Coach Marla Beck

When Life Derails You: 3 Tips

by Marla

in brilliant creativity

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 4.07.48 PMJust over a month ago, I stood onstage with my guitar and a friend in an intimate, legendary bar in Sausalito, California.  For nearly an hour, my modest but meaningful dream unfolded, one that I’d been pursuing for quite awhile!

True to coaching form, I set a few performance goals for myself.  I wanted to:

  • Work up a full set of music
  • Perform my songs well
  • Sing to a loving roomful of friends
  • Enjoy collaborating with another guitarist and another singer
  • Have a damn good time

I hit all these marks and a few others, too. One of my most favorite memories of that night was watching the look on one of my friend’s faces as I sang the jazz ballad,  “Skylark.” My friend seemed lost in song — stunned, even.

Just a few hours later, life threw me a curveball, and nearly everything I was  pursuing fell to the wayside in a matter of hours.  (What the heck?!)

In the wake of things, I felt entirely derailed by life.

What happened to me can also happen to you –in fact, if you’re in my community, there’s a good chance you may have already come through some kind of life derailment of your own.  Maybe now you’re on the other side, busy discovering what matters most in this new world of yours. Or knitting your life back together on brand-new terms.

Despite the pain of a life derailment, there are gifts.  Because it’s easy to forget these insights when life starts to get good again, please allow me to remind you these 3 tips:

1 – When you’re derailed, you need Divine guidance more than ever.

When life is very challenging, you need some kind of grounding force to help you through the spin, torque and pain. Sure, you can try to stand up again completely on your own, defying circumstances and showing everyone how strong you are. Why, though?  It’s silly. You waste energy, when you do this.  You deny yourself comfort.

Instead, a life derailment invites us to embrace or deepen a relationship with some sort of nourishing, energizing energy in our lives — a powerful, loving force or practice that nurtures, strengthens and guides us.  I often call this presence in my life “the ever-present Divine.”  Choose what resonates most deeply for you, and develop a relationship with it:  God, nature, intuition, the Universe, energy, art.

There’s much love in this world available to us.  So much warmth and wisdom, too.  When you can open up and allow even more spiritual sustenance into your life, you have more power and energy available to help you heal whatever challenge you’re going through.

2 – When you’re derailed, you need personal support more than ever.

Perhaps you’re an introvert, like me.  I certainly know what it’s like to try to keep things inside, to push through it and not share with others what’s up.

Adversity often forces us to speak up and allow people to help us. I’ve seen some friends assemble armies of support.  Others invite in just a few people.  These devoted friends can be present in our pain and help us by listening, doing tasks or helping out with logistics.

I know: you could choose to try and travel this jagged path alone.  Again, though:  why?  Try allowing in a little help and support.  (Even if you have to hire it.) From my experience I’ve found that allowing others to help you can be scary, but absolutely worth it.

3 – When you’re derailed, you need a new perspective.

When I gave birth to my daughter nine years ago, I was prepared for the disruption of life as I knew it as much as a new mother can be.  I took to the notion of spending a month or more in the home after the birth, and focused as much as I was able, during that time, on bonding with and tending to the baby.

As my daughter grew, my ability to deal with my life with grace was challenged even more.  Could I surrender my past identity, ambitions and my needs for awhile?   Could I simply be in this new reality? Could I listen deeply, and craft a new way of being that knit together both my family and me in a new way?  The answer, over time and definitely imperfectly, is yes.  Yes, I can.

I discovered that the more I surrendered what I thought life should be, the more I could sense what new forms actually needed to take shape. (Maybe I table music for awhile, so I can focus on parenting until she’s in grade school.  Maybe I choose my work hours more carefully than I would, if I were single. Etcetera.)

I call this the principle of right alignment: one of the most powerful productivity tips out there.  When I learned to work with life as-is (vs. what I wanted it to be), I saved myself energy and heartache. I also enjoyed a new reality I couldn’t have imagined before.  In nearly all cases when I’ve managed to surrender under stress, I’ve ended up happier and more fulfilled than ever.  Try it!

One of the ways I’m integrating a new perspective is by taking a fresh look at how I am serving the writers I coach. This month, I’m re-offering my popular Bring Your Brilliance Forward group coaching program, a powerful accountability and support structure for alumni of my private coaching programs and VIP intensives.  If you qualify and are interested in participating, please email me at

f you haven’t worked with me personally yet but know you’re ready to get some real traction with your writing, soon I will be opening up the opportunity to meet with me privately for an exclusive, one-on-one Clarity Intensive with Marla, a 90-minute coaching session that will  jumpstart your clarity, passion and focus.  These sessions are limited.  If you’d like to be one of the first to apply, please email me at <> and I’ll put you on the list.

With love from your coach,


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