Are You Using Your Genius? (CRD Pillar 9)

Before we dive in: this isn’t about *being* a genius – I wouldn’t want you to tune out because of insecurities or healthy humility.

What it’s about is a *zone of genius*, also known as your unique ability.

That thing you do in such a way, that there’s nobody in the world who could copy it.

(For deeper insight into Zone of Genius, read Gay Hendrix ‘The Big Leap’ – highly recommended). Short version: there’s 4 zones in which we operate: Incompetence, Competence, Excellence and Genius. Hendrix’s point is that the more we eliminate the first three and operate as much as possible in the genius zone, the better our lives, results, and business will be. And I concur.

For example, back when I was a fancy-pants bespoke tailor, I was rather skilled at making the clothes. I’d get comments like ‘magnificent’ and ‘you’re an artist’ and so on.

But I wasn’t a genius at making. In tailoring, my zone of genius was communicating with a client, and then designing a pattern and fit that they’d fall in love with.

Where it came to making, I was often excellent, but not genius. Didn’t have the experience to get it right every time, inside a normal timeframe.

Which meant that the more fancy and expensive a garment was, the bigger my loss on it was.

Had I outsourced the making process and focused only on comms and design, I probably wouldn’t have burned through the inheritance my good ole’ dad left me.

But it’s so easy to fall into the trap of trying to do it all.

Doing our own design, our own copywriting, creating our own ads and marketing strategy… whether we believe we can’t afford to outsource, or because we think our own skills are good enough…

We often end up doing many things, of which many get done either badly, or reasonably well, or good at best.

And that’s a problem, because the average of all the things we don’t do stellarly, is somewhere between mediocre and reasonably good.

Meaning, if we don’t carefully curate what we do and don’t do, the majority of our activities add up to average.

And you’ll agree that’s no way to run a life or a business.

This is why the final pillar of Calibrate Reality Dojo is Zone of Genius – and since elimination is one of the core tools of the system, today I invite you to spend some time thinking about how you spend your time.

Here’s a few instructions to help you:

1: List out all the activities you spend time on during the week

2: Mark each of the 1, 2 , 3 or 4, where 1 is stuff that’s your zone of genius, and 4 is incompetence.

3: Write them all down again, each in a separate column, marked 1 thru 4.

If you’re brave, step 4 is deciding to no longer to anything that’s in column 4. Just delete it, no matter how much you want to tell yourself that it has to be done.

Why? Because if you’re doing it in an incompetent manner, the results it gets you amount to little and you might as well stop wasting time on it.

Column 2 and 3, ask yourself:

Should I continue doing these?

Or should I outsource them?

Or, should I improve my skills, and bring them closer to my zone of genius?

As always, insight and clarity help you to make better decisions.

And to not make a decision on what to eliminate is also a decision.

Final thought: the way you operate in the different zones is what got you here.

If you want to get better results, something’s got to give – and moving more into your zone of genius, as much as you can, is the easiest way to start building better results.



Sneaky Way we Sabotage Ourselves + the Remedy

When I get excited about an outcome, I imagine what that outcome can do for my life.

And then I remove the actions and attitudes that are required to make that outcome real

Wait, what’s going on there – isn’t Martin the productive, the sensible, the Good Decision Maker?

I suppose I am, but I’m not immune to the human condition.

And that’s why I fall prey to a simple yet destructive mistake that’s part of all of our lives:

We dream too much. Or rather, we dream too much of the wrong things.

See, your brain can’t tell the difference between the experience of an actual reward or outcome, or – hang on to your brain, it might be blown right now: imagining the reward or outcome.

To your brain, an imagined outcome is exactly the same as a real outcome.

This by itself is why things like the law of attraction don’t work: the moment you colourfully imagine and visualise an outcome (be it money, clients, lifestyle or relationships or whatever), you subconscious thinks it’s already there, and goes:

“Nice. Someone bring me some laurels to rest on” and takes off its working clothes.

I never saw this as clearly as in the last few weeks, building up to releasing the CRD webinar.

Months ago, I had a huge plan for launching: personal outreach, ad campaigns, videos before and after the webiner, all designed to create some ruckus and get bums in seats.

But as I got closer to launching, and getting more excited about the outcome (lots of viewers, a new community, buyers etc etc), I gradually started removing elements from my masterplan, reducing it to a minimum viable launch. (it’s kinda the way I do things, it seems)

Which resulted in a good outcome, in terms of viewer number and level of interaction, but it didn’t impact hundreds of viewers, the way I had hoped for. Which is why I built the CRD webinar for in the first place.

No problem, but: I could have avoided that very easily, if only I had remembered:

Don’t dream of the outcome…

See, this is the dirty little secret of all personal change:

You only get to change on a personal level, if you (second mind-bomb coming up) instead of dreaming and visualising the outcome, you *visualise you being the person who does the things that will get you the outcome*.

In other words: don’t visualise what you will have – visualise who you will be.

Whether or not you eat the icecream matters far less than whether or not you’re the kind of person who doesn’t buy icecream.

Whether you struggle with procrastination daily matters less than seeing yourself as a person who relentlessly resumes that battle everyday.

Trying to will yourself into not going on social media is far less effective than choosing to be the kind of person whose habit is to put down the phone each time you think ‘Oh, I’m doing it again’.

Dream yourself up an attitude, and a set of habits and behaviours, instead of the enjoyable set of outcomes you can only get if you actually adopt those attitude, habits, and behaviours.

That way, your subconscious will actually fuel the fire you need for taking action, instead of quenching it.

When you find yourself dreaming of a cruise/girlfriend/bank balance/dream job/etc, know that you’re on thing ice.

Shift your inner image to the you that you need to be, quick as can. Otherwise, you’re likely to take your foot off the pedal, and that’s not what you want.



Start Making Sense

Buying a NYT bestseller thinking that it will enlighten you and make everything easier…

Getting a new website, assuming that finally your marketing will run itself…

Hunting tirelessly for an agent or publisher to do the heavy lifting for you…

Blaming an employee for a mistake, when it’s your responsibility to make sure your instructions get understood…

Thinking that a planet determines your fate, or that cards tell you something you didn’t already know…

Beating yourself up over past mistakes instead of making decisions that improve your future…

Thinking that you’re entitled to wealth and success handed to you on a silver platter, just because, well, that’s just how awesome you are, isn’t it?

And of course, my all-time favourite: placing responsibility outside of yourself instead of taking ownership, rolling up your sleeves and fixing what’s broken…

None of that makes sense.

And if you look at humanity in general, we tend to make very little sense at all.

Yesterday I mentioned to one of my former monk brothers that I’m on a mission, a fight against irrationality, to which he replied: “That’s totally irrational!”

Yeah, true. It’s an uphill battle.

But I’m fighting the uphill battle anyway, because irrationality and the totally senseless decisions it causes, has an enormous cost.

On your well-being, your business results, and humanity as a whole.

You could call me a Don Quichotte, but sadly, my windmills exist.

Irrationality is real, and costly.

And if you want to finally start making better decisions and get better outcomes, then join me next Thursday, October 25th, for my free Calibrate Reality Dojo webinar.

If I get a say, it’ll rock your world…

Details and registration here:

See you soon in the Calibrate Reality Dojo…


If It Don’t Fit, Don’t Force It

Trying to squeeze yourself into a model that doesn’t fit you makes no sense and wears you out.

But it’s easy to fall into the trap, simply because some teacher or guru told us that it’s the only or the best way.

Or because you see a competitor do things a certain way, and then you tell yourself you should also do it that way.

My saying email marketing works doesn’t mean it will work for you, if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to commit to sending daily or weekly without fail.

Using social media for lead generation might work for your competitor, but if you loathe being on social media (which is how I feel about spending time on Facebook, and why you don’t see me there), it makes zero sense to try it anyway.

Another example: It’s all well and good, when productivity gurus preach slow&steady progress, but for someone like me, that just doesn’t work.

Took me decades to figure it out, but I’m a sprinter, not a pacer.

Put me on a bicycle, and I’ll be up the hill before others have even taken off.

I’ll be completely spent when I get to the top of course, but I’ll be enjoying the view while others are still struggling at a slow pace.

What can I say – I like to sprint. I get behind a task, crank that sucker like crazy for a short while, and then I unwind.

That’s what comes natural to me, so I’ll spend 4 days putting in 12 hours or more, and then I completely disconnect for a few days. Works for me.

But for the longest time, I kept trying to get stuff done 7 days a week – with the result that I got almost nothing done and was stalled most of the time.

Trying to force yourself into a model that doesn’t come naturally to you is super costly.

It wears you out, erodes your self-confidence, and drains your funds (financially and energetically).

The trick to making things easier is in finding your mode of optimal performance, and getting better at it.

At heart, you know what’s your best mode of operation.

Question is: do you allow yourself to thrive by doing more of what you do best, the way you best do it?

Because if you don’t, and you keep trying to push a boulder up a hill by trying to force what doesn’t fit, know that you’re using a subtle way to procrastinate on getting the results you want.

Make the model fit you, not the other way around – and if you want help figuring out what exactly is your best mode of operation (i.e. the model you ought to be using), then let’s talk.



Out the Window

It took me years to figure out how to make life easier, business bigger, and results better.

Books, courses, trips to foreign cities to sell my handmade suits, complicated mental frameworks and business growth strategies, people and places and all kinds of efforts to try and add something in that would then make the difference and make everything better.

Whilst, of course, completely ignoring the advice that my abbot had given me over my 12 years in a monastery.

In the end though, I finally got the memo:

Things get better not when you add stuff in, but when you eliminate.

And somehow, that seems the hardest thing to do.

Just like an attic fills up by itself until its full, our lives fill up with *stuff*, until we’re full up, overwhelmed, confused, stuck, lost.

And then we go out to find yet another book, training, or manual, thinking that the problem is we’ve got the wrong information, or we’re lacking something.

But nope, it’s all much simpler:

We’ve got too much information.

In our heads, on our bookshelves, on our hard drives.

Too many conversations, on Messenger and Whatsapp and Instagram.

Too many social media profiles, too many lists we’re subscribed to, too many forums we participate in… too. much. stuff!

And as they say: the solution to ‘too much’ is never ‘more’.

So take it from a recovering monk: if you want things to get better, get rid of the stuff that doesn’t actually, demonstrably make things better, whilst – and this is important – not taking time, space, or attention away from other things.

Because it’s easy to justify having a second or third instagram account – it might make things better.

But if that’s at the cost of spending more time on something that has a bigger impact (email marketing, anyone?), then you’re better served writing dailies, instead of tending to your second and third IG accounts.

Whether the ‘thing’ slipped into your life unnoticed or it was a decision: if ever you feel like there’s just too much stuff and too little time, ask yourself if this thing or that thing actually should be in your life.

Every thing in life (including relationship and habits and so on) has a certain cost, and if you want more calm, focus, clarity and results, you’ll want to ask yourself if thing A or B or Z is worth the cost.

If not?

Out the window.

Yes it’s a bit radical. And yes, it gets you radical change in your life and your business.

Don’t add in – eliminate.

Create space for what really matter and what really works.





There’s some pretty inspiring people I come across in my work.

For example:

An architect and urbanist, on a mission to create more liveable cities.

A songwriter who writes hitsongs for people like Celine Dion and Jennifer Lopez.

An artist who uses her art as a way to wake people up to the fragility of our eco-system.

A composer whose goal is to bring music therapy for dementia and alzheimer’s into mainstream healthcare.

The ghostwriter for some of the biggest names in internet business.

But no matter how inspiring you are, or how much good you could do, there’s two sharply separated attitudes.

You get to choose which one you want, and the choice will determine whether you’ll make it or not.

A binary choice:

Do you seek permission – or are you the authority who gives permission?

When I see an artist trying to get into a gallery, they’re trying to gain permission, and it’ll be a long and hard road.

When an author pitches publishers to try and get a book deal, they seek permission and they’re in competition with a whole bunch more authors.

When a consultant cold calls and pitches companies, she’s fighting an uphill battle, trying to get others to notice her.

If a designer hunts for gigs on online job boards, he’s looking to trade time for money, in direct competition with all the other applicants.

It’s not that any of that is wrong, but for someone who truly excels at their work, it just ain’t right.

They are all ways to remain a purveyor, instead of allowing yourself to become an authority that other people seek out.

And once you make that mental switch, magic happens.

You get to be perceived as an authority, as ‘best in the world’ (that doesn’t mean globally, but best in the little world called ‘your niche’).

And suddenly, you become the one who gives permission.

For a gallery to pick up your work, for a client to hire you…

You become the one who gives permission.

And to get to that position?

One step: to give *yourself* permission to become that authority.

If you’re made for awesome or great things, you can’t get there so long as you seek permission from others.

You’ll need to pick your side.

So here, here’s your permission slip.

Sign it?



This is Why Your Progress Isn’t Faster

If you compare where you’re at with your business, to where you’d like it to be next month, next year, or five years from now…

How well are you on your way to getting there?

The decisions you make, are they getting you closer – are you on track?

Because between the here&now and the there, is a gap, a divide to cross.

And if you give a cold hard look at your progress, do you think you’ll cross the gap on schedule?

If not, it might be because you’re relying on your skills and talents.

Yes, I meant to say that, it’s not a typo.

You see, all the abilities you have, and the talents and skills and network and resources… those are the things that got you here. With those, you built what you have now.

And there’s a ceiling in terms of how well they will serve you.

Put differently: what got you here won’t get you there.

And sure, you can learn things: sales, SEO, copywriting, design, social media marketing and so on – but with those, you’re only upgrading knowledge and skillset.

It helps, but won’t speed up your progress all that much.

So if you’re progress isn’t faster, it’s likely because you’re trying to add bits and pieces of skill, without actually upgrading your engine – in other words, your self.

Learning skills and knowledge is like putting better petrol in your car, and getting lower-friction tires. You’ll go faster, but not significantly.

If you really want speed, you’ll need to upgrade your vehicle.

And so it is with our progress in business:

To really make speed, you’ll need to upgrade your self. The way you think, decide, operate, execute.

It’s in becoming a better version of yourself that you start to function at a higher level, and that’s what gets you speed.

This is why I invest in some of the world’s best coaches: because each time I have a session, something significant shifts – I get an upgrade to the self.

And you better believe it pays off.

Not because I learn new techniques or methods, but because I change, fundamentally – on the inside.

So if you want to get to ‘there’ faster, the best advice I can give you is to work not on your skills, but on your self.

To start improving at the root: how you show up in the world, and how you show up to your business.

From there, all other improvements follow.



P.s. Are you frustrated with the progress you’re making, and you’re ready for significant change? Hit reply…

Who Would be Most Likely to Buy Bread?

A hungry person, obviously.

See, a friend of mine is in the middle of launching a new business venture:

I forget what the process is called, but the idea is that he creates full-surround photos of physical products. That way, a buyer can zoom, rotate, pan and tilt the photo, and gets to see the product in all its detail and glory.

Super useful for e-commerce businesses, of course.

So I asked my favourite question: how are you going to sell that stuff?

Always fun to see the plans someone has for their marketing strategy.

He explains his plans (which aren’t bad) and then I ask: who’s your perfect customer for these photos?

“Everybody with a website and physical products!”

Uh-oh. Not good.

Because yes, everybody in that category is likely to benefit and see increased sales from buying those photos, but:

Not everybody will want them. Or have the budget. Or be ready for it. Or understand why it will improve their sales. Or be ready to upgrade their website. Or or or…

Millions of reasons why ‘people with physical ecommmerce’ might not buy.

So if my friend then tries to sell his photography to all and sundry without any thought to who is actually most likely to buy, he’s setting him up for massive amounts of frustration and wasted time.

He’ll have to wade through untold numbers of ‘sorry, no’ before he gets to a yes.

As they say in marketing: find a hungry crowd, and feed them.

So for my friend, much smarter would be to ask: who is the most likely to buy?

Which would be, of course: those who are already looking to upgrade their online presence.

And in that set, there’s ‘those who have a budget allocated for it’.

And in that set, an even smaller (but far more eager) group called ‘those who are actively looking for full-surround (or whatever it’s called) photography.

Put yourself in front of those people, and you have the highest possible chance of landing a buyer, right?

This. This exactly, is why I’m creating the Calibrate Reality Dojo. Because my friend didn’t just think illogically and irrationally – one could say he didn’t even think at all.

And we all suffer from that in one way or another. All of us, and I’d be surprised if you were an exception (I certainly ain’t!) make decisions without giving things proper thought.

Which leads us to outcomes that aren’t what we made the decision for in the first place.

Two points to keep in mind:

Always think before deciding.

Always ask yourself who would be the most likely to buy your thing, before going out and finding people.

Oh, and the third thing: don’t miss the CRD Webinar that I’m preparing.

It’ll help you think and make better decisions, so you can create better outcomes in your life and business.

Hit reply if that’s what you want, and I’ll put your name on the guest list.



What’s the Gap?

What’s your definition of ‘made it!’?

Meaning, your big, fulfilling goal, the one that matters most – the ultimate grade of accomplishment?

Take a note, write it down on the right side of a sheet of paper.

Next, what’s your current situation like, in terms of how well on your way you are to getting to the goal?

Write that down on the left of the paper.

Inbetween, draw a horizontal line.

That line, the space it represents, that’s the gap.

That gap stands for the things that need to happen, or be built, in order to get to your goal.

For me, my ultimate goal is to go back to my roots: To make music.

Not only that: to be a performing, gigging musician.

I gave up music when I entered the monastery 25 years ago, and god do I miss making music.

There’s just NOTHING like jamming with a band, and sharing the energy between each other.

Yes: it’s better than chocolate, and yes, also better than that other thing.

On the left side is my life as is, and it’s good but it doesn’t give me space for launching myself into music.

So for me, the gap is creating more automation in my business. Hiring more assistants, setting up more systems, and creating a course around the work I’ve so far only done 1 on 1 or in group coaching.

Which means I need to ‘can&clone’ myself. Creating a course that helps people and earns me money, and reduces the need to trade time for money.

And it’s something that I think, at some point, should be part of your plans as well.

Oh it’s wonderful to do the work we’re good at. I love coaching and I’ll bet you love your designing or painting or massaging or counseling.

But there’s a definite limit in how for you can take that.

Trading time for money doesn’t scale.

You can only charge as much as the market will bear, and you only have a set number of hours in the day.

So if you want to break through and move up, there will come a time that you’d serve yourself (and your business and your family and your customers) well by boxing your best work up into a package you can sell in a systematic automated way.

And if you’re thinking ‘I’ll write a book!’ – I have a harsh truth for you.

A book isn’t a revenue model. Books are stupid hard to earn a living from, because you’ll need to publish at least 5 to 7 of them before it starts earning good money. Unless you find a publisher who pays you an advance and brings your book to market.

And the last time I saw one of those, he was riding a unicorn.

Trust me, I’ve done the research.

But you do need some sort of systemised way to share your genius with the world.

But what? And how? And how to figure out how to set it up?

Those questions, you’ll find a lot easier to answer once you step into the Calibrate Reality Dojo – the free webinar that is nearing completion.

I demo’d the draft of the presentation to my friend and client Paula, and she said it was quite, quite valuable.

So, don’t miss it.

If you’re not on the guest list yet, hit reply and I’ll make sure you get a no-cost, 30-minute strategy session to thank you for joining.



Copying the Tactics vs Modelling the Thinking

You see someone online doing awesome with their business, using really interesting and effective tactics.

Maybe they’re rocking Twitter, or Instagram, or webinars or a podcast…

And logically, you think that if you use the same tactics, you can get yourself the same kinds of results. Seems to make sense, right?

Except, a tactic is pointless if there’s no strategy behind it. You can throw spaghetti at the wall as much as you want, but all you’ll create is a very dirty wall. (pro tip: try throwing without the sauce).

Anyway, the real problem is bigger: even if you closely observe the way the other’s tactics combine into a strategy, you’re still missing the most important point:

The thinking behind the strategy.

And even if you really get the thinking, you still won’t get far if you just copy it.

Because that thinking, and the way it works in their business, is inherently that of the other person. And you’re not the other person.

You don’t know the connections they have, the books they’ve read, the trainings they’ve followed… the way childhood and previous careers and untold failures have shaped them.

In short, you can maybe see what the thinking is, but you’ll have to create your own thinking, from which to build a strategy, which you can then break down into tactics.

Obviously it’s extremely useful to look at others and learn from them, and implement elements from their business operations.

Just make sure you never copy what you *think* is their thinking, because it’s impossibly to have the full picture, and you’ll end up building a Frankenstrategy.

If you want a business and marketing strategy that works, start with your own thinking (inspired by others as it might be), and then roll your own.

Which I can help with, because coaching is all about shining a spotlight on your thinking, and helping you change your thinking and decision making for maximum results.

Holler when you’re ready, alright?



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