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Become a Catalyst for Change

Updated: Jul 17, 2023


 

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” — Michael Jordan


Have you ever seen a need and thought, “I wish someone would do something to make a change”? (Raise hands here.) Maybe you were thinking that “someone” was the government, or the education system, or a nonprofit, or a church leader, or your boss, or… or… or…


You're right to think that “someone” needs to do something because “without the actions of some person, change doesn’t happen.” But instead of looking for a superhero in the crowd, turn and look in the mirror.


Whether it’s solving world hunger, advocating for 153 million orphans worldwide, establishing fair trade practices, stemming the tide of pollution, manufacturing safety equipment in the midst of a health crisis, educating third graders, pastoring a church, providing employment opportunities, volunteering in a soup kitchen, visiting a home-bound neighbor, or adopting an abandoned kitten — there is ample opportunity in your community and your world to be a catalyst for change.


“When it comes to making a positive difference in the world, change occurs only when someone, somewhere, takes responsibility for changing themselves and takes action to help others change too.” Why not you?


Now, I know you have a million and one reasons why not you (I do too) – you’re just one person, the problem is too big for you, you don’t know where to start, or there is someone more qualified than you out there, just to name a few – but I’m here to tell you that change always starts with one person who says, “I can do something;” then it ripples outward. But it doesn’t happen until one person takes a stand.


We often think that for us to bring about any type of change, we have to do something big – big plans, big resources, big team – but if you care, you have all you need to get started. In fact, big actions may make a huge splash, but it’s the small actions, done consistently, that lead to the biggest change.


So how can you become a catalyst for change?

INTENTIONALITY Instead of GOOD INTENTION

John Maxwell has often shared the story of his father’s riddle about five frogs sitting on a log. He would say, “Four decided to jump off. How many are left on the log.” John’s answer as a boy was one, but his father would reply, “There are five. Deciding is not doing. You have to do more than decide. You have to take action.”


Intentional action means finding deliberate, consistent, and thoughtful ways of adding value to others. It “represents the dividing line between words and results.”


POSSIBILITIES Instead of OBSTACLES

As a change catalyst, it’s important that you recognize that while something needs to be fixed, there are possibilities! Too often, we only see the obstacles and fail before we even get started. But if you look for the possibilities or the opportunities, you won’t lose hope, passion, or momentum even when the going gets tough.


If you can answer yes to these questions, you are a possibilities seeker:

  • Do you think progress is possible but not easy?

  • Do you see things as they are but not get discouraged?

  • Are you willing to look away from problems that move you?

  • Are you willing to do what you can to make your world a better place?


“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are usually the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs


VISION Instead of EXCUSES

Is your vision for a better world big enough and vivid enough to overcome all the excuses for why you shouldn’t get involved?


Several years ago, I was working for an abusive employer who didn’t understand himself or his team. He had no interest (at least that I could see) in creating a work environment in which his employees could thrive and his business would flourish as a result. It was during that time that I first had a vision for what a workplace could look like if healthy relationships with self, others, and work were promoted and encouraged. I eventually found better employment opportunities, but still, the vision never left me.


I had a million excuses why I wasn’t the person to solve the problem of toxic work environments (and some of them were really compelling). I certainly would have had an easier time and more security had I not taken the leap to start a business that helps other businesses develop healthy relationships within the workplace. Still, security wasn’t my vision for a better world. In all honesty, there have been days when I’ve considered closing my metaphorical doors, but my vision is so much bigger than my excuses, doubts, and fears.


STRENGTHS Instead of WEAKNESSES

There may come a time when you become aware of a need, but it’s not yours to solve. As we’ve already acknowledged, there is an abundance of needs in our world today, and while you may not be able to change everything, you can change something.


However, you cannot be all things to all causes. Because you have been given unique strengths, talents, skills, personality traits, and passions, you will be most effective and make the biggest difference when you work out of these things.


Ask yourself:

  • What can I change?

  • What do I do exceptionally well?

  • What do I get excited or passionate about?

  • When am I at my best?


Together Instead of Alone

As Simon Sinek says, “If you have the opportunity to do amazing things in your life, I strongly encourage you to invite someone to join you.” When you become a catalyst for change, look for and invite others to join you. You’re right when you think that you’re just one person and you can’t do it all alone. Lasting change requires a team of people with different skills, strengths, and personalities to get the job done. You are simply responsible for starting and then “give everyone who joins you permission to operate in their gifting” to keep the ripples expanding outward.


This week, consider the following questions:

  • What need do you see?

  • How can your strengths, personality, and skills be used to make a change for that need?

  • Who can you bring along with you?

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