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The Journey Through Fear To Influence, by Dan Redford

Dan Redford has built a life at the intersection of China/Michigan relations, doing international U.S./China business in raising millions of dollars of investment from Chinese clients into the United States. Knowing he wanted to be involved in U.S./China business, his first large opportunity came as a result of being a paid attendee covering the Shanghai Expo, and connecting with traditional media throughout Michigan as part of that trip. All along the way, he's connected with great people, lent a helping hand, and taken leadership roles in organizations.

In this interview to promote his GiveGetWin deal, a Group Class on Establishing Leadership and Influence, he tells his journey towards leadership and influence positions, and gives you extremely practical guidelines on doing that in your life.

"The Journey Through Fear To Influence" by Dan Redford, as told to Sebastian Marshall

My family really helped me become a leader. My younger brother is a famous basketball player where we're from. As the oldest of our family, it was a really big challenge for me. Seeing my younger brother rise as an athlete in the community and I didn't have to the skills to do that, it hurt.

I didn't pursue playing basketball in high school for a year because I anticipated my younger brother would be starting as a freshman and not wanting to compete with him.

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On My Ramblings

For years people who came to my place for the first time and looked at my books would be confused. First of all the amount of them would freak people out as they never seem to take me for a reader anyway but also the selection. I'll pretty much read anything.

Now I haven't always been that way. When I was growing up I pretty much only read Stephen King. Sure, they made me read stuff by dutch authors in school but I only read that cause I had to. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't that I didn't like anything else, it just never occurred to me to try it. And why should I? There were enough books for me to read that I knew I would enjoy. So I would only add a new author to my reading list if I'd had exhausted the works of whatever author I was into at the time. So for a long time I didn't really expand my reading selection a lot. Only doing that when I had to.

Then one day when I was flying from London to Amsterdam my flight got delayed and my I finished my book before my flight was even boarding. As it wasn't sure when we would start boarding and there was no bookstore near the gate I was waiting at I was stuck without a book. Or rather, I did have some books that I picked up for a friend. She's an English girl that lives in Amsterdam and had given me a list of books to pick up (this is pre internet ordering. Yes, I'm that old ;) ). So technically I was only "without a book I like".

Now for some reason she decided to give me a list of romance novels so I was stuck with 7 of those. As the delay was taking ever longer I eventually opened one of them and started reading and... exactly as I expected, I hated it! Seriously, I forced myself to read the first chapter but then really couldn't handle it anymore. But about 30 minutes later I was so bored that I decided to give another one of the books a try. Again, a romance novel but this one was much better than the first one. I found myself actually getting into the book and before I knew it we were boarding, took off and landed and I was home having finished the book.

That moment though was when something changed. Although I have always known we can't see whether or not we like something (or can do something for that matter) until we've tried it, it wasn't until that moment that the message finally sunk in.

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