Below is a chapter from my first book, “fiftysomething: The Unknown, Dreams, and Paths.” This book, written in 2009, accounts the first few months after being let go from my corporate job of twenty-one years. Although tossed into the unknown, I had dreams to fulfill; the paths of my journey were being revealed to me, of which I share on those pages.
My Catalytic Converters (excerpt from the book pictured at upper left)
Do you ever have one word that comes to mind and stays around until that next “buzz” word arrives?
My latest personal buzz word is: catalyst. I’ve looked inside myself for the bad things I’m a catalyst to; however, training myself to think only positive thoughts, I turned the bad catalyst list into a good catalyst list of people who have been my push to strive for something much better than myself.
One can define a catalyst as a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected or something that causes activity between two or more persons or force. Another definition could also be a person or thing that precipitates an event or change through their talk, enthusiasm, or energy, which causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic, or energetic.
With those definitions my thoughts turn to “catalytic converters.” A catalytic converter is described as an antipollution device in an automotive exhaust system that contains a catalyst for chemically converting some pollutants in the exhaust gases.
In an earlier chapter I mentioned talking with one of my coaches about proving myself, how much pressure it puts on me to succeed and how that pressure can lead to defeat through procrastination. I’ve been thinking about this the past few days.
Before moving on, I must tell you that I am a self-evaluator and have been for a very long time. If a situation occurs that makes me upset and keeps me there, I stop and look at it as closely and as honestly as possible to reach the root of the problem. (Self-evaluation takes hard work and lots of practice to perfect, but it does work!) So in all fairness to this coach, the problem was mine to deal with—she is fantastic at what she does and the message she delivers is so valuable. I would recommend her to anyone.
Why was I feeling so upset? It came down to that I am forever positive and optimistic and she was throwing daggers of negativity and pessimism at me. My coach wasn’t being unkind; she was trying to be helpful in her own way that did not agree with my own. How could I combat my feelings?
Minutes prior to my next coaching call I got out a notepad scribbling notes to self: “SMILE! Be happy! Think carefully before responding. Take a deep breath before responding.”
Shortly after getting on the call my coach asked what was going on with me. My voice got really excited. “I’m participating in the “Write a Book in a Weekend” event!” After saying the usual congratulations, she asked to share something with me. “One of my coaches told me a long time ago… ‘Plan to fail.”
Although absolutely stunned by her comment I had been determined on this particular call that nothing she said was going to get my goat. And you know what? It didn’t. In a very upbeat and energetic tone I replied, “Thank you. Thank you for telling me. That helps so much!” And I meant what I said. That comment gave me the determination to succeed.
While writing during the weekend, “plan to fail” was in the back of my mind. Except for a few touch-ups here and there, I did write my book in a weekend!
The list of those who “converted” me, ridding pollutants from my system consists of teachers, friends, associates, and of course, my dear sweet spouse and children—they definitely force me into activity!!
Be mindful your catalytic converter may not always have a positive connection. But if it begins to work like it should, the pollutants will become fresh and clean air.
Who are the catalytic converters that have changed your life?
Since writing the above book I've had the honor of completing two more books; and I've contributed to, been quoted in and had my photo featured on the cover of a few more books written by other authors. By the end of 2012, fourteen books will be circulating with my imprint.
Are you aware that you can become your own best catalyst in making things happen for you? If not, now you do.
“Inspiration acts as a catalyst for success.” ~Sam Veda
Peggy Lee Hanson, personal transition guide and mentor, is expert at compassionately helping those suffering loss of any proportion, especially through unemployment. Using proven strategies and support, she teaches how to move quickly and easily through current or impending life-changing moments so that you can have the life you are meant -- and deserve -- to live.
PeggyLee is a Speaker, Best-selling author on Amazon.com, Certified Dream Coach® & Group Leader®, Trained True Purpose Coach®, and CEO and Founder of MyDreamArchitect.com, a subsidiary of Personal Transition Guidance, LLC. Also, Peggy Lee has co-facilitated mastermind groups and appeared as a regular columnist for online communities. She is a member of Toastmasters International.
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