I’ve got this vision in my head today, of turning on a burner on my gas stove top and the gas pouring out, but absolutely nothing happens. The stove is useless for cooking without a flame or spark. That made me think about so many of us who just need a spark to get things going. We need a catalyst, a way to ignite a reaction to push us further that we could go on our own.
A catalyst can come in many different shapes or forms, but I like the definition from my Webster’s Dictionary the best: “A person whose talk, enthusiasm, or energy causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic, or energetic.” Can your talk, enthusiasm or energy get other people to be more friendly, enthusiastic or energetic?
As a Doer, are you stuck? Do you need to seek a catalyst? It happens to me all the time––in fact, I was stuck on a topic for this blog. I asked my wife, Kathleen, to help stimulate some thoughts on what I could share this morning. She reminded me of our friend whose cannabis business is killing it as a result of a catalytic reaction that none of us saw coming.
At a wine tasting recently, a friend of the family, a young millennial, was super excited to tell us about his new business in the cannabis industry. His enthusiasm was contagious. Watching him hit his stride was so empowering. But it made me reflect on his journey to get to this point.
I remember the opposite of this enthusiasm a year or so ago, when cannabis was such a challenging space and navigating it was full of “hey, bro” industry ups and downs. I thought about his partner, who for at least 10 years that I know of had been struggling with similar issues of monetizing transactions in the cannabis industry, putting his program on and off the shelf multiple times in multiple states.
Then I thought about how these two friends met. Individually, they were each like the gas pouring out of a burner without a spark. But together, it was spontaneous combustion! They both had what the other needed to accelerate a seismic reaction. In other words, they where both Doers who recognize that sometimes all you need is a catalyst.
A catalyst is defined in the chemistry world as a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction. Almost everything we deal with in chemistry, from plastics to polymers, requires a catalyst. But the same is true with Doers. Doers recognize the value of a catalyst and understand that without a catalyst, trends might never happen, people might never be stimulated to change, and major businesses might never have formed.
So the question for you is, how are you going to be a catalyst today? How can you help a friend or an associate by being a catalyst or causing a chemical reaction that might not happen without your stimulation? What introduction can you make, knowing full well that it’s a spark that will ignite the natural gas or propane of a situation?
Upon reflection, I am thinking of many of my friends who may be reading this blog––from sunflower growers, to egg processors, to medical product shippers, to scientists––all of them, in their own way being a catalyst every day, to the people around them.
It has become really clear to me that all of us need to hang around with people that can be a catalyst and that all of us have a responsibility to help others with that chemical reaction that can make a difference to them, the world, and beyond.
Can we all agree that we need people around us that have a “spark?” For all the Doers, be the catalyst for others that you might need for yourself. We all need a catalyst in our lives, so let’s start being the “spark” that gets things going.