ARE YOU A CHANGE CATALYST?
By: Manya Arond-Thomas
"Time does not exist except for change." Aristotle "The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice there is little we
"Time does not exist except for change."
"The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail
to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice
there is little we can do to change until we notice how failing to
notice shapes our thoughts and deeds."
R. D. Laing
"When two people in business always agree, one of them is
William Wrigley, Jr.
Change...................how do you react when you hear that word?
Personally, I tend to have a bimodal response of excitement and
apprehension. While there is a wide range of how people entertain
and respond to change - from little appetite for it with very long
change cycles to a significant need for change every few years - I
think it's safe to say that we all prefer to be the initiator of
change rather than having change thrust upon us.
That's why it's so important to look at one's own willingness to be
a change catalyst. I find it fascinating that the word "change"
comes from the old English "cambium" which means "becoming."
For there is no life without growth or "becoming" - thus, like it
or not, we must embrace and accept change unless, we want to live
life in a numbed or deadened state. Discovering ways to anticipate
and embrace change is a key competency of emotional intelligence.
After all, whenever we don't get what we want we have to change
The process of "becoming" is enlivening and indeed critical for
life. To be human is, by definition, to continually integrate to
higher levels of complexity, an ability conferred by the incredible
nervous system humans have evolved, with its' multiple iterations
of intelligence: from the residual reptilian brain (instincts) to
the limbic (emotional) brain to the cerebral neo-cortex.
If we're alive, our nervous systems are continuously driving us to
higher levels of integration. If we embrace that drive, we will
become a more whole person. If not, we become unhealthy (on some
level) and eventually die. Harsh as that may sound, it's just a
law of nature.
"How alive do I feel?"
"Am I present to the possibilities of the moment or am I dwelling
on what isn't happening or what I wish would happen?"
Change catalysts generate movement. Movement is life, even if it's
not always in the right direction. Movement is better than
"Becoming" and change produce movement that is guided by purpose,
moment that is on purpose, movement that is driven by intention.
Movement without purpose is only activity while movement with
purpose is change.
Here are some ways to know if you're a change catalyst:
1. Do you take your discontent as information that something needs
2. Do you take your complaints and transform them into constructive
criticism and suggestions for improvement?
3. Do you personally lead change initiatives or wait for others to
4. Do you continue to advocate change even if you meet resistance
5. Are you willing to tolerate the discomfort that occurs in the
transition from the old to the new?
If you'd like to catalyze more change for your self or others, here
are some things that can serve as catalysts for you individually or
for groups in which you want to be a catalyst:
*Give and get authentic feedback.
*Create a force field of environments that support
and reinforce the direction in which you want to move.
*Continue to visualize what you want to create - we know that the
subconscious brain starts paying attention to those things in the
environment that we place in the foreground of our consciousness.
*Create some cognitive dissonance by bringing more
diversity into your life so that you interact with ideas, people,
and situations that challenge your beliefs about how reality is.
When you do this, you allow yourself to open to new possibilities.
This article wouldn't be complete, of course, if I didn't say that
when change isn't happening the way we want, acceptance and
patience can be the greatest virtues.
For, as Buckminster Fuller said, ""You never change things by
fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new
model that makes the existing model obsolete."
Here's a challenge:
Use this next month to change something about which you've been
discontent or perhaps have been putting off moving forward on!
Create some new movement in your life or your team's
life, and pay attention to the new possibilities that open up!
FURTHER ACTION STEPS YOU CAN TAKE!
1. Buy a book you've been wanting to read for a while or check out
something that's been persisting in the back of your mind.
2. Do something atypical for you! Make a (small) mistake
intentionally like wearing two mismatched socks, and see what
3. Increase your self-awareness. Assessments are a great way to
gain insight about our preferences. Armed with this knowledge, you
can better leverage your strengths and manage your frailties to
bring about the change you desire. To learn about how our
assessments can help you, click here
4. To learn more about our leadership and career transition
coaching and our consultations for helping teams/organizations
manage change optimally, visit
(c) Copyright 2003. Manya Arond-Thomas, all rights reserved.
About the Author
Manya Arond-Thomas, M.D., is the founder of Manya
Arond-Thomas & Company, a coaching and consulting
firm that catalyzes the creation of “right
results” through facilitating executive
development, high-performance teams and
organizational effectiveness. She can be reached
at (734) 480-1932 or e-mailed at
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