Martin Stellar - Coach & Consultant for ethical sales and business growth

Martin Stellar - Coach & Consultant for ethical sales and business growth

Is This a Priority?

He asked the Dalai Lama:

“You say we should meditate 30 minutes every day”.

“Yes, very important, very healthy”, was the answer.

“But what if I have a very busy day?”

“Ah!” came the reply.

“On those days, you should meditate for two hours!”


Limpets, seaweed, little crabs scuttling out of the water and up the rock…

The pre-sunrise colour of light on the water’s ripples as I float and swim.

The curiously beautiful sound of the waves crashing into the rocks crevices… I’ve never seen this rock from this side.

It’s a big piece too, sticking out into the sea like some sort of fortress.

Great place to watch the sunrise.

But the last few days, I’ve been swimming early morning instead of going for a walk.

See the sunrise as I bob around in the mediterranean.

Which you’d think I often do, since I love swimming and I’ve lived on the coast for almost a decade.

But for some reason I never did, until now.

I reach the middle of the rock and decide to head back.


The undertow is too strong around the rock, and I can’t make any progress.

Didn’t really think that through, did you Martin?

No bother, I’ll just swim on around it and walk back to my clothes.

Hard work, and I reach the shore out of breath.

Feels amazing though.

And it makes me think of priorities.

Lots of people will say that they don’t have time to meditate, or to exercise.

While we all know that even 20 or 30 minutes of sweating and raising your heart rate in the morning will do wonders for your day.

You’ll feel better, you’ll be more focused, and you’ll get more done.

And yet, we often fail to give exercise the priority it deserves.

It took me a long time to discard my ‘no time’ excuse.

But a few years back I decided to create a morning routine that includes meditation, reading, and exercise, and it has had a massive, dramatic effect on my life.

First order of the day, first priority:

Take care of Martin.

Because he’s a fairly nice guy and deserves to be taken care of.

Besides: if the day starts with Martin taking care of Martin, he can then much better take care of others, and that’s what life is about for me.

So that priority question, how does that work in your life?

Do you prioritise learning?

Building marketing methods?

Building yourself up and getting better at communicating?

Creating systems that make your work easier?

And, very importantly: does communicating in a frequent and helpful way with your audience have the priority it deserves – and needs?

Oh and hey: do you want to prioritise massive change and growth?

If so, let me know.

I might be able to coach you into achieving exactly that.



The Utterly Guarantee-less Nature of Life, the Universe, and Everything |Plus How to Get Results

A reader writes in with some good questions about promotion and visibility.

His words in bold, my answers in regular, below.

you wrote in a post that you send a press release to 200 members of the press to let them know about a show.

Not just press, but also magazines related to travel and culture. And, very importantly: tourist offices in foreign countries.

There’s a lot of English, Scandinavian, Polish and German tourism here, as well as expat communities.

And since the exhibition was around art, culture and tourism, it made sense to approach tourist offices, since each one will have their own mailing list.

Lesson: When promoting something, always make sure you notify people and organisations who have a large, relevant network.

I am just curious as to how many people actually responded that they were coming to your opening in terms of the percentage.

I don’t know, because the organiser, Helen, handled incoming email.

But I guess nobody notified her, and that’s fine.

In general, people don’t announce that they’ll be there, aside from personal friends perhaps.

They just show up, if your coverage is large enough.

And that’s why a press release is so useful: you can get massive coverage, blanket the world with your announcement, and if you go wide enough, you just might get lucky.

Normally, in many cases, the motto is: an inch wide and a mile deep.

With a PR, it’s the reverse: an inch deep and a mile wide. Or more.

Also: What is a normal percentage to expect of people who were to come?

Absolutely no way to predict that.

It’s a numbers game: if you show up in front of enough people, you’ll get bums in seats, and maybe even fill the room.
Lesson: the more specific you are about who you send to, the higher the chance that people will show up.

If I’d sent the PR to journalists whose audience is into, say, sports cars, it would have been crickets all through the opening night.

Single out recipients for whom your announcement is relevant.

Since you said that you do  not leave promotion to chance.

ABSOLUTELY! Never leave things to chance.

Get your hands dirty, do the work, show up, talk to people, let them know you’re there, and that it’s worth their time to check you out/show up/visit your site etc etc.

How can you guarantee how many will actually come?

Can’t. Life comes with no guarantees, not in any way, shape or form.

All you can do is take smart action and increase the likelihood of success and results.

and then out of those how many will actually buy?

How long is a piece of string?

There’s no telling, it all depends.

But again: the more specific your choices in terms of relevance, and the larger your efforts, the more you increase your chances of selling your work.

And if you want to learn, deep dive mode, how to communicate, market, price and sell your work, this here 2,5 hour masterclass will help:



The Best Moment to Change Is…?

You might think I’m going to say ‘right NOW’…

But nope.

In fact, I’m not even saying that you should, need to, or ought to change.

To me, you’re fine just the way you are (cue Billy Joel)

No, the only reason for you or anyone to change is if there’s a desire, a strong will – an INTENT behind it.

Unless you’re driven to change, it’s better not to try.

Like a smoker who says he wants to quit but doesn’t – that means the wanting is just cerebral, it’s in the mind.

You THINK you want to, but there’s no intent behind it, no genuine and all-consuming WANT.

Wait for that, and then change – you’ll find it goes automatically.

Like that day I went to talk to my abbot:

“Master, I want to quit smoking”.

He looked at me.

“Are you quite serious? You really want to?”

“Yes. I do”.

“Ok”, he said.

“Then you’ve just quit”.

I blinked, stumped.

“That simple?”

“Yes”, he beamed at me.

“Oh, well ok”, I said. “I’ll just go and smoke my last cigarette, and then I’ll be done with it”, as I moved towards the door. “Thank you”.

“Nonono”, he said.

“You’ve already smoked your last one”.

I thought for a moment, and saw what he had done there.

And I walked out of the room free – no craving, no withdrawal symptoms, no relapse, nothing.

It was that easy, because I really REALLY wanted to.

So if the moment you have the intent is the best moment to change?

I don’t know, I haven’t figured that one out yet.

But I’ll tell you this:

The best moment to change is before you have to.

Don’t wait for the wakeup call, because by then things might have gotten bad.

Some people need to hit rock bottom before they change, but nobody says it’s got to be like that.

When it’s become too uncomfortable to stay where you are, maybe that’s the moment to choose to change.

And if that’s where you’re at, and you want to make big important changes, maybe we should talk.

Because coaching is all about change.

But only when you’re really, REALLY ready for it.

Let me know when you’re ready…



Monk Hack: How to Program Yourself for Productivity and Super-fast Work

For the last two years, I’ve listened to exactly the same playlist, every morning.

It’s a selection of groovy funk music – my favourite – and while you may think the same thing every day is boring, the opposite is true.

Here’s the deal:

Music is known to trigger emotional responses, which result in all kinds of neurochemicals to be released which then influences your conscious and subconscious mind.

Don’t ask me the details, but the upshot of it is that by selecting specific music, you can cause yourself to enter specific emotional and mental states.

You’ve probably experienced this for yourself.

You likely have music you like for driving, writing, painting, cleaning, sports and so on.

And by playing that music, you trigger the state that goes with that activity.

This is one of the major reasons that I manage to write daily emails.

Because that’s when I put on that playlist.

After my morning ritual and when I get ready for work, I make tea and pull up the playlist.

I hit play, and nearly every single day I’m instantly in the zone.

Tappity tap go my fingers, and just 10 or 20 minutes later the piece is ready and sent.

It’s SO powerful, you can’t imagine it until you experience it.

And as for that boredom thing, you’ll find that if you connect that activity you want to perform at a high level, the music won’t be boring, but inspiring instead.

Don’t believe me?

Well, if you consider that normally I never listen to the same album more than twice a week or so – I really need variation – the fact that this playlist has been on for two years speaks volumes.

So that’s my tip for you today:

Pick an activity that normally is a chore, hard to start or difficult to complete, and select the most helpful or inspiring music you have to go with it.

Play it each time the activity comes up, and you’ll see the work going faster and faster, day by day.

It’s a simple, highly effective way to program yourself.

Take it from a guy who’s spent 20 years experimenting with optimising the self and the mind.



“When Creating Art, Buyers and Sales Should Be the Furthest Thing From Your Mind!”

Thus spake an artist friend the other day.

And while I commend the integrity of the statement, I do have my doubts.

Before I go on, do note that I have little authority to issue an opinion on the matter, given that I’m not a professional artist myself.

But here goes anyway, less pontifically than normal.

To start with, there’s the question ‘when creating WHAT?’

If, say, you design T-Shirts, or postcards, or you’re a portrait artist on the street, then obviously you want to sell them.

Which logically means you’ll need to ask yourself if people will want to buy it.

But actually, the more I think about this, the more I disagree with my friend.

Here’s the deal: it all comes down to your own integrity as an artist.

And to me that means that choosing to make something that you know buyers will pick up isn’t necessarily wrong.

Or think of it like this: You make art for the love of it.

And you sell it for the money.

Anything wrong with that?

Course not.

Anything wrong with making something you know will sell?

You tell me.

But, it’s a narrow line to tread.

It’s a very small step to commercialising or selling out.

And the idea of ‘I’m not selling out – I’m buying in’ doesn’t hold water, in my opinion.

Sure, it’s smart to ‘do more of what works’.

But should you become formulaic, start repeating the same tricks just because you know it sells?

I really don’t know.

Probably not, unless you want to turn your art into a personality-less company.

So today, I’m handing over the question to you.

Is creation while thinking about sales or buyers ‘allowed’?



“So, What’s the Plan for Promoting This Exhibition?”

I’ve mentioned the artist’s group I’ve been going to for the last few months.

The one where soon after starting, a plan formed to create a group project.

To which I replied with: “If we’re going to build something, should we build more art or build something that sells art?”

After all, we all have unsold stuff, and making more art is not the trick to selling more.

So a new idea emerged: a group exhibition.

And while I was in the North, the guys and gals have been at it with a vengeance.

Last night was my first time there since returning, and I must say I’m well pleased with what’s been done so far.

Venue, date, mailing list, logo, poster in the making, a facebook page… these guys are on a roll.

So I asked (count on me for asking questions nobody wants to hear):

“What’s the plan for promotion and marketing?” Some pretty good ideas were thrown on the table.

But then someone said that we needn’t worry about getting people to show up.

The venue owner had 400 bums in seats, at the very first event he organised.

“Yeah man, he’s got a 400 people mailing list. That’s a lot of people”.


But there’s no guarantee that they’ll all show up.

In fact, it’s pretty much certain they won’t.

If you’re lucky, you get 50%.

And for that you have to be very VERY lucky.

Who knows how he got so many to show up?

Maybe because it was the first event, or maybe because the stars were in alignment (Hah!).

“Yeah but it’ll work out, Martin. There will be people”.

To which I said that maybe yes, maybe no – but the more active and strategic about it we get, the higher the turnout will be.

You can’t leave things to chance.

It wouldn’t be the first show to see substandard attendance and no sales.

And as for that whole ‘build it and they’ll come’ thing?


Here’s better:

Build it and bring them in.

And you do that by announcing far and wide what’s going to be happening.

Just like the Artist Network Alpujarra is about to do.

And when you do, and you take action?

Well, then you get results and people showing up.

Like last month, at the annual SaloArte exhibition here in town.

I wrote a press release, uploaded it to distribution channels online.

I emailed some 200 magazines, blogs, and tourist offices worldwide.

The organiser of the expo did interviews, contacted folk she knew.

We put some money towards Facebook post boosts, and there was generally a flurry of promotional activity.

The result?

The opening night was heaving, chockablock full.

So, the choice, as always, is yours:

Rely on things taking care of themselves – or take care of things with your own two hands…?

Choose and the results will match.



“Martin, You Have Too Many Chakra Painters”

I looked at the screen and smiled.

My client was right of course – but not in the way you might suspect.

After all, I’ll be the last one to mock or criticise another person’s beliefs or convictions.

I’ve got some pretty out there convictions of my own, so it would be hypochrytical.

To me, it’s no issue whether someone believes in spirits, totem animals, God or Gods, or the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (that one actually exists).

It’s a personal thing, I have no truck with it.

And as for chakras, well who’s to say what is and isn’t real?

Recently, I heard about some serious researchers who used all kinds of fancy tech to measure things like magnetic waves in the heart area, and it would appear that there’s stuff going on we haven’t been able to understand yet.

So yeah, I’ll consider the improbable a potential, until proven otherwise.

And as for the scientific argument that if you can’t prove it, it doesn’t exist – well I’m no scientist, but I don’t believe that’s how science is meant to work.

If you can’t prove something, you likely have insufficient data – something we’ve seen happen over and over again throughout history.

So what you do or don’t believe in, that’s up to you, as long as nobody gets hurt.


My client was right.

I do have too many ‘chakra painters’ on my list and in my networks.

And yes, I suppose saying that will upset a bunch of readers.

So then why do I say it?

Because it’s one thing to believe in something, and it’s a completely different thing to let that belief rob you of your autonomy.

Whether or not you paint chakras isn’t the point – it’s about attitude, and this particular client used that term, I didn’t make it up.

See, the problem with quite a few alternative-minded people, I’ve found, is that they (not all, but many) relegate control to something out there.

Astrology, spirit guides, deities, you name it – in the end, YOU are the one in control, and you are the one who’s responsible.

To me, it’s a cop-out to say that the stars make you moody.

If you’re in a bad mood, go get some air, some exercise, call a friend, watch a comedy, or go give someone a big fat hug.

That’ll fix your mood.

And that’s the whole point behind this all:

There is never no solution.

There’s always something you can do.

But only always, regardless of the situation.

And the risk with beliefs is that they really can prevent you from taking action.

Be careful with what you believe in, because your behaviour follows your beliefs.

I say, believe that you are the architect of your life, and that no problem ever has no solution.

Believe that, do stuff, and see your world change.



Gee But It’s Great to Be Back Home. Also: Laptop Stolen, Please Re-send Your Email

Returned home to my beloved Salobrena last Saturday at 4 am, after a wonderfully relaxed drive.

Couple of things I learned, over the last few weeks.

– Backups are REALLY important.

On the last night in Holland, someone burgled the house and stole my laptop.

That’s bad, but it could have been a disaster.

Luckily though, it was an old and beat up Macbook Pro, perfect for travelling.

My main laptop was at my mother’s house, so I still had all my files.

You may think backing up your computer is a good ‘someday’ task, but it’s not.

Do it, today please.

There’ll come a time when you thank me.

One problem though:

It does mean I lost all the emails I received over the last few weeks, and that I had lined up to reply to.

So, and this is important:

IF YOU RECENTLY SENT ME AN EMAIL that I didn’t reply to, please resend it. Thanks.

– Google maps is great, but it’s even better if you set it to ‘avoid toll roads’ or even ‘avoid motorways’.

I don’t like toll roads – they’re incredibly boring, and I don’t like paying for saved time, that you end up losing by having to stop and start all the time.

Besides, it only added 4 hours to a 2400KM drive, and:

It took me along some amazingly beautiful roads.

Might not work everywhere you travel, but definitely worth checking before you set out on a long drive.

– 6 weeks away from home is too long for me.

It’s been a magnificent journey and I really enjoyed it, but a 3 or 4 weeks would have been enough.

The things I missed most were my bed, and my hifi set.

God it’s good to hear my music again.

Odd, really: at home I have music on all day long, so I don’t understand how I went without for so long. But hey.

– Habits matter more than even I knew.

I often talk about habits and how important they are.

And the first few weeks I managed to keep my habits up:

Get up, meditate, breakfast&reading, a walk, shower, and then work.

But by and by, my habits started eroding, to the point where I let all of them go, the last few days.

Sure did no favours for my mood and productivity.

– George Clinton might be 75 years old, but he’s as funky as ever.

The drummer and bassist of my former band and I went to see the creator of funk music, my last night in Holland.

And wow, that guy is just awesome.

For sure, make my funk the P-funk.

Lots more to tell, but I’ll save it for when we speak.

Meanwhile, no lesson or takeaway for you in this email?

Yes there is:

Whatever you do, make sure you take CARE of yourself.

While I enjoyed my trip and met lovely people, I did destroy my productivity, and part of my focus.

There are things you do that nurture your state, feed your creativity, or make you happy.

Keep doing them, no matter what.

Especially when you’re a caring, giving person, a nice one who helps others.

Because that type  of person can very easily sacrifice taking care of self in order to help others.

And while that might seem like a good thing, it’s not.

Not when you give up the important caring for yourself – do that, and you won’t be half as able to really help others.

I’m not advocating selfishness – just put your own oxygen mask on first.

That’s it for today.

Remember, if you’re waiting on an email reply, please resend your email.

And for now?

I’m back to coaching my ass off.



5 Reasons Why This Might Be the Best Business Decision You’ll Ever Make

A few years ago, I received a message from an online entrepreneur:

“We’re starting a mastermind group, would you like to join?”

I didn’t know what to expect, and wasn’t really sure what a mastermind is supposed to do, but I knew the sender and the other members, so I figured I’d give it a try, and –


That decision, to become part of a mastermind group, is probably one of the 10 smartest things I ever did.

I stayed in the group for years, until it finally fell apart due to circumstances, and I’ve missed it ever since.

Until a few months ago, when I joined a new mastermind, and now all is well with the world again.

If you’re new to the concept, or if you’re not convinced why a mastermind would benefit you, let me put some thoughts into your mind:

At heart, a mastermind is the combined intelligence of a group of people, which is greater than the sum of the parts.

I think it was Napoleon Hill who coined the phrase, and the idea is that any time there’s 2 or more people together, what you have is a mastermind.

And if you create or join one and you take it seriously, it’s enormously powerful.

Here’s why:

1: A mastermind is a group of likeminded individuals, who have a few things in common. Examples: You’re all in business, you’re there to help, you share an ‘action-beats-complaining attitude’, you all have a willingness to ask for help and to receive feedback, and so on.

Put simply: You’re there to help and support each other, and you’re all committed to it.

2: It’s like having a 24/7 back office. There’s always someone awake/at work in the chat, where you can ask questions, get feedback, get help.

Being an entrepreneur can be lonely, and a mastermind fixes that.

3: If you pick people with varied but complementary skills and experience, you get a powerhouse of help and ideas, each time you get stuck or have questions.

4: You get accountability. While members usually end up as friends, the point isn’t to just be friends: the best masterminds are where people give each other permission to say the things a friend wouldn’t say.

You can get called out on procrastination, or excuse-making, or other ways in which you hold yourself back.

Very powerful, so long as there’s an agreement that it’s mutually allowed.

5: It helps you to elevate your business prowess and acumen.

By way of osmosis, each member grows by adopting thoughts, habits or attitudes that work for other members.

In the end?

A mastermind will help you move your business forward, faster.

And that’s worth the commitment.

Doing it is real simple:

One hour per week on Skype.

Each member checks in (2 to 3 minutes) with successes and failures of the previous week, and states what his goal is for the coming week.

Next there’s a spotlight or hotseat for one member, where an issue is put on the table, and all the others pile on to offer advice and suggestions.

At the end of that, the person in the hotseat comes away with plenty of ideas to get moving again.

To get started, 3 people is a minimum, and in my experience, 6 or perhaps 7 is the limit.

(If you have that many people, you might want to do two 20-minute hotseats per session, so as to keep weekly rotation flowing faster).

It’s not a frivolous thing though:

For it to work, all members need to treat it as a fixed weekly appointment, and only in special cases should a member skip attending.

You might be able to find a mastermind online and apply for membership, but if you look around your network, you can probably find 2 or 3 people to start your own group.

And again, it’s incredibly powerful – something you won’t know fully until you’re in a mastermind.

Thing is, as a solo entrepreneur, you shouldn’t go it alone – and you don’t have to.

There’s people out there like you, whom you can help and who are willing to help you.

Get ‘em together, and let the helping begin.

Spurn this advice if you like, but know that you’ll be missing out on growth, support, help and development, both personally and businesswise.



PSA: No Animals Were Harmed in This Sacrifice

“It’s because it comes down to a sacrifice, you see? That’s what it means when you invest money and time in working with a coach. Or invest in anything, really”.

My own coach looked at me with a frown, hearing those words.

“Martin, people don’t like the word sacrifice. Too many negative connotations”.

Good point he made, but there’s a lot more to it.

The real meaning of the word sacrifice has nothing to do with things like rituals or slaughtering an animal.

It’s not about religious concepts or precepts.

At its root, a sacrifice means to make something sacred.

To make something sacred means to give something up for a greater good.

Sometimes in return for something else.

You sacrifice nights out on the town in order to study and become qualified at something.

You sacrifice a life of dating, so that you can have a stable and long-lasting relationship.

You sacrifice your sleep in order to take care of your children.


You give up one thing, so you can have something else.

And I should know: after all, I sacrificed 12 years of freedom, living under very strict rules in a monastery, and I became a tranquil and, I’d say, rather happy individual.

Totally worth it, too.

And, when you get it right, and you let go of things consciously, in return for something you really want, you too will find that it’s worth it.

Maybe you prefer calling it ‘no pain, no gain’ – but that’s just a matter of semantics.

In the end, you always get something when you pay with something else.

What you get depends on several things: effort, dedication, commitment, and above all:

Choosing the right thing to give up, at the right time, and for the right reasons.

Choose right, and what you receive in return will be far more worthwhile than what you gave up.

In one of the poems we used to read in the monastery, there’s the line:

“Letting go

“For some, it’s a pain and a struggle

“For others, it’s a joy and a celebration”

The difference is you, your attitude, and your choice.

And, the only way to grow by way of letting go, is by being very deliberate, and being 100% passionate about what you give it up FOR.

There can be no half-heartedness in this.

You can’t ‘kinda’ get married.

Either you’re in 100%, or better not start.

And that’s the trick to every choice you make.

Do you really, REALLY want it?

That badly?

Do you want it so badly that it’s worth it, whatever the cost?

Only then should you go for it.

My coach agreed saw my point, and agreed.

So, take it from an old ex-monk:

Careful with what you sacrifice.

It can change your life and your world.



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