Albert Lea native writes book

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, April 21, 2010

As Brett Dana has worked as a motivational speaker and sales trainer for his business, Be The Exception Unlimited, he’s noticed that many people have gotten a little off their course in life.

“I want people to start seeing themselves again as the valuable people they are,” said Dana. “Too many people have compromised their values and have changed their outlook based on the media and the new standards set by society.”

So he’s written a book that he hopes will help people get back on track again. It’s called “The Seven Soul Principles of Life.”

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He said he wrote the book in a similar style to the works of Og Mandino and Spencer Johnson’s “Who Moved My Cheese?”

In the book, Dana writes about Renovare, a raven and mentor to the animal kingdom, who visits to teach, inform and improve the lives of others through his storytelling skills. This particular fall, Renovare has one of the most important stories of all to tell. He speaks of a common and ordinary frog named Emmit, who was born and chosen to retrieve and deliver the seven soul principles of life.

These principles are the secrets of true happiness and success. Renovare takes readers on Emmit’s journey where the frog learns some of life’s most valuable lessons. Emmit is confronted with doubt, lack of self confidence, temptation and sadness. One can learn from Emmit’s experience, but more importantly, people may understand more about their own journeys.

“I didn’t write the book for money,” Dana said. “I don’t care if I make a dime on it.”

He encourages people to be positive, but knows that’s not always possible because on their individual journeys, people will be confronted with horrible times. “People need to realize that life is not always fair and to reverse the negative as quickly as they can, taking a realistic approach,” Dana said.

“I really believe in this message,” he added.

Dana, who grew up in Albert Lea as Dana Boettcher, graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1971. His parents, Dorothy and George Boettcher, still live in town.

After graduating, he attended Bemidji State University for two years, then came back and worked at Wilson & Co. for a year and a half. It was then that he met his wife, Joan, daughter of Carl and Lorraine Branstad.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State University in speech communication and secondary education. He taught high school at Technical High School in St. Cloud.

In the late 1980s, he was asked by Smile Inc, to come out with a cassette tape series that included a motivational, affirmation and relaxation tape. he program was ranked in the top five among other tape series and distributed in five different languages.

In the late 1990s, he auditioned with 1,600 other candidates and was one of the few asked to appear on the national televised talent show, “Be a Star.”  It was then that he was given an independent record deal in Nashville, where is wrote and recorded nearly 60 songs.

One of his goals is to get back into the recording studio.

“I’ve got some of my best songs to record,” he said.

Along with his entertaining and music talents, Dana has had a successful career in sales as well as sales management.  As a senior manager for a computer resale company, he came in as the maverick and in seven months turned the company around. He attributes this to re-organization and sales training.

He later worked for Calvin Klein Eyewear, then moved on to selling business and tax consulting services . Soon after, he was asked to speaks nd do sales training seminars. So he started Be The Exception Unlimited — also known as BTE Unlimited — about five years ago.

Through it all, he’s recognized the importance of being a good communicator, and credits Albert Lea speech teachers, Larry Tonder and Robert Denton, as great influences.

“The seeds they planted stuck with me all my life,” Dana said.

“The Seven Soul Principles of Life” is available on his website,, or from

Dana has lived in the Twin Cities area for the last 23 years. He and Joan have two grown children, Brea and Brandon, and two grandchildren.