Today’s guest, Mark J. Silverman, is no stranger to overcoming adversity.  His is on a mission to take the lessons learned along the way, paired with his business acumen, to help others define and achieve their own successes. Mark is an executive coach, author and podcast host. He works with leaders and their teams around the world, to address the underlying behaviors and mindsets that sabotage all “time management” and “productivity tools.”

Diagnosed with ADHD in his 40s, Silverman set out to write a guide to conquering your to-do lists when procrastination is your demon. Visit for extra content and access to his book.


Brett Gilliland  00:02

Welcome to The Circuit of Success. I am your host, Brett Gilliland and today I’ve got Mark J. Silverman. Mark, how’re we doing man? 

Mark Silverman  00:09

I’m doing amazing. Thank you for having me on the show. 

Brett Gilliland  00:11

Absolutely. Coming to us from Virginia, right? How’s, what’s going on in Virginia today? 

Mark Silverman  00:18

The weather is absolutely stunning. And it’s quiet. And my dogs are not insisting on barking at anybody on the sidewalk. So it’s a good day. 

Brett Gilliland  00:27

That’s a great day, that’s a great day, we don’t want that to happen. Well, you are an executive coach, a speaker, a podcaster, and author. So, excited to tell your story today and get some good wisdom for our listeners. So, but as an executive coach, and you’ve worked with leaders and teams around the world, you’re helping the CEOs, you’re helping all the leaders in those organizations. What I wrote down here is the underlying behaviors and mindsets that sabotage all time management and productivity tools. So that’s some good stuff to talk about, man. So let’s dive in. But before we do that, Mark, if we can just if you could just give us a little lay of the land, and what’s made you the man you are today, and how did you kind of wake up to where you’re at, in the world that you’re living in now? 

Mark Silverman  01:09

If I, if I have to give any credit to what made me the man I am today, it would have to be being a dad. Right? Having, having kids made me the man I was today. Everything else, you know, kind of, kind of came with the with the package. But when I became a dad, everything started in earnest. One of the things I found out was that I was severely ADHD, when we’d had my kid tested. So we went, we went to the doctor, we all got tested, because, you know, we didn’t want him to feel singled out. And the doctor says, you know, he’s off the charts, and I don’t even know how he functions. And I’m like, you know, yeah, my kid, right? And Doctor points to me. And I was in my 40s at the time. And that was like a revelation. I now understood why it took me so much effort to do normal things that you know, I was a high achiever, but it was always at the end of the quarter, it was always just in time, I would do big things, but not little things. And you know, you said, but before we turn the microphone on, you talked about, you know, being being extraordinary at the ordinary things. 

Brett Gilliland  02:16


Mark Silverman  02:17

Those of us who have ADD are really good at the extraordinary. And we have trouble with the ordinary. So those, those steps get missed. So for me, I was having trouble, I had left my corporate career, I was an exec, I was a high tech sales guy. And, you know, pretty, really quite, quite successful there. But again, always the hockey stick at the end of the quarter, because the sense of urgency wasn’t there. And I kind of liked being the hero that helped my, my dopamine hit, you know? Silverman brought in the last $3 million we needed for that quarter. Right? When I became when I became an executive coach, I became an entrepreneur. And they didn’t tell me that when I became an entrepreneur, I no longer had kind of a jerk sales manager looking over my shoulder telling me what to do. So I’d be sitting in my office, not doing a lot of the things I needed to do to make this coaching practice successful. And it was frustrating to me, because I knew, I knew to narrow things down to get to just a few things that were important. And I still wasn’t getting them done. And the revelation came to me that, you know, I generally do what I want to do, and I don’t do what I don’t want to do. So I decided I was going to get a PhD in how to get things done as a guy with ADHD, and kind of sitting in his office by himself. And I spent the summer of 2015, figuring out what made me tick. And what made me not do things and what made me do things. And what I figured out was, if I was excited about it, if I was interested in it, it got done really easily. If I wasn’t it didn’t get done at all. So, so I started to notice that I would say yes to things that weren’t really important to me. I would say yes to things because I didn’t want to disappoint people, I would say yes to things because I was afraid not to be liked or that kind of thing. 

Brett Gilliland  04:14


Mark Silverman  04:15

I would do things because I thought they were a good idea. So what happened was, I started collecting all this stuff, I wrote it into a book, I thought I would sell a copy to me and maybe my mother and 1500 copies sold the first day. And then over that month, people started giving this book to you know, CEOs and leadership teams and things like that. And I’d be getting calls about this great new system that I had come up with called the only 10s. And it was a shocker to me, you know, so I was a guy with ADD, trying to figure out how to get things done. And it seemed to apply to a lot of people in the world who are already successful. 

Brett Gilliland  04:55

Yeah, that’s incredible man and there’s a lot to dive in there. It’s funny when you say that about the if you want to do it and you’re excited about doing it, it comes easily. And I even go back as we’re doing a little project in our basement right now with our workout room making a little bit bigger. And you know, you accumulate crap in your house, right? Wife, four kids, we got a basement and our storage is like, oh my god, this is embarrassing, but we rented a dumpster, we’re gonna start throwing things out. And I can’t tell you how productive I was in that day. If he just said, “Hey, Brett, go down and clean the basement.” I’d been like, oh, you know, would not want to do it. But when you have the end in mind, of what I could see the workout room looking like when it’s done, when all this crap was out of there. Then I was, I was productive all day. Like I didn’t want to stop right from sunup to sundown. And so it’s just amazing. It just made me think of that when you were talking about that. So I guess that’s probably what, the way you are, right?

Mark Silverman  05:52

So the same thing, I have a basement story also. So I have this big unfinished basement, plenty of room for everything moved into this house. And my ex wife sold her house. And she’s moved, she moved into an apartment. And my kids had all this stuff. My kids are out of the house. I’m a little older than you. And, and and, you know, she said, can you take some of the stuff that we’re holding for Zach and Jake, can you take some of this stuff, and I’m like, sure, I know. But nobody goes in my basement, I bought these shelves, you we can just put them on the shelves. So we started, they have a lot more stuff than I thought that they wanted from their childhood to give to their kids. My kids are more sentimental than I thought they were. So my basement just exploded with stuff. And plus, I had a bunch of stuff that I had just never unpacked in the basement, and I bought these shelving units and I put them up in everything. And every day, every couple of weeks, I’d be like I put it on my list. And I really want to get the basement organized. I really need to get the basement. Yeah, and I have my gym in the basement. So my gym part because I really wanted a gym in the basement. My gym part is beautiful in the basement. Yeah, the rest of the basement is crap, right? So it wasn’t a ten, wasn’t a ten, wasn’t a ten, one of the things that I know about myself is, if it’s not a 10, it’s never gonna get done. If it’s a 10, it’ll get done. And then one day, I was just kind of in my office, and I thought, oh, you know what, I need a new shelving unit, because they brought more stuff over. So I ordered a bunch of shelving units, soon as the shelving units came in from Amazon, I brought them downstairs, I put them together, and all of a sudden it was 10. All of a sudden, you wouldn’t think I have ADD, you wouldn’t think that I procrastinated on anything. I organized the entire basement and put everything on shelves, vacuumed behind, got the crickets up and all that stuff and got it all done. Why? Because at that point, it was time for it to be done. 

Brett Gilliland  07:39


Mark Silverman  07:39

So I trusted that intuition. And that was that whole, that’s the whole thing. And we can get into that a little more when we talk about the system.

Brett Gilliland  07:46

Yeah, and so you talked about the only 10. So that’s what you’re talking about, then it’d be on a scale of one to 10. And it comes to 10 on your list, then it’s gonna get done, and it’s gonna get done really, really damn well.

Mark Silverman  07:56

Right? And it always it always does. I’m, I’ve been wildly successful in everything that I’ve tried to do. 

Brett Gilliland  08:02


Mark Silverman  08:02

I’ve just not been successful at: did I get my expenses paid? You know, into the system at the right time, did I get these little things done? So it’s really been an interesting learning experience. So let’s talk about what a 10 is. 

Brett Gilliland  08:16

Yeah, absolutely. 

Mark Silverman  08:17

So for me, what I realized was, if we put everything on a scale of one to 10, if you look at your To-Do lists, and what I do in my workshops, is I have everybody put everything on their to-do list, just do a brain dump. And then they’ll have they’ll have twos on their list, they’ll have fives on their list, they’ll have eights and nines, and then they’ll have a couple of 10s. And they’ll explain me, so what a 10 is, is it absolutely must get done, must get done by you. And it must get done by you today. Right? So it’s 10 when we do a 10 It’s only for today. We can, we can expand that out to the week’s 10. But right now I’m looking at today, it must be done must be done by you. And it must be done by you today, or you have juice to do it. Like you’re excited. Like when I got excited when the shelves came from Amazon. I got excited about organizing the basement. And I trusted that right, there were other things I should be doing; editing a podcast, writing, you know, another chapter in my book, you know, following up for a client, but I had juice for this, so I trusted it and I went with it. So then when they started looking at what their 10s are, usually they’re like, I’m so overwhelmed. I have so much to do, everything’s on my plate when they start looking at everything and there’s only a couple times I say “Okay, now what on your, you know what on your to-do list now, our twos and fives and eights, are somebody else’s, somebody else put it there, but you didn’t set a boundary?” Right? So somebody put something on your plate and what’s on your plate because you think it’s a really good idea? It should be done. It’s really like it’s such a great idea. I can’t tell you how many ideas, “I’ll make money on this. It’s really a good idea and I never get to it.” How many things are on your to-do list that were on your to-do list yesterday, the day before and the week before, and it’s just a placeholder, because you don’t want to forget about it? Great. Now I start having them crossing those things off, right, and the fives go away, and the twos go away, and the eights go away. And then we get to the nines. And that’s where people like, hold on for dear life. 

Brett Gilliland  10:17


Mark Silverman  10:18

And I’m like, “so was your nine on your list yesterday? And the day before? And the day before?” “Yes.” Are you really you know, and I tried to get them to see that they’re never actually gonna get to it. Or it’s something they don’t want to do and really should be delegated. Right? I work with a lot of a lot of CEOs who are doing things that just shouldn’t be on their plates. And they never seem to get them. They’re visionaries. If you’re a CEO, you’re a visionary. You’re not a nuts and bolts person. But you know, I, the conversation I have with a lot of a lot of my guys, is they feel useless when they’re only in their zone of genius. So when they’re only in customer meetings, when they’re only setting vision and strategy, when they’re only doing you know, going on podcasts and doing, you know, they feel like they’re not really doing anything. So they really have to go over the expense report. So they really have to go over these things. And then they realize that they’re doing that so that they can have this feeling of control. So once I get all those things done, you only have one two, or three 10s every single day. What I learned over that summer, when I was writing the book was if I only had two or three 10s during a day, I committed to doing those things, right. One of the things that killed my self esteem and kills all of our self esteem is not keeping our word to ourselves. So let’s say you say I’m going to lose 10 pounds. And it’s a week later, and it’s a week later, and a week later, you’ll lose 10 pounds, or you know, I’m going to go to the gym this many times, or I’m going to, you say you’re going to do something and then you don’t keep your word to yourself, internally that just knocks down your self worth and your self esteem over and over and over again. So for what I said was, if it’s a 10, if it’s a 11:59, and I’m in bed, and I remember I didn’t do it, I’m getting out of bed, and I’m gonna do it. So I started keeping my word to myself and I started keeping my list unbelievably small. So that if I said I was going to meditate, I meditated. If I said I was going to send out a proposal, it went out. And what I found after two or three days was I started doing my 10s. And then I started looking at the rest of my list that I wasn’t looking at that were tens for another time. And I started getting more productive, I started doing things that I actually was excited about. And I started following my intuition. One of the things that happens when you, when you get out of overwhelm, is you start to get that gut feeling. And that gut feeling is when you pick up the phone and you call a prospect at just the right time with just the right message. And you start following that. And business exploded and everything, everything changed from there.

Brett Gilliland  11:24

I think there’s power in getting something checked off of your list, you know, I use our mission statement here “a future greater than your past, helping people achieve a future greater than your past.” I have a journal I’ve created from the last 20 years of stuff. And for me, I find when I’m in that journal, and I’m actually coloring in a circle, and I’m getting something done, there’s power to that. And then it’s like, “Okay, now let’s make it a game.” So I think if people can have a to-do list, whether it’s on your phone, on paper, I believe in putting it on paper, but that highlighting it or circling it or scratching it off, there’s a massive amount of power there. And so don’t overlook that. And use that to-do list as a place. as a workplace a blueprint, if you will, to have a productive day in a productive life, right and then but getting those 10s, like you said, done, now all of a sudden, you are going to the other 10s that are weeks away, or the nine or the eight or the five, right, and you, because you just want to keep checking things off the list. Yeah but see, I won’t lie, I won’t let my people do the nines and the eights and the sevens. Because again, they if they didn’t make it to 10, there’s no reason to be spending time on it. I’d rather them go skiing or something. But, but again, one of the things is it’s a badge of honor to check things off your list. The question is, are you getting your self esteem from just being so productive because you’re checking things off your list? Or are you checking things off your list that are going towards the thing that is important in your life? Right? So if you’re if you’re there’s certain things that have to happen in your business, and you’re checking off the things that actually move things forward that are yours to do, and part of that, what is yours to do if you’re, if you’re in leadership is the accountability is checking on the things that you delegated, you know, giving feedback and, and doing that particular thing. But have you checked off the thing on your list? Are you going on a date with your spouse? Are you, have you done the things with your kids? are you actually doing the things that are important to you? Because I, you know, I work with people who procrastinate, and I work with people who are workaholics. And they both get their badge of honors from some, you know, different place with those people who are workaholics. They just love spinning their wheels and getting things done and doing that because they’re avoiding the rest of their lives. So how do we make it so that you–– We do this Seven Habits of Highly Effective People of Essentialism, of all the books that were ever written on what your values are, how do we actually, you know, work with our internal guidance system to spend the time on those things. And that’s what I’ve always had trouble working with. And that’s how I came up with this for myself. Yeah, and I think too, and I 100% agree with that, I think where I was even saying is that the things that may be an eight or a six or a five are things that have to be done? They had to be done by me, and I need to do them today. But I think was that that using the ADD analogy there for me is, if it’s not a 10, like, I’m fired up about it, but we still all have things in our life we don’t want to do right now. I can build a team around me and have that delegation. But there’s still something I need to make that one phone call, and if I’m not excited about it, but I still gotta go do it.

Mark Silverman  15:50

No, but see, see, again, if it has to be done, and you’re not excited about it, then it’s a 10. Right? If you said you were going to call someone––

Brett Gilliland  15:57

That’s okay. So that’s where I guess, that’s okay. 

Mark Silverman  15:59

I want to be really clear on that. I’m really, I’m really asking people to be ruthless. It’s a 10, if it’s an eight, get it to a 10. If it can’t make it to, it really, really has to be done. So let’s let’s talk about what hat the, for me, the motor, the driver isn’t ever the thing on the list. It’s everything on your list has a qualifier. So everything on your list either is a consequence, you want to avoid. 

Brett Gilliland  16:24


Mark Silverman  16:24

Or a reward that you want. Right? So let’s talk about that phone call that you want to make, that you don’t feel like making but you know, you need to make. The reward is, “oh, I will call them maybe I’ll make a sale, or I’ll call them and I’ll fix a problem.” Right? Or, you know, “if I don’t call them, I want to avoid not keeping my word.” That sometimes, sometimes, for me, the 10 is just “I want to be a person who keeps their word.” Right? So then that’s how I elevate it to that level. If I said I was going to do it, I’m going to do it. So the other qualified qualifiers, you know, again, for me, it really confronted my internal clock, I can look at someone’s To-Do List of what’s on there and what’s not, and tell you how they were raised, what they’re afraid of, what their personality type is, right? So for me, if I, if I look at a list, if I look at my list, what is it that I’m afraid to delegate? Am I holding on to control for, for something, you know, so I’ll confront each thing is something; Am I afraid to set a boundary? And that’s where the difficult conversations come in. So when once I decided I was going to be committed to my own life, and getting my own things done, all of a sudden now I had to have difficult conversations of setting boundaries of asking for help of creating agreements. Renegotiating I said, I was going to do this for you Thursday, but actually can’t get this done for you by Thursday. Is it okay, if you have it by Monday, right? All sudden, I now have alleviated some stress. And those difficult conversations is for me, where life starts to happen. My relationships become more honest, my, my relationships become more intimate. I feel better about myself. So yeah, that’s what fosters the––

Brett Gilliland  18:04

It reminds me a number of years ago, we did an exercise with our team, our executive team, and it was “write down the top 10 things you think you do.” And then I presented those. And then they went around, and we kind of voted quietly. So they didn’t impact each other’s vote. What, what do they need for me to be able to do their job the best on this list of 10 things? What do they need for me to do my job, or their job? I’m sorry, the best. And it was amazing. It went back to these three things. And it was like I call it leadership permission. It’s like now I feel like I have the permission from our team to do the things that I’m uniquely qualified or have brilliance to do. Because sometimes, it’s just get the hell out of the way Brett, this isn’t your thing. Right? 

Mark Silverman  18:05


Brett Gilliland  18:06

And I think that permission for me was good to not have that guilt or frustration of like, I’m not doing enough because as an entrepreneur, as a founder of a firm, you know, CEO, you want to have your hands in everything. And as things grow, you want to get rid of it so for listeners, that’s what I would tell them is find that team for you, get permission from them and what they need for you to get the hell out of the way.

Mark Silverman  19:11

That’s such a good exercise. 

Brett Gilliland  19:13

Yeah, yeah, it was very, very helpful. So talk about fears. I spent a lot of time talking about that. So the fears either your own or people you’ve worked with how many the fears you’ve put in your mind have actually blown up to the magnitude you put them in your mind to be.

Mark Silverman  19:27

Almost none, right? Yeah, almost almost none ever.

Brett Gilliland  19:31

Yep. Yep. And so talk about that. Why is that? Why as humans I was just, yesterday, I was just having this discussion. Actually, this morning, I was having that discussion with somebody. And I said that to him. I said, you know, I pointed the microphone as in a different meeting. I said, I’ve asked us, you know, 300 times how many of the fears we put in our mind blow up like that, and it’s zero but yeah, as entrepreneurs and business owners, leaders, parents, whatever it may be, we put those things, I always say you get this little guy on your shoulder over here talking in your ear telling you the bad stuff. Why did we do that as humans today?

Mark Silverman  20:03

I think well, one is because the you know, we won, we won the DNA lottery, where our ancestors who were fearful and ran away survived, the ones who were looking for danger and got out of the way they survived. So that’s that’s part of it. But the other is, I think we, we, a lot of us beat ourselves into submission to be successful. Right? So we think that we need to beat ourselves up to be motivated, we need to be scared to be motivated, a little fear. How many times have you heard a little fear is a good because I’m a little scared of living under a bridge so it makes me work harder. So that’s kind of the whip we use. I was just talking to a CEO yesterday, who has built multi, multimillion dollar companies, you know, he’s a serial entrepreneur just crushed it at everything that he’s done. But he, you know, he asked me if you if I could just do his 10s with him every Friday for the following week, just for a month, because he’s just not getting stuff done. And finally, I, he said, he said, “You know, I think I did more this week than I thought I did. So I can feel good about myself.” And I said, “Hold on, hold on, what’s your success criteria for feeling good about yourself? Is it you checked off a bunch of these things?” Right? It’s not that you you know, you grew your revenue by by, you know, 25% last year, right, even though you didn’t check off all the boxes and do the right things and, and all that stuff, you know, he was so interesting to me that he was grading, grading himself on the things he was terrible at, which was doing some of the day-to-day work. But the visionary stuff, every time he’s in a sales meeting, every time he’s with his organization, it grows. He’s not giving himself the credit for the zone of genius. But instead, he’s got to beat himself up because he didn’t get all the things on his to-do list done.

Brett Gilliland  21:55

So let’s talk about the conversations that you can have to change your life. I mean, I think those are really important, right? That community, you mentioned something earlier, too, about communication. And it made me think about the more we over communicate, the more clarity there is for everybody at the table, right? Again, this is personal and professional and more clarity there is, the better. So what conversations can we be having with either ourselves or others that can change our life?

Mark Silverman  22:20

So setting boundaries is the first one, right? Knowing, knowing what I want, knowing what I’m willing to do what I’m not willing to do, what I want to do when I want to do it, that kind of thing, and having a self to come from, right, they confront our, our sense of self worth, once we start to have these conversations. I can put in a book all day long that you need to set boundaries, you need to say no, you need to do all these things. But if we don’t work with those fears, those childhood fears, and those traumas and the things inside that keep us from doing those, we’re never going to have success. So every time I think I’m going to go have a conversation, I notice what’s going on with me and what’s stopping me, and then I’m able to get support and go have those conversations. So setting a boundary, saying no, I can’t you know, I don’t know how many, I don’t know if you’re a people pleaser in any way, shape, or form. I am a recovering people pleaser. Saying no to me was, it was like death. Because I, like my personality type. I’m an Enneagram 2, right? I’m, I’m the I’m the helper, I get my value by how much I’ve done for you and how much you thank me for how much I’ve done for you. Right? That’s where I get paid. So for me to say no is like a little death. And it wasn’t until I started to deal with that that I realized I could say no. So one of the things I teach people who have trouble saying no, is instead of saying no, why don’t you say “May I get back to you?” So that gets rid of the automatic “yes.” You’re not saying no. But now you can think about it. So “may I get back to you?” Now you can phone a friend, you can think about it you can, you can decide what is it that you are willing to do, want do you, where is your where’s your choice in this matter? And then you can go back five minutes later, one minute later, two days later, and say, you know, “yes, I can do this or not, I can do this, but I can do it next Tuesday.” The other other things are are asking for help. You know, how are you asking for help? When you’re overwhelmed with stuff? Or you can’t figure something out? You’re good at picking up the phone and just saying I don’t know how to do this?

Brett Gilliland  24:21

Yeah, I think so. I mean, it depends on the thing, because sometimes you know your pride can get in the way too, and be like I’m just gonna grit through it and get it done. And I’ll figure it out, or I’ll do the research. But I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older that, you know I can I can save a bunch of time and energy and emotion by calling the person that knows how to get it done and get it done the right way. And I can learn something.

Mark Silverman  24:39

Right because someone on your team who is spinning their wheels on something, and it’s not something they can Google, right? 

Brett Gilliland  24:44


Mark Silverman  24:45

But they can call you and say hey, you know, I’m working on this thing. I just need this piece of information. You give it to them, you send them off on their thing. So asking for help is another difficult conversation. 

Brett Gilliland  24:54


Mark Silverman  24:54

The biggest the biggest conversation that I have to teach people is the feedback accountability loop. So you know how many times have you had expectations of people where they’ve let you down, because you just have this expectation that they’re going to do their job, they’re going to do their job well. And you haven’t had an explicit conversation of what their job is, what it is you’d like to see them do it, and at what level you’d like to have them do it. Right. Have you created an explicit agreement there? Now, once you’ve had the agreement, have you gone back and checked on that and given them feedback on how that went? That’s another difficult conversation, because people are like, they just should know how to do their jobs. Right. And that’s just not that’s just not the case. So you know, if you have a teenager, like you can have expectations all day long, that are not going to happen. I used to have my kids sign a document that said, we had this conversation, and this is what you agreed to, because they would forget it doesn’t work every time. Employees are the same way.

Brett Gilliland  25:56

Yeah, so I think so I hear those set boundaries, asking for help. I call it the power of no, feedback accountability loop. I think the key to that is is a process as well. And I would assume you’re a pretty detailed, disciplined person. So what is that process like for you to be successful? And when you’re morning, or when your day? What’s that look like?

Mark Silverman  26:19

Well, for me, I’m not I’m not a detailed person at all. And I am disciplined because I know the things that are that, that make my life work and don’t. So I’m up at 5:20 every morning, I’m on my meditation cushion, I have my all my stuff together, I then I go and have coffee, and I ––

Brett Gilliland  26:38

Can I stop you there? So when you say all my stuff, let’s let’s dive into the weeds here. Because you’re, you’re a big picture guy just like I am. But I’m learning we got to get in the weeds here so we can get the real nuts and bolts here. So my meditation cushion. And you said all my stuff, what is that?

Mark Silverman  26:52

So so it’s usually pen and paper. It’s usually a book of some sort. That I like that, you know, and I kind of, I kind of mix it up. I don’t I don’t like having a routine, morning routine where I do everything the same all the time. Sometimes it’s reading, sometimes it’s journaling, sometimes it’s meditation, or sometimes it’s prayer. It’s all, it’s all kinds of different stuff. But I’m always on the cushion at 5:20 in the morning, ready to go with whatever contemplation practices up for me. It doesn’t, it doesn’t have to be long. And I teach this to every one of my clients, you have to have some time. Even if it’s just sitting at the table with a cup of coffee, staring out the window with no phone or no anything to be with yourself. If you can’t find a homing device with being near with yourself, you’ll never be able to make decisions and choices from from a grounded place. So that’s essential for me.

Brett Gilliland  27:46

Okay, so you got that and then what? What else?

Mark Silverman  27:50

Then, then we meet for coffee in front of my fish tank. I bought myself I have this gigantic, saltwater fish tank that I love. So we meet for coffee for 15 minutes in front of the fish tank and––

Brett Gilliland  28:00

And by “we” you mean you and the fish?

Mark Silverman  28:04

No me, me and my partner. Okay. Then I go and exercise. 

Brett Gilliland  28:09


Mark Silverman  28:09

And then and then I start my day. But it’s you know, I have to I have to have I started with, started when my kids were little. I had to get up early before they woke up. 

Brett Gilliland  28:19

Yeah, get some alone time. 

Mark Silverman  28:21

So that I could have my own time to get myself to be the best dad and husband and you know, person I could be.

Brett Gilliland  28:28

Yeah, I like that. I like that and talk to us about your sleeping. I think, you know, obviously it’s very, very important. But I mean, what what do you where do you rank sleep if I had to do exercise, you know movement, whatever you want to call it, sleep, high water intake, and food.

Mark Silverman  28:44

I am, I am a terrible sleeper I get in bed at 10 o’clock. I’m in bed at 10 minutes after 10 every night and fall asleep immediately. And I wake up at two o’clock, three o’clock every, every night. And various ways of getting back to sleep. It’s just been that way since I quit drinking, you know, 33 years ago. 

Brett Gilliland  29:05

Oh wow. 

Mark Silverman  29:06

Even even if my you know so I’ll get up, I’ll pray, or meditate, or watch a TV show. But I’ve given, I’ve given up. I’ve interviewed sleep experts. I’ve read every sleep book, I have not been able to sleep very, very well. But in every other area of my life you know food is you know, I just turned 60 years old. What I put in my body is really important if I want to have the energy to create what I want to create at this age; exercise water, food, you know the right foods, connection, all those things to be vibrant and alive at this age is what I do. 

Brett Gilliland  29:41

So what’s your exercise routine look like? What are you doing? 

Mark Silverman  29:45

I see a trainer once a week. I think that anybody who can afford it should have a trainer if you can’t afford it, a buddy so that you have someplace to go. I get injured real quick really, really easily and frustrated because I get injured so quickly that I found a gifted trainer who’s really helped me stay strong. And then I’m in the gym, I’m, I’m on my elliptical. I walk my dogs two miles every day, I dance, that sometimes I had a trainer who told me he’d rather me dance and then be on the elliptical. So I dance sometimes. And stretching is also the non-negotiable. Stretching is the, you know, the most important thing to me, because I’ve had debilitating back pain.

Brett Gilliland  30:29

Yeah. And I think you can get that back, right. And if you lose it, and you’re not very flexible, you just gotta get after it and make it happen.

Mark Silverman  30:36

Slowly, but slowly, right. So like, because again, you get brittle. One of the things is I’m not, I’m not going to be the guy throwing around weights in a gym ever again. Yeah, I just get right, I needed to give that up in order to be able to get on the floor with my grandchildren. 

Brett Gilliland  30:50

Yeah, that’s the key right there. So what risk would you say Mark, you’re happy that you took but it was a risk, and but it’s paid off?

Mark Silverman  31:01

I’ve taken so many risks becoming a coach, when I you know, I left a job where I made half a million dollars a year to go talk to people for a living. And that was you know, I supported an ex wife, two kids in a million dollar house. I supported my parents, I had a pretty lavish lifestyle. And when I decided to become a coach, I didn’t think it through. And like I had to pay my own health insurance, I pay my own American Express. So that risk has been the dumbest and the best one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not amazing.

Brett Gilliland  31:39

Like, yeah, how long those, let’s talk about that. For those people that are you know, maybe they’ve made a dumb decision, they think, but it’s ended up being the best decision. Because I similarly, when we started Visionary, you know, I had a nice career and the name of our firm is Visionary Wealth Advisors. And it was scary, right? My wife was pregnant with our fourth child, she’s eight months pregnant when we launched the company. We just built a new home, I mean, all these things. And I think that that fear why I asked that question earlier, the fears hold us back from doing things to following our dreams and following our passions right? And here, you got a good job, and home, all this stuff, and you walk away from it, from a nice income. Why? Why did you do that? And why is it a good decision now? Talk to that person who is right now scared to death.

Mark Silverman  32:22

When they, when they talk to other people about when they you know, when I when I coach people in the making transitions, I tell them don’t do what I did, I suggest that you kind of do the do the dual thing for a while, like for me, what would have worked would be coach on the weekends and keep my income until I can build a coaching practice. I’m single threaded. Once I’m done, I’m done. Once I’m done with a job, I walk right? Like I can’t do two things at once. So I had to go, I’m done with sales, I am now a coach. And I dove in and I decided to, I had enough in the bank to go for a while. And until I didn’t. And I because I as soon as I, as soon as I became a coach, I had six clients immediately, six people who were my customers were like, whatever you’re doing, Mark, you know, you’ve always been helpful outside of business and all that stuff we’re in. So I had six clients, but I wasn’t charging the kind of money I needed to charge, you know, to be able to take pride in my family and everything. So I thought, “Okay, this is going to be a breeze,” and every coaching school says, oh, six figures immediately and all that stuff. So, you know, I got to six figures pretty quickly. But that wasn’t even enough to take care of everybody. But you know, diligence I do in my own work, creating my business working really hard. And I got my income level back to what it was as a sales guy, but it took, it took believing in myself it took getting really scary on resources. You know, it took going from being a millionaire to being in debt, you know, taking care of everybody and still believing in my vision and what I would do. So you know, and then the ship, you know, the ship righted in itself.

Brett Gilliland  33:59

Yeah, I think that’s the key thing, right there is that believing in yourself, I talked about in the circuits of success, your attitude, your belief system, your actions, ultimately get the results you want. But that belief is a huge one. Because I can tell you all day to go out and make this many phone calls or do this or do that. And that’s the action part, but belief in yourself having faith that what I’m doing, even though there’s no results showing up, even though it’s not showing up on my bank account, you got to have the long term strategy to believe that and then the results will show up. But it’s really really hard in the moment.

Mark Silverman  34:33

The way, the way I did it, though, is also again that contemplation practice, right? So for me getting really quiet, having a relationship with what I’ll call God, and feeling that guidance when I know that my guidance is in alignment with where I should be even when things look like I shouldn’t be doing it. But I don’t trust just that. I have a posse of people. I have my group of people who I trust, who also say no, you’re still on the right path who will tell me if no, you know, “do you really need to go get a job? You’re kind of not on the right path.” Even my ex wife was like, who depended on me she wasn’t working, she was like you were born to do this. I trust you. I believe in you. I support you. So I had both people I had my own inner guidance and every step of the way I checked in “Am I doing the right thing? Am I, am I misguided in some way?” And you know, that’s how that’s how I knew the compass was pointed in the right direction.

Brett Gilliland  35:26

What would you tell, you said you’re 60? What would you tell your 40 year old self right now?

Mark Silverman  35:32

Stop buying Mercedes and Lexus. Like, like, a Chevy is just fine. Well, I grew up poor. So once I could afford it, you know, like, I love driving nice cars. And when I stopped having that income, I still, you know, bought my nice cars and lived a certain lavish lifestyle. So that’s what, that’s one of the things I would say. And the other would be to start writing earlier.

Brett Gilliland  35:58

Okay. Trust yourself and write it and put it on paper. Huh?

Mark Silverman  36:02

Well, writing books, you know, I’m, you know, I’ve had a couple of books, whose time came and went. And, and I just didn’t, I didn’t hunker down. So this next, I’m writing this next book, and committed to having this done now.

Brett Gilliland  36:17

I love it. So Mark J. Silverman where can our listeners find more of you?

Mark Silverman  36:21

They can go to And if they look, if they go there, if you actually, I’m gonna give you a URL, it’s gonna be And there is a bunch of resources. A lot of my, a lot of my clients have ADD and refuse to read my book. So they want like, little five minute videos of everything I talked about. So I put those on a web page for your listeners. I put a copy, a free copy of the book, on the webpage. Also, they can download it for their Kindle, from that web page.

Brett Gilliland  36:51

Awesome. Well, thank you very much. We will put that in the show notes as well, send people your way. And Mark, you’re in the St. Louis area, man. Look me up. We’ll connect.

Mark Silverman  36:59

Awesome. Thank you. Thank you for a really great interview.

The post Becoming an Executive Coach Was Mark Silverman’s “Dumbest and Best” Decision He Ever Made appeared first on The Circuit of Success with Brett Gilliland.