The Blind Blogger AMA With Maxwell Ivey

Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service. On the podcast today, we have Maxwell Ivey. Max, welcome.

Thank you Tom, I appreciate you having me on this show and I’m looking forward to a great conversation.

It’s very much my pleasure. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Sure. I am Maxwell Ivey. I am a totally blind man who has gone from failed carnival owner to respected amusement equipment broker and now I’m a self-help offer, a motivational speaker, online media publicist, a lot of other things. I’m a podcast host and I’m currently working to launch a network to help other blind people start their own podcast. The main thing you need to know about me is I did what I wanted to do all my life. I was part of my family’s carnival business or what y’all call a funfair over in the UK. I did that for 15 years until my dad’s death. When he died, I fell into depression. Ended up, our carnival was not sustainable.

So we had to join up with my uncle’s show. Eventually I realised I needed to do something on my own that I could have passion in again. And that was, that led to me doing the only thing I do, which was helping people sell used amusement equipment and thankfully I was able to do that and uh, you know, y’all sighted people said it was very inspirational what I was doing to help other people sell used rides and now you know what I’m doing to help people in general, including getting my friends who have stories like mine booked on podcast like yours. Well, um, I do want to say I have a lot of admiration for you. I think I think what you’re doing in terms of all your activity that you’ve got going on is just superb. So congratulations and all that. Thank you. Uh, I like to tell people I’m two things. One, I didn’t plan to do most of this stuff. A lot of it happened because other people said max, have you ever thought about trying or they challenged me to do something?

I like to say that one of the best things that can happen is for a good friend to dare you to do something that scares you. So a lot of this I’ve done just because it was the next thing to do. But the other thing is I’m not really smart enough to get scared. So, you know, I don’t really focus on the huge things that I’m doing at the time. And you know, some people get mad at me when I say this, there are times when I have to be reminded, you know, max back when you used to hand code Html. That was a big deal or you know, max when you were one of the first one of the few legally blind eagle scouts that was a big deal. So I really stay in the moment. I do what I’m working on today. And I don’t really think, oh man, my book needs to be out in January and here it is May and I haven’t even wrote the first, you know, I don’t think about it. I just do what I need to do today and I don’t know where that comes from. I really wish I could tell people where that comes from. But I sometimes think that maybe it’s maybe it’s the vision loss, maybe that has forced me to be more mindful over the years and focused in on what I’m doing right this minute.

I don’t know but you know, it is really important and it’s really hard to just focus in on what you’re doing now and not think about all the deadlines you have all the responsibilities you have and how far it is to that big goal that you’re chasing. Well, yeah, I think, I think a lot of people can learn from you and I love the podcast name of what’s your excuse? can you touch a little bit on that, right? Well, one I didn’t pick the name. I actually tried not to call it something with excuses in it, but I couldn’t escape it. And once I realised I couldn’t escape it. I said thank you to the people who gave it to me and I ran with it. It’s become a thing and my only regret is not following for the domain name back then because somebody else has it. They won’t like $25,000 for it. But the what’s your excuse actually came from people online who, you know, they saw what I was doing that I was willing to take on difficult challenges.

You know, work through the problems. Just keep moving forward and they said, you know, if max can do it, then what’s my excuse? And it became a kind of a thing in the blog, comments on my website. So a lot of times when it comes to branding or ideas, the ideas don’t have to be yours. And sometimes the best thing you can do is just say thank you and move forward. So uh, It’s, you know, but you know, think about it. I’m a in 2007. I’m a blind guy. I got no skills, no experience, no money. I don’t have the first clue how to build a website. I’m going to start an online business. So I had to learn how to hand coded. Html. Then I had to learn how to recruit clients and set fees and build an email list and eventually use social media. You know, I started before Facebook was a thing before WordPress and even Wi-Fi just think about trying to build a website on a 56 K. Modem, y’all uh, if any of you remember what that is.

So, you know, I really, it was like okay max, how are we going to do this? You know, so sometimes the answer was hard work. Sometimes the answer was asking somebody else to help me do it or to do it for me. And so that’s, that’s where the whole winter excuse thing comes from. People have seen me basically say this has to be done. There has to be a way to do it. I’m gonna find that way to do it and then I’m gonna do it no matter how much, I don’t like it. I mean you mentioned the fact that you don’t know where the dizziness comes from, but where does the, do you know where the drive comes from to overcome hard tasks or what might be perceived as difficult tasks? Right? Well part of it is spending 15 years trying to drag a seven right carnival around the state of Texas where most of the other competitors had 15 or 20 or 30 or more. So you know, just the whole attitude of, we’re gonna get to next week, we’re gonna make opening because if we don’t get open and if people can’t buy a candy and ride the Ferris wheel, there will be trouble.

So, you know, you grow up with that mindset and my entire family on my dad’s side, we’re in the business. So you know, you see all your relatives doing it, you know, you see them working odd jobs in the wintertime, you know, selling Christmas trees, selling plush toys on the side of the road, whatever so they can, you know, get ready to go out again next year, you grow up around people who did stuff who never really had time for anybody that was feeling sorry for themselves. And so you learn my dad used to have an expression when we would get open and me and him were used to the last team there because with me being wined and him being our main driver, there are other people could set up the rides and the games, me and him would just be, you know, we would be the last one to make sure everything finally got there. And sometimes, you know, we would have to be really creative and people would come up to my dad and they go, hey max, how did you all do that?

You know, How did you get that £700 moonwalk on that track by yourselves? And you always just look at him and go, hey, did we have a choice? So you’ve got an upbringing of no excuses, basically. Yeah. Now that you mention it, I don’t know if you know David Rafe, but he’s a friend of mine from the UK. He likes to say that the carnival business gave me a PhD in hustle and muscle. But I want to ask you about so many different things, but before I do, I want to, I want to say, are there any things, any questions that you get asked? What you think? That’s really annoying. I wish people wouldn’t ask me that. Yes there is and there’s one that’s still annoys me and there’s one that used to annoy me, but the one that annoys me is going to surprise you. I’m annoyed when people ask me, what are my plans for the future? Because I usually don’t know. you know, I like to say that sometimes God has better plans than I do or bigger dreams than I do. So I, you know, and you know I said earlier how much I work to focus on what I’m doing now?

I have a couple of goals. I want to travel more and more public speaking. And my big goal right now is to launch this, what’s your excuse podcast network. Well, I’m going to help other people with disabilities start their own podcast. So that’s my future thing. But that used to be my least favourite question from a host they always would ask at the end of the show where your plans for the future, I don’t know, honestly didn’t know most of the time. Well, my question that I ask every episode is obviously, what are your goals? Is that just a variation of the same question? it maybe I’m not 100% sure one of the things I teach my, my students that I’m preparing to be podcast guest is, you don’t always have to know the answer. And sometimes the best thing to do is just to work through the answer while you’re talking to the host. So it sounds like the same question. All right. We’ll pass on that one for today. Thank you for you. That is all right.

Well, you can ask it again if you want to. I mean, I’m not guaranteed and I’ll give you the answer you want to get or the answer the guests the listeners want to get, but I’ll answer it. Well, do you, it makes me think coming back to the no excuses thing for a moment and you being involved in self-development to some degree. Do you ever listen to perhaps comments or stories of people and think and why are you making these excuses? You know, you’ve got, you know, if you look at yourself and how much you’ve done and versus maybe the typical complaints or stories people tell themselves and think, do you, do you feel any of that at all? Occasionally I will feel it when my brother is reading some of the Facebook posts. But the thing is, I don’t generally gravitate towards stories like that. And here’s the funny thing. You know how they say we attract the people that are like the person we are. Most people that make excuses, don’t talk to me.

They don’t complain to me every once in a while. I will get an email from somebody who will say, you know, Max you’ve done so much. It comes so far. I feel depressed listening to you because there’s no way I could do that. But most of the time, people who are, you know, making excuses, finding reasons not to take action of any kind. They don’t they don’t come near me, You know, they stay away from me. So other than, you know, the occasional news story and the occasional Facebook posted, my brother reads from his feed. I really don’t have those thoughts much because I just don’t come in contact with them a lot. And I think that’s a really good thing. I think it’s something more people should aspire to. Like, you know, when you get up in the morning, are you looking for uh, news items or social media post to get angry about? Are you looking for them to get to get supported and uplifted by and the more you approach things with a positive attitude and an attitude of I can do this.

There’s some way we can do this, whether it’s me by myself or with help from others, it could happen, then you don’t run into, what do they call them, the Karens or the boomers, they stay away from you. You know, and just to follow up on that, I don’t want anybody to do this. I always preface this by saying I do not want a Gremlin or a troll or a hater, but I’ve never had one. And I think it’s just because I post with humility, I share the embarrassing stuff just as much as I share the positive stuff, you know, my feet is at all pictures of me with a smile on my face. Well maybe it is because I don’t take a lot of pictures and sometimes it’s hard to get other people, but you know what I mean? You know the you know the people I’m talking about, I’m not that kind of person. So I think that really helps a lot as far as who I attract to me. I mean I post about the you know about getting about being in New York broke and not exactly sure how I’m going to get home, but I also post about you know, selling a copy of my book in the airport.

So I think that has a lot to do with why I just don’t come in contact with people like that. They don’t attract them, they don’t reach out to me. I wish they would reach out to me. I would love to have a conversation with some of these people and go come on, what is the what is the excuse today and give them like four or five options. The problem is most people they want, they want the solution that they want, they want the easy solution and sometimes they want the solution. Everybody else’s using. They think just because me and you are doing it a certain way, they have to do it. That for example, before we went live you mentioned that you will edit the video and crop out the extraneous stuff. So I like even better on camera. I don’t mind people knowing that about me, I just press record, I talked to the person, I press stop whatever is on the cameras on the camera. So we have totally different approaches but we both have great shows, great interviews and wonderful audiences. So you know that’s I think what it comes down to is people want the solutions they want or they won’t do things the way everybody else is doing them.

And most of the time it just comes down to going, hey how can I do this? That works for me. do I want to do it that way? No, but if I do it that way, can I get to the next step? Yes, go ahead. I love telling people this about you know, our solutions. well I think the Olympics, they’re not going to give us style points. So find the solution that gets you there. It probably in the beginning it probably will be dirty and greasy and you probably will hate it. I mean I give thanks at least once a week for WordPress because I used to have to build my website one line or stupid code at a time, but I did it because I had no other choice. So I do want to get into that because it seems like a well a gigantic task in terms of being able to hand code or hard code from the beginning, during the pre-WordPress. But before we do, I wanted to ask you about podcasting because as much as we’ve talked about adversity, um, it makes me think that in relation to podcasting it’s, I would say almost, and what’s your opinion on this?

You’re on a level par with everyone else in relation to podcasting? Is that, is that true to say? I think you are on a level as long as you’re willing to see yourself on the level, you know, you know, the problem with podcasters with bloggers, with website builders, you know, what the bottom line is the whole isn’t good enough yet. So if you’re willing to say my podcast is good, whatever my skills are, I record my content and put it out in the world, then yeah, there’s a level playing field. But if you’re one of these people who says, I’m recording this thing on eight year old back book or I’m recording this with my iPhone or I’m recording this one of my favourite guys, Michael Francis, he records this podcast from the bed of his pickup truck because that was the only answer you at, you know, so if you’re willing to say, hey, my content is as good as everybody else’s content, then yeah, it’s level. But if you’re one of these people who make excuses and saying my content isn’t good enough because I don’t have the tech yet, I don’t have the editing capabilities yet.

Or nobody’s gonna listen to me because there are five other shows like what I’m doing or want to do. So really depends on mindset. Yes. When it comes down to it, if we are willing to put ourselves in our content out into the world we’re all equal. But if I see myself as a nobody and I see tom as a rock star, I could never compete with that because I won’t let myself compete with it. And I hope that didn’t confuse anybody. No, I think it’s pretty clear and I don’t think my question was quite clear enough either because I think you take someone like yourself and yeah, I do, I do look at you as a bit of a rock star and apply that to the podcasting world. I think that you, I mean you have a massive advantage because I mean, I’m presuming that you’re just going to apply all of yourself to that. And whereas people who just look at it as just another thing, They may be disadvantaged because they just, you know, this is just another thing I could do. Whereas you’re gonna use your work ethic on it and you know, I’m fascinating to see what happens with it is essentially what I was trying to get across.

Yeah, well yeah, if you, you know, apply my work ethic or apply many other work ethics, I, I will be the first to tell you that I am not as dedicated or consistent even I would like to be, but at the end of the day I go okay max, you can do better tomorrow and some days tomorrow, I do do better. But yeah, if you apply the work ethic, I think the more important thing as far as podcasting goes is applying the curiosity factor, you know, who am I going to talk to today? What kind of conversations, what am I going to work? And that’s another really important thing about podcasting. If you go into podcasting, I’m speaking about interview shows because it’s different with monologue shows. if you go into podcasting, doing an interview show and you don’t expect to have ah ha, moments to learn things about the guests and learn things about yourself and you might as well not podcast and this is, there’s such a huge curiosity factor involved in doing this show as far as you know, who do I want, how do I get them to come on my ship?

What shows do I want to go on? What things do I want to talk about? What, what are they going to teach me from Africa or Canada or the UK. So there’s just so much stuff that, you know, that is unknown that you can learn. So I, I said, you know, you have to apply the, the idea of wonder of childlike curiosity to doing a podcast and that makes it sustainable, you know, so if you apply curiosity along with the work ethic and along with the determination that you are going to grow as a person as a result of doing your podcast, then it becomes sustainable. Hmm We touched a little bit on what the quote unquote disadvantages might be. What would you say your advantages are in terms of how you approach things? Well, one, I don’t really worry too much about how the stuff works. I worry about how it sounds, but when it comes to the visual presentation, I do, I approach it two ways.

One. I you know, I do it as well as I can because you know, I’ve got my, I’ve got my camera set, my chair set and I got my shirt, my child that and then I don’t worry about it. the other thing is when it with visual stuff, I let other people do it or I take advice from other people like I have a woman Philadelphia helps me with the recording space tells me I still have more work to do. So I think that the, that my situation allows me to ignore some of the stuff that other people would get distracted by and that would keep them from starting or continuing their podcast. You got some focus? Yeah I got focused because of my lack of vision. Yeah and that’s something I’m told all the time. So it’s a and I wish more people would worry more about the about the content of the conversations and less about the technology and how it’s going to look. Yeah the audio is really important you know. But I think the other thing is I have learned over the years that our mistakes have as much if not more value than the stuff will get right.

I mean one of my one of my most watched videos was a video I recorded for the blonde blogger dot net and it was the very first video. Now I have white perception, but I can only tell if the lights are on or off if I would directly where the light is supposed to be and then turn the switch. So I sat down and recorded this video without checking the light. I recorded it posted, it was very proud of it only to find out that I was sitting in a dark room and half the people who saw that said max, you know it looks like you’re sitting in a cave, you might want to re-record this and fix your writing the other half setbacks. What a wonderful metaphor you’re gonna lead us out of the darkness into the light. You know, it’s a great better and I’m like, see they saw what they wanted to see. You know, some people are going to see your flaws, some people are going to see your flaws as a metaphor, but they can only do that if we put ourselves out there, if we share our mistakes or flaws or scars, that’s how you connect with people.

That’s how you go to royal audience. That’s how you that’s how you get to the point where if you don’t post in a while, some of your followers will reach out there you go back. So you okay. So I do think that embracing my mistakes and also knowing my limitations as a blind person when it comes to the visual appeal of what I’m doing and just saying the heck with it and doing it anyway. That’s one of the big messages I like to share with people is, you know, is knowing that it was maybe not your best or finding something that scares you and just doing it anyway? I think that’s that good peer group coming up again, which is a good example of it, but would you say that you’re hearing is better than the average person and also perhaps you’re listening ability, do you think that you listen to? I don’t know the meaning of what people say a little bit more than most do. Okay. I want to congratulate you on asking a question in a way that nobody has ever asked it before. But I love the second part, even better than the first part.

That is so representative of really understanding the person you’re talking with and that’s something very few people can a cop with this. I want to thank you for that. So the first part, the first part, I think my hearing is above average, but I think that’s partly not exposing it to dangerous noise levels when I was a teenager, because I’ve never rock music fan. And it’s partly because of actually paying attention to what I’m listening to instead of paying attention to have seven different things that, you know, if you remember when we, when we’ve got ready to record, you know, I turned off my screen reader and my phone and much Apple, so I don’t wanna be listening to you. So it’s part of it is focused and part of it is protecting your ears because you know that they’re very valuable to you. so that’s that’s the first question. The second part of your question is other than today because it seems like I’ve missed your meaning a couple of times and I and I apologise for that. I must not be on my game today, but you must doubt it’s your fault somehow. But usually, but usually people talk about my intuitiveness and how closely I listen and how well I put myself in the other person’s place.

I’m often complimented on empathy and understanding. So yeah, I think my listening ability or what Stephen Covey would call, what do you call it? Power listening or something like that? I think it is definitely improved because it’s, you know, it’s focused, but you know, there there have been some recent scientific studies on vision loss or loss of other senses, like people who are deaf and they’ve discovered something their calling neural elasticity, which means that the brain has the ability to reroute its processing power to focus on the things that has and ignore the things that doesn’t have. And when you consider that Depending on who you ask, 70-90% of the brain’s processing is devoted to your vision. If you take that and then focus it on hearing, smell, taste, touch, then that’s what most, what the scientists certainly starting to believe is what happens there as far as the as far as the listening and understanding the other person that I think all comes from practice.

But you know, just think about this, think about if you have an image on your phone and you try to you make that image as good as you can. Well, there’s, you know, and then you take the same image and you put it on your laptop, or then you take the same image and you put it on a supercomputer, you’re gonna get different images because you have different levels of computing power and they’re starting to believe that the same thing is happening with the brain and with vision loss that it’s taking all that processing power uses on images and focusing on other places. If correct me if I’m wrong. But I think in one of your messages to me or perhaps on the profile that I read you originally you started off and you could see but you lost your vision over time, but you also knew that that would happen and therefore you had time to prepare for it. Can you share a bit about your thinking process? Right? Well, part of the thinking process was the people that I was surrounded by.

I don’t know about the UK, but in the US, the quality of your education depends on where you live because the more affluent the neighbourhood is more money to school usually has to spend. So at my school, they had people such as braille instructors, orientation and mobility teachers, special education teachers, you weren’t just focused on pushing you through the system, but actually, you know, helping you find ways to accomplish your earning test. So I was very blessed that way. But you already know about my carnival family and how they, you know, wouldn’t have accepted my spending much time feeling sorry about things. But the gradual loss did help because on one hand, it help. And on the other hand, it made it made things more difficult. It helped because like you said, I had time to prepare. I had a big drop off in vision when I was, you know, 12 or 13. So that was a surprise. But the other thing is that I never really knew what my level of vision was going to be from one month to the next or one year to the next.

So In the span of say four or five years, I went from being able to read a regular print books in dark room to have a to have lots of light to having to use a magnifying glass or are borrowing large print books, eventually using a close circuit television to blow up the words on the screen and then finally having to go to audio and braille so that continually having to adjust to my vision level and how I would do things made me very adaptable and very flexible. And one of the things that, you know, we try to get across to employers is that while blind employees may have limitations that may need accommodations. If they are at the point where they want work, you can really take advantage of the adaptability that many of us have and the creative problem solving that we break the situations. Oh yeah, definitely. I can imagine. Do you, I mean you mentioned the fact that you want to help other people who are in the same position, do you have many people who, I mean see themselves as victims.

I certainly can see that you don’t feel that way. But how do you feel about that topic? I think that you know, Oprah used to say that winning the lottery didn’t change people. It only brought out the person they already were and I kind of think it’s that way with vision loss. There are just as many angry depressed, excuse me, making people who either because they started out that way or because over time they they’ve tried many things and failed to the point where you know, they are the opposite end of the spectrum and I think there’s, you know, just as many people as out here like me who are hoping for better things. You know, just like you take, you know, you see people from slums in Africa that turned out to be successful in business or movie or entertainment and then you see people from, from wonderful families and neighbourhoods here in the US who end up on drugs. There’s, you know, if it’s just, I wish we could figure out, you know what that switches that causes people in similar situations.

I mean think about this here, we are in the middle of the pandemic over the last year. We’ve had lockdowns, we’ve had shortages on toilet paper. You know, we’ve had social unrest. We’ve had all this stuff going on. You have, but at the same time, you have all these wonderful stories of people who have started businesses out of their homes, people who have finally decided to paint sculpt, right, that first novel. So, you know, how do you do, how do you figure that out? You know what causes one person in the pandemic to start a soup kitchen and another person in the pandemic to live in a park in a box. You know, we just we don’t know, it’s the same thing with vision loss. We really don’t know why some people it affects them or it doesn’t affect the negatively and other people, it’s it becomes the thing that drags them down. We don’t really know. The one thing we do know is that me and you we can do what we can, have great conversations like this, but we can’t help people who don’t want to be helped. Yeah, 100% agree.

Well, I do definitely want to touch on the how on earth did you learn how to code? Because most people don’t know that it’s a very – it’s basically a story that falls into everything else I do. What I did was I knew I couldn’t do what you see is what you get, which was, which was the main option at that time. So I started asking on online and I kept asking and finally somebody said, man, you need to go to the W three C dot org school and go through their tutorials and after you do that then you can come back and ask him some smart questions. And so I took that to me. They were tired of me asking my dumb questions. But I, yeah, well, you know, so when you, when you when you do the same thing over and over again, people that you are exposed to will tend to get a bit blunt. So I was happy they did it actually. So you know, so what I did is I did what I do with a lot of things.

I went there and I found out that you know if you did this, you could create a page, if you did this, you could create a week, if you did this, you could create thing that where people quick the thing and it lets them send you an email. So I learned at one little piece of code at a time. Embedding images, embedding videos. What else creating new pages and linked pages between pages. So I did it one little piece of code at a time. And then as I started building my website, I would I went back to some of the people who you know were blunt with me and they would share some of their PHP code or some of their um, uh, you know, some of their JavaScript code with me, so I don’t have to do that. But it really, it was just like, okay, there has to be a way I can do this W 3C thing sounds like the way I went there. I would look at their examples and I realised, you know, then it’s all you have to do is think about a mirror because with, with code, as long as both sides are the same, you’re usually okay.

And you know, you have to be really focused on doing everything with the screenwriter going character by character because if you miss one period slash less than or greater than the whole thing breaks, or at least the whole page, you’re working on breaks if you’re not working on the main page. So, you know, that’s the way I did it. I did it one line at a time, sometimes at 234 o’clock in the morning. And sometimes those last stand a greater than started to run together in my ears. But, and when I would complain about it to my side of friends, they would go back. It’s worse if you can see it. And I would go, what do you mean? It’s worse if you can see it? They said, well, when you get tired, those lessons is greater than start to look like rhombus is, and I’m like, okay, so the most difficult thing I had to do was with embedding images because uh, if you, a lot of times the image, uh, the label I had given the photo wasn’t acceptable to html code back then, you know, back then you couldn’t put a dash or space or unusual characters in a file name if you wanted to add it to your website.

So sometimes I would forget that I have this big blank space in my, in a page and people would go and I would show it to people and ask how does this look? And they go, well max in another picture that’s supposed to be there, it ain’t there. So sometimes I would have to do a photo, add a photo to my website three or four times before I finally get it right. But I think this all goes back to the way I do things and you know, I hope that this is the one message people get is that when you’re approaching a big problem, do what you can, you know, do those little bitty things that will eventually add up to a big thing. And that’s what I did with my website to the point where you know, now, other people who look at her go, man, this is a monster, this is a Frankenstein, but it works. And can I tell my, can I tell my website colour story? It’s my favourite story, you mind if I tell that one, definitely. Okay, I’m blind. So when it came to picking the colours for the website, I thought, okay, um, for those of you who don’t know, there are two ways to pick colours on the website.

There’s what’s called the heck. So decimal number system and you can use words. Well, I had no idea what numbers went with what colours. So I thought I’ll just go with the names and I picked yellow for the background because back when I could see, I remember that the toys and stuff on the games look better on yellow than they did on white. I chose blue for the text, read for link text and orange for previously quick link text and I thought I was doing good until somebody came along just you know, max that yellow is ice cream and yellow. Your blue is navy, your red is brick and your orange is a fluorescent orange, like something you see on the side of a Nascar or Formula one car. And basically over the years people have told me that the website is so bright that Ray Charles and Stevie wonder could argue over it. You know, it was bad, but I focused on what I could do, which was recruiting equipment, posting the equipment on the website, promoting the equipment through emails and social media and that got off a looking website.

So hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of rides on five continents before we finally moved in to WordPress and made it a little more conventional cool, great story. So what about this? Before I move on, I wanted to highlight a principle because you, you started in that answer, you started with one thing, which is one thing at a time I think was your um, your answer. And there’s a phrase in self-development which I’m sure you’ve heard, which is how do you eat an elephant one by at a time, one bite at a time. You also highlighted on the fact that when people look at html code, you get all this kind of, oh my goodness, look at all that, it’s given Irish essentially to most people. But if you’re focusing on one character, as you say that you did probably less intimidating, right? Yeah. And that’s the way everything is. If you can focus in on the little goal that you have today, then the big goal is down the road won’t scare you as much, you know.

And that’s the way I do things. I, when I sit down to write, I sit down to write for five minutes when I go to ride my stationary bike or my bike, that doesn’t go anywhere, I sit down to ride for 15 minutes, you know, I I don’t ever say I’m gonna do like, okay, oh, very, very rarely. Well, I say, okay, by the end of this year, I am going to do this because I just don’t think about that, I’m like okay, here’s generally where I want to go and these are some of the things I can do and then I start doing it and actually I have what I like to call my four questions method because what I, what I like to do is I like to think about at least at least once. I don’t, I don’t do this very often because it scares most people and I tell them that my first book, waiting you out of the darkness into the light, blind man’s inspirational guy to success, I tell them that when you look at the big girl is going to scare you, but you have to do it once when you decide on what your goal is and you make a list of everything you think you will need to do have or accomplish before you get there.

So I say make that list and then for each, each one, ask yourself these questions, can I do it? So if that one little piece is something you can do, you take action on it today or this week, you don’t talk about it or think about it or ask somebody else about it, just do it. If you can’t do it then can you learn how to do it and if you can learn how to do it, then start watching the podcast, reach out to the mentor, sign up for the course, you know, if you can’t do it and you can’t learn how to do it then can you get somebody else to do it for you? And if you can get somebody else to do it, then start that. And when I say somebody else, I mean friends, family, volunteers reaching out on social media, saying yes, if somebody comes along and offers to help you, paying people to help you and one of the great things about being humble about my goals. As a lot of times people will do things for me for less than what they would do. So each cards or on instalment basis or in exchange for something I’m good at like getting them on podcast. So if you can’t do it, learn how to do it or get somebody else to do it, then ignore it.

Put it off to the side and focus on the things that you actually have some level of control over and start doing those small things do at least one of those small things every day and eventually you’ll look up and you know, it might be a month or a few months later and you’ll think, wait a minute I am a different person than I was when I started this. Maybe there’s some things that I didn’t have on my list to begin with and maybe there’s some things that on my original list I said I couldn’t do. But now maybe I can do that. Maybe I can learn or maybe there’s somebody in my community now and you can help me, who can help me by doing it for me. So that’s the way I approached, I break it down into as many little bitty steps as I can and then I work on what I can do and if I can’t do it fine, nobody can do all this stuff by themselves. So I don’t worry about it. Great point is another productivity point. Breaking things down into its, you know, in micro goals. I think they’re referred to. Yeah, there’s so much here that I want to talk to you about traveling cross country solo, what is that like?

Well, it works for it were, you know, different people would approach it differently. Me, I feel like as long as I expect to meet good helpful people, those are the people I will meet and I don’t obviously usually put myself in dangerous situations, but I’ve been very lucky. So when I travel, I depend on the staff of the plane, train or bus company, I ask people around me if they will help me find the next place I need to go to or if they will lead me there. I I stay open to new activities or experiences. So sometimes I stay with people in their homes, sometimes I’ve stayed in a hotel, I’ve stayed in a hostel. you know, I, I’m basically very flexible because you have all these years traveling around the country and you know, kind of old kind of distressed travel trailer. So My standards, my standards aren’t real high, but when it comes to, when it comes to traveling, you know, I like to say and I’ve said this many times when I visited New York for the first time in 2016, I travelled all over that city, going from one person’s shoulder to the next person’s shoulders.

I went sighted guide and met a lot of great people, you know, an exchange student from Vietnam, a BNB host from Florida who was in New York visit as a tourist himself. You know, a woman who invited me to come on her podcast and you know, just the people I met on the ferry or at whatever building. So it’s I even, you know, got help from the Secret Service guy at trump tower. So it’s basically, I’m not one of those uber independent blind people and I think that really makes it easier for me when I travelled by myself. can I think this weekend along the way? Yeah. And I think this leads into one of my most important lessons, which is, we’re not, we’re not intended to do this stuff by ourselves and that we really need to ask for help more or to accept help when it’s offered to us, those two things will make accomplishing those big goals so much easier.

And I like to try to get people to take the focus off of themselves and think about the other person. And I have this expression that I like to share, which is when you refuse to ask, you robbed the other person of the joy they would have received from helping you. Yes. A great point. Yeah. So I like people to think, you know, hey, I’m making the other guy’s day harder by not asking or uh, I’m making my life harder if they don’t accept it. And you know, for most people, it’s very difficult to ask for help because they feel embarrassed. They feel like they should be able to do all this stuff on their own. And you know, we have a very negative view of people who ask for help in this world. So it’s hard for people to do it. And I hope that expression helps them by taking the focus off of themselves and thinking about how good they feel when they do something for somebody else. But I find a more difficult thing is to accept help because if somebody comes along and volunteers to do something for you, the immediate responses ego, people get offended their life, who the heck do they think they are?

I don’t need their help. I’m doing just fine as I am right now. So they should take their selves off and go help somebody who really needs. That’s and in that case, I try to remind people, look, it took them more courage to offer to help you. That it would take you to ask to ask somebody. So, you know, I like to remind people when somebody offers to help you. They are showing real courage and showing real love for another person. In many cases, a person that they only know through the internet. So try to remember that when somebody does offer and the great thing that I’ve learned is that when you ask for help and you take you take the advice or do the work, you build friendships when people offer to help you and you accept their help and you work together to solve a problem in your life. You can build relationships and those things last much longer than the problem does. Well, the next one is the biggest fear that individuals have. I’m wondering what the process of public speaking was like for you and also singing in public.

I’m half tempted, half tempted to ask you for a little bit of a sing here. But well, let’s put it this way, You don’t have to be tempted because as I tell people all the time, if somebody considers themselves a singer don’t ask them to sing because they will sing. Uh, you can ask a singer who’s just got out of intensive care if they want to sing and trust me, the answer will be yes. and in fact for me, singing is harder than public speaking. But let’s talk about your first question first, public speaking. I had a great conversation with another blind speaker last night from my podcast, what’s your excuse? And we talked about this and he agreed with me, which is as a blind person, I don’t have the intimidation of looking out into an audience. I mean I can’t see y’all my biggest fear when I speak is that people are going to be quiet, that they’re not going to laugh or have some sort of response within the first few minutes that I’m talking because you know, as you know, when I speak and when I have conversations, I am pretty funny, you know, so if they if they will laugh then I get a little, you know, if they’re quiet then I get a little worried, which is one of the reasons why I don’t really care for doing virtual talks on June because I can’t see the audience and I can’t hear them either.

So I’m really not a big fan of, of virtual speaking on zoom. It’s not my favourite thing, but I will do it. but the other thing is when I speak, I I really don’t have enough space in my brain to think about the about the talk for me, I’m focused on putting one ft in front of the other going down the aisle up the ramp, I’m thinking about getting myself positioned incorrectly, so I’m facing the audience. I’m thinking about if I do decide to move at all, am I going to end up off the stage? And you know, I’m thinking about the microphone, my first words wanting to make sure that I sound good through the P. A. So I’m thinking about those sorts of things, focused on the mobility, part of getting to the mic and starting my talk. And so I don’t really think too much about the fear of giving the talk. And I think that also applied to my traveling solo because you only have so much space in your brain, you know, you can’t worry about everything.

So for me, I don’t really think too much about to talk and it comes off sometimes that I’m that I’m not nervous and maybe I’m not nervous or maybe it’s just that I’m patrolling my nerves by being mindful and focusing on the next minute or the next three minutes. So that really helps me. but some people have mentioned that I don’t look like I I’m nervous, it looks like I’m doing just another thing. So maybe I am, I think a little a little bit helps that I’m a storyteller. So when I go up there, I’m not trying to read you know, really strictly prepared remarks, I’m not having to read off of a script or teleprompter, but I am having to read from my memory. And, you know, when I give talks basically think, okay, I’m gonna give this talk to my talking to and what stories I’m going to tell. So my stories are like, you know, an MP3 playlists, as long as I, you know, no, no stories I’m gonna tell, them, you know, I really don’t have to worry about my speech part, because as I tell people when you’re doing a podcast interview or when you’re giving a talk based on your own experiences, you really shouldn’t worry about questions because nobody noticed that story better than, you know, so public speaking, I don’t have to don’t, you know, the staring into the lights doesn’t bother me.

I’m not trying to find a friendly face out there. And the one most important thing is, is when y’all do public speaking, remember this, This is the most important thing I can tell you about public speaking. People don’t go to a conference to heck on you, they go there hoping you’re going to share at least one thing that will improve their lives when they get back to their homes. Same thing when you do a virtual talk, people aren’t there, it’s not open mic night at the at the last hunt. You know, they are there to be educated, inspired, motivated. They’re hoping you’re gonna say something great, and if you think about it from that point of view, why should you be scared? Well, I’ve often said that you know, if you’re just having a conversation, just talking with one person, you’re basically, it really doesn’t matter how many people you’re talking to action is the same. Yes, it’s just perception, right? Yes, I love that. one of my, and that feeds into one of my favourite quotes, which is from Star Wars and it’s from the second of the first three.

I say it that way because I’m never sure which movie is which, but Yoda tells when luke this is his ship on, on Dagobah. Yoda tells him to lift it and Luke says I can’t, it’s a huge ship and Yoda says there is no, there is no big or small. There’s only us. And so what you just said, you know, it’s something I definitely believe in people. When you think about talking and sharing your story with somebody you met at a coffee shop. That’s okay When you think about sharing the same story with 500 people, that’s scary, but it’s no different. Just like you just said, it’s the same thing. It’s just our mind playing tricks on us, making us making us think it’s harder or scarier than it should be. But like I said like go to said, there is no big or small. I’m gonna try and ask you a tough question, wait a minute. I got I got to talk about singing, I got to talk about singing first because it’s one of the most important things I do for the reason that it allows me to live my talk and I hope you don’t mind me breaking in on you there.

Definitely if it’s going to involve some tunes, then I definitely don’t mind. Okay. Um, here’s the thing as I was losing, I lost a lot of vision when I went in what we call junior high school over here. I also, my voice started to change and so people for a while didn’t like my voice. People would tell me not to sing. In fact, that acquired competition. The other singers told me to just lip sync because they thought my voice was that bad at that point. So for years I was ashamed of my voice. I was afraid to sing in my own living room. If somebody else would walk from one of the other rooms and be able to hear me and I would either start singing more software or put it all together. So I was really, I didn’t like it, but about eight years ago when I wanted to record my first video for the midway marketplace, I knew I had to have an intro sometimes, but I didn’t have a way to create it. So I thought, okay max, you used to have the same, people used to like your voice a long, long time ago. So why don’t you try singing as your intro and see what that does?

So this was in December. I was trying to get my first video out before the new year and so I did a little bit of Nat King Cole’s, the Christmas carol and people liked it. They told me that I should do more of that. And so I continued singing on the interests of my videos, I would change it depending on what I was talking about. And then eventually I started recording myself singing covers of country and older pop music and people like that a little while back. I reported a country song called Better Together by week by week, uh, combs. I didn’t like the lyrics of this course, I changed the lyrics and then a friend of mine challenged me to write a song. I know that I was challenged to write a song, y’all by a really good friend. I said, well I don’t know how to write a song. And she said, well max, why don’t you do it the way you do everything else? Why don’t you try writing one verse. I want to try writing a, you know, a few, a few notes or a few words. And so I did that. Next thing I know I’ve got this song called If you don’t ask which is based in my whole, you know, my whole thing is if you don’t ask, they can’t say yes, it’s the most memorable quote that I’m known for.

And I recorded the song and people love the song. A few have said it’s even got stuck in their head. And more importantly, there are people who say that the song makes a better case for asking for help than anything I can say with my words, which is amazing for a guy who used to be scared. I’m still scared. I still get nervous. Every time I press record or every time I sing in public. But I know it’s important because I’m showing other people, hey, this scares the heck out of me. But I’m gonna do it anyway because one I love doing it and to it’s the most it’s the one thing I know I can do that will help other people the most. So, really? You know, I still every bite, but I do it anyway. And if you don’t mind, I’d like to sing some of that song. It’s really cool song. Would you like to hear some of it? I love that. I hate busting into your into because it’s a really solid message in it. Both. What I say about it and how I do it.

I hope you’re not bad. No, of course I asked so I’m interested and you hit it. Well, you hinted you said you were attempted and I just had to pull you all over the quip. So All right. If you don’t ask, they can’t say yes. They can’t help you move. If you don’t ask, they can’t say yes. If you don’t ask, they can’t say yes. They can’t bring you coffee or breakfast in bed. If you don’t ask, they can’t say yes.

I do. Would they have me on the on the on the bridge on the Britain’s Got Talent. You’re way too good for that show. Thank you so much. Amazing. Thank you for doing that. Yeah, Yeah, but I sat down and did that in a few hours in my in my bedroom. Just kind of playing around, you know, with words and music and I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. I’ve ever and the songwriters are here, or like, you know, max uh, it needs to have some music and, you know, I’m like, okay, but, you know, if you think it needs to have this, then you need to help me make it have that because I’m not gonna do it that way because it’s, you know, that part of it feeds into my mind. No excuses approach. Which is, yeah, it could be better. Uh, there are things that doesn’t have, but what it does have is, you know, as my message and my effort and doing something that I’m like, I’ve never done that before. That was great. I’m not a real Tony guy with my voice, but a big smile all the way through it just to let you know, you know, thank you, I appreciate that.

That’s, that’s something else most host wouldn’t think to do to mention the visual accused that I missed out on and that actually reminds me of something, you know, I gave up my last public talk in person, was it podcast last spring in Orlando and I gave a really good talk and I could hear people applauding, but if the host hadn’t walked over and said max they’re giving you a standing ovation, you might want to react to them. I wouldn’t have known that. So thanks for telling me that you were smiling as I was singing. That’s very important. No, I loved it. So rather than asking you about your goals, you said that you’re not as or not at all really you don’t fear public speaking. So what is the biggest fear for you? I think the biggest fear is that I will, there will, there will, well, a couple of them, there will stop being new things to do or new ways to do what I’m doing and I don’t think that will happen because like I mentioned earlier with podcasting, there are always new guests and new technology and new social media.

So there’s always stuff like that. I think the thing that really, really scares me and this is the most honest thing I have said about I don’t say this often. I’m but the thing that really scares me is that people will get tired of hearing my stories. That’s the one thing that scares me. I only have anecdotal experience, but based on your interview today, I very much doubt that that will be the case. All right, Well, you know because how it is with us creative. We all feel a little bit like were a fraud at least some of the time, you know, we have days where we feel like, man, we’re doing great work, but why did this have to happen? You know, So for the most part, I think I’m doing a good job in my own life and be an example for other people to overcome their excuses. But there are the occasions where I’m like, you know, max you really need to you really need to think about some of the things you don’t like. For example, my nephew recently pointed out to me that I was using way too much cream and sweetener in my coffee.

And then when he said that it offended me and I thought, wait a minute, if that offends you then you’re too attached to your coffee. So I’m on a thing now where I’m going to go at least a month without having an 18 year coffee and go strictly with water and see how that works for me so far, it seems to be working really well, but you know that’s one of those things where it’s like okay I’m gonna sit down, I’m gonna record, I need to have my coffee, I’m going to do an interview, I’m going to hang out with my friends and it has really become something that has to be there and this caused me to think well it doesn’t have to be there, so I think that’s you know, even with me, I’m always like you know there’s something I could do better or there are things I’m doing that are helping me that I could eliminate and I wish more people would find the time. I know it’s hard to find that time in our busy lives but really just sit down and make a list of things you’ve accomplished so that you can feel good about how far you’ve come. But then those things that maybe not just things you can do better but things you’re doing, excuse me as as my good friend Alex support, he likes to say successful, people don’t find more things they can do, they find things they’re doing that they don’t need to keep doing, you know they eliminate the stuff that’s dragging down or pulling it back 80 20 principle, you know one of these days I’m going to read one of these big boy books and learn some of these words and I think that’s probably part of my success is I don’t really know, I don’t really know or appreciate what I’m doing half the time because I didn’t bother to read the book, You know, I started doing the work and then after I did the work for a while I read the book, but I still don’t know about this 80, 20 stuff.

So well, I mean I actually do think that reading lots and lots of self-development when you take it to its extreme can actually get in the way of the doing so. I think you’re probably on the right end of that scale. Yeah. You know, I one of the things that I have learned from my own podcasting experiences when it comes to starting a podcast, there are two ways to have a really good podcast now. You can prepare, you can do the market research on your niche, you can get the perfect artwork and figure out who your avatar is. You can record three months’ worth of shows, You can do the pre-launch on social media and email you go that stuff and have a great podcast or you can just start recording and interviewing people and putting your work out into the world and a few months later, as you, as you’ve gotten better and better each time you press record than you’ve built an audience. You know, it is a way me, I prefer to get good by being bad for a while, that’s the way I like to do it.

And in fact Chris Kunitz is who is the host of the podcast, he recently published a book called Start Ugly and I couldn’t be happy. I couldn’t be more in love with a book title because it’s basically every it’s basically how I’ve done everything that I’ve done in my life since I quit being a carnival. Yeah, there’s a book as well or a principal quote I think, which says start now and get perfect later and I think pretty much embodies what you said. Yeah, thank you very much. there’s plenty of people that are looked to as an authority or people, you know, look up to them, but I hope you don’t mind me saying you’re an inspiration to me. So no, I I don’t mind that at all. I actually love that I’m able to be an inspiration to somebody who is as accomplished as you are and somebody who’s actually taking action and not making excuses. The only time I mind when somebody calls me an inspiration is when they called me an inspiration, I want to know what did I inspire you to do because to me, inspiration without action is meaningless.

Well, I mean from my perspective, I feel like at least relative to other people I’ve done a lot, but when I look at you, I think there’s so much more for me to do, so that’s why you inspire me, isn’t it? I’m laughing because when I, when I come on a show when I talked to other more established podcasters, I always feel the same way. I always feel like man, you have always scratched the surface and you know, there’s so much you’re, you’re just really get wrong that eventually you’re gonna learn, but I think that’s the great thing. my friend, Morris Sweeney, who’s one of my really close true friends that I met through a virtual summit actually, she’s known as the Happiness Ambassador. She says max really good friends are the kind of people who inspire each other. So I think that and of course one of the great things about doing a podcast interview like this is after spending an hour and a half talking with each other and you’re hearing me saying we’ve forgotten friendship, we’ve begun a relationship from however many 1000 miles it is from Houston to the UK and you know, that’s something that that you can’t do through social media email and we’ve we have done that through our conversation and so I feel like we are friends who can inspire each other because I really I have a real hard time understanding with the whole idea that I am inspirational, I understand it now, I’m happy with it.

I love the fact that I can do it, but it’s just one of those things I’m like, hey, I’m a Carni kid who has done some things because he really didn’t think he had a choice not to do them or because they sounded fun or because the right person asked him, you know, I see people like you, you know, more accomplished people, people who have done it in the in the world of coaching speaking etcetera. And I think, you know, that’s where I wanted me, I still have so much more to accomplish and I appreciate you calling me an inspiration. All right, I’m happy that I can do it And who knows, maybe in 20 or 30 years, I’m understanding well, we better get busy working on working on what we’re gonna do.

All right, thank you very much for your time. Oh sure. And you know, is this where I tell people where they can find me? Ah well that would be a good idea, wouldn’t it max where is the best place for people to find you?

You know, this is one of my highlights of the interview because I did a talk a couple of years ago where somebody in the audience had to remind me to mention my book. So it happens an office should never have to be reminded to mention their book. That shouldn’t happen. so yeah, they can go to the bind blogger dot net blind blogger dot net, they can send me an email at just ask at the blind blogger dot net they can find me. Almost all the social media is Maxwell ivy. But the main thing is the internet as far as the podcast it’s called, what’s your excuse? It also is on the website you can, you can tell Alexa google, you can say play, what’s your excuse and they will play the latest episode of the podcast for you. we’re now on I Heart, which is really cool. We’re on Roku but really the main thing is going to the website, Sign up to the email list and here’s my contact for him because here, the one thing I would love to have happen today as a result of this conversation with tom is I’d love to have at least one person that’s watching this, reach out and say, hey max, I saw you on the ethical market or like some of the stuff you said that some of the other stuff you said, it sounds like just talking about you but I’d like to, you know, I’d like to talk to you max or you know, cheers are you know, maybe someday we’ll have a point, whatever, just reach out to me because I am never going to be one of those people that you have to be ready to hire a book or buy something from to talk to because I honestly believe and every time I open that inbox, I’m going to have the opportunity to make a new friend or receiving a new opportunity.

So I do hope people understand that I am sincere about this. I don’t just give up my website about the email and I encourage people to reach out to me because that’s where all this starts. and I do hope that you, the people listening that is, we’ll find the courage to say, hey, you know, reach out and remember that my whole thing is if you don’t ask, they can’t say yes. I’m kind of flexible that way. I’m not going to say yes to everything, I’m not going shark diving within anybody anytime soon. So, but you know, last night I had a guy on my podcast, you asked me said max, can I play a little sacks on your intro instead of using? I said that’s the reason we’re repressed. So what we go for it. So, on my next episode, people are going to hear some new Orleans jazz instead of Mac singing on the intro of the podcast. So please go to the website say hi, tell me what you’re going through. mention some of the problems with solutions. And if I have, if I have a way that I can help you, I will and if I can’t tell you straight up, I can’t and maybe I know somebody who can well, coming back to just something that you mentioned briefly about the song being looping around in your head, It is happening right now, so really You’re kidding?

And when I watched this over again, it’s going to reinforce that. So yeah, or you can go to my YouTube channel, YouTube/Maxwell Ivey and it’s on there. And I’m I’ve written 1/4 verse that I need to re-record so that people can hear that. Would it be okay if I finished the show with the new verse? Oh yeah, definitely. All right, cool. Alright, y’all I’m through talking now and when I’m through singing, it’s gonna be the end. Okay. So if you don’t ask, they can’t say yes. They can’t help you clean up your latest mess. They can’t give you answers to your life test. If you don’t ask, they can’t say yes.