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

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

Excellent Servant, Terrible Master (How to Get Out of Your Head Quick Smart)

A mind is a wonderful thing to have. It can remember things, create ideas, think through problems and solve them, design goals and the plans to get them to manifest… lovely stuff.

Not quite as lovey though, is its tendency to dominate.

Like a dictator, ready to stage a coup any moment it gets a chance.

One moment you’re happily doing your thing, feeling good, and bam: suddenly a thought pops up that spins your thoughts out of control. Doomsday scenarios, rehashing old conversations and things you ought to have said, banging your mind against problems you’ve already and unsuccessfully tried to solve a 1000 times before, and before long your good mood and happy creative state is gone.

Thing to do, is to learn how to work with your mind, instead of letting your mind work you.

Because the mind is an awesome and powerful servant, but a terrible master.

Which you know from experience: when you let it run wild, it can take you all kinds of horrible places. Avoidance and procrastination being one of the first stations.

Cat videos, Facebook, Netflix – ANYTHING to move your mind away from what it seems to have bitten into like a pitbull.

But there’s a more fun and more productive way:


Or more specifically: using a pen and paper for intelligent reflection.

That’s quite different from journalling or writing morning pages, btw. Those might be fun, but intelligent reflection is a whole different level.

It’s kinda like taming the mind, and it’s real simple.

Step 1: Identify a problem, unresolved question or other issue that keeps your mind occupied.

2: Formulate it as an open-ended question and write it at the top of the page.

3: Brainstorm the living daylights of that puppy! Jot down any idea, no censorship, doodle and diagram and just put black on the page.

Before long you’ll have discovered something useful, or interesting, you’ll have created clarity, and you will find that – magically! – your mind no longer needs to cling to the topic for the moment.

Peace at last.

Note: for this to work, it’s got to be pen and paper. Brain science shows that longhand writing has a different effect on the brain, and you just can’t get the same level and depth of poking around in the subconscious if you write on a keyboard. Trust me on that one.

Note 2: If you REALLY can not bring yourself to write longhand, the next best option is to go for a long walk/soak in a bathtub/drive, and record yourself while you talk yourself through the brainstorm. But really, writing is MUCH more powerful, because your eyes are getting instant positive feedback from the things you’re writing down.

I discovered this last winter, when my coach had me buy a quality notebook, and he started feeding me writing prompts, always in the form of a question.

And as the good little student I am, I took it seriously and journaled on all the prompts he gave me (obviously: if I pay a guy to give me the best tools and methods for moving forward, it makes no sense to not do the homework).

And the results over the last 6 months have been massive. So much clarity. So much better decision-making.

All from a daily habit of asking myself a tough or complex question, and allowing my subconscious to flow out through my pen.

For example, I spent weeks *thinking* about what my Calibrate Reality training should do for people. Couldn’t get clear on it.

Until I wrote the question down, journalled on it for 30 minutes, and bam: I knew precisely what it would do, who it would be for, and I had the starting point of the whole programme.

So. Stuck in your head much?

Create a question, write it down, brainstorm on it.

And if you’re stuck on something and you don’t know what’s the best question to ask yourself, send me an email and tell me what you’re facing. I’ll do my best to give you a writing prompt that will help you break through it.


A Life as Beautiful, Rich, Creative and Giving-based as Mine? Become a Surgeon

Took a long time, hard work, and lots of tough choices, but life has become rather swell for me over the years. Pretty damn perfect, in fact.

(Side note: like that photo here – I had just written my email, went to the beach for a plate of fish, and it just so happened that the waitress was wearing the perfect illustration for today. Gotta love synchronicity)

Like they say: Tough choices = easy life. Easy choices = tough life.

So if you want a life that’s as rich, peaceful, beautiful, creative and giving-based as mine, there’s only one way to create it:

Become a surgeon.

Think about it:

If the goal is ‘a healthy patient’, a surgeon will ruthlessly remove anything that jeopardises that goal.

It’s the only way.

If your goal is whatever version of ‘perfect life’ applies to you, then there’s two steps to take:

1: Excise with extreme prejudice everything (people, places, things, habits) that in anyway obstructs your progress, or negatively affects you state – your calm and you ability to think clearly. .

2: Once done with that (or you’re in the process of it, & you’re noticing how goddam awesome life is starting to become), it’s time to level up:

Excise with extreme prejudice anything and everything that does not directly, and at no disruptive/damaging cost, contribute to your goal for life.

Yes, this can be hard. It means sacrificing things you care about (or maybe: are attached to?).

But ask yourself: if you want a ‘perfect life’, how badly do you want it?

If it’s important enough, are the sacrifices not worth it? Also: are YOU not worth it?

You can either live a ‘nice life’ which includes a bunch of stuff that you’ve resigned to, or you can live a ‘perfect life’, in which the space previously taken up by crappy things and people, gets filled by awesome things and people.

Oh, and if you think it’s selfish to design your life and your happiness this way, ask my friends and my clients how liberally I share, give, do charity, support, and help wherever I can.

The happier, more free, and more relaxed you are, the more others will benefit from your well-being.

Worth it? I’ll say.

I’ve made my choice.

Have you?



Never Get Good at the Small Tasks

In any given day or week, how many of your tasks and activities should actually not be done by you?

Unless you have a team working with (and even if you do), there’s going to be a ton of things that need to be done, but they’re the little things, the day-to-day.

Scheduling posts, filing paperwork, replying to low-importance emails (as opposed to high-importance customer inquiries), updating your website… heck even doing the dishes or washing the car.

Most entrepreneurs (even successful ones, and even those who do have a team) will automatically default to ‘taking care of business’ kind of tasks.

The smart ones know that automating and systemising things makes those things faster and more efficient. So far, so good.

But, not perfect.

Because when we optimise and automate the small tasks, we end up being very skilled at the small stuff – and no matter how automated, we’re still required to monitor, tweak and improve them over time.

And that means we become a kind of micro-manager of ourselves, on small things that don’t make a big difference in our business. They’re necessary, but they don’t cause growth – they just support growth or prevent it from slowing down.

I heard about this ‘small jobs’ concept from James Schramko (seriously smart business thinker – you’ll do yourself a favour by listening to his various podcasts).

He used to sell luxury cars (ethically, from what I can tell – not your typical car-salesman), and one of the tasks in his week was to cut rubber floor mats to size (boggles the mind why that would even be necessary for luxury cars, but hey), until one day someone in the dealership said: ‘Never get good at the small jobs’.

So simple, so useful.

Me, I’ve decided to not even deal with the small tasks any longer. I’ve finally decided to hire a virtual assistant, because really it makes no sense for someone who can deliver powerful transformational coaching, to deal with day-to-day (required) trivialities.

It’s why hired a cleaning lady before I could ‘afford’ it. It’s why my new VA is going to scout for a publicist who can get more views on my work, because hunting the job boards for the right candidate is not my forte and in terms of the work I should be doing, a waste of time.

If you’re an artist, get yourself a studio assistant, if only for one morning a week.

If you live in an area where dust or vegetation messes up your car, don’t wash it yourself but have your friend’s son do it for some pocket money.

Get yourself someone to handle your taxes, someone to mow your lawn… whatever you need to get done that doesn’t either bring you real joy, and/or doesn’t contribute to the growth of your business.

Now, you might think that you can’t afford to but remember this: your time is worth more than what someone else earns for simple and small tasks.

Thinking that you’d better keep the money and do it yourself is scarcity thinking, but worse: it robs your business of the supervaluable hours you could be putting towards actually growing your venture.

And you don’t want to steal the most valuable work from your own business, do you?



The Person Most Likely to Win in a Fist Fight is…

Listened to an audiobook the other day, on how to coach athletes. Not that I plan to become a sports coach, but coaching is coaching, and I figured it would be useful for improving my own coaching practice with some different perspectives.

At some point, the author was talking about sports like mixed martial arts, and said:

“The person most likely to win in a fist fight is not the biggest one, or the best trained, or the strongest.

“The person most likely to win in a fist fight is the one who doesn’t get scared at the sight of his own blood”.

That makes so much sense!

Because if you do get hit, and you freak out because of the (possible) damage done, out goes your strength, resilience and power to fight.

So, let’s transpose that to business and life in general.

Because let’s face it, no matter how well your life goes, you will get hit and/or hurt. It’s unavoidable.

And if at that point you freak out and panic, how well are you able to pick yourself back up, and recover from the setback?

Not very well, obviously. While in panic mode, everything just gets worse.

Interestingly, I heard this bit just a day or so after the wipeout with my motorbike, and the scrapes on my legs hadn’t even dried up yet.

So the impact of the message was doubly strong: I’d fallen, had to push the bike off my leg, lifted the thing back up myself, and once the neighbours had gathered and – in panic on my behalf – urged me to go see a doctor, I looked at the scrapes and saw that it was nothing serious. In other words, I didn’t freak out.

And I think this is one of the reasons that I’m able to live with what I call effortless mastery.

When bad stuff happens, I don’t freak out. Or, in the words of Monty Python’s Black Knight:

“Tis but a fleshwound”

Now I’m not saying this to brag or to impress you, not at all (even if the man-part of my ego feels strong and manly etc etc).

No, I’m saying this to drive home a message for you:

Whatever may happen to you in life, it’s your mindset, your control over your thoughts, that will determine whether or not you get through the setback with ease and grace, or by contrast whether it will cause you to go to pieces, with everything getting worse from there.

You were built resilient. Made to get through stuff. You can handle a hell of a lot more than you could possibly imagine.

And all it takes is the right mindset – which I will teach you, very soon (SO excited about how my webinar is shaping up!) in the Calibrate Reality free webinar.

Bonus: no martial arts skills (or indeed falling with a motorbike) required.

What IS required for Calibrate Reality to work though, is the willingness to let your current way of thinking to shift, gently but profoundly.

I’m no genius, I just know methods for living and thinking that dramatically improve everything – and I’ll share it all with you.

Stay tuned…



How to Instantly Improve Any Relationship (No Hype)

This one is so easy, everyone can do it.

But it’s also something that many people don’t want to do. The choice is yours.

If you want to improve a relationship, whether it’s with a spouse, child, business partner, employee or manager or team member:

Stop trying to change the other person.

Oh I know. There’s something wrong with what they do, or say or whatever. And yes, you might be right.

But that’s not the point, because you can’t change someone else, and you shouldn’t try.

For one thing, it signals to the other person that there’s something wrong with them, and the message the other one gets is on the level of identity. And nobody likes to have their identity attacked or criticised.

That by itself will a) prevent any change from happening in the other person (telling someone what to do or how to behave will always cause the subconscious to rebel and object, and b) it’s guaranteed to erode the relationship, if not outright sabotage it.

A fine and beautiful way of putting it comes to us from the late great philosopher and contemporary mystic Alan Watts. (note: if you want to learn about actual real spirituality instead of the modern hippy-dippy pseudo spirituality that’s so popular with the kids these days, look the man up on Youtube. He’ll open your eyes).

Anyway, as a Zen monk and priest, he would often officiate as a wedding celebrant.

And before any marriage took place, he’d always ask if either of the engaged found that there was anything at all, anything whatsoever, that ought to change in the other person.

If either would answer in the affirmative, he’d say that unless this view and desire was let go of, he refused to wed the two people together.

Interesting, no? Someone who’s been chosen as the celebrant of preference, who refuses to give the two lovers the thing they want most… unless they’re willing to accept the other as they are, 100%.

And it applies to all of us. When we want to change the other, or feel that the other needs to change, things won’t end well.

Obviously that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing wrong with the other person.

Someone who is abusive (which can be psychological as well as physical), someone who’s co-dependent, someone who is selfish or addicted or lazy or whatever, might have a real toxic effect on you. (And if you’re in an abusive relationship of any kind: Please, run for the hills, no matter how scary the unknown might seem. Anything is better than an abusive relationship).

And if someone’s shortcomings or defects are a toxic influence on you, then you can either change the nature and dynamics of the relationship (not the same as changing the other person), or move away from the person.

But the one thing you can not do if you want to improve a relationship, is expect the other to change. It just doesn’t work, ever.

And you’ll find that the moment you let go of the wish for them to change, something will start to shift in the relationship.

Maybe gradually, maybe impressively, but simply by removing your expectation as to how the other should be, you open up the relationship and change is extremely likely to happen.

Oh, and hey: if you really believe someone should change, have a look in the mirror. Changing self is the best (and only) change you can make…



Create Your Own Dopamine Drip, Steal Back Your Attention

They say we live in an attention economy, but that’s the euphemism of the century.

What we actually live in, is an addiction economy. And it’s sinister.

The attention you pay (and I mean ‘pay’ in a literal sense) is worth money to companies.

When your attention is on Facebook, or Instagram, or Pinterest or Youtube, someone somewhere is making money.

Can be by selling a product or service, or simply by showing you advertisements. People make money when ads get displayed, and when they get clicked on.

In itself that’s nothing bad (though a business model based on nothing more than revenue from advertising is a pretty lame thing IMO), but there’s a seriously insidious side to it.

In that, the attention (I mean: addiction) economy preys on one of the most basic, fundamental, primordial survival instincts.

Meaning: the need to not miss out. Because back when we were primitives (I’m not actually sure if we haven’t become more primitive than millions of years ago, but hey. Topic for another day),  we HAD to make sure that we got
fed and didn’t get killed.

We could only survive by noticing opportunities and threats.

The sound of a breaking stick in the shrubbery could mean a predator was about to leap on you, or it could be an animal you could hunt and eat.

And while that primal need is gone, the instinct is still in us.

The addiction economy makes clever use of that, by constantly making us feel that if we don’t buy this thing, read that book, watch that video, or install this [random thing] in our lives, we’re missing out.

And while you’re an evolved, intelligent, thinking person, the lizard brain in you doesn’t reason.

It reacts to whatever potential threat or opportunity it notices, and tells your mind: “Oooh, look there!”

And the scuzzy scammy side of the marketing industry has developed its methods to scientific perfection. Literally.

Because, again, when you pay attention to something, someone somewhere makes money.

And the best way to get someone to pay attention?

Make ‘em feel good. Put ’em on a constant dopamine drip.

Endless scrolling on social media, Youtube presenting you with one delectable video after another…

Cat videos, ‘3 MUST HAVE tricks for XYZ’ headlines… attention attention attention. Money money money.

Sick, isn’t it?

Because in the end, you don’t grow or benefit from that excessive attention-paying. Others do.

This is why I deleted my Whatsapp account (I did WHAT???).

The thing nags at me every second day to turn on notifications, when I actually had a limited set of notifications switched on – just enough for me, but not for Whatsapp. Because I wasn’t paying attention to the thing enough. So, out with it. Plenty of other ways to communicate. Especially given how the app is engineered to keep users addicted to using it.

Now, I want you to be aware of how deep this goes. How desperately companies need your attention, and how deep and evil it gets into manipulating you into paying attention.

Into, literally, making you addicted to dopamine.

(Which, incidentally or rather: intentionally, lights up like a christmas tree the same brain centers that light up as a result of taking cocaine. Think about THAT for a moment).

And, I want you to know there’s a better way to feel good and to get your dopamine drip.

It’s real simple too.

Every morning, make a list of small, ultra achievable but useful tasks. Preferably on paper.

As you go through your day and execute on them, check them off.

Each time you do, you are rewarded with a little dose of dopamine.

Simple neuroscience: set a task, do it, mark it as done – instant positive feedback.

You might think it’s an insignificant thing to add into your life, but you’ll find that it’s a MUCH more pleasant, rewarding, and helpful way to feel good  – while also making sure you get better at executing on the things that make your life and your business better.

Because really, life is too short to pay attention to the things that make some a**hole company, which uses you as a product and not a client, better.

Cheery stuff today, no?

Well, put my recommendation to use, and watch how quickly you’ll end up feeling cheery, instead of that horrible hollow feeling you get after wasting away an hour on Flakebook.

Or not, your choice.

But I’ll make my own dopamine drip any day of the week. And it makes me a pretty damn cheery person.

Cheers, cheerio, and cheery,


Got Smooth Sailing. Want Some?

A girl I used to date had a habit of debating things and taking a contrary position by default.  (obviously, the affair didn’t last long).

When I asked why she had that habit, she said that it makes things more lively. Spices things up.

Said that you can’t have the good without having the bad, and that it’s normal for people to disagree. Healthy, the spice of life.

I told her that in my world, it’s perfectly possible to have good, without bad.

That you can have variation between normal – baseline good – and higher levels, like really good, awesomely good, and just plain lovely good. That there’s no need to be at odds.

And I told her that I try everything I can to create smooth sailing in my life.

(Which, I might add, I’ve developed to a rather pleasing degree of perfection. Life really is smooth sailing for me, most of the time).

To which she replied by sending me one of those perfunctory quote cards you see on social media, with the text (translated from Spanish):

“No calm sea ever created an expert sailor”.

I sighed. You know those moments when something happens, and you know for a fact that the end has come, it just hasn’t shown up yet? That was that moment for me.

Because someone who believes that disagreement and yelling at me is normal and healthy, well I just don’t have space for that in my life.

Anyway, the quote might sound fun, but it’s actually completely wrong.

Sure you can get really good at sailing, crossing tempests and stormy seas.

(You can also get very wet or very dead, but that’s not the point).

So if you survive stormy weather, you might get good at sailing. Sure. Though one has to ask if an expert sailor wouldn’t avoid ending up big storms to begin with.

But to me, real excellence in life (be it sailing, relationships, business etc) isn’t in how to handle hard times or strife. For me, that’s beginner-level stuff.

No, real excellence is in how well you handle, and optimise, runnings when stuff is already going pretty well.

Tuning the sails just so… setting and correcting your course exactly to work with the waves and currents, instead of against.

Getting the most out of the weather, your ship, your intuition, the wind.

That, to me, is what excellent and expert marinership is about.

And that’s how I try to live, and again: pretty smooth sailing here.

And I’m not saying that to brag, but to inspire you to also seek the way to turn good into excellent.

To help you want to create flow and mastery in life and business.

To hopefully light a fire in you, to discover how you also can learn to live effortlessly. Because you can, no matter what the circumstances. I promise.

And if you want to learn how I managed to do that, then you definitely do not want to miss the free live webinar I’ll put out soon, for the Calibrate Reality training I’m creating.

I’ll take you through the basics of my method – my system – for living with effortless mastery.

If you put the method to use for yourself, you’ll be able to create smooth sailing, a little more every day.

Because life is too short to live in struggle and strife.

Sounds good, right?

Then hit reply and let me know that you want to participate in the free live webinar.



That Ain’t a Jackhammer… (Knowledge vs KNOWING)

It’s wonderful to learn new things, and gather knowledge, but in itself it’s not all that useful.

After all, gaining knowledge on something is only step 1 – but it’s not until you internalise the knowledge, on a visceral level, that you actually KNOW the thing.

Because there’s a big difference between knowledge and knowing.

(The Sufis like to poke fun at people who confuse the value and importance of the two: they talk about ‘the scholars’ – people who study spirituality and metaphysics, write books, speak eruditely and truly have a ton of knowledge about it – but who are themselves not actually at the level of spiritual inquiry and growth that a dedicated Sufi is).

But anyway, let me illustrate.

I learned some years ago, that noise can be used as a way to torture people.

Interesting knowledge, but nothing more than that.

Now, for the last month or so, I’ve had roadworks in my street (they’re replacing the water and sewage pipes. Big job).

And because this town is built on a big rock, sort of a mini-mountain, each time they lift a piece of tarmac they might find large rocks, too large for a normal jackhammer to break apart.

So, they have the fun machine you see in the pic.

And it’s been doing its job directly in front of my home office.

Some days, hammering away for hours on end, less than a meter from where my standing desk is.

Yes. Noise. A lot a lot a lot of noise.

I’m a pretty calm guy and it’s hard to get me angry, but with that noise…?

Ten minutes, and I’m literally anxious and angry at the same time. Cortisol levels through the roof.

So now, I actually KNOW what noise-torture is, on a visceral level. My goodness, that stuff goes DEEP.

Of course knowing this does me little good, beyond inspiring me to write this article.

Which hopefully will do you good, because we all have a bunch of knowledge about stuff.

For example: how important it is to grow your email list, if you want to have a healthy business.

Important knowledge, right?

Yes, but do you actually KNOW, how important it is?

Because if you don’t you won’t do the work to make the list grow.

And once you really KNOW it, you’ll get to work and make it happen.

Other examples: we all know that eating healthily is a requirement for enduring health.

(Sure, I’ll wait while you mentally check the contents of your fridge).

Yet most of us frequently eat all kinds of unhealthy things.

And god forbid that you’ll ever have a health scare – but if you do, you’ll instantly KNOW the importance of healthy eating.

See the difference?

So, let’s get interactive again:

What is there in your life or business that you ‘know’, are aware of, have knowledge of… but you aren’t permeated with KNOWING it?

And, what would happen if you’d take that knowledge, and moved it up into actual knowing?

What would be the outcome of that?

Hit reply, let me know…



Listening, Interrupting, Intelligence and Arrogance

Do you ever interrupt people, because you already know what they’re going to say next?

Maybe you’ve had the conversation before, or maybe it’s easy to see where they’ll go with their discourse. Could be easy – a bit of intuition and intelligence go a long way..

And yet…

If you then cut someone off because of that, you’re robbing yourself. (aside from showing yourself as presumptuous and arrogant).

That other person is trying to share a body of thought, a holistic picture of something they want you to consider. They’re trying to share an insight, most likely for your benefit, or for the benefit of all.

And if you then cut someone off and don’t give them space and time, you’ll not have the full insight – you miss out.

You’ll only have the part that they were able to throw out before getting interrupted.

And no matter how intelligent you are, you simply can’t infer someone else’s full insight from only half the story.

If you want to live well, have relationships that work, and be more successful in whatever endeavour you choose, it behoves you to observe very very closely.

To look at what’s happening in you, and around you, in the mind of another person, and to what happens in life in a more general sense. (Exception: people who nag or who complain just for the sake of it. Life’s too short for that kinda thing).

In fact, I credit all my success and my fortitude to my abbot’s recommendation:

“Listen to life”.

And there’s plenty of people in life who just might share a super-significant insight with you, so we’ve got our work cut out for us.

Are you up for the job?



It Doesn’t *Have* to Take 12 Years in a Monastery

When I say that I show people how to live with effortless mastery, that doesn’t meant that I’m a master of anything, not of life and much less of myself.

You might think you’re as flawed as the next man, but you’re not. Not if the next man is me.

And yet, over the years I’ve found tricks – methods rather – of handling self, mind, and outside circumstances, that together cause me to live in a pretty permanent state of flow and ease.

That is to say: the flow states come and go, but the ease, that’s something pretty much undertone throughout my life and my days.

And that’s what I mean when I say ‘effortless, masterful living’.

To be able to handle anything, no matter what – without constantly being knocked for six.

And I SO wish to share that with you.

Because really, life is too short to spend it living in struggle and strife.

And the deep, cold, hard psychological truth is this:

You don’t have to live in struggle and strife.

For example: when my tailoring company went belly up almost a decade ago, I remember waking up, and it hit me:

‘Oh geez… it’s not just that I have debts and am in trouble…. it’s much worse… I am actually completely bankrupt’.

Now normally, for most people, that would be the start of a really bad day, right?

But it wasn’t.

I remember laying in bed for hours, staring at the ceiling…

… in complete, perfect bliss.

Not happiness or joy, but something beyond that.

Then I got up, got on the phone, and started to take action to get out of the hole (which I did quite nicely, over time. Hello).

Now, you might think that it takes 12 years in a monastery to get to that kind of attitude and reacting. And sure, it helped a ton.

But truthfully, I don’t believe we need that in order to life effortlessly.

I’m reminded of my childhood friend Jan, whom I always admired enormously for exactly that effortless, roll-with-the-punches attitude. He had that by nature at age 16.

So what’s the difference? What took me 12 years in a monastery in order to finally learn how to live with grace and ease?

Resistance. I fought, argued, resisted – kicked and screamed, for years.

And it wasn’t until I yielded, gave in, gave up, somewhere 8 or 9 years in, that things FINALLY started to become easier.

Silly? No, it was just my path.

But I want to make your path easier and faster.

Which is why I’m creating Calibrate Reality Dojo – a training that helps you create that flow and ease and effortless living that I’m so in love with.

In the next few weeks, I’ll announce a free webinar where you’ll learn the basics, so don’t miss it.

Because really, isn’t life too short to life in struggle and strife?



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