Making psychic dynamite in the wilderness

Issue #86—November 22, 2019

Are you the same person you were five years year ago...or even one week ago?

Chances are, you're not.

If you're like most of your fellow humans, you're constantly changing and growing and evolving...even if it's in barely noticeable increments.

We grow in many different ways: as partners...maybe as parents, too.

Part of being good at any of this stuff is investing time to learn, reflect, and nourish.

What's this got to do with copywriting, marketing, or running a business?

Stay with me here.

I'm going to share some insights from the last talk I heard at LaunchCon a week ago this past Sunday...from none other than Jeff Walker.

Jeff is the founder of Product Launch Formula (PLF). He's one of the original internet marketers, and his brilliant marketing strategies have contributed to the growth of businesses worth hundreds of millions of dollars in sales.

And man, was his talk on that last day profound and thought-provoking.

It hit me more than anything I heard during the entire 3-day event. So many valuable insights gained just by reflecting later on six simple questions Jeff shared with us.

In fact, my answers to these questions, which I'm still formulating in my mind, are already beginning to reshape my business and my plans for 2020 and beyond.

Yep, they're that powerful. I'm going to share them in a moment.

The funny thing is, these life- and business-transforming questions were the result of an intensive wilderness retreat that Jeff embarked on earlier this Fall.

So when I saw this message in my inbox shortly after hearing his talk, I just had to open it...

"We all must go into the wilderness"

This was the subject line of the email (it came from The Daily Stoic). It talked about how we aren't born resilient or confident.

We have to earn it. We have to make it.

And that's often only possible in difficult circumstances, where we're alone and forced to adapt and adjust to circumstances outside our control.

According to none other than Winston Churchill, this kind of transformation can only be found in what he refers to as the "wilderness".

Churchill, who himself spent nearly 10 years in political exile after World War I, once wrote:

“Every prophet has to come from civilization, but every prophet has to go into the wilderness. He must have a strong impression of a complex society and all that it has to give, and then he must serve periods of isolation and meditation. This is the process by which psychic dynamite is made.”

That's exactly what Jeff Walker did earlier this fall. He went on a 3-day trek alone in unseasonably frigid weather in the mountains.

There he camped in a tent, with no food to eat, no technology to distract, and no one else around him for miles (except for roaming grizzly bears)...

Jeff embarked on this wilderness "exile" just a few months after recovering from a torn retina in his eye. He had to spent weeks immobilized, lying face down for long periods.

He also had recently switched to a super-strict anti-inflammatory diet to speed healing (which caused him to drop at least 20 pounds off his already lean frame).

But he got through his wilderness exile...and then some. The journey for him was truly transformative. "Psychic dynamite" was definitely made.

Jeff shared his experience with the room of at least 500-1,000 folks on that last afternoon of LaunchCon. The room...that just an hour before had people standing on chairs and singing to blasting loud rock music...was frozen in silence as he talked.

This is where I got the greatest value from his talk: Jeff explained how once the 3 days in the wilderness were over, he and others who'd done the same "exile" retreat gathered to talk about what they learned from it.

The leader of the group had them reflect on six questions about their journeys. By journey, he was referring to the 3-day experience they'd just had. But the journey really encompasses much more than that. It's kind of a sum of all parts.

You don't have to have gone out in the wilderness for 3 days to have had a "journey". Your journey (or "exile") can be any difficult challenge endured...any period of rapid growth or change...or simply an assessment of where you are right now and what you're currently experiencing.

These are the six questions to ask right now about your journey:

#1: Who went out? Who were you at the start of this journey? Who stepped out into this wilderness? What qualities did you possess? What roles did you play?

#2: What happened? What happened to your vision of possibility? Did a part of you die and a new part become reborn? Where is your impact going?

#3: Who here's now? Who are you now at this point in your journey? Who's returned? (For Jeff, he talked about stepping up into "elderhood"...not referring to age, but more to wisdom, and embracing being one of the "elders" in his tribe.)

#4: What gift do you bring back or carry for your people? What contributions do you have to give others that also feed you? Are you spending your time on the right things now in light of this? (Think about opportunity costs.) What patterns that you learned at a young age are working against you?

#5: What action will you take? To what end? What "sweaty palm" moment did you have when you were pushed to your limit? What will you do next as a result...with what goal or outcome in mind? You may find you need a different scorecard. As Jeff put it, "You'll still be the same person at $100 million as you are now."

#6: What remains in the mystery? Where are you going? Who's going to join you? What are you going to accomplish there? This is where you figure out what's next for you in terms of learning, discovery, and growth.

Okay, I'm sure reading these six questions in an email doesn't come close to the powerful feeling I got while hearing Jeff share his intense journey and these six questions at LaunchCon.

But I hope you'll take a moment to think about them or, better yet, talk about them with a friend, colleague, or mentor who can guide you through them.

You just might unlock a new vision for yourself and your "journey" as 2020 nears.

And speaking of that journey... If your vision includes mastering long-form copy (the kind clients are clamoring for and are willing to pay the big bucks for), finding better clients (and more of them), and being able to charge higher fees and royalties, then you'll want to get yourself on my wait list for the new group mentoring program I'm planning for early 2020.

Simply reply to this email ( and let me know you're interested. There will be a limited number of spots, so the higher up you are on the wait list the better your chances of getting one if you decide to do so.

My 3-day trek to the "wilderness" of LaunchCon is a big part of what's inspiring me to make this group mentoring program a transformative experience for those who do it.

Where am I going? What remains in the mystery for me?

I want to train the next generation of A-list copywriters...

I'm embracing my "elderhood" (not that I'm exactly "elderly"), and I'm ready to share my wisdom with more people in my tribe. I want to help them experience the same incredible gains I've seen with the dozen or so copywriters I've coached and mentored over the past year.

I'll have more details about the program soon and you can make your decision then. Those on my wait list will be the first to get them, in order of when they got on the wait list. So go ahead and hit "reply" (or email me at, and tell me a bit about yourself. Share what you're looking to get out of the program if you're so inspired (I read every email).

I'd also like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving if you're celebrating it next Thursday. I do appreciate you giving me your time and attention each week, and it's great having you as a Copy Insider.

Yours for smarter marketing,


P.S. I'm hoping to get a special "What's in Kim's Mailbox" issue out to you next week or right after the long Thanksgiving weekend. I plan to focus on one of the following online promotions:

Anti-aging supplement sales page

Health newsletter VSL (goes to sales page transcript when you exit and click "cancel")

Financial newsletter sales page with cannabis lead

Financial newsletter VSL with online biz lead (goes to sales page transcript when you exit and click "cancel")

Take a look and see what you think. If there's one in particular you'd like to see me discuss, reply back and let me know. (All of them are worth studying if you're looking to collect more swipes. I'm pretty sure all are proven controls). And while you're at it, don't forget to let me know if you want to get on my wait list for my early 2020 group mentoring program. Simply hit "reply"or email me at now.

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