Before we can effectively answer this question, let’s first define the three elements of the question: “networking,” “game” and “won.” Since we each come from our own world view, with its own personal definitions of each term, any answer without first clarifying our terms might lead us to agree or disagree without knowing exactly why!

Networking (and this is the Burg definition): “The cultivating of mutually beneficial, give and take, win/win relationships.” By definition, this means there can be no losers.

Game: One dictionary definition says, “An activity providing entertainment or amusement; a pastime.” Like a professional athlete who loves his sport like the game it is but still approaches it as a business, the same might go for you. Hopefully, you’re having fun while you work; you enjoy the challenge, the learning and the people with whom you work. And, while you don’t necessarily like everything about the game of networking, at the very least (as Jim Rohn says), you appreciate the opportunity.

Win: According to Webster’s, “To succeed or prevail in an effort. To triumph, to be victorious.” But if you prevail or triumph, does that mean someone else has to lose?

Hmm. Since the very definition of networking means there cannot be a loser, the answer is no: nobody loses. So over whom do you triumph?

Perhaps it is yourself. Perhaps “winning the game” means getting past your fears to reach out and sow the seeds of a new win/win relationship, and then duplicating that win by helping others do the same.

If networking is a game, you know you’ve won when:

• You feel really good about the relationships you’re cultivating, and so do the people with whom you’re cultivating them;

• You find your prospect list getting bigger and bigger, with higher and higher quality people;

• You are adding increase, wealth, prosperity and happiness to the lives of others;

• You’re getting to present your business and products to more people than ever before;

• You’ve reached a higher achievement level within your company;

• You’re on your way to reaching a higher achievement level within your company;

• People seem to gravitate toward you in ways they previously did not;

• Your check is getting bigger and bigger.

Are the above happening in your life and business? Is success on the outside beginning to manifest? If so, it’s a direct result of your personal growth on the inside.

And if you’re continually growing on the inside, then you know you’ve won the game!

BOB BURG is a Networking University faculty member,
a nationally known trainer and speaker, and a regular columnist
Networking Times. He is author of the classic networking
Endless Referrals.