“Paying It Forward”: The idea that you can create significant change by performing random acts of kindness for others, inspiring a domino effect of kindness in them and, in turn, the world. This is an incredibly powerful idea that far too often gets minimized to just “helping people.” Helping people – what does that mean? Does that mean opening a door or offering to pick up the tab on lunch? Sure it does; we hope that you approach every day with a mentality of service – spreading kindness and care wherever you go to create a strong example and positive environment in which to work.
To “pay it forward” is a substantially broader concept. “It has to be something really big – something that they can’t do for themselves.” This could be something huge or something secret. Are we asking you to bring a homeless person into your house or give away your car? No. In a way, we’re asking for something even greater. What if generosity meant listening when we thought we didn’t have the time? What if “paying it forward” for us meant creating a space that gives someone else the opportunity to be curious about their strengths and their passion? What if the next time you wanted to dismiss someone, you instead took the time to listen and work with them to create a better situation?
There’s an old saying dictating that “they don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” Paying it forward is a demonstration of caring. Grand gestures don’t go unappreciated, but a price tag cannot be placed on the gift of time, energy, and attention. Give me a fish and feed me for a day, give me an opportunity and feed my curiosity for a lifetime. I believe that we do care, but how do we care? How do we show it? We improve the world around us any time that we listen generously or encourage someone to find meaning, possibility, or escape from inner criticism. When we share someone’s excitement or show them that they matter, we affirm them in life. So, next time you want to help someone I invite you instead to think about how you can pay it forward and share our part in changing the world.