I self-identify myself as a catalyst, but I don’t spend much time defining what it means to be a catalyst both literally and in my own terms.
Let’s start with the dictionary definition:
a person or thing that precipitates an event
Based on that definition the next question that pops into my head is – what event do I want to precipitate?
This answer is easy for me:
But what kind of growth am I talking about? Financial? Social? Spiritual? Educational? Physical?
And for whom am I catalyzing growth? Honestly – who am I out to inspire growth in through my words, actions and energy?!
Let’s start by looking at the definition of growth by diving into the origin of the word, which a handy Google search will tell us comes from the Old English term “Growan:”
to grow, flourish, increase, develop, get bigger
So based on these two pieces, we’ve got a working definition of a catalyst that goes something like: a person that precipitates growth.
Still the question becomes growth of what.
This is where becoming specific gets hard for me because it’s so easy to sit back and say giant words like growth of consciousness, spirituality, mentality, willpower, optimism, etc. that (while great in their intention) don’t do the idea in my head justice.
Goals need specificity and I feel my personal ethos developing around catalyzing growth – so let’s get real, real specific.
The thing that truly lights me on fire with energy is the process of connecting two dots that seem so far removed from each other to the rest of the world I can’t help but explore the potential for their connection.
In exploring that potential for connection I inevitably stumbled upon a solution, idea, perspective, process or opportunity that has been vastly overlooked.
That’s not hyperbole and that’s not arrogance on my part. That’s the reality of why entrepreneurship is such a hard thing to teach at times. There’s a nuance to recognizing patterns, asking why enough times and having the audacity to connect dots that aren’t supposed to be connected.
And while connecting those dots is enormously energizing for me, it is infinitely more energizing to me when I can share the connection of those dots with someone, then watch them get lit on fire with the hunger to connect the dots that my dots sparked in them.
… follow me still?
So I think the thing I want to catalyze growth of is the audacity to connect GIANT, DISPARATE, UNTOUCHED DOTS.
But why? And for whom?
Why seems easier to me so let’s start there. When someone has the audacity to connect the dots floating at the edge of their perspective, or ones that are totally foreign to their world-view they have a tendency to ask questions.
When we ask questions without the presumption of knowing the answer, but rather the hunger to learn how deep the rabbit hole goes we tend tend to learn new things about the world that inspire deeper learning.
When we learn more, we ask better questions and when we ask better questions…
We stumble on bigger problems.
When we stumble on bigger problems as catalysts, rather than pacifists, we precipitate solving of those problems in some form or fashion.
Those big problems don’t have to be ending hunger, poverty or global suffering. Climbing over the blockade you’ve put up around your world-view can be the problem that leads to the greatest solution domino for your world tipping in motion.
And if I’m being totally honest, I’m leaning towards the inner game being where I want to catalyze growth… the belief of one’s own ability to shape their reality, construct their ideal world and actually see it become reality.
Maybe we can add a bit to our definition of catalyst now:
a person that precipitates the growth of someones mindset to unlock their potential.
That feels right.
The question for whom is still lingering… but I think the answer there is pretty clear.
Whoever wants to find the rabbit hole.