Your life is one continuous series of transitions. Some of the transitions are more obvious than others: getting married, becoming a parent, changing employers, changing careers, selling a business, loss of a loved one, becoming an empty-nester, entering retirement from your career, just to name a few. How you have, and how you will, handle these transitions, and whether you merely cope or embrace them, will determine your level of happiness during the transition and afterward.

Expecting, welcoming, and engaging with change is empowering. Successfully riding the waves of change goes best if you start with a vision. What do you want the transition and the subsequent period to look, sound, and feel like?

No doubt reality will be a bit different, but don’t think for a minute you can’t co-create what emerges in what can be both a happy and scary time. Transitions are filled with opportunities for growth, if you get curious and check the resistance and resentment at the doorway to your next chapter. Start with the question, “What am I supposed to learn from this?” and stop trying to just muscle through or control every outcome.

Life’s messy. Things don’t always go as planned. People we care about get sick, we lose our mojo at work, someone dies, divorce happens, we get off the fast track at work, we get all we ever wanted and are still not satisfied – and we may ask ourselves, “Is this the way life is supposed to be?”

If your gut (or your wife, boss, child) tells you a change is coming, it’s time to start planning. Maybe it’s time for a change in your job or career. How would you like to spend the next 10-20 working years? Are you going to crawl over the finish line, barely breathing, but with lots of money to show for it? How can you reach that finish line still strong and thriving, with a sense of fulfillment and joy at all you’ve accomplished?

It all starts with a vision. Then, throw in a little courage, a dash of action, an ounce of support, and you have the recipe for creating the best period of your life. Do you think that’s possible? That the greatest impact and joy in your life lies ahead of you? Why not?

It’s your life. Make it a helluva’ ride!

As Hunter S. Thompson once said…

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’”

Are you ready for that ride? Are you in the middle of that ride? Or are you busy judging how you did, comparing yourself to others, to your vision for your life when you were 21? What shift do you need to make in order to finish and yell, “Wow! What a ride!”?