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Posted on Mon, Jan 31, 2011 : 6 a.m.

Networking and dieting: It's a lifestyle

By Greg Peters

Stick with me on this one. It really does have to do with good networking practice.

Maybe you've never said this to yourself before, but I think I do it every time I step on the scale to weigh myself.

"I've got to go on a diet."

The funny thing is, from everything I've read and experienced, a "diet" just doesn't work. The mindset of depriving ourselves of food in order to lose weight is doomed from the start. We won't be happy, and even if we can force ourselves to follow a diet and exercise regimen to the point where we achieve our goals, as soon as we start thinking we can go back to our old lifestyle, things will return to the way they were (or worse).

Really, the only way to achieve long-lasting results is to change our lifestyle...

... permanently.

So, what makes us think that we can successfully use the "diet" mentality when it comes to networking?

Just as the person who wants to lose weight has to start making healthy food choices and exercise part of their everyday life, so, too, do we need to make networking part of ours.

In this most recent economic downturn I noticed that, almost universally, those who were inveterate networkers — the ones who attended the events, who always looked to increase their network, who looked for ways to serve and connect other people — they were the ones who were having the least trouble. In fact, many of them even grew during the hard times.

So, when you come to the place where you recognize that you have to "start networking," also realize that some of the best questions you can ask yourself are "How can I make this a part of my life?" and "How can I make it fun?"

That's pretty much the only path to long-term success.

Greg Peters, founder of The Reluctant Networker LLC, writes, speaks and coaches about good networking practice. For more tips that can help your connections count, go to