Sunbathing in December

9AM on a windy, but sunny morning in December. Location: South coast of Spain.

As my coffee arrives I get out my notebooks for my daily intentionality reflection.

Nice day out, but windy and chilly.

In the distance a summer-sight approaches:

A beach-goer in flip flops, shorts and t-shirt. Foldable chair in one hand, linen bag with parasol over his shoulder…

This guy is ready for some heavy-duty time on the beach, battle dress and all.

Except I – and the other locals, wrapped in shawls and warm coats – know that the guy won’t last 30 minutes. Unless he’s tough, and will last long enough to catch a pneumonia.

A sensible person would know that even on the Costa Tropical, December is not the month for sunbathing.

Not with the way the wind blows here (it used to be called ‘The Windy Coast’, before tourism landed and a rebrand into ‘Costa Tropical’ was launched) and the Sierra Nevada mountains with their icy peaks less than 60 KMS away.

But this guy, he’s on a mission and it’s called holidays – and he shall have his sunbathing, dammit. There’s sun out, right? Well then.

Everyone with more than two fingers of forehead will say it’s unwise, and that we’d never do such a thing.

Except we do – we all make silly decisions for no better reason than being attached to an idea. We just do it at subtler levels than Mr Sunbathe, that’s all.

Examples: Sticking with a strategy despite the numbers showing you it needs adjusting.

Staying in a relationship even though our heart screams at us, telling us it’s change or die (“Shut up and sit down, heart. I know what’s best” never worked out well for anyone).

Insisting on a point we’re trying to make, even whilst seeing that the other person is in a completely unreceptive place, and you’re painfully aware that every effort you make just aggravates the situation, and silence+a hug would do a lot better.

And you know it but you forge on regardless.

Saying yes to a request even though we know with certainty we won’t be able to make the time (be it for genuine limitations, or because we know we’ll procrastinate too much on other things).

A million ways to ignore the correct path that we’re seeing in full detail, just because we have this or that idea in our heads and we refuse to let go and/or see it for its flawedness.

There’s signs and signals all around, every day: your intuition, your gut-feeling, the things people tell you and the things life shows you… the path is really pretty easy to see.

But only if you refuse to clutch to the ideas in your mind.

I work with people who are willing – even better: eager – to let go of ideas, and I help them discover different, more effective and fun ideas.

And thus, life and business get better.

Want some of that?

Come and get it…

Cheers,

Martin

Of Curve-Balls and Quick-Change Artists

You spend December planning your work so as to have an awesome year, and come January something happens and jumbles all your plans.

You block out a day for serious deep work, and at 11am you get called away for something urgent and important that takes up your whole day.

You budget money for a large investment, and suddenly the taxman hits you hard, and you have to postpone your investment.

You can fret about things like that, but one of life’s jobs is to throw us curveballs, and it’s really good at doing that.

It’s our job to get good at dealing with those curveballs.

The easiest way I know, is to change suits.

You know how I like to talk about the different suits we wear – the archetypes we lean into, the psychological orientations we adapt in order to show up adequately to whatever life is having us deal with?

Sometimes you’re a mother, sometimes a mature business owner – you can be a playful creative, a listening friend, a seller, a buyer, a shoe-chooser, a negotiator, a peacemaker, a leader or victim or
fixer, a meditator or coder or poet – millions of different kinds of identity for you to lean into as per your choosing.

The more agile and quick you become at ‘changing your suit’, the easier it is to deal with life’s curveballs.

Because the biggest cause of stress in the face of changes, is leaving the wrong version of “I” to deal with it.

Your inner strategist lays out the plan, and your inner worker is tasked to execute. If the worker suddenly sees the planning messed up, he has no choice but to freak out. It’s not his job to amend or fix a broken planning – that’s the strategist’s job.

So your job when something like that happens, is to change suits, quick fast, and put on your strategist hat. You fix the planning, and then you move back into your worker identity.

Each of us, we have a walk-in closet full of identity-suits, and we’re always wearing something.

To bring your best self to whatever game or battle or challenge, it’s good to be aware of which suit we are wearing, and which one we’d better be wearing, depending on the situation you’re in.

Being adaptable to change means becoming a quick-change artist.

Because I promise: there’s no situation or challenge in life, that you don’t already have the suit for.

It’s just a matter of wearing it, and that’s always a choice.

Choose to be a quick-change artist.

Cheers,

Martin

Stop Fighting Windmills: How to Talk Some Sense Into Our Inner Don Quixote

The windmills that Don Quixote attacked were not the giants he thought: they were windmills, plain and simple.

The man was clearly deluded, but no amount of reasoning could convince him of his error.

The only thing that he was actually fighting, was an invention of his own mind. A notion, a misconception.

It’s easy to think that we’re different, but in reality, we’re pretty much the same.

When you argue with someone else, you’re not fighting that person – you’re fighting against the way you perceive what that person does or says. It’s your perception, and that’s always an interpretation.

You might think that you’re an impartial observer, but that’s simply impossible. You always filter the world through you-coloured glasses.

A person or a planet or a house exists outside of you – it doesn’t fit inside your head. Only your thoughts exist there.

So whatever person or situation or problem you’re confronted with, remember Don Quixote.

Be aware that what you think of it is your own construction, and not the thing itself.

Why does this matter?

After all, that problem or person is there, regardless of how you see it.

It matters because when you take ownership of *how* you perceive, you get to change how you perceive.

You get to choose what ‘objectively real thing X’ represents in your mind, and if you do that you can apply different methods, tactics, or strategies, in how to deal with that thing.

If you turn ‘that jerk on the subway’ into ‘someone who might possibly be suffering or struggling’, you get to leverage compassion.

If ‘my failing business venture’ becomes ‘a severely challenging problem I just might be able to solve’, you call on your resourcefulness and grit, and indeed, you just might make it.

If you turn ‘my naysaying spouse’ into ‘my spouse with whom I’ll no longer have specific kinds of conversations’ you’ll remove a negative and hindering influence from your life (and you’ll very likely improve your relationship while you’re at it).

You make your perception, every moment of the day.

Own it, and you get to choose the best kinds of windmills to fight.

Cheers,

Martin

Greed vs Generosity

A while ago I ran into a local acquaintance, who hosts retreats and events.

“Hey Martin, do you still coach people?”

Told them that yes, I sure do.

“Well, if ever you want to work together, our premises are available”.

Ooh nice, I thought: collaboration!

“As in, organising a retreat together, you mean?”

And then they hit me with probably the biggest turnoff ever:

“No, as in: you bring us the people, and we host a retreat for them”.

My jaw dropped at the staggering and blatant greedy selfishness of it.

They expect me to do their marketing for them, because what – I’m such a nice guy?

To make this even more painful, this person is rather well-connected to an up-market audience, has a huge following, and is actually world-famous in a niche that isn’t very small.

In other words: they have everything in place to draw in a crowd.

And yet, they have this idea that other people should do the heavy lifting for them.

I’m still baffled by how clueless it all was.

In the past, I used to like this person, and have often considered programmes we could run together.

After this though? I no longer consider them. No longer part of my world. Bye.

Not that I expect them to care – after all, I’m just a dude who does a thing, and there’s 100s of dudes and lasses like me, here on the coast.

But in terms of marketing, what they did was display greed – the greatest sin you can imagine in business, sales, and marketing.

When you want to enroll people (whether in an idea, a collaboration, or indeed into paying you money for something), give first.

When you do that, you make it about them, which is a powerful way to enable people to trust you.

And without trust, people don’t buy.

Instead of being greedy and selfish, be generous.

Serve people with your marketing.

Just like I do with these dailies: a way to show up, to give something, a public service, to remind you that I’m here, and available if I’m the right coach for you.

And though I no longer teach email marketing, I can still coach you on how to generously write daily emails that people love, share, and buy from.

Holler when you’re ready.

Cheers,

Martin

Deliciate!

How’s you year shaping up so far?

Most of us, we launch into a new year with zest, vigour and gusto, and probably with another couple of poetic words.

But every day life happens, and we all get to adapt our plans to the changes that start happening when the clock strikes midnight.

It’s easy to then get stressed, disheartened, or worse: to beat yourself up for yet again making resolutions that barely last until the first weekend of the year.

Before you know it your plans are out the window, it’s back to the grind, and the year is shaping up to look pretty much like last year.

If that’s you: stop and deliciate.

~ To delight oneself; to indulge in feasting or revels.

Kindness wins, every single time.

And being kind to the self is where it all starts (quickly followed by kindness to others, of course).

It might not apply to you, but almost everyone can do with some more self-love.

So if your year hasn’t taken off yet and you’re already worried or stressed or frustrated, this one simple judo-move just might give you a healthy, useful, fruitful reboot.

A walk, a bath, a movie or new shoes – whatever thing you know will delight you.

Put the tools down, close your laptop, close the door to the studio, mute your phone, block out a few hours, and go deliciate.

And if you want to put a smile on my face, send me an email and tell me in what way you’re going to do that.

Cheers,

Martin

Ten Minutes to Insight and Decision

The other day, my coach asked me to what degree I actually live with effortless mastery.

Because as my coach, he knows my behind-the-scenes like nobody else.

And sure, I deal with the same challenges other people do.

And it would be exceedingly arrogant to say that I’m masterful at things.

I mean, have you seen me on Oprah or the NYT bestseller list yet?

Exactly. If I’d be masterful at running my business, the monk for entrepreneurs would be in a very different place.

And yet.

When I talk about my CRD training, and the effortless mastery it promises, that doesn’t mean you’ll magically never struggle, that things don’t require effort, or that you become masterfully good at things.

What it does mean, is that you’ll become resilient, highly resourceful, gritty, efficient&effective, and that you’ll develop the ability to very quickly make decisions that bring your desired outcomes.

Point in case: this morning while journaling, I asked myself if maybe I should postpone development of my training for the moment, and launch a podcast first.

Sounds like it might be a good idea, right?

It would remove the very large task of building the programme, and free up my calendar to work on my visibility. Makes sense.

But then, because of the outcome-aligned, agency-based questioning that’s at the heart of CRD, I very swiftly wrote myself to insight and clarity:

OOOOOOH! If I’d change my plans, I’d be doing the same thing that I’ve done before:

Jump ship and cancel my plans, at the moment I reach informed pessimism (i.e. when I get hit by the full scope of how much work a thing requires, and how many unknowns there still are in entire development of it all!

And I decided a while ago to stop doing that, but instead to forge on through the dip from now on, until I reach informed optimism, and actually get things done, built, and launched.

In other words: by applying my own CRD system, it took less than ten minutes to reach a decision, in this case: stay the course, full steam ahead.

Why would you care?

Because journaling, especially on outcome-aligned and agency-based questions, is something you want to experience. Seriously.

This month my goal is to get the training up and running, and start hosting webinars that explain exactly how to put this Calibrate Reality framework to use.

Stay tuned…

Cheers,

Martin

Time is On Your Side (If You Want it To Be)

When you say you don’t have time to do something with (or for) someone else, it’s not because of time constraints, but because you have other priorities.

When you say you don’t have time to do something for yourself (or indeed: your business), it’s because you haven’t got any priorities – at least not around that issue, at that moment.

On the clock, time is a rigid thing, but in your life, time is elastic and flexible.

You know this from experience.

You fall in love, and you spend an entire day in what seems like five minutes.

You have to file taxes, and a half-day of work feels like an eternity.

Time and its availability are a function of your inner state, your focus, and yes: your decisions.

Single-pointed attention on a task will expand the available time, because you’ll eliminate all distracting thoughts and daydreams.

Whereas moaning and complaining mentally about how boring or awful a task is, will cause you to disperse your attention and dramatically damage your output – and it seems to take forever. (It will in
fact take a lot longer than need be).

As the song goes: time is on your side.

But ‘no time’ is, in most all cases, a lie we tell ourselves.

If you choose to side with time, you’ll have plenty of it.

And you do that by making a decision on what matters most, and then making that thing a priority.

As always: life is the result of your choices. And one of the best choices to make, is to never say ‘no time’, but to say ‘different priorities’ instead.

A subtle shift in how you see things, with a potentially huge upshot.

Sometimes a client will say they don’t have time for their session this week.

Which is always a case of ‘other priorities’, sometimes mixed in with a dose of procrastination.

For me, working with my coaches is always priority #1 (after showing up to serve my clients, obviously).

It means giving priority to getting my jet engine (i.e. my mind and state) as smoothly as possible.

What about you? Do you prioritise your well-being and your inner optimal state?

If so, and if you want expert help in getting most return on your attention and efforts, all you need to do is drop me an email…

But if you’re too busy to work on yourself, then obviously I won’t be able to help.

Everything starts getting better when you commit to doing the work that matters most (meaning: optimising yourself and your output).

So let me know if that’s what you want…

Cheers,

Martin

Hero

The hero isn’t me.

At best, I can be a guide, instructor, mentor, coach.

The real hero, that would be you.

I’m saying this because it’s really easy to get it the wrong way round, and think that someone with a successful business and a prolific writing habit is something special – and that wouldn’t help you.

I’m nobody’s hero except my own, in my own story – and that’s my business thank you very much.

The real hero, that’s you, in your story.

You’re the one facing challenges, you’re being called to adventure, and you’re the one on a path of discovery, growth, travails and successes.

As I’ve said before: never think that someone’s showreel says anything about their behind-the-scenes. I promise, there’s plenty of non-heroic, procrastinaty, faily stuff behind my scenes, because I’m no different from anyone.

You’ll probably have your own, and that’s exactly why you get to be the hero in your story:

In your quest, you get to overcome the setbacks and have the learning experiences and the different kinds of catharsis, that all belong to your story.

So, forget about how good other people look on camera, and focus on yourself, your path, and your own hero’s journey. Plenty of work to do there, without creating confusion by bringing someone else’s story into the mix.

And if, like Paula Mould said, you want to have ‘your own personal Yoda’ in your life – meaning you’re ready to heed the call to adventure and want to work with me, click reply and let me know.

Either way, this story is yours, and you’re the protagonist.

Go be a hero.

Cheers,

Martin

Outcomes & Control, Actor VS Perceptor

The more complex the process of creating outcome X, Y or Z, the less control you have over what the ultimate outcome will be.

Complexity means moving parts, and unpredictability.

Frying an egg has few moving parts, so creating a tasty breakfast is pretty much under your control.

But something like building a thriving business, that’s an enormously complex interaction of moving parts.

And you’ll never control the market, or Facebook’s algorithm, or public opinion of your business, or the decision-making process of your buyers.

At best, you get to exert influence.

Rationally, we all know this. It’s obvious.

And yet, most people act as if they are entitled to the control they don’t have.

It shows up when you hear things like “Why isn’t this working better?”,  or “It’s perfect for them, why didn’t they buy?”, or “I’ve worked so hard at this, and I’m still in debt!”.

If ever you notice yourself going down rabbit holes like that, know this:

You’ll do better – and you’ll certainly feel better! – if you bring your questioning back to the one single thing that you can control:

You.

And the best thing to gain control over, is your mind.

Not in a clutchy, rigid way – that would only frustrate you.

I’m talking about the gentle, kind, self-loving type of control that comes from becoming an observer.

See most of us live as actors. Not in the sense of performing artists, but as ‘an individual committing acts’.

And while you’ll never be free of that, it’s severely worth your time to try and become a perceptor.

Meaning: someone who pays close attention to what goes on – in your world, your business, your relationships, and above all: in your mind.

Because that beautiful little machine you have runs 24/7, and nearly all of your thinking happens in grey areas.

We’re only aware of a small part of our thoughts, and maybe as much as 99.9% of our thinking is automatic and unnoticed.

So if you want to have the best kind of influence on the outcomes you’re working for, become aware of your thinking.

I promise you’ll find a ton of thoughts that do nothing but cause frustration, negative emotions, or irrational and dysfunctional beliefs.

And the more aware you become of how your mind runs, the easier it becomes to steer and influence your thoughts.

In other words: to gain a gentle kind of control – to replace ineffective thinking with more constructive thinking.

And that way, you’ll create different decisions, which will have a better effect on all the moving parts, and make it more likely that you get the outcomes you’re doing it all for.

If you’re ready to get serious on your results, and you agree that yes, it’s all in your mind, then maybe we should talk.

I’ve some 25 years of experience in this type of thing, and I might be able to help you create a better life and a more thriving business.

So if that’s what you want for yourself, let me know.

Cheers,

Martin

Donald Duck, Irony, and Resignation

Years ago, a friend told me her son was depressed.

I asked what he did for a living, and she told me that he’s an inker for Donald Duck magazine.

And sad as it is when someone’s depressed, you’ve got to appreciate the irony of working a dull job at a company founded by an artist who broke lotsa rules – where you spend your days colouring inside the lines. Literally.

I never met the son, but like everyone, he grew up with dreams and ambitions – probably to do with being an artist.

And while I’m sure colouring inside the lines takes skill, it’s not quite the same as making your own damn art.

Now I’ll bet ready money that you’re different, that you’re building your own empire, carving your own path, that you ‘roll your own’.

Ah but not so fast. Are you sure that you too didn’t resign to some things, at some point?

Of course: we all do. Life is give&take. Sacrifices are made in return for gains. We accept something uncomfortable because it prevents disaster.

But if you really look at your life – the people, places, habits and things in it – are you quite sure that you’ve not resigned to one or two things that just really shouldn’t be there any longer?

No matter how full your life may be, I’ll bet there’s things that should go.

In my example, I gave up my funk band when I joined the monastery (for a while I wanted to be the Funking Monk, but oddly, they wouldn’t have it).

That was a sacrifice I made gladly, in return for life in a brotherhood.

But once I left there over a decade ago, I stayed resigned to not be in a band.

Which is strange, because music had always been my biggest love.

Until I joined a band a few months ago, and I realised how much had been missing from my life.

And so it is with all of us: we give up things, or resign to things – painfully at first, but then we get used to it. We forget. Its priority disappears into history.

So here’s a question for you to ponder this weekend.

It’s a simple, but very sharp and pointed psychological hack to connect with a part of you that very, very likely, wants to be more alive.

Here’s the question:

What’s missing from your life now, that if your 7-year old self would know it’s missing, would make him or her cry?

I’m not saying you should go back to playing hide and seek (then again: why the hell not?): all I’m trying to do, is get you to open up your insight on what you may have given up at some point, and should maybe bring back.

What’s missing from your life?

What can you do to bring it back?

Or, if you know the answer: when will it finally be time to make it happen…?

Cheers,

Martin

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