Success is a team sport. No one gets there all by themselves. People play a vital role in your professional and personal triumphs. They help to equip and motivate you to overcome obstacles and achieve your goals. They help to pick you up when you fail and encourage you to go forward again.
Sometimes it’s difficult to repay them for their acts of kindness and support. Saying thank you, while the polite thing to do, may feel inadequate Then suddenly you discover the powerful act of paying it forward. Bingo! The world just became a better place.
The expression “pay it forward” is used to describe the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid, not to you directly, but to someone else in the future. It’s the ultimate act of selfless kindness. It creates a cycle of good will that keeps on going.
In 1999 Catherine Ryan Hyde wrote a novel called Pay it Forward, which was later turned into a motion picture featuring actors Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt. The author suggests that if someone does you a favor, something big, something you couldn’t do on your own, instead of paying it back, you pay it forward to other people. In fact, she estimates that if you paid it forward to three people, and the next day each of them paid it forward to three more, and the day after, those 27 each paid it forward to another three, eventually, that would come to more than 4.7 million people. With these kinds of numbers, the world would soon start to change – for the better!
Three ways you can pay it forward
1. Your Time
Being open to networking with others and helping people, especially those folks who are unemployed and are in transition, is an act of paying it forward. After all, someone helped you in some way to get your current job or your current client. Sharing a few minutes of your busy day networking with others continues the cycle of good will and forward motion.
2. Your Talent
You have skills, knowledge and abilities that come easy to you and are highly valued by others. They need what you have and in some cases, they can’t afford to hire you or purchase it from you. You can pay it forward by loaning some of your talent and expertise to others in need. Not-for-profit organizations are hungry to tap into the seasoned business professional/executive to serve on advisory boards, committees and boards of directors. They will no doubt want to tap into your network – the people who you know and have relationships with – to help them achieve their community-minded missions. Consider volunteering to participate in a nonprofit organization as a way of paying it forward.
3. Your Treasury
Money. It makes the world go round! You need it to fund your lifestyle and to save for your retirement. It’s also a good idea to generously share it with others. I believe the more you give, the more you get in this world. Don’t hold on too tightly to your money. Pay it forward by donating it to worthy charities and organizations whose mission you believe in. Don’t do it just for the tax deduction; do it because you are grateful for the blessings in your life and you want to pay that blessing forward to help others less fortunate than yourself. It feels good to donate money. It’s an investment in your fellow mankind – a pool that you are part of.
Your Networking Goal for this Week
This week, I want you to actively and consciously pay it forward in all three ways mentioned above: 1) Agree to a networking call or meeting with someone who is currently in job transition and needs to pick your brain or your Rolodex; 2) Offer some of your talent by volunteering to take on a task that uses your unique expertise; and lastly, 3) donate some of your hard earned money to a charitable organization. This week write a big fat check or donate on-line to an organization that is working hard to transform lives. Feel good about the fact that you can and do pay it forward as part of your personal philosophy.
- If you don’t currently have a favorite charity, I invite you to donate to YWCA Hartford Region. I am on their board of directors and have seen first hand the incredible work that they do for women, girls and families. Your investment will help YWCA to fulfill its mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
About the writer: Kathy McAfee is known as America’s Marketing Motivator and is author of the book Networking Ahead for Business. In her role as Executive Presentation Coach and Professional Speaker, Kathy helps her clients to become the recognized leaders in their fields by mastering the art of high engagement presentations, more effective networking and personal marketing. Kathy is a board member of YWCA Hartford Region and an active member of Soroptimist International of the Americas. To learn more about Kathy, visit her web site MarketingMotivator.net. If you like this tip and want to receive free networking tips on a weekly basis, please sign up at NetworkingAhead.com