Friday Friends

Spotlight on Maxwell Ivey 

max and penny
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.

Rides from my family's carnival
Rides from my family’s carnival

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.

Max with his newly-published coaching book.
Max with his newly-published coaching book.

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.

Whether you need help reaching your goals or not, check out Max's book and see what readers are saying about it!
Check out what readers are saying about Max’s book HERE!

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14 thoughts on “Friday Friends: Spotlight on Maxwell Ivey

  • April 11, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Hi Amy and nice to see you here Max.
    You both are inspirations to me so I am pleased to be able to read this interview.
    It’s great being here, isn’t it Max?
    I have Max’s book proudly on my bookshelf right now.
    Sure, there is no new piece of self help advice out there. Everyone knows what the main ones are, but most people just don’t take the time to work at them.
    They are perfectly willing to pay big money for some retreat, but someone who really actually cares has trouble getting the word out about a book he worked so hard at.
    It’s great Amy that you were willing to talk about Leading You Out of the Darkness here.
    I have no doubt Max has more books in him.
    Can’t wait to read more from you both.
    Have a good weekend Amy and Maxwell.

  • April 11, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Hi Amy; thanks so much for reaching out to me with the generous offer of featuring me on your site. I told you that i had no doubt it would be an awesome post. and i know that you were nervous because you didn’t hear from me prior to pressing publish. I was asleep at the time. 🙂 but i’m very happy with the post. Your questions are good ones and you did a great job taking my long winded answers and condensing them down to something people can handle much easier. thanks for that. I have already heard from one of your readers saying how my post has motivated them to write more each day in hopes of finally finishing their book. And helping people by inspiring or motivating them is why I do this. I do have several projects I’m behind on, but i did get a new iPhone last week; and it does come with a learning curve. So I have decided to do another thing I tell people about. That is I’m going to be kind to myself and give myself a pass on my deadlines for a few days. I don’t like not getting stuff done by the time I said I would get it done. but i’m not going to make things even worse by beating myself up over it. I love that ellen ends her show every day by telling people to be kind to yourselves. thanks again for introducing me to your readers. I’m looking forward to getting to know them and making lots of new friends. Take care, Max

  • April 11, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Hi Max,
    It was an honor and a pleasure! You can add me to your long list of admirers. Good luck with the learning curve on your iPhone and all the best with your book!

  • April 11, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Hi Kerry,
    Thank you for your thoughtful comment and being a regular part of my community! It’s so nice to get here and know I have someone who’s looking for my news or latest adventures! I appreciate you, Kerry along with my other regular readers!

  • April 11, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Hi Max and Amy!

    Kudos on another great interview, Max. Amy, it’s nice to meet you.

    As a long-time supporter and friend and fan of Max’s, I have to say that it’s great to see Max getting the recognition he deserves.

    Being visually impaired must be tough. I know I couldn’t live without my site. However, Max is right — there are many sighted people out there who have no idea how to move their lives forward. They are stuck in a mindset that their past hinders them from taking those first and important steps.

    I have tried to help others see that their pasts don’t need to hinder them by being an example, too. I’m a rape victim, a former drug addict, a former prostitute, etc., and I have made a lot of changes in my life. Now I’m a successful blogger, freelance writer and editor, and author. I also help others turn their ebooks into print books, like I did with Max’s ebook. 😉

    I am living proof that you can overcome your past, and Max is living proof that you can do anything you set your mind to.

    Others could definitely take a lesson from us! 😉

    Great interview!

  • April 11, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    hi kerry; so cool to see you were the first to comment. I read your post on here and this is how it is supposed to work. You make friends online and become a community that supports encourages and promotes each other. 😉 now i have been featured on both your sites maybe its about time i finally write my round up post of inspiring v i bloggers and get it out there. love that you have my book displayed in a prominent place. and i have said over the years that some of my best ideas were accidents. for example i once called a company that sold plush toys to make an order. they had just added inflatable toys to their line up. i said i’d love to order some but would need credit. if they had run a credit check i would have failed twice. lol we used to say that sometimes we were so broke we couldn’t borrow library books. 🙂 good times believe it or not. but the point is the guy said okay how many do you want. he sent me enough to start a second game and paid the shipping. you said people will pay big money for a retreat maybe that’s what i need to do. maybe i need to come out with a big offer 90 days to success or something for $1000 a person. hmmm, I’m now seriously thinking maybe i need to go back to my roots as a showman and do some good old fashioned carnival style side show barnum would be proud promoting of how i can help them reach that goal. that was mostly tongue in cheap because you know i’m too much of a gentleman and basically too honest to do it. but maybe i have been pricing myself too low. i have a good story to share and i believe i can help people. we’ll talk more about it by email. thanks so much for being part of my online family. take care, max

  • April 11, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    hi amy; i am a big fan of yours too. glad i could do my part to inspire your readers. hoping you get plenty of great comments and more new followers. and i’m getting there. last night i managed to input a new contact on it so i can now say call or text my brother patrick and iPhone knows what i’m talking about. appreciate the encouragement and all the hard work you put into the post. take care sweetie. xoxo max

  • April 11, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    Hi Max,

    It was nice to learn about you in Amy’s blog. I like the unique way in which you offer accountability to your readers through your emails. It’s a great way to apply what has been learned. I am also a writer and legally blind. And for several years, I’ve had an idea for a novel with the protagonist having had gastric surgery. I personally have no experience with the surgery, but I know four people who have had the procedure. Other projects have prevented me from pursuing the story. I think the psychological elements and physical changes involved with the process would make for a great character. I wish you all the best with your book and future endeavors. By the way, I think that’s really cool that you owned a carnival.

    Take Care,

    Matt Harris

  • April 12, 2015 at 2:11 am

    Hi Lorraine,
    So glad to meet you through my blog, and through Max!
    It’s certainly getting more challenging for me as I lose more sight. Kudos to Max for all he has accomplished! Congratulations on all you have overcome and wow, now you are an editor and author with a heart for people and helping them bring their goals to fruition.Great to hear that! 😀 Thank you for briefly sharing your story here and taking time to read the post.
    Welcome to come back anytime!

  • April 12, 2015 at 2:13 am

    Hi Max
    Great feeling to know you can call or text friends and family by a voice command! Spiffy!

  • April 13, 2015 at 2:31 am

    Hi Max

    Your are making so much wave in the blogosphere.

    This is a great interview and the more interviews you do, the more I keep getting to know you. I have read your book and if anyone has not got it, they are missing out. It is a great motivation booster.

    Hi Amy

    This is the first time I am visiting your blog and I love your post. Looking at your profile, I will commend you for the great work you are doing. You are definitely are an inspiration. Thanks for featuring Max. Have a lovely week.

  • April 13, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Hi Max – good to see you here, and nice to be over at your blog too Amy 🙂

    That was a lovely interview indeed Max, and don’t I know all about you and your journey! Yes, still remember your guest post on my blog, and you being a part of my blog forum and community – so glad you shared this interview with us there too. And I’ve seen you rise dear friend, right from the time you started with your earlier blog and look how far you’ve come. These aren’t just words to talk of, I mean them Max!

    You know most of us keep thinking of doing this or that, but never get down to accomplishing it – perhaps the sighted lots see too much! While you remain focused on a few things, but they are done, so that is commendable. Just like your book. And I am glad you are thinking of a second one now too. Yes, sharing your experiences would work best with people, as they’d be able to relate to you and your journey, especially as you’ve gone through such a lot in life. Wishing you the very best – always 🙂

    Thanks for sharing more of Max with us Amy. Have a nice week ahead, both of you 🙂

  • April 13, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Hi Ikechi,
    Thank you so much for taking time to read and comment on our interview. It’s been a blessing to be able to share it. I would love it if you could stop back another day! I’m in the midst of an A to Z Blogging Challenge and my theme is travel. So I’m sharing some of my personal stories from around the world! Thank you again for visiting. 🙂

  • April 13, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Dear Harleena,
    Thanks for visiting my blog and for taking time out to read and comment on Max’s interview! It’s great to meet some of those who are cheering him on. Please come back again.

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