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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.

On Meeting People from “The Internets” and Networking

On Jumping on Entrepreneurship

My name is Zachary Cohn, and I've met a lot of people from the Internet. Most recently I met my doppelganger, Zachary Cohen.

[caption id="attachment_133" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="The Internet is a Series of Tubes"][/caption]Meeting people from the Internet is not a big deal to me anymore, although other people still freak out when I mention it. There have been three primary circles I've met people from: Massassi, Parkour, and The Rest of the Internet. The first two really helped me be comfortable with the last one.

Massassi.net started in 1997 and was dedicated to editing and modding a Star Wars game called Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight. The game is now 14 years old, and except for the occasional game for “old times sake” no one has played in five years. But everyone was such good friends and the community was so tight that most people have stayed around. I found Massassi in 2001, and have checked it daily since.

The first person I met from the Internet was through Massassi, and was probably Gebhoq. I found out he lived about 20 minutes away, so we saw a play and grabbed lunch together. After that, I visited Rochester Institute of Technology, where I was going to go to school. There were six people from Massassi that, by chance, all ended up there, so we met up and they showed me around. I've met a bunch more people from Massassi, but I had talked daily with most of them for years, so it was more like reuniting with a long-time friend.

The next circle of internet meetings is through Parkour. When I first started training, there was no one experienced in my area. I saw on some local parkour forums that a bunch of people meeting up to train in Washington DC, so I drove down to meet them. I showed up in this park to find a dozen teenage boys, mostly shirtless, jumping, climbing, and flipping around. I was a bit nervous at first - I didn't even know most of their handles, let alone names or anything about them. Five minutes after introducing myself, I felt we'd known each other for years. Since that first parkour jam, I've been great friends with Leonn, Psychosis, Doc_Ahk, Kipup, and RPG.[caption id="attachment_135" align="alignright" width="150" caption="David Belle - Parkour"][/caption]

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