If we live in our truest form, we will affect others. We become purposeful without having to think about what our purpose is. If we believe we are all catalysts (meaning: that just by being you, you'll change someone), there's an instant sense of responsibility.
Life isn’t just about you. Suddenly you're valuable. No matter how bad or unproductive we believe our life is, we will be a point in someone’s journey. Knowing this will always give us traction. It will make us feel less alone, but more importantly: it will give us permission to be uniquely us.
You’re going to be a point in someone’s journey. Just make sure you’re a bright one. Here are three tips to be a bright catalyst:
1. Turn your dial from Take to Give.
I'm not referring to being generous. By "give," I mean: Don't seek approval or validation. Want nothing for the exchange. Many people believe they're giving because they go out of their way or listen to someone's verbal vomit. But they're actually taking because they want something in return, usually validation, approval, compliments, security, or membership. If the exchange is authentic, what you're giving the other person is the truest version of you, without seeking anything in return.
2. Understand before trying to be understood.
Most of us think about our response while the other person is still speaking. If we're doing this, we're not listening. We're thinking. Then, once that person is done, we don't just give our opinion. We try to change theirs based on our story and how we see the world. This is called control and we disguise it as understanding.
To understand means to hear that person, not only his words but his heart, and to do so without judgement or labeling. It requires empathy. Once you can truly listen with honesty, you can share your story and hope they understand before trying to be understood.
3. Know that whatever you do or say will affect someone in some way whether you like it or not or know it or not.
This one's simple. It begins with a fact and ends with a question.
Fact: Your energy alone can change someone. Think about all the people you collide with during your day—from the guy who sells you coffee to your office mate to the person you sleep with. Your existence affects these people. Your actions, opinions, moods, and energy ... everything about you will create a reaction when you interact with another. Know that.
Question. What do you want that reaction to be?