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

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

Talking About Your Energy: Time to Make Some Decisions?

One of the key aspects in the coaching process has to do with energy.

Specifically: which people, places, habits or things give you energy…

And which people, places, habits or things rob you of your energy.

Because everyone one of us falls into situations (and habits, relationships etc) that end up costing us far more energy than they should.

But very often we’re not aware of it.

It’s a thing that grows… things change and one day you realise that what used to be a fun hobby or great friend, these days no longer brings you the energy it used to.

When that happens, it’s time to make a decision:

Keep on with the new status quo, even though it wears you out?

Or sever the relationship (or give up the habit), completely?

Or change and redefine it, so that the cost will no longer be so high?

Whatever you do, it’s important that you do something.

Because if you don’t, you’ll keep expending energy without getting a return, and you’ll get drained.

For no better reason than not making a decision.

And yes, sometimes that means tough decisions.

But as I heard in a podcast today:

Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.

And there’s truth to that.

It’s easy to let a toxic relationship carry on unchanged.

But a toxic relationship messes with your happiness and productivity, so it might be a good idea to make the tough choice, and end it or change it.

Now it’s easy to see (and sometimes tough to change) a toxic relationship.

But in every life, there are smaller, subtler things that sap your energy.

The habit of thought for instance, can be an enormous energy drain.

When you’re in the habit of telling yourself things that undermine your self-confidence or your productivity, you’ll constantly find yourself doubtful and prone to procrastination.

And here’s the biggest problem with that:

We generally assume that time is our most precious asset, our most important commodity.

But it isn’t.

Your energy is far more precious.

Time resets itself each day, automatically. 24 hours to divide and assign, over and over again, each day.

But energy? That’s not something automatic. Your energy gets spent and then it needs to get replenished again.

Which means that you’d better pay very close attention to where exactly your energy gets spent.

And that is why when coaching clients, energy is something we often talk about.

Because you can always improve the way your energy gets spent or saved.

So if you feel that somehow you’re just not achieving as much as you think you could, there’s a real chance that it’s just because you’re losing energy where you shouldn’t.

And very often, that can be turned around very easily, especially when you talk to a coach or someone else who has the experience in solving this kind of problem.

So. Feel like you ought to have more energy for stuff, but you don’t?

Want to talk about how to change that?

Let me know…



Ready? But Really Really Ready?

Nobody would let a newly sprouted seedling be exposed to thunderstorms.

That’s a fresh little thing, full of potential but not yet ready to weather a storm.

Just the same, nobody would jump straight into an iron man contest, just after completing their first marathon.

And, everybody knows that someone who has just recently kicked a drug habit should stay FAR away from the people and places where this person used to take drugs.

In all those cases, it’s common sense to give it more time, to grow stronger, to train resilience and determination.

Step out into the challenge too soon, and you’ll fall, pretty much guaranteed.

The change may be there and real, but the strength isn’t there yet.

And yet, this kind of mistake is exactly what keeps lots of people stuck in a cycle of ‘want change – create change – step out – fall back to the old ways’.

Imagine you’re a CEO and you have a team of employees.

You realise that your leadership skills need some work – more time for people, better listening, move from expectations to agreement…

So you get to work on yourself, talk to your people, and hey: things are starting to change. Your people are actually responding well, and things at the office are indeed improving.

But if you then forget about doing the work on yourself and you jump back in to the hustle and bustle of running a company… it’s very likely you’ll lose focus on improving and solidifying the leadership qualities that you’ve only just begun to develop.

In which case: you and the entire office will revert back to the mean.

One of the reasons this happens so much, is being overly – and prematurely – confident in exactly how strong our new ability is.

It FEELS so good. We feel so strong, and changed, and ready to live with the new changes in our lives.

But those changes in us, they are like seedlings. Full of potential, but not yet strong enough to withstand the elements.

If you’ve ever managed to go to the gym for 7 days straight, or not eat any sugar for a week… only to see the good habit disappear again or the bad one return, this is you putting the seedling out into the storm.

It’s mistaking potential for resilience, and that’s a recipe for disaster.

If you take two bits of wood and glue them together with epoxy resin, you’ve got a joint that’s stronger than the wood itself.

But if you start to mess with the construction before the resin cures, you’ll break it apart. It’s just not ready yet.

So if you’ve ever gone from change and new-found strength and enthusiasm, straight back into old habits, it means you didn’t give it enough time.

Didn’t allow for the glue to cure, for the plant to grow, for the addiction to fade into the background.

And one of the most pernicious reasons we do this?

Ridiculously high expectations of ourselves.

As if one change should be enough to magically turn ourselves into some kind of superhero.

But who says you need to be superhuman?

Why isn’t being you, as you are, good enough?

Why would you have to live up to some ideal image, fed to you by stories of people who’ve practiced, and trained, and failed&recovered… people who have WORKED like made to become strong, whether physically or mentally?

How does it make sense to demand the same excellence from ourselves, almost overnight, that others have spent years or decades to create?

Are we really supposed to bully ourselves into being 10 times better than yesterday, on the pain of self-recrimination if we don’t make it?

Of course not.

We’re meant to grow, and evolve in small steps, over time.

Just like glue gets stronger each second, a plant taller each day.

Give yourself time. Allow for growth, and please:

Learn to stop demanding so much of yourself. You’re fine just as you are, and if you allow yourself, you’ll get stronger and better automatically.

It’s what we’re built for.

And all we need to do to make it happen, is to stop sabotaging the growth.

Does this sound familiar? And are you ready to create change that lasts, without risking losing it all again in a flash?

Then let’s talk.



Out With the Old. But Seriously

Yesterday, Paula Mould and I went on a road trip into the Spanish desert, in the Cabo de Gata nature reserve.

In case you missed it: Paula is a friend, a coaching client, and a member of the Cabal Creative, and she’s staying with me in order to write her book.

But it wasn’t just a road trip: this was Paula’s coaching day.

Where coaching sessions normally last between one and two hours, she wanted a full day.

And it was intense, and it was beautiful.

We went deep, we touched on subjects that she doesn’t share with others, and most importantly:

She made some big decisions about her work and her career and her life.

It’s amazing to see what can happen when somebody is genuinely eager to change.

And one of the things she changed yesterday, is the way she handles bad stuff from the past.

See, most of the time, we carry our old hurt with us.

As if it’s a badge of honour – “See? I’ve got the scars!”

But that’s not how we’re built.

When we get injured or set back, we’re supposed to heal. Emotionally, psychologically, mentally… we’re not meant to stay stuck in the damage we were done.

We’re meant to lick our wounds, heal, get back on our feet, and carry on with life.

In that order.

Now, there can be many reasons why we stay hurt, but none of those reasons stand up to the question:

“Does your life get better from staying here?”

Because obviously, it doesn’t. Moving forward is what makes your life get better.

So how do you get over old hurt? How do you actually move forward?

One way is to do what Paula did.

It might not work for you, but it’s worth a try:

Create a very clear demarcation, a boundary line.

Before the line, where you are, is ‘old’. It’s who you are now, as the natural consequence of all your life’s experiences.

On the other side of the line is ‘new’. It’s how you want to be, want to live. It’s where you define how you want to be.

Next, you step over the line.

You make the decision to live in the new space, and you make the decision that any time old stuff (hurt, upset, frustration damage etc etc etc) comes up, you throw it back over the line, into the field called ‘old’.

Because in your new life, in that new decision that you’ve made, there’s no place for any of the old stuff. Believe me, you don’t need it.

It’s ballast, it slows you down and weighs you down.

And no matter how much you grew or learned from the past, it’s the past. It’s not supposed to be your constant companion.

You get the picture? The before and the after?


Next, make this a practice. Because it’s not something you decide once and then magically you’re done.

This is something that you practice, get better at, and you get faster at noticing when you’re wallowing around in old hurt.

Practice it. It works. But only if you commit to the practice, and keep running it.



p.s. And yes: all-day coaching sessions are available, if you’re ready to do some serious inner work. Just let me know if you want to talk about what’s involved.

Ever Get the Feeling Something BIG is About to Happen in Your Life?

That there has got to be something else, or something more… for you in store?

Do you ever get that auspicious, portentious, pregnant feeling – as if there’s something big and beautiful so very close, but you don’t know what it is or what you can do to reveal it in your life?

I think we all get that to some degree, at different times.

And this time around, I don’t have any answers. I don’t know what that is.

Except, maybe it’s our selves – our ego – trying to break out of its confines.

Because for all that an ego can accomplish in life (create a family, build an airplane, launch a company, write a book, change someone else’s life), there’s a definite size limit to the ego. No matter how big it is.

And it’s only happened a few times in my life, during meditation, that I could experience being – but without the Martin-sized container that limits existence down into manageable perception-bites.

So maybe the feeling of portent we get, maybe that’s simply a call, a beckoning… for us to dare let go of the ‘I’ that limits us, and step into a less confined way of experiencing life.

l lived with that feeling for years, back in the monastery. A constant feeling as if the curtain was just about to be torn aside.

But it never was, and that was ok.

Because I got used to the feeling, and instead of waiting for the magic to happen, I learned to roll with it, to listen to that feeling, and I learned to use it as a kind radar.

That feeling that something’s just about to happen, it can help you be more present, more aware, and more perceptive to opportunities.

And all it takes is for you to get used to it. Ease into it, just like a hot bath.

Sit with it. The feeling is there to help you, so long as you listen to what it tells you.

Out there?


But definitely part of the human psyche.

Question is: what will you do with it?



You, My Hero?

There’s an art to accepting life.

The fundamental uncertainty of each day, no matter how structured.

And if you’re an entrepreneur, the uncertainty is even bigger.

Whereas if you’re an employee, at the very least you have the ‘certainty’ of a paycheck (provided your job doesn’t disappear etc).

But as a business owner?

Anything can happen.

My dad went out of business despite being a highly respected and sought-after programmer. He did jobs for IBM back in the 70s, flew to the US to analyse the software that major banks used.

But at some point his biggest client went bankrupt and didn’t pay him, which caused him a debt with the Dutch tax man who refused to be lenient, and bam: dad’s bankrupt.

You just never know which of the many moving parts in your business may fail at some point.

And yet we assume that uncertainty, and we live with it every day.

Which to me makes the entrepreneur a hero of sorts.

Folks like us risk everything – we build a machine that depends on so many factors, where we’re only a cog in all of it, and we live with the risk that something beyond our control breaks or goes wrong.

We live with risk, every single day.

You, entrepreneur?

You, my hero.

Hey, and if you also happen to have a big ambition, and you’re working on (or are planning on) building something so big that it almost (or really) scares you?

Then I’d love to talk with you.

Nothing better than someone with a big ambition, because people who have the courage to build on a big dream are SO inspiring.

So let me know if you’d like to have a chat and tell me your idea…



Are You Doing It Wrong? (Re: The Most Powerful Tool You Have, and How You Use It)

In a few hours from now I’ll be at the airport to pick up my client Paula Mould.

She’s coming over for a writing retreat to get a book finished.

Should be a lot of fun because Paula is exceedingly coachable.

She’s eager for change, hungry, driven to create change – and, she’s not afraid to look in the mirror.

She knows that meaningful change happens on the inside, and comes from developing self-awareness.

Looking in the mirror and seeing yourself as you are, without excuses – that’s what makes for a happy and successful life and/or business.

But, you’ll also need to use your mind, the right way.

Because the mind is just a tool, and as with any tool: If you don’t use it right, you won’t get the right results.

A hammer can be used to create a wide variety of things – or it can be a deadly weapon, depending on who uses it.

The mind is the same: it can create a reality for you that goes beyond your wildest dreams, or it can be a hindrance and the source of endless frustration.

See, your mind works best when it has a driver.

It needs someone to be in control.

Because if you don’t control your mind, it will do what it’s used to: seek the path of least resistance.

Unmanaged, the mind reverts to simply rehashing what you normally think anyway.

It’s a habit, to think the way we tend to think.

And if we tend to think things that aren’t positive, or helpful, inspiring or motivating, then we’ll constantly be telling ourselves those things.

The result is lack of clarity, less than optimal emotional states, procrastination, you name it. Lotsa bad stuff.

And all you need in order to avoid that, is get behind the wheel.

You need to drive that thing, that tool in your head. Because without a destination, without someone in control, you can end up anywhere.

Tell your mind where to go. You’re the boss in your mind, so don’t let your mind grab control.

Use that magnificent tool for building something, instead of just letting it run amok.

Make sense?

And, are you also unafraid to look in the mirror?

Then you too might be coachable.

Want to find out?

Then hit reply, and let’s have a conversation.



Help Me Help You?

A lot has changed over the last year or so.

Most notably, in the sense of the kind of people I work with.

When I started out, I was the business coach for artists. Because I love art, I love working with artists, and hey let’s face it: artists like us, we need all the help we can get, where it comes to building a business.

But gradually, I loosened up, and started working with different kinds of entrepreneurs as well.

The owner of a publishing company, an architect… also creative industries, but different from making and selling actual art.

And in the last few months, I’ve started to feel a little off-kilter. Not exactly clear on… who I’m for.

Or the kinds of problems that my audience most needs help with.

Used to be simple: I’m Martin and I help artists build a thriving business, by working on the inner game.

But at the moment, with new and different readers, I have questions.

What do you most need help with?

What’s the biggest bottleneck in your business or life right now?

What do you dream of, that you don’t know if you’ll ever build it?

So I’m asking for your help.

Help in creating clarity on how best to serve you.

Whether with the emails I write or the coaching we do, how can I best help you?

So if you’re willing to help (I hope you are), please reply and answer the following two questions:

What kind of industry do you work in?


What’s your biggest challenge right now, whether professionally or personally?

Do please let me know – it will enable me to write the kind of articles that most help you…



The Thing We All Do Yet There’s No Need for It…

It’s uncanny to see how much people are in the habit of beating themselves up.

As if we’re supposed to be our own bully, judge, and executioner.

Things we shouldn’t have done or said, things we should do but don’t, procrastinating, needing rest… sometimes it’s as if we’re doing everything wrong.

At least, that’s the way we talk to ourselves. Constant blaming and recriminating and self-accusing and self-judgement… what a bore and what a drag.

So consider this: what if you were taken down by a flu, a big one. Fever, coughing, pain in every muscle… sounds like a good time to spent a few days in bed, right?

And, you’d obviously not blame yourself or get angry with yourself.

A virus showed up, your immune system didn’t manage to fight it off, and bam. Time-out.

Blame yourself? Of course not.

So what if I tell you that whatever it is you don’t do, or do do, or whatever mistake you make… anything really… is exactly the same as that flu?

Not that procrastination comes from viruses, but in the sense that as you are, right now, is simply the consequence of your entire life and all your choices and learnings etc…

Who and how you are… is just what is. You couldn’t possibly be anywhere else in life this minute, because who you are now and where you’re at is a simple consequence of a complex confluence.

And naturally, what you do or don’t do is a natural consequence of who you are at the moment.

Couldn’t be any other way.

So where’s the sense in beating yourself up over it?

It doesn’t help, because it only makes us feel frustrated and that will only make the problem worse.

But what does help, a lot, is if you change your self-image.

Like so:

As you are now, that’s the baseline. It’s the new normal. It’s perfect, as it is, including the imperfections. (those will always be there anyway).

And from this baseline, what would you like to build? Create? Change? Manifest?

In order for you to get to the next level of success or happiness, what could be changed in the baseline state?

Not because there’s something wrong with you, but because you have more potential than you’ve tapped into so far.

And that’s the secret you discover when you accept what it without self-blame.

When you suddenly stop blaming yourself and start looking at potential, you discover that you got out of your own way, and suddenly you have the ability to tap into your unmanifested potential.

This is one of the most powerful moves I have as a coach: to get you to accept whatever you were fighting, and to focus exclusively on what can be built.

It’s a fun game to play, I tell you.

Let me know if you want me to play it with you.



Care to Answer the Fairy Godmother Question?

In coaching everything hinges on questions.

Asking the right questions is what enables a coach to create a situation where you can reach solutions fast (try it some time – there’s nothing like a coaching session…)

The right questions function like a mirror – enabling you to get clarity on who and how you are.

Anyway, one of my favourite is the ‘fairy godmother question’:

If I had a magic wand that I could wave for you…

What would you like me to change with it?

Let me know, because the answer will either trigger me to suggest a solution, or it will reveal something interesting for you…



Helping the Helper Getting Helped

“Don’t be ridiculous Martin. My flight leaves at 7AM – you’d have to get up at 4 to get me there on time. I’ll just take the night bus – gets me there at midnight, and then it’s just a few hours’ wait”.

Such a lovely friend, always unassuming, never demanding. But in situations like these, sometimes a bit too modest.

After all, I LOVE getting up early. The earlier the better.

And by committing to drive her to the airport, I force myself to go to sleep early, and get up early – what’s not to love?

She understood and gratefully accepted.

And me? Well it’s 8AM, I’ve returned and cleaned my house and I’m ready for a workday, with my daily email half-written. What’s not to love?

She thanked me – but in reality, she’s the one who did the biggest favour.

She enabled me to commit to a decision that is good for me.

But very often, we don’t allow others to help.

Maybe because we believe we’re strong and supposed to do everything on our own.

Or maybe because we really don’t want to burden anyone.

But it’s not a burden to the one offering help, not if it’s genuine. In fact, allowing someone to help you is doing them a favour.

If only for the fact that helping someone makes the helper feel good.

That’s why in certain Buddhist traditions, where the monks and nuns go out to beg for food as part of their spiritual practice, it’s the villagers who say thank you – it’s they who owe a debt of gratitude.

Because the monks and nuns went out of their way to offer the villagers a chance to do a good deed.

The world upside down?

That’s for you to decide. Definitely food for thought, though:

If you don’t want to accept help for your own sake… what if you’d accept some… for the other person’s sake?

Change your perspectives, change your decisions… and your relationships too… and everyone gets better.



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