“If you build a network, you will have a bridge to wherever you want to go.”

Those words are from Harvey Mackay, marketing guru and business person extraordinaire, and probably one of the world’s foremost authorities on networking.

You know, I spend a LOT of time at networking events. That’s because I know that to achieve success, professionally as well as personally, you need to have a network. And you have to be a bridge-builder, not a fence-builder—and certainly NOT a bridge-burner, like Ted in the following true story that was told to me recently.

While attending a big company event, my friend Marcie was approached by Ted, who made a noticeable attempt at engaging her in conversation. He was a sales rep who had been trying very hard over the last five years to get more business from the company hosting the event.

He said he was very happy he’d been given the opportunity to attend this private party to mark the transfer of power from the owner to one of his kids. Marcie was a bit nervous and was nursing a bad cold, so she was not in a mood to talk much.

After about 15 minutes of getting the ‘cold shoulder’, the frustrated Ted smiled and excused himself with the words, “It was a pleasure meeting you.” And as he was walking away, he muttered, “Yeah, about as much f… fun as a trip to the f… dentist ...” loudly enough for Marcie to overhear.

A short while later, the CEO walked on stage and invited his daughter, Marcie, to join him so he could proceed with the ceremony.

As you may have guessed, Ted never got another penny of business from the new boss-lady, thanks to his rude and very costly smart aleck remark!

There’s an African proverb that says “Do not insult the alligator until you’ve crossed the river.” That’s a good recommendation. I have an even better one: Don’t EVER insult the alligator because you never know when you might have to cross the river again.

It never ceases to amaze me that people—especially business people—fail to realize that it’s a small world we live in, that we’re all connected by six degrees of separation (now they say it’s been reduced to four…) and that as a rule, you should avoid being a rude schmuck to anyone, even if they deserve it, because you really never know when that person might turn out to be the new boss-lady, or the guy who stands between you and that $100,000 loan you desperately need to keep your company afloat.

It all comes down to choice. And the truth is you always have the choice—ALWAYS! You can choose your reaction and decide which attitude to adopt when something unexpected and undesirable happens in your life; for example, when somebody ruffles your feathers.

When this person ignores you at the next function, or this guy does not return your phone calls or this lady omits to acknowledge the small gift you sent her, what will you do? Tell them to go suck an egg, take it personally and let it gnaw at your self-confidence, or let it roll off your back like water on the back of a duck?

What attitude will you adopt: that of a fence-builder, a bridge-burner, or a bridge-builder? The choice is yours!

And much of your business—and personal—success, in the long run, may depend on that choice. So choose wisely.

I wish you ALL the business success you desire and deserve. Remember that the success you desire is function of your ambition, but the success you deserve is function of your ACTION!

Daniel G. St-Jean
BizzBooster, and The Sparkplug of Personal Development
Author of 7 Simple Keys To Spark Change In Your Life Now!
Co-author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life – volume 2

Author's Bio: 

Daniel G. St-Jean is half of The BizzBoosters Inc. He and his partner Laurel Simmons have produced a powerful new Special Report entitled Discover How You Can Easily Avoid the Biggest Marketing Mistake Made by 97% of Businesspeople—Even Gurus—That’s Costing Them Thousands of Customers and Millions in Sales! Go get your complimentary copy NOW at http://www.thebizzboosters.com/bigmistake-report.