Changing The Way Business Is Played with Yanik Silver

You’re in for a real treat today…

I’m interviewing Yanik Silver!

He’s a wildly successful entrepreneur and the Founder of Maverick1000 – a private, invitation-only global network of top entrepreneurs and industry leaders … with participating icons like Sir Richard Branson, Tony Hawk, Tim Ferriss, John Paul DeJoria, Russell Simmons, and many others.

Yanik is also the author of the groundbreaking book “Evolved Enterprise” and he’s redefining how business is played in the 21st century, leading to more profits, more fun, and more impact.

Listen in as Yanik tells you exactly what he thinks of “getting ahead” and what it takes… plus what you can do to become more successful AND fulfilled in your business and personal life!

In today’s episode:

  • What it takes to become truly extraordinary
  • How Yanik discovered that achievement isn’t always enough (and what to focus on instead)
  • What the “Cosmic Alarm Clock” is and why it is always working to your benefit
  • A simple question that can quickly guide you to fulfillment (even 10 years from now)
  • How to approach mentors and gain their respect – along with their continued support
  • Eight simple words from the legendary motivator Earl Nightingale that can transform your life and results
  • What the “Cosmic Checkbox” is and how it can help you find more joy, creativity, and even productivity
  • And much more…



James Mel: Hey, everybody, welcome to The Get Ahead Podcast. I’m James Mel. On this podcast, what I do is I find successful entrepreneurs and I dig deep to uncover the strategies, the mindsets, the techniques, and other things they’ve done to get ahead in their life and their business so you can do the same. I know if you’re here you’re a high achiever. I know you want to get ahead. That’s a topic I’ve been obsessed with my entire life and that’s what I want to help you do is uncover the different strategies and the techniques. You need to be able to do that to get ahead in your own life, so make sure to grab a pen, a paper, something to take notes with because as we uncover these gold nuggets, you’re going to want to write them down.
James Mel: Now, before we jump into today’s episode, I have something really special to give you as a free gift. Like any successful person, I’ve got a mentor and I’ve had one for over 10 years and it turns out that he’s also my business partner. His name is Eben Pagan and he’s written a book on opportunity. Now, if you want to get ahead in your life and your business, it’s super important that you not only know how to spot opportunity, but you know how to take advantage of it, and that’s what this entire book is about. I’d like to give you a free copy. Not only that, I’d like to ship it to you absolutely free, so you get a free copy and you get it shipped to you absolutely free. The way you can get this is go to, and it’s all on me. Go there now, grab your copy. You’ll be glad you did. All right, without further ado, let’s jump into today’s episode.
James Mel: Welcome to another episode of The Get Ahead Podcast. Today, I’ve got a special guest here, Yanik Silver, who is the Founder of Maverick1000, something I’ve been a part of in the past, going to one of his events which is amazing. We’ll probably talk about that. He’s also the author of Evolved Enterprise, which is a book you should check out, and most recently, we were just talking about this, the creator of The Cosmic Journal. I’m super excited to find out about that. Yanik, welcome to the show.
Yanik Silver: Thanks, James. Yeah, I appreciate it.
James Mel: I’m curious. What does it mean for you to get ahead? What does that mean, getting ahead, to you?
Yanik Silver: Ahead, to me that’s such a loaded word, and I was going to wait to talk about this to keep it fresh for you because, on one hand, it feels like it’s like, “Okay”… This is what I teach my kids, or tell them, anyway. I don’t know if they retain it, but I say, “To be extraordinary you have to be willing to do the things ordinary people aren’t willing to do.” To me, that feels like getting ahead.
Yanik Silver: Now, when we say that, we’re categorizing certain actions or people as extraordinary and certain actions and people as ordinary. I’m kind of torn between this idea of getting ahead and, what does that mean? In the plainest sense and what I’ve always been drawn to is I’m willing to do the things that other people aren’t willing to do so that I can play when others work and I will work when others play, essentially.
James Mel: Yeah, because we’ve all got different definitions of it in life and business and that sort of stuff. Something I’ve really looked up to and admired you about is that, maybe you can relate to this, but when I was first trying to get ahead, I thought it was all like the material stuff and success and whatever. I know you started your career in copywriting and becoming one of the best copywriters in the world and very good with internet marketing. As I’ve watched the projects you’ve been focused on over the past several years, it’s really changed and even evolved to some extent to contribution, to giving back, to like this higher level thing. We talked about that briefly before the show, but how’s that transformed for you over the years?
Yanik Silver: It definitely… It’s funny. I originally set a goal when I first got started in business to be a millionaire by age 30, and then I hit that goal by age 31 and it wasn’t like the sky parted and the angels started singing and like all these things started happening. It was just kind of another day and I’m like, “Okay, that’s interesting.” Then, I had… Actually, I have to back up because my first material goal was a bubble hockey machine.
James Mel: Oh, wow.
Yanik Silver: As a kid I’m like, “I just want a bubble hockey machine, and if I have that in my house, that means I’m successful.” I got a bubble hockey machine in my house. That’s kind of funny, and then I wanted a Rolex. I’m like, “Okay.” I got my Rolex and I’m like, “It’s not that exciting”, and then I’m like, “Well, maybe I need a better watch.” I got like this more expensive watch that nobody really knows about called Parmigiani that likes makes their own little movements in Switzerland and all these things. Then, I’m like, “Okay, I’m going to be more understated because knows what that one is.” Then, I’m like… I haven’t worn that thing for like years and years.
Yanik Silver: It’s been definitely this evolution of, “Okay, what is it?” What is it, in your terms, getting ahead? What is it about evolving? What is it, our greatest contribution? The material things are nice, and I’ve always had this debate with people and thought about like, “Do you need the material things first as that initial sort of incentive to push you towards this?” Or can you just originally be only wired towards this greater contributions or not? I’m not totally sure, but I think the people that… You can very easily get on a treadmill of continuing to be like, “Okay, I need the bigger house”, or, “I need the next house or five houses”, or whatever it is or the jet. When you start looking at your life in a much deeper aspect, you realize that that’s not the thing that’s going to help you get ahead or help you evolve in a greater way.
James Mel: Yeah, and for somebody who hasn’t experienced those things, I know it can be probably super hard to try and convince them or be like, “Hey, look, don’t go down that path.” If you were doing it all over again, how would you do things differently to really sort of get ahead I guess success-wise but also do it in a way that you’re going to be fulfilled the whole time?
Yanik Silver: That is such a difficult thing to consider because I don’t think there’s any mistakes. I think that we all… I have this term, I call it The Cosmic Alarm Clock, and this Cosmic Alarm Clock, it kind of goes off at the exact right time for each person. It’s kind of like when you have… My daughter a couple of years back, she didn’t have her first loose tooth and my son is older than her and he had a couple of teeth that were out. I think she is more money motivated anyway. She was like, “Oh, I want the cash from The Tooth Fairy.” She’s like, “I want my wiggly tooth, I want my wiggly tooth.” It’s kind of like that. This Cosmic Alarm Clock goes off at the right time and we can either hit snooze on it and ignore it and fall back asleep, or we can actually answer it.
Yanik Silver: I feel like for some people… Here’s what I’m really impressed with, especially with younger entrepreneurs. They seem to have more consciousness hardwired into them and they’re thinking about their business in a much more holistic way than… I had little bits of this very early on. I was always wired this way, but never fully, and now it’s come around to being a much more fully holistic integration. You can I think look at it from, “Okay, how do I”… I have a concept in the Evolved Enterprise book called The Impact Scorecard, or Impact Scoreboard. It’s like I’ve interviewed Blake Mycoskie from TOMS Shoes and he’s one of the sort of poster children for this whole idea of social impact and we can… His model has some flaws in it, but whatever the case is.
Yanik Silver: The last I talked to him, he’s like, “We’ve given away 30 million pairs of shoes.” That’s to me an Impact Scoreboard because it doesn’t say, “We’ve sold 30 million pairs of shoes”, though he has because his model is you buy a pair of shoes and you give one away to a kid in need. Now, they’re able to use a business, this metric that they’ve profitably sold 30 million pairs of shoes, but they’re not saying that. They’re saying, “We’ve given away 30 million pairs of shoes”, and that they’re able to make that their new sort of North Star and be able to track that.
Yanik Silver: I think that’s a way of integrating all of this into it. You don’t have to be like, “Okay, I’m going to become a monk. I’m swearing off all material things. This isn’t what I want to do.” I don’t think you need to do that. I think it’s just bringing everything into a greater holistic way, I guess a balance, but I hate saying the word “balance” because we’re always slightly out of balance.
James Mel: Fair enough. It’s interesting you mention… I like that. I made a note of that, the Impact Scorecard, because if you would have said something like that to me even five years ago, I would have been like, “Yeah, maybe, maybe not”, but as I’m working on a new offer for this brand I’m working on now, The Get Ahead Tribe, today we were literally talking about Yanik and we’re going to have a book club. Then, as part of it we’re going to have like the link to Amazon and whatever.
James Mel: In the past, I would have been like, “Hey, you know what? Let’s just do that, make affiliate revenue, whatever.” Today, I was like, “No, let’s make that sort of anything we generate from that go towards a cause or contribution.” As we scale the membership, we also can scale the potential of it, and it feels like a lot better to be doing that. It’s interesting.
Yanik Silver: Well, because when I wrote Evolved Enterprise a couple of years back, which has all been part of sort of my journey of discovering what really mattered and when I sort of turned, not turned my back but walked away from the internet marketing world where I had this question I asked myself which is, “Am I happy?” First of all, and then, “Would I be happy doing what I’m doing 10 years from now?” The real answer was no, but making a lot of money from the outside looking, everything was pretty perfect. Making a lot of money, had a great reputation in that space. As you know, that’s not the easiest. Great family, driving a hot sports car and so forth, but I thought there was like a bigger level contribution, a bigger level impact.
Yanik Silver: That sort of started me on this whole entire greater journey and almost went out of business, but by discovering these pieces that became the framework for Evolved Enterprise, we were actually able to turn what became Maverick around and have like a 824% change from being very solidly in the red, where my wife after $400,000, she’s like, “What the hell are you doing?” Me being like, “Well, I don’t know. There’s something bigger here, but these principles of having a greater mission, having a greater impact, this is kind of like this new seismic shift that’s happening. It’s a tidal wave. It’s consumers are changing their buying behavior based on companies… what purpose do they have and the mission that companies have.
Yanik Silver: It’s a really exciting time. You have big, big gigantic, behemoth Fortune 500 companies that are having the least amount of time on the Fortune 500 list because of these seismic changes, and then it’s happening from the inside out, which is people want to work for organizations that have a deeper purpose and so forth. What you’re talking about, the book club, is great, and that’s one way. Another interesting way, it may be even more integrated that might be interesting to thing about is imagine if with the book club that you made it… As you know, when you teach, you get better at whatever the subject matter is. Imagine if you made a book club and they had to have two copies of the book that they brought. One copy they handed to somebody and they had to either teach them about it or to go through it together, whatever.
Yanik Silver: Maybe as a young leader or a young entrepreneur, someone like that in their community, that would be really interesting and the impact of that would be magnified. I think the magnitude of your impact is great with what you’re saying about, “We’re going to contribute to these different [crosstalk] causes”, but now imagine if we upped it in another way of integrating it and it made it better for them, too?
James Mel: Wow, I just… We can almost stop the interview here because I think like in a way, that is getting ahead. I just want to highlight this. That is an amazing idea and you’ve taken sort of like an idea I had and expanded it, and that’s one of the things that I found has been true in my journey in life and business to get me get ahead so to speak is really learning from other people and surrounding myself with the right people, and then not being so much like, “I know the be all and end all. It’s my way or the highway.” You know, that type of thing?
Yanik Silver: Yeah [crosstalk 00:12:29]-
James Mel: Open to other ideas. It’s so great.
Yanik Silver: Well, you’ve been mentored by someone incredible in our world, which is Eben, and I know he cares tremendously about raising young leaders and he thinks very deeply about some of these issues as well. What have you learned from your…. I’ll turn it around on you for a second, but what have you learned in that mentoring aspect? I know a lot of people want the mentoring relationship, but the don’t know how to get it.
James Mel: For me, it’s been profound. I know a lot of people talk about like, “Oh, certain people are self-made or whatever.” I’ve never had that approach and I’ve always viewed my own success as never being self-made and it’s been most of the times the mentors in my life that have helped inspired me, helped me overcome challenges and all that sort of stuff. From a young age, I’ve always just tried to get around people that I’ve looked up to, people that are 10, 20 years down the road from where I am. I can remember, Yanik, literally like cold emailing people and being like, “Can I take you out for lunch?” They’d say, “No”, and I’d just keep emailing them. “Can I take you out for dinner?”
James Mel: Whatever it took, and that’s how I ended up getting on first working with Eben is I took it to an extreme and found some people that had worked for his company on LinkedIn and made friends with them and then eventually said, “Look, I will work for your company for two months free.” I did that because I went through one of Eben’s courses called Altitude, and he talked about this concept called Move The Free Line, which is deliver more value than you ask for in return and do that first. I wanted to embody that and that’s what I did. I was like, “Look, I will work for two months free, give you a ton of value. If you guys don’t like it, we can part way friends, no big deal.” That’s been the start of a 10-year-plus relationship now.
Yanik Silver: That’s beautiful. That right there, you have many lessons in there, that persistence but not in a way that’s annoying. It’s in a way that’s adding value. In my mentor relationships, I think your life changes from the books you read or material you study, the people you meet, and experiences you have. Those are the three things that to me have always been, “That’s it.” You can have mentors and experience mentors in audio. You studied the material from Get Altitude. You showed up in a way that said that, “Hey, I respect and value your time and I respect and value your teachings and I embody this.” It’s so powerful.
Yanik Silver: When I’ve had people at the highest level that I’ve had relationships with, they do care tremendously about helping other people, but they get asked so many times that they have to have their own filter. Part of it I think is the follow through. If they give you even one little smidgen of advice, do you follow that regardless? Like you said, it’s my way or the highway, like regardless if you totally think that they might be offering up, but just showing that you do it, it goes way further in their book.
James Mel: It’s so true. Now, being on the other side of it and mentoring other people, it’s interesting because I want to mentor others and give back. I’ve got this burning desire and I think a lot of people who might be looking for mentors don’t realize that, and it’s the most satisfying thing ever when you can spend time with somebody or share something with them and then they send a little quick follow-up note or letter. Just like, “Hey, you know what? I did that and here’s the result. Thanks so much.”
Yanik Silver: You got to close the loop, for sure. One of my friends had wanted… Scott Frank McKinney, who has also become a mentor of mine. He builds these…. I mean, not in the real estate space, but he builds these amazing houses on spec down in the Florida Coast, 15, $20 million houses. His mentor that he wanted was Rich DeVos from Amway and he wanted Rich to write the forward to one of his books. He had met Rich and Rich got asked… Somebody taught him to do these things. He’s like, “Well, when you have the contract with the publisher, then you come to me.” That was sort of his little gauntlet. He came back to him, I don’t know what it was, a year, two years later. Like, “Rich, I got the contract. Will you write the forward?” He was like, “Let me see the book”, because most people would never do that. That became the next thing and then he did it and it became a lifelong relationship with Rich. That kind of thing is just so powerful.
Yanik Silver: You’re right, people want to mentor. There’s something in it for the other person as well. One of my friends really made me see this with a very, very high level icon that I had a relationship with. He’s like, “He gets as much out of this as you do. You don’t understand, but you can’t put him on a pedestal. There’s got to be an equal way of showing up.”
James Mel: It’s so good. I’m curious, because I was just thinking about it, I wrote it down here. You set your goal at like 30 years old, and then you achieved it by 31. That’s incredible, and I’m just thinking in terms of some more tangible stuff for anybody listening like, how did you make that happen? Here you are, I’m assuming starting sort of like from ground level, and then you achieve your goal so quickly. What were the different things there that you used to get ahead?
Yanik Silver: I was always a weird kid and I think this weirdoness really helped me in a way. I looked up to Ferris Bueller. That was my favorite movie as a kid, so Ferris Bueller was friends with all these different cliques and so on, and that’s the way I saw myself as well. I was just… We’re an immigrant family, came over from Russia when I was three and I got to experience entrepreneurship from a very early age. My Dad started a medical equipment sales and service company when I think maybe about six months, eight months after he got here to the States. Then, when I was 14, I worked with him, for him, telemarketing. I got an experience of calling on my own leads very early on. That beautiful experience of having the phone hung up on you many times and-
James Mel: Oh yeah.
Yanik Silver: It totally sucked, and then to add to the suckiness, my Dad… At 16, he’s like, “Okay”, in a Russian accent, “Okay, Mr. Yanik, come make some sales now. I’ll give you a car.” I’m like I wanted the car, so let’s go take girls out on dates and stuff. The car was the little incentive and I had to go cold calling doctors. One of my doctors who I had sold an entire surgery center, he like handed me a Jay Abraham tape, so this is definitely dating myself I guess a bit, but an audiotape. It was a Jay Abraham tape with Tony Robbins talking about optimization. I’m like, “Wow, this is fascinating.” Talking about like direct response and I’m like, “I don’t have to cold call on doctors. I could actually just write a letter or write some sort of ad and have them respond to me.” I was just fascinated by this thing.
Yanik Silver: Then, I just started learning all about direct response, all about psychology of marketing. I learned about self-growth and development, so I got turned on to people like Earl Nightingale, and from Earl Nightingale I learned about this idea that if you wanted to become an expert in any category, you just study for one hour a day for three years, or a world-class expert for one hour a day for five years. That to me was gospel and I’m like, “Well, what happens if you do it for two hours a day? Or three hours a day?” I just wanted to learn. It was just fascinating to me that I could get somebody to raise their hand or even give us money selling a very complicated piece of equipment many times.
Yanik Silver: We represented 200-some manufacturers and my Dad would look at these ads that I would write. I was very inspired by people like Ted Nicholas and Gary Halbert and then Dan Kennedy and Joe Sugarman. I would write these ads and my Dad was like, “Nobody is going to read all of this.” I’m like, “Let’s just try it and see what happens”, and it worked and it built his company from a little regional player to a national player. Then, that really started me on this path so that learning, studying, and then getting a skill that has leverage I think is another key part, like learning copywriting or any skill that has leverage. It moved me beyond the cold calling, which was the one-on-one work, into something where we could write an ad or we could fax broadcast or legal that we could send that out and have… It just changed the dynamics and in a huge way. You’ve seen that in your world, too, with direct response.
James Mel: Wow, so you really taught yourself start to finish, and the primary sort of way you did that was not studying one hour a day, but two hours a day to [crosstalk 00:21:07]-
Yanik Silver: Yeah, yeah. Exactly, and then if I would hear stuff from somebody else like… I forgot who said it. I think it was Gary Halbert once who said, “Write down”… Or maybe Dan Kennedy, who said, “Write by hand the ads that you really love or that you think are great because then you’ll internalize that way of writing.” I’m like, “Well, that seems really odd, but I’m going to do it.” It’s fricking hard as hell to write a fricking 20-page sales letter by hand.
Yanik Silver: That’s not easy and that goes back to what we said originally, like do things that other people aren’t willing to do. Then, I get a certain joy of that, too. My buddies on my hockey team would get in my car and there’d be like all these tapes stirring around. They’d be like, “What the hell is this?” I’m like, “Don’t worry about it.” Instead of listening to music, I was listening to fricking… all these marketers and personal growth gurus.
James Mel: It’s so good, though, and it’s interesting, Yanik, because I find so many people, myself included when I was just getting started, they want the push button, magic button technique and not realizing that you spent hours listening to those tapes and then doing the things like literally writing out 20-page sales letters. I believe that’s what helped you get ahead and then ultimately [crosstalk 00:22:27]-
Yanik Silver: Oh, for sure [crosstalk 00:22:28]-
James Mel: You won.
Yanik Silver: Oh, 100%. It’s no doubt, and most people look at the finished product, and I don’t think I’m a finished product right now, but they look at the overnight success and they’re like, “Oh, that person is so lucky”, or whatever the case is. I think there is some luck involved, but as Earl Nightingale said, “Luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparation.” I love that quote, and it’s like we’re always being given opportunity and doors are opening, but are we ready to step through them in some way? You’re going to be able to step through them in bigger ways when you’ve put in the work and you’re ready to do it. Go ahead.
James Mel: I was just thinking about it as you were saying that and I’m like… I’m just imagining you being in that car. What did you tell yourself when maybe you did it, studied it for a month, two, three, six months, and weren’t getting results or there was setbacks to keep yourself going? You know what I mean? What’s the difference do you think?
Yanik Silver: I think there’s got to be this… There’s extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation, where extrinsic is a little bit of like get the car and go out on dates with girls because now you’ve got the car, but the intrinsic is what kept you going, what kept me going, which is I was just fascinated. Wherever your curiosity is, where you’re interested, there’s a reason for that and I think following that natural level of curiosity is going to lead you down the path of what’s sort of meant for you in your own unique collage of what you want to be doing out in the world. I was just like so intrigued by this idea of like, what would happen? How the hell do you make it work?
Yanik Silver: Of course, you were seeing some validation because doctors are calling and I didn’t have to cold call and I was getting sales because I was able to create these things. I think of everything as almost like an experiment and I still to this day think of like, how do you add more experiments to your life? For me, I like doing like these 33-day experiments because it’s a specific number, it’s beyond a month. 33 also has an interesting connotation in certain ways, but 33 gives you an… Experiments give you an opportunity to have a beginning and an end.
Yanik Silver: Let’s say you’ve… There’s so many ways of getting ahead. You’ve heard about meditation or you’ve heard about we should be, I don’t know, doing this or adding this thing into our life, but what if you just thought of stuff as experiments? You’re like, “Okay, I’m going to try one thing”, so you have one variable instead of trying to do 18 things. “I get up early and I’m going to write my goals and I’m going to visualize.” It’s really hard to add 18 things all at once, but if you add one thing and then you see, “Okay, does this help?” Does meditation help me? Does, I don’t know, I’ve done things like no alcohol or no sugar for 33 days or anything I want to add, and then you see. Sometimes it stinks, sometimes it doesn’t.
Yanik Silver: Like the alcohol one, it’s been maybe three or four times that I did it and now I’ve gotten to the point where it’s only drinking like if there’s a very conscious intention around it, not just drinking for a habitual aspect. I have an interesting blog post all about like, “Does drinking derail your destiny of greatness?” I’ve seen so many people that I know that have incredible gifts that that sort of numbed them out by partying or drinking too much or whatever the case is. That’s another conversation, but those experiments to me are really, really interesting to try and add to our lives in some way, shape, or form.
James Mel: It’s interesting because it’s almost like I find when you use that language like it’s an experiment, I don’t get that same fear of like failure as much [crosstalk] as like, “Oh, cool. I’m going to try an experiment, and if it works out, awesome. If not, that’s okay, too, because you’re going to learn something.”
Yanik Silver: Not only that, it also takes away some of the internal language that we have or others even place on us, which is, “Oh, you should be doing this”, or, “I have to be doing this”, or, “I need to be journaling every day”, or whatever the case is. Journaling is a big habit of mine and I think that’s one of the keystone habits, but again, that might not be right for everyone. It’s not on me to push that on everyone. It’s like, “Hey, try it. See if it’s something that you like.”
James Mel: Well, let’s talk about that in a second. I’m curious, do you have any experiments going on right now in your life or business?
Yanik Silver: Let me think. You know what? I’ve been playing around with something a little bit on and off. Well, we’re not doing a video, anyway, but I call it The Cosmic Checkbox, and so it’s like adding something that is just fun, playful that you just really want to do every single day and that’s the Checkbox. When I started this project that turned into The Cosmic Journal, I had seen this challenge going on. It was going around the internet which was a hundred days of art, and I thought, “Wow, that’s really interesting”, because as a kid I wanted to be a professional hockey player and then a cartoonist it the offseason. That was my sort of goal, and through journaling, actually my drawing and illustration and things like that have started coming back and somewhat.
Yanik Silver: That was really interesting, but I travel around so much and doing so many things, like, I don’t feel like I could do. Then again, maybe I should do it because it’s such a challenge and then a hundred days to me didn’t really have meaning, so I made it 108 days. In the yoga tradition, 108 is a very powerful number, and so the very first thing I did was I got this Moleskine journal and I put 108 blank checkboxes, and then I wrote like, “Writing My Own Cosmic Journal”, or something at the top of the page. Every single night, no matter where I was, what I was doing, I would get that checkbox. That was like my favorite thing to do. You give yourself… You make that commitment and then you gain more self-assurance, confidence, love for yourself by holding true to that.
Yanik Silver: That checkbox was my favorite thing that every single night, no matter what, like two o’clock, three o’clock, four o’clock in the morning, I’m like, “I have to get one of these in.” These were pages that look like this. I know we’re not on video, but they look like this where they’re literally an illustration and then something that would come through. It’s just sometimes they’re from years and years. My journals, I would have something or they would be… Just I would literally sit, meditate, and see what came through, and so that Cosmic Checkbox is something that I think is a really cool experiment to go with which is, what adds joy, fun, playfulness into our life? Can we make sure that we hit one of them each day?
Yanik Silver: In my regular journal, I just started keeping track of what it was, so you can see the top corner. That was the day that we had a sweat lodge with [crosstalk 00:29:27]-
James Mel: Sweat lodge [crosstalk 00:29:27]-
Yanik Silver: This Navajo grandmother that this one was like… I coach my son’s hockey team. My joy for the day was actually working on faceoffs with the kids from the hockey team, so it’s…
James Mel: Wow. Now, why don’t we talk about journaling for a little bit? I know that’s been a big part of your life. I’d love to learn from you literally because it’s not something I’ve been into and I remember being in a couple of different events and seeing you do it. I was almost like too intimidated to ask about it because it seems so foreign to me. How do you approach journaling?
Yanik Silver: Journaling to me has been… There’s a lot of these things we talked about before, like the shoulds and “I have to” and things like that. A lot of it is wrapped around journal… Well, almost like any success habit, but journaling especially I’ve found people are like, “Oh, I should journal”, or, “I’ve tried and I’ve given it up”, or whatever the case is. I think of it as just more of a clarification for my own self. It’s never intended for anyone else. Of course, it’d be a great gift. I think if my grandkids read my journals one day it would be really cool. It would be amazing if I had my grandfather’s journals or great-grandfather’s or whatever, but that’s not the main reason. I think we get wrapped up in, “Oh, shit, someone’s going to read it”, or, “What’s going to happen with it?” Or, “I don’t even know what the hell to write”, or, “What is it?”
Yanik Silver: As entrepreneurs, as people doing interesting things in the world, actually, everyone can benefit from this, but especially entrepreneurs because we have so much stuff that’s going around in our heads. We’re trying the same… Usually it’s the same ideas, the same sort of thoughts, the same ruminations, and it gets all the stuff out of our head and puts it onto a page, and then putting it on a page creates a beginning, a middle, and an end. It’s a great way of processing and just by that expressive writing, there’s been double-blind scientific tests where it makes you happier, so just that one aspect.
Yanik Silver: Of course, you can use your journal for anything, like gratitude, [crosstalk 00:31:41], and writing about what you appreciate. I use it for ideas, like working through ideas. Also, seeing themes. I’ll continue flipping back. I’m like, “Oh shit, I’ve been thinking about this forever. Am I going to do this or not do it?” There’s a project that I’m incubating this year that I think will have some pretty big global implications and actually want to get you and Eben involved in it, too. It’s all about how do we make a greater difference in the world, and I’ve been thinking about this for four or five years, bringing together the people with the greatest reach and leverage in the entrepreneurial space. This is totally Eben’s thinking and world, too, so I feel like he’d be all about it. I’m like, “I’ve been thinking about this for four or five years.” Like, “Either do it or don’t do it.”
Yanik Silver: Your journal also lets you see what’s been continuing to pop up and modify. It’s one of the best tools. Again, if you want to try and experiment, it’s a great way of trying an experiment and saying, “Okay, I’m going to give myself a block of time”, and that block of time helps you make it a think that becomes more of a habit. For me, it’s before bed, typically. It’s in the same chair, it’s before bed. I’ve got my journal, I’ve got my pens. I use these colored pens. I love the colored pens. It actually helps with making it more interesting and fun, that my original journals are just black and white. There weren’t pictures in there, and now it’s become much more of a really full expression.
Yanik Silver: You just give yourself 10 minutes, 15 minutes of a block, and even if you don’t know what to write, just start with whatever is going on right now. I promise whatever you end the page with is not going to be the same thing that you started with. You’ll be like, “Wow, this is really, really interesting.” It’s a process, it’s like meditation. It’s not like a light switch moment. If I journal for two days I’m not going to be like, “Oh, I feel so much better”, but it’s a real incredible process and it also lets you go through questions. I love questions. The right questions create bigger and better answers.
Yanik Silver: As I was going through this period of like figuring out what the hell I was doing with Maverick, so originally as an adventure travel company and then asking myself this question of, “What would my 111-year-old self tell me?” I love not just answering the question once, but continuing to answer it, and a journal is a great spot to just go through multiple answers because the first ones are kind of going to be pedestrian. They’ll be the same answers that you’ve always had, and then as you force yourself to go through more answers, you’ll get deeper ones and them even better processes. I’m right-handed. You can use your non-dominant hand, which is your left hand.
Yanik Silver: That opens up your full brain, a full spectrum of connection. With my non-dominant hand, I wrote, “Light 1,000 suns who can each light another thousand suns.” I’m like, “Well, that’s pretty good.” Then, that’s when we changed the name to Maverick1000 to more accurately represent what that is, and that’s been the intention for us four or five years. I feel like finally we’re truly leaning into it and living into it or even more so, and that’s all through my journal. It’s such a great tool.
James Mel: If I’m getting this correctly, do you do it everyday for 10 [crosstalk 00:35:01]-
Yanik Silver: Every day, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
James Mel: Every day [crosstalk 00:35:03]-
Yanik Silver: For me, it’s like maybe 20 minutes, but it’s just to me, I love the process of it because I can also flip back through it and I’m like, “Oh, this is really interesting”, or, “I’d forgot about this”, or, “This is really cool.” Or, I can go back to very specific dates and be like, “Oh, what was going on on this date here at this place in my life?” Or a particular juncture, whatever it is, and then you can go back multiple years and be like, “Interesting.” Or you can see how much progress you’ve made, which is also incredibly empowering.
James Mel: If I’m getting this right, too, you don’t follow a set process as much maybe today it’s asking yourself questions and then continuing to answer those in your journal, or tomorrow I might [crosstalk 00:35:47]-
Yanik Silver: Yeah.
James Mel: Like, “I’ve just got a bunch of thoughts. I just got to get these out.”
Yanik Silver: Yeah, exactly, and especially about hitting… It’s really easy to hit the normal stuff, like, “Oh, today”, I don’t know, “Lunch was a bologna sandwich and it kind of sucked. The bread was stale.” It’s not like… That doesn’t help us. I think when you really dig deep into trying to be as honest as possible in your journal, then you can start going through some stuff. Even if there’s like things that you don’t want anyone ever, ever to read… Like one or two times I’ve been really angry and I’ve written down something and I like ripped it out of my journal and burned it just in case, right? The process of getting it out is so powerful.
Yanik Silver: There’s no real set, “Okay, today I’m going to do this, and Wednesdays are questions, and Thursdays are these things.” It’s just what comes to me and what’s showing up, but then I also have a real intuitive process of using my journal, too. I’ll draw ahead or write ahead in my journal. Sometimes 15, 20 pages ahead, I snapped a picture of something, I’m like, “Oh, this is really cool.” On an airplane, I might draw a picture of it. I remember one page I came to was a giraffe. I had been safari, so I drew a giraffe and when I got to that page, that sort of helped prompt this question, if I could see higher and further, what would I see? Then, that created a much more interesting journal entry.
James Mel: Wow.
Yanik Silver: You start using it in these like synchronistic, interesting ways and then you start… Things start opening up for you. I’m trying to see if there’s any cool examples or even like a little quote or something like that. I also use it… This is… You might not totally be able to see, but this is a Q&A with my left hand, asking about, “What’s the great cosmic joke?” With my right hand, I’ll write the questions. My left hand, I’ll write the answers, and-
James Mel: Wow.
Yanik Silver: It’s just like you can have a Q&A with a mentor. Even if they’ve passed on, you could have a Q&A with an archetype. You can use it for really all sorts of things and it’s just such a powerful tool. Wait until you have what I had for lunch today.
James Mel: Well, what did the giraffe have for lunch today?
Yanik Silver: Yeah, I know. Probably some… I don’t know what they eat. Something [crosstalk 00:38:10]-
James Mel: Exactly.
Yanik Silver: Off a tree.
James Mel: That’s so interesting, though. I love just how your mind works with it, Yanik, just in terms of like the diversity and just the different ways you can look at it. Whether it’s your left and right hand talking about it, whether it’s the animal that impacted you, and ask… I notice like you asking yourself questions which then prompt the journal entries.
Yanik Silver: For sure.
James Mel: Interesting. One of my favorite quotes, I learned this from Wyatt Woodsmall, one of Eben’s mentors, is that wisdom comes from multiple perspectives, and I’m [crosstalk 00:38:43]-
Yanik Silver: I like that.
James Mel: Reminded of that when I see your process of, “Well, what is the draft? What is this question? What is my mentor?” It forces you to almost have different perspectives than like you mentioned before, the same old thoughts day in, day out.
Yanik Silver: Then, I also believe in like getting nudges from… I’m a big believer like if you’re looking for and bringing awareness to… I teach kids a… We have 13 silver keys which are like 13 values that we have and we talk about. They get annoyed when we talk about them but they do remember them and one of them is make magic. That’s this process of just being aware and being open to. There’s way more magic in the world if we’re open to it than not. I think that’s a beautiful way.
Yanik Silver: It’s like if something shows up in your life like a… I had a couple of years ago a… What are those guys? Those little green insects that their eyes can go all directions, the praying mantis. A praying mantis shows up at my door and my wife, Missy, she’s like, “Yanik, there’s someone here for you.” It wasn’t for her. She was like, “There’s a guest for you.” We started looking up things that occur in these unique ways. Of course, you could be like, “Whatever.” It’s just this creature that showed up and totally pass it by, or you can be like, “Oh.” Explore it a little bit, and that prompts you to explore.
Yanik Silver: I love this idea that wisdom comes from multiple perspectives. Now it’s like, “What’s the praying mantis represent?” It represents patience and slowing down. It was actually the day before my 39th birthday and I was deciding if I wanted to go blow off all my meetings and go out into the woods and just journal and think about where I was next. This was sort of like the catalyst to be like, “Yeah, go do that.” I love that idea of multiple perspectives and seeing things from all different ways.
James Mel: Wow, and the curiosity. I notice like that curiosity that you have with everything, of just, “Let’s try it from this perspective.” It’s really interesting. How has this all evolved into The Cosmic Journal which we talked about?
Yanik Silver: The Cosmic Journal, that was that art project, the 108 days every single night of doing these journal entries. I really was penning them for myself and then I started this little Moleskine journal to a few people and they’re like, “Ooh, this is really, really interesting.” Then, one of my friends was like, “Okay, well, I know you and I know you got lots of stuff going on, so I’m going to pay you to actually publish this thing. I’m going to pay for a certain limited edition copies to be made.” Them, that forced me to make it a real project, and then I created these left hand prompts that went alongside with it.
Yanik Silver: It was like the wildest project I’ve ever done because we scanned in all the pictures and it became these little 2 in. X 2 in. contact sheets, and then I had them spread out all over my kitchen island trying to figure how what the hell the order was and why. It was never written from that perspective, but now there’s like a real actual arc to it, but my favorite way of using it is it works like an oracle. People can just like flip it open and it’s got a message to them. So far, I’ve made two people cry, which is really fun for my stats.
Yanik Silver: Then, so we created… This got published as this little 888 edition set of limited edition vegetarian leather Cosmic Journal, and then I got through a friend of yours, too, Jeff Walker, I got a meeting with Reid Tracy from Hay House. Reid looked at this little galley of the journal, he’s like, “Wow, this is really, really interesting.” It became The Cosmic Journal through Hay House and got a deal with them right away. They fast tracked it and it’s coming out in November, so it’s super, super exciting-
James Mel: Wow.
Yanik Silver: Like unbelievable. I’m just so excited because I call it like your Galactic Instruction Manual that you were missing when you were born to fulfill your destiny here, and that’s kind of the way it works.
James Mel: Oh, I’m excited. Like you mentioned, there’s little prompts. What’s an example of one?
Yanik Silver: Well, so pick a number between one and [crosstalk 00:43:05]-
James Mel: 24.
Yanik Silver: This is new in the Hay House version is they have page numbers. I don’t have page numbers in the other one. Okay, so 24. The picture is Phoenix Rising, it’s a picture of a phoenix and it’s essentially this idea that we’ve been gifted with the ultimate ability to rise and emerge over and over again. “Like a phoenix rising, you can continually reinvent and re-remember who you are after the fires of purification burn down. The mythology of the firebird is in our collective to provide the blueprint for your next breakthrough and the power of creative destruction to reimagine fully without being tied to the past. This is even built into nature as some seeds are fertilized after a fire razes the land.” I wrote. “It’s not about starting over, it’s taking everything you’ve developed, succeeded with, failed at, struggled through and overcome, every relationship, network connection, goodwill cultivated, reputation built, skills and talent, everything is your new starting point.”
Yanik Silver: It’s just this whole idea of like, how could that become the new ground floor for what you’re building? It asks, “Are you ready to surrender your former smallness to your destiny of greatness and fully step forward into the total transformation of your business, your life, and your legacy knowing you won’t be the same again?” That’s the whole… that’s a pretty good one.
James Mel: Yanik, that’s exactly what I’m freaking going through right now. That is crazy [crosstalk 00:44:28]-
Yanik Silver: I’ll send you a picture of it. It’s a really [crosstalk 00:44:31]-
James Mel: Oh my gosh.
Yanik Silver: Again, I wrote it for myself because sometimes they are stuff out of my journal, sometimes they are just stuff that come through me and so many people have just resonated with these in a deep, deep way. That’s been great.
James Mel: Well, and so there’s one of those on every page?
Yanik Silver: Every page has one, and then there’s a prompt on the left-hand side, or just a space [crosstalk 00:44:53]-
James Mel: Wow.
Yanik Silver: To write your own, “What does that mean for you” kind of thing. It’s a way of you penning your own Cosmic Journal or your Destiny of Greatness here, Galactic Instruction Manual.
James Mel: Wow, that’s amazing. Well, congratulations, too, by the way on getting [crosstalk 00:45:07]-
Yanik Silver: Thank you.
James Mel: That’s awesome. Awesome. That’s so cool. You know what? It makes me think, too, Yanik, I know a lot of people listening in terms of getting ahead, one of the commonalities I found is how things emerge. You naturally created this process yourself iterative over the years to the point where then you were doing it for yourself. You weren’t doing it to like get a book deal, and then a friend is like, “Wow, that’s really cool. You should do that.” Then, one thing leads to the next to the point where now you’ve got a deal with Hay House. I found that’s how usually things happen.
Yanik Silver: This was the most in flow amazing project that ever has unfolded, and that’s what this whole Cosmic Checkbox to me is about, right?
James Mel: Yeah.
Yanik Silver: It’s just doing… In Evolved Enterprise, I talk about The Bhagavad Gita, one of the greatest spiritual texts, and it talks about this idea of putting our full heart and soul into something is the reward itself and not being attached to the fruits of your labor. As entrepreneurs, it’s really hard to not be attached to that, but when you do put your full heart and soul into something, then that’s become your gift that you’re putting out there and then you let go of what it could be or won’t be. That’s when things are truly in flow and it’s like trusting that that’s going to show or something will show up in a better way or bigger way for us. I continue to be reminded of that over and over again.
James Mel: Where can people check out like Evolved Enterprise or The Cosmic Journal in case they want to get one?
Yanik Silver: On Amazon, you can get both of them, but at you can get the limited edition set as well, and [crosstalk 00:46:52]-
James Mel: Cool.
Yanik Silver: We’ve got some special pre-order bonuses going on right now as well there.
James Mel: Nice, that’s awesome. Awesome. Okay, cool. One more question I want to ask before we wrap up here is I know we talked a bit earlier about just when we were talking about your experience with copywriting, developing those skills and focusing on the skills that are important. I know you work with a lot of young entrepreneurs and cutting edge of all of that sort of stuff as well. What do feel are some of the most important skills somebody who is trying to get ahead that they should focus on right now?
Yanik Silver: Oh, man, such a good question. I like meta-skills and like this idea of skills that include leverage. Copywriting may or may not be the right skill for everybody, but there’s certain leverage in it and other ways. Thinking about, “Okay, how do I not only tie in my work as a factor of I put in X amount of hours and I get back X amount or whatever it is? Where are my leverage skills?” Also, a meta-skill like learning, learning how to learn, right?
James Mel: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Yanik Silver: How to… Right now, we have more information at our fingertips than ever before, but we also… like it doesn’t really matter. Let computers and AI do the stuff that they could do best, and what’s our most human aspect that we can do best? I think that’s the creative part of pulling together different things from different parts of learning how to learn, because you’re going to be… If our longevity is increasing, and it is, you’re going to probably go through many more iterations. You’re not just going to have one “career”, and it’s like learning how to just continue to lean into what gets you excited and interesting, and then combine them in different ways and how to bring that together I think is a really powerful process.
Yanik Silver: I think creativity, and I don’t know if this is learned, but you just like… I think each person is creative in their own way, so whether it’s art, whether it’s music, whether it’s whatever, I think even business is incredibly creative when done from the heart. How do you bring that together? Those are some of the skills I think that really make sense. Anything to do with personal transformation, doing the harder look of like working through our traumas or our shadows or where are wounds are and really, really looking at some of that stuff. I was just actually reading right before our interview, James, and maybe you’ve seen some of this stuff about like some big proponent of MAPS, which is the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, and just all the new research coming out about using some of these entheogens for dealing with trauma and all of the things that we have in the human condition.
Yanik Silver: There’s so much cool stuff coming out that I… Just exploring it all and being open to, what does it look like to be a full expression of who you are and not this limited version that maybe your parents sort of thought would be the safe path for you or society? Just like truly leaning into, who are you? That’s a constantly evolving process. I don’t think it’s a one-and-done shot, but the essence of it always remains the same and getting closer to figuring out that essence.
James Mel: I think that last thing you mentioned in particular is super important because even like when we talk about skills, it’s most people… Myself included, the tangible things, the copywriting, the ad buying, the salesmanship, but what you mentioned there about the personal stuff, I know we talked a little bit before this show, but that’s the stuff I’ve been digging into the past here. Scary as hell.
Yanik Silver: Yeah, it takes [crosstalk] work.
James Mel: Oh my gosh, yeah [crosstalk] a lot of crying, a lot of anger, a lot of emotion, everything.
Yanik Silver: By feeling all of that, it allow you to have it pass through you and it doesn’t hold you back in certain ways that are seen or unseen. There are just these breakthroughs that happen and it doesn’t have to be with an entheogen or anything like that. Like I showed you in the journal, one of the checkboxes was a sweat lodge, and that was a really interesting process. We’ve done that a couple of times now with the amazing Navajo grandmother, but there’s so many ways. I honestly feel like there’s 7 billion paths, but they all lead to the exact same spot, which is this oneness and rediscovering our perfect imperfection, I guess.
James Mel: So true. I’m on the journey myself, so thanks for that inspiration. Just a reminder, because I think especially… From my own experience, I relate so much to what you said because for so long I did what I thought I was supposed to do, what my parents wanted me to do, what school taught, and only now am I peeling back the layers and it’s actually propelling me into like a whole new level and dimension.
Yanik Silver: It’s scary and it’s just like our identities are so wrapped into either what we think we are or what we do, and it’s really powerful to continuing to peel back and peel back and be like, “Okay, at my truest essence, what am I?” Actually, one of the journal entries has the Caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland. It just asks the simple question which is, “Who are you?” I love costumes, so we do a lot of costumes, as you know, when you went [crosstalk] a leverage thing. We did our Camp Maverick and I was the Caterpillar and I literally had the little hookah and I just… I can only do a Russian accent, but I was just like, “Who are you?” I would just keep asking people and they’re like, “I’m Sully.” I’m like, “Who?” Then, you have to like get deeper and deeper, and if you keep asking yourself, “Who are you?” It’s really interesting what you get to after 15 or 20 tries.
James Mel: That’s so true. Good thing to journal about.
Yanik Silver: A good thing to journal about and ask your non-dominant hand.
James Mel: Even better. Wow. Well, we should probably end it there before it turns into much of a therapy session. We start both crying and whatnot. Not that that would be a bad thing.
Yanik Silver: That’ll be your next podcast.
James Mel: Exactly. This is awesome. Yanik, thanks so much for sharing everything you did and especially your journey process. I took a bunch of notes through there and it’s inspired me for sure [crosstalk 00:53:42]-
Yanik Silver: Cool.
James Mel: To go in there because I find, now that I’m thinking about it, and I’m sure a lot of people will relate to this, but sometimes we can get so focused on the external world, it’s scary to go internal. I just saw how through your process and what you shared there, it’s really about connecting back to yourself through these questions, through these perspectives, and so I’m excited to dig into that and check it out [crosstalk] and thanks so much.
Yanik Silver: Thank you. I appreciate it. Thanks, James.
James Mel: Well, I hope you loved this week’s episode. If you did, tell your friends. That would be a huge favor for me and it could help build this community and we can all get ahead. Something I’d like to do is give you a special gift. It turns out that one of the ways to get ahead is to be able to find, spot, and then take advantage of opportunity. We all know this and it turns out that my business partner and mento, Eben Pagan, has written a book on this very topic and I’d like to give you that book and ship it to you absolutely free. The book is called Opportunity: How to Win in Business and Create the Life You Love. All you got to do is go to www.jamesmel/opportunity. Enter your details and I’m going to send you the book free.
James Mel: You’re going to get the book for free and I know you’re going to love it. I have learned so much from Eben Pagan over the 10 years we’ve know each other, and it’s truly been one of the ways I’ve been able to get ahead in my life, in my business, and I know what you learn inside of this book is going to help you do the same. Go there now, www.jamesmel/opportunity and grab your copy while you can. I’ve got 4,000 copies that I’m doing this for and sending absolutely free. Shipping is on me, the book is on me, so grab one while you can. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for joining here. Thank you so much for investing in yourself to get ahead. By you getting ahead, it’s going to inspire other people and then we’re all going to get ahead. Have an amazing week and I look forward to talking to you on the next episode.