From Surviving to Thriving, Bestselling Author and Transition Expert María Tomás-Keegan Shows Women How to Overcome Major Life Changes

Published on April 23, 2019

Change can be difficult and stressful, but not impossible, according to this expert who specializes in helping women turn tragedy into personal and professional triumph.

According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey, more women report “extreme stress” than men. In fact, nearly 1 in 4 women say that on a scale of 1-10, their stress level is 8, 9 or 10 (with 10 being the maximum). The survey also reveals that women are more likely than men to say that their stress level is increasing.

In the United States, the APA reports that the top causes of stress include job pressure, money worries, health, and relationships. But the triggering mechanism for most of these stressors is change – and for transition experts like María Tomás-Keegan, that is an opportunity for helping women to accept, adapt, grow, and thrive. “We cannot avoid change, but we can always choose our response to it!”

María Tomás-Keegan is a coach, keynote speaker, and bestselling author of the book, Upside Down to Right Side Up: Turning Transition into Triumph. “Are you one of those people who shudders just to think about change?” Tomás-Keegan asks. “Do you get paralyzed by it? Or do you welcome it with open arms and embrace all the new possibilities that can come with change?”

As a Certified Career and Life Coach for Women, Tomás-Keegan created a program called 5 Petals of Power to help women who are just going through the motions of life and find it hard to cope with change. “Sometimes it’s not just one life event, but it’s a pile-up of events,” Tomás-Keegan said in a recent interview for WCKG in Chicago. “We can manage through maybe the first one, maybe even the second one, and then the third one may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back because we really didn’t deal with the emotional stuff that underlies those kinds of major life changes.”

Tomás-Keegan practices what she teaches. During her 30-year corporate career, she experienced and overcame her own transitional challenges. After retiring from IBM, she reinvented herself and teaches other women what she learned. “There is light at the end of the tunnel, and that light comes from within. And when we find that light it leads us to a remarkable new beginning,” she says.

According to Tomás-Keegan, people need to build a new foundation to move forward after a major life change. She uses the analogy of a three-legged stool because, “When we sit on a three-legged stool, it’s very hard to topple over.” The three legs are:

1. Values. “Sometimes we find that we’ve been living by someone else’s values and we’ve compromised our own,” Tomás-Keegan says. “Understanding what we value most – loyalty or trust or independence or integrity, whatever it is for you – allows us to then check every choice or decision against the list of our core values.”

2. Vision. “After a major life event, our dreams can be shattered,” Tomás-Keegan says. “We need to create new ones by designing a crystal-clear vision of what we want for our new future. That becomes our roadmap for setting a new course.”

3. Action. Tomás-Keegan teaches the importance of having a passion for action; otherwise, she says, “We just have a list of values and some pretty pictures in our head. We have to be passionate, not just about where we want to go, but about the steps we need to get there. That’s what puts the values into play and brings the vision to life.”

In addition to writing, speaking, and hosting a podcast, Tomás-Keegan offers personal and group coaching for women who want guidance to move through change with resilience and dignity. “María is a true coach who cares about her clients and works to identify their needs and values in order to best motivate and encourage them,” according to client Peggy M. “María has given me greater insight into myself in terms of identifying and redefining my professional and personal goals and has given me tangible steps to take in achieving them.”

Tomás-Keegan acknowledges that change is difficult, but not impossible. “I believe each of us is both a masterpiece and a work in progress,” Tomás-Keegan says. “When we honor the masterpiece while remaining patient and kind with our work in progress, we feel more grounded and can sit on our three-legged stool in calm and confidence.”

María Tomás-Keegan is a keynote speaker, bestselling author, and certified career and life coach who helps women build resiliency for navigating life’s challenges so they can create more harmony in their lives and step back into their strength with courage and confidence.

For booking information, media interviews, or programs and services from María Tomás-Keegan, visit

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