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How to Become a Catalyst

It is often said that there are three kinds of people:

  • Those who watch things happen
  • Those who make things happen, and
  • Those who wonder what happened

We generally refer to those who make things happen as a “catalyst.” Without a catalyst, there is no spark, no energy, and not much gets done.

Think of catalysts you know. In almost every successful business, there was a catalyst; someone with a vision who felt things needed to be done differently and made it happen. Apple. Starbucks. Google. YouTube. Even when you go back in history you have people like Thomas Edison, Alexander Bell and Henry Ford who drove forward with bold ideas and changed the world.

One of the most rewarding things catalytic people enjoy is to see others succeed. In doing so, they also succeed.

Who is the catalyst in your company? Who is the catalyst in your favorite sports team? Who is the catalyst in your network?

Not every successful networker needs to be a catalyst, as there are different personality types out there and they can all be great networkers. But what would it take for you to become a catalyst for your business and your networks?

Let’s look at the characteristics shared by catalytic people, a list drawn from BNI founder Dr. Ivan Misner’s book The 29% Solution:


Catalytic people don’t sit still. They make things happen. They see ideas and take action. They are leaders by nature and take initiative when something needs to be done. As networkers, they stay alert for problems that need solving and spring into action, calling on those within their network to help solve the problem before them.


Catalytic people are very intentional and goal-driven. They remove chance from the equation. Ivan Misner says they “create their own luck.” They can clearly define their purpose and goals. They can see the end result before others do. As networkers, they look for the goals others have and help people get to where they want to be.


Catalytic people are confident in themselves and the others on their team. They have confidence in their own abilities. This helps ensure a quality outcome. They have positive attitudes, looking at the good even when things are not going smoothly. Their confidence is contagious and leads to many networking opportunities because others are inspired by them.


Catalytic people are not only personally motivated, but can motivate others to perform at a higher level. When people see that they can produce better results than they thought possible, they are encouraged to keep moving forward. One of the most rewarding things catalytic people enjoy is to see others succeed. In doing so, they also succeed.

Becoming a catalyst takes initiative, intention, confidence and motivation. Your intention should be to network your business. You joined a networking group, so you’ve already taken initiative. By investing in BNI or some other networking structure, you’ve already demonstrated motivation. You need only work on confidence. Apply yourself, with a clear networking plan, and that will come. As we arrive at the end of a calendar year, there is no better time to start working on your plan for the new year.

Still wondering how to get started? Reach out to someone in your network whom you trust, and ask them to help you draft up your networking plan for the new year. Ask them what their plan is and then find one way over the holiday season to help them achieve success towards their own plan.


How to Become a Catalyst


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