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

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

Problems I Refuse to Solve… What About You…?

There’s a million problems to solve in life.

Big ones, small ones, problems you avoid and problems that make little impact, solved or not.

And out of all those options for creating improvement in your own life, all the problems you could choose to solve…

What kind of problems do you spend most time on?

Because it’s easy to lose yourself working on the small stuff.

Re-arranging your tools or the folders in your computer.

Meddling with your website when really it’s good enough as is.

Learning how to use Twitter for business when you’ve already got a good thing going on Facebook.

Frittering away hours a week on Amazon, looking for that notebook, or paper, or pen, that’s just perfectly perfect.

Buying a course on video marketing when deep down you don’t believe you’ve got what it takes to be on camera.

But if you spend your time fixing those problems what about the real, big, important, change-making problems?

Because we can either spend our time optimising and fixing small problems, or we can go for the big ones.

For example: your branding. Now there’s a nice big problem to work on. And, one that most people will procrastinate on forever (I did, but now that I solved that problem, life is a lot easier).

Or building a reliable, repeatable marketing system – whether that’s based on networking, social media or advertising – but SOME system that can be run and optimised for predictable results.
Nice big problem to solve.

Relationships, how about that one? They’re crucial to our wellbeing, but very often we simply stop working on a relationship when it grows weak, instead of tightening the bond.

Now to me, even those high-level, big-consequence problems aren’t even the priority or the most important.

For me, the biggest ‘problem to solve’ is: How to be a little bit better all the time, every day – how do *I* improve?

Because for my marketing system to work, I need to be someone people want to work with.

For me to have healthy and meaningful relationships, I need to be someone people want to have a relationship with.

It’s not enough to want awesome things in life: you’ve got to become the kind of person who is able to create those awesome things.

A person who believes marketing is evil and expects people to just show up money in hand, is a person who will struggle. You need to be a person who wants to create their own ethical marketing.

A person who clings to a habit of self-recrimination will constantly bang into self-created glass ceilings, but a person who practices self-awareness and works to change the inner dialogue is someone who breaks through those glass ceilings, one at a time.

If you’re going to choose a problem to work on, best is to pick a big one.

And the biggest ‘problem to solve’?

That would be: To get what you want in life… who do you need to BE?

It might sound weird, to prioritise identity when there’s so many plates to spin and fires to put out.

But if you solve the upmost top-level problem (your identity) you’ll find all other problems in life suddenly become easier to solve.

Me, I refuse to solve small problems. I want to work on the big ones.

So what small problems will you stop working on, so as to commit to solving the big ones?



A Samurai, an Entrepreneur and a Monk Walk Into a Bar…

Asked a friend – a neuroscientist who teaches entrepreneurs about marketing and psychology – for his feedback on that new Calibrate Reality programme I’m developing.

In case you missed it: that’s a coaching trajectory that teaches you how to live with effortless mastery.

We had an interesting exchange, also to do with my site and my branding – and in the end he joked:

“You could brand yourself as a warrior-monk”.

Not all that funny, actually – because he’s spot on.

Not that I’m a fighter in a physical sense. As a kid I had Judo lessons and I played with bow&arrow, and that’s about as warrior-like as I get.

That is to say: in terms of arms, and battle between people.

Where it comes to attitude and identity though, then yes, I’m totally a warrior. Except more like a Zen-monk than a Samurai.

To me, running a business (and a life, for that matter) is one continuous, ongoing Zen tea-ceremony.

Now, you might think that’s a matter of sitting still, and very carefully stirring your tea just so.

But it goes a LOT deeper.

It goes back all the way back to something called Bushido – the Way of the Warrior.

It’s a set of precepts – not even a formalised code of rules – that’s traditionally considered the ultimate code of conduct for warriors – be it a samurai, a spiritual warrior, or indeed a business-warrior.

Now Bushido is not about fighting or warring. In fact, martial arts range from kick&punch (i.e. karate), to wrestle&jostle (judo), to ‘whatever you do, don’t kick or punch’ (Aikido) – and Bushido tells us to avoid violence at all cost.

So when there’s talk about ‘warrior’, it’s about the inner attitude, not about outer violence. Or inner, for that matter.

These are the tenets of Bushido:

•    Righteousness

•    Heroic Courage

•    Benevolence, Compassion

•    Respect

•    Honesty

•    Honour

•    Duty and Loyalty

•    Self-Control

See? Nothing about fighting or winning or dominating. It’s all about the mind.

The attitude. The way you show up.

It’s about how you identify in life and business.

And from my 25 years of experience in deepening that connection with the inner warrior, I can tell you it’s amazingly powerful as an identity  – or archetype – to lean into.

In the end, there’s little difference between someone sailing into the arctic, facing a sworded enemy, or starting a business.

In a practical sense there’s differences, but as far as the mind goes, it’s pretty much the same.

They are all heroic endeavours, making you the entrepreneur a hero of sorts.

Now if you then add on the warrior as the identity you step into… guess what that’s going to do for your life, business, fulfillment, happiness, revenue…?

Imagine: When you show up to your business and life with a code of conduct like Bushido – with all those wonderful attitudes you just read, as your mental weapons…

… and you show up as an accomplished, masterful warrior, ready for anything …

It’s something you can train, you know. And there’s no tea-ceremony or monastic training required.

In fact, that new Calibrate Reality Programme I’m creating is designed precisely to show you how to live from the archetype of the warrior. So stay tuned for more info…


Limiting Beliefs, Schmimiting Beliefs

It’s the hot new thing, these days. Limiting beliefs are the new black. Everywhere you look, on every streetcorner and social media feed, coaches and therapists and biz growth gurus are poised to identify and point out any limiting belief in your thoughts or words.

I call *meh*.

Let’s take it up a notch, and do it right:

Every belief is a limiting belief.

Ooh yeah… I went there.

Let me show you why all beliefs are limiting, starting with a conversation with a friend last Friday, after my little accident.

Sofia: “But you must see a doctor! There might be internal damage!”

Me: “I phoned a friend who’s a doctor. Told her I feel fine, am mobile, not in pain… I even hung the laundry an hour after the fall. Doc said to call back if I’m still having trouble in three weeks”.”

Sofia: “But I’m worried. You need to worry too.”

Me: “What use is worrying though, really?”

Sofia: “What? But we have to worry!”

Whoops. Big limiting belief, right? Obvious one. A belief that pre-reserves part of your thoughts for worry-warting around in your mind. And, limits what amount of mental resources you’ll have left to use.

(And MAN you’d be amazed how many people actually do believe that worrying is useful and good).

But back to the topic: it’s not only negative beliefs that are limiting.

Every belief limits you.

Problem is that we all think (in effect: believe) that we have positive, enabling beliefs, but you’ll have plenty that are, in fact, not positive or enabling.

They’re easy to spot too: just look at the behaviour you display.

Overthink stuff, over and over again? Then there’s a belief that says worrying is useful.

Frantic, panicked, unguided activity each time money gets low? Then there’s a belief saying activity (any kind) beats clarity and focus.

Not been to the gym in 20 years? That means there’s a belief that says (big one here) that you’re immortal – that for all eternity, there’s always going to be a tomorrow.

Same thing with procrastinating on important tasks. Always a tomorrow waiting for you.

Easy to get angry at people? Comes from a belief that you’re more right, or better, or more entitled than others.

Do you argue when your coach suggests you raise your prices? Behind that is a belief that says someone like you ought not to earn that much for the kind of thing you do.

See what I’m doing here?

If you’re really honest with yourself, and if you dare to dig all the way to the root, you’ll always find there’s a larger, deeper, belief at work behind every negative in your life.

Have a look at your own life… what negatives are there?

What do they say about the things that you – deep down – fundamentally believe?



Is It Possible to Live in Effortless Mastery?

If you ask me, then it’s a resounding yes. Effortless mastery is pretty much the mode of my life these days.

Which doesn’t mean I do everything right – falling with a bike and breaking a rib might be an effortless thing to do, but masterful it is not – but it does mean that whatever befalls me don’t bother me none.

Example: inside of one week, three disappointments were thrown at me:

First, I realised that work obligations would very likely prevent me from travelling to Holland this week, for the last chance to see my lifetime musical heroes perform.

Then, I had that accident and broke a rib – making it 100% certain I’m not going to Holland.

And then to put a cherry on top, I lost my wallet.

I can remember a time when this would have sent me into a tailspin of ‘life sucks’, ‘why me’, and ‘this damn world is out to hurt me’ kinda narrative.

These days though? I take it in stride. One door closes, another opens, one thing ends and another starts.

That doesn’t mean I’m happy about setbacks, they just don’t set ME back.

This is what I call living with effortless mastery.

And I want to know what you think of the following, a new training course I’ve created.

It’s called: The Stellar Edge: get an unfair advantage in business and life.

This is what’s in the tin:

TSE shows you how to think and decide like a CEO, in order to get you better results.

The program instills in you an ability to create flow in life and business.

The result: you end up in control of life, and increasingly live with effortless mastery.

That there is the USP, and the promise the programme makes.

What do you think, is that – control, flow, and effortless mastery – something you’d want in your life?

If so, register here for the free TSE webinar:



How Do You Use Your Tools? (+Everything is Healing Nicely)

The elbow is an enormously useful tool. Not only can it bend millions of times over a lifetime, it can also be used to jokingly rib a friend, to poke and ward off an attacker, or to lean on things like tables and windowsills.

What’s it’s not very good for though, is falling on top of, when you’re in a wipe-out on your motorbike.

I tried that the other day and I can confirm that it’s not what the elbow is made for. It works, but it’s no fun.

Not that anything terrible happened btw: it was in town at low speed, and aside from a broken rib and some scrapes on my legs, I’m fine.

But it got me thinking about how weird we are.

Normally, we get protected by our lizard brain.

When we’re about to fall, our instinct tells us to drop everything and reach for that thing rushing up to meet you – usually the floor.

But I didn’t.

I did feel the urge to catch my fall with my hand – I literally noticed the order given by my lizard brain: “Drop everything NOW. CUSHION YOUR FALL – STAT!” – but I didn’t.

Watching as if in slow motion, I saw my rational mind step in and say: “Back off buddy, we don’t need your help here. This is slow speed. We can catch this bike and save everything”.

Very weird, to be aware of it in the moment.

And of course, the mind was wrong, as it always is when it argues with the subconscious.

There was no way I could catch the bike. So it fell, and I fell, and since my hand was still holding on, all I could do was land on my side, and my elbow happened to be there. Ouch (a little – I’m lucky as hell in that it doesn’t hurt much).

So there’s two lessons I’d like to draw from this for you:

1: There’s no use, ever, in arguing with the subconscious. It has a far wider knowledge and insight than the arguing rational mind, so really you serve yourself better by listening than protesting.

This applies both to everyday life, as well as instant reflex, fight or flight-type situations (though you’ll obviously have less control there).

Point is though, your subconscious knows stuff. I urge you to listen to it and assess what it says, rather than argue your point against it. You’ll never win, because when you do you lose.

2: How often do we not use our tools for something they’re not made for…?

Obviously, an elbow is not for falling on. And obviously, the mind is not for listening to when your subconscious is trying to protect you.

But beyond that:

Your joyful social presence and giving nature – are you using it to while away your time on Facebook, or do you go there to use those qualities so as to have meaningful, business-building conversations with potential clients?

The writing skill you have – do you use it only to write your journal or your morning pages – or do you also use it to brainstorm your business growth, or – even better – to send daily emails to your peeps.

That carefree joyful way of showing up to a camera, do you use that tool at all? *points at self*

And what about that fantastically powerful and utterly resourceful creative mind of yours…

Do you use it to worry and invent doomsday scenarios for the future – or do you put it to work, creating systems and habits and revenue models and what have you, that make those potential doomsday futures a thing to not even worry about?

Of all the tools you have, the mind is the single most powerful one.

Do you use it deliberately?

Do you use it for what it’s made for – meaning: creating your life, future, and reality?



Why Are Things Not Working Better?

Ever get that feeling?

With all the experience you have…

The connections, the knowledge, the practice…

With all the effort you’ve put in, and the money you’ve invested…

Why ain’t things working better?

Makes no sense: Given how dedicated and persistent and resourceful you are… why are things not flowing better, yet?

I mean, you’ve got all the ingredients for success and wealth and fulfillment… and you mix them together and you work the assets you have, and you show up and you’re working on your self-awareness and and and…

Honestly. By all accounts you’d think that by now your business would be running all four cylinders, with a turbo on top. Or at the very least, be running in a stable way, instead of the stop-start, up&down, feast&famine patterns.

And yet… that’s not reality yet.

Must be something wrong with the world, right? Or, level up: something wrong with *gulp* you?

Nope, actually. Nothing wrong with you.

What happens when you get this kind of ‘what gives?’ feeling, is that you’re experiencing the results of study and practice – and that’s not yet full mastery. When you’re still trying to create that flow in business, you’re effectively being a student of business-building.

And as you study, practice, experiment and learn, you develop mastery, bit by bit. You get better at stuff, until you reach a tipping point, and you get a ‘I got this’ feeling.

That’s the first level of mastery. It’s the moment when you step back, look at your systems working and yielding either results or meaningful data and feedback, when you look at your inner state and notice calm composure, regardless of circumstances…

And you realise that hey, you’re beginning to get the hang of it. You’re gaining control – over the outer elements as well as the inner elements.

That moment, that’s like when a runner discovers the flow and rhythm of running. And if you haven’t had that yet (or lost it)?

Then realise that more running (whilst learning how to improve your practice, obviously – get yourself a coach for best results) is what will get you there, in the end.

And on your way there, would you be frustrated that you’re still not running in a state of flow, yet?

Of course not.

So why would you be frustrated when it comes to your business not running that way yet?

Just keep running. Mind the blisters, tie your laces carefully. And keep running.


Get set, go.



Let’s Play “I Can Predict If You’ll Make it or Not”…

Of course, I can’t predict your future success or absence thereof. Those bastards at Amazon just won’t deliver that crystal ball I bought.

But, a simple exercise will reveal the state of a specific, make-or-break attitude that an entrepreneur needs to make it.

Here’s the exercise:

First, pick an outcome – a dream you have, or wish or goal… something you really care about. Business, personal, whatever you want.

Got it?

Now ask yourself: which obstacles stand in my way of getting it?

Write ’em down all of them. Do a braindump, and write down all possible (real or projected/imaginary) obstacles that could prevent your achieving the goal.

Then, mark each obstacle with an S or an O.

O stands for obstacles that are outside of your influence, imposed by others or the situation.

S stands for the kind of obstacles that stem from self. Could be skills that are lacking, leadership qualities to develop, beliefs you know are holding you back, bad habits or good ones that are missing… you name it.

Count the O’s and S’s.

If you score higher on the ‘Other’ field than you do on the ‘Self’ field, you won’t make it.

Ok, that’s not fair: it ain’t that cut & dry. But you get the point.

Because, there’s a strong correlation between the amount of ownership someone takes over whatever obstacle there is in life, and the amount of success or the speed of getting there.

The more you take responsibility, the better you’ll do.

Finger-pointers and blame-dispensers don’t tend to go many places, you know?

Want to go places?

Then you are responsible.

For the way you think, the way you frame obstacles, and for the way you persistently transform any seemingly external obstacle, into something that becomes your responsibility to resolve.

You can apply this to literally anything, even things that are truly outside of your control.

Imagine a freelancer with a client who keeps changing the scope of work on a project.

Outside obstacle, isn’t it?

Nope, it’s not. That too is an inner obstacle, in that the freelancer can decide to select clients more carefully.

Turning an outer obstacle into an item that you can take ownership over.

So what’s something in your list that you’ve always seen as ‘outer obstacle’, but that you can actually own and resolve?

Oh yeah, and um: when will you start?



What Colour Are Your You-Coloured Glasses?

Here’s a nifty little trick to help you figure out in what way those ‘you-coloured-glasses’ of yours determine your interpretation of reality.

Ask yourself: what would John’s view be on this?

Or Jane, whatevs…

Pick a person, place yourself in their shoes, and try to imagine their point of view on the thing.

Can be anything btw: a lying politician, the good habits you still haven’t managed to build yet, a fracking oil-company, your partner snapping at you, your kids not eating their greens…

Whatever you perceive and have an opinion or emotion over, ask yourself what someone else would think of that thing.

In all cases there would be some degree of a different viewpoint from yours, right?

Well that difference tells you how you colour your view of the world.

Which, in case you missed yesterday’s missive, is something a human being can not avoid doing.

And it’s not that interpreting or colouring is wrong – just that if you’re not deliberate about it, you might use interpretations that just don’t help you much. Or worse.

As always: it’s your thoughts about a thing that determine what that thing is, means, represents, or does in your life. Not the thing itself, ever.

So if you look at John or Suzy’s perception, they evidently have different thoughts than you about the thing.

Which means that you too can have different thoughts – the very moment you decide to discard the current ones and replace them with others. That simple.

You redefine what a thing is. Means. Represents in your life. That’s all.

Because if what a thing represents in your life isn’t positive or optimal, wouldn’t you prefer a different view?

I know I do… and we all get to choose our views. Yay!

So what thing is there in your life, that you’d like to have a different view and set of thoughts around…?



How to Calibrate Reality

Right, you probably think that’s hype: ‘calibrate reality’? Impossible!

Or maybe you think that I’ve given up on clear thinking, and now only believe in woo-woo stuff.

But nope, I’m dead serious.

You can calibrate reality, and I can teach you how to do it.

Here, let me show you how it works:

First, understand that whatever reality is or is not, no matter what science of philosophy or religion you adhere to, there’s one fundamentally true principle that applies to all of us.

We perceive. Ourselves, and others, and our reality and so on – and it just so happens that the psyche can not perceive without also interpreting.

Colouring what you see, if you will.

Or put differently: we all wear Self-Coulored Glasses, and they influence how we see that what we see.

Can’t avoid it. Perception IS a process of interpretation.

Right? So, then calibrating reality really becomes something very simple.

And, it becomes the one thing that for some thing is the very last thing they want to face:

That no matter what IS in your reality, it’s always only your perception, where you can make changes.

You can try to influence people or things in your life, but you’ve already found that it’s not much fun and a whole bunch less effective.

But if you change the way you see things?

Magic. Suddenly, everything is different.

Who wouldn’t want that?

Beats me.

But for me, and for my clients, calibrating reality is an ongoing, daily practice.

And it’s real simple:

1: Practice self-awareness

2: Learn to think about your thinking

3: Become a systems-thinker: develop the ability to see how certain ways of thinking and deciding and acting give you results you don’t want, and the ability to modify those systems for different results.

And there: you’re calibrating reality.

What’s that you say? That 3-point list sounds like it’ll take years to get the hang of this?

Well yes, obviously. You don’t get profound control over your reality just by wishing for it.

You can’t just call yourself a manifestor and then expect it to be so.

It takes time, and work, and patience, and scrutiny, and radical truthfulness with yourself, and tough decisions, and –

Hey did you hear that? That was the sound of half my readers clicking away from this article.

After all, most people don’t want to do the work.

They want to have things handed to them on a silver platter, without having to do any work.

Smart people like you and me though, we know things take time and work, and we’re happy to get our hands dirty.

Now, there’s one way to speed things up: having me show you how to do it. Guide you through the experience of reworking your perception.

That doesn’t give you a magic pill – I don’t sell hype. I’ll leave that to the scumbags in the coaching.

What I sell, is change. And I can’t change you: only you can do that.

But what I can do, is give you methods, training, experiences, insights and a lot more, that will enable you to develop your own skills much faster than on your own.

Including your skills at calibrating reality.

So, shoot me an email and let’s talk.



The Case for (and How to) Only Thinking Important Thoughts

To me, thinking about stuff that’s irrelevant is a total waste of time.

Because if you don’t deliberately think about stuff that’s important, you’ll end up thinking lots about totally unimportant trivia – which has an enormous cost in terms of cognitive capacity (your ability to focus and reason clearly – it’s a  finite resource that gets depleted with every thought and decision, until it gets reset the next day).

Like, where’s your keys. What time to leave home, now that you have to factor in extra time with those road works going on. Yeah, the same calculation you made yesterday too.

Or where to go for which purchases. Or what your password was. Or where you put your passport. Or that important file you wanted to read but it got lost on your HD.

It’s not that those thoughts aren’t important – but they’re not important enough to have more than once.

All those thoughts and questions I listed, and all the other ones you think every hour, day, or week – realise how much mental energy you’re wasting…!

All that cognitive firepower could also be used to think about things that matter. Like: How to grow your email list. Or how to create a product around your service, that enables you to sell and earn without having to rely only on selling hours. Or how to solve world hunger. Or how to get humanity to Mars. Or solve climate change. Eradicate malaria.

You’ll notice that in these ‘problems to solve’ or ‘jobs to get done’, there’s an increase in magnitude.

Which is useful to notice, because the most useful thinking anyone can ever do, is about the biggest, top-level, most impact-causing problems.

Now we’re not all here to build rocketships or rid the world of cancer. Would that…

But, we do all have problems to choose from, on all kinds of levels.

And the bigger, more important the problems that you decide to tackle, the bigger the changes in your life.

I swear, guarantee and promise, or your money back, that nobody’s life ever got better from solving the ‘where’s my keys’ problem on a daily basis.

What a waste of thought.

And we spend thought on all kinds of trifling, insignificant things, every day.

Me, I try to eliminate all of that. I try to make a system out of anything that’s repetitive. My keys, they live in the lock on the inside of the door. Habit. System. Never lose them, never forget them.

How to grow my list? Get interviewed on podcasts (let me know if you have one and want to talk!). Thought about it, decision made – ‘how to build list’ is, for the moment, no longer a topic to think about.

Passport? In a box with all my travel-gear.

You get the picture: the more you make systems out of things, the more time your brain will have to think about more important stuff.

And part of that is creativity: you’ll find that the more ‘stuff’ you carry in your mind, the harder it is to truly dive deep in your creativity.

Now, let’s take this whole concept of systems thinking, up a level.

What would happen if you were to create a system for how you think…?

And then, you create a system for how you think about your way of thinking…?

Yeah I know – your brain right now probably feels like it’s trying to fold in on itself while trying to do a backflip. Sorry ‘bout that.

Seriously though: what if your way of thinking is systematic, in that you have a radar for anything that’s trivial, and you automatically look for ways to make a system out of those things, so you no longer have to think about them?

Would make an enormous change in your life, I promise.

And all it takes is to play with the concept of systems, and start building them.

Optional: talk to a systems-thinker coach (hello!) and get help from an expert.

Anyhoo, worth trying out. You’ll be surprised…



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