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

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

How Will You Stop Yourself?

One of the most fun parts of my work is asking questions.

Especially the coaching questions that really get at the heart of things.

For example, when someone tells me about a goal or dream they have, I like to ask:

“In what way will you prevent yourself from reaching that goal?”

Yeah I know. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Sometimes, that’s what a coach needs to do:

Stop you dead in your tracks and force you to assess a situation – the good, the bad, and the possible self-sabotage.

So think about it: with the goals that you have…

How will you prevent yourself from reaching them?

And how can you avoid that behaviour?

Meanwhile, I’ve started posting the coaching questions to Twitter, with the goal of putting one a day out there.

If you don’t follow me there yet, now’s a good time to do it.

Make sure to tweet at me, so that I know you’re one of my readers.

Follow me here:



Things Up With Which You Should Not Put

Yeah I know: That reads pretty twisted, but apparently we’re not allowed to end a sentence in a preposition in English.

But I like breaking the rules, so:

There are things you shouldn’t put up with.

Ever, at all.

And we all have things like that in our lives.

And most of us put up with stuff we ought not to, and some of that stuff is badly destructive.

The way people talk to us, the way clients expect too much, the way we don’t keep our space tidy…

All kinds of stuff that we shouldn’t allow in our lives.

So stop and think for a moment.

What things have you become used to, started to put up with?

Which are the things that ought to make you say: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it it anymore!”

Next, decide.

Decide that you’re done putting up with that.

Say it.

“I’m done putting up with that”.

The, resolve to make it so. Make it happen.

Next, send me a reply and tell me what it is you’re done with.

I’m curious.



Do You Know How to Show Up?

Back in my tailoring days, I had a client who was a lawyer (he was one of the nice kinds otherwise I wouldn’t have worked with him).

He worked from home and I always remember that when I’d visit him to do fittings or deliver his suit, he would be fully dressed up.

Suit, tie, shoes, cufflinks – ready for business.

When there was nobody there to see him.

When I asked him why, he told me that it’s because he like to dress for business. It’s good for his mindset.

And it’s the perfect example of how to show up.

No I don’t mean you need to wear a suit. You can if you want to, but it’s not required.

The point is that if you want success to show up in your life, there’s a particular way you need to show up to your work.

How you show up matters. A lot.

So think of the goal you cherish.

And ask yourself: How do I need to show up to my work in order create that success, reach that goal?



Rubberband Reactions, and How to *Snip* Them

In the monastery we learned about something called habitual programmes of perception.

You know, the default way we have of perceiving things.

And part of that is the default way we react to events.

Like when you stretch out a rubberband let it go, and it snaps right back to it’s original length.

Many of our reacitons are exactly the same.

Someone tells you something less than positive, and *snap* you feel unworthy.

Or an unexpected bill comes in and *snap* you start to feel stressed and worried.

Or you put out a brilliant offer of your work that nobody buys and *snap* you doubt you’ll ever have a thriving business.

Here’s the thing: you can’t contrl what happens to you.

Life has an uncanny way of happening.

But whatever happens, you can control what happens next.

in other words; your reaction to the occurrence.

And it’s not that difficult.

Let me show you how:

Step 1: Develop self-awareness

Accept that you have those reactions, don’t fight them, but start paying attention to them.

Over time, you’ll get to know yourself really well.

Step 2: Ask yourself: “Which different reaction would serve me better?”

The default reaction is never the best. There are 1000’s of other reactions you can choose.

Dance, sing, work, read, walk, smile, hug, stretch… whatever better reaction you want to connect to the trigger.

Pick one and resolve to practice it.

Step 3: ‘Practice’ is the operative word here.

You can’t just replace a reaction with a different one. It takes time.

At first, you’ll notice way after the default reaction that it happened again.

At that moment, bring back your resolve, and activate the new reaction.

Keep doing that.

Over time you’ll see the space between the default and the new get smaller.

At some point they’ll be simultaneous: You’ll see yourself reacting in the habitual way, but from a meta perspective, a distance.

And you’ll see the new reaction competing with it.

That’s when you’re making progress, because the next phase is where the new reaction becomes so automatic, it jumps in before the default reaction even shows up.

We may be creatures of habit and live with programmes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t reprogram ourselves.

And if you want to live a fulfilled life, you owe it to yourself to give it your all.



So let the reprogramming begin. Now would be a good time.

Take a moment to identify a particularly obnoxious habitual programme, and decide on which other reaction you would prefer. Make the resolve.

Get set, go, and all of that.

And as always, I’m here if you want my help.



Plan or No Plan?

Do you ever get the feeling that there’s a plan?

Things happen that are so perfectly aligned, it’s almost as if it’s been prepared for you by some mastermind?

Random occurrences that are so randomly perfect, they just can’t be random.

Coincidences that are just too good to be true.

Opportunities that appear exactly at the right time.

People who show up in your life and unlock doors for you.

Insights that come right when you need it, and your life speeds up.

Ever get that kind of feeling?

I don’t think that it’s a plan. I don’t believe in predestination, and I don’t think there’s a Great Director up in the clouds who orchestrates your life for you.

There’s no Grand Author who has written the plan for your life.

And yet: it’s undeniable that very often, it looks like there is some sort of plan.

Especially when you look back at your life. The plan is right there, right behind you.

So what gives?

Plan or no plan?

Ok, so there is a plan, but it hasn’t been written yet.

It’s a plan that you write in your life and for your life, as you go along.

Each decision and each inquisitive perception and each question you ask…

Every yes and every no you utter… that is you writing the plan.

This way of seeing life, where there both is a plan and there isn’t, is what gives you enormous power and agility in life.

See, we are handicapped by our insistence on binary thinking.

Something either is, or isn’t.

True or false. Good or bad. Fast or slow.

But that’s not how life works.

There is no or-or.

Everything, always, is and-and.

And yes, I know that’s impossible to understand. That’s exactly why the mystics and sages throughout history have told us this.

And-and, not or-or.

It’s like a koan: a riddle that has no answer.

And the longer you swish it round in your mind, the more perceptive you become to the way in which you are writing your own plan.

And when that happens, you start to become a better author of your plan, with every line you write.

I’ll help you get better at it, if you want. Just say the word.



Going Martial Arts on Your Mind

Yesterday on the Cabal group coaching session, someone asked how we can change the stories we tell ourselves, when we notice that we have a story that doesn’t help us.
Point is though, that’s not how it works.
It’s really hard to ‘change the story’.
Because the story you tell yourself is something that you believe to be true.
So if you go in and try to change it, your subconscious will fight, it will perceive it as a threat to its beliefs.
Beliefs which are there to help and protect you.
So clearly, it will be hard to replace one story with another.
Much more effective, and more fun, is to kind of play Jiu Jitsu with your stories.
Lots to be learned from martial arts, especially if you put it into practice.
So take for example the story that ‘I need to be worth more before I get to earn more’.
Pretty damn limiting story, because if you start out that way it’ll be a long long while before you get to feel you’re worthy enough.
So instead of telling yourself a different story, do martial arts on it.
The story has its momentum, in how it causes you to continue thinking, and the actions and decisions that follow.
So you take that momentum, and instead of fighting it you go with it, and give it a different direction.
Like so:
“If it’s true that I need to feel more worthy first, then what can I do right now that will help me feel more worthy, even a little bit?”
If the story is “I’m not meant to have success like Famous Person X, it’s just not for me”, then the judo move is: “Interesting thought, but what about folk like Tony Robbins or Oprah Winfrey? Didn’t they come from poverty and misery?”
And if the story is “Yes but they are different”, then the move is: “And am I not? When was the last time I met a copy of myself? I too am different.”
See, some things need to be fought.
Other things – many things in fact – will change much more easily if you play with it.
There’s only so much fighting we can do.
And with things of the inner world, very often the fight only makes the demon stronger.
Play. Dance. Be elegant and fluid.
You’d be amazed how much power you have when you stop trying to exert it.
Twas a fun session. The women in the Cabal really bring out the best in me.
Want to join us, and be part of a small elite team of ambitious female entrepreneurs? (women only group)
Then click reply, and let’s see if you and the group will be a good match.



Delaying My Book, but Don’t You Dare Delay Your Prosperity

So this book I’m writing, The Prosperous Artist… I’ve had to delay things a bit.

My plan was to submit the manuscript by April 1st, but I can’t.

For starters, the book is behemoth. It’s long and big. In fact when I sent my publisher the outline, I think the poor guy must have had a minor heart attack.

But also: there’s been so much going on that I won’t be able to get it all wrapped up on time.

Public speaking gigs, Joint Ventures with other entrepreneurs… meeting a number of exceedingly kind, interesting and influential people…

And all that takes time.

Of course a logical decision would have been to stick to my truth: Stay focused, say no to anything that takes away from reaching your goal.

But I chose not to, because for one thing, public speaking is something I want to get into.

My phrase for the year is ‘let’s take it to the stage’, and when the opportunities arise, I must take them.

Also, last fall I realised I needed to upgrade my network. I knew many wonderful and lovely people, but not enough people with a big ambition.

And these days, that’s exactly the kind of people that I’m meeting.

So yeah. Book delayed. Good things happening.

But while The Prosperous Artist might appear a few months later than planned, don’t think that means you get a raincheck on working on your own prosperity.

The book will help you lots once you read it, but you already have tools and resources and underused assets that you can put to use.

So, may I invite you to get with the game, and get serious about becoming prosperous?

Step one: understand that prosperity isn’t just about money.

It means ‘to do well’ and that means it is about doing well in all kinds of ways:

Socially, professionally, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and yes: financially.

So if the cash isn’t there yet, or there are other things lacking in your life, start by looking at the elements in which you are prosperous, and start building from there.

Right, I need to prepare for my talk next week. Catch you tomorrow.

Oh and: if you want my personal help in becoming more prosperous, hit reply.



Through My Eyes: Question the Answers

Looks like that email yesterday resonated with people.

So let’s play a game: Let’s look at another way a recovering monk sees the world.

Step into my head (pardon the dust) and have a look through my  eyes.

One of the things I enjoy doing, is to contemplate what this reality we live in is.

And so I ask questions.

My favourite?

“What if…”

For example:

What if our consciousness isn’t our own, but instead we are like simple computer terminals, plugged into a mainframe?

In case you’re not familiar with the concept: in large organisations, the individual computers often have no hard drive or CPU of their own. They are connected to a massive computer in the basement (the mainframe) and the terminals basically consist of only a screen, a keyboard, and a connection to the main computer. Right?

So what if we are like that?

What if each of us connects to some form of superconsciousness, and all we are is a set of perceptions that we use to translate reality, and our brain is simply the connection with the superconsciousness?

I’m not talking about religion here, mind you. If you want to call the superconsciousness god that’s fine by me, but if you don’t, you can still explore the hypothesis.

Because I’m inclined to believe that we’re connected in ways  that our senses can’t perceive.

And the reason I like this mental exercise:

What if we are just terminals connected to a mainframe, what would that say about who we are as a species?

And what would that say about us as individuals, given that the superconsciousness is large and our own is limited…

What would that say about HOW MUCH MORE there is for us to discover about ourselves, and others, and life, and reality?

As you can see, one good question begets a whole bunch more.

And that’s what it’s like to live life as a recovering monk.

It’s fun, you should try it. And no stint in a monastery required.

Just ask questions, and question the answers.



In Which Maria Brophy Calls Me Out

Last Friday I had a long Skype conversation with Maria Brophy, a rather well-known art licensing consultant, about some plans we’re making.

We also got to talking about more personal stuff, such as our goals and the reasons why we do what we do.

And that’s when I called her out: “That goal you mention, is it big enough? Because to me, it sounds like you’re playing it safe”.

Because hey, even with friends I sometimes just can’t stop myself from coaching. Call it professional deformation.

She took the hint, and agreed that a bigger goal would serve her better.

But then we got to talking about why I coach people. How I don’t practice coaching, but that it is what I am, on a deep level.

And when I told her what my vision is, it was her time to call me out.

Because she reads my dailies, and she quite rightly observed that I don’t talk much about my why, and my mission and vision.

So, thanks Maria. I’ll take your dare.

Hum. I notice I’m feeling a little nervous now. That’s a good thing. Onwards!

Everything I do, all my work with people, the writing I do and socialising and helping people, is for one big overarching purpose:

To show as many people as I can that reality isn’t what we think.

That what we call reality is a persistent illusion.

That absolutely none of the definitions we assign to the things we perceive, are actually what those things really are.

We are raised to buy into stories about what we are, who we are, what life is for and about, and we buy it all, lock stock and barrel.

And so we go through life living in a bubble of created meaning and the more we grow into believing it, the more we lose our childlike curiosity.

We stop wondering, we unlearn to question everything, and we end up compliant life-livers.

We get scared when we read the news, we get a job when we need to pay bills, and we feel joy or sadness when the violins set in.

Just the way we’re told.

And my mission is to show you that this is no way to live.

My job is to bring as many people as I can into my world.

To show you the very different reality that I live in.

To have you experience, for yourself or by proxy, that reality isn’t what you think it is.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying reality doesn’t exist. A table is real and is a table. People are real, and you can’t walk through walls (but feel free to try).

But what you think reality is and what it’s for and what it means to be alive, is different from what you think.

The same goes for me, of course: What I think things are is also erroneous. But at least I have discovered the eternally questioning mind.

And to live in that state, where nothing is what it seems and where there’s always something more, something deeper, something behind it, that’s amazing.

And I wish for you to experience that, and that’s why I do what I do: write, coach, get on stages – whatever I can.

This is also why I chose the name Cabal for the coaching group I host for a few select clients.

Where ‘Cabal’ means ‘a secret society that works together towards a common goal’.

But here’s the kicker: you don’t need to be part of that group in order to be part of my Cabal.

You reading this, you are also part of this movement.

Every time you read me, you get a glimpse of what life is like when you question everything, when you’re insatiably eager for deeper understanding.

The movement I started without knowing what I was doing…. whoda thunk?

But it happened, people are opening up to the world as seen through a monk’s eyes, and I keep hearing that it’s working. That the people who read me or work with me are changing.

And I can’t tell you how enormously grateful I am that it’s happening.

In a few months, my book will be out, and then there will be even more people getting a taste of ‘life unlike you’ve ever lived it’.

And I’m grateful for you, my readers.

You make my days joyful. Knowing that you’re out there means the world to me.

So there you have it: the reason Martin does what he does.

Happy now, Maria?

So to give you something to work with today:

What in your life do you consider true, that if it weren’t true would change everything?

Think about it…



Advertiser Sends You a Pitch? Turn Them Down, You Don’t Need Them Any Longer

Lately, several of my clients have been receiving messages from companies that offer them visibility.

Some are in the form of web-advertising, others in magazines, and some in the form of paying to be shown in a gallery.

Now, there might be some cases where the offer is good and it’s worth the investment, do remember this:

The fact that they found you means that very likely, you don’t need them.

Because for you to get noticed, to show up in search results or a news feed, means you’re already on your way to building up your own visibility. Otherwise they’d have found and pitched someone else.

This doesn’t mean it’s always a bad idea to take the deal, but there’s a strategic decision to be made:

Is investing in their offer going to get you better results than what you can create by building on what you already have?

And, would you prefer spending the cash on broadcast advertising, or does it make more sense to spend time on getting seen whilst also building relationships with your audience?

Remember, dollars are finite. And time is too, except time renews itself every day.

So what’s a better spend, what will give you a higher return on your investment?

If you were to ask me, my preference in most cases would be ‘spend time, build your audience’.

Because having relationships and conversations with people gets you a FAR higher ROI than broadcasting ads at them.

Anyway, I’m going back to drafting the manuscript of The Prosperous Artist. This book ain’t gonna write itself.



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