You might remember feeling a little melancholy on the last day of school as a kid, knowing that your time with that teacher and class was ending. You might have felt nervous the night before your first day in your job, or on your wedding day, or about all the changes that COVID sparked. The Maser Women’s Organization recently hosted an online webinar to address how we can handle our anxieties and apprehensions. Those who tuned in heard from an expert at tackling change. “Experienced keynote speaker, retreat and seminar leader, columnist, author, cut-up, and nurse” Donna Cardillo, RN, CSP, FAAN taught us about navigating fluctuation in both our personal and professional lives.
Donna’s presentation addressed that while some change can be bad, most of it is usually for the better, and in fact is often a necessity. Willingness to change is what enabled Maser Consulting to add new services, expand into new states and grow over the years from a firm of three to over a thousand employees.
Sometimes, personal and professional changes collide. This was the case for Senior Associate and Project Manager for Ecological Services Jacqueline M. McCort, and Regional CADD Manager and Associate Marlon Aguilar. They both had been working for Maser Consulting in New Jersey when they saw the opportunity to move to North Carolina for the firm.
Without Change, You Stagnate
“When this opportunity came up, the thought of taking on new responsibilities and shaking things up intrigued me.” Jackie made the move two years ago with her husband and two young children. She explained, “Overall, my move was good for both personal and professional growth. I have been working for Maser since 2004. While I had to talk my husband into taking the gamble, at the end of the day we both knew that we couldn’t let our lives stay ‘comfortable’… we had to move forward.”
Donna Cardillo emphasized that “without change, there is no growth and if you’re not growing, you’re stagnating!” This is true in so many senses. I always think about how some sharks die if they stop moving forward because they can only get oxygen with ram ventilation (done by swimming forward). Humans might not need to physically move forward to stay alive, but we do metaphorically to be our best. Jackie is a great example of this concept.
Two years after her move, Jackie says, “My career has taken off! I’ve been promoted, taken on different responsibilities, and proven myself in a new location. And it was very good for our family to learn resiliency. Even with the pandemic, we made the changes and rolled with the punches better than I think we would have before.” This too is in line with what Donna taught us about how we all can build change stamina, and that each change we conquer helps to build it. It is this change stamina that enables you to welcome change again and again, and continually grow.
Marlon Aguilar is another employee who has built up an impressive amount of change stamina; he knows all about thriving while on the move. He grew up in Ecuador until he was 15, when his parents moved their family to NJ. “It was a very hard few years, but I now appreciate the growth I went through,” he said.
“After college, I started working on irrigation systems for major golf courses in New Jersey, then got into civil engineering through my knowledge of CAD. I worked for a company for 9 years, working my way up. Then, I came to Maser under the Civil group before switching to the CAD department. My professional career has always been full of change.”
Change came knocking again when Maser opened its first office in North Carolina.
Overcome Fear to Build Resiliency
“When the Charlotte office opened, we started looking for people to work there but soon realized it made sense to put someone who didn’t need training and could be useful right away in the office. Coming from the Red Bank headquarters, I knew the norms and our standards. It became clear that my moving down there was the best option for my professional growth and for the company. I was hesitant to move my family at first, but they were willing to take the jump together. While we never saw this chance coming, we took it and it turned out to be an adventure!”
Marlon was able to do something that Donna Cardillo taught us is paramount: overcoming your fear of change. Both Marlon and Jackie had a positive attitude about making the move from New Jersey to North Carolina, and this is what led to their successes. Had they gone into this thinking it would be awful, it probably would have been. And as Donna taught us, resiliency is like a muscle you have to build. Every time you say “YES” to change is like going to the gym. And like any kind of workout, enthusiasm and positivity leads to a better result.
Want More Info on Embracing Change?
This blog was inspired by professional speaker Donna Cardillo’s teachings during a recent Maser Women’s Organization’s webinar meeting. She is the author of several books, including Falling Together: How to Find Balance, Joy, and Meaningful Change When Your Life Seems to Be Falling Apart. If you are interested in learning more about embracing change and all the small changes you should be making, visit her website here.