Lessons Learned

Experience requires experiments. My top 12 experiments and their lessons learned.



January 2023, I facilitated a reflection and creation workshop for my clients, a process that fosters Power by Reflection and Power by Purpose (a concept by Janet Hagberg Six levels of power) . I applied the insights to create a year of various experiments for myself.

Utilizing the ENERGY AUDIT or COACHING MATH, tools I use with my clients, I evaluated where to focus my time and energy – what to start (+), do more of (*), and what to stop (-) or do less of (:).

My overarching focus for the year was on EXPANSION: of MYSELF, my CLIENTS, my NETWORK, and EXPERIMENTING with new ideas. My design principle for an Ideal Average Year comprises of four basic segments:

1/4th of the year for Recreation, Vacation, time-off – approximately 12 weeks.
1/4th for Personal Growth – expanding myself and my skill set, energizing myself.
1/4th for expanding my clients through deep coaching sessions and creative play.
1/4th for expanding my network and building my business, connecting.

My financial budget is roughly split in 3 parts, 1/3 for personal lifestyle, 1/3 for taxes and operations and 1/3 for expenses/investments in EXPANSION and EXPERIMENTS.


Here’s how it manifested in detail:


Expansion of Self:

1) Personal growth: I re-committed to investing intensely in my personal development, through deep 1-1 coaching with my coaches Chris and Petra and by being open to explore other coaches along the way.

Expansion of my skill set as a coach:

I made a few small bets on honing my skill set as a coach by investing in
2) Certified Hypnotherapy by Paul McKenna and Mindvalley
3) Certified Business Coach by Ajit Nawalka through Evercoach by Mindvalley
4) GAMECHANGER London experience with Devon Bandison

Expansion of my network of peers and (potential) clients

5) Mindvalley University in Tallinn in July
6) GREATOR festival in Köln in July
7) NeverDoneBefore Testival June and Festival in November

Experiment with new ideas:

9) Group coaching programs, like WEEK PROPOSAL GAME or ALCAZAR group.
10) VISIBILITY through LINKEDIN posts or podcasts.
This required me to make SPACE in my calendar. Which made me choose to STOP activities or KILL MY DARLINGS:
11) I discontinued company-sponsored LEADERSHIP development coaching agreements, in previous years 1/3 of my clients were in this space. Companies paid for their leaders to develop leadership skills and tools, though my increasing rates were getting in the range of factor 3x higher, which led the CEOs/CFOs to say gentle NO to my renewal proposals.
12) I experimented with stop tracking. I basically retired my inner controller / CFO and moved him from an active player on the field and put him on the bench. After five years of meticulously tracking every appointment, it felt tedious and it seemed not to add any value for my clients.


Now in December with the year coming to an end, let me walk you through my personal reflections and Lessons Learned!
Let me start with the most painful or most expensive lesson, which let me stumble and almost derailed my prosperous business.



Over the first five years building my business I had meticulously tracked my time in different categories. I had created a color coding in my calendar. Investing a good 2 hours every week, tracking and reviewing my numbers, searching for trends and correlations. A typical controller’s view on life. Looking at my DASHBOARD created a sense of SAFETY and CONTROL:

In case you are interested, here my color coding for my calendar for my Ideal Average Week. It has 10 slots of 3 hours KAIROS time each (morning and afternoon)

GREEN – ME-TIME: Time for nurturing myself, receiving energy, being coached myself, for reading, meditating or treating body to a massage, (3 of 10 slots per week)
BLUE – SERVING PAID: Time serving my paid clients in deep coaching (5 of 10 slots per week)
RED – SERVING UNPAID: Coaching potential clients, giving them a coaching experience (1 of 10 slot)
YELLOW – CONNECTING: nurturing my existing network and expanding my network connecting to interesting people (1 of 10 slot)
PURPLE – Family Time and recreation outside the business i.e. vacation and family travel.


Tracking leading indicators requires energy and time, which doesn’t feel like fun. In January last year I had created several agreements and had abundant cash on my business operations account, so I decided to stop time tracking meticulously from mid February onwards. I chose to take my INNER-CONTROLLER off the playing field, he had been a strong player in recent years building my business. I wanted to experiment and free myself from this task and see what happens if I let the game unfold playfully without tracking the details, in business and personal accounts.


This turned out to be a rather short sided move and ended up in the most expensive experiment of the year. Saving a few hours of tracking time every month, resulted in not having a clean dashboard to observe the course of my business. I didn’t realize that I was not spending time in my RED zone, creating new high value clients. Which resulted in a depleted business operations cash account just before going into the summer vacation. I needed to infuse personal cash to keep my business operations going. A painful and shameful experience for a former CFO! My business was off, and it took some radical actions and creativity getting it back on track. In September I moved the controller back into the game, in a different role now, he is a defense player now!
How I got into the mess: The BUSY vs BUSINESS trap
Over three rainy days in my summer vacation, I went back to reconstruct my tracking database from my colored calendar and I got all my personal finance accounts up to date and fully reconciled. This allowed me to reconstruct how I got myself into the mess. I simply had confused BEING BUSY with BUSINESS:  I had spent way too many hours serving fun and interesting people that I met (YELLOW) as well as my clients (BLUE), and had neglected inviting potential clients, especially entrepreneurs and impactful leaders into a coaching experience with me (RED). My invisible autopilot course was set to: “Serve Who you meet, rather than meet, who I want to serve.” My business was off.
Hindsight: Both of my coaches, Chris and Petra had asked me, in May, “Is this the best use of your time?” Not having clear data at hand, I said, I believe YES, though I did sense deep down an uneasy feeling. Looking at the numbers after the fact, it became very evident that with my proven tracking system, I was off course already in April, latest by late May the RED flags were visible. Though as I was not seeing it, I kept the course unchanged.
Category: Cost of not doing it! – Most expensive experiment of the year and thereby also the most valuable lesson.

How did the other experiments turn out?



1) Investing in 1-1 COACHING.

Walking my Talk: A coach without a coach is not a coach. My personal growth over the recent years is mainly due to investing substantially into deep 1-1 coaching. This year Chris Joseph, Petra Gregory and Helga Drescher held the sacred space for my personal expansion and letting go of old beliefs that were holding me back. On some level I think the radical move of “retiring my controller” was a way to let go of my corporate controller identity I had built for 18 years in corporate. Sometimes it requires pain, to learn a lesson and come back playfully. Being in the space with experienced coaches and being in their energy helps me to shift my mindset and adds tremendous value for my clients through supervision.

2) HYPNOTHERAPIE course with Paul McKenna & Mindvalley

This 16 weeks course was an excellent investment of time and money and it filled my tool kit with a wide range of hypno tools and I met several interesting coaches, where some even became smaller value clients. Benefit for my existing clients, they received a free upgrade of their coaching as I integrated and applied several tools to their benefit.
Would I do it again? Yes, I would definitely do it again, and I recommended the course to several of my clients and people in my network. I know of probably eight people that enrolled in the last cohort. It also got me to participate in the SUPERCOACH Academy in Tallinn and be called on stage by Paul McKenna. It was a fun experience, where I met a lot of fun and interesting people on the back of having been on stage. If you are interested in the 5 minute episode of me being on stage and swimming in a sea of money, here is a you-tube link.

3) CBC – Certified Business Coach with Ajit Nawalka 

This was my flop of the year. I was of the expectation to get 16 weeks of great insights into the business side of coaching, similar too the experience in the hypno course, though after six weeks of being in coaching pods with total beginners with no coaching experience, I realized I had misguided myself into INFORMATION versus TRANSFORMATION trap. While Ajit shared a ton of useful information and methods, it wasn’t really useful for developing and growing my bespoke 1-1 coaching business. And it didn’t create any connections to potential clients either. I would not do it again nor recommend this course.
Category: Highest write off of the year.

4) GAMECHANGER London with Devon Bandison

The trip to London was worth every cent. It started with a Camino-Coaching in Hyde Park with a few coaches I had met in the Rich Litvin universe living in London. It was a fun experience!
The Gamechanger was a recommendation by my coach Chris. Great return for a relatively small investment. I was especially curious as Devon is in his third year of coaching with the Ultimate Coach Steve Hardison, whom I had met in London in 2022. Devon has a fun way of transmitting his message and calling out the commitment of his participants, using language of game and play. Three days of intense work, transformation and fun. Would I do it again? Definitely YES, I will do it again, this time as a host. Devon will be in Munich on 21-23. June 2024 and we will co-create a GAMECHANGER Munich with a Midsummer group camino-coaching. If you want to participate, here is the link or send me a DM if you want to know more about it or get a Value Add promotion code. I wrote a post of my 55 insights from the event earlier this year.



MVU is a combination of learning from great speakers, connecting to interesting people from all over the world, living in a beautiful city and having lots of fun. Free choice university for adults is one of the best forms of vacation for me! I am very grateful for the 10 days of MVU experience.
I had rented a three bedroom Airbnb and a client and a coach colleague shared it with me. As a tribal event, we co-created together with four of my clients, two Camino-Coaching experiences in Tallinn old part of town. This event expanded my peer network and connected me to several interesting people, of which a few became clients. I met a few very skilled experts in their field: Galina Sorensen for Higher Consciousness activation, Karin Palm for deep trance hypnosis and Brent Brunings an expert in palm reading, which I added to my pool of experts, all of them I met in Tallinn.
Category: highest value for the money invested. Do it again in 2024!

6) GREATOR Event, July 2023

It was kind of a fun experience, especially experiencing Tony Robbins, John Strelecky, Tobias Beck, Marissa Peers, Dieter Lange and several more inspiring speakers. I enjoyed meeting a few people from my LINKEDIN Network in person. Though the VIP black ticket seemed mainly a filter criteria for access to higher price marketing pitches, with the side benefit of being catered to in a luxurious box.
For my personal taste, too much, too many, too superficial, too noisy. I felt like a stuffed goose ready to vomit on my way back. I will not do it again, and as I don’t see myself as a speaker, I don’t see any benefit for me. While there probably were a few potential clients in the room, that could have benefited from deep transformation coaching. The dominant energy was on the other side of the coaching spectrum: DOING not BEING. I didn’t focus my energy on following up.
On my black NEVER-DO-AGAIN list this event was topped only by a marketing event in June I was dragged into by Hermann Scherer, teacher of many of the speakers at the above event. A perfect marketing machine, selling hot air in GOLDEN balloons. An absolute NO-Go for me. Category: worst 89€ spent this year. Though it had a 100x ROI for me, because it clearly showed me where not to invest my time and money forward.

7) NeverDoneBefore Testival and Festival

The fourth year in a row I have participated in Myriam Hadnes’ beautifully created NeverDoneBefore festival in June and NDB Festival in November. 24h events for facilitators organized co-creatively by the approx. 100 members of the community. Every year it is a fun and growing experience. Myriam and I co-created a workshop in November around money mindset: From self worth to Net-worth. I love the diversity of people, the variety of topics and the high energy and enthusiasm of all participants. Knowing and working with Myriam since her start into entrepreneurship, it has been a great joy seeing her grow, evolve and become a thought leader in the space of facilitation. Looking forward to version 2024!
Category: Highest level of energy and fun in 24h



The consigliere format was designed for 1-1 coaching of entrepreneurs and CEOs, combining deep long sessions and bi-weekly espresso sessions. It turned out to be delivering good results with my existing clients. I will continue to evolve this type in 2024.
My three apprentices committed to learn the business of coaching through working with me in an intense rhythm. Their personal transformation underlines that coaching is in fact an apprentice based business, while the financial results take time to be collected. I still think that on a 3 year horizon a 10x ROI is very likely.
Camino-Coaching, my favorite 1-day coaching format: I explored new routes: LONDON, SALZBURG, TALLINN, COLOGNE, VALENCIA, LINDAU. I co-created a Half Marathon in Valencia with a client of mine. And in Tallinn we co-created with other coaches to walk a group of up to 20 people. I experimented with different tools, such as GRATITUDE SHOWER and the DOMINO-DECLARATION, an idea inspired by the Gamechanger event. I tested a format for exclusively ENTREPRENEURS in Salzburg and Lindau. In short almost 100 participants walked with me in one of the 16 Caminos offered in 2023. I love walking and coaching and there is no limit in creation for the format.
I am curious which cities show up in 2024. I will keep walking and coaching!
Category: High Fun and great energy


With my apprentice and group coach clients I observe that while they have great coaching skills and often good credentials (ICF certifications e.a.) their hardest challenge is creating a sustainable business. I learned from Rich Litvin the 90 Day money game and modified it for my clients. We played two seasons of the 13 Proposal Game with amazing results. In both seasons there were about a dozen active players and a few observers. In the first season about 650k of proposals were spoken out and 40% converted into agreement and in the 2nd season more than 900k of proposals were created and about 25% converted into agreements. The 1% rule resulted in approx. 15k of donations to charity and Note to self: high time investment, with limited financial return. “Is this the best use of my time?” Short term, probably NO. Long Term: probably YES. Continue experiment in 2024.
Category: Great for community and learning the art of proposal.


10) VISIBILITY on LINKED IN posts and podcasts

This year I wanted to practice writing a post every week and commenting on good posts 2-3 times a week. I playfully experimented with it, and as a consequence increased my annual impressions to over 100k+, with the top 5 posts being 3-4k impressions and my followers base grew from 1k to 1.7k. Seems to grow along the Fibonacci spiral. Is this the best use of my time? It’s like training for the half-marathon, it keeps me fit and agile. Something to continue for 2024. Did it pay off? Probably yes: One client reconnected after 10 years, because I had posted a picture of a coffee bar on LINKEDIN which he recognized. This started a conversation and led to a coaching agreement. Otherwise NO financial benefit from 100h+ invested time yet, my inner controller is objecting to continue, though I enjoy it more and more.
I accepted two invitations for a podcast. One with Callum Wilson and another with Mike Rutjes. Something to open for in 2024


Key result of the ENERGY AUDIT, one of my favorite tools with clients, is the Letting go of or KILL MY DARLING. Very often at some point we tend to outgrow our activities, clients or routines and it becomes a necessary step to end these. In the beginning of 2023 I did not renew any of my company paid agreements. While in 2022 I was still coaching 7 clients in their leadership skills, I decided not to continue these agreements. Why? Two reasons: First, the level of engagement for an entrepreneur investing in his or her own personal growth is much higher than if the company pays for it. This issue can be partially adjusted with personal skinn in the game. Second: My rates filter for commitment, and very often companies and corporate organisations think in budgets and purchasing negotiates cost by the hour. Rarely do they compare the cost-of-not-doing it with 10x impact by investment into coaching.
Category: Select who I want to serve and create 10X ROIs, is the best use of my time.
Overall a year of fun experiments and growth and learning for me.
If you are interested to work with me, here are a few ways:
(1) CAMINO-COACHING days are a great opportunity to explore in a half day or day how coaching with me can create deep insights while walking in nature.
(2) If you are an entrepreneur or CEO and you want to develop your personality and your company you might want to explore the CONSIGLIERE approach.
(3) For any leader or coach, I highly recommend the GAMECHANGER MUNICH experience with Devon Bandison, 21.-23. June 2024, first time in Germany.
(4) For coaches: You might benefit from the  1-1 APPRENTICE or the ALCAZAR group for coaches, in both cases we play the PROPOSAL GAME.

Martin Frederik Garbers
Ismaninger Str. 68, 81675 München
Tel mobil: +49 172 1328207
Email coach(at)

Entdecken Sie als Unternehmer und Mensch Ihren inneren Kompass und schöpfen Sie Ihr Potenzial freudvoll aus. Coaching mit Martin Frederik Garbers begleitet Sie auf dem Weg zu unternehmerischem Wachstum und authentisch gelebter Lebensfreude.