Meet Daniel Szor: Creating an Authentic Life

A career change begins a new adventure

Did you ever wake up wishing your life were completely different?

Daniel Szor did, so he changed everything. 

Daniel’s story illustrates what happens to a person when success doesn’t add up to happiness. Daniel grew up the son of a Polish immigrant who always told his son never to work for for "The Man," yet also instilled values centered squarely around the importance of stability and security — understandable, since his father escaped the Janowska concentration camp during World War II. Daniel was taught to value freedom and creativity, yet at the same time to work hard to create a solid, stable life for himself to take advantage of all that the United States had to offer.

Daniel ended up working in finance in New York City, where he spent 26 years living the Wall Street life. "No matter how much money I made, I never remember feeling rich or even secure there," he says, "and the knowledge that this was not what I wanted to be doing with my one precious life was always in my peripheral vision." He was unable to spend quality time with his family, and he knew he wanted something more.

But then Daniel was struck by a bolt of inspiration. Looking out the window of his vacation home in the Cotswolds — a bucolic region of the UK that is the quintessential "English countryside" of our imaginations — he saw a field of barley rippling in the wind. And it hit him: 

I should quit my job and open a whiskey distillery right here.

So he did. Today, the Cotswold Distilling Company is a popular tourist destination and producer of about two dozen fine whiskeys and liquors. Knowing that this was a story worth telling, Daniel decided to put his lockdown time to good use. In the spring of 2020, as the world stopped, Daniel worked with StoryTerrace to write his book.

Daniel's book - Spirit Guide: In Search of an Authentic Life - designed by StoryTerrace 

"I wanted to do this for a very long time," Daniel says. Writing the book served to help Daniel burnish the Cotswold Distilling Company brand, but for Daniel, the brand is also highly personal. He approached writing the book as a process of discovery that would also allow him to process his Wall Street life — and finally lay it to rest — as he pivots fully into his role as distiller and entrepreneur.

DanielSzorblog_BookoftheMonth-caption-The_spring_barley_field_that_started_it_allThe spring barley field that started it all

The Writing Process

Daniel never doubted that he had a book to write, but he wasn’t certain that he could get the job done on his own, especially given his time commitments to his family and his growing business. When he began to ask around for help, one of his business investors recommended StoryTerrace. "It’s a brilliant idea, just a great concept," Daniel says. 

Daniel knew he wanted to work with an experienced writer to take advantage of their significant experience in writing and publishing. He marvels at how perfectly matched his writer was to his project. "The connection I had with Olivia was unbelievable," he says, recalling how they discovered many personal and familial similarities as they worked together. He also remains impressed by her writing: "I just rambled. She put it all together, and I’m still amazed by her prose."

Watch Daniel read an excerpt from his book discussing how the pandemic can be an opportunity to reassess what’s important in life:

Daniel also benefitted from additional StoryTerrace Pro services, including working with a publishing coach to format and market the book on Amazon. Daniel plans to sell copies in the distillery's gift shop as well as make it available around the world as an ebook — additional options that StoryTerrace offers to entrepreneurs who want to reach a wider audience.

DanielSzor_BookoftheMonth-caption-The_distillery_today_complete_with_whiskey_pot_stillsThe distillery today, complete with whiskey pot stills

Daniel knows he’s not the only one out there ready to examine their life and take charge of their destiny. "I would be hard-pressed to say there's anyone that doesn’t have a story in them worth being told," he says. "StoryTerrace makes it doable. It’s a great, life-changing legacy."

The Cotswold Distilling Company has grown from a wisp of an idea to a destination for vacationers and serious whiskey fans alike. Daniel's dedication and attention to detail has led him to create a niche single-malt whiskey, finish writing his first book, and create a life worth living.  

We can’t wait to see what he does next.


Daniel signing copies of his finished book at his company HQ in the Cotswolds 


You can find out more about Daniel's unique story on his website.
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Written by Elizabeth Trach
Image credits: by Daniel Szor & The Telegraph

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