Winston Churchill Became His Father
2004 Boaz Rauchwerger
Im traveling on a winding road off Interstate 15, heading east from Escondido, California. There, up on a knoll, is my destination. Its a beautiful house that has a 360-degree view of the tranquil valley below.
Dan Collins, the owner, leads me down the hall to his library. Walking through the house I notice pictures of famous people: Vince Lombardi, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King, and Winston Churchill.
We enter a beautiful library that houses some 500 self-improvement books, many leather-bound originals. Dan and I met recently when I conducted a seminar for the company where he works. I was so fascinated by his story that I wanted to learn more about him.
In answer to my first question, Dan states, I was born on May 22, 1956, in Bournemouth, on the south coast of England.He then relates that his mother was only 15 when he was born. His father disappeared when Dan was very young.
When his sister was born, Dans mother felt she was unable to care for both of them. She chose to keep her daughter. By the time Dan was five, she arranged for him to be taken to an orphanage. A counselor from the state came and took Dan to the farming county of Devon.
There, at a place called Mount Stephens House, he was dropped off and told, This is where youre going to be living now.Over forty years would pass before he would see his mother again.
Mount Stephens House was a combination of an orphanage and a foster home. There were homeless kids and kids whod gotten into trouble. The older boys bullied the younger boys.
On the positive side, Dan has good memories about the discipline and the structure at Mount Stephens. There were chores that rotated among the kids. Dan relates, It was a decent experience. But at school I was made painfully aware of the fact that I was different because I didnt have a home.
Dans attitude toward life began to formulate in those early years. He turned his challenges into opportunities. In order to be accepted, he became a good student and played soccer. Eventually he became captain of the soccer team and was elected school president.
When he completed his basic education, at age 15, Dan supported himself with odd jobs while playing soccer. One day, his team played a game in Southampton, on the coast of England. A fancy cruise ship, heading for America, was docked nearby. Dan met a young man named Brian, who was part of the ships crew. Brian invited him to come aboard and tour the ship.
On a whim, Dan wondered what it would be like to go to America and play soccer in a new world that he had read about and saw depicted in movies. He hid under some tarps and the ship set sail. A few hours later, Dan came out and found Brian, who took him to the man in charge of the ships workers. Realizing that nothing could be done at that point, the man put Dan to work washing dishes.
Once in the US, Dan stayed with a friend of Brians in New Jersey. His first job was laying sod. In the evenings he washed dishes in a restaurant. Immigration people would come periodically to check everyones papers. The cook told Dan that he should join the Army. He did so and, after artillery training in Oklahoma, was sent to Vietnam.
Getting out of the Army in 1978, Dan used his GI Bill to enroll at Indiana University, where he majored in theatre and minored in business. After college, he went to Texas to play soccer. A little too old to play, he made a living by working for sales companies. Thats when he was introduced to positive thinking and met Zig Ziglar, a star in that field.
It was in 1984 that Dan moved to San Diego to try out for their soccer team. Again realizing that he was too old to play, he took a sales job at an advertising agency. Having a flair for managing people, Dan quickly became sales manager and, over a 16 year span, grew that company from $1 million to $16 million in yearly sales.
Dans marriage in 1989 to Rieko, a native of Okinawa, gave him a daughter, Brina, who is now 14. Through the years, as Dan succeeded, he fulfilled a dream by taking the ideas he saw in a visit to Hearst Castle and bringing them to life by building his dream house on a hill in Valley Center, just east of Escondido, California.
Dan would later work with Lee Iacocca in a capital equipment company and hes currently with Total Training, a Carlsbad, California company that creates software-training programs.
In relating his amazing story, Dan states, For me, a bad experience early in life became a motivating factor instead of a debilitating one. Because I didnt have a father figure, I created one for myself. I chose Winston Churchill. I considered him to be the greatest man who ever walked the earth. Thus, I read everything I could find on him and posted pictures of him all around me.
Dan, in further explaining the positive impact that Churchill had on his life, states that he asks himself the following question on a daily basis, If Churchill was watching me right now, would he be proud or disappointed in what Im doing? Hes my father figure.
Dan Collins is an incredible example of what can be done when the power of the mind, no matter what the circumstance, is channeled in the right direction. I do believe that Winston Churchill would have been proud.
An Attitude Affirmation
I can overcome most any challenge because I am strong, determined and focused on a positive outcome!
Article reproduced with permission from Boaz Rauchwerger. You may reprint any of these articles in any publication or Web site so long as you credit Boaz Rauchwerger as the author and include this Web site address, www.Boazpower.com.