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  • I'm a creator, entrepreneur, author of DREAM YEAR, and aspiring novelist. My wife Ainsley and I live in Virginia Beach with our five kids Wyatt, Dylan, Cody, Annie & Millie

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I stinketh at it. I wish I was better at it. I love to connect with people but I always feel like they will think I want something from them. It takes a while for me to connect with others.

This is good stuff! I'm right there. Being, INTJ, I'm prone to have tunnel vision and completely forget to engage with those around me... unless I feel like I have to. I think social media (especially Twitter) is my saving grace in this area.

I've had to force myself to learn to network, and I'm thankful that Twitter has allowed me to spy on some really skillful people and watch how they do it... and then allowed me to try to follow their example. I've got a long way to go, and I definitely need to get better at translating the lessons I learn online to life offline, but I'm thankful for this avenue for learning and growing.

The last year has been huge for me in terms of growing my networking ability.

I've always been good at connecting with people, but this year I started actively seeking out relationships with people I admired. It's led to some really cool projects and relationships with people I never would've had the opportunity to connect with if I didn't make the effort.

I do not think you are alone in this. I find that much of the teaching in the church, especially among lifelong Christians, has been to love all and trust few. As such the socio cultural reality is a hesitation...often unconscious...to take risks. Meeting new people and opening ourselves up to being edified (or hurt) by them is a risk that some people are more willing to take than others. I've met some very bold Chrstians willing to take chances on the untried and unexpected. More typically, I encounter an unspoken barrier between insiders and outsiders that may be more palpable to the latter than to the former. I wish you well with your new endeavor. It is sure to be eye opening and worthwhile.

Networking comes naturally for me (or seems to). Twitter and Facebook only made it easier. I like your action steps...

--@terracecrawford

Last year I read Never Eat Alone, which I thought was a great book, but unfortunately just reading it didn't do anything to fill up the chair across from me at lunch on my days off.

My big hook-up in networking is purpose. If I don't have a question to ask someone or something that needs addressing my mind talks me out of reaching out to other people. I also have to overcome the voice that says, "What do you have to offer this person?" That's a deception that I have to push myself through.

I think I'm taking small steps forward each year in this, and learning to enjoy people just for the sake of them, and not worrying so much about the end result of every meeting being some kind of productive event.

Networking comes pretty easy for me but I'm a marketing guy so it should. : ) If I'm 100% honest though, I do enjoy my introvert side as well and naturally gravitate to the "task-driven" "get er done" mentality. Have to watch myself and make sure I am being intentional about relationships.

I feel your pain. Next time you're in DFW, drop me a line and we'll shoot the breeze for about 15 minutes or so... :)

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