Last weekend I stopped by my wife’s workplace and ran into a family acquaintance. We had talked several times before and I knew he had been in the military.

While we were talking he mentioned living in a little town called Caribou, Maine. I cut him off mid-sentence because I went to high school across the border in Canada which was about 40 miles from Caribou. I knew the place well. Even more amazing is that he lived there at the same time I was going to high school.

We talked about places we would go to eat and shop. That conversation created a deeper, more meaningful connection. As he left, he made a comment that stuck with me all week.

It’s crazy to think that we might have passed each other 30 years ago and not even known.

That’s a stirring thought! It’s amazing how we connect with others. I just recently had a conversation with a person from high school and after the conversation, I immediately wished I had known them better back then.

During the recent pandemic years, I saw an incredible interest in cohort-based courses. I think part of it was driven by an intense desire to connect with others. Not everyone was looking for a connection – but there were many who were.

In the past decade, I have met many people online who have become friends and acquaintances who have had an incredible impact on my life.

Allow me to share 8 people who I originally connected with online that have impacted my life:

  1. Gary Carter. Gary is an author, coach, pastor, missiologist, and entrepreneur in the greater Toronto area of Canada. I met him about 23 years ago. We connected somewhere online and he was one of my first online friends. Gary embodies commitment, generosity, passion, and faith. He saw things in me that I honestly had not seen in myself. He was the original person who challenged me to dream bigger dreams. Everyone needs a Gary in their life.
  2. Jimmy D. Brown. My pastor, and my friend. Jimmy was my pastor about a decade ago. Ironically, I followed him online before I knew him. I didn’t know him as a pastor – I knew him as an online businessman. I had purchased several of his products and heard him speak at a marketing conference in Atlanta, Georgia. A few months later, they moved to my city, to pastor at a church. Jimmy taught me that “even when you mess up big, you can still work to make things right. You can still come home.”
  3. Paul Evans – Paul Evans is one of the greatest communicators that I’ve ever met. He’s an author, an entrepreneur, and an incredible storyteller. I met Paul at the same conference where I met Jimmy Brown. Paul is captivating and leaves you believing that you matter. I aspire to communicate like Paul.
  4. Connie Ragen Green – I don’t even remember where I first heard about Connie. I do remember buying one of her books and reaching out to her via email. To my surprise, she replied shortly after which led to a phone call. I lost touch with her for a number of years before recently reconnecting. She is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. She has the heart of a teacher and a love for her mentees. I have learned the power of relationship marketing from Connie.
  5. Michael McGill – Mike is one of the guys who brought me to life on Twitter. A random tweet featuring an atomic essay caught my attention. Several DMs later led to me joining Ship30for30 which led to several Zoom calls and a great friend. Mike tweets about stoic philosophy and continually teaches me the power of controlling how we react to life.
  6. Ev Chapman – Ev is one of the most joy-filled people I’ve ever met. She builds digital systems that have been such a help to me. We’ve had several Zoom calls and she is one of my favorite people. I’ve learned the power of organization and creativity from her.
  7. Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi – Niharikaa is the founder of Summit 21, an online writing program. Niharikaa was one of my earliest connections during my Twitter resurgence. She is active on Medium and Linkedin and she has taught me the power of consistency.
  8. Bob DePasquale – Bob is my best friend on Twitter. Bob is an accountability buddy. We connect almost every Monday morning to discuss the upcoming week. He is continually reminding me of the power of enthusiasm, and generosity. My oldest son and I got to meet Bob, his wife Trisha, and another friend, John Paul when I visited Florida earlier this year. It was one of the highlights of my year.

These people make up my “unofficial” education and encouragement council. They are people I follow. I read their writing. I watch their videos. I learn from them.

I believe you should have a circle of influence from people you learn and are inspired by.

I’d love to know someone who currently inspires you online.

I’d love for you to connect with me on Twitter here.