Do you ever think about how you can “pay it forward” in the business world?
This may not be an easy question, but I think it’s an important one to ask. So many business people are always looking for what they can get out of a deal that they forget to pay their debts forward.
“Paying it forward” means to do something kind for someone else without hope of recompense. It’s not like paying a debt, which returns kindness for kindness. Rather, it’s doing a kindness without any immediate pay off.
Last week, I was able to offer words of kindness and support to a fellow writer. Most writers struggle with self-doubt, and I am no exception. During those times when I’m ready to throw in the towel and apply to become a Wal-Mart greeter, friends in the writing community have stepped up to offer a kick in the pants or a shoulder to cry on, whichever seemed most needed at the time. Whether it’s someone to commiserate about a yucky assignment or someone to tell me to suck it up and get the job done, I know that I can count on that special group of friends to support me through good times or bad.
One of those friends needed someone to prop her up this past weekend, and I happened to be online when she was sharing how blue she felt about her current work. Her assignments lately had been boring; she felt as if no matter how much she wrote or how hard she worked, she wasn’t making enough money.
I encouraged her, and pushed her, and yes, put on my best New York business woman sense via some of my comments. I felt like I was being slightly harsh with her, but I also felt she needed it. Sometimes people need a kick in the pants more than they need a shoulder to cry on.
The next day after my little coaching session with her, she wrote to me, ecstatic. She’d written an article for a publication she’d long admired and sent it in before she had a chance to chicken out. They accepted it the very same day – and she made more money from that half hour of work than she had the entire day before.
I love this story because it reminds me every day to pay it forward — to encourage, inspire and motivate anyone and everyone I come into contact with. Will I get any immediate benefit out of it? No, but I do believe strongly that what goes around, comes around.
Helping a friend with coaching, giving my time to write an article for an animal charity, sharing a stranger’s great blog post…it all counts. It really does. We pay things forward, and in time, they return to us ten-fold.