Catnip Masters

Catnip. That decadent herb that—after an initial energy burst—lulls cats into a trancelike state of bliss.

Have you noticed that some people are the human equivalent of catnip? They draw us in and almost magnetically compel us to help them.

I call them catnip masters.

Last week I had the unusual pleasure of meeting with 3 catnip masters in a single week. They ran the professional gamut—consultant, coach and attorney—but each had some compelling characteristics that drew me in:

A genuinely upbeat disposition. They are jazzed talking about their work and clients (and on any topic close to their heart). Bright, open and engaging, they spice up conversations with good humor and a positive outlook.

Sincere interest. Listening and speaking in roughly equal doses, they listen intently and leave you feeling heard, inspired, appreciated. They are givers, looking for opportunities to be of service.

Authenticity. Their stories, tone of voice, body language and appearance all align with who they are at their core. Artifice in any form seems alien to them.

Real lives beyond work. How they showed me this ranged from sharing a few photos to lively anecdotes to sheer pleasure in the antics of their kids. Each came across as deeper and richer than just an impressive resume.

It didn’t stop after the initial meeting. Follow-ups included a hand-written note, a phone call with promised information and links to helpful websites. I was inspired to make an immediate referral in one case and to actively search for introductions for the other two. Catnip in action.

What’s your catnip?


  • That “trancelike state of bliss” sounds pretty good, also, Rochelle. Who lulls me into that state?

    Here’s my catnip example: A colleague and I trade coaching. She’s helping me master “creativity and productivity tools” on the iPad and iPhone, and I’m helping her with public speaking and creating videos to embed. I learn just as much when I’m coaching her. But our brainstorming ranges far and wide, including topics like “how can knowledge professionals like us thrive in the emerging conditions of the 21st century?”

    After our weekly meetings, I’m always jazzed, and have way too many ToDos on my list.


  • Perfect example Mike! Our energy just multiplies when we’re working with the right people….

  • You can’t fake joy. It reminds me of the old adage “do what you love and the money will follow”. This could be expanded to “do what you love and everyone will follow”,

  • dogear6

    For me, it is delivering on what you sold me. Not barely doing it, not making me chase you down, and not dumping onto a newbie.

    It is interesting to see your high points here – they are really good. Yesterday, I spoke to an attorney that I have worked with before (he was referred by someone who I have worked with). In 15 minutes, he gave me good feedback to make a recommendation to my management as to whether we needed outside counsel on the issue (we most likely do not).

    Afterward, he sent me his contact information with a nice little note how much he enjoyed talking to me. I thought that was great!

    – Nancy

  • Excellent point on joy Rebecca. We can’t be the only ones who prefer a person operating from joy vs deep cynicism–there is something uplifting about being around them.

  • What a great experience with your attorney Nancy–thanks for sharing. I especially like how he recommended his way out of work for himself–that is pure catnip (not to mention trust building).

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