October 2007 Issue --> Personal Article
8 Key Catalysts
By: Bobbi DePorter


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Looking back 25 years, I attribute my achievements to living what I call the 8 Key Catalysts—and they continue to propel me forward and make my life meaningful and successful.  The Key Catalysts I live and promote have been around for millennia in the form of good, old-fashioned character and smart living. But when you really live them and combine them with your personal vision, nothing will stop you, nothing will hold you back. Living your passions as a person of good character and principles will dramatically add to you success and happiness.


Here are the 8 Key Catalysts:

·        Integrity – Live What You Value

·        Failure Leads to Success

·        Speak with Good Purpose

·        This Is It

·        Commit Yourself

·        Take Ownership

·        Stay Flexible

·        Keep Your Balance


Let’s have a closer look at these Keys. Starting with Live What You Value this month, we’ll explore these 8 Key Catalysts and discover what they mean, why they’re important, and how to make sure they’re an active part of your life.




Align your actions with your values.


Quantum Success* begins with knowing yourself: your values, desires, talents, and dreams. Integrity is all about being true to that self, in all your actions and interactions. I’m not just talking about values and desires, but also about personality, preferences, opinions—all the factors that compel you to act and feel the way you do.


Here’s the take-away definition: Integrity is behavior congruent with your values.


Values are the things that we believe in and cherish—concepts like honesty, commitment, and compassion ... things like family, friends, and causes. Take a moment and think about what you value. Living with integrity requires living with a high sense of awareness, keeping your actions in line with your values at all times.


A Hard Lesson About Values


In the early part of my career, I was in partnership in a business school. We were changing people’s lives and wanted to do more so we took advantage of an investment opportunity, a “system” that we thought couldn’t lose.  We invested a little and made an enormous return so we invested more, and then we allowed friends and associates to invest with us and guaranteed their returns. The system worked like magic for a while, then, without warning, the bottom dropped out and I watched in horror as my money dwindled away to nothing—I lost almost everything, including my home and some of my friends. 


In time, I learned two very important lessons from that loss, lessons that remain with me to this day. First, even though the stock options system had raised money for the school, I had strayed from my true values.  And second, my values were still intact and strong ... all my possessions could be taken away, but nobody could take away my values, my dreams, my mindset—my integrity.


When you clarify your values, it helps you to move forward and choose actions that are consistent with your goals and still align with your values. Together, your values and goals bring a sense of passion and purpose to your life and to your work.


What Does Your Behavior Say About You?


Take a moment to think about some of your recent activities, about your interactions with colleagues, friends, family. Now give some honest thought to the values that those behaviors project. Are those your real values? Does your time go to the people and activities you value, or elsewhere?


This thought process is the litmus tests of integrity. If your behaviors reflect your values, if your time goes to the people and activities that are most important to you, then you’re living with integrity.  If the way you spend your time does not reflect your values, and your behaviors are saying things about you that aren’t true, then you’re not living with integrity.


Living in integrity means being true to who you are—even if no one is looking.


This reminds me of something that most of us value—honesty—and a story I read recently in the newspaper about a hospital housekeeper who found $12,450 in an envelope under a pillow after a patient has been discharged.  When she turned it in, she was surprised at the reactions that she’d done something great. She said, “The money didn’t belong to me and I wasn’t supposed to take it. That’s the normal thing to do.”


When we do something—whether it relates to simple honesty or relationships or moving toward our goals—and it doesn’t feel quite right, chances are that we are not living in integrity. And when we do something and it feels good, it’s likely that we are living in integrity.  I know the difference from personal experience. On reflection I realized that something about that investment scheme just didn’t feel right, but I ignored the discomfort and moved on, then suffered the consequences.


How to Act with Integrity, Moment by Moment


A lot of people simply act as they feel like acting, then find some justification—any justification—for why they did what they did. Their actions are largely unconsidered.

Highly successful people, in contrast, use their values to steer their actions. They reflect, then act. Their values motivate their actions, because they choose their actions to harmonize with their values.


Remember to check your motivation when you make a decision or choose an action. Can you be honest enough with yourself to admit why you’re doing something? Is it really a reflection of your values, or a reflection of what you want at the moment?


When Your Behavior Matches Your Values


When you choose your behavior to reflect your values you’ll move through life with authenticity, sincerity, and wholeness. When you live with integrity, it’ll show. People will think of you as a person of your word. You’ll be known for your strong character. When you live with integrity, you’ll enjoy a clear conscience. You’ll be filled with good feelings about yourself. Those good feelings will pour into everything you say and do and give you the courage to follow your heart. Integrity leads to fulfillment.



* For more on Quantum Success, see my article “How Do You Define Success?” in the May 2007 issue, Success section.



About the Author:

Bobbi DePorter is the author of Quantum Success and other books on learning and teaching, and is president of Quantum Learning Network (QLN) and cofounder of SuperCamp. QLN produces programs for students, educators, parents and business people across the United States and abroad. For more information visiwww.QLN.com or email info@QLN.com .


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