External Forces

Yes, life is hard but one of the ways to make it sweeter and to empower ourselves in any and all situations is to learn how to sort out what is 100% in our control and what is not. By doing so, we shift the paradigm for our lives.

Life teaches us that, as hard as we might try, we cannot control people and many of our external circumstances. But, here is the good news: If someone or something is about diminishing us, breaking us, or steering us away from ourselves, our superpower is that we get to choose our thoughts and our actions in any and all situations. We can redirect, recalibrate, and reorient our mental compass back to center which in turn helps us show up and behave in a way that serves us.

If our thoughts have the power to create our feelings, and if our feelings generate our actions, don’t you think it is wise to pay attention to our internal landscape and how we think about ourselves, and how we interpret the circumstances in our lives since those beliefs literally become our experience?

I am working with a few clients who are struggling in their relationships. They feel unsatisfied and unhappy and believe that if their significant others would just act in a certain way, and/or do certain things, then they would feel better. Our work has been to shift the focus from believing that the outside world has to change in order for them to feel better, and we have turned the focus inward to shed light on their thought processes and belief systems. Amazingly, most of us don’t even question our inner dialogue and from where our beliefs and interpretations come, and yet it drives so much of our relationship with ourselves, our interactions with others, and our actions and results in life. It is beautiful to witness when we gain awareness and shift our thoughts/beliefs from diminishing ourselves to empowering ourselves. No more victim mentality. No more blame game. This internal shift alone changes our external landscape in profound and unexpected ways, and our relationships are often the first things to change. And the best part?? We didn’t even need to manipulate/change the people or circumstances to make this happen!

This afternoon, while writing this blog, we had a large UPS delivery for our new business, Shred415. The UPS lady was fabulous and the two of us spent almost 10 minutes unloading boxes and talking life. She shared that her path to UPS occurred in 2004 when her daughter was born with a frontal lobe injury incurred at birth. Since her husband was self-employed and his insurance was mediocre at best, she decided to get a job that offered exceptional health benefits for their family. Insert UPS. Without knowing it at the time, she helped pave the road to healing and empowerment for herself and her family in a very difficult and scary situation. Although she had been home full-time for 10 years, she pulled together her resume and secured a position with UPS 6 weeks later. She has been with the company for 15 years and she reports that she loves her work for both the care and stability it provides for her family and the many interesting people that she crosses paths with on her deliveries. She even gets in a fantastic workout in the process! Her story is a sobering example of external forces at play, and how her internal fortitude and thought process kicked into gear and responded with empowerment to something that was otherwise traumatic and out of her control. What a gift to be in the presence of such a badass.

How do we figure out how to thrive in difficult and hard environments?

We show up, we assess, we adapt, we learn, we seek out guidance, and we grow — all while embracing being human in this messy and beautiful world. We learn that we are not captive to people or situations in the long run. The beauty of cultivating our inner landscape is that we always have some form of control — in our hearts, in our minds, and in our actions — regardless of our situation, regardless of the external forces. Gain perspective, anchor yourself, ask for help, process out loud, believe in what is possible, grow in courage and wisdom, and create a narrative that allows for grace and healing to occur. Xox

What do Guatemala and Life Coaching Have in Common?

5 years ago, I walked into a quaint and charming cafe in Antigua Guatemala, where my family lived at the time. It was a gorgeous fall morning. Fuego and Agua Volcanoes were peaceful and majestic in the distance. The sky was crystal blue with a few floating clouds. The temperature was a little chilly but warming by the minute — typical fall weather: #thisisguatemala. Thanks to the best baristas on the planet, Cesia and Lucia, the double (or triple?!) latte that I was sipping on was pure deliciousness. I sat next to one of my favorite humans, Sarah, and she was editing some of her extraordinary photos from a recent family trip she and her gang had been on. All was right in the world.

The day was no ordinary day as I would soon learn that my morning agenda would take me places I never imagined. I got busy and fired up my computer and started researching life coaching training programs.  

I googled best life coaches/life coach programs and came across Brooke Castillo and The Life Coach School. It wasn't long before I found her podcast. At the time, she had about 50 recorded episodes and I devoured one at a time. I was hooked.

6 weeks later, I was typing my information to attend Brooke’s 6-day life coach training in California, and clicked send. Within a few days, I heard back from her assistant and we set up a call to make sure that this training was a good fit and Brooke’s coaching style and program aligned with my interests. It did. And just like that, I was in. My sights were officially set on coach training. So satisfying. So exciting. So terrifying.

Fast forward one year, our family was back in the States, and I debuted my website and officially hung my life coaching shingle. I was still working with young adults at Notre Dame at the time and had no idea where my business would go, but I was confident that my counseling, academic advising, mentoring, coaching, and parenting background was a powerful combination in providing a skill set that helped young people and their parents navigate the often tumultuous and overwhelming road of becoming who they are and guiding the parents in the process.

I help people feel better. I help people normalize their struggle. I help people learn how to manage their emotions. I help people learn how to be in relationship with self and with others. I help people move through their fear. I help people live lighter and freer. I help people get unstuck. I help people overcome their current obstacles and move closer to who they want to be. I help people be themselves very well.

Over the next many months, submissions arrived in my inbox. I took on some clients and started to utilize my coach training. Soon, I started receiving messages:

"My daughter has done so much better with you in her life.. She values the wisdom and guidance that you share with her immensely.... our family so appreciates your help in getting our E back to us.” Mom of client

“My heart is full just by hearing you think my son is in a good place, I feel it that way too! We are at this point in huge part thanks to your amazing coaching. Words are not enough to express my gratitude for all you’ve done. Thank you 🙏🏻 for the incredible guidance and energy you always gave us.” Mom of client

”Marta is extraordinary at what she does, and her services are truly priceless. Navigating the teen years is obviously challenging under the best of circumstances. I think that doing so while at boarding school is exponentially more difficult. In addition to the help Marta can provide for your children, she can even share her valuable perspective and counsel with the PARENTS of teenagers. I’ll admit that raising teenage girls mystifies me at times, and I often find myself at a loss when it comes to communicating effectively with my daughters. Marta has helped ME to better understand my two amazing girls, and this improved understanding has been instrumental in helping me to become a better father to them. She helped me to recognize that sometimes they don’t need me to suggest solutions to their problems, but they just need someone to talk to who will listen compassionately. Additionally, Marta taught me that it’s often important to take a step back and let them come to ME rather than pushing them into conversations that they aren’t ready for. She also reassured me that although they’re going to make mistakes, they are going to learn from those mistakes and grow as young women as a result of the freedom I give them to mess up from time to time. If you are even CURIOUS about what Marta can do for your children and your FAMILY, I would strongly encourage you to reach out to her and at least have a conversation. I’ve known a lot of great life coaches over the years, and I can honestly say - without reservation - that Marta Brummell is the best that I’ve ever seen. Her gift of discernment, personal experience as a phenomenal mother, and expert guidance will pay massive dividends for your kids during their time at Culver and likely for the rest of their lives.” ~ Dad of client

“After the hard sophomore year that L had, we hired you to help her figure things out. The way you initially explained the coaching you embody: help high school and college kids grow in self-awareness, accountability, clarity, confidence and authenticity. I can't say enough good things. You know first hand the schedule these kids carry and you want, with your whole heart, to help them strengthen their emotional world.” “I am learning how to take better care of myself, starting with my inner dialogue. I am implementing the changes that you suggested and it is making a difference. I feel so much lighter.” Mom of client

Marta’s initial coaching sessions are loosely founded on the question why, that provokes honesty and awareness. In being mindful, as she’s said to me before, we approach things with a curious and peaceful mindset. And by doing so, we can observe which of our thought structures are debilitating in order to reclaim what thoughts truly feed us. For someone who had never flexed that muscle before—or known it to be part of her mind and heart’s anatomy—that meant answering some pretty intimidating questions. I remember feeling challenged beyond my comfort zone, yet liberated by this powerful dialogue. This is the strength of vulnerability. My hope is that more young adults can experience the release it allows for.” Mom of client

“We all have a stubborn protectiveness of our thoughts because we assume them to be fact and hold onto them as such.  Weekly meetings with Marta have shown me that in breaking down those walls, I can empower myself to refocus my thoughts to fuel me rather than impede me. I have Marta to thank for her ability to help me re-center my focus and keep me grounded in intentionality and truth. As a young woman recently diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and depression, I understand that medication and life coaching are interdependent means to different ends. One helps maintain a chemical balance and the other teaches me the tools to lead a fulfilling and authentic life. This is key to understanding that the soul work that Marta offers is necessary for students of all walks of life. Mindfulness is a blessing to the beholder, but requires repeated engagement and openness to challenging oneself in this manner. Just like young vines need a strong trellis to grow, students in such a pivotal part of their life need coaching. It takes sustained, concentrated and guided effort to reap the rewards.” Client

“I really wanted to thank you for everything. I have never been this calm and happy and at peace in my life. I have always been a really anxious person, and stressed out. I have been dealing with my anxiety so well. I have stopped taking my medication or anything that I use for numbing because I am learning how to manage my emotions on my own. I didn’t know that I could do this. I still have anxiety and I get jittery and I have gone through tough moments but I have learned to manage it and see the good in things. I haven’t let the hard times get to me like I did in the past. Before, I would dwell on it and I would be a miserable and angry person. I never thought that I would reach this point in my life. I am so grateful and so thankful for you.” Client

“The bottom line is this: the work that Marta does is like nothing else offered on this campus or any other. A final telling example: I was part of a student focus group that was brought together just last semester to assess the efficacy of Marta’s Life Coaching Program and simultaneously figure out how to deliver these services to campuses across coasts. A Stanford faculty member led the review board. I was thrilled to be surrounded by intellectuals captivated by this work and students who genuinely understood the benefits through their own experience with it. I remember the session drawing to a close on this final consensus: Marta’s approach is empowering and enlightening. She guides her students towards creating their own mission statements and embracing all situations of life mindfully. She teaches and embodies the tools of patience, self-love, vulnerability, awareness, and intentionality to approach life situations with a restful heart, peace of mind and openness to opportunity. Having her as a mentor and resource has been the greatest blessing for me in my career thus far.” Client

It has been so exhilarating and validating to see that my work is creating a ground shift and positive effect in young people's and families’ lives. 

Since that day at the Antigua cafe, I've worked with 100’s of clients. Some for one month. Some for a year or more. Some intermittently as life allowed.

Obviously, I love coaching. All kinds of people. Working with a few and/or all the players in a family is a game-changer. It helps everyone rise. It improves communication and understanding. It allows for the hard conversations. It creates space to be seen and known.

I believe that I have the best job on the planet. I've always had a special interest and affinity for the family system and the power and influence from where we come — it colors us in ways that we often aren’t even aware of but powerful, nonetheless. Self awareness and choosing how best to interpret, respond and move forward in any and all situations is our super power. The more we choose to live consciously and from a place of compassion and love, the more everyone wins.

And that is why...my newest offering is Concierge Individual/Family Coaching. You can have me on a monthly retainer to guide you (and your family!) in your day to day growth and in your path to becoming your very best self, while also being a phone call away when the hard/struggle hits. As my clients know, I treat you and your crew as my own. Due to being a Mom to four sweet humans and being married to my fabulous husband, CB, and juggling all things LIFE, I am offering a limited number of spots as I am committed to doing it all well.

My mission is to serve individuals and families, and create a happier and healthier world in which to live. I am in the business of helping people feel better, and creating a tide that lifts all boats. Ready? Let’s go! xox


Perfection can be a great short-term approach. It is a relentless striving to make it right. But, if you’re not careful, it is easy to confuse excellence with perfection.

Excellence does exist, perfect does not.

So, the ambition that so many of my clients have to work to attain something that doesn’t exist is crazy. It is literally crazy-making! The anxiety is typically very high in their lives because they are chasing something that isn’t attainable and too high of a standard.

Valuing precision and accuracy gets you results. Just be aware that seeking perfect compromises you. It takes a heavy psychological and physical toll.

The beauty of excellence is that it gives you permission to be messy because you are a learner. A beginner’s mind is in it for the long game. It is about being more interested in what you don’t know more than what you do know. It is okay with failure because it knows that you have to fail to succeed.

Think about your approach when you were learning how to walk. There was nothing that was going to deter you from achieving walking status. You fell often; you got weathered, bruised, and bloodied; and you never took your eye off the ball. Obstacles were everywhere and you refused to quit. You got creative. You thought outside the lines. You actually had fun with it. And you never felt like a failure. You didn’t question your failures as much as you learned from them. Why not cultivate a beginner’s mindset in everything? It has every upside, and it frees you from the prison of your mind. No more playing small. No more staying safe. No more avoiding exposure. Failure is necessary; it is the currency of your dreams. And since perfection doesn’t allow for failure, why not seek excellence?

Excellence is always available to you. High quality, precision, on point, on time, — something beautiful. It helps you achieve your goals and it maintains your health and wellness in the process. Nothing better than that! Let’s get to work, loves! xx