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By Nancy Gallis

A lightning rod is a metal rod or metallic object engineered to conduct the energy of a lightning strike through itself rather than the structure it is mounted on. All lightning rods are made of conductive materials, such as copper and aluminum.

People can be conductive in a similar way, can’t we? There are people in my life that make me feel stronger and better and more likely to succeed after talking with them. It’s more than just encouragement or general platitudes or niceties. There’s something energizing and energetic about them, a certain electricity that feels less like networking and more like magic. I’ve got some friends that I keep on a reserved list. I reach to them when I have an idea of where I want to go next or when I decide what crazy goal I’m going to reach for next. At first, I may have reached to them just to share parts of my life with them or maybe it was because discussing goals is one of the first steps to actually achieving them. But lately I’ve noticed that after I talk with some people, things happen.

Not all of us enjoy networking, but some of us are connectors. They hastily do the small talk dance to get to the good stuff. They tell us that our outfit reminds us of something they’ve seen in another country on a traveling adventure, but they won’t tell us what they were doing in the middle of the desert. They laugh when we ask how they’re so happy every day, but they don’t really have an answer. They come up in conversations with others, “Yeah, they told me to come and talk to you because we both have a thing for super hero movies.” These connectors, these lightning rods, do more than pump us full of positivity and optimism. They put action behind the dreams. They ask “Why not?” and “What if?” as serious alternatives. They bring us where we need to go.

Timothy Leary explains them best in his famous quote:

“Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others…”

Today at lunch, you may think you’re getting chills because the window in the restaurant is open, but maybe it’s actually because the person you’re talking to is so full of energy, they can’t help but shock you with it. Enjoy the feeling. Let yourself open up to their possibilities. And when you’re done, find the others.

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