“Often we don’t even allow oneself to acknowledge what we have achieved, because we compare it to what others or the society tells about how it should look like and be like.“ – Ivan Martin, coach, healer and trainer who for many years has been teaching and sharing knowledge and communicational skills, motivational and negotiation techniques around the world. Former member of the French Professional Chamber of Mediation and Negotiation (CPMN-ONG) and Member of the Editorial Committee of the Mediation Code 2009 (FR), he cooperated, among others, with the State Departments of Culture and of Public Instruction in Geneva, and taught for international organisations as the FIBA World and the Euroleague. Before that, he was a Buddhist monk and spent 6 years in intense retreat, studying and practicing in the presence of highly qualified meditation masters.
B&P: I read that you help in achieving balance and peace. Is it possible in today’s racing world?
Ivan Martin: My target is to facilitate people to achieve whatever they choose. If they choose balance and peace, then yes I’ll help them to create and generate that. I have no point of view about what they should choose or not, I just make their way more easy and satisfying for them. The thing is when you start making things more easy for you, you actually start to be more balanced and peaceful…
B&P: You have recently run a workshop in Poland “Elegance and success in business and in life”. Are you somehow associating success with the ability to achieve peace?
It depends what you mean by “peace” and even more what you mean by “success”… It’s a bit like “happiness” you know, everyone has a different idea of what that is or should be. Very often we don’t even allow oneself to acknowledge what we may have achieved, because we compare it to what others or the society tells you how it should look like and be like. We bought in so many definitions of what our life should be and not be, that we rarely recognize the things we accomplish. What if instead of always struggling to adapt ourselves to this world, we would honor and celebrate the difference we bring to it? Wouldn’t that make it a better place to live in? What if success and peace would start with allowing us to acknowledge and be grateful for what we are and do? In that sense yes, you can have a great success as you achieve peace. Peace is not something further that you have to reach, it’s like happiness, it’s a choice you can do, every moment of your life. The day you acknowledge that this idea of a so-called peace or success as a far-fetched meriting result is actually a lie, you then start to be at peace and successful. It’s a choice.
B&P: And elegance. Will you agree with the words of one of the protagonists of our interview – that this is something that you remember and can not see. What is it for you?
That’s an interesting point of view, would that mean that elegance is only in the mind of people? I have another interesting point of view about that. Shortly, for me elegance makes things easy. Elegance is when you get the greatest result with the fewest energy. It’s the shortest way that brings you from willing to getting. It’s a way to truly appreciate any situation and those who make it a reality, and be all of you in it, with all your potency, presence and qualities. That may also imply that you choose to do the opposite of what you are encouraged to do by the usual limitations, habits and beliefs of this society. It’s a way to be free that frees others as well in the very instant, as it recognise their presence and contribution. Elegance is the empowerment of you, together with your differences as the very assets that this reality and business world requires and look for. The good point here is that if you choose elegance, you start to empower others as well. And that’s where things start to really improve and bring fulfillment.
B&P: What are the biggest restrictions/obstacles on the road to success?
As far as I have observed and experienced, the wrongness of you is the biggest one. Putting yourself wrong. Whatever that is for. It’s a real poison in your mind and in your body. It’s a judgment of you, and that’s the worst thing you have ever done to yourself. When you choose not to judge you anymore, you start your success in life; in everything you do, and particularly in your business. The change that takes place is mainly that you’ll start valuing your differences instead of judging them. That’s what success requires from you, nothing else. And that’s what makes the things easiest for you, where you start being elegant. Here we come to a greater awareness of what success is: let me give you a piece of advice here: if you want to have success, invest in what is the most easy thing for you to do. What is the most easy thing for you to do? That’s oftenly what you have been judging and believing that it could not have much value, because it was so easy. “Life is hard” you know, and it has to be so… Or doesn’t it? As Gary Douglas* says: What else is possible?®. With the wrongness of you comes more restrictions and obstacles, like the separation we create from others, or the will to be adapted to this world’s standards, or the belief in time’s rules, the taste for answer or rather than questions… And much more. Those are the limitations we choose to clear with ease, joy and glory in our sessions or classes, just because we can.
B&P: You were a Buddhist monk and spent 6 years in intense (almost total) seclusion meditating in the presence of only highly qualified meditation masters. What did you teach? What was your life lesson?
Yes I was in “retreat” meaning I was engaged in 24/7 practice and study every day of the year without having any contact with the world. And I had the fortune to be accompanied with some of the greater teachers, yet I was not only with them, but also with a bunch of other practitioners and seekers as myself. That is what had been the biggest lesson. The interactions with those 15-20 persons. That has been revealing all the projections, judgments, interpretations, coercions and separations we create in interpersonal communication, as the sources of all misunderstandings and conflicts. That’s why right after those years I chose to get certified in professional mediation and contributive negotiation. I’ve always been doing my best to enhance the relational quality in the situations I was, and this experience of retreat was a stepping stone to more possibilities.
Actually it came quite quickly during the retreat that I became responsible for this group of people regarding the organization the interactions and the individual issues
B&P: You came back from that seclusion, because…
I wanted to create more with relationships, with people, using the fertile ground of communication to contribute to bringing the change that so many people are asking for in this world, and particularly in this business world.
B&P: Do such experiences allow people to look at the world and people differently?
Absolutely, that is a great point you make here. Firstly, when you keep out of this world’s agitations you actually start to be more aware of it, how it works and who is in it to make it work. It’s like seeing your glasses because you don’t have them on your nose anymore. That’s how it works. And even more: if you have a vision limitation, when you don’t have your glasses you start to perceive more with your other senses, right? As far as you don’t indulge in the panic of not seeing perfectly, you start to receive even more informations than when you where referring everything mainly to what you see. We have so many ways to perceive! And you know what? Whatever box we may choose to put oneself in, we will always continue to perceive this world. We’re done for that, that’s what we are, perceivers. The day we acknowledge that, we are one step to fulfilment. And yes, when you get out of such a retreat, you see things differently. But you don’t have to go in retreat for that, you always have an access to a different point of view, if you’re willing just to Listen. And being willing to change your point of view anytime is the actual key to freedom, and whatever you’re willing to create with that freedom; it will be a success.
B&P: How to translate it into business strategies?
Strategy is based on the capacity to foresee things before they happen. Isn’t that the gift of perceiving more? When you allow yourself to question your perceptions instead of judging it, you can use them as real practical tools to interact with people and situations, you become able to handle the structure of things, of how things turn up. You are a step ahead of all others. That is the best business strategy. How do you do that? Well, that’s a whole weekend class to get to it. I can tell you one thing: it all starts with a question: if you’re willing to never get into conclusion, you’ll get whatever you want, even if it seems impossible.
B&P: You travel a lot around the world – what do you see the differences and what similarities on the international business ground?
Differences are personal, similarities are relational. This is one way to see it; as long as interpersonal communication is concerned, whatever the language or culture, we go through the same mechanic system: the information will go through the 3 poles of expression, reception and reflexion, and will be subtly distorted in between each of those poles. That is why, whoever you converse with, it remains a demanding and subtle art to really set up a creative communication, whether you talk with a Japanese you’ve never met before, or with your own mother. Who would say that the easiest communication is with relatives? Similarities can be then seen as a relational mechanic. Yet, similarities are also found in the research of happiness, or in the amazing potency of knowing and perceiving of everyone, which if If you acknowledge it, gives you an amazing ground for creating great business. What about the differences? They are personal; if you consider the difference of each person, you start to see what each one can bring as a unique asset to your business, and you get to the point where everyone you work with, will be excited, honored and inspired to work with you. People have all kind of cultural differences, and beyond the fact that you have to be willing to learn from those differences if you look for having a business with them, what can be useful to consider, is that those differences are mainly based upon how they appreciate things, included their business environment. The capacity to appreciate is the golden key, putting differences and similarities together in a fruitful possibility.
B&P: The most important business rules for you then?
You have to consider 3 things: what the business does, what do the business, and who do the business.
1. “What the business does” is your product: make it at your image, as different as you are.
2. “What do the business” is the viable coherence of it: never conclude, always ask questions.
3. “Who do the business” is the life force of it, the people: empower them unconditionally, value whatever they do, and they will be responsible, innovative and efficient. If I would add a fourth rule I would say: overall, have fun
B&P: And running a business is only possible thanks to…
Others of course. Whether they are your partners, your competitors or your clients! So what appreciation can you have of others that would bring your business to total success? Don’t look for an answer please… Just get the awareness provoked by that question… What else is possible now?
B&P: Your strategy for falls, doubts, weaker moments in life and in business?
Recall three things and two questions: 1; Your point of view creates your reality. 2; Nothing happens to you. 3; Ask. the first question: what do you know that you have not acknowledged? Second question: ask your team; what can we create that we have not yet chosen?
B&P: What would you like to wish us for New Year 2018?
I wish you to choose every moment of your life. No one can take that amazing potency from you. And nothing can resist your choice.
B&P: Thank You.
* Gary Douglas, author of best-sellers, international speaker and well-known moderator, founder of the Access Consciousness® method