Stop Giving Death An Assist

Dan Sullivan

One of the smartest people I’ve ever met is a man named Dan Sullivan whose company, Strategic Coach®, offers a workshop program for successful entrepreneurs.

The program is so good that people fly in from all over the world (Singapore, the U.K., Turkey, and a whole lot of states were represented in my group) just to sit at Dan’s feet.

I want to share with you one of the (many) extremely smart things he teaches.

It boils down to this:

Don’t give death an assist.

To paraphrase Dan in class:

“All of you are successful. You’ve all built great businesses. You’ve all raised families. You’ve contributed to your communities in all kinds of ways.

“And now, you’re in your fifties, your sixties, whatever.

“And on a subconscious level, you’re shutting down.

“You’re letting yourself grow old.

“You’re telling yourself that you don’t need to be as creative, or as health conscious, or as active as you have been in the past because you’re ‘getting up there.'”

Dan’s solution:

Create a new 25-year plan for yourself.

No matter how old you are.

It’ll keep you young.





It’ll keep you alive.

“You’ve got 100 quarters in this new plan,” Dan told our group. “You don’t have to kill it in the first quarter. You’ve got time.”


That’s the one thing we’ve all convinced ourselves we don’t have.

We’ve all created a way of being called “I don’t have time.”

We have no time to do what we want to do, or need to do, because we’re, well, too busy.

What we’re so busy doing, we have no idea.

We don’t even have time to figure that out.

But with a new 25-year plan in hand, suddenly, we look at time in a different way.

Since we have a new plan and we’ll need more time, more health, more energy, more creativity, we stop giving death an assist.

We stop dying.

So Dan has the group start to think, right then and there, about what their 25-year plan should be.

Hint: It’s not about retirement.

It’s about getting after something new, exciting, big, motivating, bold.

It’s the plan of a lifetime.

It extends your lifetime.

Dan, in his early seventies, now publishes a new book every quarter.

That’s part of his plan.

Getting put out to pasture is not part of his plan.

He’s constantly creating new alliances, new course material, new themes, new intellectual property.

He plans to live to be 156 years old, because he was born in 1944 … and therefore can live in three

He says that a woman asked him whether, if he didn’t make it to 156, he would feel disappointed.

He just laughed.

As a result of my time at Strategic Coach, I, too, have a 25-year plan.

It began last year and concludes in the year 2040.

I’m in the fifth quarter, and it’s going better than expected.

It will keep me young.

It will keep me contributing.

It will keep me growing.

It involves books – that’s all I’ll say.

For now.

I will add that I’m no longer going to give death an assist.

And neither should you.

What’s your 25-year plan?

I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.

And if you don’t have one, don’t tell me you don’t have time to create one.

Here’s the good news: You’ve got 25 years to fulfill that plan.

But you can’t fulfill it until you create it.

So if you don’t have one, make one.

I’ll wait.

And if nothing comes to mind, call me.

Maybe we can hash one out together for you.

And once you have it, drop Dan a note and tell him that you, too, are no longer giving death an assist.

Ain’t life grand?

    As one of the most established ghostwriters in the nation, New York Times best-selling author Michael Levin has written, co-written or ghostwritten more than 100 books, of which nine are national best sellers. He appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank on January 20, 2012. In the past, Michael has published with Simon & Schuster, Random House, St. Martin’s Press, Putnam/Berkley, and many other houses. His works have been optioned for film and TV by Steven Soderbergh/Paramount, HBO, Disney, ABC, and others. One of his own novels became Model Behavior, an ABC Sunday night Disney movie of the week.