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When two of your good buddies offer you the same personal challenge in one day it’s time to make sure you are clear with yourself about the answer.

Because sometimes your unconscious mind uses your good buddies to get your attention.

Adam Kreitman asked me today if I was riding the “social networking spiral” and since he’s one of my top go to people for all things on line I paid attention. Seems he’s seen a lot of people get caught up in playing around on social networking sites without having a purpose in what they do and think they are networking. Must be where the terms “twitterholics” and “FaceBook fanatics” come from. Adam has written an amusing blogpost on social networking addictions - if you think you might be suffering from one of the “holics” or “fanatics” syndromes go read it now!

Later I got a FaceBook email from another good buddy (please tell me you appreciate the irony here) who wanted to know if the networking events I attend actually produce anything or if it’s mainly a chance to talk to peers and preach to the choir.

Granted, I spend several hours a week networking, combining live events with online forums and personal meetings with social networking sites’ communication tools. I’m certifiably committed to the people who make up my various networking circles and I add new relationships to those circles almost daily. So it seemed like a worthwhile exercise to try to figure out exactly what I accomplish with this time other than having a darn good time and calling it work.

Diehard Rationale #1

Networking let’s me share fellowship with my peers – and I need that.

Maybe there are people who don’t need the fellowship and camaraderie and sense of belonging that a great peer group can inspire – I’m not one of them. I blossom when I’m surrounded by a group of people who are my personal cheerleaders one minute and my greatest heroes the next.

Diehard Rationale #2

Networking provides inspiration and stimulation – and I need that.

I want to see change in the world because of what I do but I don’t want to do it by myself, so I network. I’m not a person who creates in isolation. I need pebbles thrown in my pool for things to ripple. Sometimes I need rocks or even boulders because I need BIG ripples. My networking circles are filled with idea people, philosophers and revolutionaries, radical thinkers and powerful doers. Being in their presence, in real space or cyberspace, fuels my fire to be all of those things when I want to be or need to be.

Diehard Rationale #3

Networking provides endless opportunities to add value and expand my reach – and who doesn’t need that?

According to author and historical economy buff, Bob Burg, all wealth is created out of the first two laws in The Go-Giver. (Which doesn’t mean you should ignore the other three because you can create wealth with laws one and two and still be perfectly miserable.) Law #1 says “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.” So the opportunity to add value to others increases my worth, that seems like a good thing. And Law #2 says “Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.” Then yes, expanding my reach seems like a worthy endeavor as well.

Which doesn’t mean that I never get that sinking suspicion that I am feeding a slot machine just to see if I can get back a little change. But then I take stock of the jackpots I’ve hit in my career and they can all be traced to a networking activity.

In the last five years I’ve only worked with two clients who did not come to me as a result of networking. Referrals have been from networking connections and from clients who were originally referred by networking connections.

I have a circle of advisors and mentors that give me unbelievable guidance every day – guess how I met them - networking. I have a small army of walking personal ambassadors (another of Bob Burg’s phrases that I love) – guess how they found me - networking. The opportunity to connect with authors Bob Burg and John David Mann as well as create coaching programs based on The Go-Giver and Endless Referrals - networking. The introduction to online marketing expert Bob Sommers of Recognized, networking. The honor of serving as President of networking association, Yellow-Tie International, board of directors - well duh - networking.

That’s right, nearly all of the value in my business today came to me through networking. So I think I’ll keep slipping those quarters into the slot.

What are you a diehard about?

What’s your rationale? Can you give me three good reasons why you do what you do?

How many quarters have you put in the slot? What’s your investment in this activity?

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