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

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

Call In the Missionairies!

Most everyone I work with has a big mission, something important they want to put into the world.

In fact, I deliberately seek out people who want to manifest something meaningful, something beyond ‘making a living’.

It’s what fires me up, when someone has some form of ‘a better world’ as part of their goal.

But at the same time, this ‘do-good’ attitude can also be an Achilles’ heel.

Especially when we give too much of ourselves.

Yes, I said that.

It is possible to give too much of ourselves.

Which might be odd, coming from an ex-monk who spent his life practising self-effacement and putting the other first.

But let’s face it: if you don’t put your own oxygen mask on first, how are you going to help anyone else?

You need to take care of yourself, or else none of your good intentions will have any effect.

And sadly, many people with a big passion for helping others seem unable to take care of themselves properly.

You know: the Mother Theresa complex – where something tells you that you need to give give give, no matter the cost or the return.

And out you go, serving and giving and helping – and you come home empty and depleted.

So should we become selfish?

Not in the least.

The thing to do when your desire to change the world isn’t working?

Two things.

First: give to matchers and givers, and be very careful not to give to takers.

Because takers keep it for themselves, instead of sharing forward or giving back.


Give to people who want your help.

Listen for the call, the request, the sign that – spoken or unspoken – says: Can you help me?

Because when you give and help to people who aren’t looking for help, aren’t receptive, what will happen?

You burn out, is what.

And believe me, I’ve spent many years making that mistake.

All the time forcing help onto others, when those people just had no need or interest or receptivity.

And it resulted in nothing but fatigue.

Thing is, we’re not a one-man religion.

It’s not our purpose to convert the entire world to accepting our help, like some sort of missionary-movement.

So sometimes, you need to call in the missionaries.

That’s my term for ‘stop giving without aim, take care of self, and give deliberately and purposefully’.

When you do that, when you ‘call in the missionaries’, you can truly give, and truly help, those who are looking for help.

Are you looking for help?

Then I’m here for you.

Just ask.



Last Chance to Hit Me With a Sledgehammer

“You know”, I told the man who was my abbot for 12 years, “it’s just so frustrating”.

He looked at me with a raised eyebrow – is Martin going to whinge again?

“The people who work with me – they get such benefits, such change and they’re so happy they got me on their team.

“It’s so frustrating that I can’t share that with more people”.

He looked straight at me, and flatly said:

“I know exactly how you feel”.

Bam, right in there.

Ever feel like you just got hit with a sledgehammer?

That’s how I felt, last Sunday when this little exchange happened.

But just like with anyone who wants change, growth, self-discovery and freedom from self imposed (or self-maintained) limitations, the master can’t do a thing until the student is ready.

Whether we’re talking about someone seeking a guru, or an education or a coach, or dropping an addiction or learning how to budget their money…

Until the individual is ready and wants it, nobody can help them.

They say that once the student is ready, the master will appear.

And that’s exactly what happened to me.

I was ready, I wanted to change, and the man who ended up becoming my abbot crossed my path.

Now obviously, I’m not talking about myself here.

I’m NOT anybody’s master – not even my own (but I’m working on that).

But I just might be the change-agent you’ve been looking for.

Not because I hold grand truths or because I could ‘fix’ you.

I don’t and I can’t.

You hold the truths, and you’re the only one who can ‘fix’ whatever you want fixed.

But if there’s resonance, if we’re a good match – who knows?

Perhaps a conversation would help you move into the next phase in your life.

Want to find out?

Then you have until midnight tonight, Pacific time, to avail of a completely no-cost coaching conversation.

I have a few spots left in my calendar, so ask yourself:

Do you want change?

REALLY want it?

Enough to talk to this ole’ ex-monk?

If so, answer these questions here, and I’ll be in touch:



Meditation, Coaching, and the Taste of Strawberries (Offer Ends Tomorrow)

Two questions, about two very different things – but with exactly the same answer.

The first, when I had just asked my abbot what meditation is like, before I got started.

His answer:

“Tell me what a strawberry tastes like”.

I sat and thought, and then I tried to tell him:

“Well it’s sweet, and kind of tart too… it has little seeds in and the flesh is…”

I stopped, well aware that there’s no possible way to describe the taste of a strawberry.

If you want to know, you have to try one.

Same thing when people ask me what coaching is like, and how I work.

Sure I can say: “I ask deep questions, to eek out the deep answers and insights you already have”.

But does that describe the experience?

Not even close.

Of course I can say: “Well, as an example: there’s a client who thought she was an introvert, but she shed that skin and discovered she had always been an extrovert”.

But that’s just a description, an example that may not apply to you.

In other words: it’s impossible to describe what coaching is like or what it can do for you.

So the answer to both questions, and the only way to discover what strawberries or coaching *really* are like?

You gotta try it.

It’s the only way to find out.

Which is why, until midnight tomorrow, I’ll give you – at zero cost – a coaching session.

Just you and me, a listening ear, and a couple of very specific questions.

We’ll look at your vision and mission: what do you want and what’s your big ambition?

Your strategy: how will you go from ‘here&now’ to where you want to be?

Your mindset: how do you hold yourself back, which views and beliefs limit you?

Your skillset: what do you need to learn in order to reach your goals?

Your energy management: which people and places and habits give you – or take – energy, and how to optimise that?

We’ll take an hour, or two if need be, to really dive deep.

And this comes at no cost at all, but there’s one requirement:

Tell me your big dream, your greatest ambition… the end game goal so big, you hardly dare believe it.

Do that, and I’ll coach you.

No sales pitch, just a large bowl of strawberries.

I mean, coaching.

Want to play?

Start by answering the questions here:



P.s. Remember this offer ends tomorrow night, so best take advantage while you can…

Celibacy Not Required

It’s late 1990’s and a young future monk named Martin is sat crosslegged on the floor.

In front of him a Macintosh LC II on top of a low table, a cup of coffee next to the keyboard.

I’m working on a translation of one of the abbot’s texts, and I lean back to contemplate how to translate a particularly tricky sentence.

Next to me, a monk is working on the website, and in the next room there’s a monk doing the layout of a book.

In a few minutes a bell will toll, and the abbot, monks and myself will gather in the shrine for the third of our 7 daily meditations.

The sunlight filters through the glass curtains, and I feel intensely at home.

Which is odd, because at that time it wasn’t my home yet.

At that point, I hadn’t taken any vows, wasn’t a monk or even a novice, and I certainly wasn’t part of the inner circle.

I was just a regular visitor, helping out with texts and chores.

And yet, I felt I belonged.

This small group, bonded together in a common cause.

Working together, as a team – not of friends, but of brothers.

Which is similar, but because of the shared mission, far stronger.

Sometimes I long for those days, and every now and then I contemplate going back into a monastery, once the evening of my life comes round.

Not at the moment though – far too much fun to be had, too many people too be helped, and – yes, I probably wouldn’t mind finding a girlfriend, either.

Though I doubt I’ll find anyone willing to put up with an ex-monk, but miracles do happen.

Anyway, back to that common cause, and the sharing of a mission, and being part of an inner circle:

That is exactly why I created The Cabal.

You’ll remember that it’s a small and intimate team – only 10 members can ever gain entry at one time.

And, it’s not a matter of buying access on my website – instead, I interview every candidate, to make sure the team stays strong.

Some experts recently told me I’m doing it wrong – that I should make it into a 3-month program, or something similar.

But I don’t want that, because a team like this doesn’t come with an end date.

It’s an ongoing thing, where you forge relationships that last you a lifetime.

Just like my monastic brothers are still my brothers, even if I have only seen them a few times in the last decade.

But the relationship, and the shared mission, they persist.

And that strength, the power of being part of an intimate group, sharing the same mission of overcoming limitations and creating success…

…just like that intimacy of being together in a monastery…

That’s what I wanted to create when I started The Cabal.

Being a monk changed my life forever.

And I want The Cabal to change yours – for the better, forever.

Celibacy or taking vows not required.

Want to be part of such a group?

Then apply for membership here:



Offer Ends on Wednesday: First Come, First Coached (at no Cost)

I’m curious about you.

About what you’re like, and what you do, and the goals you have in life.

I wonder what you want your legacy to be.

I’d like to know what drives you, what your specific view on life is.

In other words: I’d like to meet YOU.

And above all: I’m dying to discover what your biggest, boldest dream is.

Because life is too short to dream small.

And it’s the people who dare to dream big, and take action on those dreams, who inspire others.

And to me, there’s nothing more inspiring than meeting someone who is driven, on a mission, and willing to do whatever it takes to make their dreams real.

And: if you have a dream that will benefit the world, you deserve all the help you can get.

Which is why I’m inviting you to a coaching conversation, at no cost.

We’ll take a few hours, to uncover your biggest dreams and above all: those elements in your worldview and self-image that prevent you from moving towards those dreams.

There’s no small print, no obligation.

All it takes is for you to answer a few questions…

But I only have a few slots available in my calendar, so it’s first come, first coached.

Want to play?

Then tell me your big dream here:



Should an Artist Ever Pay a Gallery to Show Their Work?

If you know me, you might think I’d answer with a hearty ‘NO!’

But things are not that simple.

Let’s look at a few cases:

My friend Gym Halama, for example.

Paid hundreds of Euros to participate in a group expo in a European capital.a lady in Italy, in order to participate in a group show in Rome.

But when she arrived, she found that the lady who organised it (and had taken the money for it)  was far more interested in taking selfies with posh visitors, rather than talking with the artists or indeed selling any art.

So in a case like that, you absolutely should not pay for exposure.

Another example: Last year a guy asked me to write part of a book, together with a few other authors – nicely big names, too.

“And, you can be published along with them for just $5K, Martin!”

To which I replied: “Yeah, I used to be a copywriter, you know. I don’t pay to write – I get (rather: used to get) paid for it”.

Should I have done it, would it be a fair proposition on his part?

Maybe yes, maybe no. But I didn’t know the guy, and I wasn’t in the mood to spend all that money just to find out if he’s a good egg and if he knows what he’s doing.

But here’s another example:

A good friend of mine recently paid several 1000’s to be part of a group expo in a small but wealthy town.

When she told me, I was quite skeptical.

That much money, for others to show your work… I… don’t know if that’s a good idea.

But now she tells me the tail of the story:

While the owners of the gallery didn’t sell any of her work, they did something else for her:

They keep inviting her to events in circles of very affluent people.

Tight-knit, exclusive groups, where normally you don’t get in unless you’re very affluent yourself.

In other words: a target market most of us would love to reach, but the chicken needs to lay the egg first, before the egg can hatch the chicken etc.

But now, she’s part of the in-crowd: she’s made friends, gained connections, and now she’s in a domino effect of meeting more and more very interesting people, who have spending power too.

She now has connections and conversations with an excellent art-buying audience.

So basically, the fee bought her access to a market upgrade.

And that’s not bad.

As for other options, and the now-common ‘Lots of galleries charge money these days!’…

Be careful.

If a gallery takes 50%, that means they need to work to earn it.

They build the audience, pay for press, maintain premises, and bring buyers through the door.

You lose 50% of your earnings, but you are given access to a buyer list.

So far so good.

It’s the business model of the gallery, and I’m not against it.


If a gallery also charges an entry fee, for them to show your work, that’s when things become hairy.

It changes their business model, and selling your work (and earning the commission) is no longer a live-or-die issue.

They’ve already made money, so the incentive to work hard to earn from sales is much much lower.

And who’s at risk if they don’t sell?

The artist.

And if they don’t sell, and they don’t include you in their social circles either, your investment becomes null and void.

So watch your step when it comes to investing in exposure.

Do your homework, ask tough questions, vet the people who are asking you to pay.

Don’t just jump in because their salespitch is so good.

Which leaves us with a tricky issue:

How do you decide which opportunities to grab?

Who do you ask for advice?

If you ask your spouse, you likely won’t get an unbiased opinion.

Your friends might not fully ‘get’ all that goes into it.

Other artists may advise solely based on their own experience – positive or negative – and that advice might not serve you.

And this is why I created The Cabal.

For you to not go it alone, but to have a team of smart, helpful, and experienced peers that you can throw questions like these at (and at me too, of course).

You’ve gone it alone long enough.

It’s time to get yourself a team to support you.

Sounds good?

Then apply for membership here:



How a Rubber Duck Can Debug Your Creative Career

The programmer stared at the screen: still not right.

He’d been working on this application for days, and he thought he’d found and fixed all bugs, but nope.

There was still something wrong in the code, and for the life of him he couldn’t find out what.

Annoying, frustrating, aggravating!

He calmed himself down, and suddenly remembered some debugging advice from a friend.

Went into the bathroom, and grabbed his daughter’s rubber duckie.

Back at his desk, he told the duck:

“Listen, I need your help, ok?

“This program isn’t working, so I’m going to go through it with you, line by line.

“I’ll explain what each line is meant to do, and you let me know if I say anything that doesn’t make sense”.

And he started: “This line here does xyz, then that line does abc…

“The next one is there to have the user enter his name…

“This one makes the button turn green…”

On and on, one line after another, one explanation after another.

Until: “This line takes the data and puts it in…”

He stopped, stared, mouth open.

“Oh hang on a minute… it doesn’t!

“That’s why it’s not working – the data isn’t going where it needs to go!”

He tapped the keyboard, ran the program again, and boom: it worked flawlessly.

He relaxed and leaned back in his seat, looking at the duck, which didn’t smile at him and didn’t say “You’re welcome”.

In the programming world, this is called ‘rubber duck debugging’, and most all of us have used the technique in our lives.

It works for all kinds of issues and problems and dilemmas.

And we do it often, most of the time unconsciously.

Simply articulating an issue, will very often allow you to identify why something isn’t working.

That’s also why journaling can be so useful: it helps you structure and formulate things, which often leads you to insights that you won’t reach by merely thinking through the problem.

This is why I say that everybody needs to have a rubber duck.

Or a friend who knows how to listen, that works too.

Try it, next time you’re struggling to come up with an answer or a solution.

Talk to a rubber duck, or a friend, or write out the problem.

Good chance you’ll solve it, or reach a crucial insight.

Because here’s the thing:

Any answer we need, any solution we seek, it already exists inside of us.

We have all the answers, we just need to trust ourselves and find a way to access the inner wisdom that’s ours.

Yes, yours too.

This notion, that you already have the answers, is the crux of my work as a coach.

I’m not there to tell you what’s what, or what to do – you already know that.

I’m there to listen, and to ask you the right questions, to help you unlock your own insights.

And I ask lots of questions, to get you to explain – just the way a programmer would explain the lines of code and what they’re meant to do.

And as we speak, and you uncover ever-deeper insight, it’s like peeling away the layers of an onion.

Behind this insight hides that one, underneath that one yet another…

On and on, until you yourself turn on the lightbulb.

Ever wondered what coaching is like?

This is it. This is how it works.

You talk to a ‘rubber duck’ named Martin, who asks deep-dive questions, and then you get to find the answers.

Ever curious to experience that for yourself?

Then I have an invitation for you…

IF you can send me a BHAG – a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal – that you have, then I will give you an hour of my time to help you crack it.

No fee nor obligation. (And no obligation on my part to coach you further afterwards, unless that’s what we both want.)

The first step is to answer a few questions that will help you find clarity about your goal, and the obstacles that stand in your way.

They will also give me an idea of your situation and ambitions, and get me thinking about how I can help.

It will be first come, first served when I allocate the appointments, so the sooner you send me your goal, the sooner you get my help.

Tell me your ambitious goal here:



Brilliant New Book By My Coach – Get a Copy for Free!

If productivity, motivation, and that tricky money issue has ever been something you want to get better at:
My coach, Mark McGuinness of has just released a new book that will help you. A LOT.
I read a preview copy a few weeks ago, and it’s GOOD. Highly recommended.
Oh, and do the man a favour: leave a review if you like it?



What to Do When It Just Ain’t Happening

Sometimes, lack of results can be confounding.

Especially when you’re taking action, and stepping out of your comfort zones, and doing all the right things.

By all expectations, people ought to be getting in touch, making inquiries, buying your work…

And yet, something must be wrong, because it just isn’t happening.

When clients present me with such a conundrum, I have a very simple method for finding solutions.

It involves getting a bit analytical, and looking at the totality of your work and business as a system.

As I’ve said before: every system is perfect for the results it produces.

So if the results are lacking, the system needs to be modified.

Where most people go wrong is in changing the most obvious element.

When sales are lacking, it’s so easy to decide that you need to lower your prices, but in most cases that’s the wrong choice.

See, sales are an end result, and price is only one of many factors involved in getting that result.

There’s also presentation, and showing up for the right people, and frequency of communication, and so on.

So before changing a price, you want to look at the system, and all the elements in it, and see if there’s anything there that can be optimised.

With such an attitude, you’ll very often find that there are underperforming elements in your system.

So fix those, and then observe the changes in the outcome of the system.

Here are some of the system-analysis questions I use, in no particular order:

Are you getting enough traffic to your site?

Are you having enough conversations?

Is your list growing?

Is your optin incentive compelling enough?

Do you follow up with potential buyers?

Do you go out to meet and connect with people often enough?

Are you part of relevant communities, online or offline?

Do you mail your list with consistent frequency? (and no, once a month is not often enough)

Is your website set up for conversion? (as in: calls to action in place, easy checkout process, optin forms in the right place?)

Does the copy on your site convey the right message, to engage people and motivate them into action?

Try these questions for yourself… see where you find bottlenecks or weak links, and then get to fixing them.

Really look at the totality of your business, and check that every aspect and element is performing.

Fix the parts that aren’t optimal.

Because you’ll never get different results if you don’t optimise your system.

And as for the issue of copy on your site:

I know, I know.

You were meant to change the copy, it’s on your todo list.

But because writing just isn’t your thang, you keep putting it off.

Understandable, but it means you’re leaving money on the table.

If you don’t connect with visitors, they won’t take action.

They won’t sign up or buy.

And you deserve better than that.

So if you know that your site copy is a bottleneck: stop putting it off.

I’ll fix your copy for you.

Details here:



Beware the Marshmallow – It Will Make or Break Your Success (Seriously!)

More specifically: your attitude to marshmallows – or any other fun and gratifying thing.

Yes, I’m being serious.

This matters, so I urge you to read this one today.

In the 60’s and 70’s, two Stanford researchers performed a series of studies designed to test the willpower and ability to delay gratification on a
group of children.

Pop culture came to call these ‘The Marshmallow Experiment’, and the study revealed something amazing.

Here’s how it went:

A child was sat in a room, and a marshmallow or other treat was placed in front of them.

The researcher said:

“I have to step out for 15 minutes. If you want to eat the marshmallow, go ahead. But if you don’t, I’ll give you a second one when I’m back”.

Predictably, a number of the children ate the thing immediately.

Others would leave it good and well alone, and get the second treat as a reward.

Nothing special there, right?

Some people are good at delayed gratification, and others want the instant joy.

The next four decades though, there were very interesting.

The researchers followed the children as they grew up, got their education, got a job and a partner and children, and what they found constitutes an almost binary difference between successful people and people who never get to play big.

Those children who had waited for the second treat, all of them, outshone the others who had eaten it right away.

Higher SAT scores, less childhood obesity, less substance abuse in adult years, higher income, better careers…

In other words: people who are able to delay gratification have a massive, unfair advantage to become successful and prosperous.

Which instantly raises a problem:

What if you don’t have all that much self control?

What if you’re not good at delaying gratification?

Does that mean that you’re doomed for life, to never go beyond mediocre or average results?

Absolutely not, my friendly attentive reader.

You too can change, if you want to.

Because the ability to delay gratification can be trained just like a muscle.

Very simple, and quite effortless.

All it requires is that you build a habit out of tiny tiny moments of delayed gratification.

When you do that, your subconscious experiences that yes, it’s worth it, and that yes, you can do it.

That direct feedback loop is the thing that will strengthen your ability to wait.

Guaranteed or your money back.

Here’s how to do it:

1: Start incredibly small. Make the delay so small, it’s impossible to not do it.

For example, maybe your habit is to check your email first thing in the morning or go to Facebook, and 2 hours later you re-emerge with a whole bunch of actual work not done.

So start with waiting one minute, from the moment the urge comes up.

You can hold out for one minute, can’t you?

Of course you can.

2: Play this game with one thing only, and increase daily by 1 % or 1 minute, depending.

3: Use the Seinfeld strategy: print off a calendar page, and make a big black cross through each day that you played the game and won.

Keep it visible in your work area – the visual feedback is important because it tells your subconscious that you can do it and that you’re making progress.

4: Make the habit something that you can start in 2 minutes or less.

So if you want to lose weight, deciding to go for a short run each morning isn’t the way to go.

Dress up in your running kit, get your shoes on, out the house… far too easy to skip on your resolve.

In such a case, make the decision to start with one jumping jack, at home, and add one each day.

There you go: your success-building strategy, backed by 40 years of research.

Another good tip:

Get an accountability partner.

In person, on skype or by email:

Each week (or each day), tell that person what you plan to do.

At the end of the term, report your results.

If you didn’t manage to get it done, that person asks the following questions:

(not: ‘why didn’t you?’, but):

What was the reason that prevented you from doing it?

What change can you make to remove that obstacle?

That simple. Very powerful.

Accountability is one of the best ways to make sure you keep moving the needle on your work and ultimately your success.

This is why accountability is such an important part of The Cabal group coaching program.

It’s not just me, but the other members too, who support you and hold you accountable on the things you want to do.

(Aside from the fact that it’s enormously useful and fun to have a team that’s always routing for you).

So if you want to belong to a small, intimate and powerful group, check the details on The Cabal here:



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