Dr. Joe “Mr. Fire” Vitale is billed as “one of the world’s most powerful copywriting and marketing gurus,” and I just heard him deliver an address entitled Inspired Marketing. This is a subject I need to learn more about, because it’s a skill I have never mastered. Just hearing the words “sales and marketing” makes my skin prickle; it awakens an internal BS meter that thinks anything properly presented can be packaged and sold.

Dr. Joe addressed my problem right at the beginning. He said my problem with sales and marketing was because I was stuck at Level 1, the position in which fear controls your life, and you identify more with victimization. I confess I have some issues in this arena that go back to my beginnings as the first-born son of Holocaust survivors. I believe that skilled manipulators of goods and ideas can get people to buy anything.

Dr. Joe was entrancing, and his energy palpable. He told us about his rise from poverty and homelessness, and he said he didn’t like sales and marketing either. He calls what he does “creating opportunities to share his excitement.” What I call marketing, Mr. Fire calls “sharing my love with people.” The secret to success is to be infused with a passionate energy. You have to have a burning desire to transmit everything you know and say; every book you write, emails, and promotional material — they have to burn with your passion. Dr. Joe has elevated marketing to a spiritual experience.

I believe Dr. Joe is a sincere practitioner of what he preaches, that his heart is good, and that he comes from a place of loving abundance. I would also like to share my love with people, help them make good choices about how they come to the events in their lives, and do it in a good way. I left his keynote address feeling inspired.

That afternoon I took Dr. Joe up on his invitation to peruse one of his many websites. I discovered that he actually has 2 doctorate degrees; one in metaphysical science, the other in marketing, but without mention of the granting institutions. Immediately, my programmed neural transmitters started emitting Level 1 signals, this Dr. thing is just self-inflated puffery from a diploma mill (I wrote and asked him but haven’t heard back yet). He is also a certified hypnotherapist, metaphysical practitioner, Chi Gung healer, ordained minister, and one of the stars of the movie “The Secret.” He sells himself to potential clients, saying that if they want to “hypnotize prospects into opening their wallets,” he’s your man because he can help you place your customers into a “hypno-buying trance.”

Dr. Joe is an inspiring purveyor of possibilities, and I am a psychiatrist who is in the same business. I think I have something to learn from him, if I can get over wanting to run away and hide. There must be a way to feed the flame without the puffery of smoke.