The Catalyst and Hope of Change

Blog: The Catalyst and Hope of Change

Picture of Lynda-Ross Vega Co-author of Unlock the Power of Your Perception and Your Talent AdvantageLife is a journey, not a destination.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

I’m sure you’ve heard this quote many times. The simple truth captures the essence of change’s impact on our lives.

The continuous ebb and flow of changes don’t allow us to stand still.  We are constantly dealing with change and transitioning from one “now” to another.

We are each looping through several transition processes daily because changes don’t happen one at a time.  There are changes we initiate ourselves and changes that are imposed on us.   There are little ones like deciding to revamp a planting area or having to rearrange your day because of the weather. There are big ones like deciding to move to a new home or having to search for a new job because of a layoff.

It would be so much easier if we all assigned the same value to changes and experienced the transition processes the same way.  But you know from personal experience the people who are close to you often don’t see a change the same way you do.  In my house, it’s common for me to see a change as an opportunity to do something different and follow my intuition.  On the other hand, my husband usually sees the same change as a need for a plan of action with multiple options. 

As you might have guessed, Perceptual Style plays a significant role in how we all create meaning around change!

The differences begin with what we call Change Triggers - the Catalyst and the Hope.

  • The Catalyst describes what causes us discomfort, what creates a feeling of fear.

  • The Hope describes what we want/need a change to result in. Quite literally what we hope for.

Here’s an interesting thing about Catalyst and Hope.  They apply to both self-initiated and imposed change.

The Catalyst draws you into the possibility of change; if it isn’t there for you, you won’t see a need for change, so you won’t self-initiate or even consider something others are trying to impose. 

The Hope draws you to engage in the transition process.  If you can’t see your Hope, you will resist the idea of change.  Period.

Each Perceptual Style is influenced by a different Catalyst and a different Hope that align with how each style makes meaning of the world. Let’s take a look at the things that create discomfort or fear and spur us towards change and how we define what we want from change:

  • Activity:

    • The Catalyst is feeling uninvolved or stagnant.  Boredom,  exclusion, standing still can all contribute to a need for change.

    • The Hope is to be engaged and accomplish things.  Taking action, getting involved, and getting things done are the tangible actions to address change.

  • Adjustments:

    • The Catalyst is feeling devalued or inefficient.  Having personal knowledge questioned or ignored, dealing with cumbersome or incomplete processes, and a lack of predictable outcomes can all create a desire for change.

    • The Hope is gaining knowledge and competency.   Doing the research and acquiring context and answers, refining broken processes, and creating clear, predictable results are the measures of a good change.

  • Flow:

    • The Catalyst is feeling isolated or disconnected.  Being cut off from friends or family or other communities, having shared values ignored or demeaned, people challenging or walking away from relationships, can all contribute to a consideration of change.

    • The Hope is establishing belonging and participating in personal interactions.  Conversations and shared time with friends and family, participation in extended communities, helping others, reestablishing shared values, repairing or gently letting go of broken relationships are the results that matter.

  • Goals:

    • The Catalyst is feeling restricted or conceding the probability of losing.  Having the ability to solve problems quickly thwarted, forcing acceptance of defeat, or delaying/obfuscating resolutions for current challenges can all initiate the need for swift change.

    • The Hope is taking decisive action that results in achievement.  Solving problems now, meeting challenges head-on, moving forward, and accomplishing objectives quickly all provide solid change evidence.

  • Methods:

    • The Catalyst is feeling a loss of control or unproductive. The absence of rules to apply, a lack of facts, inadequate or non-existent steps to follow, or ambiguous completion criteria can all contribute to a desire for change.

    • The Hope is creating structure and achieving measurable progress.  Creating and following plans, establishing and measuring success criteria, gathering relevant facts, and proving desired results all provide the satisfaction of a change well done.

  • Vision:

    • The Catalyst is a feeling of impending failure or pessimism.  An intuitive reaction that something is not right, being told “no” to a suggestion, roadblocks appearing to stop forward progress, or others not “getting on board” with the direction that's been set can all contribute to a drive towards change.

    • The Hope is creating possibilities and seizing opportunities.  Creating alternatives, influencing others, creating enthusiasm, resolving issues, eliminating hesitancy and reluctance, enjoying adventure, and feeling optimistic all make change worthwhile.

Did you relate to the Catalyst and Hope for your style? 

The concepts become more real when you take a moment to think about a change you’ve initiated and the fundamental driver that spurred you toward change. Pretty interesting to see the Catalyst from that perspective!  

Now consider a change you had to be talked into and how you created your Hope for that change.  Perhaps the person trying to convince you would have had a much easier time if they’d understood what gives you Hope about a change!

Knowing your own Catalyst and Hope for change can help you turn imposed change into something you can buy into.  And being aware of the differences in how each style sees Catalyst and Hope can help you present change in a way that others can accept.

Please share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below.

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About Lynda-Ross Vega

Lynda-Ross Vega is a partner at Vega Behavioral Consulting, Ltd. She specializes in helping corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, and individuals with interpersonal communications, team dynamics, personal development, and navigating change. Lynda-Ross is co-creator of Perceptual Style Theory, a revolutionary behavioral psychology theory and assessment system that teaches people how to unleash their natural strengths and build the life and career they dream of. For free information on how to succeed in business and in life doing more of what you do best, visit

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