Attitude and Effort

03/09/2015 03:31 pm ET | Updated May 08, 2015

Anthony Mason, who played for the Knicks, recently passed away at 48 years old. Absolutely tragic. I remember meeting him during his playing days. We also lost Leonard Nimoy and, before that, Stuart Scott from ESPN. Another tragedy. Countless other celebrities.

When it comes to losing celebrities, especially the younger ones, I find it difficult watching any of the shows, broadcasts, or movies they were in. Strange but true.

In fact, one of my favorite movies - Roadhouse, starring Patrick Swayze - will never be the same to me. You can also add Tommy Boy, Good Will Hunting, and Moneyball to the list.

We're reminded all too often how we take life for granted. One day, it will all be over.

I was listening to a sports radio station and they were discussing Anthony Mason. Of course, the discussion was centered around how his life was too short, how good the Knicks were back then, and his impact with them. What really struck me was how they said his teammates described Mason - as a workhorse. A hard worker who never quit. A leader. Great teammate. Someone you always wanted to be around.

Not a bad legacy.

When it comes down to it, there are really two things in life that you have complete control over - your attitude and effort.

Whether it's fielding ground balls, helping a child with their reading, a marketing approach, customer service, sales, or training for a big fight, attitude and effort are everything.

And I mean everything.

Attitude is your mindset and opinion about someone or something. Your attitude makes you who you are. Attitude drives effort - your language, behaviors, and all of your actions.

Think about the athlete that wakes up early and trains every day.

Attitude and effort can be applied to learning a skill, physical fitness, business success, preparing for an exam, recovering from an injury, or developing a relationship.

In all of these areas, you have complete control.

If you're looking to become a better networker (maybe why you're reading this!), here are some questions to consider with attitude and effort in mind.

Do you view networking as learning from and potentially helping others? Are you looking to give before you take? Do you want to help business people get what they want? Do you speak to others with relationship in mind? Are you positive and upbeat? Do you truly listen when having a conversation? Do you view those you meet as probable prospects rather than prospects? Do you naturally like talking to people? Are you curious about other businesses? Do you like to stay in touch with those in your network? Are you open to feedback? Do you strive to improve? Do you like connecting great people to great people? Do you like helping? Are you fun? Do your social media posts have a "Look at me!" feel rather than an "I have an idea that can help!" feel?

Do you actively go to mixers, events, clubs, conferences, conventions, trade shows, product shows, food tastings, wine tastings, fund raisers, association meetings, and meet ups? Do you make phone calls to stay in touch and offer help? Do you look for opportunities to expand your database? Do you follow up and follow through within 24 hours or when promised? Are you a connector? Do you have a system for staying in touch? A social media strategy? A marketing plan? A target market? An elevator speech? Have you identified referral sources? Do you build solid relationships with key people in your network? Do you make every effort to maintain a networking attitude?

I'll leave the answers up to you.