June 20, 2011

I’m working 80 hours per week running my 3 companies,
doing work I hate. My life is about to change forever.

It’s 8am, and I’m standing in the kitchen with
my husband in our dream home.

Then, a lightning bolt strikes our house.

We hear a loud “boom”, followed by a “shake” as the lightning surges through our house.

We’re not sure if there is a fire or other damage to the house. The power is out. The phones are dead. We’re just trying to figure it all out.

Now, the clock turns to 8:10am. There’s is an unexpected pounding on the front door.
I open the door.

Standing before me is a fireman, who informs me that my house is on fire, and that my family needs to get outside immediately.

He then asks me one question that is the single most powerful question I’ve ever been asked in my life.


He Says: What do you want us to retrieve in the next 5 minutes

What do you want us to retrieve in the next 5 minutes

before your house is
destroyed by fire and water?”

How I answer him totally shocks me and makes me realize that I’m not living my life in alignment with my true priorities.

As I stand there in my neighbor’s garage watching them put out the fire, I have a big realization. There I am, an unhappy millionaire, working 80 hours a week running my 3 companies to pay for a bunch of stuff that I don’t even care about when it is burning.

I’ve been neglecting myself and my family in the process by not being truly present. I’m always physically present, but I’m never mentally present. Like, I don’t even remember holding my daughter as a baby, because I wasn’t mentally present with her – my mind was always off thinking about all the projects that I needed to be working on next.

And in that moment, I realize

that my priorities have to change. The other thing I realize while watching them put out the fire is that there is a pattern here that stems from my childhood – when I was teased for being poor.

All I ever wanted was to become a millionaire so no one could ever tease me again. This conditioned me to always be working to get to the next level. In the process, I had brainwashed myself into thinking that you have to pick either time OR money and can’t have both.

That day of my fire, I vow to myself that I will figure out how to have plenty of free time, and still make good money – instead of having to choose one over the other like I always thought.

Fast forward to three years

after my house fire.

I then stumble onto the key ingredient I had missed all those years before – with a little scheduling experiment that I end up doing one month.

Have you ever noticed how you become super productive right before you go on vacation, when you get like a month’s worth of work done just two days before you leave? Right? Have you ever said to yourself, “Man, I sure wish I could be that productive all the time?”

Well, the secret that I end up discovering in this process is that you actually can be that productive all the time – like when you’re about to go on vacation. Through some time and growth hacks I put into place, I figure out how you can literally take a week vacation every single month if you want to…which I do by working an average of 3 days per week. Even if you don’t want to take that much time off like I do, wouldn’t it be nice to have the option?

And here’s the shocking thing that happens to me that year.

I end up making the most money of my life, when it is the year I have worked the least to that point. I’ve figured out how to Grow By Subtraction – by removing stuff from my to do list, not adding to it. I’ve FINALLY gained the freedom that I’ve been searching for, without sacrificing my income.

My friends then start asking me how I have changed my life so drastically, and I realize that I’ve stumbled onto something really important. So I reverse engineer everything I’ve done that worked… and as a result, I create a 3-part framework that helps you grow your business while also having the freedom you’ve always dreamed of for the things that really matter in life.

As part of reverse engineering what I did and creating
my 3-part framework, I then make a third big discovery.

I discover that my life’s mission is to help other
entrepreneurs replicate what I have figured out.

I now provide coaching to entrepreneurs to help them implement the same time and growth hacks that totally transformed my life. I literally share the very best strategies that cost over $1 Million dollars in my lifelong education to learn plus 20 years of trial and error.

The principles in my 3-part framework are what now allow me to run my 3 companies in totally different industries while working an average of just 3 days per week. I’ve definitely come a long way since my house fire and the day the fireman asked me that powerful question on what I wanted to retrieve.

So, would you like to know what I actually had the fireman retrieve from my house that day?

I kind of left you hanging on that.

Well, I had him retrieve my wedding photos from 27 years ago, my grandmother’s blanket that she made me as a child, and my then 5 year old daughter’s stuffed animal, Bunny. So, isn’t it interesting to see what all of those items have in common? They are all sentimental things that relate to the people in my life that really matter, not the stuff.

I’m so grateful I was able to say goodbye to that workaholic version of myself who didn’t even remember holding my daughter as a baby. Thankfully, I’ve now made up for lost time. When my daughter turned 13, I took her on a two week mother/daughter trip to London and Paris…and for my 25th wedding anniversary with my husband, the 3 of us spent a month in Europe as a family – and the businesses kept running without us being there.

This has all truly been like

a dream come true.

But here’s the thing. It’s not a dream. Freedom is my new reality, while my businesses continue to thrive. And even when the ups and downs of life may happen in the future, I have a framework that will allow me to maintain freedom and happiness in my life – no matter what. And that is what I want for you too.

Helping busy entrepreneurs grow their business and have plenty of free time without having to choose one over the other is what I do. Showing busy entrepreneurs how to create more freedom than they ever dreamed possible for what really matters in life is who I am. I look forward to working with you.

About Denise

Business strategist, lifestyle designer, attorney, and entrepreneur. Denise Gosnell is the founder of The Vacation Effect, Inc., the go-to coaching & training company for busy entrepreneurs who are ready to claim the freedom that they deserve without sacrificing business growth. Dozens of entrepreneurs have transformed their lives through Denise’s principles and programs.

Denise is also a well-known attorney and business strategist whose law firm clients include household names like Joe Polish, Jeff Walker, Pete Vargas, Mary Morrissey, and many others. She currently owns and runs 3 companies in 3 totally different industries while working an average of just 3 days per week.

Denise has also spoken on stages in 8 different countries over the years along with Sir Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Joe Polish, Ryan Deiss, Dan Sullivan, and many others. Denise has the uncanny ability to simplify complexities and solve problems, which is why so many industry thought leaders rely on Denise’s advice before making important business decisions.



Positive aggressive / strives for excellence.

Values people and memories
more than money.

Curious / thirst for knowledge.

Integrity / does the right thing.

Reliable / do what
you say.