An entrepreneur is nothing if they are not also a catalyst. If you can’t light the touch paper of your ideas then they will never get off the ground. A catalyst is an ideas sparker, they are creative and often fearless. Like a strong flavour of cheese, you should never put a catalyst with milder cheese as they change the flavour of the weaker. Therefore a catalyst can walk into a space and transform it with their presence.
Catalysts are brilliant advisors, business owners, teachers, bosses, but rarely good employees. Not because they can’t do the job, but because they often tell their boss how to do theirs… better, much better than the boss could see for themselves.
So what makes a catalyst?
Catalysts are born rather than developed, but anyone can use catalyst skills to come up with brilliant ideas and get them off the ground.
Catalyst Skill 1: Become an improv artist.
Catalysts are improvisation artists, they see the humour in everything and can bounce comedy around in the same way they bounce brilliant ideas. For example if you were to say “I have a gun” a normal person might reply “No that’s two fingers” a Catalyst would jump into the game. Spontaneity and the capacity to play is a vital part of being able to have fun with ideas. Inspiration comes from fun not fear. If you’re ‘worried’ you have to come up with a brilliant idea, it’s not likely to turn out brilliantly; be excited… you’ve come up with a brilliant idea!
Catalyst Skill 2: Think like a scientist.
Catalysts are scientists, rather than seeing the half a dozen times they have tried something but it didn’t work as failing, they see it as a process in making the final product perfect. They are never put off by setbacks as they don’t see them as such.
Catalyst Skill 3: Be creative.
Catalysts are right brain thinkers. They have the left brain skill of analysing, but they see situations as a whole, rather than seeing them in parts. They believe there is always a better way of doing everything, even things that have been done and working well for years. With this skill they blend creativity with inspirational thinking.
Catalyst Skill 4: Don’t deliberate, just do it.
Catalysts don’t get taster pots, put them on the wall and endlessly ponder which one to choose. They decide what colour to paint, get the paint they like and slap it on the wall. If it doesn’t look right, they will work with it, perhaps adding a border or tweaking it somehow – but only if it is really important to do so will they change it. Catalysts are not great at making business plans, but somehow they run successful business.
Catalyst Skill 5: Know your own strengths.
A catalyst knows where their skills are best used. They rarely spend their time in the day to day running of their business; driving the business forward and creating the ‘next’ super successful idea is what they’re all about. They don’t get drowned in the drudgery, and outsource anything else which drains their time and allows them to get thinking about the next big thing.
The small print…
Catalysts are loved by some, and hated by others. Without realising it they shine a light onto what is not working. Some people will feel blessed to have met the catalyst and are quick to make changes; while others who are not ready to make a shift, feel aggrieved.
Our world needs catalysts now more than ever, who cares if they ruffle a few feathers! However the safest environment for a catalyst is teaching, where their brilliance is fully appreciated and has the chance to change the world.