Dan Peña is back.
Most of you will know the love-hate relationship I have with my hard-ass, ball-breaking mentor.
You’ve seen the castle episode, and many of you tell me your favourite London Real episode is Dan’s first conversation with me.
I remember that day like it was yesterday. I went home after the shoot with my mind reeling. Quite honestly, I was in a bad mood. Dan had gotten inside my head, which I now realise is his speciality.
I knew deep down that I, and London Real, could be a lot more, and it took an angry, old, former oil tycoon shouting in my face to finally wake up to what this show could really become.
Despite everything we have achieved over the years at London Real – the Academy, the Business Accelerator programme, the Summit – don’t expect this conversation to have lots of “well done Brian”, or “I am proud of you” in it!
Dan gets on my case almost right away. Just like the first time we met, he has this look in his eye like “Is this it Brian?!?”
I’ve learned to get over the idea of pleasing or satisfying Dan Peña. And frankly, I realise that is not the point.
Dan is obsessed with high performance. That’s why, as he tells me in this conversation, he wants success for his mentees more than they want it for themselves. And it has nothing to do with charity and goodwill.
As he explains to me, unfulfilled potential just p***ses him off!
In this episode, Dan goes deeper than he ever has into his development as a businessman and a success coach. There is a level of vulnerability and honesty that I haven’t heard from Dan before, and after I was done talking to him, I felt I understood the old man much more.
Dan tells me some crazy stories about the relationships he had with his own mentors like Costa Gratsos and Jim Newman.
Dan’s approach to mentorship is nuanced. It is much more than kissing ass or latching on to the success of others. He talks me through how you cultivate a relationship, create a bond of loyalty and respect with mentors.
Dan gets very emotional when he talks about the men who influenced his life and made him man he is today. He also goes over the finer, more subtle points of what it really means to upgrade your peer group.
Fundamentally, success is about being able to take risks.
As much as I hate admitting it, there is never a bad time to get the Pena-treatment. It is in our natures to fall back into the comfort zone, to take the short cut. And let’s face it, we live in a culture where playing small and avoiding potential are positively rewarded. It takes an angry, shouting, old school taskmaster like Dan to hold us accountable to what we claim our dreams and aspirations really are.
Believe me, this conversation is no bromance reunion. It was no soppy man-date. Dan gets right in my grill, looks at me with his steely grey eyes and rattles my cage all over again. I was ready for him, but that doesn’t make his impact any less effective.
There’s no calmer, more reflective Dan here folks – this is as alpha male as it gets.
We talk about everything from killing bears to how Dan won the respect of Massai warriors.
You are going to love this episode, but quite honestly, I urge you to prepare yourself.
Dan really brings it, and the result is as uncomfortable as it is motivating.
Buckle up. Dan Peña is back, and he is meaner, more honest and merciless than ever. Enjoy.