So here we are—Thanksgiving in the US—a time when we can all reflect on what we’re grateful for, and also the things that truly matter. For me, because this was such a special year, I feel obliged to mention a few names of some people that had a profound impact on my life during this time period. So, if I may indulge just a bit, here goes:

1. Derek Coburn: Many of those reading this article may not know who Derek Coburn is right now, but mark my words, you soon will. Derek is the founder of a group in Washington DC known as Cadre—an organization consisting of highly successful  business owners, entrepreneurs, and other overachievers. A literal master at networking and human relations, Coburn has a book coming out on the subject in a few months and is easily one of the biggest influencers in the Washington DC area. In 2013, over 60% of all the revenue generated by The Sales Lion came directly or indirectly from my Cadre experience—an eye popping number really—and an experience that reminded me just how critical our “offline” network is in a very “online” world.

Seemingly able to always get the best speakers, Derek (along with his wonderful wife Melanie) is pictured here with Jay Baer and James Altucher during a recent Cadre event.

Seemingly able to always get the best speakers, Derek (along with his wonderful wife Melanie) is pictured here with Jay Baer and James Altucher during a recent Cadre event.

2. Jay Baer: I’m going to be very honest here and say there have been times I’ve asked myself why Jay Baer has been so kind to me over these last couple of years. His interest in my well-being and success is literally baffling, and the fact that he asked me to write the foreword to his bestselling Youtility has proved to have a major impact on my career as well. I simply can’t thank Jay enough for the person he is.

3. Mitch Joel: There are few people I enjoy chatting with in this world more than Mitch Joel. Those of you that listen to his podcast likely understand what I mean by that, because, to put it simply, his mind just works at a different level than most people—present writer included. During our many conversations this year, one particular discussion had a massive impact on my career. Basically, Mitch asked me what I had been charging organizations to speak and upon receiving my answer, he berated me—without filter—for the next 20 minutes on why I needed to raise my prices and understand the value of my skill set.


I'd like to thank Mitch for hitting "CTRL ALT DELETE" on my career this year :-)

I’d like to thank Mitch for hitting “CTRL ALT DELETE” on my career this year :-)

Because of that one simple conversation almost a year ago, speaking fees have tripled and today make up about 50% of my personal revenue.

4. Ian Altman: Like Derek Coburn, many readers may not be familiar with Ian just yet, but his star is on the rise. I first met Ian a little over a year ago when he saw me speak at a Cadre event. Shortly thereafter, he told me he also was a speaker and that our messages were very much aligned—he in sales and me in marketing. Well, to be honest, I really didn’t believe him until I saw him speak and thought to myself, “Holy cow, this guy is great. His message is phenomenal.” Shortly after this realization, Altman approached me about putting on an event—one where marketing, sales, and customer experience were combined and taught in a way attendees likely hadn’t been a part of, and the Remarkable Growth Experience was born.

5. Chris Brogan: Although many people “know” Chris through his blog, I’ve feel like I’ve gotten to know him in a different light over the past year or so. On one particular occasion, I was walking the streets of Bangor Maine one night (there for a speaking engagement) and out of the blue I see Chris as well, walking solo. We met up in the street with a big hug and for the next couple of hours proceeded to have a tremendous conversation about life, family, and just about everything else under the sun.

But here is why Chris has had such a big impact on me—Ever since our first encounter over 4 years ago (when I was a nobody in the online world) Chris has always made me feel like the most important person in the room. The guy has a very special skill when it comes to this, literally more than maybe anyone I’ve ever met.

6. Loren Feldman/Mark Cohen: Who are Loren and Mark? Well, Loren heard me speak at the International Vistage conference in Dallas Texas earlier this year, after which he told me he’d like to run a story in the paper he worked for about what I’d discussed in my presentation. Shortly thereafter, he had one of his journalists, Mark Cohen, interview me—an experience which lasted about 90 minutes. A week later, the article was on the cover of the small business section of the New York Times and literally overnight my career seemed to change in incredible ways. I’m so grateful Loren had the vision of just how successful that story could be, and Mark was able to work up a masterpiece that ended up being the #1 shared and emailed business story in the Times for the next 3 days.

To say this article had a profound impact on my life would be an understatement.

To say this article had a profound impact on my life would be an understatement.

7. Rich McElaney: In case you haven’t noticed Rich around TSL before, he’s actually the VP of Business Development for the company. To make a long story short, Rich has been around the block and is rich with business and marketing experience. He came to me about a year and a half ago and basically said, “The sky is the limit for you, but you need someone to bring order to the chaos.” Truer words have never been spoken, and today Rich is the lead on multiple accounts for The Sales Lion while also managing/brokering all my speaking engagements.

8. Alison Whitmire: Some people lead from the front, other lead in the background. Alison Whitmire is the latter. With a very keen ability to help others discover their talents and story, Alison is also well known for the fact that she was the TedX organizer that brought in Simon Sinek for his famous Ted Talk. This past year, Alison approached me about speaking at a TED and as I mentioned on this blog, I was extremely close to giving up on the idea because I didn’t feel like I had the right talk. After going to Alison and telling her that I wasn’t going to be able to do the talk, she literally “rejected my rejection” and convinced me to push through. To me, it was a phenomenal act of faith on her part and was the catalyst to the success I had with TED, and what it has meant for my career since then.

I'm grateful that Alison(right) pushed me through my TED struggles.

I’m grateful that Alison(right) pushed me through my TED struggles.

As you can see, all the folks mentioned here had a direct impact on my career, but there is another group I have to mention that supersedes anyone above, and that’s my wife and four kids. Without question, they are an anchor to my soul, keeping me from drifting about in the storms of life and bringing me incredible happiness and joy, day in and day out.

Thank you everyone above, and thank YOU for being a reader and supporter of The Sales Lion. I’m truly humbled to be so blessed.

Sheridan Family

44 thoughts on “8 People That Dramatically Impacted My Life in 2013

  1. Great and thoughtful article Marcus. I’m sure YOU are on the thankful list of many people as well, including myself. You put all this stuff in a easy to understand and “doable” format. Please keep doing what you are doing and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

    • You brought me a big smile with this Tom. Thank you, really, it means a lot.

      And I hope you also have a tremendous Thanksgiving my friend.


  2. Marcus – What an incredible post here. As Tom Horn pointed out in the comment above, YOU are certainly on my personal list of people who have played an integral role in my life and career this year. I shared this article with my industry, pointing out that it’s also a solid example of how you don’t need super human powers to make extraordinary things happen. You just need to take the right actions, set the right goals, and put your darn plan in place!

    (If you achieved all this another way, I’d love to know!)

    Have a great holiday, my friend!!

    • You’re spot on my friend, and to be honest Josh, what you are Bella have done as leaders in your industry has been incredibly inspiring to me. I’ve got to so many conferences and events this year, and yours is easily one of the most enjoyable I’ve attended.

      Happy Turkey Day my man,


  3. Hi Marcus,

    This is an incredibly thoughtful post and clearly reflects your humbleness and ability to appreciate the graces of life. I’m probably speaking for everyone on your list above in saying that you’ve had a major impact on my outlook and success since joining the TSL community, and I am sincerely thankful for all the ways you’ve made us feel like V.I.P.s- from your thoughtful responses to our comments to fleeting yet delightful interactions at conferences/events to responding to a simple Tweet.

    Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and keep changing lives.

    God Bless,


    • Jeremy, you’re a good soul my brother. I really mean that, and I’m hoping our relationship will only grow as more opportunities arise in the future. :)

      Happy TG to you and yours,


  4. Marcus – what a great idea and awesome list of success supporters. I am so happy to see your path and inspired by your meteoric success. I look forward to seeing you at more Cadre events and continuing to learn from you! Happy Thanksgiving! Halelly

    • Hallely!! Hey girl :-) I’m so glad you stopped by my site and certainly appreciate the kind words. Hope your thanksgiving is a GREAT one!!! :-)


  5. Honored and touched to be here, my friend.

    Why do I take an interest in you? Three reasons:

    1. You are an incredibly good person who genuinely cares more about others than about himself. It’s rare, and I try to surround myself with people who have real values, because it can be a struggle to toe that line. Simply put, I’m a better person when I’m around you than when I’m not.

    2. You are in the “steep ascent” career phase, and I know how tricky that can be. You get flooded with opportunities, not all of them long-term benefits. I want to continue enjoying your extraordinary talents forever, so if a grizzled old dude like me can provide some advice on occasion to avoid you burning out and moving to Anguilla, I will.

    3. I have had astounding and amazing guides my entire career. The guy who owned the McDonald’s where I worked my first job? Awesome. Taught me everything about work ethic. My college advisor? Awesome. Taught me everything about thinking big. My first boss when I was in politics? Awesome. Taught me everything about strategy. My first boss when I worked in corporate marketing? Awesome. Taught me everything about relating to employees. My first boss during my initial stint running a major division of a company? Awesome. Taught me everything about choosing your battles.

    First person “of influence” to ever tweet one of my blog posts? Jason Falls. Second? Chris Brogan. Those guys – and so many others – have helped me a ton, and continue to do so. I’ve been so lucky on the speaking side, too, to have many world-class mentors like Kelly McDonald, Rory Vaden, and Mark Sanborn who go out of their way to make sure I’m progressing. They don’t have to do that, but they do it because someone helped THEM.

    Mentorship, advice and counsel is a virtuous circle, and is constantly under-appreciated in business and in life.

    I’ve never taken a business class. Not one. I’ve gone to business school by having outstanding people take an interest in me and what I’m doing. And that’s why I’m happy to help you whenever and wherever I can. Not only because I love you, but because I owe it to the people who love me.

    • First of all Jay, if you don’t fit this into a blog post—or maybe a book at some point in your life, you’re doing the rest of the world a big diservice.

      Second, thank you for what you said here.Really. I’ll be thinking about the words herein for a long while I suspect.

      You’re the best,


    • Gotta say what I love about BOTH you gents would require a super long list that would go on and on. So I’ll try to summarize some quick points why I’m so thankful to both of you.

      1) you are high quality, high character people. You show us all that the good guys ultimately do win despite what others might say. The folks in the white hats do win.
      2) you aren’t afraid to be human and real. You care on a much deeper level about people, your work and your why than so many others. You LIVE the #YouTility mindset, you don’t just preach it.
      3) you care about the people you meet, not just the big names. Whether or not you realize it, you help us believe in ourselves and our work and drive us to accomplish more.
      4) you’ve earned your success the old-fashioned way … through hard work and experience. You provide a road map to success for all of us via your blog, your speaking, etc. where you share your experiences, your wisdom and your thought leadership.

      As I said earlier, the list could go on and on. But I’ll just finish my comment by saying how thankful and grateful I am for you fellas not just on Thanksgiving, but all year round!

  6. Hey there Marcus,

    What a great post, and spectacular list. So interesting to see the people who have helped shape your career, and inspire you to do, and keep doing what you do.

    If I was to write a similar post, you would be on my list good sir. Though we have only briefly chatted here and there, the small bits of advice you have shared has helped me tremendously. You are an inspiration my friend!

    Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!


  7. Marcus,

    This is pretty awesome, my friend! I am honored to be included on a list containing so many amazing and selfless people. While I cannot speak for everyone, you certainly make it easy for me to want to support you.

    From a business standpoint, as much as I love you, I don’t recommend you and encourage companies to hire you because you are a great guy. :) All of the people I know who contribute to the 60% you mention, have thanked me for introducing them to you. You do amazing work that dramatically improves the businesses and lives of the people lucky enough to work with you. That is why I am thrilled to be a small catalyst in making sure as many folks as possible benefit from your wisdom.

    On the personal side, I can’t say anything better than what Jay stated as his first point. The ancillary benefit (for me) of supporting you within cadre has been adding an incredible friend to my life. As great a leader as you are with your craft, you are an even better leader when it comes to being a great person. To Jay’s point, I too am a better person when I’m around you (drinking less and cursing less being the obvious examples). :) However – and I mentioned this to my buddies after the hockey game last week – the great thing about hanging out with you is the effect you have on me (and likely others) which inspires me to want to be a better dude.

    Thanks again for all you do, brother!

  8. Rich McElaney

    When I saw that you had tagged me in a Facebook post (yes, I do check FB every once in a while!), I had no idea what you were up to. By now, you would think I know enough to expect the unexpected, but this takes the cake! I’m blown away!

    I’m extremely humbled and honored to be on this list ( I was just watching a Compendium webinar that Jay did and now I’m on this list with him for crying out loud! ;-). I suspect you know that the positive impact flows in many directions, as evidenced by the comments above. I feel blessed to watch you interact with people and empower them to do great things with their businesses and their lives and look forward to witnessing lots more of it.

    Thanks brother and have an awesome Thanksgiving with your family.


  9. What a terrific post, Marcus. But for me, it just personifies who you are. So many folks operating in our “space” are self-absorbed and focused only on themselves, with incessant promotion and other ridicularity. You’ve never been that guy. You’re smart, always willing to share what you know and help others grow (and sometimes learn from your mistakes) and are amazingly kind-hearted. I don’t even know you all that well, and we’ve only had the chance to meet IRL once, but still, I know these things to be true. And what else I know to be true? Good things happen to good people.

    Congratulations on all your success … it is, most definitely, well-deserved. And thanks for showing by acts like this how humility and grace work, in “real” life.

    Have a great holiday! Looking forward to our paths crossing again soon.


    • Shelly, this was a really, really kind comment, and thank you for taking the time to write these words and for your keen observations. It’s funny how you don’t often realize what other people notice and the fact that you’ve observed these things truly brings me a humble smile.

      Hope your Thanksgiving is a tremendous one.


  10. What a beautifully human and grateful post. Marcus, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing you speak live a few times now in Canada and the US and always enjoy it. I very often use you as a case study example for content marketing (I did again just a few weeks ago for a class at OttawaU. I think the comments you are seeing are a testament to how good a human being you are and the importance of “real life” connection, in this day and age, despite how connected we are online. Well done.

    • Stephanie, you’re incredibly kind to say that…thank you :)

      And thanks two for putting up with me more than once in a live setting! ;-)



      • They were quite a bit apart (Tweetstock & Cleveland (CMI)) so I got a break in between ;)

  11. I’ll chalk it up to “love at first sight.” Literally. Once I read your content, started following you on Twitter and then meeting in our “protein forms,” it became crystal clear that we would be friends for life.

    I just spent over an hour chatting with Scott Stratten (another person I met online) and we were discussing how powerful social media can be in a world where most people are using it as an engine of spam. I will still hold firmly on my belief that this is all about “real interactions between real human beings.” That’s the bond that we have shared. Once I saw you speak, I wanted to let you know how much you could (and should) be doing with that skill of yours. Plus, there’s a value in it and you should be compensated for the vast amounts of knowledge that you share on stage.

    I’ll just ask one thing: don’t confuse berating with passion. I wasn’t berating you. I was passionate about helping you realize the full value that you can bring to an event. I’m not surprised by the results of this. It had little to do with what I said and much more to do with your ability to deliver on a promise. Which you always do.

    On this Thanksgiving, I’m just thankful that I can call people like you, Scott, Jay, Chris, and more friends.

    Thank you :)

    • Dude, this was great. Thank you.

      And you’re right, “berating” likely wasn’t the right word, as I certainly didn’t receive it that day in any light other than, “Wow, he’s right. This is going to change!!”

      And change it did :)

      Huge smiles bud,


  12. Marcus – I think it’s awesome that you have taken time to acknowledge and thank the people who have helped you along the way. People often think that success comes from our own doing. But, more often than not, it happens when we surround ourselves with good, smart people who are willing to help.

    Jay is right – mentors are so valuable, yet can be difficult to find. I’m glad you’ve found yours. And, I’m quite confident that you will pay it forward and do the same for others.

    Congrats on a great year! Here’s hoping you have even greater things on the horizon in 2014! Happy Thanksgiving, friend!

    • Your kindness leaps of the page Laura, thank you :-)

      And yes, I absolutely plan on paying it forward…that is very much on my mind as I have a lot to pay back!!!


  13. Marcus,

    I am very humbled to be included in a list with such amazing people. I am certainly appreciative of Derek and Melanie Coburn for connecting us together. I remember Derek saying “you’ve gotta meet this pool guy.” I didn’t have a pool, or want one, but I trusted Derek. I’m glad I did.

    Hanging with you is like going through this adventure with your brother who is always watching your back, there for encouragement, and even offering to smack me on the head when necessary.

    You inspire me to be a better husband, father, and teacher. What could be more noble than that?

    I have fielded many questions from the stage about content marketing, and it always sounds the same: “I’m going to give you a brief answer. All you need to do is to remember and you will find answers to questions you didn’t think to ask.”

    As Derek and others said, you are not only inspirational as a teacher and speaker, but as a human being. Jay said it well that those attributes are rare to find.

    Thank you for the kind words, and I hesitated to respond for fear of being redundant. But, you have had such a great impact and have been such an incredible friend, that I had to share it.

    Can’t wait to get our families together for a trip!

    • Too kind my friend, too kind. And the cool thing is, I suspect this is just the beginning of us working together to help each other and others as well for a long time :-)


  14. Marcus,

    As the others have stated, this is the meaning of “thankful” and your graciousness and selflessness shine through in all that you do. You’re a person whose actions speak even louder than words, and that says a lot when your words are so powerful. I’ve seen you speak at CMWorld and Inbound, and had the pleasure of interviewing you for our book Brands in Glass Houses. Obviously you are very busy, but when we asked you to write the forward to our book, you agreed, without hesitation, and we thank you! Our interview was one of hundreds you’ve done last year, but that didn’t matter. You took the time to read the book, and put thoughts to paper, just to be supportive. That contribution and encouragement means so much to us. It’s just another of many examples here (and more that will likely follow this post) of how much you deserve all you have to be thankful for.

    If everyone in business was as selfless, honest and genuine as you, there would be many more successful and happy people in the world.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


  15. Marcus, I am going to keep this short. I LOVE how you have your family on this list. Says a lot about you! Keep rocking it, and your “cubs” will keep cheering! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family :) We are Thankful for YOU!!!

  16. I learned a lot from Chris Brogan. I am glad he is in this list. It is very nice of you to come up with this list. Incredibly thoughtful article.

  17. You are really a lucky person that gets to thank so many people that their are in his life. I’m thankful that I got be part of this amazing team called Squirrly this year. I’m so happy that I get to work with this people each and every day.

  18. Marcus,

    Thanks to you for pushing our quality and useful content for me. I have always enjoyed your simple ideas and whenever I read your blog I get amped up!

    I have to say thanks for your reviews of Mitch and Jay’s books. I wasn’t going to buy them thinking they were just another marketing book. Boy I am glad you steered me in the right direction.

    Thanks and happy holidays to you and your family.

  19. Hi Marcus,

    As an industrial marketer that helps “rust-belted” marketers make the difficult transition to web-based marketing, your enthusisam and methods are a real breath of fresh air. I believe your “Honest Economy” approach is truly the “special sauce” that can get many 45-70 year old business owners’ head out of the sand. As a new HubSpot agency I look forward walking in the shoes of HubSpot… as well as yours.

    This post reminds us all of the tremendous power of relationships and a thankful attitude.

    Congratulations and I look forward to meeting you soon.



  20. Very thoughtful article, Marcus!

    I had never heard of Cadre DC, I went over to his blog to check it out. I’m reading his article titled, “How to become an idea machine” right now – super interesting stuff. Wishing you a belated Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

  21. Thank you for this wonderful and beautiful publications of interest to the community and people that do not know a lot about health and fitness, and thank you for a second time

  22. Trifecta. Baer. Joel. Sheridan. Three incredibly inspiring peeps in my book, er, in my world.

    Really enjoyed reading this, which I discovered thanks to Jay. And—thanks to Jay—I too keep discovering.

    Y’all are generous and great.

    My Sheridan story… Was going to NMX for the first time. Did research on who I should hear speak. Saw a clip of Marcus. Said to myself “go.” Saw Marcus. Learned oodles. Laughed. Loved it. Stalked Marcus. Got on a bus he got on. Got off at the stop he got off at. Introduced myself. Learned what I could learn. Since then Marcus has been one of the most influential professionals in my career. I find myself talking about him daily. Jay too.

    Been writing for Jay’s blog and designing presentations for Marcus. Pinch me.

    Haven’t got around to stalking Mitch yet. Is he a nice guy? The oversized brain intimidates me a bit ;-)

    Feliz, friends.

    • You’re a good man Barry,and super talented to boot. Joel is a great guy. Very giving, but yes, the brain goes a long ways :-)

      Talk soon bud,


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