Dan Miller: ‘The Value of Life’s Detours: How Unexpected Stops Can Lead to Success’

Dan Miller 48days


Have you ever taken a flight that has a layover in a place that seems totally opposite of the direction of the destination?

It seems nonsensical to us passengers for a flight to take off from Sarasota, stop off in Houston, and finally land in Chicago. Why not just fly straight to Chicago?

Well, the airlines have a strategy! Layovers serve as refueling sites, places to change out flight staff, or even get the plane serviced.

If you’re looking at your own flight path to get you from the work and life you have to the work and life you love, you may see some seemingly random layovers as well. But, trust that there is an ultimate strategy that will get you where you want to go.

48 Days Eagle Colleen Law’s story shows us the value of these detours and how we can learn to appreciate them once we reach our destination.

Colleen went from working as an assistant professor to building Lego houses as a side hustle to coaching people working to finish their PhD dissertations. The stops along the way to her business, ABD Coaching Solutions, coming to life may seem unrelated. But, they’re all part of Colleen’s flight path to the work and life she loves.

Plotting the course

Colleen first joined the 48 Days Eagles in the spring of 2020. She says “I joined because I thought I could build a business.” She wanted to get her side hustle building Lego houses off and running, which would take some expertise that the Eagles are always ready to provide.


In plotting her course, Colleen was unique amongst the class of people who call themselves entrepreneurs. I mean, how many adults actually realize that they can make money building Lego houses? Not many. But, Colleen did because she knew how much Legos meant to her, her family, and millions of others like them.

“It started because my brothers are 13 and 15 years younger than me. And I was looking for something we could do together that would help build our relationship. and, of course, Legos was right there.”

Colleen’s business took off amongst family and friends without even having a website or business cards! She said she was “flying by the seat of my pants,” and, even then, she was definitely flying!

Take action but be ready for detours

Even if the business needed some fine-tuning, Colleen still took action. And once she had that business off and running, she had proof of her own abilities as an entrepreneur. That combination of willingness to take action and self-confidence is vital to success. And Colleen used it to fuel her ascent to new heights!

After joining the Eagles Community, Colleen’s Lego business went from 0-60 pretty fast! Once she had a website and some other fine-tuning, her audience and reach grew steadily. But then, she stumbled on something bigger.

“After figuring out that I could do something with Legos, I stumbled onto the fact that I could do something that was really close to my heart, which was to help people who are doing their dissertations and who only had 1 year to complete writing their dissertation to get their degree.”

What do dissertations and Legos have in common? Well, they’re both close to Colleen’s heart. And what’s closest to our hearts is our ultimate jet fuel. But, as business ventures, Legos and dissertations might seem like destinations in totally opposite directions.

What Colleen keeps in mind, and that you should keep in mind too, is that flight paths don’t have to be these straight-shot, linear journeys.

Lock your sights on the ultimate destination: The Work & Life You Love

Legos and dissertations only seem like polar opposites if you consider them as singular destinations in and of themselves. But, the reality is that our ultimate destination is reaching one place: the work and life we love.

From this perspective, Colleen’s Lego and dissertation coaching businesses are perfectly compatible.

Getting to the work and life we love is never easy, though. Colleen started out her ABD Coaching Solutions business by cold-calling universities to see if they might have any interested students. She built up the courage to do that because she knew that the students she was trying to reach were out there—she used to one herself.

“I had a tragedy in my 3rd year of grad school, which caused me to leave school for quite a while. The first thing I did while building this business was realize that I had a system that I used myself that allowed me to finish the dissertation in 1 year and get my degree. So then I said, ‘Okay, I have this system, let me see who would be interested.’”

Slowly but surely, Colleen’s cold calls paid off and the universities started connecting her with students who needed her help. From there, ABD Coaching Solutions grew into the lifeblood of the work and life Colleen loves.

“It has exploded. I end up having to do people in cohorts because there are three times a year that people are working on their dissertations. And I’ve had to hire coaches to meet all the demand.”

Colleen never gave up her Lego business, though. She’s also hired VAs to help her with that venture, and she’s moved into a bigger apartment to have more space to dedicate to both pursuits.

Colleen Law lego housesA flight plan means nothing if you never start the engines to get off the ground

A plan is just that—a plan! There are so many things that Colleen did where she took action even when things weren’t perfect. We could each spend every single day charting the perfect course and yet never reach our destination because we never even start the engine. The difference between someone who does that and someone like Colleen is the willingness to act.

She took advantage of her unique skill sets and what she could bring to the table. And when things got too big for her to manage on her own, she looked to outsource and bring in others. And that’s how we can truly grow—when we start to collaborate, when we start to bring in others, when we find new ways to reach our audience.

The ultimate destination is the work and life we love—whatever that means for each of us.

If you need support in plotting your flight path, defining your destination, or anything in between—join the 48 Days Eagles Community. It’s made up of people, like Colleen, who are driven, passionate, and here to help each other.

The Eagles value that there is not one path, but many, to reach that ultimate destination.

Join the Eagles today and let us help you take flight!

Dan Miller