Many of us have been in a tollbooth line, or waiting patiently in our car at a fast food restaurant, only to find when we arrive at the window that the person in line in front of us has paid our bill. They “paid it forward”. The idea of “pay it forward”, doing something kind for someone without being asked, has been around a long time. It was popularized back in 2000 in a movie by the same name. In “Pay it Forward“, one boy has the vision and the courage to believe by simply doing a good deed for three different people, and challenging them to do the same, he could set off a chain reaction and change the world. In case you haven’t seen it, I won’t ruin the story for you. Let’s just say he got it right. It does work and the world is a better place.
The thought of a small good deed making someone else’s day gives us a warm fuzzy. We bought their pop, we shoveled their snow, we mowed a yard or raked their leaves just for kindness sake. That’s great! I want to encourage another option for you as well.
Pay it backward. Yes, BACKWARD.
How about identifying those people who’ve shown kindness to you or others, and doing something wonderful for them? The world is full of selfless people who regularly reach out and touch the lives of people around them, and they don’t do it for applause or rewards. They just do it because it’s a good thing to do. Isn’t it about time someone does something AWESOME for them?
Just a few quick suggestions about “paying it backward”…
- Secrecy is vital! It’s so much more fun if they don’t know who blessed them. Leave a note explaining why it’s being done, but try to do it without taking credit for it.
- Research your person, do a little detective work and make it special. Buy a candy bar that’s their favorite kind, and leave it on their desk. Discover their favorite musician and buy their next CD the day it comes out, and leave it in their work space. Make your gift of kindness uniquely appealing to them.
- Stretch yourself a little by doing something amazing. Don’t just settle for a trinket or a simple deed. Do something that will make their jaw drop and their eyes bug out. You may not be able to give away a new Jaguar, but tickets to a concert or dinner at their favorite restaurant might not be out of your reach?
- Encourage someone else to do what you’ve done for someone else. The power of paying it backward could be just as powerful as paying it forward. In your note to the recipient of the gift, encourage them to “pay it backward” as well. They’ve already proven that they are kind good at this stuff.
Go be amazing… Pay it backward!
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