When the sea of life gets stormy, how can you stay shipshape and ride the waves?

You’re the CAPTAIN of your ship. Being empowered means having a deep sense of confidence that you can take charge and handle whatever comes up.

And every good captain has a CREW. Who will you have with you on this voyage? A good mate - a life partner; a navigation officer - a coach who knows the ropes and provides vital information to help you chart your course; a purser - financial adviser; a medical officer - your personal healthcare team; and others to swab the deck and lower the anchor -- cleaning service, yard service, etc.

You’ll need a MAP. There is a map to transitions, because there are certain things in common to all transitions. Take a Transitions course, and hire a coach expert in transitions.

All sailors have a BAROMETER to tell when change is coming. Our intuition is our barometer. You need to sense if you’re about to be laid off, or that you’re daughter’s experimenting with drugs. Everyone has intuition. Learn how to pump up the volume and read its messages.

Shifting BALLAST is important. Add extra sleep and nurturing in times of stress, a solid Personal Mission Statement, money-reserves. Get rid of tolerations.

A ship needs STABILIZERS -- a support network you can count on, expert help such as a coach, and developed Resilience can stabilize you through rough times.

What LIFE VESTS would you take with you in the lifeboat if your ship were sinking? Most people in my seminars mention specific people in their lives, and their faith. Some mention various experts. I've never heard anyone mention money.

Don’t become a CORK BOBBING IN THE OCEAN. Each wave rotates the cork slightly, but doesn't move it anywhere. To move, you must take action.

Are you ready to TENDER. When a ship can't harbor, it anchors and sends people ashore on smaller boats. How else can you get where you need to get if Plan A doesn’t work out?

MUSTER is essential; it’s an emergency plan. It means putting on your life vest and reporting to your assigned muster station in calm times so you'll 'know the drill' in an emergency when you’re too panicked to think. Do you know where the muster station is?

What ship doesn’t encounter WINDS OF CHANGE? They’re always blowing in a transition: ambivalence, wanting what’s gone, wanting to move forward, fear of the unknown, survivor guilt, confusion, joy, anticipation. Today you're glad you got the promotion, tomorrow you dread the responsibility, doubt you can handle it. The winds can toss you about without the anchor of your Personal Power and your Stabilizers.

Stormy seas have WAVES. The size of the adversity matters, and the succession of events. One large wave can knock you over; so can a rapid succession of smaller waves. Slow 60' waves are routine and benign in the Pacific, but a rapid succession of 30' waves sank the Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior. It had no time to recover, to right itself.

Depending upon the size of your craft and the size of the wave, it's best to turn and face the wave rather than taking it broadside. Face your problems.

The trench of the wave is how it affects you - it may look like a house your leaving to someone else, but to you it's your memories and your home.

Study transitions. Processing one and learning good coping strategies builds resilience for the next one. Learn to ride the waves to fun and happiness!

Author's Bio: 

Susan Dunn, M.A., is a professional coach who helps her clients navigate through rough waters. She's the author of "Resilience" Visit her on the web at www.susandunn.cc .