Sunday, February 4, 2024

The Eagle Has Flown - A Tribute to Dan Miller


It was a moment I’ve never forgotten. Driving home from a frustrating day at the
church office, I listened to Crown Financial Ministries interview a career coach on their radio broadcast. Dan Miller was promoting his book, 48 Days to the Work You Love. As I listened, it was like this man was speaking directly to me. He was speaking my language, like he had been reading my mail.

For several years, I’d wrestled with vocational angst. I gradually realized numerous desires shouted within me to use my gifts and pursue interests outside of the scope of what we consider traditional church ministry. And, I wanted to find ways to make money and prosper outside of the limitations of depending on a fulltime church salary to provide for my growing family.

In the years since then, I’ve come to realize many pastors and ministry leaders wade through similar struggles. My friends Les Hughes and Jon Sanders, both pastors, have an entire business, EntrePastors, dedicated to helping pastors realize that following God's calling into ministry doesn't mean you have to live a life of scarcity and meagerness. They share, “We believe God is a God of abundance who gave you multiple talents to build and serve His Kingdom. By using ALL of your God-given talents, you take better care of yourself and your family, and become a better pastor in the process.”

But at the time I was wading through those questions alone, learning to work through the needed mindset changes, personal assessment, and exploration of possibilities.

Dan Miller was the first person I heard – outside of my own head and heart – that affirmed my struggle and gave me hope that there was a positive path forward.

As I reflect on Dan’s life-message, coaching, and writings, so many words come to mind. Here’s just a few of those that impacted me.

Understanding Divine Calling

Remembering the happiest times in your life and the times when you felt most fulfilled are better indicators of your calling than just knowing what you have the ability to do.

You can have different careers at different points in your life. Conversely, two or three different careers can all support one’s calling.

The word vocation comes from the Latin word vocare, which means “to call.” It suggests that you are listening for something that is calling out to you – something that is particular for you. A Calling is something you have to listen for, attuning yourself to the message. Vocation then is not so much pursuing a goal as it is listening for a voice.

Never separate your work from your worship. See what you do during the week as a form of worship. Remember, you are in full-time service, doing what God has called you to do if you’ve engaged your unique skills, your personality and your dreams and passions.

In 2022 I sent Dan this eagle carving I found at Dollywood.
He posted this picture in the Eagles Community and said,

"Thanks so much for this awesome Eagle, Rhett Wilson, Sr. 
I love the natural wood colors and the kind expression of the eagle.
I'll find a prime place in my office for this new addition!"

Mastering Motivation

It’s tough to make good choices at eighteen that will be meaningful at forty-five.

Your only security is knowing what you do well. Knowing your areas of competence will give you freedom amid corporate politics and unexpected layoffs.

Our culture glamorizes being under time pressure.

Work doesn’t have to drain the energy from your life. You can have work that resonates with your soul and draws you into a deeper, more intimate relationship with God.

Learn from any failure. See it as a stepping stone toward the success you ultimately want.

Exploring Opportunities

Your best opportunity may not look like your last job.

The opportunities in today’s work environment are endless. You can change course several times in a lifetime without feeling like you’re derailed or starting over, if you have a sense of calling to act as a consistent compass.

Your work must integrate your skills, your personality tendencies, and your interests. The more you know and understand about yourself and match that up with your business direction, the more you exponentially increase your chances for success.

Many people are finding that it makes more sense to use this model [of nontraditional work] than to attempt to find the one right job that provides all their needs. One of the hottest terms for creating a work life today is “multiple streams of income.” You may have two or three things that are creating income for you, rather than only one all-important job.

Taking Action

Putting yourself in the driver’s seat requires creating a clear sense of where you want to go.

A clear plan of action will separate you from 97 percent of the people you meet. Everyone has dreams, but very few ever turn those into goals.

If you are in a negative environment – one that causes you pain and anguish - maybe its time to take a fresh look at yourself, define where you want to be, and develop a clear plan of action to get there.


In the years following that introduction to Dan Miller, I would read and re-read and re-read his books, 48 Days to the Work You Love, No More Dreaded Mondays, and An Understanding Heart. Hours of my time were invested listening to his podcast, consistently rated in the top ½ percent of the top 1% of all business podcasts, and his audio course from NightingaleConant, Dream Job, which was rated their #3 most popular audio course.

He opened the door for me to explore and benefit from the world of motivational speakers, authors, and coaches in the business and motivational world. Today, people like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Napolean Hill, Earl Nightengale, Og Mandino, Andy Andrews, Jim Rohn, Bob Proctor, and Russell Conwell line my shelves and audio library.

Dan introduced me to the world of modern entrepreneurs, guys in the mid-stream of life learning to pivot and create multiple streams of income in this rapidly changing world and economy. He knew remote work was cool years before COVID. He assured me my questions were valid, my desires to experience more, good, and that challenging my mindset in some traditional areas was wise.

Success if More than a Job

Miller modeled for many businesspeople how important it is to balance your life with both faith in God and making deep deposits in your family relationships. As he often said, “Success is more than a job.”

It was a long time before I’d realize how many other people he had helped in similar journeys. The more I became familiar with this world of new entrepreneurs, or eagles as he called them, the more I heard stories like my own.

In the years since that Crown radio broadcast, I followed my interest and passion in writing, developing that skill. I became a published freelance author, landing bylines in numerous print and online publications well-known in the evangelical world. I wrote for newspapers, magazines, devotionals, online news sources, compilation books, and more. I worked as Senior Writer for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and started my own company, Hendrix Communications. I also serve as Senior Communications Director for Leighton Ford Ministries. And I dove into bivocational ministry, which is actually how the apostle Paul often operated.

I considered it quite an honor when Dan endorsed my first solo book last year, The 7 Ps of Prayer: A Simple Method to Pray for Your Family. Here was a man who considers Dave Ramsey his best friend and participated in a men’s small group for more than a decade with high-achievers Ramsey and Michael Hyatt. Yet Dan always saw value in the person standing in front of him.

On December 19 last year, I received a personal email from Dan, thanking me for a 7 Ps coin I had mailed to him for Christmas. He told me of his recent diagnosis of Stage IV cancer with an expectation of less than six months to live. He wrote, “Totally out of the blue – no warning until I had some abdominal pain two weeks ago. . . . I’m savoring the time with my precious wife, children, and grandchildren. And the opportunity to live out all those wonderful principles I’ve been teaching all these years. Thanks for your support and friendship.”

Many people in the entrepreneurial world were shocked, saddened, and grieved over this news. Dan had the ability and warmth to make you feel loved, appreciated, and valued. And his life and teachings helped so many of us pursue and create work that is fulfilling, meaningful, and profitable. Dan challenged us to “plan our work around our life, rather than planning our life around our work.” He taught us to find the sweet spot where work and play become indistinguishable.

The Eagles Community
received word last week that Dan passed away from this earth on Sunday night, January 21. He had shared with his followers that he was looking forward to his spiritual transformation.

The Eagle has flown. Thank you, Dan. You will be missed.


Check out my 2022 post, 18 Benefits of Working Remotely.

Click here to listen to one of Dan's 48 Days podcasts when he responds to an email of mine. Through this podcast I got connected to Jon Sanders and Les Hughes of EntrePastors.

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