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

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

What I Wish for Your 2017

Once upon a time, a Zen master and his young disciple were walking the country.

The particular monastic order they belonged to was very strict, and their vow of celibacy went so far that the monks weren’t allowed to even touch women.

Presently they came upon a river, wild and swollen from days and days of rain.

At the edge of the river was a woman, clearly in despair.

“I need to get across, my children are waiting for me – but if I try to wade through, I will surely be swept away by the currents and drown!”.

Without hesitation, the master gently picked the woman up, carried her across, and set her down on the other bank of the river.

After that, his disciple and he continued their voyage in silence.

Come nightfall, the disciple asked:

“Master, there’s something I don’t understand. We’re not allowed to touch women, so why did you…?”

Without missing a beat, the master said:

“I put the women down hours ago, miles back.

“Are you still carrying her with you?”

And so it is with many of us, if not all of us.

We carry things with us that we could have dropped long ago.

Fears, negative opinions, bad memories, people, habits, possessions… when those ‘things’ no longer serve us, or worse: hold us back.

We’re attached, afraid to let go, or we tell ourselves we need them to be who we are.

Or, even more devious: we carry things with us simply because we’re not aware of it, not aware we no longer need them, not aware that we can set them down and leave them behind.

So here’s my New Year’s wish for you:

That you may become aware of the things you no longer need.

That you may accept that you can let go of them.

And that you take the leap, drop them, and travel unhindered and unfettered by things from the past.

Because sometimes, all it takes is a decision.

That you may travel like a king (or queen), and that you may have the courage to not let the past slow you down.

And I’ll be there to travel with you – with these daily emails or as your coach, whatever you prefer.

Happy 2017.


Whatever it Takes

Someone said: success is terrifying.

And it makes me wonder:

Why though?

I mean, isn’t failure far more scary?

What’s so scary about success?

And yet, fear of success is a huge obstacle for many people.

For me too.

Not when I think about it rationally, but on some deeper level of myself, I have to admit that there’s something in me that’s afraid of being as big
and successful as I dream of being.

Maybe it’s the size of my dream, because it’s inordinately large and ambitious.

But no matter how scared some part of me may be, or the myriad ways the fear will try to trip me up, I’m not going to let it stop me.

However long it’ll take, whatever detours I might find myself on, I’ll get to where I want to go.

And if I don’t, I’ll die trying.

You know why?

Because what I dream of is for the benefit of others.

And if there’s one thing I’ve discovered, it’s that I deserve the benefit that that returns to me.

In other words, I deserve success.

But I’m keenly aware that nobody is going to hand it to me on a silver platter.

Whatever level I reach, I’m going to have to build it.

Success is a privilege you earn – not a right, in the sense that the world owes you it.

You’re not entitled to success: you have the right to earn it.

Unlike that painter I met last month:

“Oh, I want to get into galleries, so that they’ll launch my career”.

Yeah but… that’s not how it works, you know.

Gotta get out there and build it, whatever career you want to have.

Nothing’s changed since our caveman days:

If you want to eat, you go out and pick berries, or hunt.

And if you want success, you go and create it.

You, the creative individual that you are, with your own two hands.

Earn it, or spend the rest of your life yearning for it.

Tough love?


Best I can give you though.

You’re welcome.

Here’s the moral of the story:

I know I deserve success, because I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get it.

And you deserve it just as much – IF you’re willing to step up to the plate.

So as we move into 2017, let me ask you:

Are you?

Will you do whatever it takes?



… But Some People Play the Game of Pretending Not to Play the Game

This past year I’ve really rediscovered my creativity, on so many levels.

And not surprisingly, this coincided with discovering play.

Or to quote John Cleese: “Creativity is nothing more than the ability to play”.

Well said, John.

But play and creativity goes deeper than you might think, especially if you apply it to life itself.

For as long as I can remember, life has always been a game to me.

It’s that attitude that has helped me get through some seriously difficult times.

Like an ongoing chessmatch: you take a piece, you lose a few, and when everything falls apart you just reset the board and start a new game.

Pretty damn helpful ‘tude, I tell you.

And in my mind, all of us are players in this game called life.

We’re all in it together, we’re all playing the game.

Except some people play the game of pretending not to play the game.

And that is possibly the worst attitude you could ever have in life.

Because when you’re not in the game, things can get just so heavy.

A setback and your world falls apart.

A loss of some sort and you don’t know what to do with yourself.

Harsh words directed at you and the rest of your day spent in gloom.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

You too can play the game of life – lightheartedly, and constantly learning and improving your game.

Because yes, it’s all between the ears.

Whatever happens, you get to decide how you perceive it.

THAT is what playing the game of life is about.

Just look at Victor Frankl, author of “Man’s Search For Meaning”.

Came out of a Nazi concentration camp unbroken, and proceeded to change the world.

How’s that for mindset?

Or this Catholic priest, I forget his name.

Also spent time in a concentration camp, but he smiled as the Nazis kicked him down the stairs out front the barracks.

In the snow, bleeding, he smiled at his persecutors, because of his commitment to loving kindness.

This, your life, is your game.

Don’t pretend you’re not playing, because you are.

Question is, what game are YOU playing?

For me, the game is called ‘create joy and growth and prosperity, for myself and for others, all day every day’.

So if you’ve been feeling down, if your year has been hard on you and you want 2017 to be better, consider this:

The game is ON.

Now go play.



Assumptions and Freebies

So this client I mentioned the other day, the one who decided she was going to stop offering people her optin incentive?

And in case you don’t know what I mean by that: it’s also called a lead magnet, or more simply: freebie.

It’s the free goodie that you offer people when they sign up to your list.

Well, this client reports back that dropping the freebie works:


“I’m still getting sign ups. More than I got with the incentive.

“So…. With my data showing me it’s working, I’m going to continue… I’m not a crowd follower.”


Obviously, I’m happy for her.

But her reasoning is incorrect.

Because in it, there is an assumption and assumptions are very dangerous.

Assumptions are deadly – just ask my father, except you can’t because he’s dead because of assumptions. True and sad story.

See, this client assumes that not showing a free offer to new subscribers is a good idea, because her results show that without a freebie, she gets more signups.

But that’s not enough to go by.

Not if you want to be certain that your choice is the best choice.

What her experiment shows is that the freebie she used to offer, just isn’t right for her particular audience.

Could well be that a different freebie will get her even more signups than no freebie.

And you can’t determine that unless you test it.

Sure it’s nice that things are working for her now, that people are signing up.

But what if she offers a different freebie, and runs a test to see whether ‘no freebie’ gets more signups than ‘new freebie’?

That way, she can go by facts, instead of assumptions.

And that’s why she’s so lucky to have me as her coach.

Because whatever idea or theory a client will come up with, I’ll never fail to point out assumptions, and offer ways to test the validity of them.

Even the most educated guess is never as reliable as facts.

And your coach, if you have one, will help you uncover, prove, and establish facts.

Anyway, I need to get going.

I’m almost finished writing a book proposal, let’s see if I can send it to my publisher today.

Meanwhile, let me know if you want to have a coach on your team in the new year.



The Washing Machine: How to Break Out of Repetitive Thought Patterns

“It’s like my mind is in a washing machine”, he says.

“The same thoughts, over and over, round and round and round”.

Ah yes: the internal dialogue spinning out of control.

And no matter how hard you try to take control, stop the thinking, you just can’t.

On and on your mind goes, the same unhelpful (or worse) thoughts you’ve thought a million times before.

Frankly, totally boring.

And nope, trying to combat it won’t help. You can’t muscle into taking control over it.

If you do that, you just feed the demon: the energy you spend fighting it just makes the mind work harder.

Instead, try this:

Be an anthropologist.

A guy or gal like that ventures off into the jungle or the suburbs, and studies what humans do.

And what he or she finds is… curious… odd… interesting… fascinating!

People work like that?

How cool! How utterly, compellingly fascinating.

Take that attitude when observing the workings of your mind, and you don’t have to put up  fight.

You won’t feed the demon, but what you will do: you’ll create distance between You and the mind that you have.

And that distance is important, because come on: you’re not your thoughts.

You just have them, but they don’t define you.

Except when the internal dialogue gets out of control and your mind ends up in the washing machine (ironically, without getting any cleaner) – then it starts to feel like we are our thoughts.

But we’re not, and we’re not meant to be controlled by our thoughts either.

So be the anthropologist in your mind.

Observe the patterns, habits, get curious.

For me, it’s a fun game: “What… I seriously spend this much time thinking the same boring stuff, persistently not reaching any conclusion or solution?

“What nonsense. On with my day”.

And SNAP. Mind domination tackled, and I’m free to actually do stuff and think creatively.

Try it.

Be the anthropologist.



To Zig or to Zag, That’s the Question

“I’m going to build my list without an optin incentive”, she says.

I look at my client, and ask:“Why did you choose that?”

Tells me: “I don’t like them. I have one and it’s not working for me. Besides, everyone has them – so I’m going to do what nobody else is doing”.

Now, this client has a practice of emailing her list daily, and her emails are good.

Worth it all by themselves, to sign up for.

And yet…

I’m all for zagging when everyone is zigging. It’s good to stand out from the crowd.

But, giving people something for free in return for joining your list is common practice for a reason: it works.

Sure you can grow your list with just the valuable emails you send out as an incentive.

But your list will grow faster if you also give something away, as a lead magnet or optin incentive.

Being different for the sake of being different isn’t a good idea, in my book.

Especially if the ‘different’ you choose implies you stop using a tool that is proven to work.

So if your optin incentive doesn’t work, don’t throw it out.

Instead, ask yourself why.

What are you missing?

Why don’t your visitors convert?

Don’t forget, there’s many a moving part in the whole sequence.

Are you attracting the right traffic?

Is the copy on your landing page engaging and persuasive?

Is your lead magnet the right kind for your audience?

Is your site design right?

And, very often forgotten: are you ‘asking for the sale’?

In this case, asking people to sign up?

I don’t know what my client’s final decision will be – but I sure hope she’ll ask herself the tough questions, and continue to offer a gift to her new subscribers.

Because throwing away a tool just because you don’t know how to use it never makes sense.

What does make sense however, is having a coach ask you the right questions, and suggesting different ways to look at issues, when you’re about to decide something that might hurt your business.

That’s what you want?

Well hit reply then, let’s talk.



No Plan? No Problem!

Some people just aren’t very good at planning things.

Or maybe the ability to plan and stick with it isn’t the problem, but for them it’s a dull and dreary affair.

If that’s you, I bring good tidings.

Because hey, apparently it’s the season. Whatevs.

Point is, you don’t necessarily need a plan.

Sure it helps, but if you really don’t want to plan or don’t like planning, you can still make your 2017 a success.

What you need if you have a goal but not a plan:

A compass.

And don’t take this lightly.

I’m a sailor, and I can tell you that a compass is indispensable.

Many a good ship has been lost because the compass broke or was washed overboard.

And for you, and your life and you business: you need to check every opportunity and every decision against your compass, and ask yourself:

Is this aligned with my goal, will this get me closer – or am I falling prey to shiny object syndrome?

If I do this, learn this, buy this – will it get me closer to my goal?

And then you listen for the answer, on the inside.

Not to what your mind is telling you, but to what your gut tells you.

Because deep down, you know, intuitively, as reliable as a compass, whether or not you should.

While your minding mind could just be trying to trick you – happens to the best of us, present company included.

So use your compass.

Or not, but then all you have left is stellar navigation – which I’m happy to give you, if you want me to coach you.

No plan? No problem. But get ye a coach or a compass, whatever works best for you.



Alright FINE. Maybe This Will Convince You

Maybe you think email marketing won’t work for you, that it won’t work for you.

After all, it’s a consistent commitment – be it weekly or daily – and it can take time before it’ll really pay off.

But something happened yesterday that kind of blew my mind – and maybe it’ll change yours.

See, success is a consequence of many things, and one of them is showing up, consistently.

All it takes is for you to keep plugging away.

And when you do, the results can be quite surprising.

Like yesterday, for example, when I had an introductory coaching session with an artist, after someone had recommended me.

The person who referred me is a subscriber on my list, and a well-known coach and teacher in the art biz world – which is nice enough by itself.

But during the session, this artist told me that she’d heard about me from several people, including another, rather famous person in the art biz world.

Kind of blew me away.

Think about it for a moment:

I’m not doing a lot of outreach. My list is quite small. I’m not a big player by any means. I don’t advertise, and for the last 10 months or so, I don’t do anything on social media.

And yet: my peers and competitors are talking about me, and even recommending me to people.

How cool is that?

All because I have a commitment: to show up, to be helpful, and to be relentless in doing so.

It’s bringing me people, sent by peers and competitors… just… wow.

Now, my method is writing emails because I like writing – but you can do your email marketing any way you want to.

Webinars, videos, audio interviews with experts – I don’t care what model you choose, as long as it’s based on YOU showing up, consistently, helpfully.

That’s how you turn email marketing into a method that builds rapport with your subscribers, gets you buyers, and even gets your competitors to send people your way. Apparently.

And everyone I ever managed to persuade doing email marketing (and who stuck with it) reported results – from feedback to list growth to sales.

So let me put a challenge to you:

For one month, send an email every single workday.

Don’t overthink it, just write and hit send.

And if you have questions or you’re not sure you can:

This interview will get you started:

Get set… GO!


And Maybe You Should Be More Lazy. That Would Help

I  mean it: being lazy is useful – IF you’re smart about it.

Here’s why.

The other day I quoted Leigh Shenton, one of the Cabal members.

The next day, she dropped another gem in the private Facebook group:


“Being an artist or creative person doesn’t exclude you from having to perform the mundane, boring tasks that every business requires.

We don’t just waft around the studio in an ethereal glow of magical creative dust.

Creating good work isn’t enough. Paintings don’t sell themselves.”



In fact, there’s nothing that sells itself.

Even the baker selling to a hungry crowd needs to show up and hand over the loaf in order to get handed the bread. (Heh)

So yeah, as per my perpetual philosophy: you’ll need to show up and do the work.

Take responsibility for your results.

That said, maybe you should get more lazy in terms of how you go about it.

This is no joke either.

I learned from the programming world.

Any given computer program will have thousands upon thousands of lines of code.

And each of those lines has to be written exactly right, because one colon instead of a semi-colon, and the program doesn’t work.

In which case the programmer has to go hunt for the error, and that can take a long long time.

Which is why a good programmer will deliberately be lazy:

Write the code as succinctly as possible, with as few lines as possible.

Fewer lines means fewer potential errors.

Makes sense, right?

And it’s something you can apply for yourself, and you probably should.

See, most of us slave away on things that are too big, too cumbersome, too complex.

Because when we have a lot of work to do and we toil a lot, we feel good about being busy, we feel productive.

But that might well mean we waste a lot of time, just because we’re being inefficient.

Just because we didn’t choose to be lazy.

Me, I like getting the maximum result for the least amount of work.

Because that way I get to have an ELF business: one that Easy, Lucrative and Fun.

Instead of a HALF business: Hard, Annoying, Lame and Frutrating.

So what about you?

Are you being lazy enough?



Oy Vey… Should I Be the Reluctant Leader…?

My mastermind buddies have been giving me a hard time lately.

This mastermind is not to be confused with The Cabal Mastermind group – the two are separate and different.

The Cabal is a team of clients, who I coach weekly.

Whereas my mastermind is a small private team of peers, and we coach each other.

Anyway, these guys have been on my case like Columbo.

Saying that this Cabal I started is so cool, so important, and should be the core of my coaching proposition.

Not in the sense of stopping one on one coaching, but really leaning into this new role I found, as leader of a movement.

And boy… how I resist that.

I never had the ambition to be a leader, and I’m not sure I do now.

That said, I have to accept that with what I created, there’s a definite inner-circle thing going on.

Everyone I work with, be it one on one clients or Cabal members, everyone wants to create deep inner change.

Has a big ambition, and an unstoppable drive.

And I have to say it: I’m SO impressed with the sheer stick-with-it-ness of my clients.

It’s deeply gratifying, and humbling to know I’m allowed to hold this space for them.

So ok, yes. I’m choosing to follow this advice my buddies are giving me.

I’ll step up to the plate, and I welcome you… into the fold of The Cabal.

Want to know what pushed me over the edge?

A comment that a Cabal member posted in our private facebook group, after our last meeting:


CABAL increases…. in ourselves, our business, eachother






~ Leigh Shenton, resin artist


When I read that, it confirmed what my buddies have been telling me for weeks now.

That what I do works, and should be adopted by more people.

Would that be you?

I don’t know – you tell me.



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