5 Oct, 2023

The Courage Champion


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“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali

Courage is the greatest of all virtues that makes our lives better. However, it is also the most difficult to muster, especially in a world full of prejudice.

Today, I will be interviewing a person who has faced and managed fear to be who he truly is. He has not only made impactful changes but has become a top voice, and an ally to the LGBTQ community and other minoritized groups as well.

He is Martin Stark, the famed inclusion activist and practitioner, CEO of the World Gay Boxing Championships. He organized the world’s first LGBTQIA+ boxing competition.

Be inspired. Be liberated. Resonate with and learn more from him. Find out why he is called the Champion of Courage by listening to this episode.

You can get in touch with him through his website martinstark.co, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

There is nothing more powerful in life than being who you truly are.

You too can be a champion. 🏆


⚡️ Fear of being rejected and ridiculed makes us pretend to be someone we are not.

⚡️ Courage is taking ownership of fear and then venturing forward with confidence and resilience.

⚡️ Owning fear makes life happier and more enjoyable, unlocks opportunities, instills confidence, and inspires others to be courageous.

⚡️ People need courage because fear manifests in life across everything.

⚡️ The best way to stand up for others is to ask what you can do for them and get to know people.

Important stories:

🎯 1:15 Who Martin Stark is.

🎯 2:38 What courage means to Martin Stark.

🎯 3:34 The fears Martin faced.

🎯 9:08 How experience has changed him.

🎯 11:22 Martin on being gay.

🎯 15:18 Martin going into boxing.

🎯 20:18 Deciding to be the person to make change.

🎯 24:25 The impact Martin has made.

🎯 27:41 Everyone needs courage.

🎯 30:55 The legacy Martin Stark wants to leave behind.

Send us a message and tell us what is your biggest takeaway about this episode. 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼


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Time invested every day in the programme will build over the 30 days and put you in a powerful place in your life.

Be extraordinary and seize life’s boundless opportunities.

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About Pete Cohen: Pete Cohen is one of the world’s leading life coaches and keynote speakers. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world have been motivated and inspired by Pete’s presentations. He has professionally impacted the lives of thousands of people worldwide, including business executives, professional athletes, and everyday people.  Pete focuses on the importance of closing the gap in our lives between where we are and where we want to be, both personally and professionally.

It’s then all about coaching you to remove the obstacles that are in your way and helping you install the habits of success.

Pete is the author of 20 published books, several of which have been best-sellers across the world, including Shut the Duck Up, Habit Busting, Life DIY, and Sort Your Life Out. He has also presented his own show on TV called The Coach and was the resident Life Coach on GMTV for 12 years.

Pete Cohen (00:00.994)

Happy beautiful day. Martin, Martin Stark, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today. How are you?


Martin Stark (he/him) (00:08.572)

Mate, I'm really well. It's been a beautiful sunny day here in Sydney. Finished at the gym.


Pete Cohen (00:14.166)

Well, you're in Sydney, but you don't have an Australian accent, which I'm obviously curious to find out about. I'm curious to find out about why they call you the champion of courage. Why don't we start off, Martin, just tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are, what you do. Yeah, let's get, let's start there.


Martin Stark (he/him) (00:36.256)

So first of all, my name's Star and my pronouns are he, him, and I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land where I currently am, the Gamaragal people, and pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging. So I was born in a town called Grimsby in the UK, so in Lincolnshire, and I'm a Mrs Bucket and I say Lincolnshire rather than Grimsby, because it's a bit more well known in Lincolnshire. And I moved to Australia just before the Sydney Olympics and I moved with British Telecom.


and I worked with them for a number of years and became a permanent resident. Had a 15 year career in technology procurement, negotiating contracts for software, hardware, services. And four and a half years ago, I took a sabbatical and started posting content on LinkedIn about courage and inclusion. And that's how I had all the opportunities that came my way. And I started boxing.


a few months or a few years ago, and I became famous for organising the world's first boxing competition for the LGBTQ plus community. So that's a little bit of a snippet.


Pete Cohen (01:46.218)

Thank you. Thank you for just giving us a little bit of a snapshot, like you said, a snippet of who you are. So what is it about courage? What does courage actually mean to you? Because this podcast is really about being intentional. And intentional for me is when you kind of go all in with something. I mean, you and I met on LinkedIn. You came into an audio room that I was running and we immediately started having a conversation. And I thought, wow, this is a really intentional.


a person who's decided to do things very differently, to stand in the face of adversity. Why don't we look at courage? Tell me, what does courage actually mean to you?


Martin Stark (he/him) (02:28.524)

I define courage as taking ownership of fear and venturing forward with confidence and resilience. Breaking down that fear as to why you're actually feeling that way and overcoming that is so empowering.


Pete Cohen (02:45.454)

So when you say overcoming fear, what fear have you experienced in your life?


Martin Stark (he/him) (02:52.96)

So the biggest fear of experiencing my life is going through a tracheotomy. So that's been the biggest fear. In 2006 I had gallstones blocking my liver and I had a procedure called an ERCP which involved a camera being inserted through my throat to put a stent in my bar duct and try and remove a blockage. What happened is dye seeped into my pancreas.


And within 12 hours, I was in intensive care because I developed severe acute pancreatitis and had a collapsed lung. And the first memory I had before my first coma was speaking with the doctor saying, I think you're gonna need to place me on a ventilator. And he agreed. So not knowing if I was going to wake up and going through that moment was tough. And then the next part for me were the dreams I had in my first coma.


But my worst fear was always a tracheotomy. I don't know why, but in order to live, I needed to go through a tracheotomy because about a week or so after my first coma, sepsis had formed, which is blood poisoning, and I had the most severe form, septic shock. And literally the only way to save my life was a tracheotomy. I remember the doctors coming over, immobilizing me.


Pete Cohen (03:55.65)



Martin Stark (he/him) (04:21.204)

and feeling the pressure on my neck as they perform the tracheotomy. Really struggling to breathe. Knowing what was next was being back in an induced coma on the ventilator.


Pete Cohen (04:35.062)

Wow. I mean, I didn't, I didn't know that, you know, I think what's fascinating. I miss so much in what you say about facing something you don't want to do. And I was just likening it to the situation. I remember when my wife had to go down for like a nine hour operation on her brain, I called it a wake surgery where they start, they wake you up during the operation because of where the tumor was and, um, close to where the, her language senses were.


And I remember just how brave she was because she didn't want to go. And, but she did, you know, she did. And I'm, I'm curious, you know, with you, was that the same thing of, right? I don't want to do this, but you ended up doing it.


Martin Stark (he/him) (05:18.624)

So this is the thing is when you're in intensive care that your memory doesn't always relate to what's happening because of the drugs. Apparently I told the doctors not to do the tracheotomy and my family overruled me. But I remember the doctor coming over and saying we're going to need to do something. And what that moment was just pure intense fear because I thought I was going to die, essentially.


because I was struggling to breathe, very, very ill. But really the feeling I will describe is, imagine a python is holding you tight, but is trying to save your life. So struggling to breathe, unable to move, and feeling pressure on your neck because they're inserting tubes through your throat.


Martin Stark (he/him) (06:09.152)

That is the toughest memory that I have.


Martin Stark (he/him) (06:14.646)

what happened next, because this is my natural voice, because of the damage to my vocal cords.


This is my voice for a year until I learned to speak through my diaphragm. So it took my voice away, my way to speak away. So the impact was significant.


Pete Cohen (06:33.738)

When you said an induced coma the first time, so how many times were you induced into a coma? And then I think you were saying you were dreaming. Did you say you were dreaming in the coma? What was that like?


Martin Stark (he/him) (06:39.692)

to you, Kymas.


Martin Stark (he/him) (06:45.604)

Yeah, yeah. So I described them as living nightmares. If you can even envisage a dream that you have, that you remember, but a dream that you can't get out of. So there's one dream where there was this entity attacking every single member of my family. And it was literally going from cousin to cousin to cousin. And then it was my turn. So that was one dream. Another dream was I was taken to a hospital. And


there was a nurse every time she walked past, there would be this painful fluid on my left hand. And it was like being stuck in a hospital.


Pete Cohen (07:25.951)

And what do you think those dreams were pointing out? What do you think those dreams were about? Was it the drugs or was it your brain trying to work something out?


Martin Stark (he/him) (07:34.836)

But I think it's the drugs, I think it was actually my brain trying to make sense of what was happening around me. I use the analogy of can you remember the thunder cats when Lionel was holding the sword and he said when he had sight beyond sight, so I have hyper awareness. So my brain was trying to make sense of what was happening around me to


Pete Cohen (07:40.28)

Mm. Yeah.


Martin Stark (he/him) (08:00.992)

give me a sense of purpose, I guess, whilst I was in that induced coma, because they're there to put you to sleep. But it's, it's a crazy experience. I can't describe more.


Pete Cohen (08:11.958)

Yeah, well, you obviously were extremely courageous, right? I mean, it sounded like if you went in to have it, but then you obviously didn't wanna have it. But the fact is you did. And how has that experience changed you? You think about who you were then and who you are now. What's different? Who are you now after having been through this ordeal?


Martin Stark (he/him) (08:34.444)

So I've always been more courageous than I gave myself credit for up until about seven years ago. So what I learned was to accept the situation and try and deal with it as best I can. Because a few months after that experience, I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune condition, Addison's disease. My body doesn't produce cortisol. So cortisol is your body's stress producing hormone. So can you imagine you're going for a run?


and your cortisol levels will increase, but mine don't. So I need to take cortisol for life. And I've been in hospitals 70 times over the last 17 years with major surgeries, Addison's disease. And you know, JFK had Addison's disease and after Barack Obama was the best the president American has ever had in my view.


Pete Cohen (09:26.626)

So, I mean, this is fascinating. It's amazing when you get to speak to someone, you know, like before we started talking and you were asking me a couple of things and I was thinking, well, look, it'd just be great to get to know you. And I think the best way to get to know anyone is just having a conversation. And my podcast has always been about, this is how the conversation, let's get to know each other, but this is more about me getting to know you, which is absolutely fine. That's how I want it to be. People that listen to the podcast, they should know enough about me considering there's almost nearly 500 episodes. So...


This is our opportunity to kind of get to know who you are. And I must admit everything you're saying now is telling me, wow, what a courageous a human being. And there's more to you than meets the eye. It seems like you've needed these horrific things to happen for you to really tap into your courage, for you to realize just look how courageous I am. Would you agree with that? It's crazy, isn't it? It's crazy.


Martin Stark (he/him) (10:18.872)

Yes, yes. And really, it's one of those things, I think high achievers don't always realize the impact they're making, or what they're achieving, until something happens. Because I have another story to tell you. And this is another thing.


Pete Cohen (10:31.935)



I think you've got a few stories to tell me. Yeah, yeah. I want to ask you about, you're obviously gay, right? You've told me that, right? You've started, I'm curious about that. Did that also take some courage many years ago to tell the world, at what point did you know that you were gay?


Martin Stark (he/him) (10:52.114)

11 years old.


Pete Cohen (10:53.566)

Yeah. And at what point did you actually decide, right, I'm going to tell the world about that.


Martin Stark (he/him) (10:58.08)

16 years later, when I was 27. I should have come out years earlier, but the world was different then.


Pete Cohen (11:00.566)

Wow. So yeah, well, I was thinking about that yesterday actually, just, I can't remember why, but I was just thinking, yeah, I mean, we've still got a long way to go. But so you kept that inside yourself for many years. And how did you feel? Because I know a lot of people would say that there was a shame associated to that. I mean, for you, what were you holding?


Martin Stark (he/him) (11:25.98)

It was just abject fear of being rejected, and it was unfounded fear. If you can, I remember Colin and Barry on EastEnders, there was a peck on the cheek. National outrage, Margaret Thatcher, section 28, age of 12, 13. So if you can imagine the social conditioning of the 1980s, the 80s were better than previous decades for the LGBT Q plus community.


Pete Cohen (11:28.96)



Pete Cohen (11:36.978)

Yeah, yeah, I remember that. Yeah.


Pete Cohen (11:49.43)



Martin Stark (he/him) (11:55.44)

and then really deny my sexuality in my brain for a period of time. But it was moving to Australia, accepting myself. My first manager was homophobic. There was no way I was going to come out when my manager and his peers would make jokes. You'd be very brave. It would be career suicide to do that.


Pete Cohen (12:16.366)

So, I just still can't believe that, but I can, you know? So, wow. You know, you're really good at actually leaving, when you speak, you actually leave pauses that I've noticed that kind of gives me and who's listening a chance to kind of process what you're actually saying. And I'm just processing myself, just thinking, my God, that wasn't that long ago.


And what must have that been like for you? You know, who, who did you have to pretend to be in order to kind of move through the world at what point did you go, right? That's it. No way. Enough's enough. I'm telling the world. What was, what, tell us about that.


Martin Stark (he/him) (12:59.576)

So I explored my sexuality in the late 90s, early 2000s. I'll be blunt, I remember the first time I was on a training course in London, I was meant to soho. The first time I was intimate with a guy without going into too much detail. I was on a training course and it was like, this is who I am, but it took another three years. But it was moving to Australia, it was actually moving to Sydney.


I worked for British Telecom in Sydney and BT in Sydney, and it was such a different environment, same company, same different environment, and like, wow, people didn't care. So then it took that to be courageous enough to come out.


Pete Cohen (13:40.942)

just, I mean, I just can't even think about the impact that must have on you. But I also think on everybody in terms of, I think most people hold on to some aspect of themselves or not even let them, their true self come to the come out. But what was that like? Was it liberating for you when you finally like, listen, go on, tell us about that. I can, I can tell by the expression on your face. Yeah.


Martin Stark (he/him) (14:03.845)

Yeah. Just completely liberating. I remember telling the first person I told, like, I know we've known for years, we've been waiting to tell you. So just being able to accept it. And I'm the type of person, I will just do something like that if I want to, because I spent too many years worrying what other people thought, to think, well, I'm living this life for me.


Pete Cohen (14:15.533)



Pete Cohen (14:20.278)



Pete Cohen (14:28.082)

And so tell me now, just in terms of, I mean, there's so many things I wanna ask you. How did you get into boxing?


Martin Stark (he/him) (14:38.496)

So at the end of 2017, have a day. It's a day where, hardest day of my life after the coma, but everything went right. I went to work, I was feeling a bit unwell, and I somehow managed to make it home. So I'm having an adrenal crisis. So I've got a major infection, and I'm needing to give myself some more cortisone. So I make it home.


I give myself an intramuscular injection of hydrocortisone. I call the paramedics. It's been unlike any other genocrises in the past. The first paramedic arrives, he starts giving me some intravenous fluids. I need those fluids. The next paramedics arrive, they take me straight to Royal North Shore, which is a leading teaching hospital in Sydney. The person on triage makes an assessment.


to take me into the RISA section of emergency, the intensive care section of emergency. My pulse was below 40, struggling. This was different, very severe adrenal crisis. And straight there, the surgeons, the doctors are all over. They're pumping me with more hydrocortisone and more fluids trying to stabilize me. At that moment,


I thought, am I going to die? I know what's next. It's back in intensive care. It's back in those comas. That caused PTSD. I connected the memory of 2006 comas with end of 2017. So to help combat the PTSD, I had self-defense training and boxing training. I never thought boxing would be me. It's a bit like a butcher becoming a vegan.


You know, that change. But then I started cataloging my box on Instagram. There are fewer than 1000 hashtags to gay boxing, but you know, 20 million or so on boxing. And people would joke previously, Martin could never punch his way out of a paper bag to Martin. How is your boxing training going?


Pete Cohen (16:58.667)

Yeah. It's amazing. You know, again, just what an example of being intentional and identity. You know, I'm, you know, my business is my 365 and the I stands for intention, but also stands for identity. You know, like you obviously identify now, you identified as a, as a gay man many years ago and you had the courage to say, well, I'm going to be who I am.


And I commend you for that. And then becoming something that you weren't, which is you weren't a boxer, but you came a boxer. I mean, you know, this is again, you show such courage. The courage. And as you said, courage is really, it's your ability to do something that's scary. And it's, I think it's also, I'm sure you would agree your ability to manage fear, because it's not like the fear isn't there. It's like, no, the fear is there, but I'm going to manage it and I'm going to do something that scares me. Um.


Martin Stark (he/him) (17:31.872)



Martin Stark (he/him) (17:56.196)

So this is my definition of courage. I've owned the theatre and I'm confident because I can box. I'm never gonna be anywhere near as good as Bahamian Ali, but I can box and I've ventured forward.


Pete Cohen (18:01.143)



Pete Cohen (18:06.982)

I think that's also a really important distinction actually, when people say, you know, I'm just a part-time or a boxer or I'm just starting. It's no, you're boxing, you know, and to own that. How has it helped you? How has boxing helped you?


Martin Stark (he/him) (18:21.788)

It helped me realize that I mattered more than I was giving myself credit for, because I'd put in my mind, you can throw anything at me and I'll deal with it. So the first time my shadow boxed and shadow boxing is, is where you're mimicking boxing, you're not hitting an opponent that was so empowering because I realized that psychologically, I didn't want to hit another person, but it didn't matter if they hit me. But then I realized, no, I do matter more than I give myself credit for.


and actually not wanting to hit the other boxer, I'm disrespecting them because boxing is, it is the sparring, it's where the fun is. So that's what it gave me, but boxing gave me a voice to lead change and the toughest board in the world to change.


Pete Cohen (19:08.618)

Why? Because of its macho kind of nature or is that what you mean? Yeah. It's like one of those sports, like football really. It's not the most sports, you know, that kind of, you can't be gay and play and play sport. It's, um, I just really commend you because there's nothing more powerful in life than being who you, you truly are and having the courage to step into that. So what, what drives you now? What's your mission on this earth right now?


Martin Stark (he/him) (19:12.233)



Pete Cohen (19:37.666)

What are you working on?


Martin Stark (he/him) (19:37.696)

So, board working on that is something that I would never, ever have done, is I've just launched a course for people to make an impact and achieve business success on LinkedIn.


because the last four years I've been spending organizing the world's first LGBTQ plus boxing competition. I decided to be the person to make the change, to organize the first event. I was able to get the World Boxing Council to collaborate with me on the statement saying how they're proud to be an ally to the LGBTQ plus community.


Pete Cohen (20:10.774)

How did you get them to do that?


Martin Stark (he/him) (20:13.412)

I tell you, the World Boxing Council are awesome. I sent them an email saying, I've set up this not-for-profit. Two days later, there was a letter and a video saying, we support you. And a few weeks later, Mauricio Solomon recorded a video saying everybody's welcome in boxing. So just built a relationship with them. And then came up, no, really genuine, very genuine.


Pete Cohen (20:36.286)

And you think that's genuine or is it just like a tick box?


That's fantastic. That's fantastic. You know?


Martin Stark (he/him) (20:44.096)

They range from video messages from people, yeah, big queues after the World Boxing Council, very genuine in my experience.


Pete Cohen (20:51.666)

And I say, has there been an event? So tell us about that. Come on, tell us what that was like. Because I mean, well, sorry. I mean, the great thing is you came up with this idea and I think this is again, I am I an idea, you come up with an idea and then you have the courage to bring the idea to life. What was the idea?


Martin Stark (he/him) (20:54.206)



Martin Stark (he/him) (20:57.76)

So I'll...


Martin Stark (he/him) (21:10.892)

So the idea was to have the world's first boxing competition for the LGBTQ community and allies to enable trans people to box against cisgender people. And how.


Pete Cohen (21:22.262)

And when you say allies, when you say allies, can you just explain what you mean by that?


Martin Stark (he/him) (21:26.048)

So an ally is somebody who is a friend and supporter of the LGBTQ plus community or other minoritized communities. So for example, somebody speaks up against racism to stop black people experiencing racism. So that's for me is an ally. Most people are allies.


Pete Cohen (21:34.913)



Pete Cohen (21:44.138)

Lovely. So I love to be an ally as well. So tell us what happened. Where did it happen and what was the whole thing like?


Martin Stark (he/him) (21:50.924)

So it happened in Sydney during World Pride this year, in February, had two days of amateur boxing. I had drag queen MCs who were absolutely fantastic. There was a trans man who fought, a cisgender man, so a cisgender man is a man whose gender identity aligns with his sex assigned at birth.


I had to lobby, I had to do lots of research and development to get a policy to enable trans people to save the competing boxing. In the previous two and a half years, I was sending emails, I was interviewed by The Guardian, CNN, BBC Sport for about two hours on one day. There were three stories on the BBC boxing page. Anthony Joshua, Martin Stark, Muhammad Ali. So that's my...


boxing world royalty is being on side at New Joshua and Muhammad Ali.


Pete Cohen (22:48.319)



Pete Cohen (22:51.594)

Well, to me, you deserve it. I mean, I mean, you know, when I look at people who do great things in sport, I, you know, I often think, I mean, it's funny, we were just talking, Ronnie O'Sullivan literally just sent me a WhatsApp message and I just had to turn WhatsApp off on my computer. You know, he's seven times world champion and I, I love him and I respect him, but it's what he does off the table, which I think is more of where he's a champion, you know, and people like you, it's not being in the ring. It's


what you do outside of the ring because that's where you've had the biggest competition, you know, the competition to make it happen, the competition to live, to survive, to come, to come out and say, this is me, you know, you are a natural born fighter, like you said, throw anything at you and you say, right, I'm going to move through this. So what was that like, you know, when you reflect back on what you did, how, how do you, do you see how courageous you were?


Martin Stark (he/him) (23:48.244)

Yeah, it took me two weeks to actually recover from that. I was relentless. Literally, I would spend thousands of hours, I've sent thousands of emails literally to people. I was able to get the International Boxing Organization, the World Boxing Association, the World Boxing Organization to provide statements of support. You Google my name, everything there with boxing, through LinkedIn, which I had no idea about four and a half years ago.


I became a top voice for the last two years. And very few people get to be a LinkedIn top voice. And through my knowledge, I've spoken at TikTok. I've spoken for a bank in Australia. I'm speaking at an event next week. I've just been able to get things which I never thought I would want to do that I really love doing. The other impact I have is I was able to inspire professional boxers who are not yet out.


Pete Cohen (24:29.518)



Martin Stark (he/him) (24:47.48)

want to come out to have hope and I'm supporting people who it's not yet safe for them to come out but when they do the world will see courageous openly gay male or bi-male or openly queer male boxes because that hasn't happened for decades.


Pete Cohen (25:12.062)

Yeah, well, I support you in that as well. It's interesting how I would imagine many of those boxes are going to do that because of you, because you, you went first, you know, you created the space to go, no, this is what we're going to do. So I'm personally hugely inspired by you. And you were asking me before about, you know, you want to do more speaking. And I said, well, let's, let's have a chat and let me get to find out a little bit more about who you are.


And I think one of the things I would encourage you to do is your story is so important that your story needs to be told again and again and again and again. And as much as you can find opportunities to get on people's podcasts and share your story, because this will resonate with a lot of people about stepping into something that is difficult and challenging, whether it's life threatening or whether it, whatever it is, you know, you're, you're just a great example. A friend of mine.


I'd like to introduce you to Dale White, who's head of Suzuki UK, an island, fantastic human being, the man who has Parkinson's disease. His wife just passed away as well. I just see this courageous human being. And he said something to me really profound about when you tell a story, he said, remember that when you tell your story, maybe you'll be in a room and 99% of the people have heard it before, but one person hasn't.


and don't skim over the story. Remember to always do your story justice because we're all in the story making business, right? And our stories resonate when we identify with ourselves. And I think, as you well know, everybody needs courage. What, why does, why do people need courage?


Martin Stark (he/him) (26:59.916)

They need courage because fear just manifests in life across everything. If you look about workplace culture, we look about fear of how many hours you need to do, can I switch off my mobile phone? Fear of what other people may think, fear of how people will treat us. I mean, the amount of nonsense, I'll call it, I'm being polite, the amount of nonsense I've had about the boxing and being trolled on social media.


Pete Cohen (27:13.952)



Martin Stark (he/him) (27:27.884)

to go to the police twice. I don't stand for any nonsense. I'm like, well, you may do this, but words have actions, words have consequences, words can be empowering. So that's the impact of fear. And that's why I talk about owning the fear. Cause if you can own that with courage, that gives you the impetus to be happier, improves the enjoyment of life,


It unlocks more opportunities. It instills confidence. It inspires other people to be courageous. I've never met an executive in an event I've spoken with or spoken with privately or CEOs I've spoken with where they don't say, I want the team to be more courageous and there's just something holding them back. And that's why I love speaking about courage because I can be the person to come, I spoke at a school in Sydney.


for Wear a Purple Day, which is a day to help LGBTQ plus youth. I mean, it's been like 1,300 students. And I tell you what I was inspired by was the conversations with the students afterwards, saying, you know, I have a friend. How can I be an ally? Or you said this. How can I be more courageous? How can I support my brother, my peer? And that's the impact of inspiring courage.


Pete Cohen (28:52.31)

It's really, uh, so fascinating. I notice with younger people these days that they are just more aware. You know, there's more challenges, I think, in being younger today. Like you said, with mobile phones, you know, being courageous to turn it off, you know, to be, to be where you are. But I also see just, uh, an awareness of rising, um, and intelligence of what is going on in the world. And I see more people.


wanting to help others and say, I want to be an ally of that person. I want to help. I want to serve. And again, it just goes to show just how important your message is. Because actually when we look at virtues, there, there are many, there are many, but there are, I think there seems to be like four core virtues that we see in philosophy and religion around courage, temperance, you know, which is willpower, uh, justice.


But courage is definitely the one that fuels all of them, you know, because you have to be courageous to stand up for the rights of other people. You have to be courageous to have willpower. So, you know, I think your message is just absolutely essential. I'd love to, you know, as we start to kind of wrap this up, I'd love to know from you in terms of what would you like the legacy of?


your life to be? What is it that you would like to leave behind?


Martin Stark (he/him) (30:22.984)

In terms of boxing, I want to solve the problem that shouldn't exist. I want to solve the problem of homophobia and transphobia and anything discriminating against the LGBTQ community. I want to solve that problem. Secondly, as I want the impact is when people think about courage. My name is on the list of somebody who made a difference with courage.


So be the Simon Sinek of courage.


Pete Cohen (30:56.238)

That's really powerful. I really liked that. I'd encourage everyone to think about that. That's making me think about the same thing. You know, I definitely want to be someone who always had time for people, but I also want to be someone who helped people kind of stop and look at where they are differently and then start to see a future that they go, I know who the person I could be. And I think once again, you were just an amazing example of reinvention of stepping into your.


your greatness and stepping into the person that you will put on this earth to be. And also that going through adversity is challenging, but it's the making of who you are. And I'm definitely looking forward to telling more people about you and hopefully people have heard enough that makes them want to know more. So what is the best way for people to, I've got your website up in front of me here and I think I will put the links to it there, but


I'd encourage everyone to go and look at that. Go and have a look at the course that you create, make an impact and achieve business success on LinkedIn. I'm definitely gonna have a look at that. Go check it out. What else, what's the best way, look at your blog, what's the best way for people to follow you and get in touch?


Martin Stark (he/him) (32:15.84)

So the best way, my website, mylandstark.co, or the other way, and I spent far too much time on LinkedIn, but is to connect with me on LinkedIn.


Pete Cohen (32:27.402)

Well, there are worse places to be, you know, it is a great, I mean, I've spent like two and a half years on clubhouse. I mean, and literally I built a massive following. It was, it was clubhouse was amazing during lockdown. I mean, it was just like unreal. I couldn't believe that you could have, I mean, I got a map of the world and was putting pins when people were coming from all over the world. It was just like, wow. It was honestly, having been on television for years, it was nothing compared to.


Martin Stark (he/him) (32:29.988)

It's a great platform.


Pete Cohen (32:57.238)

that connecting with people. But unfortunately, Clubhouse is definitely not what it was. And LinkedIn has kind of embraced the audio space. And I'm hopeful that continues to improve. That's how we met. And I'm looking forward to holding more spaces with you and shining a light on you. I can already think of a few people I want to introduce you to. And I'm just looking at on your blog.


Martin Stark (he/him) (33:14.86)

That's how we met.


Pete Cohen (33:26.47)

the power of opinions, how thought leadership on LinkedIn can transform your sales. My LinkedIn journey, rookie to top voice and launching my course. Guys, go check this out. I mean, this is the real deal here. This is someone who's doing it, not just talking about it. I really appreciate Martin, you know, you and I creating this space today. And funny how you come found me on LinkedIn and you were walking across a bridge looking at Google Maps, I believe, right?


Martin Stark (he/him) (33:55.86)

Google Maps is actually given instructions as I'm speaking in your audio room. You know, we've got to laugh at it. I thought it was like 100 meters turn right and then you turn Google Maps off. But no, you're welcome.


Pete Cohen (34:01.36)

I couldn't hear that.


Pete Cohen (34:06.86)



Pete Cohen (34:10.77)

Yeah. Um, I've, I've so enjoyed this and, uh, you know, I'm in a phase in my life where I have to also be courageous. You know, it's difficult, you know, you know, my story, what you've heard, just part of me has died when my wife passed away and I know that I have to be courageous on, I'm being on my own and it's, you know, you just, and I loved what you said there. I really love it when you said, I want, when people think of courage, I'm one of the people they think about.


Martin Stark (he/him) (34:39.404)

Can I share one final thought?


Pete Cohen (34:41.726)

Of course you can, as opposed to the lion on The Wizard of Oz. Yeah, of course, of course, please say whatever you want to say.


Martin Stark (he/him) (34:46.246)



Martin Stark (he/him) (34:50.24)

So my, I suppose inspiration from my family side is my nan, you know, she passed away 20 years ago. She had the vicious tongue of Norobati, Google search it, but she had the warm, but she also had that warm smile. So basically within five minutes of you entering the house, she had a cup of tea and her famous pastries. But I remember as a child, if she saw somebody being picked on, her vicious tongue,


Pete Cohen (35:01.906)

Yeah, Coronation Street.


Martin Stark (he/him) (35:19.904)

was the thing to stop. Her look was the thing to stop. Because she cared enough, she never wanted to see anybody being bullied or hurt. She was the person who said something. And I suppose I'm the gay version of her. But I don't, I'm not very good at cooking.


Pete Cohen (35:26.702)



Pete Cohen (35:33.666)

Well, you actually remind me of Ben Stokes. I don't know, he's the England cricket captain. And, you know, again, you know, him, obviously, I'm not condoning what he did in smacking someone in the face. But you know, the story is that he was standing up for someone who was being attacked, making homophobic remarks. And he's like, no, and violence, I don't believe, is really the answer. But standing up for others is something we should all do.


know, like, and one of the best ways to stand up for someone is just to ask them to get to know people. How can I help you? What do you need? And I'm so pleased I asked you that question, because you came back to me and said, I'll tell you how you can help me. You had the courage to ask the question. And most people don't ask the question. And I'm saying, how can I help you? Um, and I mean it. So I'm, I'm


Martin Stark (he/him) (36:24.237)



Pete Cohen (36:30.438)

I've really enjoyed this. It's been very cathartic for me, Martin, and I look forward to meeting you one day, maybe in Sydney. Um, Oh, it's amazing. I came there to work. I came there to speak and, um, I wasn't there long enough to really appreciate it. But what I saw was just incredible. What I saw with, uh, like Bondi beach and just the people and, you know, it's a beautiful place and you're a beautiful human being.


Martin Stark (he/him) (36:39.031)

Please come, please come in, please come.


Pete Cohen (36:58.29)

And now I'll tell you something, when I think of courage, I'm definitely going to be thinking about you. So it's a pleasure. It's a pleasure. Thank you so much, guys. Please make sure you connect with Martin. We'll put all of the links for you to do that. But for now, everyone, we wish you a happy, beautiful day.


Martin Stark (he/him) (37:04.396)

Thank you.


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