Spotlight on Maxwell Ivey
Maxwell “Max” Ivey is a planner and a goal setter. Though blind, he sets and keeps his mind’s eye on his goals and works steadily to achieve them. After overcoming the obstacles he has, he’s eager to share his plan with others to help them overcome whatever holds them back to reach their goals.
Let’s get started.
1. Max, can you tell my readers a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in Texas. My family has operated carnivals there since my grandfather started his show in the 1950s. With farming families, all the kids are involved in the business at one time or another. My dad bought three kiddie rides in 1979 and started his own small show. We never grew to more than seven or eight rides but we were trusted and respected to the point that we still have contacts even though we don’t have the carnival any more.
I was a daddy’s boy. All I ever wanted to do was run the carnival like he did. I got to do that for a while and was good at it but not good enough to keep the show going after his death.
Was it the best thing for me? Maybe, I don’t know. I do know that when you invest your heart and soul into something, you can put up with a lot. Fortunately, it was good training when I started my own business. It’s also been a good teacher as I have worked at being a coach and mentor as well as author and aspiring speaker.
2. What have your biggest challenges been?
Going out of business was extremely difficult to go through. I was forced to join up with my uncle’s carnival. We had competed with them for bookings. So the combination of losing my dad (who was also my best friend), losing the business and having to throw in with my uncle led to depression and made my existing weight problem worse. At one point, I was over 500 pounds and on seven different prescription medicines. Thankfully, I finally got medical treatment that led to being diagnosed and treated for sleep apnea. Later, I had gastric surgery. Now I’m down to 255 and only take the vitamin supplements required because of the surgery.
Today I get up each day waiting to see what it’ll bring. I have passion, energy and a sense of anticipation. Some times I get tired and run down but I don’t stay that way long.
3. Can you tell us about your new book?
Sure. The title of it is: Leading You Out of the Darkness Into the Light: A Blind Man’s Inspirational Guide To Success.
It’s a short book designed to share some of my personal experiences, and to help inspire and motivate the reader to take action in his or her life. It includes 11 exercises, many of which aren’t brand new. But my instructions to the reader are rather unique. They have to email me the exercises. I know that including my email address and encouraging people to work through the exercises with me via email is unusual but I have my reasons.
First, I know people who have read self-help books, listened to the audios, watched the videos, and even attended expensive seminars who still didn’t take action when they were alone in their home. The second reason comes from my carnival experience. When we had the carnival, we would sell advance sale tickets. They were a good deal for everyone. We had money waiting when we got to the town – rain or shine. The committee got a larger share of the pre-sales and the townspeople got a discount on their rides. But, there’s a term in the amusement industry. It’s called “the walk.” It originally referred to tickets that were purchased and not used meaning they walked off the midway. With advance sales, a high percentage never gets used.
I set up my book the way I did on purpose. I believe my approach is different enough that it will help people succeed. Interacting with me about the exercises helps them remain accountable.
Maybe the same thing will happen with email support as with the pre-sales. But maybe not. We’ll see.
2. How did you get interested in writing a how-to book?
It was actually someone else’s idea. I’d joined a summit designed to help speakers sell a product and increase their email list. The organizer, a lady named Eva Koivula, discussed my strengths with me and we came up with the how-to e book. The summit ended up being an all-girls event, which pushed me out of the picture. I was cool with her decision. But I decided to continue on with my book anyway. I started in August and it took several months to finish so it wasn’t available on Amazon until January 6. Now, it’s also available in print and I’ve sold a few signed copies.
3. What kind of research did you do for this book?
I hate to say it but did absolutely no research into the book. I depended on my own personal experiences at 49 years of age, having gone from carnival owner to ride broker to my being a coach, mentor, speaker, and author.
I do have quite a bit of experience to draw on, including losing over 250 pounds from having gastric surgery, changing my diet, exercising more, taking vitamins and maintaining a positive mindset through prayer, meditation and positive media choices.
4. What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I don’t have a daily or a writing schedule. I need to get more formal with my work, both for my blogging and writing, and for my equipment sales business. I generally start my day by checking email, having a cup of coffee and doing whatever I can to sell some rides as it is my primary source of income. It’s my day job, so to speak. when I write, it’s on a laptop so it can be in bed or in a comfortable chair in the living room or at the kitchen table.
5. .What’s the best thing about being an author?
To me, it’s the impact I seem to have on people. I know that sighted people are all too quick to call blind people inspirational but when you hear it enough times, you have to believe it. Then you realize that maybe that’s a part of why you’re blind in the first place.
There are far too many people who have nothing wrong with them physically who still can’t find a way to make a move. They’re either afraid or they’re too comfortable. The most frequent comment I receive from my readers is, “If you can do this, then what excuse do I have?” So, I keep writing my blog posts and planning my next move. It’s also why I sing and and record videos. People are like, “He’s blind and he not only creates videos, they’re good videos.”
So, it’s seeing people get unstuck. Motivating and inspiring them–that’s the best thing.
6. What are you working on now?
I’ve noticed that since I’ve finished my book, I’m able to recall past events more easily. So I’m thinking of writing a book sharing some of my personal history. I’ve also thought about writing about my experiences with gastric surgery. If I can figure out how to travel more, I’m definitely going to write about my journeys. Also, I think there’s an audio and / or video series in my current book. I also plan to re-record the intro video for my site. I want to go from one long video to three shorter ones that flow into each other. Last but not least, I’m trying to figure out how to record myself singing with background music on video. So far i’m just not techy enough to figure it out. Maybe one of your readers will have some suggestions.
7. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a writer, a singer, a video maker, a photographer, a musician or whatever, you get better by doing it every day. So even if you don’t publish it, write something every day. Try for five minutes. I find people set themselves too hard a goal. Once people start, most can keep going. So, if you finish one page, then see if you don’t fill a whole notebook. No matter what you have to do to accomplish it, find a way to write down your thoughts wherever you are. Writers with smart phones can record short notes to themselves or type one in anytime a thought hits them. Recently, I joined a 15-day video challenge. I felt like my recordings got better from doing them every day. I’m hopeful that I can start recording videos, at least some short ones, two or three times a week. Writers should push themselves the same way with their writing.
8. Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Sure. I’ve been reading since I was very young. Sometimes its been a book and some big clunky headphones that were all that kept me sane and gave me the feeling of having my own space in a crowded house.
I read just about anything except I don’t often read westerns, military history, or straight history. I read mystery, thriller, science fiction, fantasy, biographies, auto biographies, personal development, spiritual, and romance too. I prefer historical romances. There’s something about the regency period in England.
Some of my favorite authors include Tom Clancy, John Sanford, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, to name a few. They also include Sandra Brown and Judith Michael. I also like J.K.Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien. I grew up on The Hardy Boys, The Bobbsey Twins and favorites like Charlotte’s Web, The Wizard of Oz and anything with Winnie the Poo.
You have just read Friday Friends: Spotlight on Maxwell Ivey Jr. If you’d like to learn more about him, check out the following links:
Websites: the midway marketplace www.midwaymarketplace.com and www.theblindblogger.net
Main facebook https://m.facebook.com/Mr.Midway?ref=bookmark
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/theblindblogger
Linked in https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=79525614&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile