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Who's on Your War Counsel?

About three years ago, I read the excellent book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. At that time, I made a list of the top 5-10 people in my life that I was to and had similar goals with. I sent out emails to them every once a month with what I was working on.

Eventually, I fell off from this habit. Not sure why - I'd had gotten good advice, stayed in touch with people I like, and it was a positive experience. I started re-thinking building my counsel a little over a year ago.

The challenge is, I've got a diverse set of goals and ideas. I write, I do business, I travel, I create art, I adventure, I'm looking to establish a strong family, and so on. I have friends who are writers or artists that aren't interested in business. I've got friends in business that pretty much always stick to their one city. I know guys who are pretty simple, work a normal job, don't make any art or do any entrepreneurship, but have very strong and good families. I know very successful businessmen who travel and adventure, but aren't interested in having kids.

So I was thinking - how do I balance this all on my counsel?

And eventually, the idea hits me. I need multiple, relevant counsels.

Help Me Become a Better Conversationalist

On nickwinter.net

Watch out: I use "I" 54 times in this post, so this will be boring if you, like me, aren't interested in hearing me talk about myself.

When I was in high school, I was so shy that I couldn't talk to almost anyone outside my family. Through a last-ditch effort when I went to college, I got better. I then got lucky and succeeded at a lot of things I tried after that, which rescued my general confidence, and I did some focused practice, rejection therapy, public speaking, and Beeminding to fix my social confidence.

But even though I'm no longer afraid to try, that doesn't mean that I can do it well. I still feel that I'm not usually a good conversationalist. I haven't had enough practice, especially since I have always spent most of my working time hacking in my lair instead of working socially. I started to practice things like this after the CFAR workshop in March, but put it on hold after getting married when I hurt my feet.

I'm finally recovered and can go outdoors again, so I spent this week practicing: three days of the hallway track at some conferences (plus moderating a discussion), two group classes, a social lunch, a party, hosting my cofounders for hacking, and a few video calls. I'm not completely socially exhausted--yeah, I threw the "introvert" label out of my identity a while ago--but I'm also not going to the second party tonight.

How did it go? I was trying to practice three things:

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