A few years ago, I was driving over to a friend’s house and noticed a poster on a Stop sign pole in her neighborhood. We’ve all seen some variation of this lost pet plea although typically it’s for a lost dog or cat. But this was a “Lost Parrot” sign, which is probably why I remember it after all these years.
Back in those days, it was an ordeal to make such a notice using a photo and color printer, so this one was hand-drawn and written text.
I filed it away in my gray matter as an out-of-the-ordinary sighting.
Went to my friend’s house… stayed for a little chat… then drove over to the grocery store. Took a while to do the “big” shopping… checked out… then forgot that I had to stop at the customer service desk.
Waiting in line, I started reading ads on the bulletin board behind the counter. What?!?!
Really? The grocery store was only a couple miles from the neighborhood where I’d seen the “Lost Parrot” sign earlier that morning. Could it be the same parrot? I mean really… how many lost parrots are there in this corner of the world on this particular day?
So I wrote down Found-Parrot’s name and phone number.
Retraced my route and went back to get Lost-Parrot’s name and phone number. Drove home to call Lost-Parrot and tell him about Found-Parrot. [We didn’t have cell phones back then… yes I know… I’m really old.]
When I heard Lost-Parrot’s voice scream in disbelief, I melted with exhilaration. I might have been the only person in the world who saw both of those signs and was able to help reunite Parrot and Parrot-Lover.
I don’t know for sure but I’m going to assume that the story had a happy ending. [I mean really… what are the chances that it wasn’t the right parrot?]
Which brings me to my point.
Are You a Connector?
Are you someone who can see how situations and people align and then work to connect the dots?
USC Marshall School of Business professor Dave Logan calls this kind of person a triad-builder or a Rainmaker. It’s the person who can lead a group to Stage 4 and 5 in Tribal Leadership.
Seth Godin calls this person a Linchpin. It’s a person who sees and understands the larger picture and then works like crazy to help the tribe connect to each other.
So the question again: Are you a Rainmaker? Are you a Linchpin?
What I take from the story of Lost-Parrot/Found-Parrot is that my role in the grand scheme of the world is profoundly bigger than me… in ways that I will never know.
So I’m banking on God to show me the details someday, should I arrive at the pearly gates. At the very least, I want to know if Parrot and Parrot-Lover reconciled their separation.
But more than that, I hope someday to see the huge web of connections that bind people together and teach us that we need one another.
As humans, we were made to live in community. But some of our communities are fractured; others are broken; still more are all but totally vanished. How do we deal with that? Does it even make a difference in our lives?
It should. If it doesn’t, we might one day look out and see one of the apocalyptic worlds that film-makes parade across our big screens.
Maybe if we intentionally build triads and work like Linchpins, we’ll make our way through life noticing Lost-Parrot and Found-Parrot signs and help others connect the dots.
It’s all part of the worthy adventure.