Written By Davis Nguyen

Stand-Out_revise-198x300My mentor Keith Ferrazzi taught me that the quality of my life is equal to the quality of my relationships.

In every domain of my life I found this to be true—from having a workout buddy who pushes me to go for the extra rep every morning to having a group of friends who cheer me on during dance performances even when I make the occasional blunder. In addition, outside my personal life, I saw how the quality of my relationships can also impact the quality of my working life.

During my last two years in college, I had the honor of working for many generous, giving, and connected individuals including Keith Ferrazzi, Susan Cain, and Life After College’s own Jenny Blake. From working for each of them I see how important their networks were to their success.

You Don’t Need an Ivy League Education to Build a Network of Supporters and Influencers

In Dorie Clark’s Stand Out, Dorie tells us that having a network to help you and your idea stand out isn’t only available to the Sheryl Sandbergs and Ivy League graduates of the world. You too can build a network of influencers. One strategy to build a network of influencers? Growing your network through interviewing.

Growing Your Network Through Interviewing

Long before her book was published, Dorie would reach out to influencers she admired and asked if she could interview them for an article she would write up for Forbes. Over two and a half years, Dorie wrote over 250 articles and made connections with influencers she admired.

Why did Dorie’s strategy work?

Imagine that you had a book that just came out and someone offered to publicize it on Forbes. Would you take the offer? Of course you would.

The secret, if you haven’t figured it out already, is that when Dorie reaches out to these people to interview, she makes the interview about helping the other person and not about her. Each article she writes answers the question: “how can I best help this other person?”

And if you develop that same mindset of asking how you can help others be successful, you’ll be able to connect with your favorite influencers, too.

When it came time for Dorie to release her book this year, the hundreds of people she had been connecting with took the time to help her. On the back of her book, you’ll see many of the influencers whom she connected with over the years including Adam Grant, Pam Slim, Ryan Holiday, and Keith Ferrazzi.

I think Dorie would agree that her book wouldn’t have been as successful had it not been for those in her network who helped her.

You can do it, too

Dorie’s association with Forbes enabled her to get in touch with many influencers. But as Dorie writes, “even if you’re writing for your own personal blog, the vast majority of people will agree to an interview.”

But if you do want the credibility that comes from having a big name, major publications are always looking for 20somethings to write for them, like Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and Forbes.

You don’t have to just dream about meeting your influencers; you can begin meeting and interviewing them today.

Interviewing your influencers is just one of the twelve strategies Dorie Clark outlines in her book Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around it on how to build a network, audience, and community to spread your ideas.

Book Giveaway

We’re excited to give away a copy of Stand Out by Dorie Clark to three lucky Life After College readers. To enter, leave your email and answer to the following question in the comments by Friday, May 8th:

Comment to Be Entered to Win:

Who is one of your influencers?

Looking to grow your network right now?

Doors are open for the private Momentum Community that I have been telling you about, and I would love for you to be a Founding Member! With Momentum, you will get access to all my best tools, templates and resources, as well as the ability to ask me anything and collaborate with tons of other smart creatives, for just $1/day. Founding member enrollment is open until this Sunday, April 26. Click here to learn more and enroll »

Davis Nguyen

About Davis

Davis Nguyen (@justdavisnguyen) is currently on a year-long quest to connect with his influencers. Want to know how to connect with your influencers?

Written by Jenny BlakeMomentumMomentum is not a destination, it is a mindset. Punctuated successes—new titles, raises, business milestones, big clients, book deals—are absolutely worth celebrating.

But what we are really after is a sense of inertia, velocity, and flow. A feeling of wind in our hair and forward movement in our work. Generating momentum requires a new way of being, working and creating. It also requires a special type of problem-solving.

Momentum is about taking the pressure off of any one big “goal” and holding a mindset of:

  1. Curiosity & Creative Problem-Solving
  2. Experimentation, and
  3. Collaboration & Community

Momentum Key #1: Creative, Right-Brain Problem-Solving

We went from linear thinking in the Industrial Age to networked thinking in the Information Age. Now we’re reaching peak data.

We are full to the brim and overwhelmed, frazzled by overflowing inboxes and 24/7 communications. We are in the Too Much Information Age, and something has to change.

Believe it or not, that something is a return to joy, simplicity, focus, purpose and to right-brain, creative, non-linear thinking. The coming years will demand that we get more creative, and more intuitive. In short, more adaptable to (and accepting of) constant change.

Here’s how you can practice this skill today:

  1. Write down the biggest challenge you are currently facing.

  2. Now re-write it as an open-ended question.

  3. Instead of trying to find ONE answer, get a piece of paper and make a mind-map:put your desired outcome (not the challenge) in the center. Throughout the next week, add as many “spokes” as you can for potential solutions, resources, and people you could talk to.

  4. Important: note what is already working. Where on this list do you already have connections or experience? Momentum comes from building on your strengths and existing assets, not starting from scratch.

  5. Bonus: close your eyes and get quiet. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Frame up your question and ask: What does my head say? What does my heart say? What does my gut say? You have a brain-center in all three of those areas, and it is all-too-easy to silence the latter two with an overactive or anxious mind.

Momentum Key #2: Run Small Experiments

I hate the question, “So, where do you see yourself in five years?” Truth be told, it’s irrelevant! The world is changing so quickly that it is silly to expect ourselves to know.

If you do have a specific idea or goal, that’s fantastic! Or maybe you just know how you want to feel. Many of my coaching clients want to feel a sense of freedom, adventure, impact and connection with loved ones and a broader community.

As the saying goes, if you want different results, ask different questions. It is time to take the pressure off of knowing everything, especially your NEXT BIG MOVE.

See yourself as a scientist and set-up a variety of small experiments to test your ideas about what might be next. Look for experiments that author Nassim Taleb would describe as asymmetric: low potential downside with high potential upside.

  1. Write down a hypothesis: what project or next move feels edgy in a good way, scary-but-exciting? What gives you a surge of adrenaline to think about?

  2. Next describe the vision, or end-state: if you were to be smashingly successful in one year, what would be happening?

  3. Now break the idea down into smaller parts. Identify 2-3 small experiments: how could you gather some initial feedback? A strong experiment will help you answer the following:

    1. Am I good at this?
    2. Do I enjoy it?
    3. Is there more opportunity where that came from?
  4. Identify one person who has already done what you want to do. What advice would s/he give you about next steps? You can do this exercise even if you do not know him or her personally. If you do know the person, reach out and ask!

Momentum Key #3: Collaboration and Community

Going it alone is tough. It’s lonely, and most of all, it’s frustrating. Ultimately, it doesn’t work.

There are many shortcuts waiting for you. Do not make life harder on yourself than it needs to be. Stop doing everything the long (and hard) way.

If you can shave four years off of building your business or career by learning from someone else’s successes and failures, do. Why wouldn’t you?

Momentum comes from cycles of giving and receiving, connecting and retreating, learning and sharing.

  1. What would you love help with this month, but are a bit afraid to ask? What would happen if you did anyway?

  2. How would you describe “your people”? What common characteristics do they share?

  3. Who do you admire? List 3 people, and a few sentences or key phrases about why.

  4. What can you learn from each of the people you listed above? If you don’t know them personally, see if they have a book or course that you can study from. After all, it is a distilled digest of years of their wisdom and hard work!

  5. Make a list of 3 peers you would like to connect with this month, people who are in a similar stage as you are.

  6. Reach out to at least one of them after you read this post :)

Momentum Logo

Become a Founding Member of the Private Momentum Community!

It’s here, it’s here! Doors are open on the private Momentum Community that I’ve been telling you about, and I would love for you to be a Founding Member, where you will be grandfathered in at a special rate for life as a thank you for helping me build the plane while flying it.

Click here to read all about it »

Private coaching with me is currently $1,500/month. With Momentum, you’ll get access to all my best tools, templates and resources, as well as the ability to ask me anything and collaborate with others, for just $1/day. That’s $30/month . . . but if you sign-up this week as a Founding Member, it’s just $25/month, billed quarterly, with a full money-back guarantee if you look around and don’t like what you see.

Here’s a brief overview video:

Join our live Q&A call tomorrow

I will share how to dismantle the 3 biggest barriers to momentum, and answer any questions you have about the community at the end of the call.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 14 at 12pm ET
WHERE: YouTube Live Event — click here to add the event to your calendar

I look forward to seeing you there!

Ready for your next adventure?

Learn more about Momentum here »


About Jenny

Jenny Blake Headshot - Author, Speaker, Career StrategistJenny Blake is the author of Life After College and the forthcoming book The Pivot Method. She is a career and business strategist and an international speaker who helps smart people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. Jenny combines her love of technology with her superpower of simplifying complexity to help clients through big transitions — often to pivot in their career or launch a book, blog or business.

Today you can find her here on this blog (in its 8th year!) and at JennyBlake.me, where she explores the intersection of mind, body and business. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.

You are Not Alone

Written by Paul Angone If your twenties have gone nothing like you planned – you’re not alone. Career doubts. Crushed dreams. Relationship debacles. Faith struggles. And flat out groan up awkwardness. In my twenties I experienced them all and felt like such a failure. After college I was working a comfortable job, yet I couldn’t shake this […]

Click here to read the full post →

How to Find a Job You’re Passionate About

By Davis Nguyen Last month, I gave a talk at my high school. During the Q&A session, a student asked me what I did for community service (our high school requires a certain number of hours). In high school I had done more than three times the required amount, but it was the first time […]

Click here to read the full post →

3 Ways to Bring More Joy to Your Workplace

Written by Marisol Dahl Try to think back to the last time you felt focused and in a wonderful state of flow in your work. Your spirit and energy are buzzing. You pursue each task with great concentration and a promise to do your absolute best work. Your projects are challenging, but you approach them not with […]

Click here to read the full post →

The Roller-coaster of Work

Written by Melissa Anzman Being an entrepreneur can feel like a roller coaster ride – sometimes it’s exhilarating and other times it’s scary. Lots of highs and lows. A few weeks ago I started my day like any other, but something was off. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, again. I was […]

Click here to read the full post →