The Unspoken “What’s In It For Me?”

“Hey Martin, how about you become our product manager?”

I smiled, and said: “Nah, but thanks though”.

The product was good: security software. And he and his wife weren’t offering me a contract job, but something more on an advisory basis. Easy to combine with my coaching practice.

I liked both of them, and since they handle the website for a client of mine, I’d been in touch with both of them before by phone – so I knew them to be professionals, instead of the sadly very common ‘playing at being in business’ type of entrepreneur you get to meet here on the coast.

And I liked them – we’d had lunch at the beach and excellent conversation – and earnings would have been very interesting, had I taken on the gig.

But I didn’t.

In practical terms, it was because I prefer coaching and teaching: running marketing strategies for someone else’s business isn’t my thing.

Much more fun to help clients create their own.

However, if he’d played his cards differently, there might have been a chance.

All he would have had to do, is tell me ‘what’s in it for me’.

Not that I go through life asking myself what I can get out of things, and I suspect neither do you.

Except… we do. We all do.

It’s a biological imperative, it’s survival and evolution.

On the deepest, most primal level of our being, part of our subconscious is always asking the question: ‘Will this cause pain, or wellbeing?’

It’s the only way a species can survive.

Can I eat it, or does it want to eat me?

Friend or foe?

Blessing or risk?

Poisonous berry, or sweet?

The subconscious – or rather, what’s known as the lizard brain – is deeply skeptical, because that’s how it keeps you alive.

This matters because whenever you want to enroll someone – be it for them to buy in to an idea, a collaboration, a sale, or screwing the cap back on the toothpaste, you’ll get far more results if you start out by showing people what’s in it for them.

And especially in the context of a sales conversation, where the other person permanently has a radar going, asking ‘what’s in it for me?’

If my buddy that day had said ‘You know, I have an idea. With the strategies you just recommended, we can sell a lot of this security software. And we’re willing to pay a very interesting commission – and it wouldn’t even take much of your time to help us’.

Had he said that, who knows if he’d have sparked my interest. I probably still would have turned him down, but at least he’d have had a fighting chance.

So whenever you’re in a conversation with a potential buyer, remember that the big question in the other’s mind, is always what’s in it for them.

When you address that question, you remove neediness and threat, and you inspire confidence and trust – which are always required in order to convert a prospect into a buyer.



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.



The Wrong FAQ: “How Do I Find Buyers?”

It’s one of the most frequent question I get from business owners:

“How do I find my clients and buyers?”

Looks a useful and important question, right?

After all, without buyers you don’t have a business.

But it’s not the question to ask yourself – or indeed, the question to ask me.

A much better question is “How do I make myself findable?”

See, if you’re out there trying to find buyers, you’re positioning yourself as the (pardon the metaphor) hunter, and you make it your job to find and hunt the ‘prey’.

And that’s a fundamentally flawed approach.

A buyer isn’t prey, not in any sense of the word – and you shouldn’t be hunting for them.

A buyer is someone who really wants what you have, to the point of wanting to part with money in order to get it.

And what does that make you, instead of a hunter?

It makes you into a prize.

Something desirable, a provider of goods or services who’s desirable, and who’s worth money.

Doesn’t it sounds much nicer to be sought after, rather than to be ’out on a hunt’?

It’s a simple flip-over of attitude and perspective, and if you make that switch, business becomes very different.

So then, how exactly do you become findable?

Can’t tell, you, there’s no one answer because it depends on many moving parts.

Happy to talk with you and find out though what will be the most effortless and effective way for your particular situation.

Hit reply and let’s set up a time, yes?



Comparing Yourself: The Wrong Way and the Right Way

Comparing yourself to others is a futile and often self-destructive exercise.

There’s always someone more successful, more famous, better connected or wealthier than you.

And when you compare yourself to those others, you give yourself all kinds of ways to feel inferior, or jealous, or insufficient.

But there’s one person you can always (should always?) compare yourself to:

The person you were yesterday.

But that’s where it gets tricky, because we’re prone to always look at what we have and have accomplished.

Is there more money in the bank today?

Do I have more prospects than yesterday?

Is my list bigger than yesterday?

Did today’s Facebook Live get more viewers than the one I put out yesterday?

This is almost as destructive as comparing to other people.

The thing to compare with isn’t what you have, or have built, or have achieved.

Because all those things are outcomes, they are the result of attitude and action.

And between the action and the outcome is a gap. Things take time to add up and yield results.

And the longer that gap is (often it’s very long) the easier it is to get disheartened.

If you’ve ever thought ‘why isn’t this working better?’, you’ll know what I mean.

The feedback (outcome and results) from your efforts takes time to show up, there’s no way around that.

But attitude and action will, eventually, bridge that gap.

So compare your attitude and actions today, with those of yesterday.

That will give you direct feedback, and it will help you keep going, regardless how long the actual results take to manifest.

Comparing yourself is good, but be very VERY careful who you compare yourself with.

As always: choices, choices. Life is made up out of choices.

Ain’t it grand?



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?



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