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The Catalytic Four:  Reflecting on 2007 and Creating Outcomes for 2008


By Tom Caprel



"What are you doing today to get closer to your goals for the next one to five years?"


My coaching clients' answer is perhaps similar to yours: not very specific because day-to day urgencies get in the way of strategic activity. So I ask them to use what I call the Catalytic Four for some specific reflection upon the past and to create outcomes for the future.


The four-step process begins with self-reflection question:


  • What do you feel were your most significant accomplishments and disappointments, personally and professionally this year?


This is meant to create self-awareness and an opening for honest self-assessment. This critical first step may uncover what has made you successful and/or identify areas where we're 'stuck' or under-performing. This awareness and assessment of satisfaction levels for the past year can open the door to fostering new behaviors for the future.


Step two is uncovering and finishing the affects our concealed past has upon our actions in the present. The following questions will identify behaviors, which worked for you in the past but may not be appropriate now.


  • What did you stop doing this year which made you a better, leader, mother, teacher, etc?


  • What's one of your most negative or self-limiting beliefs about yourself? (e.g. "I might fail")

o    How does it make you feel? (e.g. "anxious, stressed)

  • Is feeling this way actually helping you get what you want, be more successful, etc?


This exercise can help us break the pattern of "It's always worked before," or "Why do I end up with the same results?" (Either under performance or never reaching the pinnacle).


The pivotal third step in manifesting true behavioral change is creating a new future. This 'new' future must take your past into account for content (what skills you have) and process (how you learn), while helping you shift your context (how you believe and act in your life). It's about your future as it relates to the actions right now. As yourself these questions:


  • What did I start doing this year which made me a better, leader, mother, teacher, etc.?
  • What do I declare my future to be?  (I'm a world-renowned speaker.)
  • What are 3 to 5 Professional and/or Personal Performance Objectives which will move me toward that declaration? This must include expected outcomes/ and dates to be completed.



This future is literally declared into existence. Using the performance objectives as a map, the measurable results help to evaluate who the person is "being" in the world to accomplish those performance objectives.


The final step is developing a community that supports and challenges you:


• How can your significant other, coach/mentor, manager and or your peer group most effectively assist and support you this year?


Research shows that peers and managers who offer compassionate critique develop an organization that help each other be the best they can be, and do their best work.


Tom Caprel, Sr., is the founder of Breakthrough Results, and is a master coach in success, both for life and business. You can contact him at (630) 918-0760. Or visit him online at