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Catalyst: A substance that causes a chemical reaction to happen more quickly; A person or event that quickly causes change or action; Example: She was proud to be a catalyst for reform in the government. (Definition as provided by Merriam-Webster online)
Life will be filled with moments of uncertainty. These can be very frustrating moments because while we may have an idea or desire that we are sure of, perhaps we’re not so sure of where to take it. Or there are some pending decisions that we are absolutely stumped about how to act upon. I’ve often heard one of my favorite podcasters, Jess Lively (of The Lively Show), give advice on this subject. One of the solutions she recommends is the idea of waiting on a catalyst. This could be in the form of a person, message or some other type of confirmation that pushes you to move forward in a particular direction.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying that you should just sit around doing nothing but simply wait for a sign. It is equally important that you put in work in the meantime. As a Christian I subscribe to the biblical principle “faith without works is dead”. But I think people from various faith walks, spiritual beliefs and other ideologies could agree to believe in a similar idea. This concept that you can’t believe in something to happen without working toward that goal. Simply put this could also translate to “nothing happens overnight”. So put in the work. But if you’re in doubt feel assured that at some point some type of confirmation will come along to navigate you down a certain path.
I’ve also found that multiple “mini” catalysts may appear to add up to the bigger picture. I had begun working on my blog a few months prior to launching. Once I launched, I was eager to find ways to further grow my blog and develop a brand. One of the ideas I had was hosting speaking engagements and other teaching opportunities. Originally I had looked at this idea from a more formal approach. I entertained options in the form of lecturing in a traditional classroom or creating a formal workshop of my own. About a month later I was approached about doing a speaking engagement for a smaller group. The way the opportunity came about was very organic.
The event organizer was having a conversation with me about her stresses behind planning and organizing. Specifically, she was stressing because she was short one speaker and looking to fill the gap with a similar presentation. As we continued talking, her face suddenly lit up like she had the greatest epiphany ever. She said “You should speak about professional dress! You can talk about your blog and the attendees need the information!”.
I was a bit nervous because this conversation occurred about a week before the event. So I had to get something together quickly! It ended up working out just fine. (As things like that always seem to do.) That situation served as proof of what a catalyst will do. It was a small step but from that presentation I booked a second speaking engagement. It was definitely a domino effect. That example is a constant reminder for me to keep working even through periods of uncertainty. At some point a catalyst will lead to bigger steps and leaps of faith in the right direction.
What pending decisions are you not sure of? What catalysts might be appearing to help steer you on the ideal path that is best for your future? If you’re currently seeing a blank slate, what can you do in the meantime to play your part during the waiting period?