Leaps of Faith


Hello from Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa, where I’m happily ensconced with several intrepid companions enjoying the African STAR (Self-Transformation Adventure Retreat).

When I told an acquaintance that I lead seminars in the African bush, she responded, “Oh, my God, how did you get that job?” The long answer is: 1) This isn’t a job, it’s my passion; and 2) My friends and I made it up. The short answer is: I drink my own Kool-Aid.

My coaching is all about following your inner compass; it makes you feel free and exhilarated when you’re headed toward your right life, shut down and joyless when you’re not. Just follow the good feelings, and you’ll have an awesome ride on Spaceship Earth.

That premise has led me to actions I never, ever thought I’d take: Having a son with Down syndrome. Spending twenty years (and counting) with a soulmate who happens to be female. Writing books that many people think are just plain nuts. (These people may be right.) But when I come to a crossroad, I really truly do check my inner compass and take whatever leap of faith takes me toward my own north star. Otherwise, I’d never ask you to do the same.

Living this way is an indescribable feeling, a feeling that makes one wish devoutly for more access to horse tranquilizers. It’s always scary. It never pleases everyone. But it also takes us to beauty, joy, love, and mystery beyond imagining. Today, for me, that happens to be Africa.

What is it for you?

What leap of faith is your compass telling you to do next? If it’s easy, cheap, logical, and socially acceptable, lucky you! If it’s terrifying, expensive, weird, and a little crazy, lucky you! Feel the fear and do it anyway. That’s the real Self-Transformation Adventure Retreat. It will take you to a place just as lovely as Londolozi. When you get there, don’t forget to write.

P.S. For extra credit, take a picture of yourself breaking one of your rules and post it on our Facebook page. (Just remember that “Martha told me to” does not a plea bargain make.)

14 replies
  1. Michelle Sears
    Michelle Sears says:

    I love reading what you write Martha. I’m so excited for you that you are able to step out in faith even though it’s scary. I’ve been holding back for a long time now and I just need to take a step of faith.

    Thanks for your inspiration. You’re always so blunt and funny. That’s a great combination. You make me really think but at the same time you make me really laugh.

    Fake laughs are easy to come by but real laughter isn’t. So thank you for being so you! God bless you.

  2. Wade
    Wade says:

    Hey Martha– Guess what? Last year I read your book “Finding Your Own North Star” and when I got to the part about Wildly Improbable Goals, I set one. It was to study abroad in South Africa. Well, that was last November. It’s now eight months and three million Post-it Notes later and I’ll be leaving in three weeks on a $25k scholarship to study in Durban, South Africa, for a year. Pretty amazing considering I’m the first person in Southwest Missouri to receive this scholarship, and I was in the company of students from Harvard, Princeton, and American University. Not bad for a first-year community college student! Keep doing what you do, Coach Beck!

  3. Victoria Waters
    Victoria Waters says:

    I am headed to Ireland (from Mass) this Sunday to train with 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist Cian O’Connor as a complete novice to the sport of showjumping. Having started only a few years ago at the age of 47 (I am now 50) I am excited to be taking this risk to go overseas and train with one of the best in the business. I figure – what the heck – he knows I am a beginner and worst case it’s a week off from work and kid duty. Add my passion – horseback riding, and it sounds like heaven on earth to me. Martha, I love ALL of your books –they have lead me to my own north star…Thank you for all you have given me! Ireland here I come! Victoria Waters

  4. Linda Bux
    Linda Bux says:

    You are my kind of nut Martha. Kudos to you for living your life your way. You are an inspiration! I always loved these lyric from the Rick Nelson song: ” But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well.
    You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself” Garden Party 1972

  5. Robin M
    Robin M says:

    Dear Martha:

    Thank you SO much for ALL the things you write. I always get so much help, and of course laughter, out of whatever I find that you have shared… today what a SPECIAL surprise to read that your soulmate also happens to be a WOMAN!
    My soulmate and I finally got married after 33 years of being together (hiding in plain sight) and now have been making an effort to TELL people our story – it has been such a freeing experience and a leap of faith to trust that we can deal with whatever rejection might come along. We had so much fear -from having been in the Navy and hiding it during those bad old days – but instead of rejection the overwhelming support we have now received is amazing. And so typical of the advice YOU have always given and stories you tell to encourage us to finally go into those places where our true honest selves lead us. Fear be damned! Thank you for being another who is “saying it out loud.” All our best to you and your soulmate, from Robin & Susan

  6. Barb Warner
    Barb Warner says:

    Recently at the age of 71 I published my first book,Keep Your Fork-Dessert Is On the Way:Savoring the Second Half of Life. Every chapter was written wondering what in the world was I doing this for. It was a pretty reckless thing to do. But I couldn’t not do it. I love knowing that you are on the other side of the world doing the same thing. I am honored to be in such good company.

  7. mary, yoga teacher, Nova Sotia
    mary, yoga teacher, Nova Sotia says:

    I love what you have shared, I am in transition mode right now. A work contract is finishing up the end of this month and I am moving forward in creating the world I want to be a part of, I world that is kinder, accepting, grateful and I want to have conversations that change me and hopefully change others. I want to ask the challenging questions and probe deep for the answers, to tread where I have yet to tread, be courageous, heartfelt in visualizing the future and creating it.Thank you for you inspiration.

  8. Melanie Hunt
    Melanie Hunt says:

    My dream of becoming a fiber artist will be hard, risky, expensive, scary, and the chances of success are therefore minimal because our society does not value fiber arts. I want to make my living selling, in particular, woven landscapes of the countryside that I live in and love and follow that wherever it takes me. But if I don’t succeed in 2 years, I will work at some mindless job until I die, if I’m lucky enough, that is, to get a “normal” job at all at age 64. Which will very likely cause me to want to die before my time. Really! I’m 62 and contemplating spending all of my small IRA on this venture. So I will probably be living on social security and cabbage and peanut butter for the next 40 years if it doesn’t work out. But I can’t not try, my heart is breaking even as I write this, and if I don’t do it I will always feel that I haven’t really lived. And yet it seems totally insane to risk everything. There will be no back up fund to pay the mortgage if I fail, and, times being what they are, that could take a couple of years. I could lose my house. I try to think of myself as being 30, in which case I would think of the money as a boon to be used, and opportunity to do what I really love, and I have spent the last 30 years developing most of the techniques I need. But geeze, risk everything? I’m standing on the end of the diving board, terrified to jump.

  9. Stephanie Andrews
    Stephanie Andrews says:

    I am new to taking risks in my life. fell into a comfort zone that was not so comfortable. I quit my job in April in order to go back to school full time to finish my M.B.A.. I have a life coach that is helping me through this process. i harbor no fear or regret. I only look forward to the future and the possibilities. This is the first time I have looked at your site and so far,I like it. I will continue to dream and prepare for my future.

  10. JT
    JT says:

    After being someone who had tried to plan and prepare for every possible life event (usually something catastrophic in my own mind) I left my successful (defined by who I am not sure), fairly stable corp. America job about a year and a half ago. I was told when I left that I would probably never find work again and if I did attempt to find employment, I was to never mention to anyone that I left to better myself. Interesting advice I thought.

    I have never regretted the decision. I have reconnected with family, friends, myself, the trees, fields, birds – although some scratch their head at the latter.

    I am on the job market again, but this time looking with a new lens. I am applying for opportunities that speak to me rather than positions that I think others believe I should do based on rules that nobody asked my opinion on.

    Bottom line, if I had not taken a leap of faith and left my “stable” life behind, I would have never had the courage to look at things differently.

    I truly have no idea what the future holds but I do know something for sure. I can always live out of my car – its paid for.

    Peace to all of you that are following your inner compass or are contemplating doing so.

  11. Danielle Drenckpohl
    Danielle Drenckpohl says:


    I always LOVE reading what you write, especially about Africa. But I really wanted to say, I love your new website! It’s beautiful (this is what I do for a living, so I know).

    My dream is to go on one of your STAR retreats one day – I am definitely on the Team and working on building my income level up enough to have some adventures.

    – Danielle Drenckpohl

  12. Bani Aello
    Bani Aello says:

    Every time I read one of your posts I always feel realigned with my Higher Self. The Truth resonates deeply….and I LOVE your sense of humor! It not only makes me laugh but reminds me not to take everything so seriously.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] not my idea, it’s Martha Beck’s in her blog, Leaps of Faith. I’m in total support and think it might sum up my last two […]

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