Ricky Kalmon has amazed audiences around the world. He has made numerous special guest appearances on ESPN, Hallmark Channel, Fox, FX, TV Guide, HLN/CNN and The Disney Channel. Ricky’s uniqueness comes from the way he combines music, audience participation, and comedy to create an unforgettable comedy show that is unmatched by anyone, anywhere. It’s a show that will keep you on the edge of your seat and take you on a Vacation of the Mind!
Ricky Kalmon delivers corporate programs that will change the way you live, work, and think. The most requested stage hypnotist in the country, Ricky redefines the art of hypnosis. His motivational programs are inspirational and offer compelling, applicable tools anyone can use in personal and professional development. By "Unlocking the Power Within™,” he reveals how the subconscious mind can be the greatest tool in achieving new heights, reducing stress, increasing productivity and success. Ricky will show you how to enhance your mindset to repel doubt and ignite your positive intentions.
Shantel: Hi, Ricky. Welcome to the Imagine More Podcast.
Ricky: Thank you so much. I'm excited to talk to you.
Shantel: Yeah, me too. I'm eager to hear more about how you got started, what you got going on, and your journey of being an entrepreneur. To kick things off, do you mind telling the listeners a little bit more about what you do right now?
| THE COMEDIC HYPNOTIST |
Ricky: Yeah, absolutely. I hope we have time for that because it's such a crazy story. Who would ever think to get into this business? So, for 32 years I've been doing corporate entertainment and motivational speaking. I kind of downplay but at the end of the day I'm a hypnotist that took a comedy show to the next level. I took away all the stereotype, the swing watch, the mystics behind it all. The mystery behind hypnosis ad made it really fun, interactive comedy show for corporate audiences. But there was always this hidden agenda to the show because it really validated how powerful our minds are. Our minds can be our best friend, it could be our worst enemy, and that's what kind of happens on stage where you kind of take away your fears, your doubts, your pre-conceived misconceptions and you just have an incredible experience in this controlled day dream atmosphere in this comedy show. But then at the end of the day, why aren't we using that same technique in our own lives? So, my whole career has been based on not only the entertainment factor of what I do and doing this around the world from all different types of audiences. It doesn't matter their demographics or the type of industry. But then I come back and I do training programs, keynote programs that really go beyond motivation. They're practical application. How can anybody use these techniques to do things they want to do? So, that's the short story of it but I'll let you jump right in.
Shantel: Wow. Okay, so I have so many burning questions right away. I mean I'd love to learn a little bit more about being a hypnosis and how did you get into that?
Ricky: There was no great story to that. That's the funny part. I wish you would go, "How in the world does someone become a hypnotist? What is that, a pre-check on your high school application?" No, I grew up in entertainment business. I was a childhood magician. It was my passion. I loved magic like many kids. Once you get into that you just go, "Wow, this is really cool." Magic became an incredible hobby, became a small little business, became a bigger business. But I met this hypnotist, and I went and saw this show. I was blown away by what I was watching. I was the biggest skeptic. This can't be real. People aren't gonna do this. This must be setup. We became good friends. One thing led to another. I started really diving into hypnosis, studying it, and the more I was ... Every book I picked up on I'm like, "This is not what people are hearing about." It fascinated me, and so that's kind of where all the journey began, it was the fascination and it became a business, and here I am still doing it. 32 years this December. It's crazy.
Shantel: Wow. I mean just to kind of debunk maybe what people have heard about it, can you summarize what maybe the research that you've found around hypnosis?
| CONTROLLED DAY DREAM |
Ricky: Most research show this state of trance, if you will. Put somebody in this ... The more I started studying I'm like, "This is not a trance. This is not being controlled by somebody. It's really about controlling your own thoughts, teaching the individual to put themselves into that natural state." I mean let me ask you a question, how many times have you ever driven your car, even today, you drive 10, 15, 20 miles and all of a sudden you just kind of blinked. You feel like, do I remember how far I just went? Or did I turn? That changed lanes? Consciously you're still there. I mean your mind is in an autopilot but you're in what's called highway hypnosis. Yet, you're daydreaming but you're still able to a call to action if it came into play, if the emergency stop of course, you're gonna do those things. We know this, it's all happened to all of us at some point. That is hypnosis. It's the state of you're not asleep. You're not unconscious. You're actually more alert than you think you are but you're extremely heightened and very focused. You know, I've worked with a lot of athletes, and it's amazing how much you know, an athlete will say to me, "I don't believe in this stuff." Or, "Somebody told me about this. What is this stuff?" They're intrigued because they'll invest in their skills. Athletes really want to do everything they can to better who they are, not only with their talents but also the mental side of things. Now, first thing I'll say to an athlete is, "How many times have you ever been on a field, on a court?" You are so in the zone, because we've heard that before, and you don't hear the fans screaming, yelling. They're non-existent. They're like, yeah. That's hypnosis. You were so focused. But then there are times where you that our own personal lives get in the way, the frustration of an email, a situation, a conflict control our thoughts and you're not playing in the zone. You're not in the moment. Yeah, you were hypnotized by the negativity or the doubt or whatever that was that was on your mind. Again, these are all just really simple examples but this is the state of awareness that we all can get into or get out of when we need to.
Shantel: That's interesting. I mean I think the car example is certainly something that probably everyone can relate to. What is the correlation between just deep meditation?
Ricky: They're very similar. I mean I tell people at time, you know, meditation, yoga, Lamaze, they're all very similar, focus of effort to influence an outcome. Calming the mind, becoming more aware. It's an overlap, different title. I mean if you really want to get down to it I just think it's a different ... What's your ultimate goal is really the end purpose.
Shantel: So, do you work with people that just have different end goals or typically the goal is to figure out how to calm your mind?
Ricky: Most of the time I do corporate events where I'm speaking in front of as small as 50 people to 5,000. I'm teaching technique that they can implement. I'm actually teaching a structure of different techniques, a blueprint, if you will, of how they can use that technique the next day, the week, the month, the year. Because in my eyes it's not about just okay, here you go, I'm gonna show you how to do this. It's up to you. It's like I want to show you how to do this. I mean I want you to really script this out. When I work with teams or corporations it's on a much larger scale. I don't have the opportunity to do one-on-one sessions. I really can't offer that because I'm so busy in traveling. I do about 150 days a year on the road.
Shantel: Geez, yeah. You don't have time for that.
Ricky: Yeah, every so often an executive will call me and say, "Listen, you know, you're coming up to work with our team. Can we talk about we got a couple of sales guys we want to work on. We got a couple of executive, C-Suite guys we want to do a special program for them." Yeah, absolutely. I do smaller groups so a lot ... I mean I've got one client with just seven people once a year and we'll go into a very high level executive board room with very high level individuals and keeps them skills that they can become better leaders, better in business, but also better at home.
Shantel: That's great. You started, you did the comedy show. Then essentially from there you've just kind of been selling yourself and what you can do and what you can provide in that corporate environment. Do you have a team to help support some of the backend logistics of that? Can you touch on that-
Ricky: Yeah, I don't think I could do this without my team. Yeah, this used to be a very hard one-man show. I'm handled by a personal manager that's I've been with now for 20 years. I've never had a manager. I've only had one before that, meaning the same manager I have now I've had from the very beginning. Highly, an incredible woman, Judi Marmel with Levity Entertainment who's been just my rock to everything like those in my career. She handles a lot of the TV and the public appearances and the day-to-day, you know, the small little things that ... They get done. But yes, I do have ... Then we have a small handful of people to handle the small logistics from travel to marketing and so forth.
Shantel: That's great. So when did you know that you needed to bring on kind of that first teammates of the manager or someone else behind the scenes?
Ricky: Going back it was 20 years ago, actually. October 1st that I started working with Judi and Judi was a producer with HBO, Comedy Festival, and I was doing everything myself. It was one of those things that just kind of you know what, if I'm gonna find somebody I better find the right person. You know, it's one of those things I guess that you just ... Sometimes things just aren't planned. They just happen naturally, organically, and that's one of those things. It's been an incredible relationship. We've done a lot of TV projects. I've had TV shows from TV Guide channel. We had a show for the Disney Channel, other special guests and appearances. Other networks from ESPN to Hallmark Channel and all, I mean if it wasn't for Judi to handle and take care and make these things happen, boy, I don't know what I would have done.
Shantel: She sounds lovely.
Shantel: I know a lot of entrepreneurs and suddenly the listeners that have started something or are starting something you kind of dive head first and you’re pursuing this passion or this journey. Then you kind of look up sometimes and you're like, "Oh, wow, I've ... Not stuck but I'm here in a certain place and ..." So one thing that came to mind is when you talked about having a 150 shows and you're on the road and you're traveling quite a bit, is the travel still exciting and engaging and entertaining for you? Or are you trying to find a way to not travel as often?
| PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH |
Ricky: That's a great question. I don't mind the travel. I don't mind if I'm stuck somewhere. To me, everything's ... I relate it even back to mindset and I really do practice what I preach. If I'm stuck in an airport and trying to get somewhere or trying to get home, that's because I need to get somewhere because somebody wants me to do a program. It doesn't matter to ... I mean as long as I get there that's, I guess that's the important thing. It doesn't bother me. I have friends that are thinking about retirement and my wife, you know, we were at dinner one night and somebody said about retirement like, we're all laughing like, I don't think I could ever retire. I'm not even close to that or that age. I'm just kind of ... No. I get very excited about what I do. Nothing slows me down. I think it's gonna get busier. I think that travel can increase tomorrow. You'll never know. It doesn't bother me at all. I'm very passionate about my business. Even if your listeners, if they're starting out of business or you're in a business now, I really truly believe you've got to get so passionate everyday about what you do and get excited about it. Yet, you're going to have hurdles and you're gonna have days that you just go wow, this is overwhelming. At the end of the day, you could kind of look back and go, "Well, it could have been worse." What if I didn't have this business? What if I didn't have this opportunity. It's a little, like I'm on caffeine with it, but I am so excited and very fortunate and grateful for what I do and it's not a job. It's not a business to me. I love it.
Shantel: That's great. Typically, a question that I'll ask is how do you recharge and unplug because I do know as business owners, you eat, sleep, and breathe your business, and it's difficult to not think about it like a very corporate 9 to 5. It sounds like you actually kind of, it's the opposite. You get pumped up by being in it.
Ricky: People ask me a lot of times so I'm highly involved every single day in the day-to-day operations. We're developing new programs. We have an online training program on wellness. I'm writing all day long. Yes, it's overwhelming. Yes, I'm dealing with logistics. However, when I'm on platform and I'm doing a training program. I'm doing a comic show, working on a TV show, that's like my golf. That's really easy for me is doing the program. The other part, yes, it can be worked but it excites me. Because when I'm ... Literally, I mean we're recording new programs right now and it's like wow, I could see where we're going with this. It gets very exciting.
Shantel: It does sound ... You're getting me excited about it, just talking about it.
| WE’RE ALL STUDENTS OF LIFE |
Ricky: Yeah. I think it's like if you, it's get ... If you have a restaurant, if you offer a new item on your menu, I think most people in that position, and I'm not an owner of a restaurant, but you get really excited about that new item and see what the response of your customer, to hear what they have to say about it, and is it successful, should we keep it on the menu. I think that's the way I kind of look at what I'm doing is, you have to stay fresh. I'm sure you've heard this quote about we're all students of life. I think we should do that in business. We should always look for different ways to become better. You should never look at things at, well, this is the best we could do. This was a great year but I don't know if we could do any better than this. This is gonna be a hard one to challenge ourselves. I think when you say that, you're putting your mind in the direction of failure and I won't allow that and if it comes into play, I have to close that road and stay more focused on making that happen. That's the type of things that I talk to corporations about and training. It's like, what are you saying to yourself about your business, about your customers, about your product or your service? The little words that we say and this is my brand. It's about really transforming the way we think so we can change our world. What are we saying to control our now? That's an important aspect in business regardless of what you do, what level you're at. You're just starting out as an entrepreneur You've been in business for 20 or 30 or 40 years. Are you becoming better every single ... Are you looking for ways to increase? I'm sure you know people that get very settled in and they get comfortable and they don't like change and they're afraid to change. Why fix it if it's not broken? Maybe there's a better way of doing it. As long as you open your mind to it, there's always a possibility.
Shantel: I love what you said what are we saying to ourselves to control our now, I think that's really very powerful. Speaking of staying fresh and change, 32 years in business, I mean I'm just thinking of all the pivots and changes that you've probably had to make to stay, top of mind, and even just from like a digital standpoint, are there any big pivots that you look back on and say, you know, "I'm glad I made this decision because it completely catapulted to this specific industry or vertical," or something like that?
Ricky: Going back to the motivational side of things, I'm glad that I dive into teaching and explaining in keynote motivation because that wasn't, not really the plan first. The plan was to take a common show to the next level and really just let it blow up and let it become extremely popular and have fun with it and let it evolved. What I found was as I'm doing corporate events and I'm talking to clients afterwards and people are asking me all the self up questions. They're asking me about and they're joking a little bit. Can you make me a better golfer? But they're not joking. Can you hypnotize our clients to buy more? They're not really joking. Can you help my employees become more motivated and stop being so negative? They're not joking. Yet, when they deliver those things, they get that smile on their face and you know deep down, they're serious. That's when these conversations started, and I would go back to my hotel room and I'd start talking to people and like this is a program. There's a program on sales here. There's a program on communication here. There's a program on customer service. Because it all relates to mindset. I'm really glad that that went that way but listen. There are times I've developed programs and I go, you know what? That's just, I spend a lot of time on it and I just don't see after at the end of the day, maybe this isn't for me. You know what? You move on. At least I went, I tried.
Shantel: Absolutely. Have you found that there's more research around like neuroscience and your brain and the wavelength or like when your neurons fire to communicate that you're just been kind of fascinated by? I mean, there's probably just so much out there now on how your brain actually.
Ricky: Sure. I think it's a slow process but I think over the last five, 10, 15 even 20 years, the idea of mindset hypnosis-based techniques are becoming more popular. I think that we are looking at different ways and mindfulness and meditation and relaxation and knowing that stress is around us but how do people cope, manage and relieve it better, I think that there is becoming more popularity because at first, I think 20, 30 years ago, it's only you like, hypnosis to quit smoking. Hypnosis to lose weight and yet, it's a very powerful thing. That was the only thing you would really hear about and every so often would come around. Now it's being used more in the anxiety area, depression, stress management, a little ... It's taken a lot more seriously and it's slowly trickling in. Again, I mean you think about it. When you hear the word hypnotist, what's going through your mind? It's like, I don't know about that. I don't want somebody to control of me. Once you start explaining to people, I'm not in control. You're in control of your thoughts, and you can change them or you can let them sit there and let them go to your world. That's what my programs do no matter whether it's a keynote or an audio program, it's about really helping the individual understand what this is and the small part is actually practicing the technique.
Shantel: That's really fascinating. Do you find that you really work well with other entrepreneurs or do they come as a whole in generalizing typically, have some of that mindset that you try to instill in some of your keynote speeches?
| THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT |
Ricky: I think most entrepreneurs that I've met over the years are extremely passionate. Really, I mean entrepreneurs that you just go wow. That's inspiring. I think they understand the hidden secret about subconscious thoughts. They understand the programming of you can't let failure get in your way, and we've all heard stories that took a 100 times to fail but the time I got to that one success. That, I think is an entrepreneur spirit. They're always looking for ways to grow. In fact, I have a theory and it's not my theory, it's been around but you kind of look at it this way. I've kind of mold and shaped this theory a little bit. I think great entrepreneurs, great leaders, great people that you admire for their success look for ways to become more successful every single day. Meaning, if you ask the entrepreneur, "How many books do you have? How many other programs have you read or have you purchased on self-help or growing your business or learning new techniques?" Most entrepreneurs are going, "I'm always looking for something new." Great athletes, great leaders, great business people. I guarantee you, look at other people that were successful in the same field so they can learn and they're continually understanding it's important for me to stay on top of the game, so I'm gonna read another book next week on something that maybe was a business last week or even 40 years ago. I think the entrepreneur spirit is synonymous with the success of an athlete, of a leader, of a corporation, about growing, constantly learning how to grow. That's probably why your listeners right now are listening, the entrepreneur wasn't listening because they're looking for new ways to become better at what they do and their passion for whatever they sell product or a service.
Shantel: Now, that's great. That's a great point. What is, thinking of books and resources, is there one that you've recently read or podcast you've listened to that really made a dent and impact?
Ricky: Great question. Not one particular. I kind of skim through a lot of stuff. I find now, I'm in that realm of getting online. Keep using my iPhone and seeing what's the headline today? I find myself doing those type of things every single day. What's the headline? What's the new tech? I'm always looking at the new tech. What's going out there? I'm a creature of the iPhone. I'm a creature of the apps. Business Insider, I'm like okay, get in there. Give me the short skinny really quick and that's been my go-to now these days.
Shantel: Yeah, then there's definitely overwhelm.
Ricky: It is.
Shantel: There's always so much you could be reading or listening to or doing.
Ricky: I'll jump on, like your podcast, and I would jump on that and just ... I'd love to see what the people are doing and find out what else is out there. What are people talking about? What's important now?
Shantel: Certainly. You mentioned online training program. Can you elaborate a little bit on that?
Ricky: Yeah. You asked about change. I remember the very first self-help program I came up with. It was on a cassette tape and we jammed in like all the stuff on one cassette tape. You flip the other side and then you go to like stop smoking or-
Shantel: That's amazing.
Ricky: So it's funny. I still have a 100 of them still boxed up. I've got it sealed. One of these days, I'm gonna open them up. Then we went to from of course, cassettes we went to CDs and now we're at flash drives and downloads. Now in the midst of an online training program for corporations to have, regardless of what type of company you have, I mean regardless of how big your company is, it's an online access for employees to log in, spend a very short amount of time and then interactive experience and video, just quick little videos and questions to help them relax better, be less stressed, be more focused, be more mindful, be more directive towards this positive intentions. Learn how to become more in control and become better person and professionally. That's what my audio programs do when we felt it was okay, now we got to offer something more. Can it be done on an iPhone? Absolutely. Can somebody watch a quick little video that's literally a minute to two minutes long? Watch in a specific topic, something they wanted to focus on. Then literally be interactive with that video because ... And I don't want to tip the hat too much because we're in the midst of the program and partnering the platform but they're gonna be interactive with it. They're gonna actually interact with the program and they'll see how they do and they'll find their strengths and they'll find their weaknesses and they can focus on those type of things. They're quick, little things. Nobody wants to spend hours upon the day trying to figure out how to become better, but if we take those small little moments, take two or three minutes to focus on ourselves, don't you think we may become better in our jobs, in our lives? I believe so and we've seen change and so we're pretty excited about that, and it's gonna be a really cool project that's gonna release in 2019.
Shantel: That's really exciting. I can't wait to hyperlink to that when it's live. I think when you just mentioned like spending a couple of minutes just on yourself makes me think of how I'm trying to start to incorporate working out into day-to-day and how do I do feel completely different by just not saying, I'm too busy to do this but just doing it. Then after, I always feel less overwhelmed. Yeah, I think it's very powerful stuff.
Ricky: This is something I talk about on platform. This is something I talk about in my audio programs. The question is, how much time do you think the average person spends on their phone researching, looking at products, looking at social media every single day? I mean the average, even the average person, even an executive, I guarantee you pops on and just maybe spends a few moments of the day. Some people spend hours at the end of the day and they go wow. No different from watching several TV shows. They're spending online, hitting buttons and looking at social media and looking at pictures and so forth. The question is, how much time do we spend in ourselves to stop and really just do do nothing, but clear our minds? Focus on what's important for us right now and where we're going.
Ricky: It's a hard question to answer and people don't want to answer that question. I want people to get really emotionally aware of their thoughts not to reveal to me but to themselves.
Shantel: I think that's ... I'm glad that you touch on that. I think it's important for us to always remember, keep in mind but then actually start to practice.
| POSITIVE, FOCUSED, DRIVEN |
Ricky: Absolutely. I guarantee you people spend 20, 30 minutes on the average on an iPhone, on the tablet, on some kind of a smartphone. Think about it. If you would have spent two or three minutes just being mindful, I mean just stopping what we're doing and just go okay, this is important right now. I need to focus on what I do. Then again, how do you implement different ways of scripting and training programs to focus on making that intention happen? I don't want you to ... Here's what I want to do. I'll stop real quick. I want listeners to understand. This goes beyond positive thinking. I don't want people to think, "Oh, he's gonna think great and feel great, you're gonna stop for ..." No. It's a cultural way of living. Because I guarantee we all know somebody we admire. Somebody that's really somebody we look up to and you go, wow, that person understand. They're always positive. They're so focused. They're so driven. Look how many times they might have failed at this but they became so successful. Now, I don't want to discredit what they were selling or the end product, but I guarantee, it was something with the way they were programmed between their ears that got them where they are.
Shantel: Yeah, I think that's certainly very true. Very relevant. I mean just kind of going back to the iPhone and how much time you spend it gives you a summary I think with the new updates of how much time you've spent on your phone, on these platforms and apps. It's very alarming if you really dive into it. Just kind of a couple more questions for you, Ricky, to wrap things up. When you started your business, was there someone that really poured into you and helped you think big and imagine more? Or were there a lot of naysayers because entrepreneurship is a little bit scary?
Ricky: There was never a naysayer. I was very young. I was very driven and I just I felt this was I was gonna do. Nothing was gonna get in my way. There were a handful of people that I will look up to as entrepreneurs, as mentors. I think it's important. I think you have to find a mentor to bounce the ideas off of, even if you're just starting out. Don't feel like you have to do things alone. I was young at the time but even now. I was with an associate last night. Somebody that I know very well and I actually ... So listen, I want to offer you ... I want to ask you a question. I want to offer you some advice on something and I want you to do the same thing for me. I'm gonna ask you a question. I want your advice on something. Again, you have to bounce things off of people and I think it's important no matter what level you're at. I think you have to look for other influence. Listen, if you're saying, well, I already have somebody, but if you're not getting the answers you need, if they're not getting real with you and they're just telling you what you want to hear, they're not really helping you.
Shantel: Wonderful and have ... I'm sorry.
Ricky: No, I was just saying it's never too late to make a change and meet somebody new and I'd say don't get rid of your friends. The conversation even led to last night. I was talking to somebody and like ... And the gentleman was saying to me because we're on ... Yeah, I was talking to somebody but I just feel like that they're just telling me what I want to hear. I go, well then, they're not the right person to ask the question. You want them to give you the answers, you don't want to hear the truth sometimes. That's important. Don't be afraid of talking to people. Find somebody you can trust. Bounce off ideas. Story board, chalk board it.
Shantel: Yeah. I think the people that poke calls and really challenge your thoughts and those are the most impactful types of friends and family and mentors to have around. How can people get in touch with you? How can they learn more and perhaps bring them into their company?
Ricky: Absolutely. It's really simple. It's rickykalmon.com, R-I-C-K-Y K-A-L-M-O-N.com, that's rickykalmon.com. Plenty of information on the site from videos, from TV shows, from the corporate entertainment side but obviously, the self-help side. It's interesting thing about changing and molding, five years ago, I was only doing platform programs. Now companies have changed and say, "Listen, we're not gonna wait until the convention, the once a year annual sales conference, the sales meeting, the kick off." I'm doing more on site programs and training, companies are bringing me in. We're doing stuff in board rooms, in classroom settings, and that's great. We saw that change several years ago, people were like okay, we need to invest now. We can't just wait. We have all different types of programs to really customize and fit the client's needs. The smallest group I've done is seven people and largest to 5,000.
Shantel: Wow. Thank you, Ricky. We really appreciate your time and insight and thanks for being on the show.
Ricky: No, thank you. This is great. For all the listeners, keep tuning in because the more ideas we get from podcasts like this, and we hear stories from other people and what they've done, it just helps us grow, too.