When I first witnessed the power of hurricanes, I was frightened. Then I talked with locals who simply called them, “nature’s way of pruning”.  Their attitude helped me learn to face these big storms with respect and planning… not fear. Storms will happen.  Preparation helps you navigate through them.  The same holds true in life.  Things outside your control will happen.  A preparation plan, that includes your external AND internal circumstances, is a critical asset.

Ship captains rely on navigation in open seas, and we can use the same principles to guide our lives through the unfamiliar.  Navigation is the process or activity of locating one’s position, and planning and following a defined route toward one’s destination.

To use the process, you must:

  • know where you are
  • know where you want to go
  • identify your priorities
  • make a plan
  • follow the plan!

Simple, right? It is…unless you’re freaking out.  Fear can easily override logic, so consider creating your own “crisis navigation plan” now when you’re calm but keenly aware. List the most important EXTERNAL and INTERNAL aspects of each step in the process. “Where you are” might include a geographical location and relationship “coordinates”. “Where you want to go” might include a geographical location, relationship and health maintenance “coordinates”.  “Identifying your priorities” – a detailed inventory of your valuables (including photos), and a list of items to take with you in a natural crisis. But don’t forget the internal priorities!  What will comfort you and occupy your mind?  A musical instrument?  Books or games?  A journal or sketchpad?  “Make a plan” – If you must evacuate, where will you go?  Who will you ask for help?  What must be done to secure your house?  Your animals?  Internally, how will you cope? What if your cell phone dies?!

“Follow the plan” is the easiest part…IF you have confidence in your plan and IF you remain calm and flexible.  Prior to our recent hurricane evacuation, “where we wanted to go” kept changing as the path of the storm shifted. So, we simply reached out to others to expand our possibilities.  And between storm tracking reports, we prioritized belongings that we’d protect.  That’s surprisingly easy when you’re faced with the possibility of losing everything. You pack what you cannot replace.  I chose old photo albums, grandmother’s guitar, my computer and one suitcase. We checked off everything on our “secure the house” list, and left to stay with gracious friends. We were very grateful to return to no damage. Luckily Irma, was a high-alert drill for us.

I hope for a rapid recovery for all who are suffering due to our recent natural events. And I hope you’ll make your own navigation plan while the memories are fresh.