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GiveIn: How I'm using my LinkedIn network to pay it forward

Since joining LinkedIn 10 years ago, I've always, like probably many of you, looked to connect with someone that could possibly help me penetrate a market or company -- to get a sale! Do you have the word CISO or CIO in your title? Awesome! InMail or connection request and 10 mins later, can I have some time on your calendar to introduce myself and my company? Something I think we've all been the recipient of, even me, most commonly recruiters and product salespeople.

I'd be a hypocrite to say anything at all.

I remember about 16 years ago when the movie Pay It Forward came out. I remember thinking to myself, "gee, I wish I was in a position to do something that big." The mistake I made was two-fold, (1) thinking that benevolence was only meant for big things and (2) not realizing all this time that the opportunity to start a pay it forward movement was right in front of me with social media.

And then I found the book "Give and Take" by Adam Grant, which has completely transformed my thinking of who I am and who I want to be. For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, and givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return.

Using his own pioneering research as Wharton's top-rated professor, Adam Grant shows that these styles have a surprising impact on success. Although some givers get exploited and burn out, the rest achieve extraordinary results across a wide range of industries. Combining cutting-edge evidence with captivating stories, Grant shows how one of America's best networkers developed his connections, why the creative genius behind one of the most popular shows in television history toiled for years in anonymity, how a basketball executive responsible for multiple draft busts transformed his franchise into a winner, and how we could have anticipated Enron's demise four years before the company collapsed--without ever looking at a single number.

Give and Take highlights what effective networking, collaboration, influence, negotiation, and leadership skills have in common. This book opens up an approach to success that has the power to transform not just individuals and groups, but entire organizations and communities. It's transformed me.

The fact of the matter is, I'm tired of looking to build my LinkedIn connection list simply based off of a person's current title or company they work for. Today, I'm no longer asking what can you, my connections do for me, I'm going to ask what can I do for you with no expectations of being paid back -- just that you will pass it on and do the same for your connections. This giving tree can start with me, right now with all of you.

So, for those of you wondering how I can start, here are the areas I'd like to offer any of you help in. While I don't claim to be an expert, many of you know my CV and the success I've been blessed with over these past few years since I sold my first start-up.

So if any of you are needing help in any of these areas or if you're simply out of a job and need help with circulating your resume around, please contact me.

My areas of expertise where I can offer you free guidance and offer myself as a mentor:

  1. Business: Leadership, entrepreneurial guidance, writing proposals, Responding to RFPs, marketing, PR, project management

  2. Personal: productivity, growth hacking, capacity building, time management

  3. Finance: small business accounting tools, book keeping, budgeting (personal and small business), investing

  4. Information security: penetration testing, vulnerability management, incident response, forensics

  5. IT: cloud apps/productivity tools

Here is my kindle list of books I've read for those of you wanting recommendations for books in these areas:

  1. The ABCs of Money -Natalie Pace

  2. The Buddha's Three Jewels - Susan Brassfield Cogan

  3. Cash Flow For Dummies - John A. Tracy, Tage Tracy

  4. An Easy Guide to Meditation -Roy Eugene Davis

  5. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In -Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, Bruce Patton

  6. Incident Response & Computer Forensics, Third Edition -Jason Luttgens, Matthew Pepe, Kevin Mandia

  7. Linux Forensics -Philip Polstra

  8. Metasploit: The Penetration Tester's Guide -David Kennedy, Devon Kearns, Jim O'Gorman, Mati Aharoni

  9. Smart Sales Manager -Josiane Chriqui Feigon

  10. Technical Analysis For Dummies® -Barbara Rockefeller

  11. The Trusted Advisor -David H. Maister, Charles H. Green, Robert M. Galford

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