Written by: Dean Hua

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Below is an email that I sent out to about 150 of my friends, business contacts, and acquaintances for the New Year. I’m posting it here as a way to archive my thoughts. It’s also a good way for me to give people some context on The Dean’s List. By reading this and then reading my entry on The Dean’s List, you start to gain a firmer grasp of where I’m coming from in regards to the subject matter at hand.

If I am pointing you to this particular entry, then know that I think highly enough of you that I would like to see you and others take on a similar philosophy from now until the day you die. Seriously.

Believe me, it ain’t easy. But you will find it rewarding. I got about 30-40 public and private compliments on the initiative. And a few doors opened up because of it.
Dear all,

I went through alot of changes in 2006. Alot of those changes are in large part due to people I’ve met. I decided that instead of sending out the typical holiday emails and cards that we all send, I would do something different this year. I wanted to achieve a certain level of poignancy so I created what is called, “The Dean’s List.” and published an open letter and it’s significance on my business website;

In college, you made the Dean’s List if you achieved a high level of academic excellence. On this list, are 22 people who made some sort of impact on my life. Why 22? I’ve no clue. There are certainly more people that could be on this list but it was a bit time consuming to just think up the first 22 so I had to leave it at that for the time being.The point of this email isn’t to share who these people are because I know most of the 150 or so people on this email don’t care for that. The point to this email is to convey to you as to what it will take for you to succeed in this New Year;

Each and every one of us have our own “Dean’s List.” It could be the Mary’s List or the John’s List or the Brian’s List, but we all have a list.

These are a list of people you’ve met and have impacted your life. Some are socially minded and some are professionally minded. But do these people know that they are on your list? As I said in my open letter, will you validate and acknowledge their presence by letting these people know.

Unlike many, I don’t see a “New Year” as starting over. I see it as a continuation from the previous year. I certainly don’t plan on starting a new list. As a matter of fact, I intend to triple my list by the end of this year. Read my entry as to why.

Every now and then, business acquaintances or friends might come up to me and say, “Gosh Dean, you really know quite a bit about networking” or something to the effect that I know how to deal with people. I’m always humbled and flattered. But I always cringe a bit because I never was comfortable with the word, networking. I just thought it was some buzz word that some networking guru like Ivan Misner or Harvey Mackay was responsible for. I thought it was a word that a bunch of salespeople used to compensate for the fact that they aren’t truly networking but trying to sell me yet another product at yet another business event by handing me yet another business card.

And once you read my entry and the comments left by various people, perhaps you will start to understand that whether it’s social networking or business networking, all of this still comes down to the people you meet and the imprint that you’ve left behind.

My open letter is my view on what it takes to

  • make more money,
  • boost your career,
  • have more friends,
  • lose more weight,
  • or any of the other desires that we all have on a daily basis.

Some of you may agree with me and some may disagree, but I don’t think there are many who would doubt the validity of my philosophy and how one simple list could change your year and your life.

Please remember these thoughts for the New Year and for the rest of your life;

Every person has a story to tell. Every person has something to say and to share. It only becomes a question of whether we are listening to these stories and truly internalize them. You know how some people are- they love to hear themselves talk but only at the risk of never seeing the true beauty in others.

Like many of you, I meet people on a weekly basis. Some are met through a social outing. Some are met through business functions. Some are through friends of friends.

There is nothing better than to sit down and getting to know someone. What makes them tick? What do they aspire to become? Is there a way that I can be a part of their storyline and journey? I love a great conversation.

I wish I can say that everyone cares enough to think this way. But even I’m not that naive. But when you start trying to see the beauty in others, quite a few will come around and start to see that in you. And that’s when you know that you’ve struck gold. And for the rest? Well, life is what it is, right? We can only be so much to so many people.

And to think that I was this close to not publishing the entry. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not the biggest talker in the world and I can be quite reserved. Think introverted personality. So when you put yourself in my shoes, then you start to realize how tough it must have been for me to put myself out there in that way. But like my buddy, Maria [#3 on the list] would say, “do what makes you scared.”

And I’m glad I did because after publishing my entry, more than half emailed me back and complimented me in a way that I haven’t been complimented before. One person thought I was the coolest person in the world. A few women almost shed a tear. Women…go figure. 🙂 Another gave me a great compliment of how much of a calm presence that I’ve always had. I never noticed that trait…hmmm. And another was impressed to see how much I seem to know at a relatively young age.

As I said, when you see the beauty in others, they start to see it in you.

And here is the published letter;

I know that not everyone on this email will be impacted by what I write much less read it. But I know that a few people will feel what I feel and see what I see. If you are one of those people, please drop me a line. My door is always open to you. I know it’s been such a long time since I’ve connected with some of you.

When you surround yourself with the right people, all things become possible.



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