Turning 40 and Overcoming Being a People Pleaser
Martin Salama experienced a childhood trauma that put him on a path to being a people pleaser for most of his life. And the funny thing about being a people pleaser is that, while you’re trying to make everyone around you happy, usually you’re not making ANYONE happy, least of all yourself. It took losing everything in his late 40s and having to rebuild again from scratch to knock him from that path and set him in search of another, better, path, which he found. Today, he’s happier, healthier and more fulfilled than he was when he was a “successful businessman.”
Martin Salama is the Architect of The Warriors L.I.F.E. Code. He specializes in helping people who feel frustrated in their life quickly shift their mindset to UNCOVER their greatness so they can live their true potential and enjoy LIFE! An example of what he’s achieved is a client like Roberta, who lost her 6-figure job due to COVID and came to Martin depressed and felt very lost. Within a short time, she had, quote: “direction, focus, and a renewed energy around all the possibilities I could pursue… and getting back on track to enjoy LIFE!” The key to his success is, he’s mastered the ability to Live Incredibly Full Everyday! Which he turned into the acronym L.I.F.E. and created the Warriors L.I.F.E. Code coaching program.
Defining moments don’t always announce themselves. Often, we only recognize them in retrospect. When Martin Salama was 10 years old, his little brother was hit by a school bus and passed away a few days later from his injuries. In his mind, with his 10-year-old reasoning skills, Martin understood that he was the only boy in the family now, the only one who could carry on the Salama name, and he decided that he never wanted to see his parents distraught like that again. He decided it was his job to make sure they were always happy. Looking back, he realizes that’s the moment he became a people pleaser.
After he graduated college, his father connected him to a man 15 years his senior to go into business and do the same thing his father was doing: manufacture tablecloths. Martin wanted his father to be happy, so he complied. Then after he got married, he had another person’s happiness to balance as well. It took him years to realize that in trying to please everyone, he wasn’t pleasing anyone.
When he was 40, Martin was in between businesses and trying to figure out his next venture. His wife had started playing tennis and identified that courts weren’t easy to get in their area, so they decided to start a business building courts in an affluent area of New Jersey. The due diligence and prep work took several years and $3 million. When he went to the bank to finally get the loan, he was 45, it was September 2008, and banks had stopped making business loans due to the financial crash and ensuing recession.
Martin sunk into a depression for about a year and, on his 24th wedding anniversary, which happens to fall the day after Valentine’s Day, his wife said, “I’m done. I want a divorce.”
That year of depression also included a lot of introspection in which Martin realized he was never happy as a businessman. He never liked the roller coaster of owning businesses. He never liked being a salesman. But when he was involved in community projects and organizations, he was much freer. He wasn’t afraid. The passion, the vision, those things carried his work. He also realized that he wanted to help people and that his experience of working with coaches was so positive that he wanted to become a coach. Today he coaches people through the transition from self-conscious to self-aware.
In this episode:
- How losing everything in your 40s and having to start over – from scratch – can actually be a gift in disguise
- An example of what being a “people pleaser” looks like
- An example and description of a codependent relationship
- How to go from being a worrier to being a warrior
- When we’re evolving as people, in order to be sustainable, changes take time, effort and desire
- When making big, sweeping changes in life, it helps to focus on your WHY, which Martin defines as “What’s Hurting You?”
The Forty Drinks Podcast is produced and presented by Savoir Faire Marketing/Communications
Get Martin’s card deck, coloring book and other resources: ConnectWithMartin.com
Listen, Rate & Subscribe
Stephanie: Hi Martin. Thanks for joining me today on the podcast.
Martin: Well, thank you so much, Stephanie. I'm excited to be here with you.
Stephanie: You have an interesting story, one with a few aspects that I haven't run across yet, so I'm very excited to jump into them. In our previous discussion, we just found out that we have both loved the same disgusting and awful drink when we were in our younger years and I may clip that out and throw it in at the end of the episode 'cause it was so much fun.
Stephanie: But let's start by,with you, I think we have to go all the way back to childhood to get the setting for the story. So why don't you start when you're just a little guy?
Martin: All right. So, you know, there are things in your life that are like a defining moment, but in the moment you don't recognize them. Most of the time, you don't recognize, you look back, you go, "Oh my God, that was the moment." And it took me about 40 years to figure that one out. Okay. But when I was 10 years old, I had a tragedy in my life, and it happens to be, it was just 50 years tomorrow that, that it happened. I was walking home from school with one of my four older sisters, and as we were walking on the block, we noticed there was a school bus stopped in front of our house and as we got closer, we saw that the bus driver was standing on the sidewalk. This was a little weird and as we got closer, we see him like in shock. The next thing we realize is my mother's running out of the house carrying my five-year-old brother Michael, in her arms, she jumps in the car and drives away. We don't know what's going on. We have no idea. Don't forget this is 1973. It's not like you have any technology or anything. And we come to find out that when my brother Michael got off the bus, he dropped something in front of the bus and as a five year old would do, he went to pick it up. The bus driver looked, this is the days before the arm comes out, didn't see anything and drove, and he hit him and four days later, Michael passed away from his injuries.
Stephanie: Oh, oh my God, that's so heartbreaking.
Martin: Yeah, and it was a moment that's seared into my mind until today. I remember that day walking down the street, I remember my parents taking me the night before to the hospital, not knowing I was saying goodbye to him. I thought I was just coming to see him, and he was just laying there sleeping. The next day he, he passed away. And you could imagine the effect that it had on my entire family, actually my whole community, but on my family specifically, my mother and father were distraught. And in the Jewish community you have a week of condolence calls, you bury right away and you have a week of condolence calls. And I remember the school bus even coming to school, my class and my sister's class coming to visit us in the middle of the school day to come and see us and, and pay their respects. So I told myself a story soon after that I'm the only brother left. I'm the guy. I had seen my brother, I couldn't wait for him to come when my mother was pregnant, I was like, "Please don't be another girl. I have enough sisters in my life." And when he came out I was like, "Okay, this is the guy he and I are gonna be setting off the world on fire." And that all went away. So, I'm thinking to myself as a 10 year old, I'm the guy now I've gotta carry on the legacy. I'm the only one that can carry on the Salama name in my family." And I tell myself that I never wanna see my parents like that again. So it's my job to make sure that they're always happy and I can look back at that moment and recognize that's when I became a people pleaser.
Stephanie: It's just heartbreaking. And in the early seventies, like you say, there's no technology, but there's also not a lot of forward thinking around mental health and that this was anything other than a tragedy that the family experienced there. There wasn't really that thought of, let's get the kids into therapy to make sure this doesn't haunt them for their whole lives.
Martin: No, not at all. As a matter of fact, my sisters and I didn't talk about it until 20 years later,
Martin: and each one filled in a little more details. But I have to take a moment and recognize my parents at this moment because my mother, you know, it was a while before she could come to the Friday night Shabbat dinner table and not break down,
Martin: and somebody reached out to her and said, "There's another woman who's lost a child, the two of you should come together and meet with a counselor." And they started a bereavement group for women in our community who lose children because no one could walk up to a woman and say, "I know how you feel," unless they know how they feel.
Martin: And many times over the years, women have come up to me and said, "Your mother saved my life." She became a leader in that group.
Stephanie: That's a wonderful thing to come out of that.
Martin: And my father too. My father has done many wonderful things. He passed away 20 years ago, but he had done many wonderful, wonderful things in the community and with me specifically when I was, it was about 30 years ago, so it was almost 30 years old. I had moved to New Jersey. I founded a synagogue. I was the founder of a synagogue that at the time on Saturdays running around trying to get 10 guys to come so we have what's called the minyan was difficult, but we would do it. We'd run around, we'd go house to house and about a year later we decided, "Okay, we've got the foundation. Let's buy a house." And I go to my dad. I said, "Dad, this is what's going on." And my father's the old school, he never says, "I'm proud of you," You never heard those words out of him. I said, "We're ready to go forward." I remember it was right around the holiday of Purim, which is coming up now in the Jewish thing. It was also around the same time as my brother's passing, and I said, "We're building, we're gonna start, we're gonna buy a building." He said, "Okay, I'll give you $50,000 if you name the building after your brother."
Stephanie: Oh, that's an easy decision.
Martin: Yeah, so it's called Shaare Tefilah Bene Moshe, which translates to the gates of prayer with the children of Moses, but his Hebrew name is Moshe. His English name is Michael. But you get the gist,
Stephanie: How wonderful. What a wonderful tribute.
Martin: Thank you. And today, I'm not there anymore, I was the president and the founder for 15 years, there's over 400 families there.
Martin: And this summer, , my son insisted I come with him, 'cause I go down to the shore in the summertime, this is where I was living at the time. For 20 years we lived there by the shore and when I got divorced I came back to Brooklyn and he said, "Dad, come with me this Saturday to the synagogue, I know it's a bike ride away, come." I came and he made a donation with my son-in-law, in my name, to put something with my name on it in the synagogue. My name's nowhere else in the synagogue. I didn't care. But it was very nice. And the rabbi gets up and he says, " Everybody look around. Do you like what you see here?" He said, "Now go back 30 years. There was only one man who had that vision. Nobody saw what he sees today, he saw 30 years ago," and he was very, very kind to point me out and talk about that. So it was very nice thing.
Stephanie: That is such a lovely honor.
Martin: So just on the side, I have to mention my parents and the effects that they had for me on my life in a positive way, for sure.
Stephanie: Of course. Everything we do, every action that happens to us is a stone thrown into a pond that has ripples and these are some wonderful ripples that have come out of a terrible, terrible tragedy.
Stephanie: Let's circle back. So you, you became a people pleaser and grew up, high school, college, meet a girl. Let's flash forward to there.
Martin: So yeah, we'll go through high school, go through college. Now, during college and high school, there have been times in high school and college where I was like, "You know, I might wanna become a photographer, or I might wanna do acting." When I was going into high school, my friend, who was a year older than me, he'd gotten accepted into the School of Performing Arts in New York City and he's like, "Martin, you should come." and I don't mean anything negative here, okay? But it's gonna come out the way it did in the seventies. And I went to my parents and I said, "Oh, I think I wanna go to this school. I'm not gonna get into the major yeshiva that everybody gets to, let me do this." And they're like, "Oh no, you can't go there. He's gay. You'll become gay."
Martin: You know? That was the old thinking. That guy. By the way, I don't know if you ever heard the name Isaac Mizrahi.
Stephanie: I love Isaac.
Martin: That was my friend.
Stephanie: Oh my goodness. That's your childhood friend?
Martin: We're not friends anymore, but you know, we were Of
Martin: And he actually was in the movie Fame because they filmed it in that school and he was one of the extras in the movie.
Stephanie: As soon as you said the performing arts school, I am of an age that I watched the TV show, so, you know, Fame
Martin: Right. Exactly. But anyway, that's not that I would've been turned into another Isaac. But anyway, but I didn't do it because my parents thought it wasn't good. I was like, "Okay, I'll do what you tell me to do, blah, blah, blah." And that was me. And through college the same thing. And my father had a business, closed it, and then a couple years, later, put me into business with a man 15 years older than me to do the same thing my father was doing, which was manufacture tablecloths, which is what I did in the beginning. I went into this company and I did what my father told me to do because I wanted to make him happy.
Martin: Okay? That was the underlying thing looking for the press. So now what I learned now looking back, when I became a people pleaser, it also included a few other things. I was taking everything personally. I'm a control freak. I need the recognition for the work that I'm doing, that I'm people pleasing and I have a very short temper.
Martin: Does all make sense?
Stephanie: Well, not only does it all make sense, it's actually starting to hit a little close to home when you put them all together like that. Whoops. Okay.
Martin: Yeah. Yeah. That's a lot of, a lot of introspection in the later years of my life.
Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah.
Martin: So now you're married. Okay. And find a beautiful girl from my community. We get married and now about a year into it, I opened a business and it's in down by the shore, and we live in Brooklyn, we go to the shore in the summertime, and she was the Jersey girl. So we're like, okay, I'm going backwards. I'm going from Brooklyn to New Jersey every day. Would you move to Jersey? My parents weren't too happy about it, but here I am, I'm trying to please everybody. And what I learned is as a people pleaser, I was pleasing nobody. But that took me years to understand because I would rationalize that what I was doing was okay because it was for the greater good.
Martin: And I learned later, and we can go into this a little deeper later, that rationalize is really two words: Rational lies. You lie to yourself that it's rational to do things that you know goes against your core belief.
Stephanie: Oh, interesting. Interesting.
Martin: I'll go deeper here, but that's what it's, so now that's what's happening. I get married and now I'm trying to make everybody happy. I'm running the synagogue, I'm doing my business, I'm failing, succeeding, all these things. And then in 2002, 2003, I was closing a business and my wife said, "You know what, I just started taking tennis lessons and there's no place to get courts." She goes, "You're looking for something to do. Let's open up some tennis courts?" First thing is the irony of it is, is I'm not an athlete. I don't play any sports, but I'm like, okay. Deep down inside it's me saying, I wanna take care of, you know, be the the breadwinner. Take care of my wife, make my wife happy." And I'm not blaming her. I'm saying this was all on me. Right?
Martin: So we start down this road and the first thing we gotta do is I said, "Okay, let's do a feasibility study and see if it's worth it to do this." Yeah, it's worth doing. You could get seven, eight courts in a very affluent area in New Jersey, there's Rumson, there's Deal, there's Colt's Neck, these all very high income areas. Like great. Fantastic. "You got the right thing, but," he tells me, the feasibility guy, "You're not gonna make enough money to be worth putting these courts up. You gotta put a health club and a spa and make it a whole big thing." We're like, "Okay." So we go out and we find the best architect and we start drawing up the plans, and then we start looking for the land. Or first the land came. We got the land, that took a while. Then the architect and the engineers, and we go to the city and they're like, "Oh, you gotta do this, you gotta do that. You gotta figure this out. You gotta go get a civil engineer to figure out the parking." This takes us five years and over 3 million dollars
Martin: invested into it. Right.
Stephanie: And you're still not open for business.
Martin: We actually opened up a satellite little personal training thing as a way of signing up members like founding members before we opened, that's a thing that they do in the industry there. Now, if this was in 2006 or 2007 that we got approved and we went to the bank, they would've thrown the money at us. If you remember what it was like back then they didn't care. They didn't care what you were doing. They just wanted to lend, lend, lend, right? But fate would have it, it would be the summer of 2008. We go to the bank, we're like, "Okay, we did it. We got everything, all the approvals, everything, we're ready to go." And the bank goes, "Yeah. We're not lending right now." What?
Stephanie: Oh God.
Martin: "What are you talking about? You said when I was ready, you, you loved the plans." Yeah, but we're not lending, the market's slowing down now. I didn't realize things were starting to percolate. Right. And nothing was really getting there yet. But then a month later, it's September, 2008 and this little guy comes out and says, " I screwed up." Mr. Bernie Madoff. And he sets off a domino effect that affects the entire world because when that happened, the subprime loans also failed.
Martin: And it was just like a house of cards, basically. And I was one of the victims.
Martin: So I woke up and I stopped paying my mortgage and I stopped paying my car payments and everything. Now, I happened to be lucky 'cause I lived in New Jersey where there were tons of foreclosures. So it took a few years before we actually lost our house. But about two months later, my son wakes up and he says, "Dad, Dad, look outside! Your car is being towed." My car was being repossessed.
Martin: I never had something like that happen to me in my life, ever. It's not a fun sight, and I can imagine it probably scarred my son.
Stephanie: And certainly for an achiever as well like that's a failure with a capital F.
Stephanie: And for someone like you who's achieving and pleasing and just yearning to make everybody happy, that's gotta be a hard hit.
Martin: Right. And my wife's looking at me and saying, "How'd you let this happen?" I'm like, "How did I let this happen? What are you talking about? You know what we were doing? You were there. You were my partner in this." She was my business partner, but she didn't know the financial end. I would just say yes to everything she wanted. I'm not saying she, I'm not being, again, it's not on her, but it's coming out that way. So I want to clarify.
Stephanie: Thank you.
Martin: So now I went into a depression for about a year. Can you understand why I might.
Stephanie: I sure can. Yeah. This is not a surprise to me.
Martin: Went through some therapy and I went through some coaching and when I came out the other side I said, "I'm sorry, I'm tired of all this roller coasters of businesses I've been in my entire life, and now it's time for me to figure out what I want to do for me." So I told you I was the leader of a synagogue, right? I founded it, and one of the things I was always great at, I learned this from my parents because they were community minded people. Be the leader of the organization, and when people come in and say, "Well, I don't know how much time I can give, I'll give you a couple of hours," you show them their potential in that little bit of time and you give them the confidence to do more and more. I was a life coach
Stephanie: by accident before you even knew it.
Martin: Exactly. So I thought about it, I decided, okay, "I'm gonna go to life coaching school." But about two months before live coaching started, it was my 24th wedding anniversary, which happens to fall out the day after Valentine's Day.
Stephanie: Okay, so a very lovely romantic time. 24 years. You guys have been through it. You've been through thick and thin, good and bad, better and worse,
Martin: Exactly. And she looks at me, she says, "I'm done. I want a divorce."
Martin: I mean, there's 364 other days of the year.
Stephanie: Yeah, there really are.
Martin: Have a little bit of romance in you. Maybe I should have said to her, "but I didn't get you anything like that for our anniversary." I didn't. Okay. To be honest.
Stephanie: Oh no. Oh.
Martin: Yeah, that's what happened to me. And you know, looking back now, other than our four children, it was the best gift she ever gave me.
Stephanie: Isn't that so interesting? The things that take us to our knees just do turn out to be gifts. I havea, a relevant story. My last full-time job that I worked at, it was a bad situation. It was a bad fit. And it got to the point where I was in this cycle of I made mistakes and then I got in trouble and I lost confidence and I made mistakes, and then I'd get in trouble and I lost confidence. Right. And you're just circling the drain. And I didn't have the guts to leave. I kept thinking in my head, "Oh, I should probably start looking for another job." I had gone into this job thinking that the job description was so perfect for me that I was gonna be in this place for like 15 years, and I just kept either ignoring it or convincing myself it would pass or just totally ostrich head in the sand until the day that the managing partner and the head of HR came in and shut the door behind them. And I literally looked at them like, "Hi, what's going on guys? What are we talking about today?" I had no clue. To the point where when the managing director said, "We're gonna terminate you," literally, my response to him was, "Are you kidding?" Literally, I had no idea. So, I was very angry. There was a person in the office that had done enough things that put me in the crosshairs that, you know, anyway, I was very angry for a long time at that person. But truly it got me out of a situation that I wouldn't have gotten out of myself and it set me adrift where I started working with a career coach and six months later I opened my marketing agency that actually three or four days ago, turned 16. So, right. it's interesting, the things that are so awful in our lives and hurt so much that are gifts, the rear view.
Martin: Absolutely. In reverse. Yeah. And at the time I knew right, you know, deep down inside I knew it was coming for years, I would tell myself, "I don't wanna get divorced. I don't wanna get divorced." And, but you know what the, the law of law of attraction heard? Divorce.
Stephanie: Right, right. Yeah.
Martin: But you know what, at the end of the day, God had a plan for me because, We were just never right together anyway. We had many good years, but our values, I learned going through coaching, were completely different and we were codependent.
Stephanie: Tell me a little bit about what codependent looks like. Gimme some examples.
Martin: Okay. So I'll give you my example of what works. So one of the books I read, as I was becoming a life coach, was the book called The Mastery of Love. Okay. And in the book, this gentleman, his name is Don Miguel Ruiz, who also wrote another unbelievable book called The Four Agreements.
Stephanie: I love that book.
Martin: Which is one of the books that have turned my life around. But in The Mastery of Love, he talks about every relationship you have should be 50-50. That doesn't mean give 50% of yourself, you give a hundred percent of yourself and you want the other one. But when you add it up, it's 50-50 to each other. In retrospect, I can look back in my marriage and say it was not 50-50. I loved her 70%, she loved me 30%.
Martin: And as somebody who loves more, you're always trying to get the one that loves less to love you more. To the point where she would say, "I love you," and I would say "I love you more."
Martin: And unfortunately, you know, lots of times there's truth in humor.
Martin: So as a result, the one that loves less has the power in the relationship. Go do this. Yes, you got it.
Stephanie: Right. Because you're in a place fear.
Martin: If it will make you love me more, you got it.
Stephanie: 'Cause if you don't do that, it will erode the love that that person does have.
Martin: That's the mindset and that's the the lack of self-confidence, the lack of self-worth. It's what you're telling yourself.
Stephanie: Yep. Yep. I can see that. In a lot of my relationships, I had 20 years worth of not great romantic relationships with men, and, in several examples knew that I was the one who was more into it. And there is a fear of, "Oh, I gotta be perfect, or else they'll see and they'll love me less."
Martin: To the point where, in a relationship you wanna make the other one happy. To me, it was a whole 'nother level. I wanted to make sure she was never unhappy. I was her safety net. I was the one that was gonna make sure if she was upset, that whoever was making or upset was gonna pay for it.
Martin: She would have bad night's sleep every night and I would be the one that puts the kids on the bus. And when she was sleeping, "Mommy's sleeping. Mommy's not quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet. Well, mommy's not feeling well, blah, blah." It was me trying to control the situation to protect her.
Martin: Again, this is me. It's all on me. It's me deciding that I have to take it. So that, to me, what I look like is a codependent relationship.
Stephanie: It's interesting, I totally hear everything you're saying when you're talking about this situation you were in with somebody else, but you're like, "It's me. It's me." It's interesting because you're doing things almost mindlessly, but you're being driven. by what's inside you. You're not choosing, you're not thoughtful, you're not understanding.
Martin: It's all reactive.
Stephanie: Yeah. It's all reactive. It's all fear, and it's deep. It's deep. I did a lot of this as well, Martin, in my romantic relationships. So I'm, I'm just, uh,
Martin: Okay. I'm sorry if you're making you relive it.
Stephanie: No, no, no. Well, it's interesting, right? Because much like you, the way you're talking about it, you can relive it when you've come to a place of stability and feeling solid and yourself and feeling,
Martin: Right. It's reflecting on it now. It's not reliving it's reflecting
Stephanie: Correct.And when you reflect on it you can learn new things from it or you can see different things you didn't see before.
Martin: Exactly. I call myself a recovering people pleaser now.
Stephanie: I love it.
Martin: Because you know what? There will be times that I'll fall down that rabbit hole again, whether consciously or subconsciously, just like addicts. Okay. It's a disease. I get it. Okay. Alcoholism, gambling, substance abuse, I get it. But that's why they call them recovering alcoholics. And the same thing here. It's not a disease, but it's a mindset that you could easily fall right back into.
Stephanie: Yes. Just last night my husband came to pick me up at work and he's got something going on at work, a situation that's a little sort of out of the ordinary that's got him wound. It's got him absolutely wound. And he came and he sat down and something had happened yesterday and he was going through it and he was all pissed off. He's like, "I don't know why this affects me so much," and this has happened every couple of years. Anyway, I said, " This always does. It gets under your skin," and he's got a bit of a chip on his shoulder in some respects, and I said "This particular thing gets stuck under your chip." And he said, "Oh God, yeah, it does. It does." And so we were talking about it and he was being very open with me.
Martin: It's a hot button.
Stephanie: It's a hot button. He was being open and he was allowing me to sort of ask questions and he said, "I just don't want this to happen anymore." And I said, "Well, you don't have to let it. You're the one in control." But I don't know how, I don't know how. And I told him these things, these instances when they pop up, if we're conscious of them, they can be practice opportunities for doing things differently.
Martin: Uh, yeah.
Stephanie: And I reminded him that, it's funny that the story should come around this way, when I first met him and started dating him, I knew he was special. He was different. And I also could see my past littered with those carcasses of awful relationships. And so I said to myself, "I am gonna do things differently this time. If I want to call him, I'm not gonna call him. If I want to text him, I'm not gonna text him." There were other rules I made for myself, and every time I picked up the phone, I put it back down. Well, wouldn't you know it? I gave space for him to come in and co-create this relationship rather than me just steamrolling it into existence. So I actually told him that example last night. I said "I was conscious that this was a situation that had screwed me up before. So I was consciously using it as an example, as a practice, to do things better." And so I was trying to explain to him, for him in
Martin: but he was in the moment. It was hard for him to hear it. I bet.
Stephanie: interestingly, he was much more open to it than he's ever been before, which as you and I both know, means that some of these things might be loosening, you might be coming to a place of deciding you want something different.
Stephanie: yeah, yeah,
Martin: whole scenario because it's actually part of what I coach my clients around,
Stephanie: Yeah. Back up two steps. How did you go from a guy who was a business guy, somebody who owned multiple businesses over time? Some were in manufacturing, some were
Martin: Importing. In real estate.
Stephanie: Like, you didn't wake up one day and say, "Oh, I guess I wanna coach people."
Martin: So in that year of depression and retrospection, I realized I was never happy as a businessman. I never liked being a salesman. I never liked owning the business and watching the rollercoaster of it. A few years ago I even recognized part of that was because of my fear of failure slash fear of success, which would get in the way. Whereas when I was involved in community events like building the synagogue, I never had fear of asking anybody for money. I never had fear of what could happen. What's the worst that could happen? Never. I didn't care.
Stephanie: Well, why would you? Because you had passion, you had vision. You were being driven in a very positive way. All of a sudden, those asks, those horrible asks for money, were easy.
Martin: Yeah. And I would look back and I realized that's what I loved doing. I loved being involved in those things. And looking back now, I'm still working on getting there, and I don't wanna say struggling, but building myself up to getting to the point where I don't have as much emotion attached to things the way I don't have emotion attached to what I did with the synagogues. Because at the end of the day, is that God will take care of it.
Martin: You know, I surrender to God, you know, in a good way.
Stephanie: Yes, of course.
Martin: So, yeah, so, that was there. So I was like, well, I wanted to be an actor at one point. I wanted to be a photographer at one point, they told me not to. I'm 45 years old, 47 years old, 48 at this point. I'm saying I have nothing and nobody's bailing me out anymore to start a new business 'cause I lost it all. I lost investors' money Iand I gotta start from scratch and I gotta get a job. And nobody wanted to even hire me because they thought, "Oh, it's Martin Salama, he's got a lot of money, he's affluent in our community," which is an affluent community, "and he'll learn the stuff and then turn around and become our competitor," which was never part of the thing. So I was like, okay, well I still need to get a job, and that happened eventually, but I said, what do I want to do for me? And that started my thing saying, okay, what do I like to do? And I realized I liked helping people and the idea of becoming a social worker just did not appeal to me. The school that was involved and the scientific side of it, it just didn't, I was never a great student in school. So I was like, okay, what else can I do? Well, I've been coached. I like coaching, so let me do that. So I made that drastic decision.
Stephanie: Yeah, and you, went out on a limb and trusted yourself.
Martin: Yeah. And I'll never forget, I turned to one of my sisters and she said, "You are gonna be a life coach?"
Stephanie: Well, yeah.
Martin: No. And her mind like, you don't have any of your life together. How dare you.
Stephanie: Oh, I get her mind completely. But what my big, yeah. Was you are the guy much like me and what I'm doing here with the experience, who's been through the stuff, who can actually relate to people who are trying to get their life on track. Like
Martin: exactly right
Stephanie: You're the guy with stories and examples, you know? Yeah, no, I get it. I get it.
Martin: Yeah. And so I started the the road down to life coach training, and they gave us a list of books to read, and one of them was The Four Agreements.
Stephanie: Yeah. That's an amazing book.
Martin: And when I read, "Don't Take Anything Personally," I felt like Don Miguel Ruiz was talking directly to me, telling me a secret that the world had been telling me, like my father and other people my whole life, but until that moment I wasn't ready to hear it. You know the saying, the master will appear when the student is ready.
Stephanie: And it's interesting Martin again, some very kismet stuff here. I think my husband needs to read at least that section of the book for what's going on in his world right now. 'Cause he's taking some stuff really personally that he shouldn't be. It has nothing to do with him,
Martin: Well, I, I have somebody in my life now who, when we were early in our relationship, I said to her, "Read The Four Agreements." She texts me one day she said, "The second agreement is impossible." I said, "It is as long as you say it is."
Stephanie: Right, right.
Martin: It's like, I can or I can't. It's both true.
Stephanie: Correct. Correct. You decide.
Stephanie: How long have you been coaching now?
Martin: So I've been coaching for about 10, 11 years.
Martin: Yeah. And in the beginning I was a divorce recovery coach.
Stephanie: Okay. Yep.
Stephanie: Makes perfect sense. Yeah. Again, been there, done that and then it's transitioned over time.
Martin: It has, it has. A few years into it, I was coaching and I had finally gotten a job that was a dead end job, and I was leaving the house at seven, getting home at seven, and having no life and not being coached, and not taking in the information I should have been taking along the way. I looked in the mirror one day, I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life. And I was like, all right, how'd I get here?
Martin: I did another introspection. I said, well, I'm not being coached. I can't afford to be coached. Really, I couldn't afford not to be coached because the coaching is really an investment in yourself. And I started, and a friend of mine was on Facebook who actually went to coaching training with me and he said, I just lost a ton of weight by doing a 30 minute video at home. I said, I could do that, I don't have to go buy a gym membership. I don't have to do any of these crazy things and go out and waste time. I can find a half hour and then take a shower and still be ready for work. And in nine months I lost 65 pounds.
Martin: But along with that also came all the other things. I was eating better, I was reading better. I was allowing myself to be coached. I went out and found a coach cause I realized I needed to invest in myself and I did all these things and I went from self-conscious to self-aware. And that's part of what I coach now. And one day I was doing something that, I'm A D H D, so could you imagine me meditating for 10 minutes? Guided meditation. When is this gonna be over?
Martin: How do people do this?
Stephanie: I was gonna say, how'd you get the monkeys to quiet down?
Martin: They didn't. But one day I had this download of information and afterwards I wrote for two hours.
Martin: What I loved about my life, and I wanted to show other people how to love their life, too. So they can have their best life. And out of it came the acronym LIFE Live Incredibly Full Everyday.
Stephanie: I love it.
Martin: Thank you. So now I've started dating some more and I had more self-confidence. And I was set up with a woman and, we start dating and I'm going out on dates all time. And what I'm doing on these other dates, at first, is I'm taking my coaching training and I'm learning what their values are to see if we align.
Martin: And, okay. This one, yes, no. Okay. No, no, no, no. Then I'm start dating this woman and she's checking every box. Go out again, checking every box. This goes on for like a month or so, and I go, "Wait a minute. I gotta tell you something. I don't need to hear it from you, but I need to tell it to you. I'm falling in love with you." You know when you're 50 something years old, you don't say that so simply, you don't just throw it around. I said, "I'm falling in love with you because I love who I see. And I love you see me as I am and you're not trying to change me." And two weeks later she told me she loved me. And, three years later we got married. We've been married almost five years.
Stephanie: That's wonderful. What a great story.
Martin: Thank you
Stephanie: So I'm gonna set you up here. You went from A to B. What was it? You went from being a
Stephanie: to a.
Martin: A warrior.
Stephanie: And you have a Brooklyn accent, so
Martin: For anybody that doesn't understand, I went from being a worrier with an O to a warrior with an A, and that thought came to me during Covid.
Martin: Okay? Covid shuts everybody down. Oh, we're gonna be shut down for three weeks and then everything will be fine. That was March. Now it's May, and we're still shut down. Every day I'm going out, I'm wearing the gloves, I'm putting the mask on, I'm going for shopping because I'm not letting this break me down. And I tell my wife, one day, let's take her kids and let's drive to the city, New York City. We drive to New York City. And if you've ever been to New York City, could you imagine what it's like driving a few blocks in New York City on a typical day, not fun. We were able to drive straight up Sixth Avenue and then straight down Fifth Avenue without missing a traffic light.
Stephanie: Oh my God. It was, it was post-apocalyptic, right? It was, there was nobody there. I've seen pictures.
Martin: Where is everybody? You could still go outside. And I realized everybody was worried and I got to Facebook and I said, "Guys, I get it. I know why you are worried. I was there for the last 10, 12 years. I went through 2008. I went through my divorce, I went through the the weight blah, blah, blah. Let me show you how you could go from being worried to being a warrior," and that's where the Warrior's Life Code came from.
Martin: And to me, a warrior is somebody who's gone through the adversities of life and come out stronger and learned from it and built on it.
Stephanie: Well, I guess that means I get to be a warrior.
Martin: You do!
Stephanie: And, you know, a lot of us do a, a lot of us do. We've made it through so much and, that the life bumps and bruises and scars and as long as we're open to learning from those things and evolving and becoming better versions of ourselves.
Martin: And looking back, I could look at how easily I did the same mistakes over and over and over again in my first life. I tell my wife all the time, she's lucky, she gets Martin 2.0
Martin: And my kids tell her about Martin 1.0 and she's like, I never wanna meet that guy. Said, don't worry, he's gone. He's
Stephanie: Yep, Yeah.
Martin: But it didn't happen overnight. That's the thing everybody's gotta understand, to be sustainable, it's gotta take time and it's gotta take effort and it's gotta take desire to change and have a big enough why? 'Cause to me, why is another acronym What's Hurting You?
Stephanie: Oh, geez. That's amazing. You're exactly right. What's hurting you? Yeah. No matter what, there's so many different coaches and programs and, and they're always Start with your why, but I've never heard that acronym before. That's beautiful.
Martin: Thank you.
Stephanie: Wow. Martin, this has been amazing. I'm gonna have to go do some digging and looking into being a people pleaser, 'cause I think I might have been one in a previous life. And just to help me reflect on it and think about where it might have come from, I usually tell the story with a little bit of a different filter on it. So I'm interested to go back through the story with your filter on it and see what it looks like. Yeah, that'll be an interesting exercise. Before we go, do you work with folks online? If people are listening and they want to get in touch with you, tell me how people can find you.
Martin: Well, first thing is I have a course that's online that they can do on demand. I also do one-on-one, which is like, I like to do it. And then I also have group coaching with the one-on online. But I made it very easy for people to start to get tangible results. I came up with a card deck.
Martin: The Worrier to Warrior Card deck, which is the name of my course as well. And this gives you little tangible snippets of what it would be like to go through my course. And guess what's one of my cards?
Stephanie: What's that? Rationalize! Are rational lies.
Martin: Rational Lies. And another card is self-conscious versus self-aware.
Martin: So what I talk about is what I live,
Martin: because you can't really give it to somebody if you haven't done it yourself.
Stephanie: Right, right. You have to fill your own bucket first before you can pour anywhere else.
Martin: Exactly. So I have a website, it's called Connect With Martin.com. You could go there buy the cards, buy my book, find out about my course. You could also get some free gifts. Let me ask you a question. Do you have kids?
Stephanie: I don't,
Martin: You don't. Okay, cool. Well then you're gonna love this even more then because about a year ago I was on a summit for parents and they said, can you come up with a gift for the parents? I'm like, yeah, I have this thing called Seven Tips You Must Teach Your Children Have an Abundant Warrior Mindset. So great. I made up this white paper and whatever. I said, I'll make it even better. I made a coloring book for the kids on the seven steps, and then parents were like, I want one, too. So if you go to my site that connect with Martin.com, you can get a coloring book for yourself that's for adults. And by the way, Stephanie, I have a secret.
Stephanie: What's that?
Martin: It's okay to color outside of the lines.
Stephanie: Oh God. Don't tell me that. I thought that was against the rules.
Martin: You make the rules!
Stephanie: You may be a recovering people pleaser. I am a recovering perfectionist, so, uh, my, anything I color is usually quite pretty and in the lines, but I'm gonna get your coloring book and I'm gonna practice coloring outside the lines and maybe even with colors that don't match.
Martin: There you go.
Stephanie: That would be big for me.
Martin: And then get the cards and you'll have those tangible things to help you as well.
Stephanie: Nice. I am going to put all of your contact information in the show notes so people will be able to find it and I think this has been fantastic. Martin, thank you so much for taking the time and being so generous with your story today.
Martin: Thank you so much, Stephanie. I enjoyed every minute of it. You're a great host.
Stephanie: Thank you.