021: How To Pursue Mastery In Your Work (Dane Sanders)

Dane SandersWhen you’re searching for your life’s work or what to do next in your career, most people will tell you to pursue your passion. But not Dane Sanders, our guest for show 21.

Dane, a photographer, writer and all-around solopreneur, has a built a life based on mastering skill sets and applying them in various industries. His life and his path are not dictated by his passions, but rather passion is a result of mastering particular skills.


Dane’s path has not been a clear, straightforward one…not in the least! He went to college as a result of sports; he went to school on a volleyball scholarship and played throughout his first few years of university. But when his time as a collegiate athlete was coming to an end, he became disenchanted with college and just where he was in his life in general.

So he left school and wandered the planet. His travels took him to far places such as Nova Scotia and Australia. While in the land down under, he embraced a new faith commitment that has since become a very important piece of his life.

With that new commitment in his life, he came back to the States and opted to finish college. He signed up for a marketing major (because the cute girl ahead of him in line was going into marketing). When he completed his studies and began working in the marketing world, he discovered it was something he was good at but felt terrible about. He was doing the type of marketing that involved manipulating people to buy things they didn’t need.

He says his next move was one of the worst things someone can do! He did a complete 180 and pursued a graduate degree in philosophy, which he calls a “sure path to unemployment”.

But thanks to that graduate degree, he was able to land a job at a liberal arts school teaching leadership and character development.  He loved that position and it is something he has carried into his other work roles going forward.


  • What’s the power in transferring skill sets?
  • Why life isn’t usually a polished process.
  • What shifted him and had his “mind catch on fire”?
  • How to not be dependent on others for your success.
  • What was Steve Jobs’ greatest skill?
  • The different categories of writers and which one you fall into.
  • And so much more!

Naturally, his journey didn’t stop there. Being an actively curious and entrepreneurially-minded person, Dane’s journey was just beginning. One of his students introduced him to photography and Dane began to explore how to master photography.  

That same student of Dane’s had extra photography gigs, so he began working with him and learning from his student. And then one of Dane’s friends, who runs a large congregation in Southern California, asked Dane if he would share his character development teachings with the kids at his church. This was a chance for Dane to impact thousands of kids versus just hundreds.

And so Dane followed that path for a spell, still doing photography on the side as well. But he realized he didn’t love being “paid to be a Christian” so at some point, it made sense for him to become an entrepreneur full-time. Since then he has taken a gig with his alma mater to raise money for them and thoroughly enjoyed it.

He is also exploring the world of podcasting and had a friend explain to him how his photography skills can be transferred to the audio world.

And that’s one of the greatest lessons Dane has learned: how to transfer skills from industry to industry. For example, how can you take the skills necessary to hold the attention of 18 to 25 year olds for two hours on a warm afternoon and apply that to generating a lead and then converting that lead to a repeat customer? If you’re a great storyteller, you’ve got the skills necessary to work both situations effectively.

To that end, Dane believes it is important to not attach what you do to a particular institution that may or may not be around in 20 years. He says, that institution is not who you are, who you are is what you carry when the institution isn’t there. He also says things aren’t fun because they’re fun, they are fun because you master them. 

Therein lies his message to anyone, wherever they are in their lives: pick a few skills, master them and joy will come as a result. It’s something he has learned and it has guided him to success.

Leave a comment below or send Dane a Tweet and let him know what skill you are committed to mastering!

Tweetable: “I wish I had a clean trajectory, but the truth is I bumped around a lot.” Dane Sanders



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