Summary: Be the Calm or Be the Storm By Captain Sandy Yawn
Summary: Be the Calm or Be the Storm By Captain Sandy Yawn

Summary: Be the Calm or Be the Storm By Captain Sandy Yawn


Adapt to your local conditions. Whether you find yourself in a strange land, or are interacting with a different corporate culture, try hard to see things from their point of view. When you are surrounded by the unfamiliar, it’s no one else’s job to make you feel at home. You’ll make more progress when you listen, learn, and make every effort to adjust.

Communicate well, and often. Don’t assume that everyone’s on the same page, or that crucial information is getting properly disseminated. Look everyone in the eye and make sure they acknowledge the message, leaving no room for the possibility that misinformation can break down the cohesiveness of your team.

Drill it in. You can never train enough. Practice, practice, practice just like you would in any sport. We owe it to ourselves and the people under us to continually refresh and upgrade our knowledge and abilities on the job.



Create healthy habits. Get up, brush your teeth, make your bed, go to work, do something good for somebody else, repeat. Whether you’re in recovery or just trying to maintain a positive and productive headspace, practice some simple, accessible life habits you can always come back to when you find yourself spiraling. Even if the day is half over, you can still begin again. Start your day over in your mind. You can also hit the gym, get pumped with an inspiring song (or calm down with a soothing song), say something encouraging to someone else, pray. There’s always time for a reset.

Stop thinking about “me” and start giving back. You can’t find happiness if you go through life always thinking about your own wants and desires. Help another person in need, not with your money but with your time. Pause to listen to someone else. The gift of giving is that you will no longer be in the mindset you were in before you helped another person. The greatest gift is to give something back into the world, whether inspiring others or working hard and doing the next right thing. But only you know what that is for you.

Include people in your circle who think differently from you. Once you’ve brought in those different perspectives, chances are you will make better decisions.



Be open to mentorship. All it takes is one person to believe in you to help you believe in yourself. Stay open because mentors can come from all walks of life. Learn what to do and what not to do, then move on to the next while gratefully acknowledging all that your past teachers and guides have given you.

Be a mentor. Reach back when you’ve made it to a certain level. Teach the next generation and let them stand on your shoulders.

Acquire the skills. Take the courses, get the hands-on training. Do whatever you can to earn that extra stripe. Even without a benefactor, there are resources out there, from internships to online courses, that will take you forward.

Believe in your skills. Make a quick risk assessment, but do not hesitate. Once you’ve done the work, trust your own abilities, then attack the problem head on, even if that means driving against the current. Remember: no guts, no glory.



You can hold all the credentials in the world, but if you allow anxiety, anger, or fear to take over, you can bring down the whole team. When you ask a question, how they answer can be just as important as the content of their answers.

Persistence pays. It shows that the person you are investing in doesn’t give up. They have the faith they need to continue to try. Just make the decision, believe, and execute. With commitment, faith, and action, it will surely happen.

Give a turn at the wheel. You can’t teach leadership unless you’re willing to give up some control. Entrust them with something above their pay grade so that they can develop an understanding of what they need to do to master the skill.

Don’t expect an immediate or obvious return on investment. Even if you can imprint just a little of yourself onto the soul of another, you’re giving and making a difference. Or kick them into the water for a good soaking and an accidental taste!



Don’t panic; persist. When faced with a Gordian knot of a problem, you need to think clearly and keep the faith that you’ll come up with a solution. It takes resolve, energy, and focus to solve a problem.

Work every angle. With a never-say-die attitude, no obstacle is insurmountable. No matter how frustrated you get, lean in to any problem you come up against, reminding everyone, including yourself, why it matters.

Remember to crack a joke or two. Panic only makes the situation worse. Keep the mood on board as light as possible.

“I need assistance, not resistance!” Don’t accept negativity. Giving up on that knot is never an option. Pushing through your exhaustion until you find that opening and it releases, finally surrendering to your will.



Be firm but fair. Reprimand in the form of constructive criticism. Calmly let them know where they need to improve, then balance the difficult feedback with some encouraging words to let them know you still have faith.

Earn trust. Help them believe you will have their backs and give them all the support they need to perform at their highest level. Show them you know your job to not only instill trust, but inspire them to emulate.

Give chances, within reason. Three chances, four if you see real potential, can yield real dividends, because they’ll want to prove you right for investing in them.

Leverage teachable moments. Help the people under your charge to grow and get better by addressing the issue head on, in real time, showing them how you expect the task to be done. Give them the information, cheat sheets, and tools.



Show them how to show up. Demonstrate to the next generation of leaders how to show up through your own actions. If you see something that needs to be done, lead by example and have the humility to get down on your knees and do it, even as captain. Even if that means cleaning shoes!

Serve from the heart. Whether you are a captain or a member of the crew depends upon your willingness to put on that crisp uniform of willing service. A desire to provide that five-star experience needs to be authentic. Positive energy might seem abstract, but it’s more powerful than you know.

Maintain your engine. Some days, that desire to serve and connect with others is harder to find. People can sense when you’re struggling from lack of sleep, a personal problem, health issues, or whatever else is stopping you from being fully present. Request that downtime when necessary.

Check in with yourself. Don’t empty that tank to the point where you are causing engine damage. Pay attention to the subtle signs, then fine tune, and balance.



Learn the individuals as well as the vessel. When a crew gets along and works well together, it’s a result of leading with empathy. Communicate clearly and often to figure out who your teammates are and what motivates them. Ask yourself: What are their strengths? How can I leverage their different personalities and preferences for the betterment of the whole? Do they sing?

Operate as one. A true team can accomplish so much more than individuals acting on their own. Even a group of strangers can come together, have each other’s backs, and operate as one, jumping in to help fill the gaps without having to be asked, accomplishing things that are beyond human.

Demand acknowledgment, under all circumstances. Responsiveness from your crew shows respect and a desire to serve. Even if someone is busy, they owe you an answer as their leader, even if it’s just to briefly let you know why they can’t talk in that moment. In the hierarchy of communication, you’re at the top.

Bring them along. Communicate in a way that inspires them to trust your decision-making. You cannot execute a vision or complete a mission when you don’t have people to follow through. When you express yourself in a way that instills the will to persevere, it’s more fuel for those you are leading.



Storms can blow up out of nowhere. No matter how well you anticipate the weather. But those stormy moments can be both humbling and clarifying. They force you to make some hard choices, crystalizing what’s most important in that life-and-death moment.

Some losses are a necessary wake-up call. That series of unfortunate events may be God’s way of putting you back on His path, which is the one you were meant to be on. Even the worst storms could be teaching you and positioning you for what’s next.

Separate your will from God’s. Step back from the situation and think about whether your immediate goal or reaction is getting you to where you need to go. Let the waves roll but maintain your calm and approach them with skill.

You cannot do it alone. Some losses are so great, like the death of a child, that it’s hard to imagine a way out. People stay stuck. But with the help of others, and some powerful tools that we use in recovery, there is a way to get through to the other side. The storm will eventually clear, and you’ll see the horizon.