Change Cheerleader

I love disaster movies.

I love their chaos-driven plots. The Poseidon Adventure, Airport 77, The Day After Tomorrow and basically all zombie flicks top my list.

What I like about the films is that they give audience members a few minutes to meet everyone and understand the relationships, then they dump chaos on them. I love watching how people adjust, finding the unlikely heroes, waiting for the MacGyver-like solutions to emerge.

Recently, I’ve been using this story as I stand in the middle of a hallway filled with moving carts, recycle bins and cubicles in chaos. My company is moving and I have to keep explaining why I am so excited.


It’s not just a move. It’s a new frame of mind we’re adopting, whether we all realize it or not.

And that’s because change always provides a bit of uprising. Emotional uprising, cultural uprising, geographical uprising.

Turns out, I thrive on the shakeup. I’ve made a habit of adopting these types of plots. Each time I’ve made a major career jump, I’ve entered at the start of chaos.

I’ve decided it means I’m a change agent. Every major upheaval needs the optimist who believes we’ll make it. C’mon guys, being stranded on this desert island isn’t so bad, think of how great our tans will be!

I also figured out, it’s how I see things. I realized it’s my M.O. My move to Milwaukee include taking on a new role in PR for the city. There were changes in my department, changes in the Common Council and then, a statewide change in government. And, I enhanced this uproar in myself because I moved to a town I’d never known and immediately had to figure out its boundaries, politics, policies and people.

I made my own chaos, I threw myself onto the runway, I forced the apocalypse in myself.

Same was true when I joined my first ad agency. They were building a social team. I joined it. We had to build our point of view, we had to figure out our own best practice amid one of the fastest changing channels out there. I loved it. I have the “quick and dirty” video footage to prove it.

And now, I am new in this company again. I’m nine months into my role at my new agency and am part of giving birth to the public face of a 250-employee move from the suburbs to an urban hub, amid a conversation on urban renaissance. I see the resistant few who want to cling to the raft. I see the adventurers ready to check out what’s behind that door and I love it all.


The lesson for me is this: Know which character you are. My character is the “let’s just try this” cheerleader. I’m working to excite the naysayers. I’m trying to celebrate those who breakthrough with something new and cool.

Chaos strikes, even on the nicest of days.

Do you have a plan? Do you have an attitude? Are you prepared? Did you wear the right shoes?

Turns out, I do. Every time. I’m happy to know that and am most excited to know I’ve learned it about myself and keep getting chances to test it. See you in the unpacking phase. And the new idea phase. And then later, in the let’s try this phase. It’s what I do.


Change company Life lessons people

maryt1 View All →

Feminist, activist, outdoor advocate, animal lover, chocolate shake lover, reader, watcher, talker, actor, speaker, worker, writer, urban adventurer, hustler, involved, passionate, excited, ready.

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