Chapter 6 Excerpt: Paying it Forward – How Can I Be of Service to You?

For many, living a pay it forward lifestyle doesn’t take a great deal of effort. It’s something you do every day. In fact, you may be paying it forward without consciously knowing you are, and without knowing that you’re making a difference.

Have you ever been at the grocery story and the person in front of you was short on the bill? Did you reach into your wallet and make up the difference? That’s the first part of paying it forward.

How about seeing a cop at a coffee shop and paying for her coffee? That’s the start of paying it forward.

The fundamental difference, as I see it, is that in order to truly pay it forward you must always want to help another person without:

1. Ever expecting anything in return and

2. Letting the person who did you the “favor” know that you expect them to pay it forward to someone else.

For me, that is how I help other people by paying it forward. It’s relatively easy to do someone a favor – the way that we help more than one person is by encouraging others to pass that favor on – or pay it forward!

Within today’s amazingly connected online world is what I believe to be the best pay it forward playground in history. We have never been able to reach as many people through as many modes of communication than we can today. LinkedIn is just one of many great online communities that put you in touch with so many people around the world.

Through LinkedIn, as I have touched on in earlier chapters in this book, I have developed friendships, business relationships and lifelong partnerships that would have not been available to me offline.

Granted, to get where I am now has taken a lot of hard work, a lot of perseverance and in no small measure – a lot of faith. But it’s also been a result of my use of LinkedIn to reach out to new connections and hopefully make a small difference along the way.

My point is simple: if you are using social media, you should be using it to pay it forward. You have no good excuse, in my opinion.

When you connect with someone – on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter – wherever you may meet them – ALWAYS go into the relationship with the thought that you are about to pay it forward.

Think about it. If you know that by connecting with a person you have the potential to help them in some way aren’t you excited about what might happen? Doesn’t it make you anticipate what you can do?

For me, and my many connections (at the time I’m writing this chapter around 10,000 on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter) it is a new adventure every time we connect.

Several men and women are role models for me in the pay it forward life that I have chosen to lead. Some are well known, some not so well known, and some are totally satisfied just being their when someone needs help.

In the last four years I have had the priviledge to not only know, but call friend, great people such as Paul Gillin, Chris Brogan, Kristie Wells and Chris Heuer, Jen McClure, Steve Bauer, Shel Holtz, Mark Ragan, Seth Godin, Wes Elder, Eric Dykes, Christopher Morrisette, Marlon Headen, Greg Bennett, Greg Hyer, Matt Zaske, Sheldon Wolitski, and so many others it would take another chapter just to list them.

All of them have one thing in common – they rarely said no. To a request for an introduction, a chance to sit and talk over coffee. But, most importantly, they never – to the person – ever said no when I asked them to pay it forward and help someone else.

The best part of paying it forward? Once you get in the habit it is easy to do and a very hard habit to break!

Now, it’s time for me to issue the challenge. (Which by the way thrills me to no end that I have the “platform” to do so).

Okay, here it is – the Linking In to Pay it Forward Challenge:

Take a minute to reach out to five of your connections. Talk to them through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, email or *GASP* the phone. Find out if they have a particular need that you can help them with TODAY.

Some will say no, but thanks. But I imagine several will say yes, and lay it out for you right then and there.

If you can’t personally help, find someone you know that can, and connect them to the person in need.

Now, here’s the kicker: once you done this, challenge them to find five of their connections and do the same thing.

In return, here’s my pledge to you. My website – is subtitled The Pay it Forward Chronicles. If you will contact me and let me know the results from your willingness to take the Linking In To Pay it Forward Challenge – I will publish as many of your stories as possible on my website.

My hope is that my next book will be devoted exclusively to these stories. Stories of paying it forward through LinkedIn and social media.

Oh, and one more thing. If you want to take the Linking In to Pay it Forward Challenge and are stuck on who to ask, contact me and I’ll help you get started!

A side note – in the last few years I have developed a reputation for answering the emails and the connection requests I received without fail. My only caveat has always been if you’re selling me something, you’re a spammer or you can’t find the time to personalize your requests, then I will either ask you to introduce yourself in a more personal way, or I’ll pass and not connect.

I mention this only to assure you that if you do contact me with a story, I will read it and most likely let my readers know about it. I also will help you out should you need it.

My heartfelt hope is that my story has somehow touched you in a way that will inspire you to help someone else.

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One Response to “Chapter 6 Excerpt: Paying it Forward – How Can I Be of Service to You?”

  1. I like the way you think kind sir. I guess I never really thought about it, but I pay it forward almost every day. I am continually reaching to to nonprofit organizations in my area an offering them the opportunity to participate in my blog. My motive is that by helping the nonprofit organizations, I am also helping the people they serve.

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