If networking is a game, you will clearly know you are winning when you can look back and personally take responsibility for the many lives you have changed. You also know you’ve won when you can share compelling stories of the goals you have helped others realize.

A business associate I know named Debbie wanted to earn enough money for a down payment on a home for her family. For years, Debbie, her husband Roger and their daughter had been living rent-free in a lovely farm ranch in Longmont, Colorado in a home that belonged to Roger’s family. While their needs were being met, she never felt she could change the curtains without holding a meeting with Roger’s siblings.

Debbie worked the business seriously for three years to achieve her goal. Then one day my phone rang and I received the best reward of my career: Debbie asked me and my family to join her family for their first Thanksgiving dinner in their new home, nestled in the foothills of Castle Rock, Colorado. She said that without my leadership and confidence, she would not have been able to build this new home. (And she pointed out that since it was almost two hours from her prior location, she didn’t have to worry about her in-laws dropping in unannounced.)

That year, we had one of the most memorable Thanksgiving events I’ve ever experienced. Debbie showed us every nook and cranny of her new home; over dessert, she shared her plans to earn even more money to upgrade the family’s car to a new Cadillac. Debbie achieved success because of her commitment; she made it happen by following the system that had been outlined as a way to achieve her goals. And in her winning, I won, too.

To win this game takes a commitment developing a two- to three-year growth plan with those partners you believe are serious about the business. It means working hard today with your team to win big with residual income tomorrow. The simplest way to know you are winning is to count the number of people in your organization to whom you’ve taught the fundamental business skills of prospecting, recruiting, training and developing other leaders.

How do you know if you’re winning as a networker? Look at the lives of those you have been able to help do things they never thought they could or would.

EVERTRUE BELL is a national sales and strategy trainer for
one of the world’s largest networking companies.