to discover their why, and giving enlightenment on what can help to sustain people in very challenging times. Nietzsche said, “If you know the why for living, you can endure almost anyhow.”

As we are going through this pandemic, we felt that it was about to be something of the past, and now there’s a new one out there. People need something that can sustain them. Their why will be their rod and staff to comfort them, to give them the wherewithal, the perseverance, and the courage to keep moving forward and do the things that they are called to do. What you’re doing and the work that you have is a calling. It’s needed now more than ever before in this place where we are.

Thank you, Les. I appreciate that. There are very few readers who don’t know you or your story, but for those that don’t, could you take us back in your life? Where were you born? What was it like when you grew up? How did you transition from where you were to where you are now, speaking all over the world to millions of people? Take us through the quick version of Les Brown’s life.

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I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version. I was born in a poor section of Miami, Florida called Liberty City, with a twin brother. We were born in an abandoned building on a floor. We were taken in as foster kids by Mamie Brown. I feel like Abraham Lincoln who said, “All that I have and all that I ever hoped to be, I owe to my mother.” I constantly say that God took me out of my biological mother’s womb and placed me in the heart of my adopted mother. I saw a picture of my birth mother and father, and connected with the birth family that I had no idea. I’m in Atlanta and they live in Gainesville, Georgia, and here I am an hour away. I always felt a connection with Atlanta.

I know the moment that my birth mother, Dorothy Rucker, came to see me. I remember I was on a book tour and this lady was watching me very intensely. It was her and a guy. She came forward and said, “Hold your hand out, son.” I held my hand out and she put a picture, closed my hand and walked away. I put the picture in my pocket and then something said, “Take it out.” I looked at it and it was a picture of my brother and me. I said, “Lady, where did you get this from?” She just turned around, waved and kept walking. That was a brief moment, and then here we are. My son did a search. He went on to find and locate my birth family. It has been a process. I’m just now discovering my roots.

What has got me here? I always say, “I’ve got a new narrative.” My birth mother gave me life. My adopted mother taught me how to live life. When I was in the 5th grade, I was labeled educable mentally retarded. I was put back from the 5th grade to the 4th grade, and failed again when I was in the 8th grade. I had a high school teacher like you in my junior year. He’s very much like your personality. He was the kind of person who always look for the good and bring out the best in people. That’s who you are and how you show up.

He said, “Young man, go to the board and work this problem out for me.” I said, “Sir, I can’t do that.” He said, “Why not?” I said, “I’m not one of your students.” He said, “Do what I’m asking you to do anyhow.” The other students started laughing and saying, “He’s Leslie. He’s got a twin brother, Wesley. Wesley is smart. He’s DT.” He asked, “What’s DT?” “He’s the Dumb Twin.” I said, “I am, sir.” As they laughed at me, he came from behind his desk and looked at me. He said, “Don’t you ever say that again. Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality. Do you hear me?” I said, “Yes, sir.”

The program that you host does something for people. How people live their lives is a result of the story they believe about themselves. What you do in promoting people discovering their why, you distract, dispute and inspire. You distract them from their current self-explanatory style as psychologists would call. Through your guests and conversations, you dismantle their belief system on how they see themselves and how they are showing up in life. You give them the courage to ignite a spirit of becoming an active force in their lives, to take their lives in another direction, to live a life that has meaning and purpose, and a life that will outlive them. Thank you for how you show up.

Thank you. When you were in high school, you had a label. How did you remove that label from yourself? How long did that take? What was that like for you?

It’s an ongoing process. Even now, I don’t think that you just have a moment, and you’re able to disrupt the things that you have embraced about yourself. As you are aware, we learn from conversations, observations, experiences and circumstances that we have. I came along during a time when they had signs on Miami Beach, “Jews, dogs and coloreds, not allowed.” There were places on Miami Beach where I couldn’t go that a dog could go. That’s a dominant culture that’s designed to destroy a person’s sense of self.

BYW S4 11 | Developing Greatness
Ignite the Hunger in You: How to Develop Your Greatness and Ignite Humanity

That’s an ongoing process. What I learned from going to work with my mother, and she worked for wealthy families on Miami Beach is what you listen to, you turn into. She worked for this wealthy family, the Swiderski family. Mr. Swiderski, I had to clean his office. He listened to motivational messages regularly. Zig Ziglar, “If you give enough people what they want, they will give you what you want.” Earl Nightingale, “You don’t get in life what you want. You get in life what you are.” Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, “You have something special. Don’t allow negative thoughts to dominate your life. You must think positively.” By listening to those messages regularly, unbeknownst to me, it was interrupting my vision of myself. It gave me a vision of myself beyond my mental conditioning and circumstances. It created a hunger for more and to live a greater life outside of what society said that was available to me.

As you speak around the world and meet people that have transformed their lives, what part does personal growth play in the changes that you have seen in people around the world?

Personal growth is everything. There’s a quote that Bishop TD Jakes says, “Lord, don’t let my talents take me where my character can’t keep me.” It’s self-awareness, knowing who you are, and being willing to work on yourself continuously. That discovery process empowers you because life is full of disruptions. Things are going to happen that you never saw coming as what happened with the pandemic. We never saw this coming. It’s to be able to define yourself and don’t allow the disruptions of life and the things that happen to you to disrupt how you feel about yourself and how you see life.

There’s something that LC Robinson said, “Things may happen around you, and things may happen to you but the only things that count are the things that happen in you.” It’s being anchored in a mindset of mental resolve that, “This will not define me. It will refine me but it’s not going to define me.” I’m looking at this from the perspective of not, “Why did this happen to me?” but from the perspective of, “What do I do with this? Now the power is in my hands. How am I going to handle this?”

The self-awareness and the ongoing process of working on yourself are meaningful. Abraham Lincoln said, “If I had six hours to chop a tree down, I’ll spend four hours sharpening my ax.” That’s what people have to do. The divorce rate is up 40%. The suicide rate has increased dramatically. Unexplained violence is taking place all over the country. Millions of people have been told, “You don’t have to come to work. You can do it from home.” They then say, “It’s safe now. You can come to work.” People say, “I don’t know if I want to do that anymore,” because they had time to rethink their lives.

We’re going through a place where people are reflecting and making decisions. We make decisions and our decisions make us. That’s different from what we have been able to see in the past. We have a culture that trains and educates people to be employees. Now, there are people saying, “I want to be my own boss, control my destiny, and live life on my terms.” This place where we are is very special.

That’s a good way to put it. Let’s keep going. You are now a young boy, and you have learned about personal growth. How did that translate into the changes that you made in your life? How did that take place?

Define yourself and don't allow the disruptions of life and the things that happen to you to disrupt how you feel about yourself and how you see life. Click To Tweet

What it caused me to do is to continue to pursue listening to messages that would empower me and inspire me, that expand my vision of what’s possible in my life in spite of being in a culture that demonizes you, works to destroy your sense of self, and dismiss you. It helped to fortify my drive and hunger to want to live a larger life beyond my mental conditioning, and the circumstances where I found myself. It’s that process and I’m still engaged in it. I believe you’re never too old to learn and you’re never too young to teach. I’m always learning and studying.

I left on my telephone a message for people who call me. There are people who call to hear what the message will be and it’s, “Most people have dreams and goals that die between two thieves, regret of the past and fear of the future.” You have a gift. Don’t let the regrets of the past, the mistakes that you have made in the past, the things that you have gone through, the fear of failure, and the fear of what’s going on rob you of why you were here and the work that you are supposed to do.

What were you like in high school? Where did that take you in your life to get into speaking? You have been speaking for how many years?

Fifty-two years. That’s before you were born. I thought of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Abbott, Malcolm X, and Billy Graham speaking to people in a big stadium. I was fascinated with their oratorical skills. My high school teacher, Mr. LeRoy Washington, was a Speech and Drama teacher and he was awesome, “You have something special. You have greatness in you. You have the ability to do more than you can even begin to imagine. You can make your school proud. Booker T Washington High School is not the largest but the best. You can make your family proud.”

I remember following him after school after he gave a speech and I said, “Mr. Washington, I heard your speech.” He said, “Aren’t you in the eleventh grade? I said, “Yes, sir.” “That was for the seniors.” I said, “I know but I heard your voice and I felt like you were talking to me. I came and stood in the back and listened. You said that we have something special and great in us. Do I have greatness in me?” He said, “Yes.” I say, “How do you explain the fact that I have to go to summer school every year, that I have been labeled educable mentally retarded, and my twin brother gets As and Bs. I have never gotten that. He has been on the honor roll. That has never happened for me.”

He said, “Mr. Brown, your grades don’t determine who you are. It just means that you have to work harder.” When he turned to walk away, I said, “Sir, I want to make my mother proud. I want to buy my mother a home. You said that if one person heard you that you’re being brought here from Stuart, Florida to Miami in Liberty City, you being brought here would not have been in vain.” He said, “Yes.” I said, “I’m the one, sir. I heard you. I’m going to use what you said.” He said, “It’s possible, young man.” He turned to walk away.

I said, “Don’t forget me. My name is Leslie Brown. I’m Mamie’s boy. One day, you’re going to hear my name. I’m the one. You touched me. When you spoke, you spoke to my heart.” That journey and that transformative experience created an opening in my mind that it was possible, that I didn’t have to die on the streets of Liberty City in Overtown in a violent and drug-infested poverty area. I can see the world before I leave the world, and that I can make some choices that will liberate me to become a person of substance and live a life of impact and live a life that’s counted.

BYW S4 11 | Developing Greatness
Developing Greatness: The self-awareness and the ongoing process of working on yourself are meaningful.

Do you have any idea of how many speeches and presentations you have given?

No. I gave a speech that a lot of people love called It’s Not Over Until You Win in the Georgia Dome, which no longer exists. It was before 80,000 people. I don’t even remember giving the speech because I was so afraid. I went to the bathroom about 6 to 7 times. They had to get me out of there. I said, “Have you looked out there?” No, I don’t. I have been doing it for so long. I enjoy doing it virtually now. We have gone from brick-and-mortar to click-and-order. I’m training people how to take their story, knowledge, and skills, and how to train others and do it virtually in front of the computer like how we’re speaking now.

I do miss speaking on stage but not that much. I enjoy speaking in front of the computer because I know how to connect with people in front of them or in front of the computer. That’s what I now specialize in. I don’t have to get on an airplane and fly from city to city or country to country, and be able to create an experience. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Once a man’s mind has been expanded with an idea of concept or experience, it can never be satisfied to going back to where it was.”

I have listened to many of your speeches and worked out many times listening to you. I am enthralled with the way you tell stories and speak. How did you learn to do that? When did you learn to do that? What is it that you’re actually doing so that I know what it is?

Let me say how I learned. I had a coach. Mike Williams wrote a book called The Road to Your Best Stuff. He has an addition to that, The Road to Your Best Stuff 2.0. I saw him speak and I admired his style of speaking, how he had the audience on the edge of their seats, and how to have them laughing and the next moment crying. I went to him and said, “Can you teach me how to do that?” He said, “I could teach you how to do better than that.” That’s how I got here. He’s still my coach to this day. The other thing is that when you love something and see it as your calling, a job is what you get paid for. A calling is what you’re made for.

I talked to a young man and I said, “What are you doing?” He told me that he was in IT. I asked him, “What are you living to do?” He thought for a moment and said, “I love to help people.” I said, “Do you find yourself doing that in what you are now doing?” He said, “Not to the extent that I want.” I said, “You ought to create that for yourself before you leave here. We don’t know how much time we have left.” He said, “I got to pay the bills.” I said, “We’ll figure out how you can pay the bills and build a life that’s you. Life is short and unpredictable.”

If there’s anything we learned from this pandemic, people are rethinking their lives. Life is fragile. Over 700,000 people are out of here. You owe it to yourself and your family to do something that’s you and that you love so much that you do it for nothing, but you do it so well that people will pay you to do it. I said, “That’s how I got into this.” I volunteered. I gave free speeches for a long time to learn how to do what I was doing. I invested in myself. Warren Buffett said, “The most important investment you can make is in yourself.” Here’s a guy who has billions of dollars in real estate and the stock market but he said, “In yourself.”

Most people have dreams and goals that die between two thieves - regret of the past and fear of the future. Click To Tweet

He said, “The most important tool that you need if you’re going to build a business or be a voice of influence who could make an impact on the planet, you got to be a communicator. If you can’t communicate, that is like being in a dark room with a beautiful woman and wink, nothing happens.” Steve Jobs said, “The storyteller is the most powerful person in the world.” It sets the agenda. The storyteller creates the vision, determines how people see themselves, and creates the thirst for what you want to do.

When I came into the industry, for the most part, everybody was giving information from Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I believe that if the information could change people, everybody would be skinny, rich and happy. Studies indicate that when you give information, that impacts two areas of the brain. When you provide a story, and I use stories, that impact five areas of the brain. That expands a person’s vision of themselves, touch their hearts because we are emotional people, and ignite their courage in them to do something different with their lives.

I was going to ask you this question. Do you consider yourself a speaker, a motivator, a storyteller, or all of those? How would you define if you could what you do?

I aspire to inspire until I expire. I told my kids, “If they told you that I die, tell them don’t embalm me for three days, and then sneak down to the bog and put a microphone in my hand. If I don’t grab it and say, ‘You got to be hungry,’ you say, ‘Dad’s gone now.’” I’m Mrs. Mamie Brown’s baby boy but I got a new narrative. I sing this song, “I’ve got two mothers and I’m not ashamed. I’ve got two mothers and I love them just the same.”

What’s the secret to telling a good story? That is your specialty, for sure. I listened to you waiting for the story. I have even heard this story before and I still enjoy the story more the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th time. How do you do that?

You experience the story continuously. Ladies and gentlemen, I was on a program with a gentleman who has committed his life to helping people to change their lives. His name is Gary, and his name in itself conjures some thoughts about this thing called life. Number one, you got to have a goal-centered life. People who aim at nothing in life end up hitting nothing dead on the head. He has a goal of helping people to discover their why. When the tough times come, and they’re going to come, their why and reason for being will be their rod and staff to comfort them.

The A in his name is for accountability partners. You got to have some people around you that are going in your direction and people that have goals and dreams that they’re working on and will hold you accountable. People who have accountability partners have a 40% greater chance of reaching their goals than people who don’t. The next thing about his name is the R stands for Relationships. You don’t want to do this thing called life by yourself.

BYW S4 11 | Developing Greatness
Developing Greatness: You’ve got to have a goal to light people who aim at nothing in life and end up hitting nothing dead on the head.

As the Academy Award-Winner Sidney Poitier said, “When you go for a walk with someone, something happens. Either you adjust to their pace or they adjust to your pace.” Whose pace have you adjusted to? Look at the relationships in your life. As Jim Rohn said, “Ask yourself the question, ‘What am I becoming because of this relationship?’” Am I growing? Am I becoming a better person and a better father? Am I growing mentally, spiritually, and financially? What kind of impact that to some people, if you never saw again, it would be too soon?

The Y in his name stands for Yes. Eighty-five percent of people look at their goals and dreams that will allow them to live a different kind of life. They say no to themselves because they have been conditioned to suffer from the possibility-blindness. For Gary, the reason that he does this program is to inspire you to say yes, to encourage you to believe in the possibilities that you can do it, and know that you will have to fail your way through success but you have it within you. Say yes to your dream, to your life, and to a brighter future. I call it the Gary factor. He’s a bad boy up in here.

I know you used my name but take us through what you did there so that we can understand how you did that. What was that? You used my name but what were you thinking about as you were off the cuff?

The speakers speak. When you get coaching on how to do anything, it creates and develops your intuitive skill and gift that’s lying dormant within you. It takes you to a place in yourself where most people who won’t put in the time, focus and effort will never discover that part of themselves. It’s lying there dormant. I’ve got three brothers. They don’t live like I live because they haven’t put in the focus, time, and effort to develop this part of themselves.

I was shocked to find out that my birth mother was a motivational speaker. My grandmother, Beulah Rucker, have the Beulah Rucker Museum in Gainesville, Georgia. She was a motivational speaker but I didn’t know them but because I put in the time, I was willing to invest in myself, because I saw something that caught my eye like this program that you are doing. You could have done a lot of programs but there was something about this and knowing your why.

I think about Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. He talked about the Jews that survived the inexpressible cruelties of slavery. Either they had some loved one that they were determined to see, or they had some cause that they believed in or some spiritual commitment and level of reason that fortified their resolve to survive. When we find something that resonates with who we are and something that we love, it’s just you.

When I think about speaking I have the, “Can’t help it.” I can’t help it. I talk in my sleep. You do this problem. You have a lot of other choices. It’s you. Most people die an unlived life. Most people who die at age 25, don’t get better at 65. They are living a misplaced life that’s not them just to pay the bills and survive. What it takes to survive and what it takes to thrive are two different things.

When you get coaching on how to do anything, it creates and develops your intuitive skill and gift that’s lying dormant within you. Click To Tweet

You have said, “I’m getting out of line. I’m not following the followers. I want to do something different with my life. I want my life to count. I want to make an impact.” I believe what Horace Mann said, “We should be ashamed to die until we’ve made some major contribution to humankind.” I’m going to have a program that will allow me to make a major contribution. You have studied. You are willing to learn. If you’re not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you’re willing to learn, no one can stop you.

I’m with you. I did thousands of why discoveries for free before I started to see what I see now.

You can see things that other people can’t see.

When you talk about connecting, you said, “I can connect to people, whether it’s on stage, on the phone, or on Zoom online.” How do you connect to people? What is that secret you have? I don’t know what it is but I feel it. How do you do that?

You do know what it is. I speak from my heart. Stories touch the heart. Information fills the brain. When you have a heart-centered message, people experience that. You create an experience. Words that are spoken from the heart enter the heart. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Once a man or woman’s mind has been expanded with an idea, concept or experience, it can never be satisfied to going back to where it was.” When you tell a story about something that touched your heart, something that you’ve experienced, or something that you saw or heard, get them out. I heard a young man say on the elevator. He looked at a lady that was being wheeled in a wheelchair and said to her, “Happy Thanksgiving.”

He didn’t know her or me. He was pushing the wheelchair to a gate. That touched me. It’s a random act of kindness. He could have stood there silently like the rest of us but he said, “Have a nice Thanksgiving.” She smiled. I’m reminded of a man who jumped off the San Francisco Bridge but he survived. They asked him, “Why did you want to kill yourself?” He said, “I didn’t want to kill myself but I was going through so much pain in life. I went out for a walk and said that if anybody looks at me and says something kind or smiles, I won’t kill myself. No one did. The moment I let go, I knew I had made a mistake.”

Had that gentleman who stood by me had seen that young guy that day, he would have seen a smile and said, “It’s good to see you.” When he asked the lady how her Thanksgiving was going to be, I chimed in too. We have to create not just viruses of fear but also viruses of love, peace and harmony where we recognize our humanity, connectedness and being willing to, “Reach out and touch somebody’s hand. Make the world a better place if you can.”

BYW S4 11 | Developing Greatness
Developing Greatness: 85% of people look at their goals and dreams that will allow them to live a different kind of life. They say no to themselves because they’ve been conditioned to suffer from possibility blindness.

I have heard you say that many times but tell us about being hungry, “You got to be hungry.” Your book is about that.

Ignite the Hunger is about people who have gone through things, people who had major setbacks, abused, denied, stepped on, and treated unfairly. It’s about the power of the human spirit. Something happens at a defining moment that they came to know that what they were going through, they would get through. In each chapter and each author, when people read the book, it’s not just a read. It’s an experience and it’s needed now more than ever before because people are going through a tough time. I have a son who is bipolar and has schizophrenia. He’s out of control. He hasn’t taken this medication. That’s a challenging experience.

You realize that there are some things you can control and can’t control. There are some people, even your grown children. You have to love from a distance. I have received the first Cancer Centers’ Award of Excellence of Perseverance. I received that award as if life says, “Mr. Perseverance, here’s something that you can’t control. How are you going to handle this? You motivate people around the world but you can’t control and make your son take his medication.” Has it been challenging? Yes, absolutely. I don’t care how old your children become. They’re still your children. You have to learn how to handle that, how to process that, and how to discipline and manage your thinking around that.

Shakespeare said, “Nothing is neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so.” I had to put myself back as an observer. I don’t get to weigh in on telling a grown person, “You need to do this.” If they choose not to do it, there’s nothing I can do about that. What I can do so that I don’t deplete the white blood cells that are available to protect my immune system and continue to beat stage-4 cancer is to find a sense of peace within and say, “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, I can change how I respond to this, and the wisdom to know the difference as opposed to being stressed out of my mind.” That does not serve me and that does not help him.

Does that create a hunger in you?

Yes. We are going to experience challenges in life. My favorite book says, “Think it not strange that you have faced the fiery furnaces of this world.” You will, not might. You will have tribulations. Forrest Gump had a point, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” What we know is that we have built-in power, authority, and dominion to handle whatever life throws at us. I have an affirmation that I read every morning, “Lord, whatever I face today, together, you and I can handle it.”

All things work together for good for those who love God and for those who are called according to his purpose. They say, “All things will be good or all things will feel good but it will work together for good.” I say, “Lord, help me to hold on so I can find the good.” I feel like Mother Teresa who said, “Lord, I know you know how much I can bear. I just wish you didn’t have so much confidence in me.”

Once a man’s or a woman's mind has been expanded with an idea, a concept, or an experience, it can never be satisfied to going back to where it was. Click To Tweet

What is next for you? You’ve got your book coming out. You’re working with people to help them tell their stories online and in person. You’re very young. For those of you that can’t see Les and you’re just reading, he looks about 45 years old. This 77, I’m not sure if I’m buying that. You’ve got a lot left to give.

It’s coaching people and teaching them what I have learned. Being on the planet for 77 years, I feel like I served at the Lord’s Supper. I used to think people in their 40s were old, then I woke up one morning and said, “I’m 77. Who does this?” I would like people to reach out to me at and also go to It’s teaching people how to live a life of meaning and significance. Your life is a gift and how to develop that gift. We have talents, abilities, skills and ideas in us to help people rob the cemetery of their gifts, live full and die empty. That’s what I want to do. I don’t want to work with everybody, just a few people.

They say I have the Midas touch because I don’t touch everything. It’s about working with people who want to invest in themselves and bring out the greatness in them in 2022. People have a story that they want to tell you. Maya Angelou said, “There’s nothing as painful as an untold story buried in your soul.” Help people to tell that story because that story that you’re sitting on, somebody is waiting on. Help them get it out and be able to make an impact, to be a voice of influence, to promote their business or to help them live a life that they can feel proud of. That’s what I’m about. That’s where my focus is, and that keeps me young.

When you talked about telling a story, you said that you’ve got to speak from the heart. How do you teach people to speak from the heart? What does that mean?

I want to ask you a question. When you were coming up, there’s somebody you saw when you’re around 5 or 6 that you admire and wanted to be like. They made you feel safe and good about yourself, who is that person?

It would have to be my dad.

What’s your father’s name?

BYW S4 11 | Developing Greatness
Developing Greatness: We have the talents, abilities, skills, and ideas to help people rob the cemetery of their gifts, live full, and die empty.

Robert or Bob.

What’s the first quality that you liked about Bob and admired about him?

I’m going to say resolve.

Give me an example.

What he wanted to do, he would stick with it until he accomplished it.

“Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Gary. We’re living in a time where lives have been disrupted. I want to share with you my hero, Bob. Bob to me, stands for Believe in yourself, being Open to the possibilities, and be Bold about life. My father is a man that had deep resolve. If there’s something that he wanted to do, he set out to do it. When I think about me, I realize how much he influenced me. I remember as a kid as I watched him, he was my hero. We had Batman, Superman, and everybody else but my hero’s name is Bob. He’s a man’s man and I want to be like him.”

That’s something from your heart. That’s not something you read in Think and Grow Rich. When you talk about Bob, you went to your heart, you got still, you had that faith. Who is that person? Bob is the person that’s special to you. When you tell a story from your heart about Bob and the other things that you learn from him, people can tell if it’s from your head or some script that you had memorized, and you’re coming in to do an information dump. They can tell if this is a person that means something to you and the story that you’re sharing. They can tell and feel it. People will feel your energy. That’s how I teach people to speak. You have to have a heart-centered speech. It’s something that’s in your heart.

It’s very important to have people around you that will believe in you until your belief kicks in. Click To Tweet

I think about myself when I speak at events. There’s a bit of fear in speaking from the heart because it gets too emotional and uncomfortable. It gets to where you almost feel like you’re going to have tears or something like that. It’s a fear to go there.

You pull yourself back because the microphone on the stage is not a place for therapy. I have made the mistake of doing that and I learned. You always want to know where you can go with a story. It’s not about you. It’s about the audience. The audience is asking three questions when you give a speech, “Who are you, Gary? What do you have for me? Why should I care?”

When you give a speech from that place, “I’m sharing with you about my father, Bob and his resolve. Do you know what I know? For us to make it in and out of the pandemic, it requires a level of mental resolve and faith. Faith not tested can’t be trusted. I know that you must believe in yourself. My father was an example of that. Here’s what I know. As you look at yourself and at that man or woman in the mirror when you get up in the morning, I want you to know you’ve got greatness looking back at you. I want you to know that when you believe in yourself, when you’re open to the possibilities, and when you believe that I have the faith that I’m going to make it no matter what I’m saying to you, ‘Life is on your side.’ Angels are activated and saying, ‘We got to go down there and help this one here. They got that energy of Bob. This one here won’t stop.’”

I noticed that you add a lot of humor when you speak.

When people laugh, that shuts the mind down. I use laughter and teach my speakers how to use laughter so that when people laugh, their minds close down but their hearts open up. You then come back with a powerful statement. When you get in the heart, they can’t get you out of there. Now you can work on it. Humor is very important. It’s a lubricant that allows you to handle this thing called life. It’s medicine for the soul.

This crossed my mind when you were talking earlier, and I would love to know what this felt like. You have spoken at many different size events, right now to 80,000 people. What was that like? How was it different to speak in front of 80,000 people? Was it any different?

It was very different. It was frightening but you allow your fear to drive you. It’s very important to have somebody around you who believes in you until your belief kicks in. I was frightened up to the moment they handed me the microphone. My mentor, Mike Williams said, “Brownie, you got this. I said, “Do I, Mike?” “Everything that you have gone through has prepared you for this, Brownie. Make your mother proud. She will get a chance to see this. Make her proud today.” “Thank you, Mike. Give me the microphone, sir.”

BYW S4 11 | Developing Greatness
Developing Greatness: You don’t want to be just a presenter because it goes in one ear and out of the other. You want people to experience what you’re saying to them.

It’s very important to have people around you that will believe in you until your belief kicks in. Fortunately, for me, Mike Williams spoke to me. I believe him and I went out there. If people watch Les Brown speaking in the Georgia Dome, they will say, “He has made me Brown’s boy. He’s got it good up in here.” I don’t remember giving the speech. I have only watched about 5 or 10 minutes of it because I’m very critical of myself. People say that it has been viewed by millions of people around the world and it has changed their lives.

When you are getting ready to go on stage and speak to an audience, how do you prepare yourself?

I have a needs assessment that I sent out to clients. That’s what separates me from other speakers. I train speakers and say to them, “Don’t let what you want to say get in the way of what your audience needs to hear.” I ask them a series of questions, “Who have you had in the past? What worked? What did not work? What’s the unspoken conversation? What is it that you want me to provide so that when they leave here, it will make you look good? They will feel better about themselves. They will be motivated and inspired to take their performance to the next level.”

I conduct communications intelligence, asking them questions, and then I incorporate that in the experience that I create on the stage, having in there the things they told me that they want and the reason they brought me in. It’s not just a presentation to entertain them but to empower them, to impact their bottom line, to increase their sales, and to cause them to say to themselves, “I can do more, “Simba, you are more than that which you have become.” They know that to be so.

I hear you say this word a lot and it’s making me think. You talk a lot about the experience. It’s not the presentation or the story. It’s the experience. Tell us what that means to you.

You don’t want to be just a presenter because it goes in one ear and out of the other. You want to experience what you’re saying to them. Each time you tell the story, you want to tell it with the same passion, power and energy. That gets fresh like you’re telling it for the first time. There are people who have heard me tell the story about how I became a disc jockey. They brought me in and said, “Don’t forget to tell the story of how you became a disc jockey.” Why? It’s because they love that story. It took them to a place in themselves that they could not go by themselves. They want to hear that story again, so I tell that story each time like I’m telling it for the first time.

I’m experiencing rejection. I’m experiencing walking back and forth, looking at Rockin’ Roger who was drinking and could not complete his show. I’m saying, “Drink, Rock, drink.” I go there with the power of telling the story and experiencing the story. You cause the audience to take imaginative leaps. They come into the story. You created an opening so that your story becomes their story. You take them on the journey to another place within themselves that they have not figured out how to get there. The story provides the key to unlock and release what Elizabeth Browning would say, “The imprisoned splendor.” I encourage people to study. I study and read constantly even now.

Don’t let what you want to say get in the way of what your audience needs to hear. Click To Tweet

Have you got time to tell us that story?

No. I can’t go there. Let them go to the web. I’m going to send them the story because I have to get into that mindset.

I have heard it many times and I love it.

Reach out to me at I will send them a motivational message that will have that story. They can see it in action and love it.

I love this because you have shared with us what’s happening behind the scenes of what we’re experiencing upfront, which is super helpful for those of us that want to make a bigger impact and connect at a deeper and heartfelt level. It sounds good to say those things, but until we know what it is, how to do it, and see an example of it, it’s just another thing that we’re trying to do that we don’t know how to do.

It’s caring about the audience. Who you are behind the words is far more important than the words that you speak. Zig Ziglar said for years, “If you give enough people what they want, they will give you what you want.” That to me meant that if you give people your best, if you give from your heart, if you hold yourself to a higher standard, if you create an unforgettable experience and have people know that you care about them and you’re not treating them like a transaction, Theodore Roosevelt said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” they will give you what you want, referrals and business. You will have an incredible time in eCommerce in this time where we’ve gone from brick-and-mortar to click-and-order.

Les, if people want to connect with you, they want coaching from you and want more, what’s the best way for them to connect with you and buy your book? How can they do that?

They can get the book on Amazon. That’s number one. If they want one-on-one coaching, they can go to In our training program, we have They can go there and we have an ongoing process and a holistic approach of helping people get out of their heads and get into their greatness.

I have been looking forward to this for a long time. I’m so glad this finally came about because I wanted to connect. I know so many of your stories but I look forward to listening to them every single time. Thank you so much for being here. It has been a pleasure having you on.

Thank you for having me. I still feel a special connection with you. You’re my brother from another mother.

Thanks, Les.

I’ll give you a virtual hug.

It’s time for our last segment, and that is the Guess Their WHY. I want to pick somebody that everybody is familiar with from the Olympics, and that would be Simone Biles. If you’re a member, she lost her confidence. She did her routine and lost confidence in the middle of the air, and came down luckily on her feet. From then on, she decided she could not participate in the Olympics because something wasn’t right in her head. What do you think Simone Biles’ why is? I’ll tell you what it is. Her why is trust. It’s to create relationships based upon trust, to be the trusted source, and to be the one that others can count on.

People with the why of trust educate or develop themselves to extremely high levels quite often so that they can be the trusted source so that they can be the expert, so they can be the one. In her case, she lost trust in herself that she could find herself in the middle of the air and come down safely. I believe that her why is to create relationships based on trust. What do you think her why is? Let us know. If you have an opportunity, let us know what you think her why is.

I want to thank you for reading. This has been an awesome episode. I loved having Les Brown here. He’s one of my idols as far as a speaker. If you have not yet discovered your why, we have a special for those of you that read Les Brown’s episode. Go to You can take the WHY Discovery for free. You can discover your why for free in this episode only. If you love the Beyond Your WHY show, please don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you are using. Thank you so much. I will see you and be with you next episode.

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About Les Brown

We’ve all been through a lot recently and for most of us, it’s been hard to catch our breath before something else comes along. The one thing I know is that we are all more than what we’ve been through- but it can be tough to realize that truth in the midst of chaos.

If you are looking for solutions to quiet the noise in your mind and focus on improving your life on every level, you need coaching… and you need a community.

I’ve created the Coach Me, Les Brown community to help transform and elevate the individual and collective consciousness of those who are serious about living a life of purpose and passion- while making profits!

If you are hungry to live out your dreams- both in and out of the pandemic, I invite you to join our community as we do a deep dive into the actionable solutions needed for you to win now and in the future.


Contributing To The Success Of Others And Making A Positive Impact In The World With Dan Dominguez

BYW 3 | Contributing To Success

Dan Dominguez believes in the power of your why to make a difference in your organization. He exists to positively impact the lives of others. In this episode, he joins Dr. Gary Sanchez to share insights on contributing to other people’s success, making a positive impact in the world, thinking differently, and delivering solutions. Learn how you could change perspective, turn the complex and challenging into an opportunity to move forward and prosper in your organization.


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Contributing To The Success Of Others And Making A Positive Impact In The World With Dan Dominguez


If you’re a regular follower, you know that every episode, we talk about 1 of the 9 whys, and then we bring on somebody with that why, so you can see how their why has played out in their life. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the why of contribute. If this is your why, then you want to be part of a greater cause, something that is bigger than yourself. You don’t necessarily want to be the face of the cause, but you want to contribute to it in a meaningful way. You love to support others and you relish the success that contributes to the greater good of the team.

You see group victories as personal victories. You are often behind the scenes looking for ways to make the world better. You make a reliable and committed teammate, and you are often acting as the glue that holds everyone else together. You use your time, money, energy, resources and connections to add value to other people and organizations.

I’ve got a great guest for you. His name is Dan Dominguez. He exists to positively impact the lives of others. He does that by challenging the status quo and looking at things from a different perspective. What he brings is the ability to make sense of the complex and challenging to help others move forward faster.

Dan’s diverse background as an academic scholar, college mascot, Army Ranger, sales leader, marathon runner, track and field, cross-country coach, and Rotarian allows him to connect easily with almost anyone. He does that as the Chief Growth Officer here at the WHY Institute. Dan and his wife, Monica, are proud parents of their two daughters, Jazz and Sophia, along with 24 sheep, 4 dogs, and 3 chickens.

Welcome to the podcast, Dan.    

It’s great to be here, Gary.

This is going to be fun. I’ve been looking forward to this. Let’s start with telling everybody how you got to where you are now and how you got to the WHY Institute. Start back with your childhood because you’ve got a fascinating path that you took along the way.

It’s great to tell this story, Gary, especially from the perspective of my why, how and what. I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the South Valley. I went to Rio Grande High School. If you’re familiar with Albuquerque, the South Valley is more of the poor side of town. Even then, I remember always wanting to help people but always wanted to do things my own way. I was in the student council, but I was friends with all the game kids and I also played football. I wasn’t the kid that you could put into a group even in high school. I knew the football players and I knew the student council kids, but I also was an honor student. I graduated number nine in my class.

I was that kid that you couldn’t put in a box but I love to help. Where it comes from for me is I always had great teachers and mentors that took time to mentor me and help me. I grew up always wanting to give back. It led to me wanting to be in the Army. I remember when people said, “Why do you want to be in the Army? You have a full academic scholarship to the University of Mexico.” I said, “I feel like I want to give back because this country has been such a blessing for my family as immigrants. We’ve done so well to be able to do everything we’ve been able to do. I feel like I’ve got to give back.”

Here I was in the Army ROTC Program at the University of New Mexico, and then I had an extra semester that I had one class I had to take. I remember saying, “I’ve got to be here.” I tried out for the cheer team and I became the mascot. I am probably the only person in history to be the Commander of the ROTC unit at the university while at the same time being the college mascot.

There are many stories that make more sense now in my life since I know my why of contribute, my how of challenge, and my what of makes sense. Make sense gets me in trouble with my wife all the time because I want to solve problems. She’ll come to me with something and I say, “Here’s what you’ve got to do.” She says, “I don’t want a solution. I wanted you to listen.”

Take some time off to find something you really love whether you’re getting paid or not. Click To Tweet

It’s been a long journey. I went from graduating high school to going to the University of New Mexico and going into the Army. Even there, Gary, I was a Quartermaster Officer. The Quartermaster Officer in the Army is a logistician. There’s no reason for a logistician to go to Ranger School, except that it was offered and I did it. “Why do you want to go to Ranger School? You’re not in the Infantry and Combat Army.”

I was one of those rare people that was a Quartermaster and also an Airborne Ranger, which I had no use for those battle skills as a logistician, but it was nice for me to have that background because it gave me a great perspective of what the warriors on the ground were feeling when we weren’t getting supplies to them in time. I’ve always been an out-of-the-box thinker and wanting to contribute to people. It’s funny because when I have that introduction, people are like, “You did this but you did that also.” That happens all the time.

You left out a little piece in there, at least I think you did. Weren’t you more than just one mascot?

I did both, Gary. At the time, myself and a good friend, Raven Choni, were the mascots. We were Lucy and Louie Lobo, and we’re two guys. Usually, it was a guy and a girl, but there were both of us that did it. You never knew who was going to be in which costume. I did it for one semester. It was one of the best times I ever had being in that mascot costume with the little kids where they don’t know that there’s a teenage guy or a 22-year-old guy inside the suit. They think, “You’re Louie the Lobo.” They want to say hi, get your autograph, and take pictures with you. It was a blast.

I’ve been going to the Lobo basketball game since I was about four years old. When you were the mascot, I was back here watching the games. I had some good seats where Lobo Louie and Lucy used to come by all the time. I do specifically remember there was a time when all of a sudden, Lucy got taller. Now I know what happened. That was you.

That could have been, Gary. You never know.

You went from an interesting high school to going to UNM, leading the ROTC, being the mascot, going off to be in the Army, and then becoming a Ranger. How long were you in the service? What happened to you when you got out?

That was about an eleven-year journey between the ROTC time, and the time I was on active duty. I spent three years on active duty with the 3rd Armored Cav, and then I was in the Reserves again. It was a total of about eleven years. It was a time when junior military officers were valuable to Corporate America. I remember being in the Army, and coming from my background, I was making $34,000 a year. I thought I was the richest guy in the world. They were giving me all this money. After going through college and you’re poor all the time, I was like, “This is great.”

This was also 1993 when the job market wasn’t great. A lot of my friends are graduating and don’t have jobs. I had a job, I could buy a car and do all those things that you do when you get your first job. A recruiter comes talking to us and targets junior military officers and says, “We’ve got opportunities for junior military officers with your leadership to work in Corporate America.” I get recruited out of the Army. Immediately, they double your salary and you can make bonuses based on how much you sell as a salesperson. I’ve always loved sales.

It was almost a no-brainer because I remember talking to Monica about it and saying, “Here’s the decision we have to make. I can stay here for twenty years and I’ll have retirement and all this stuff. The travel is about 50%.” She said, “When you say 50%, will you be gone half the year?” I said, “No, maybe two overnights a week.”

She’s like, “That sounds a lot better than being gone half the year and deployed. When you travel, are you going to be sleeping on the ground outside?” I said, “They’re going to put us up in hotels.” She said, “That sounds better. Is anybody going to be shooting at you?” I said, “No, they won’t be shooting at me. What’s the decision here? It sounds like a good idea.”

I left active duty service and went to work for a pharmaceutical company. We launched a drug called Prilosec. At the time, it was new. Nobody knew about it, and it was dangerous because it had a black box warning. Now, it’s over the counter. It was cool to be with a company that launched a product that revolutionized the way people treated heartburn.

That led to me meeting people in the gastroenterology field and becoming a device sales rep. I started selling endoscopes to a gastroenterologist for a few years and then landed at Baxter Healthcare, where I stayed for seventeen years. I advanced there, leading small groups of salespeople, to leading an entire national sales force at a high level and meeting our numbers every year. I’m doing a job that I love because we are helping patients all the time.

BYW 3 | Contributing To Success
Contributing To Success: It’s not so much the challenges they’re having. It’s the contrast between knowing it now versus before they knew it. It’s a process.

How did you end up at the WHY Institute?

This is a lot of fun. I tell people these were the two things that changed my life. In 2019, you and I were at the Country Club right after the Ryder Cup and we were talking. It was in October and it was a Saturday. I had a toothache and I said, “Gary, can you get me in on Monday? I’ve got something wrong with one of my teeth.” You were nice and you said, “Yeah, Dan. Call the office, we’ll get you in, and we’ll get you looked at.”

At that time, I had also made a decision that I didn’t want to be at Baxter Healthcare anymore. I wanted to do something different. I didn’t know why, but I was no longer happy. I was about 30 pounds heavier than I am. I was stressed. My wife and my young daughter were stressed. I wasn’t enjoying work. I made a decision I was going to leave that.

You found out through the grapevine and through our friends. I sit down at the chair and you’re like, “Dan, I heard you’re leaving Baxter.” I said, “I left. I’m done. I’m not working there anymore.” You said, “What are you doing?” I said, “I don’t know. I’m going to take some time off to find something I love. Whatever I do next, it’s going to be something I would do whether I was getting paid or not.” You asked the question, which was great, “Dan, do you know your why?” I said, “No. What is that?”

You explained to me what the why was but more importantly, you sent it to my phone. You said, “Take five minutes.” I took five minutes and I discovered that my why was to contribute to the success of others. Back then, you were busy with dentistry, so you didn’t take me through my how and what. I went through your online course to discover my how and what. I even paid for it. I went on and did it. I said, “This is me. I’ve discovered my why, how and what.” All of a sudden, a lot of things made sense to me.

You asked me the question, “Dan, do you like to help people?” I said, “Yeah, doesn’t everybody?” Similar reaction to our friend, Jerry. You said, “No, not everyone does. There are eight other whys, and everybody is driven by their why and they do what they do.” Suddenly, I realized that’s why I was unhappy in my corporate role. I didn’t feel like I was making a difference in the lives of the people that I was leading because I didn’t have the freedom to do things my own way, and it didn’t make sense. When stuff doesn’t make sense to me, I’m not happy and I have dissonance. I decided to leave.

It’s funny, my friends were like, “You have no plan. You left.” I said, “I have a little bit of a plan.” I took my financial package, looked at it and said, “How long can I not work?” My financial advisor said, “You can do it for a couple of years, Dan, and then you’ve got to get back to work and start putting money back into your retirement.” That’s what I plan to do until I met with you. We went to lunch at the Chinese restaurant across the street from your old dental office and we talked about it.

You were smart. You used my wife to contribute to talk to me in my language. You didn’t say, “Dan, I’ve got this great opportunity for us to do amazing things that are better and different.” You said, “Dan, I need your help. We can use someone with your skills in sales at a high level to help us get the WHY Institute to where we want to go.” As soon as you said, “We need your help,” I raised my hand and I said, “What do I need to do? Let’s do it.” I showed up at your coach’s meeting that you had that same month at the Canyon Club. I get to meet a bunch of WHY coaches and I was bought in from then on.

For those of you that are reading, Dan’s why is contribute, which is what we’ve been talking about. He wants to help and he wants to be part of other people’s success. He wants to contribute in a meaningful way. His how is challenge, to do things differently, not follow the way everybody else goes, and beat to his own drum. His what is what he does has to make sense. You can hear his how of challenging the status quo and doing things his own way, coming through loud and clear. We had your why, how and what wrong first. Remember?

Yes. I wanted to be the right way. This was before we’ve done everything that we’ve done to make the WHY Discovery and the WHY.os more accurate. At that point, I did an online course where I listened to you and then I got to pick my how and what off a list. I said, “I’ve got to be a right way guy because I was in the military. Trust is important to me. I want to trust people.” That’s not how you pick your how and what.

You thought you were getting a Chief Growth Officer with a contribute right way of trust, which would have been a good fit for you because you’re a better way, clarify and simplify. When we started looking at it, the more you saw the way I worked, you were like, “There’s no way you’re right way. You don’t follow rules.”

We started even looking at the way we behave at the golf course. You said, “Dan, would you go to the golf course and play the holes randomly?” I’m like, “Yeah, I would. Why not? That’s fun. You don’t know which hole you’re going to.” We realized that my how was more challenging the status quo. There were many things in my life that pointed to, “Dan, you like to do things your own way. If it’s something people aren’t expecting it, you’re more than likely to do it because that’s how we get things done and that’s how we contribute.”

I remember specifically being on the tee box in the first hole and I’m like, “Dan, how are you going to play this hole?” You’re like, “I’m going to hit it over there.” I’m like, “What do you mean you’re going to hit it over there? Are you aiming somewhere?” You’re like, “No. I want to get there. Wherever it is, that’s where I’ll play it.” I’m like, “I never thought of that. That’s the right way?”

Ask the right questions and make wise decisions. Contribute to the success of others in the most meaningful way. Click To Tweet

I’ve done why interviews with hundreds of people. I’ve helped many people discover their why, how, and what, and there’s no way I could be right way. You hit it and then you will find it and then figure out what happens. Let’s have some fun with it. It’s fun to play completely differently every single time. That’s why I’ll never be a single-digit handicap or at least not consistently because I can go from a 73 one day to a 95 the next depending on the breaks I get because I’ll take chances that others probably wouldn’t.

It was interesting when we both realized that. I was buying into the whole right way thing because of your military and whatnot. As we started to look back, I said, “How did any of that path that you were on make any sense to a right way person?” Who’s going to go from boxer, to football, to ROTC, to mascot, to Army, to Ranger, to all the steps that you’ve done along the way? How does that fit together? When we realized it’s a different way to think, then it became so clear and you’ve gotten to live into that. Now, you have fun with it and you understand it. What was that like for you when you had it the way you wanted it versus when it was right?

The conflict, and you remember probably, was as a right way person, there were certain things you were expecting Dan to do. Then Dan probably showed up on time half of the time. He’s always running late because he’s doing something helping someone trying to do something extra. I wasn’t able to come up with the processes and systems and build them because that’s not my strength. I’ll be creative. I’m a connector. As a contributor challenge, I love to connect with people of all different walks of life. That’s why I talk in my bio about the fact that I’ve got such a diverse background. It’s hard for me to meet someone that I don’t have something in common with.

If you say college mascot, “He’s got nothing.” “By the way, I was in the military.” If you say, “You were in the military. What do you do?” “I was a Quartermaster.” “You don’t know anything about combat.” “By the way, I was a Ranger.” “How did you do that?” It always comes back to that. I was feeling like I was letting you down because you’d say, “Dan, did you get all that codified so we could repeat it?” I was like, “No, I didn’t do that. Let me try to work on it.” I’d sit down and five minutes later, something else would come up and I’d go work on that. You and I would meet a week later and that wasn’t done. I knew that I was in conflict trying to be right way.

Once you said, “Dan, your strong point is to do it your own way, be different, and bring us all those ideas.” I love our pairing because, as a challenge, I come up with lots of ideas. As a better way, you can call those down to the good ones. For a challenged person to have a better way around to help them get rid of those crazy ideas, the bad ones, and take the ones that are better and implement them. We’ve had a lot of fun with a lot of ideas that we’ve come up with within the nineteen months we’ve been working together.

You discovered your why, how and what, and then you had a revelation about why you left the corporate world. What was that revelation?

There were a couple of things, Gary. First, as a contributor, I want to help people. I was lucky that at Baxter where I spent the majority of my corporate career, I had bosses that were always good at allowing me to do my job my own way. It was always like, “Dan, here’s the quota. Here’s the timeline you’ve got to do. Lead your team. Don’t break the law. See you at the end of the year and let’s celebrate.” Those are good bumpers for me.

I then went into a situation where we changed leadership. There was nothing wrong with the new leader, he just had a different way that he wanted to do things. He was more of a, “Let’s do it my way. If you don’t do it my way, we’re not going to get along well.” When you put those barriers on a person who wants to help others at any cost, wants to do it his own way and it has to make sense, it was in conflict with my WHY.os. I suddenly started not having fun. I had the whole country. Where do you think I would want to have a meeting if it was December? I’d want to go to Florida, “Let’s go to Florida. Let’s go to Phoenix.” That’s where I bring my teams in, and we’d have our December or our January meeting.

Now, I was like, “We’re going to have our meetings in Chicago because that’s where our headquarters is. We save on hotel and flights.” Who wants to go to Chicago in December? Not me and neither do any of my team. All of a sudden, my autonomy and my ability to do things my own way were gone, and it didn’t make any sense. I’m like, “If you’re going to tell me exactly how to do everything, why don’t you tell the people that you’re telling me to tell how to do things and then you can get rid of the middleman?”

I took myself out of that loop and said, “I don’t want to do that again.” It was great that I met with you. I remember it was October 21st, 2019 that I discovered my why, and my official last day at Baxter was October 19. It was serendipitous and then we had those great conversations. I got to meet some of the coaches that we work with and learn from them. I still keep in touch with them.

Let’s talk about this concept of bumpers because that came from you when we talk about somebody that has a challenge in their WHY.os. For those of you that are not intimately familiar with it, Dan wants to help, but he wants to do it his own way. You can’t tell him how you want it done because he’s going to find his own way to do it anyways. Tell us about this concept of bumpers because this came from a conversation you and I were having when we were struggling a little bit with saying, “How do we keep you on course?” It dawned on me and I said, “He was in the military. How did they keep him on course?”

The concept of bumpers for anybody, if your child or somebody you work with has a challenge in their why, how or what, you’ve got to understand that for us, tell us where the boundaries are then give us room to play. Don’t tell us exactly how to do it. Tell us what needs to get done, what are the rules, and then let us play. Then we’ll have some fun.

BYW 3 | Contributing To Success

Contributing To Success: We don’t lie about what we do. We just highlight what appeals to you based on your why.I posted about my WHY.os day. My Friday was I woke up at 4:00 in the morning and I was on my computer answering emails. I set some appointments with clients. I work until 6:00 in the morning, then I had chaos going on because Sophia and Monica wake up. I have to get them out the door. They have from 6:00 to 7:00 to get ready. I spend family time with them from 6:00 to 7:00. I then had a golf tournament. I went and played golf tournament for about four hours and then I had some meetings.

I also had to meet with Sophia’s principal at school. I went to the school and I set up my computer at their school in a room that they allowed me to borrow. I did some appointments and I sent out some more emails. I did some more communication with clients. I then met with the principal. I had coffee with Monica. We picked up Sophia from test practice and then we went to dinner.

If you’re somebody who’s right way, that probably sounds like chaos to you. For me, it was so nice to say, “All I need is a flat surface and an internet connection. I can do my work from my car. I can do it from the office. We have a great office here at the WHY Institute, so I can go there and do it or I can do it from my home office.”

At the end of the day, what does Gary want? What do you want from your Chief Growth Officer? “Dan, let’s go make connections with people that want to join the WHY Institute. Let’s share our message. Let’s grow this business so we can help a billion people discover their why.” What does that feed? That feeds my why of contribute.

When I see what a difference knowing my WHY.os made for me, I want to give that to everyone I can. The best way we do that is to get amazing coaches like the ones we’ve got in our first 97 to 100 that we’re getting to help us get to 1,000 coaches and get us to thousands of coaches, so we can help the world know their why because it makes such a difference.

As you’re having the opportunity to talk to coaches around the world, what are some of the challenges that you’re seeing they’re having in helping people discover their why? They’re talking about the concept of why but what’s it like for them? What are you hearing when it comes to discovering somebody’s why?

It’s not so much the challenges they’re having. It’s the contrast between knowing it now versus before they knew it. I got off the phone with one of our newest coaches, Bill Summers, in Texas and he said, “Dan, I’m using the why, how and what as a framework for everything that I do.” He’s writing a new book and he’s organizing his chapters that way with his co-authors, “Tell us why you do what you do. Tell us how you do it and tell us what you bring.” That’s what’s nice about this process. What coaches tell me is when I know the why, how and what of my client, I can plan my coaching around their why, how and what.

For example, if you’re coaching Dan, you don’t want to give Dan a step-by-step, “This is what you’ve got to do every day,” plan. He’s probably not going to do it. If you tell Dan, “This is how you can help people. This is how you can do it your own way. These are the only rules you’ve got to follow. Do it your way. Does that make sense to you?” “Explain it to me.” Then you’re going to have a great client that’s going to be happy because you’re talking to me in my language. That’s what they find gratifying about learning their client’s why because they can talk to them in their language.

It’s what we call the platinum rule. Don’t talk to people the way you want to talk to them. You can talk to them about a better way, clarify and simplify. If their contribute challenge makes sense, you’re going to talk to them like you did to me, “Dan, I need your help.” “I’m not going to tell you how this is better. Let me tell you how this is going to help a billion people.” When you talk to me about that stuff, I was bought in. It’s the unfair advantage of helping people by talking to them. It’s not about lying about your product. We don’t lie about what we do. We highlight what appeals to you based on your why.

If they only spoke Spanish and you only spoke English, it would be tough to communicate. Imagine being in a country where you don’t speak the language, and maybe you had that experience when you were in the Army. You run into that one person that speaks English and you’re like, “It’s nice to talk to you. I can get something accomplished here because we speak the same language.” Has that ever happened to you?

That happens all the time. This is some stuff we talk about. I have found that when we share our top 3 of the 9 whys as our WHY.os, I have amazing conversations with people. For example, if I meet a fellow contribute, we talk the same language, so we tend to have a good conversation. If I meet a contribute challenge, then we have an even better conversation. It’s like we’ve been friends forever. If I meet somebody whose contribute challenge makes sense, we’re finishing each other’s sentences. It makes so much sense that we connect.

Alex, who’s a mutual friend of ours, got the same top three as me in a different order. I would have never thought that we would get along so great from looking at us. He’s an attorney and he’s a tall, athletic guy. He walks around like he owns the place. He’s different because his why is challenge. When I met him, I didn’t know what to think of him and I didn’t know that I would get along with him, but his contribute is strong. It shows in his work as a personal injury attorney.

When we worked with him to get to his WHY.os, I realized he cares about people, but because he leads with challenge, it doesn’t come across right away. The more I got to know him, the more we got along. When we figured out his entire WHY.os, we have the same top three in a different order. We clicked. We hang out and text each other all the time. We have a good time because we think alike. That’s a key factor that I’m sure our coaches are finding. When they talk to people who have similar whys, they get along great.

The challenge is to think differently and not to follow the way everybody else beats their drums. Click To Tweet

What was it like selling for seventeen years without knowing somebody’s WHY.os and now selling and connecting with people when you do know their WHY.os?

It is a completely different world, Gary. If I had this tool when I was in the Army to know my soldiers better, it would have been extremely helpful, but definitely in sales. It is nice to be able to present to someone in a language that they understand and they are listening for. In sales, especially working for a Fortune 100 company where we have a huge marketing program, everything we put out has to appeal to everyone. You’re throwing stuff against the wall and you hope something appeals to them.

When you know their WHY.os, you talk to them in what you know is going to appeal to them. This is what’s important to them. It doesn’t matter why it is. At WHY Institute, we found a better way to help people discover their why. It’s a clear way and it’s simple. We lead better, clearer and simpler. If I’m talking to someone whose why is mastery, I will spend time on the nuances. I will send them the full definitions of every single why because they’re going to want to know that.

Before we talk, they’ve already got their questions and they’ve done all the reading. I know that they’ve read our entire website and every link because that’s what they do. I’m concentrating on how this is going to help them learn at a deeper level and how to talk to their clients. The same goes for everyone in their whys. We adapt our presentation to that person because that’s what they’re listening for.

What’s it like for you to meet somebody now and not know their why or WHY.os?

It’s tough. I will give people the why even if I’m only going to work with them for a little bit because I want to know how they tick and what’s important to them. It’s interesting you say that because I’m working with Sophia’s school, and the principal is a nice lady. She was my oldest daughter’s third-grade teacher, so I’ve known her for a long time. I said, “Janice, I’m sorry but if you want me to help, I need to know your why.”

I had her take the WHY Discovery and we found her why is trust. All of a sudden, a lot of things make sense. Working with her, it’s trust, mastery, right way. It’s different from me. I needed to know that because now I know how I can help her. All this challenge stuff that Dan does, I have to tamp it down a little bit for her because trust is important. I can’t show up late.

Mastery is important. I can’t pretend I know stuff. I better know stuff before I show it to her in right way and follow the process. That’s how she runs a successful school and that’s what’s important to her. I know how I want to make sure I present myself to her, so she doesn’t say, “Get out of here, Mr. Dominguez. I don’t need you here.”

Let’s talk about relationships. How has knowing your WHY.os, your wife, Monica, and your daughter, Sophia and Jazz, helped you as a family to connect, work together, and understand each other in every aspect of the relationship?

Sophia knows her why, which is challenge. She’s an old soul. She’s read all the nine whys. She considers herself a pet why-ologist. She’s challenge, clarify and make sense. You’re thinking, “Why did you do this with your daughter?” She reads at a high level and we let her take the WHY Discovery. When we came out with our WHY.os, I said, “Let’s have her take it.” We had her WHY.os and it’s nice to understand why she always says, “Dad, why do I have to do it that way?” I’m that way and that’s okay. As somebody with the how of challenge, I don’t like it when other people do it to me. “I asked you to do it. That’s why you should do it.” “Why Dad? What if I can do it this way?”

Now, I understand both her and my oldest, who also had the why of challenge. I understand that they see the world differently. I understand I should allow them to and give them bumpers. As soon as you give them bumpers and let them run, “Don’t burn the house down.” That was simple, “Don’t break the law and we’re going to get along fine.”

With my wife being a why of clarify, I realized why it’s important for her to ask all the questions. When I left the Army, she’s like, “They’re not going to be shooting at you? You’re going to get to sleep in a hotel?” She asked all the questions to get me to come to my conclusion. She asked the right questions so that I understood the decision I was making but then she also understood. It used to drive me nuts how many questions she asked, but now I see it as a positive.

We bought a car, Gary. I knew that if we went to the dealership, she was going to take that poor salesman through a three-hour torture session. She has lots of questions about everything before we invested in that car. I did the smart thing. Knowing her why, I dropped her off with the dealer and I took Sophia, and we went and had lunch and did something else for a couple of hours.

BYW 3 | Contributing To Success
Contributing To Success: The key to overcoming this challenge is for you to identify where you will be able to make the greatest possible contributions, and then commit to focusing your efforts on those areas.

When we came back and we talked to the nice gentleman who was selling us the car and she had all her questions answered, I didn’t have to sit through it because I knew it was coming. She was satisfied. We were able to buy our vehicle and drive it home after she asked all her questions. Once she was clear, we were able to move forward but I needed to let her have time to do that. In the past, I might have said, “It’s blue and it runs. We have the money. Let’s buy it.” That would drive her nuts. Now, I allow her to ask the question she needs to ask so she can move forward.

There’s one flaw with that plan. The flaw is you need to send her in to ask all the questions to beat him down so that by the time you walk in, he’s like, “Take the car for free.”

Gary, the gentleman we bought the car from is a mutual friend. I’m not allowed to disclose the terms but I can tell you, she did a good job with it.

Dan, you’re right in the mix of everything. What do you see is the future for where we’re going, what we’re wanting to accomplish, and how quickly we’re going to get there?

What’s been exciting is I’ve been here for a while, and I knew nothing about the WHY Discovery. I knew nothing about executive coaching and this world. You introduced me to a whole new world. Going from absolute zero knowledge to now having done more Why Discoveries than anyone else other than you and Jerry, and having worked with many coaches and learn so much. I see the immense value that the WHY Discovery and the WHY.os Discovery have for the coaches that we talked to.

We went through an exercise where we took testimonials from coaches. To hear them talk about the difference that the WHY Discovery and the WHY.os have made in their lives and the lives of their clients, gives me tremendous confidence that we’re on the right track. We’ve got a tremendous team working on the backend to make sure that our website works, all our links work. Everything that we send out looks professional and good.

When I look at where we were in December of 2019 when I joined the team and where we are in September 2020, we’ve made leaps and bounds, and where we’re going and the people we’re working with. We’ve got coaches from ICF, John Maxwell and Marshall Goldsmith. We’ve got coaches from every major coaching organization in the world. We’ve got people that are certified in Kolbe, DiSC, StrengthsFinder, and all the assessments that are out there, and they all say one thing, “As long as I start with why, everything else falls into place.”

I can’t wait to see where we take this. I don’t see us being able to hold back. We’ve been careful about not launching something big that we couldn’t handle the growth and that we had the infrastructure. Now that we’re building that infrastructure, I can’t wait to present this to the world at large and get to a billion people knowing their why.

Dan, one last question, what is the best piece of advice you’ve received or you have ever given?

The easier question is probably the best piece of advice I’ve ever received, and that’s someone you talked to, Paul Allen. He talked about how important it is to take advice from people that think like you. I would have never thought of that without the why. Somebody with a why of clarify, for example, could have great advice on how to do something, but it’s not going to resonate with me because I want to contribute. However valuable that advice is, I may not be able to apply it because it doesn’t resonate with me.

Those people that we connect with, it’s more important that we connect and take advice from people that think like us because it’s going to be easier to implement. Not that I couldn’t implement clarify advice, better way advice, or advice from somebody whose why is mastery, but it will be simpler and easier because they’ve traveled that same path that I have. I love that.

Not that I don’t take advice from other people, but I listen intently when I do get that opportunity to talk to people with my why, how or what because they resonate with me. It’s a lot easier advice to implement. Mike Koenigs, who you’re working with, I listened to him. He’s a challenge guy. A lot of what he says, I can take and implement. I work closely with one of our coaches, Melahni Ake, whose why is also challenge. She and I clicked. I can take some of what she does, the hacks that she has created to get through and be productive with the why of challenge. The same thing that probably Mike has had to do. It’s helpful.

Dan, thanks so much for being here and taking the time. I’m going to see you every day. We’ve wanted to do this for a long time because you get to meet many people but now, even more people are going to get to know you. Everybody loves you. It’ll be fun to see how you progress as we progress on this journey. Thank you for being here.

Grab the opportunity to talk to coaches around the world so you could discover your why. Click To Tweet

Thank you for having me, Gary.

It’s time for our new segment, Guess the Why. I thought we’d do something fun. If you’ve been watching TV, one of the great series that’s out there is one called Ted Lasso. My wife and I have been watching that and a lot of our friends have been watching that. It is so funny. If you haven’t seen it, start watching it. I’d love to know your perspective on what you think Ted Lasso’s why is. I know what it is and it’s similar to Dan’s why, which is contribute.

He wants to help. He sees the positive in everybody. He wants to uplift the team, individually and as a team. He always wants to make things better for people in any way that he can, whether that’s picking up a broom and sweeping or sitting and having a conversation with somebody. He loves to make the world a better place by helping each person get better. For me, his why would be contribute.

Thank you for reading. If you’ve not yet discovered your why, you can do so at with the code, PODCAST50. If you love the Beyond Your WHY show, please don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you’re using so that you can help us bring this message to the world. Also, to help one billion people discover, make decisions, and live based on their why. Thank you for reading.

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About Dan Dominguez

Dan Dominguez exists to positively impact the lives of others. HOW he does that is by challenging the status quo and looking at things from a different perspective. WHAT he brings is the ability to make sense of the complex and challenging to help others move forward faster. Dan’s diverse background as an academic scholar, college mascot, Army Ranger, sales leader, marathon runner, track and cross-country coach, and Rotarian allows him to connect easily with almost anyone and he does that as the Chief Growth officer at the WHY Institute.
Dan and his wife Monica are proud parents of their two daughters Jaz 32 and Sofia 9 along with 24 sheep, 4 dogs and 3 chickens.