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

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

What Coaching is and isn’t For

The other day, a client told me thanks for wading through the muck with them.

You know, dealing with life-stuff – problems and issues that have nothing to do with building a business.

The stuff that this client said “isn’t strictly part of coaching”.

But that’s not exactly how it works.

See, as a coach I don’t have a curriculum for you.

I don’t bring you milestones or steps to take – I don’t have a coaching programme laid out.

Instead, you bring me the curriculum.

You ARE the curriculum.

Whatever you show up with during any given session… well, that’s what we’ll deal with.

That’s what sets coaching apart from mentoring, consulting, or training.

You as the person you are, you bring me something you want to work on, and then we work on that.

Maybe something you want to change, or something you don’t get, or a frustration you want to get rid of… whatever it is, that’s what’s on the table.

And the only ‘curriculum’ that I have is this:

– Everything is a story. Change the story you tell yourself, and your reality changes (yes, really. Try it).

– Behind every story is another story, and another one behind them. You show me the sweater, I pull on a string, and together we unravel the whole thing. ‘sFun! ☺

– Change comes from the inside. No matter what outside elements are in your way, the solution is to do the work on the inside. It’s all in your mind: both the problems (because of the way you perceive them as problems) as well as the solutions.

It’s for the points above, that I can’t work with everyone.

Someone who keeps blaming others or the economy or the market, is someone I can’t help.

A person who won’t take responsibility, I can’t help.

Someone who denies everything… objects and protests… same thing.

I can only help people who are a specific type of individual.

Motivated, self-aware and working on growing that, willing to take action, able to look in the mirror…

These are the qualities that make you coachable.

Is that you?

Then maybe I can help.

Want to find out?

Then apply for a no-cost strategy session, by answering a few questions:



Habits Out the Window… Or Maybe Not?

These last few weeks, all my habits and routines went out the window. All of them.

Up to the point of missing several days of sending you my daily email.

Logical, given that I had all these people visiting, and that we clocked almost 1800 kilometers in two weeks.

Now for most people, dropping a habit spells disaster.

And I used to be like that (secret: in some ways, I still am).

But to an important degree, I learned to get over the feeling that I’ve failed and that it’s useless or impossible to get back to my habits.

Because while I’ll never tire of preaching the importance of habits and routines, the fact is that it’s almost inevitable that they’ll break at some point.

The trick, the secret that keeps me balanced and going back to my routines?

Kindness, permission, and forgiveness.

The default reaction for most people, when we break a habit?

Self-recrimination. Blame. Feelings of guilt, insufficiency, and general doom.

These days, I try to avoid that.

I try to be kind to myself, and not beat myself up when I break a habit. There’s always tomorrow, isn’t there?

I give myself permission to break a habit, in those cases when circumstances (external or internal) make me drop a habit.

And I forgive myself  – not just for breaking the habit, but also for the automatic negative self-talk.

It’s all normal, human, understandable. So why would Martin beat up Martin over it?

Who gets better when that happens?

I certainly don’t.

And it’s exactly that element of permission and forgiveness that make it easy to get back into the habit.

Because when the subconscious starts complaining and blaming, that’s when you trip up and are very likely to postpone getting back to your habit.

So. If you like habits and you have trouble keeping them going or getting back to them, remember this:

It’s alright. There’s tomorrow, and there’s nothing wrong with you.

You may have fallen off the cart, but that thing will keep moving without you.

All you need to do is decide to jump back on.

Just like I did this week once everybody left: I’m back to my miracle morning routine, and it’s wonderful.

And I wish the same for you.

Hit reply if you want to know what my morning routine is like, and why it’s so effective for me.



Who/What Is This/Are You For

We all get to have an impact.

Each if us has a chance to do something meaningful for others, every single day.

And some of us – the lucky ones – are aware of it.

But even if you are aware, that doesn’t mean we get it right.

Quite often, we get so caught up in what we’re trying to say, that we forget what the other person wants to hear.
In business, that matters a lot.

Because in business, it’s never about you.

This coaching venture of mine for example, it’s not about me.

It’s only, ever, exclusively, about you.

That’s what I’m for. You. My emails, my drawings, the sessions: it’s about you.

And the same thing goes for your business, whatever form it has:

It’s about the other person, and what they get from your work.

You don’t need to be blatant or explicit about it – but you need to make sure people hear “their” message coming from you.

That’s how you create connection, engagement, and yes: buyers.

So when your business results are lacking, ask yourself this:

In what you do and say and put out there, and the way you show up…

Is it about them?

Clearly and sufficiently?

I’ll leave you to chew on that…



And Suddenly…

…and quite unexpectedly… I have a family.

No, not because I got married while you weren’t looking.

I’m talking about the Cabal members who visited the last two weeks.

What an amazing time. What a fantastic group. What beautiful individuals.

And last night at our final dinner (squid cooked in its own ink, yay!) and I asked everyone what had been the biggest change for them, the question was thrown back at me.

And when I answered, I realised: for the first time in my life, I feel like I actually have family.

Ok, I have my mother and that’s beautiful family, but that’s all. My dad’s gone, I have no siblings, and other members of my family are far away in many respects.

But now that I’ve spent live time with these wonderful clients I previously only knew from Skype, and who were already friends, I realise:

We’re beyond the point of friendship. Way beyond. This is now my family.

It’s beautiful and I’m so grateful.

That so many people came from so far. That everyone showed up just as themselves, without inhibitions. That everyone was so fully accepted, no matter what differences.

For me, it’s the start of a new phase. After a whirlwind episode of finally really getting to know each other properly.

So what is Martin going to do with his new life, the one where he finally has family?

More of the same of course!

More writing articles for you. More drawing. More art shows. More coaching.

And, yes, more Cabal groups.

Because what we experienced here (not to mention weekly over skype for the past year) is almost magical.

And if you want a support group that holds you with open hands, drives you on, holds up a mirror for you to look in, and provides a setting where you get to solve problems and create change, joining one of the new groups might be just the ticket.

If you’d like to know if it’s for you, all you need to do is answer a few questions here, and we’ll talk:



Control and Non-Attachment

A curious thing:

When I made this drawing a few weeks ago, I wasn’t really trying.

As in: I remember that I had just written the article, on a busy day, and I didn’t have a bunch of time or space in my brain to make something “good”.

I just wanted to create a quick illustration for my article, and so I did.


That particular drawing was by far the most popular at the show. It got the most comments, people really liked it, and it was one of the three that I sold.

But all I did was create a quick, almost throwaway, drawing.

Which to others apparently really spoke.

So what does this tell us?

Aside from the fact that I’m at my best when I’m not even trying?

Or maybe… just maybe… that IS the message.

That when we do things because they’re natural, and we take our minding mind out of the equation… that is when we shine brightest?

Might be a pretty nice lesson, don’t you think?

So, what if you would apply that to the activities that develop your business?

What if we would stop trying so damn hard, and instead simply do the things we do, and make the choices we make, simply because it’s natural and called for – but without overthinking it?

Without trying so hard, and:

Without being attached to the outcome?

I’ll tell you this:

The more attached I am to a certain outcome, the more unlikely I am to be “the right way” in the moment, and therefore more unlikely to get the right outcome.

Also: if I’m attached to the outcome and it turns out different, I experience disappointment and/or frustration, which doesn’t help at all.

This is why I draw without attachment, I coach without attachment, and I smile at random strangers without attachment or expecting them to smile back.

I just do things – as best as can, and then I let go.

Because in the end, we can only control what goes in (our attitude and actions) but not what comes out (the final result).

And in my experience, the best approach is to work in a deliberate but non-attached way.

It just might turn out awesome, AND it’ll be a ton more fun.

Just another way for you to be in control…



And Then This Happened…

Yes I know, a week of silence from me. Almost like I’ve been on vacation, except I write every day even when I’m away.

But this week has been… special. And not a little.

Four women, almost the entire Cabal (Salley couldn’t make it) has been staying in my town.

We walked, hugged, talked, laughed, laughed some more and then some, and oh yeah:

We opened our show!

Which for readers who aren’t artists might not be that big a deal, but hold on a minute:

Whether you’re an artist, a yoga teacher, an engineer or a florist:

You’ll find that once you team up with people and do work together, something special happens.

Because when there are two or more people together, the combined power and intelligence and potential becomes greater than the sum of the parts.

This is why people create mastermind groups and it’s why I created the Cabal.

And it’s why the tagline for our little group is “Collective Forward Momentum”.

And, as it happens we don’t just talk about it: we actually show it.

Just consider:

How on earth do you pull off an international art exhibition, from idea to launch to inauguration… in just 6 weeks? That kinda stuff doesn’t happen!

Except it did. And all because we combined forces. And without that, I would never have sold three drawings (woot!)

So while this email is the first after my lapse (I won’t do it again, promise), there’s a real important message in it:

Get help. Get a group, a mastermind – anything that gets you amongst peers who share a view and mission and no-BS attitude.

That is called a dream team, and yes: it enables you to do things bigger, and faster, and better, than you could on your own.

Me I don’t take the credit for all this: it’s the group who did it. The group that is now almost an entity of its own.

And in the coming months, you’ll see that group open up, and, if you want, we might invite you in – whether you’re an artist or not.

So… want more and better? Then the single best thing you could do today is google what a mastermind is about, and start looking for people to start one with.

Or, just hang in there for a while for when we open the doors.



Standing on the Edge of a Cliff

Over the next few days, it could be you don’t receive a daily email from me.

Which pleases me none whatsoever because it’s my mission and self-assigned duty to give you something to chew on each day, but…

Hey come on, I’m standing on the edge of a cliff here. At least that’s how it feels.

Tonight, clients arrive to stay. Tomorrow, we’re hanging our art in a gallery, and the inauguration is on Friday.

And me, I’m here trying to organise stuff – which is not my hobby and not my strong suit.

Meanwhile, a flight was rescheduled, a parcel with art is hopefully arriving on time, and… well, it’s all a bit hectic. Fun, but hectic.

And all the while, I keep having this feeling that I’m standing at the edge of cliff. This big sense of joyful foreboding, of meeting the lovely people I’ve been coaching for a year…

And our first international group show… wow.

And, that’s just the start. Because this Cabal Creative group that we created, that’s not just a happy-go-lucky litter of artists.

I mean, we want to do something bigger. Something that has an impact – way beyond the effect it could have for us.

Me, I’d like to see the Cabal Creative grow into a movement.

Of course I have no idea if we’ll make that happen, but we’ll make a damn good run for it.

Because hey, together humanity can do pretty amazing things. Much better than we could on our own.

And that’s the purpose of the group: to create collective forward momentum – for ourselves, and for others to join in with.

The rising tide raises all ships.

Look at us, we’re playing tsunami!

Anyway, I’m excited. Slightly confused. Occasionally nervous.

And so, SO happy that all this is happening!

So bear with me if I disappear for a few days. Normal service will continue on Monday.

Meanwhile… what could you do, that has an impact for you, and then for others, so that then the effect comes back to you…?




Disconnect and Reach Deeper

There’s a little trick I like to play on myself.

It’s a nifty way to access ideas and solutions that I can’t reach with my everyday mind, and it’s simple:

Whenever I run into some sort of trouble (confusion, lack of focus, indecisiveness, communication problems, you name it) I pretend for a moment that I’m not me.

I imagine that the problem isn’t mine, but somebody else’s.

And then I ask myself: what would I advise that person?

What course of action, what attitude, would I recommend?

Of course the act of separating a problem from my being me is artificial: the problem doesn’t become that of someone else. It’s still mine to deal with.

But by making that artificial separation, I’m no longer IN the situation, as the confused or troubled person – but suddenly I’m free to take the role of an external advisor.

And it works a charm. Each time I do this, solutions come up. Ways out or around. Attitudes that take the edge off and the stress away.

Each time, I discover that there’s hidden depths, only waiting to be discovered.

And the same thing goes for you.

Because you are far more, and far more capable, than you think. Even if you happen to have an inflated sense of self: there’s more to you than you might think.

And the best trick that I know of to bring that best self out, is to pretend for a moment that the other self isn’t you, but separate from you.

As always: questions are the answer.

If you find yourself stuck or facing some sort of difficulty, ask yourself: what would you recommend if it were someone else dealing with the problem?

Then sit back and watch what comes to the surface…



Deliberately Doing the Perfectly Imperfect

Ever wondered why the world is such an imperfect place?

Wars, famines, corruption, power-hungry politicians and pollution… to name but a few of the horrors that have been with us since humanity began.

Ever considered that maybe, this blatant and hurtful imperfection… is actually quite the way things should be?

Hang on, I’m not saying that evil things are good. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to improve and evolve as a species. That’s not the point.

There are things that need to be improved, and there are tasks in our lives that we need to shoulder.

But what if the imperfection of the world, is its perfection?

What if the world, as it is, is simply perfectly imperfect, and should be that way, and will be that way?

This notion was shown to me almost 25 years ago, and it never really sat right with me.

Something in me always wanted to protest. And part of me still does.

And yet…. I’ve come to embrace imperfection.

Starting with me: I’m imperfect, in many ways.

And that’s ok: I’m perfectly imperfect. Just the way it is. No use fretting over it.

Same thing with my drawings: while I’m actually a bit of a perfectionist, I’ve learned to let go of that tendency, and now I create and publish absolutely imperfect drawings.

And I can’t tell you how liberating that is. And, it’s the perfect (ha!) setup for me to start improving.

Because while I don’t live with the illusion that things can, or should be, perfect, I do believe that things can improve.

And that, the incremental, gentle, non-forced, steady progress towards improvement, that makes the whole imperfection of things not just bearable, but a perfect (ha!) jumping off point.

Alright, enough with the puns.

All this to impress on you that imperfection is part of reality, and the sooner you embrace it, the sooner it will serve you, instead of frustrate you.

And the reason I was able to let go and accept imperfection?

Well, credit goes to the Cabal group.

Robbie Kaye, Katrina Gorman, Paula Mould, Salley Knight and Leigh Shenton: these are the members of the group, and they (while I didn’t even notice) helped me get over myself, and embrace my imperfection.

So if you want to learn anything from what these ladies taught your humble servant, make it this:

That being imperfect is fine – and that you can create change out of that imperfection.

For me, doing the perfectly imperfect has become life-changing. Might do the same for you…

And if you want to meet the ladies and hear what they have to say, go watch this short video:

And if you want to help us out, we’d be most grateful if you share the video with your online peeps.




Nobody Quite Like You

One of the most rewarding – and joyful – things about my work as a coach, is helping people get clear on what they’re REALLY very good at.

Some call it a superpower, Gay Hendrix refers to it as the zone of genius, but whatever name you give it: there’s something that you do, that you excel at, and which nobody else does quite the way you do it.

That’s you’re zone of genius.

And more often than not, we don’t realise what it is, this superpower – and if we do, we tend to take it for granted.

“That’s nothing special, I’ve done it all my life”.

Ah but yes: to YOU it might not seem very special, since you’re so used to it and it comes so naturally. Second nature, you don’t even have to think about it.

But that effortless grace you display in doing that thing, that’s exactly what makes it so irresistible and powerful in the perception of others.

Examples: connecting people, communicating astutely, creating design or strategy that just works, building a network, ethical selling, inspiring people… all these are potential superpowers, depending on the individual.

And if you have one (hint: you do, no matter how insecure you are or how much you under-appreciate yourself) you’d better get deliberate about using that skill.

Because remember: there’s nobody in the world who does it quite the way you do it.

Note that this doesn’t mean you have to be the best at it – the zone of genius is about your doing something in a way that’s highly effective, in a way that nobody else could or would copy.

But exactly because it comes naturally to us, we tend to ignore its potential. We busy ourselves with much low-level activity, stuff you could easily outsource, while being ignorant of the ease and grace with which results could show up, if only we’d make our superpower our main focus.

So ask yourself: what is your superpower – your zone of genius?

And: what if you’d scrap a bunch of rote-tasks, and replace them with working in that zone of genius… what would that do for your life and your business?

When you’d focus mostly on the high-level activities that make the biggest difference?

Of course you might not be clear on what your zone of genius is.

If that’s the case, I’ll help. Because once you get clear on it, and you understand exactly how powerful you could be given the right insight&decisions, everything changes.

So to get my help, just answer a few questions here, and I’ll give you a no-cost discovery session (but seats are limited, especially with my next three weeks being filled with a retreat and visiting clients etc).

Questionnaire here:



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