The Value of a Cleared Mind

Last weekend I missed my first weekly post in about two years. I was in Los Angeles, attending an intensive workshop for professional speakers. It was a life-resetting experience. Apologies in advance for the zillion hyperlinks, but they are all richly warranted.

keller lightbulbI went because of the quality of the instructors, and want to acknowledge them here. Organizer and literary marketing guru Wendy Keller did an amazing (her favorite word) job of putting them together, and contributing her own deep knowledge of the industry. John Bates, a TED trainer, Max Dixon on body movement and presentation gestures, and Bernie Hiller, acting coach par excellance, were all breathtaking in their ability to pull the best out of people in a compressed time frame.

Jeff Roldan is a top-echelon videographer. I’d tell you how great his work is, but I haven’t seen his footage yet. (Sorry Jeff! 🙂 ) He was, however, a pleasure to work with. (I just hope I don’t look like Bela Lugosi, whom I’ve been told I resemble.)

(If you are interested, participation is via application and interview only. Start at

Better yet, and entirely unexpected, was the quality of the nine other students. Victor, the very large but totally gentle financial planner, Nancy, a former marketer for Barbie and now a consultant on youth marketing, Annette, a PhD who loves working with tech entrepreneurs, Leo, the world champion wrestler who defected from Romania and arrived in LA with nothing but determination, and Laura, who is changing the investment world.

Then there was Angela, a successful attorney who lost her eyesight in college, Janine, a school superintendent who is insanely passionate about improving literacy, Alia wants to bring greater humanity to corporate management, and Mike Muhney only invented ACT! and launched the entire CRM industry.

So I had three days of hard work and outstanding camaraderie, returning in the wee hours of Tuesday morning exhausted but pumped. Now for the rest of the story.

Later Tuesday I found out that a date hold on my calendar had turned into a major keynote engagement. I was also asked to contribute to a column in on presentation skills. (Ya think maybe I was ready for that one?) A routine catch-up lunch with a banker turned into a major revelation about my marketing effectiveness.

On Wednesday I was asked if a national marketing publication, Onward Magazine, could use one of my “Awake” columns in their July issue. I also had a “Let’s get acquainted” breakfast with another banker, which unexpectedly turned into a plan for joint marketing and another speaking opportunity.

On Thursday, an interview I gave a few weeks ago came out as a long profile piece at Later that day my business coach, Agnes Mura (might as well get everyone in- regular readers know that I don’t usually do this) gave me what is probably the best promotional idea I’ve ever heard in-my-life.

On Friday I met with my marketing pro, Lara August of Robot Creative. We went over book sales, and I discovered that the marketing is actually having a measurable effect. Hallelujah! She had also had an interview for an entrepreneurial podcast, whose sponsor (in Michigan) had not only heard of me, but is among the elite who’ve read my book, and now wants to interview me.

Coincidences? I think not. I’ve discovered the secret to success. Spend a few days doing something completely different. Stretch from your comfort zone. Make new friends. Clean up your attitude. Then quickly go out and talk with as many really smart people as you possibly can.

Take it from me. You can’t miss.

Take the Hunter Quiz and see if you are Hunting in a  Farmer’s World.


Ippy Silver
NYBF Winner
Hunting in a Farmer’s World has received its fifth award, named the Best Business Book by the New York Book Festival. Thank you!


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2 Responses to The Value of a Cleared Mind

  1. It is amazing how involvement with smart people can make one so “lucky.” Time well spent.

  2. Wow, John! Thank you for mentioning all of us in this great article. You’re so right – getting out of our zone is so beneficial (should I say “amazing”?) You were such an asset to the course – strong, wise, grounded, clear. It’s a pleasure to get to know you better. Wishing you much continued success!

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