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?



Of Mice, Cheese, and Whiskers

A mouse runs for the hills when you show it a cat’s whiskers.

Whiskers = danger, and you’ll never catch a mouse if thinks it perceives something threatening, no matter how docile Mr Socks might be.

Which explains perfectly why that guy who tried to pitch his programme at me got nowhere: he went straight for the jugular – not that he literally threatened me, but in terms of sales conversations, it was a threat and not an enticement.

(Kudos to Dean Jackson for the cheese/whiskers analogy btw).

No, when you want to catch a mouse (i.e. have someone buy something, or buy into an idea, or pick up a suggestion you make etc etc) you’ll get far more results if you show something that the other wants, as opposed to what the other might perceive as a threat.

In other words: show them cheese, instead of whiskers.

I’m reminded of this by an email I just received, where a reader said they’ve tried to get someone to contact me, but that other person hasn’t done so yet. Doesn’t feel they need it, isn’t ready – who knows what’s going on in the other’s head.

But trying to get someone to do something can very easily be perceived as a threat on some subconscious level. Can be something as subtle as a (perceived) threat to autonomy.

And you’d be amazed how easy it is to “threaten” someone, on subtle subconscious levels.

Like last spring, when I was at an art walk, entered one of the houses, said ‘nice work’ and was greeted with the reply: “Thanks. It’s all for sale”.

Whiskers. Run!

No, if you want someone to take a certain action (be that buying your work, putting the cap on the toothpaste, or adopting a different view on something), you’ll do a lot better if you present cheese, and let them get closer in their own time.

Point is, we’re built with a highly sensitive, always-on radar for anything that’s even remotely threatening.

And it’s extremely easy to trigger the defense-mechanism – and off goes your mouse.

Want someone to take an action that you know for a fact will be good for them?

Paint the ‘after’ picture, IF they take action XYZ.

And then let them get ready in their own sweet time.

That way, there’s not a whisker in sight, and the memory of the cheese will stay with them until they’re ready.

Another benefit: when you let someone make the choice themselves instead of being pushed into something, it means they own the decision. They’ll ‘become a customer of change’, as it’s called in therapeutic circles.

Which makes it far more likely that they’ll actually benefit from the decision.

Because an imposed ‘purchase’ very easily leads to buyer’s remorse, which won’t help that person, or the relationship you have with them.

So think: in what way do you show whiskers, when actually showing cheese would work better?



Who to Be… Suits to Wear… Let’s get SERIOUS! :)

It’s very nice to hear an idea like ‘the suits you wear’, ‘how you show up’, or ‘who you need to be in order to achieve xyz’.

But does it help, in a concrete, practical sense?

Because if you don’t actually ‘wear the suit’, if you don’t show up to lean into the archetype of those who have created what you want to create, then how much does it help?

Right, so let’s make it tangible, and practical.

In psychology, there is what’s known as the big 5.

These are personality traits we all have, and there’s something interesting about them:

Your score on these five traits, predicts with scary accuracy how well you’ll do, and how easily (or not) success will come to you.

The big five are known as OCEAN:

Openness (to experiences, learning, meeting people – we’re talking curiosity here)

Conscientiousness (Comes in two parts: industriousness, and orderliness (mental as well as in your surroundings)

Extraversion (in a different sense than the extrovert/introvert spectrums)

Agreeableness (easy-going, cooperative, friendly etc)

Neuroticism (or rather: emotional stability and fortitude)

Researchers came up with these big 5 decades ago, and there’s been a ton of study into how people’s score on these five relate to their levels of success, income, and overall well-being.

Turns out, the majority of super-successful people (whatever definition of success you might have) score really high on the first four, and super low on the neuroticism scale. (exceptions do of course exist).

So today I’m suggesting you assess how you yourself score on these 5.

Because the cool thing is that each of the 5 psychological personality traits can be trained, developed, and evolved.

So if you find that you’re low in one particular area, it might be very useful to find a way to quickly improve your score on it.

Here’s a quick test, will only take you a few minutes: http://www.outofservice.com/bigfive/

Once you have your score, let’s play a game: send me an email with the area where you score lowest and where you see that show up in your life…

And I’ll reply with my best suggestion on how to stop it being a problem for you. Let me know…



Are You Selling Them a Problem?

Did a coaching session the other day, which gave me a stupid-useful insight you might find handy.

I was asked: “Martin, I have the hardest time recruiting people for these franchise opportunities. What do you suggest?”

I had him explain his process to me, and when he was done, I told him:

“Stop trying to sell people a problem”.

Obviously he was confused, because what he’s selling is actually a great opportunity.

But for whom?

Because to start a franchise, even if the cost to entry is $0, means that you’re taking on a huge, enormous, all-consuming ‘problem’.

You know this, since you’re an entrepreneur. Building and growing and running a venture is HARD work and will be so for many years.

To 99.99% of the population, that’s a ‘hell no!’ kind of problem.

It’s only for the daring, the crazy, the true, heart&soul entrepreneurs.

Starting a business, of any kind, takes a very special kind of person.

The kind of person who LOVES big hairy complex enduring problems.

An entrepreneur is someone who doesn’t just accept the ‘problem’ of being in business – people like us, whether consciously or not, we love problems. Getting our hands dirty, extracting every ounce of creative problem-solving we have in us.

So this franchiser, his solution is simple: go present the option to just that kind of person. Skip talking to anyone who is the employee-type, and not the entrepreneur type.

But what about you?

I’ll assume your work is excellent, worth the money, and yet… why are not more people buying your thing?

Could it be that, in the buyer’s perception, buying your stuff somehow represents or causes a problem?

Think about it: what, in your offer and your marketing, could be problematic for the buyer, in some way?

Sure, ‘finding the money’ or ‘am I willing to part with that cash’ is a possible problem, but beyond that:

In what other ways might you, unwittingly, be selling a problem?

If you’ve felt stuck in your business, and if you just can’t figure out how to increase sales, a conversation about that might lead to a breakthrough.

Want to find out?

Let me know.

(And the only ‘problem’ I’m ‘selling’ you here, is for you to show up and spend one or two hours in conversation. Not that big a problem, right?

K, talk soon.



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