Step 5 to Success – Becoming a Catalyst for Change

Pillar #5 -Steps to Create Positive Changes in your Life

NOW is the time to BE the person you want to become.  As stated by Gandhi, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”  If you have been following my blog posts titled, ‘Steps to Success’, you will have already read about the personal assessment and preparation work that must be done to support positive changes in your life.   Once you have begun to take personal responsibility (Step 1), outlined your vision (Step 2), decided how you will live a purpose driven life (Step 3) and dreamed about infinite possibilities (Step 4), you are ready to put your hard work into action.

You can now become the catalyst to begin making the incremental changes that you want to see in your life.    One definition of a catalyst is ‘a person or event that quickly causes change or action’.  So, what action steps can you take to become such a facilitator of progress?  Begin to work on these 4 action items:

1.      Determine your GOALS vs. your INTENTIONS.  Goals involve definable results that you plan to accomplish.  Intentions include feelings and emotions that powerfully support your definable expectations; they include the ways that you would like to be in your life.  You may have a goal of winning a running race.  You could have an intention of focusing on your eating habits and exercise regimen to become a much stronger runner.  It is important to think both in terms of GOALS and INTENTIONS when you are taking steps to change your life.

2.       Believe in yourself.  Know that you are ‘of value’ and that you can handle what is thrown at you.  Sometimes we question the challenges that are put before us.  We may not understand why we have to encounter these struggles and may believe that we are not able to handle them. Please know that you are able to get through them and that when you begin to think in terms of how you can overcome the adversity, you will begin the steps to do it.  I recently heard Paul Gonyea, in his talk titled ‘A Higher Class of Problems’, say that no one ever expects us NOT to be able to walk when we are infants (as long as we do not have physical limitations).  Our parents do not say, “Try out this ‘walking thing’ and if you are not able to do it, we’ll just make sure that you are carried around the rest of your life”.   Believe that you CAN reach your goals and intentions.

3.       Stay positive.  Be kind to yourself.  Use positive and kind words when you speak to yourself or refer to yourself.  How often do you find yourself saying (in your head or out loud) “How stupid of me, how could I forget …”  (you can fill in the rest)?  Instead, think of all the great things that you did accomplish.  When you are kind to yourself and regularly think positively, you create an environment where your mind is more readily available to think creatively.  This will help you to find solutions to meet your goals and intentions.

4.       Create new habits.  As you begin to change your thinking, you will begin to change your actions.  There are different philosophies of how to create new habits; some say to just focus on one change at a time, some say to start very small, some say to connect your new habit with a current daily routine.  However you decide to take steps to ‘act’ in different ways (now that you think differently), you are setting intentions toward their creation which will help you reach your goals!


Jeanne Ward is a Consultant and Personal Strategist who brings her knowledge of psychology, strategy and personal fulfillment to her current work. Jeanne started her career by helping mentally ill inmates to ‘get their lives back on track’ as they integrated back into society from jail in NYC. She leveraged this experience with a Social Work degree to manage teams who were supporting people trying to move back into the workforce. She later lived in Atlanta, GA and Frankfurt, Germany where she began consulting with nonprofit organizations to guide them on their strategy, volunteer development, and organizational development as well as to support the development of their leaders and board of directors. After the jolt of a divorce, Jeanne found herself doing a lot of soul-searching. Digging deep, she arrived at a new-found appreciation for herself and the world around her. This journey taught her that when we start with improving ourselves, the benefits multiply. Jeanne realized that her strengths of strategic thinking, relationship building, and implementation planning could be combined into her ongoing passion of personal leadership. Hence, her personal strategy work was born. Jeanne helps men and women between the ages of 35 and 55 who are fed up with their corporate jobs to create fulfilling professional and personal lives through the development of a personal strategic plan. This work ensures that her clients identify their professional and personal goals as well as create a plan to make those goals a reality. Jeanne is also the Executive Director of the Atlanta Road Trotters Kid’s Running Club, a nonprofit organization that provides a platform for children to build a foundation of running health and fitness which leads to a better connection to the organized running community as well as a strong foundation of Discipline, Self-Esteem, Respect and Team Work. She has also co-authored a workbook on networking, founded and organized the National Association of Social Workers-Georgia-sponsored ‘Social Service Career Network’ and organized a summit for the National Alliance for Mentally Ill attended by over 100 organizations from 6 Atlanta counties. Previously, she sat on the board of NASW GA as their Secretary as well as on the board of NAMI GA/DeKalb as their Co-President, was a senior consultant for the Georgia Center for Nonprofits and helped to run a capital campaign for an independent school. Jeanne has an MSW from Hunter School of Social Work (City University of New York), an MA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice (City University of New York) and a BA in Psychology from Emory University. Jeanne lives in Atlanta with her ten-year-old son.

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