Pay It Forward

I don’t know about the rest of you, but for those of us who live in southern California, wouldn’t you say that with our beautiful weather on a daily basis, we should really call this place paradise? Well, not counting the traffic, of course. Wouldn’t you say we are on the spoiled side?

In the Me society that we have become accustomed to living in, how often do we think about giving back.

The other day, I was listening to a radio station where they had put a contest together where, if you entered this particular contest, and your name was drawn, you would win $500. But there was a catch to winning that $500. The whole object of the contest was that you could keep half of the $500, but give the other half away either to your church, to your favorite charity or wherever you wanted it to go. What a concept!   Now wouldn’t the normal inclination be to just keep the $500 for yourself? We all have bills to pay right?

But then again, there’s something contagious about giving something of yourself without expecting anything in return.

When you attend a business networking event and you are meeting someone for the first time, do you find yourself saying as you exchange business cards, What can you do for me. Do you think you can help me? Is there anyone you know who can help me step up my career?

What if instead, you said, Now how did you decide to get in to the career that you chose or Is there anything that you feel that you are needing right now that you think I might be able to help you with. What if you just simply formed a friendship. That friendship that you form could possibly bring you business leads down the road or it could turn in to a lifelong friendship, and how nice would that be!

I think there’s an inner joy that we all experience knowing that we’ve helped someone along the way, and later on down the road, I think we experience the joy of the help that we are looking for coming back to us in ways that we never thought possible. It’s a natural sequence of events, not something that’s forced.

The other day, I went to breakfast by myself, and while I was sitting at the table, I ran in to someone who I had met at a networking event several years ago. She told me she was sitting on the patio having breakfast with a small business networking group and invited me to join them. Now she did not have to do this right? She could have just gone on her way. But because I did decide to join this group, I met some very nice people. I don’t know whether it will lead to work or not, but I just met some nice people and got to hear an interesting speaker.

So rather than saying, what can you do for me, turn it around, and say, what can I do for you. Try it once and see what happens.  It’s all about paying it forward!