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7 Secrets to Career Success

7 Secrets to Career Success

Keith Ferrazzi for Monster

Dinner, the YMCA or Church

I have a friend who is the executive vice president of a large bank in Charlotte, North Carolina. His networking hot spot is, of all places, the YMCA. He tells me that at 5 and 6 in the morning, the place is buzzing with exercise fanatics like him getting a workout before they go to the office. He scouts the place for entrepreneurs, current customers and prospects. Then, as he’s huffing and puffing on the StairMaster, he answers their questions about investments and loans.

Besides food and exercise, I sometimes take people to church. That’s right, church. I attend a mostly African American and Hispanic/Latino Catholic church in Los Angeles – St. Agatha’s. It’s wonderfully unorthodox. Instead of “passing the peace” in the form of a simple handshake, a gospel choir belts out uplifting tunes while the congregants walk around the church hugging each other for 10 minutes. I don’t try to foist my beliefs on anyone; the people I bring along – whether an actor or lawyer or an atheist or Orthodox Jew – tend to see my invitation as a kind of personalized gift. It shows them that I think so highly of them I’m willing to share a deeply personal part of my life.

Strong Relationships Help Careers

Contrary to popular business wisdom, I don’t believe there has to be a rigid line between our private and public lives. Old-school business views the expression of emotions and compassion as vulnerability; today’s new businesspeople see such attributes as the glue that binds us. When our relationships are stronger, our businesses and careers are more successful.

Obviously, this never eat alone rule isn’t one you can follow 100 percent, but it’s a great way to remember to invite others into the activities you already enjoy doing. Just make a list of the things you’ll be doing in the next couple of weeks, and invite people you’d like to know better to join you. Building relationships this way takes no more time than you already devote to your favorite activities. You’ll be energized and have fun while doing things you love so others will see you in the best light, not those nasty office fluorescents.

This article originally appeared on Monster.com.

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