Dan was born in Mesa, Arizona - the third of four children – raised by two incredible parents in a faith-based home – all college graduates – extremely successful business professionals and ‘significant’ human beings! At eight years of age Dan’s inherent and relentless pursuit of personal excellence first manifested itself as he fought through a cancerous abscess in his throat. At age 12, Dan starred in a weekly CBS television series and was the voice of a cartoon character. As a teenager Dan was a four sport, 9-Time Varsity Letterman, voted Outstanding High School Athlete' three years in a row - who became a Golden Gloves Boxing Champion, Alpine Ski Racing champion, Intermountain Moto Cross champion, All-American Football Player and All-State Baseball Pitcher, earning an athletic scholarship to the University of Utah majoring in psychology. Dan teaches winning isn’t a sometime thing – it’s an all-the-time thing!
In 1982, Dan was named an Outstanding Young Man of America and was soon sponsored into the National Speakers Association by world renown speaker/author Zig Ziglar, who personally mentored Dan for 25 years in the art and science of motivational teaching! Dan quickly became one of the most sought after speakers in North America and was honored by U.S. President Ronald Reagan with the Presidential Service Award. Dan has earned the highest ‘Certified Speaking Professional’ designation in the National Speakers Association; was inducted into the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame and has been named one of the Top Ten Motivational Speakers in the World. Having raised four extraordinary, talented, significant children, Dan was named Utah Father of the Year! Dan teaches to focus on what matters most, which is what lasts the longest – the goal is not to live forever, but to create something that will.
Dan has spoken to more than 6000 audiences, in all 50 states, in 71 countries, on 6 continents to millions of people, most of the Fortune 500, Super Bowl Champions, NASA, MDRT, the United Nations and has conducted many ‘Military Tribute Tours’ ‘down range’ in Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, Asia and Africa. Consequently, Dan teaches how to achieve personal greatness knowing the only person you need to be better than is the person you were yesterday!
Dan played American football for thirteen years until a paralyzing injury cut short his career. Paralyzed physically and emotionally for fourteen months, with sixteen doctors telling Dan he would not recover – but recover he did - and teaches the steps of resiliency and crisis management knowing adversity introduces us to ourselves – pain is a signal to grow, not to suffer. Once we learn the lesson the pain is teaching us the pain goes away. In life there are no mistakes, only lessons – we never lose if we always learn!
Dan has been invited aboard Air Force One; has flown bombers and fighter jets – especially with the Air Force Thunderbirds, executing all air show maneuvers, catching 9.4 Gs at Mach 2 twice the speed of sound - and teaches how to deepen trust and elevate execution through Emotional Intelligence; and soared to the edge of space in a U2 reconnaissance aircraft, where in a five-hour sortie witnessed the breathtaking curvature of the earth and endless blackness of the universe, and teaches why we need to expand our perspective and redefine what’s possible with the understanding it is not enough to say, ‘I will do my best.’ We must succeed in doing that which is necessary!
Dan is the modern day Napoleon Hill who has interviewed game changers, world champions, astronauts and Navy SEALS and teaches that under pressure you don’t rise to the occasion – you fall to the level of your training. Which means pressure is not something that is naturally there. It’s created when you question your own ability. When you know what you’ve trained to do there is never any pressure. That’s why you train and practice so hard!
Dan firmly believes that DNA and the environment and attitude with which someone is raised is the #1 reason we succeed or fail:
Dan’s extraordinary life includes masterminding with billionaires; serving on the Olympic Committee and carrying the Torch in the Winter Games; racing automobiles at Nurburgring and Daytona and dogsleds in the Arctic; winning the Hamilton Island Sailing Regatta in Australia; playing Augusta National and the Old Course in Scotland; riding his Road King Harley across America with the Willie G. Davidson family; riding elephants in Thailand, camels in Cairo, and starring in some feature films. Dan teaches how to network at the highest levels and influence the affluent, so you think big, play big and live bigger!
Why? Because Dan has been inspired by the extraordinary positive examples in his life! Dan’s Uncle Ellis Armstrong was chairman of the American Public Works Association, the Commissioner of Roads under President Dwight Eisenhower who conceived and developed the Interstate System, and then the Commissioner of Reclamation under President Richard Nixon who designed and built the St. Lawrence Seaway, Hoover Dam, and Aswan Dam in Egypt.
Dan’s Uncle Lloyd Butler attended Cal/Berkeley graduating in 1950. While a member of their eight-oared crew, he won the IRA Regatta, and later was named to the U.S. Olympic Rowing Team, where he and his teammates won the Gold Medal in 1948. Uncle Lloyd was later an executive with Standard Oil Company, from which he retired after a long illustrious career.
Dan is an alumnus of the University of Utah (Psychology) and MBA Professor; New York Times Best Selling Author of 35 books and a primary contributing author to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. One of Dan’s famous stories ‘Puppies For Sale’ was made into a film at Paramount Studios starring Jack Lemmon. As a master storyteller Dan has been published in over 50 million books in 40 languages worldwide; has appeared on over 500 TV and radio programs including Oprah, Glenn Beck, NPR and Voices of America/Radio Free Europe and consequently teaches ‘reason leads to conclusions, but it is emotion that leads to action!’
Dan’s great uncle is J. Reuben Clark – who had a tremendous influence on Dan’s father, which greatly impacted Dan’s life. J. Reuben was valedictorian and student-body president of the University of Utah, earned a law degree from Columbia University, became a professor at George Washington University, which brought a Presidential appointment as the United States Undersecretary of the State Department and then Solicitor General. In 1930, U.S. President Herbert Hoover appointed J. Reuben as United States Ambassador to Mexico, where he served until 1933, when he was called to serve as an Apostle in his world-wide church. Both the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University are named in his honor.
Dan is a Gold Record songwriter who has written with many of the biggest names in country music and teaches every song is written with the same twelve notes – which means the difference between a hit songwriter and a lousy songwriter is passion, creativity and imagination – which Dan lives, teaches and ignites in every audience!