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

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

Tryptich: How to Beat Procrastination, Part 3

One of the easiest way to beat procrastination is to get clever on how you create your to-do lists.

You know, the tasks you’ve decided you want to or should do.

For most people, a task list will look something like this.

– Build new website

– Lose weight

– Learn how to play the piano

– Find more buyers

– Empty email inbox

– Sell photos online

And on and on it goes.

You look at that list, panic sets in, a feeling of defeat comes up, and off you go scrolling through Facebook/Pinterest, or giving your kitchen cupboards that deep cleaning they need so badly.

So look at that list there.

Can you tell me what’s wrong with it?

I’ll tell you: those aren’t tasks.

They are goals.

The difference is huge, and the mistake is so easy to make.

You have a goal in mind, and without further though you put that one on your to-do list.

But that’s not where it belongs!

See, each goal, big or small, consists of several smaller subgoals, and each of those are reached by performing small tasks.

Building a website consists of registering a domain name, researching a host, choosing a host, signing up, installing WordPress or another engine, choosing a theme, installing a
theme… and so on.

So obviously, if you make the mistake of filling your to-do list with goals, your subconscious will see that list and decide ‘screw this, you and I are going on vacation’.

So if you struggle with procrastination and your to-do lists, do this (ha!):

Take all the goals you have, and put each of them on a separate piece of paper (or Word doc).

Write the goal at the top, and put a horizontal line under it.

Under the line, start listing all the subgoals.

Take each subgoal, and put it on a separate piece of paper.

Line under it, and then… the magic happens.

Then you write down all the tasks that have to be completed to reach the subgoals.

When you’re done with one goal, put the papers in a folder, and repeat the process for your next goal.

This is powerful, life-changing stuff, and my thighs agree.

Wait, thighs? What now?

Well, for years I’ve wanted to start practicing some sort of martial arts.

But ‘start martial artists’ is not a task or to-do, it’s a goal.

But last Sunday I had coffee with a friend who’s also a coach, and when I described what I want out of martial arts, he said that Aikido would be a good thing to try.

I liked the idea, so, without even thinking about it, I grabbed my phone and emailed myself a reminder: “Find martial arts teacher”.

Monday morning I found the email, I googled for local teachers, and found one.

It looked good, nice and austere, Zen-like, proper stuff.

Called him up, agreed to go to the training the same day, and that’s what I did.

And that’s why right now, my thighs hurt like you wouldn’t believe.

Awesome stuff though – I believe that Aikido just really might be my thing.

In fact, if it wouldn’t be for the first Cabal session tonight, I’d go again today.

So now I’ve started practising martial arts, just because I turned a goal into a smaller task.

And you can do the same thing for yourself.

Take it small, start with just one small goal, and break that puppy down into subgoals and subsequent tasks.

There’s a big chance that you’ll start taking action on them right when you’re done.

And hey, while it might seem at first that you’re not making a lot of progress, don’t forget that water cuts stone.

If you release a drop on granite every second, in the end there will be a hole in the stone.

It’ll take centuries, but compound influence adds up to result.


And you’re bigger than just a drop, when it comes to taking action.

Or to put it differently: progress not perfection.

Keep your eye on one task after another, and don’t worry about how fast you’ll reach the goal.

Keep your eye on the task at hand and then the next one, and you’ll reach the goal sooner than you expect.



Tryptich: The Cure for Procrastination, Part 2

The session is going well.

We’re doing some deep inner work, and my client is going through a series of important insights.


Instantly, his eyes shoot to the corner of the screen.

An email has come in.

A short pause as he reads the notification excerpt, and he continues talking to me.

Happens to nearly all of us.

No big deal, right?

A notification, a tiny interruption, something you’ll deal with later, and then you go on with your day.

Actually, it’s a huge deal.

It’s a massive, problematic, disruptive and destructive issue.


Because in studies it’s been found that when you’re in the zone, any disruption or distraction will take you out of it – and on average it takes you something like 17 minutes to get back into it.

Which means that for that one tiny interruption, you lose almost a third of an hour of you best, most focused, zone of genius attention.

Three interruptions in an hour?

There’s an entire hour of the best of you, down the drain.

And we all get far, far more than three an hour.

Watsapp, email, sms, skype, Messenger… ping ping ping, all day long.

No wonder so many people feel overwhelmed and unable to really get big stuff done.

We’re being distracted all the time, and we don’t even know how much damage that does to our productivity.

And the worst of it?

When we end up in that ‘always pulled out of the zone’ state, picking up a task and getting it done becomes something we procrastinate on.

Because we’re incessantly being forced to not finish a task, our motivation and our confidence plummet.

Which makes us even less motivated to stop procrastinating.

So today, I’m giving you a challenge.

For one week, turn off all notifications.

Your phone, laptop, your tablet… don’t let anything ping or flash at you.

Just one week… I know you can do it.

When I made that choice, several important things happened.

For one thing, I instantly felt better. As in, the very same day.

And, I became more focused and more productive.

Not bad, for just a few clicks.

And as for email and stuff?

Simply set fixed times throughout the day for checking what’s come in.

Very few, if any, messages are so urgent that they can’t wait for an hour or two.

Try this.

It just might transform your work.

And by not trying to ‘fix procrastination’ or developing discipline, you might find you stop procrastinating…

Let me know how it goes.

Meanwhile, registration for The Cabal is open.

If you’ve been on the fence about joining, today might be the day you choose to schedule a call with me.

Or you could procrastinate on it, if you like.

Then again, you could procrastinate on that procrastination, as per yesterday’s missive.

Up to you…

Cabal information here:



Tryptic: The Cure for Procrastination, Part 1

This week, let’s tackle one of the most insidious and destructive habits there are:

And I’m not talking about nailbiting.

This week we’re going to deal with procrastination.

I rarely meet a person who doesn’t procrastinate, and, yes, I do it too.

But I’ve learned a few things that really help, so I’ll be sharing my tips this week.

So let’s kick off this trilogy with a very simple, very powerful, science-backed tool.

What I want you to try, is to procrastinate on your procrastination.

Yes, I’m being serious.

Here’s the deal.

There may be all kinds of reasons why we put off doing things we want to do or know we ought to do.

Of course you can try discipline, but if you don’t have enough of it, it’ll take a long time and a drill sergeant to build it.

Another way would be to dive deep into psychology and personal history, but that’s a long and arduous process.

I prefer to tackle things in, and from, the right here and right now.

And when you procrastinate, for whatever reason, what happens is that your brain instantly feels a reward.

Whether it’s a boring task, or an unpleasant one, or even one that’s fun but somehow associated with fear of failure or other insecurities, putting off that job gives instant relief.

Your brain likes it, and the pleasure centers in your brain light up like fireworks.

Of course the rational mind knows that it’s all sham-pleasure, but the rational mind has little influence over the subconscious.

Quite the opposite in fact.

So here’s where deliberately procrastinating on your procrastination comes in.

When researchers put people into fMRI scanners, they discovered something very interesting:

When a test subject thought about skipping exercise tomorrow, exactly the same reaction took place in the brain, as when they thought about skipping it today.

To the brain, there’s not difference between procrastinating now, and deciding you’ll procrastinate tomorrow.

It gives the exact same psychological relief, the same reward.

So next time you feel tempted to put off a task, tell yourself:

“I’ll skip it tomorrow”.

Try this, really try this, because it works.

Maybe not instantly or every time, but it works.

Try it.

Meanwhile, registration for The Cabal will open today, and there’s still seats available.

I’m not going to do the marketer-thingy, and say ‘hurry, only a few left’, because I’m not like that, and besides: we’re still only a small group.

And that’s exactly how I want it, because I’m very picky about who can or can’t join.

A small team of highly motivated and ambitious action takers is what we’re building here.

So if you want to be part of that, hit reply and we’ll set up a time to talk, and see if it is something that would benefit you.

More information about who I’m looking for, right here:



Are You From a Land Down Under? (Also: Why is Vegemite?)

Right, so I’ve been asked if the weekly Cabal meetings can be set at a time that also works for people in the Southern Hemisphere.

And, you know, I long for the days when the world was still flat, and every country had the same time zone.

That would make things so easy.

But science doesn’t ever stop and so the earth became round.

And ever since that happened, America sleeps right when Australians are busy fighting alligators.

And vice versa.

Minus the alligators, I suppose.

Anyway: there’s Buckley’s chance that times for the Cabal sessions will line up between the Northern and Southern hemisphere.

Unless the world becomes flat again.

And I doubt scientists will allow that to happen.


What I can do however, is create a secondary Cabal group, especially for ambitious creatives in the Southern hemisphere.

Because it just so happens that Europe and Oz/NZ have a nice timezone overlap during working hours.

So, are you from a land down under?

And, you reckon that The Cabal (weekly group coaching sessions+a private forum+unlimited email access to me) might be just what you need?

Then hit reply and let me know.

If there’s enough interest, I’ll give it a burl and see if we can make it work for you down in the Southern Hemisphere.

Like, when you’re not busy fighting sharks and tossing venomous spiders out of the yard with yer bare hands and such.

On another note: why is Vegemite??? (Honestly, I want to know)



The Ca-WHAT now? More info here:

Huh… A Perspective That Even I Had Never Considered Before…

…and another perspective I consider a lot, and use every day.

Here’s the story:

A while ago while coaching a client, he said something that had me stumped.

Because his perspective was something completely new to me.

His name is Richard Hall of, and he gave me permission to share with you:


I so much look forward to these weekly calls, Martin.

They’re so very helpful.

You’re our secret weapon.


Secret weapon… me?

Ha, I love that, I really do.

Makes sense though.

See when I started coaching, there was a lot of advice-giving involved.

Do this, do that, step one and two and three…

But as I got better at it, I discovered that it’s FAR more effective to work on the ‘in-here’ rather than on things to do.

After all, there’s plenty of teaching available out there.

Pricing, sales psychology, social media or how to run shows or get into galleries…

Name an issue you want to get better at, and there’s a book or course or webinar for it.

But what you can’t get from a book, at least not as fast and intensely deep, is seeing what you’re not saying.


When I coach people, what someone says is only one side of the story.

What interests me is what people are NOT saying.

The things that are hidden behind the evident and the obvious.

That’s the perspective that interests me.

Because those inner and hidden things are causal to the effects and the reality we build.

What happens on the inside, in your sub-conscious, that’s the stuff that either builds your success or sabotages it.

And that’s exactly the kind of thing we work on.

And that’s why the ‘secret weapon’ perspective makes so much sense.

Anyone you know who has done big or impressive ambitious things did it because they changed… on the inside.

All of them, always.

Sometimes when people ask me what I do, I say that I’m a therapist for people who don’t have problems.

Which is of course a joke, but only halfway so.

Everyone has problems of some sort, and some things need attention and work.

But I’m not a therapist, or counselor or analyst.

I’m a coach, which means I look for your biggest ambition, your biggest, most hairy, most audacious goal, and then we work to prepare you to reach that goal, one step at a time.

In other words: change starts with the individual, on the inside.

It’s only from that point of origin that the outside world will change.

Which Richard (and his wife Sharon – I coach them together during our sessions) have seen happen.

Over the last half year or so, they’ve seen huge change happen.

And I wish the same for you.

But only if you want change.

Do you?

Then maybe The Cabal will be right for you.

You can either schedule a call with me here:

Or, go to this page to find out more about what The Cabal for business is all about:

Either way, whether you want to join the Cabal or not… if you’re looking for different results, ask yourself these questions:

What’s good in your life?

What’s missing in your life?

What is keeping it out?

Chew on those for  a while, make lists, brainstorm – see what happens.

Or join the movement and we’ll work on it together.



Take the Quiz: Is the Cabal Right for You?

Alright, it’s not an actual quiz, but:

Yesterday, a friend asked me who The Cabal is for, which type of person I’m looking for.

So I figured I’d share the answer to that question, see if that clears things up for you.

Here goes:

The people I’m looking for can be makers of any kind.

Artist or not, Cabal members need to consider themselves creators, makers.

Whether you create art, or you write, or you’re building a business around growing and selling ecological produce, it makes no difference.

What matters is that you’re aware of your nature as a creator of things, and that you create deliberately.

I don’t mind what you build or paint, as long as it’s something good, something I can get behind.

The founder of the next Coca Cola doesn’t have the values I’m looking for and wouldn’t be a good fit.

Where it comes to the subject matter of your work, it’s not my business if you’re into alternative or ethereal subject matter.

What is my business, is that you have your feet on the ground and your hands on the wheel.

Cabal members are: helpful, open to feedback, and they take action.

Especially when it comes to fear – this place is for people who take action despite the fear.

Cabal members have a big ambition and a big drive.

Passion is what we’re doing here, there’s no room for wishy-washy.

In The Cabal, we turn passion into a verb.

Cabal members are willing to face their fears, demons, limiting beliefs, and are willing to take bold action so as to remove them, bit by bit.

The Cabal is for people with an ambition.

People who inspire others, and want to do more of that and in bigger ways.

People who are successful, in whatever way or degree.

That doesn’t mean you have to be a published author, or earn a fulltime living from your creative work, or be famous or wealthy.

Success has many different definitions, and each of us defines our own success.

What matters far more than the level or type of success you have, is that you have the ambition to grow it.

As for the nature of The Cabal: this is not just group coaching with a mastermind and forum tacked on.

The Cabal is a movement.

My coach said he wants me to become a cult leader, and I still don’t know if he was joking or not.

I hope he was.

But if he wasn’t (he was, trust me) then this Cabal, this movement, would be my ‘cult’.

So the makers who join have to be people who want to be part of a movement.

Is that you?

Want to know more?

Then click this link to schedule a call with me:



Massive Results: People Coming to You vs You Having to Chase After Them

Let me tell you about two of my favourite clients.

(I love all my clients, but these two stories are just magnificent).

First, there’s Anook Cleonne.

A well-known Dutch artist with a great reputation.

Her work in private collections, several musea…

But, she’d gotten tired of spinning her wheels, seeking buyers, doing all the right things yet not seeing the right results.

So we worked together, and I coached her.

And the other day she sent me a video, where she said something wonderful:

She no longer has to run after people, because these days, people come to her.

How’s that for massive change?

But here’s the thing:

It’s not because of the instructions I gave her, or the advice, or the action steps.

Sure, I coached her on which things to do and in which order.

But the real change, the big and important shift, happened on the inside.

It’s because I invited her to see things differently, that she herself changed, and that changed her business and fanbase and results.


Because she came wanting change.

Eager, looking for the next stage in her art career.

And that’s exactly what she got.

Because Anook has a big, inspiring ambition.

Next up, there’s Paula Mould.

Her story is possibly even more amazing.

All her life, she’d been a people-pleasing introvert, afraid to speak up and stand up for herself.

But over the course of a year, she made some very radical choices.

I won’t go into personal details, but she went from being an introvert with little power, to being a complete extrovert.

Powerful, confident, outgoing.

When I first invited her for a skype conversation a few years ago, she didn’t even reply to the email.

That’s how scared she was to show herself – No camera, can’t do it!

But these days?

She’s at conferences, talking to people and selling.

She even took my suggestion to contact famous actors in her area, and ask them for a little time to take some photos.

Wanted to paint the actors as they are, not as the characters they play.

Scared the bejeebus out of her when I suggested it, but she did it.

Massive, impressive, grandiose change, and you won’t believe how grateful I am to see things like that happen in people.

And here’s the kicker:

Paula didn’t turn into an extrovert – because she had always been one.

But all her life, it’s like she’d been wearing someone else’s skin.

She stepped out of it, and became herself.

And, she’s got big big ambitions too.

She’s part of The Cabal, so if you’re like her and want to make big things happen, you’ll find her very inspiring if you join.

Now obviously, I can’t promise that you’ll get the same kind of results that Anook or Paula got.

But I guarantee that if you join, show up, and do the work, you’ll see change happen – right where it needs to happen:

On the inside.

And from there… who knows what else might change in your life?

As my coach says: “You’re the monk for entrepreneurs, Martin. Stop trying to be Business Repair Man”.

Good coach, I have :)

Anyway, Anook’s video is on the page after you click the link, as well as my invitation to apply for membership.

The link… is this one:



Weird Trick to Create Happiness and Productivity | Future Self

I open my eyes and ring the little brass bell.

An hour of solitary meditation has just past, and I’m hungry.

Martin is in his early twenties, and hey, this meditation thing is really beginning to have its effect.

I look around the room and see my cats, dozing in the windowsill.

Get up, go to the kitchen.

“Dinnertime!” and they come running.

Kibble in their bowls, and only then do I turn to make food for myself.

For the last weeks I’ve been contemplating ‘putting the other’s interest before mine’.

And my cats, well they’re ‘other’ too, right?

So they eat before I do.

Fun little practice, nice way to change how I go through the days.

I see the dishes in the sink, and I realise how much disorderly surroundings bother me.

I realise that when I’ll walk into the kitchen later, it’ll bother me again.

And then I strike upon something pretty brilliant (if I say so myself).

That Martin who’ll walk into the kitchen later…

That’s also an ‘other’!

That’s a future version of myself, that’s not me here&now – that will be a different person.

And hey, am I not practising doing favours for others?

Then why not do it for future Martin?

I clean up the mess, make my food, and eat.

And later when I come back into the kitchen, and see the shiny surface, I smile.

‘Gee thanks, past Martin!’

Now, I’m not going to say that I’m a saint and that I live a perfect life (ha! as if! :)

And the habit of taking care of Future Martin isn’t easy to stick to.

It comes and goes, depending on how tired/stressed/unfocused I am during different phases of the day or the year.

But, it’s a magnificent way to create gratitude, enjoyment, and happiness.

And that in turn improves my productivity and focus and fulfillment in my day-to-day.

So think about it.

In the choices you make and the things you give priority…

Do you take care of Future You?

Could change your life… as it did for me and still does.

Now, this taking care of future self is also the reason smart people invest in their own evolution and development.

Reading, learning, acquiring new skills… you put in the time so that the Future You will benefit.

Same with investments: you spend money on tools, training, equipment, help or education, so that you’ll benefit in the future.

You invest in your future, and your future self will reap the rewards.

So if you want to invest in yourself by way of joining The Cabal, and get weekly group coaching, here’s where you get the details:

Either way: Take care.

Of your future self.



The Most Helpful, Empowering, Useful Thing I Could Possibly Give You…

…is, sadly, something that can’t be given.

But if I could, I would.

It would help you so much.

It would change your life, just as it did mine.

It would hold you accountable…

Keep you moving forward…

Help you solve problems…

Give you ideas to implement…

Change the way you look at yourself, your world, and your place in it…

Boost your confidence and your business skills…

Give you a hug when you need it, or a kick in the pants those moments when that’s what you need…

It would, almost inevitably, drive you on and on, to create more success and prosperity for yourself.

But I can’t give it to you, nobody can.

So what is this mysterious ‘thing’ that can’t be given?

A small, committed, loving group of ambitious, non-complainer, action-taking friends.

The kind of people who get what you’re trying to do, who understand what you’re building.

People who see through false and limiting beliefs, and gently call you out on them.

Friends who are as ambitious and committed as you are, to creating the life you want, and the money that goes with it.

People who never say ‘Yes but…’ when an idea or suggestion is presented, but have the correct attitude, the one that says ‘Ok, but how…’

People who take action, make things happen, and persist instead of throwing in the towel.

They say ‘show me your friends and I’ll show you your future’, and ‘we’re the sum of the 5 people we spend most time with’ and there’s a lot of truth to that.

Which is why I wish for everyone to have a TEAM of friends, helping each other and sharing freely from their experience and expertise.

But, you can’t give people friends.

(Would be pretty weird, to receive a parcel on your doorstep with a nice bow on it, and out pops somebody’s friend).

What you can do however, is create a group of people like that.

Surround yourself with a small team of makers, do-ers, action-takers.

Gather weekly, and each week give one person the spotlight.

That person explains where they’re at, what they’re aiming for and where they’re stuck…

And then the rest of the team unleashes the cumulative intelligence of the group on whatever issue needs dealing with.

This is exactly what a Mastermind group is about, and I assure you:

Being in one will change your life.

The first one I was in did exactly that, until the group disbanded for various reasons.

The Mastermind I’m in now does it too.

Incredible the effect it has, and all the others say so too.

So here’s my recommendation for you, today:

Build yourself a mastermind. Honestly.

Because I can’t give you the group of friends that drive you on.

What I can give you however, is an invitation to apply for membership to The Cabal.

It’s a small, powerful and intimate group of exactly the right people.

I know that because I interview each applicant, to make sure we get the most powerful group possible.

Part of the Cabal is a private forum, where you get to discuss topics related to business – an important part of a Mastermind.

Another part is weekly group coaching, where I’m not the boss or the leader, but instead facilitate the mastermind/spotlight conversations.

And, the third part is live 1 on 1 coaching in front of the group.

The Cabal… man how I love that name.

So, do you think you’d be the right person for such a group?

Do you take action, create solutions, help others, accept help?

If so, The Cabal for Business might be right for you.

More information here –>



Sad Reality: Nobody Beating a Path to Your Door… and What to Do About it

So how come isn’t this working?

People love your work – they say so, in person and in the testimonials on your site.

And they say it with their wallets too – you’ve sold your work often, at good prices.

But these days, it’s like you’re all but invisible, and sales are in short supply.

So what’s going on?

Why aren’t people beating a path to your door?

It’s not like the art-buying world should flock to lavish fortunes upon you, but geez… wouldn’t it be logical if more people showed up with an interest in buying from you?

Nope, it wouldn’t.

Because until you reach the tipping point, critical mass, and a huge audience, nobody is going to beat a path to your door.

So then… what do you do in order to reach that tipping point?

Here’s what:

You put on your work clothes, grab your tools, and…

YOU beat the path to your door.

Spurn this advice all you like, but know that you’re not helping yourself that way.

There’s going to come a day when you’re fed up, done, and you realise that the only way to build a business, is if YOU build it.

You’re the one in charge, you’re responsible for change, and you’re the only one who can create change.

So the question is: how badly do you want change?

When is enough, enough?

When are you going to be ready to walk the talk, and act like a business owner?

Could be today, you know.

Your choice.

Wait for them to show up…

Or beat the path for them…?



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