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

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

Who Would You Betray, If You Were to Succeed?

Funny how much the subconscious decides what we do and where we go.

Or in some cases: not so funny at all.

For example, when you have a big dream, a wonderfully big ambition, and for some reason you just can’t seem to get it to become real.

Why is that?

Well, every case is different, but a very common obstacle is the unconscious belief that if you do succeed, you’d betray someone from your past – often a parent or sibling, but it can even be someone from before then.

In family constellation therapy, this is called ‘destructive loyalties’, and an example is this:

Imagine that in your family, nobody in recent history ever built a successful business.

Most people never even tried, and those who did either failed, or played small and didn’t grow, or threw in the towel.

You grow up with the (subconscious) notion that this is simply how my family is.

“In our lineage, we’re just not good at being in business”.

Of course your mind knows that this doesn’t have to be true for you, but the problem is that your mind isn’t the boss – it’s your subconscious that drives your life.

(Which is why it’s so incredibly important to learn how your mind works, and train yourself to steer it in the right directions – because your mind DOES steer and influence your subconscious, and tells it what to believe in, after which the subconscious dutifully controls your life based on the beliefs you fed it.)

Anyway, if ‘our family sucks at business’ lives in your subconscious, for you to suddenly be the first to become successful means that you’d radically break tradition.

And that could be perceived by your subconscious as a gross act of disloyalty – and you’re not supposed to be disloyal, and so, the subconscious makes sure it’ll sabotage any effort to actually build a nice and thriving business.

Another example is a family that never had any sizeable wealth.

Always been nice, humble, ‘getting by ok’ people, the whole known lineage.

For you then to up and create wealth for yourself, well that would be betrayal of family tradition, right? (not for your mind, but for your subconscious).

Yes, the mind works in weird and wonderful ways.

So. If any of this resonates with you, I invite you to ask yourself:

Who (or what) would I betray if I succeed? If I reach my goals?

What tradition would I break with?

Remember that this can be someone outside your family as well, for example a teacher who persuaded you that you’ll never amount to nothing, and had a big influence on you.

If that happens at a young age, you can be subconsciously loyal to him or her as well.

So, some exploring, if you think this might be at play for you?

Ask: Who would I betray if I succeed?

When you have the answer, let me know.

We can talk (no cost, short and laser-focused session) and I’ll try and help you break out of the rut.



How to Make Use of Rejection

Most of us don’t like being rejected, and lots of people are so afraid of it, they never take any action where they run the risk.

But to me, that’s no way to live.

Besides, what is rejection anyway?

It’s nothing but someone saying no to how they perceive something.

Rejection is never about you, but about the other person. It’s their view on you, or your work, or your opinion.

Still, it might not feel nice when it happens – especially if you’ve worked hard on a project or a design or a work of art.

So here’s a little reframe that will help you deal with – and even welcome – rejection.

I use it all the time, and it works very nicely indeed.

It’s this:

‘Rejection’ is the start of (or the start of deepening) a relationship.

When someone says no (let’s also stop using the word rejection), you have just learned something about that person.

So you get to ask yourself why, what’s happening there, in that other world that that person is.

And whenever you ask yourself what’s going on in the other world (meaning, you make it about them instead of about you), you open up to your own different view of them.

And you might learn that all that needs to happen is to create a different approach of communication.

Or to explain something differently, or modify the project, or show a different work of art.

Because in their world, there’s a reason to say no.

Change or remove that reason, and you just might get a maybe, a tell me more, or even a yes.

Make it your default reaction, when you hear a no: “What’s happening there, why do they really reject it? What do they perceive that they’re saying no to?”

More often than not, ‘no’ is simply down to a misunderstanding – and communication can fix that.

But only if you don’t take it personally, and make it about them.

And, when you do that you get to move forward and you have a relationship – or if there already was one, you get to create a deeper level of relationship.

This sort of reframing is part and parcel of the coaching process, and it’s magical to see clients pick up ideas like this, run with it, and discover a different way to live and work.

Available to you any time you want, just let me know when you’re ready.



Me, Make, Meet

How much time do you tend to give to taking care of yourself – mentally, emotionally, physically…?

How much time and attention do you give to making things?

Whether art, or writing, or whatever your creative activity is?

And, how much time goes into connecting with people?

Emails, meetings, social media, phone calls…

For most of us, one or more of these things get underserved.

Especially in the artist world, there’s a lot of ‘mostly creating’ where the other two suffer.

But in order to have a healthy business, each of these three need to get the attention they deserve. Otherwise it’ll be hard for you to prosper.

One of the things I’m doing to improve my business and live and productivity, is – you guessed it – creating systems around how I spend my time.

Because while I can – and usually do – get a lot done, I often end my day wondering what exactly I’ve accomplished.

Horrible feeling: you can tell that you’ve been hard at work, you can feel it – but you kind of forget at what.

So here’s something that I’m going to be putting in my calendar every working day:

Three blocks of time: Times for Me, Make, and Meet.

I came across an article by a former manager at Google, called Graham Jenkins, where he explains – and it makes so much sense!

Sure, I already have my ‘me-time’.

That’s my morning ritual, which includes reading and meditating and going for a walk.

But very often, because I don’t have an actual plan, I jump from task to task without actually really being focused.

And inevitably, either the make time or the meet time suffers.

But that’s going to change.

I could try to explain how to make use of the me, make, meet principle, but Graham does a much better job at it.

So today, I’ll simply point you at the article:

Because hey, I’ve got things to make, you see?

Check out the article, see if this is something you should also implement.

Obviously, you might not have ‘meetings’ like a startup founder does – but you still need to connect and communicate with people, so when he says ‘meet’, just think of it as connect&communicate.

Have fun, people.



When Everyone Around You Is a Jerk (Lessons From a Cat-Whisperer)

This morning, I went for a walk as I do each day – but this time, with my cat.

And not on my shoulder, as normal.

No, this time, Funky traipsed beside me all the way, just as if he were a puppy.

You might be a dog person rather than a cat person, but stay with me: I’m making a point that goes beyond pets, and there’s a very practical trick in here, that I SO hope you’ll use.

Or a question, rather than a trick – IF you dare to ask it.

Here goes.

There’s a saying that if everyone you meet is a jerk, the actual jerk is you.

It’s easy to pass blame, to point the finger. To make other people wrong.

But if you do that – always finding fault outside yourself instead of sucking it up and admitting that you’re being the one at fault, you won’t live a very happy life.

Not that I’m any better of course – there are times I also fall into the trap.

But the other day I discovered a trick – an attitude, rather – that helped me stop it, and it gave instant, and freakishly impressive results.

I’ve always been good with cats. Had many, knew how to train them (or rather: befriend them) despite cats having a very tricky psyche. They’re not like dogs.

I like to joke that I’m a cat-whisperer, but really I’m good with them.

Rescued a stray once, which took a long time and a lot of patience, but he – SmokieBowie – turned into one of the sweetest creatures you can imagine.

But this new one, 9 months old, had been a complete and utter jerk lately, and nothing I tried seemed to work.

Biting and scratching me, destroying things in the house… completely insufferable.

And I got more and more annoyed – angry, even.

I was already looking for a new home for him – one with a garden, because this one was a real wild one when I got him, and living in an apartment was clearly the problem.

Cat wants to get out, right? Best find him a new home where he can.

But then I stopped and looked at myself.

Yes, I too look in the mirror.

And I wondered: is this what a Lover would do?

Not a lover in the normal interpersonal sense, but a Lover, the way a Sufi is a Lover, in Love with his god.

And I realised I had been the jerk. It was me who had been pointing the finger.

So the first thing I did was to change my reactions. Instead of growling at him or tapping him on the nose, I simply started ignoring him.

Didn’t allow him to sit with me, or even on the sofa, and he was devastated, sulking through the house. Definitely sad.

And then I figured: why not let him outside then? I’ll have to open the door for him, but why not? If he wants to… is that so much trouble? Obviously, he was thrilled.

And this morning he followed me, faithful and near. Totally happy.

Just because I discarded all blame, and looked exclusively at my own behaviour.

So there’s the lesson: whenever you’re upset with someone, when you’re surrounded by jerks, or when you’re blaming someone else…

Ask yourself: what would a lover do?

What would love say?

What would you do if you acted out of love, instead of blame?

Try it.

Your life will change. And your cat might join you for a walk.



State Management, Productivity, Procrastination – and The Feelgood File

In our day to day, we go through all kinds of states, emotionally and mentally.

Happy, down, frustrated, motivated, productive, stuck in thinking… a wide variety available to us.

And the state we’re in (obviously) has a big impact on how we perform and how much we get done. If we do anything at all, because quite often, the wrong state causes procrastination or a loss of focus.

This, incidentally, is one of the reasons I dislike Facebook so much: the system has been engineered by some of the world’s smartest scientists to keep us scrolling, and to keep us feeling like we’re missing out if we don’t check in frequently, or don’t reply every time the thing beeps at you.

But bashing Flakebook isn’t the point today.

I want to tell you that the more you are able to control, or change, the state that you’re in, the better things will go.

In terms of relationships and your reactions to others, but also where it comes to managing your energy, and also your productivity and decision-making.

And you know that those, when optimal are what make or break your success.

So here’s a nifty trick that is nearly guaranteed to make your state – whatever level it may be at – go up, VERY fast.

Takes a bit of preparation (step 1 and 2) but once done, you can run this hack on yourself any time you want.

Step 1: Open a document and paste in all the testimonials that customers have ever sent you.

Step 2: Type out all the nice and/or positive things people have said to or about you (friends, family, colleagues, etc).

This document is what I call The Feelgood File, and I cherish mine. Each time someone sends me a testimonial or replies to my emails with a positive comment, I stick it into the file.

Step 3: (the fun part) read the words to yourself, out loud. Repeat. Repeat again. Keep repeating until your state changes and you feel real good.


Sure this might seem strange, but it works. And yes, maybe your mind will argue, throwing up objections and whatever – but it doesn’t matter, it still works.

Why? Because while your conscious mind might protest, your subconscious knows that it’s true, and somehow (there’s science behind it but don’t ask me to explain) it will trigger the release of the kinds of hormones that make you feel good. Endorphines, serotonines, dopamine – I don’t even know and really, the exact mix doesn’t matter.

The only thing that matters is that this simple exercise works. It lifts your state, and with that you can get back to doing your best work.

So there. My Christmas gift for you.

There’s only one drawback: it only works if you want it to, or at least are open to it.

If you’re decided that it ain’t gonna work anyway, don’t waste your time.

You’ve got to want it to work.

Try it, let me know how it works out for you.



Also, Don’t Forget This…

Today, there’s only one thing I want to tell you.

Yes, it’s another ‘your next year just might be your best’, here’s what to do.

What can I say? It’s the season to pause and reflect.

Here’s the one thing today:

Now for this year, and basically from here on out, you’d do yourself an enormous favour if you’d pick one thing (see what I did there?) to put the majority of your attention and effort into.

One thing, hard as that might seem. Because there’s always so many things that you could go for, work on, develop.

Things that seem interesting, great opportunities, profitable, or lots of fun.

But the more you have going, the more you spread your energy.

So please, pick one thing, the most important.

Avoid everything else, as long as the question ‘will this significantly contribute to my one thing’ is not yes.

And hey, you might wonder if it’s a good idea, this approach.

Well, I used to be a monk. I know a thing or two about focus and one-pointed attention.

Including how to use extreme focus to create business success – started two companies that worked really well – one as a copywriter, one as a coach.

So I’m not just making it up.

Focus. It works.

There’s an awesome book about this kind of thinking, called – you guessed it, The One Thing.

Good read, I recommend it.

And obviously, I’d be more than happy to help you figure out which one thing to pick.



MUCH Better Than Resolutions (Exercise Inside)

Here’s a fun little exercise to help you get started with an awesome 2018.

Works a lot better than resolutions.

I call it the Energy Planner.

This exercise is designed to modify the context in which you live and work.

It’s about changing elements in your environment, in order to be more productive, have more time, earn more money, and live a more fulfilled life.

After all, it’s well known that the context makes all the difference when we want to create and achieve things.

The example of an alcoholic: no matter how effective the treatment was, and how happy and resolved the individual, if they go home where their spouse is still drinking and the person goes back to hanging out with his drinking buddies, it won’t be long before he or she falls off the wagon again.

And that’s just social context – there’s more.

So, to have a wonderful and stellar year, do this:

Draw four columns on a piece of paper, just like in the drawing, and title them as follows:





Divide each column in two, vertically. Label left one with a plus sign, and the right one with a minus.

Take some time to reflect for this exercise.

Which people in your life give you energy?

Write the names down under the plus in the first column.

Which people sap your energy, make you feel like you lost a quart of blood?

Under the minus.

Same thing for habits, and the other two columns.

Be ruthless here. Even if you like an item or person, the fact that they drain your energy means they go under the minus.

Be extensive, list everything that comes to mind.

If you want a physical element to the exercise, cut up the columns into 8 strips.

The plus columns, glue them to a piece of paper, or frame it or whatever, just so that you can keep it handy, as a reminder.

The minus columns… well, be creative. Burn them, bury them, tear them up, whatever you want.

And for the next year and thereafter, seek to experience as many of the plus things that you listed.

The minus things fall under the category ‘avoid at all cost’.

Obviously, you can’t just eliminate a boss or a relative from your life, but you can – and should – work to change the dynamic. You can always change the dynamics.

Which is something that I can help with, if you don’t know how. Just let me know.



Better Than the ‘Law of Attraction’

There’s a lot of talk about the law of attraction.

And while there’s helpful ways of thinking, in some of the books and videos about it, it sure ain’t my thing.

I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade, but hey: thinking that you’ll be rich, or find a dream spouse, or become very successful, isn’t going to magically make it happen. No matter how much people tell you that it will.

You can’t dream, or wish, or think, things into existence. Believe me, I’ve tried.

(And yes, I know that the idea is about more than just thinking – but that doesn’t change the point I’m making today).

So allow me to propose something else, something FAR more powerful. A much better law.

And something indisputable too.

I call it the law of creation.

As in: what you create, will then exist.

Can’t argue with that, right?

You create a painting, a meal, a conversation… you name it.

That’s why I call a human being a natural born creator.

We’re always, constantly, creating things.

The nice thing about that is that it gives you full control.

There’s no universe or godhead that you need to rely on, because you’re the one in charge.

You create.

Maybe right now, you’re creating an opinion about Martin, because you disagree with me.

Maybe later, you’ll create a decision. Or a thought about something.

And that last thing – the thoughts you create – are important.

Because what you think directs your feelings and decisions and actions.

And actions are the tool you use to create things.

So if you want to create a certain end result, start by creating the right thoughts.

Because while it might seem that thoughts come at you, and are not of your making, they are.

Except we usually let the mind create thoughts on its own, instead of taking charge of mind.

Don’t let your mind be your dictator – that’s not what it’s for.

After all, you’re the boss in your mind, right? Or at least, you’re supposed to be, and you can’t be.

One of the things I enjoy most in coaching, is helping clients change their way of thinking, making them more likely to actually get to their goal.

So, let me know if you want some of that.



Goals? Forget About Them

Also: don’t even THINK about making New Year’s resolutions.

Wait, what? Is this the same Martin who wrote about plans for the new year, yesterday?

Yep, same dude.

And I’m not joking.

Let’s do this one quickly.

Resolutions are known to fail, and lots. Only 10% of them actually make it.

And the big problem is that if you don’t stick with it, you have an excellent reason to beat yourself up over it.

There’s better ways – for example, a quick search showed me the WOOP strategy.

W: a wish

O: an objective or goal

O: recognisings possible obstacles, and most importantly:

P: a plan to overcome the obstacle.

Sounds a lot better than resolutions, right? Right.

And as for goals, the best thing you can do with them is set ‘em and forget ’em.

If you want to climb a mountain and your goal is the summit, are you going to focus on that goal all the time?

Of course not. You’d walk off a cliff, or get eaten by a bear, or you’d lose your way.

And that applies to any goal you could set.

Focus on the steps, the roadmap, the plan. Focus on what you’re doing to reach the goal.

Trust me, you can safely forget about the goal itself, once you’ve set it and made a plan.

Every couple of weeks or months you review your progress and adjust as needed, and on you go.

Because here’s the problem when you’re constantly occupied with the goal:

It will always seem like it isn’t getting any closer!

If you’re looking at the goal (especially the big ones), it’ll soon start to feel as if you’ll never get there.

So focus on the path. The steps.

Progress, not the end result. That’s what you always want to keep looking it.

Right? Good.

And if you want help picking a goal and creating a plan, just let me know.



Taking Stock, Gearing Up for the New Year?

I’m curious: how was your year?

What changed in your life, your business, your finances?

And in your mind – your inner world, soul, emotions – any changes there?

I’m asking not to pry (though I AM curious, so feel free to hit reply and share whatever you like) but because last year around this time, I did something new:

I sat down for an entire day, with a training by the Shrink for Entrepreneurs, Peter Shallard, to plan and design my 2017.

Because he said that an end-of-year planning ‘ritual’ is something that the vast majority of successful, high-performing entrepreneurs do.

And since I want to be a successful, high-performing entrepreneur as well, I figured I’d give it a shot.

Of course the carefully laid out plan was halted in the first week of the year (circumstances – a visitor was taken to hospital, after which she flew back to Switzerland and I drove to Switzerland to get her car there. And from there on, my plan just disintegrated more and more).

But it mattered not at all, because somehow I kept rolling out new plans as I went along, and I must say: this year has been rather amazing. Staggeringly good, in fact – both in terms of money, creativity, happiness, friendships…

In other words, I’m VERY grateful for the Martin from 12 months ago. Dude did me a BIG favour.

And so today, I want to implore you to reserve a day, or even two, before the new year starts.

If you’re not used to planning long-term, there’s books and free programmes online that will help you get strategic.

Best is if you use pen and paper, instead of keyboard – there’s real benefits to writing long-hand for this kind of thing.

Either way, I set myself up for a headstart, last year.

And I want the same for you. You deserve it.

And, if you do it, your future self will also be grateful for your today-self, just like me.

Which is also the trick in case your mind is throwing up excuses (too busy, too confused, don’t need it etc etc):

Taking time to plan ahead is a way to do your future self a favour. And that future self is you, but it’s also not-you.

And it’s always easier to do a favour for someone else than it is to do it for yourself.

So please. Take a day, plan your year.

And if you have questions, just write me and ask.



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