By Michael Quinn
Have you ever been in the drive-through of your favorite coffee shop, and when you get to the window you find out the customer in front of you paid for your purchase? Do you continue to pay it forward to the vehicle behind yours? Or better yet, are you ever the person to start this in a line of customers?
‘Tis the season for good deeds and I encourage you to do so because I believe “paying it forward” will lead to to more connections and even potential clients.
Step 1: Volunteer Your Time
It may not be something you normally do, so step out of your comfort zone! This time of year, there are many opportunities to give your time, whether it is a church event, soup kitchen or non-profit fundraiser. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities and make sure to say “yes!” I believe in saying yes to just about everything. Stretch yourself a little thin; it will be worth it. Not only does it get you in front of tons of new people, in a typically relaxed environment, but people remember when they see others doing good things. Secondly, what type of people will you be rubbing elbows with when you volunteer? Generally “good” people! The type of upstanding individuals I assume you want in your network.
Step 2: Do Something Kind For A Stranger (Or Someone You Don’t Know Well)
Paying it forward works when you do something nice for someone for no reason. My favorite thing is giving my time to help someone with my own professional skills. For example, recently I agreed to help a local non-profit with some of their marketing materials. I am able to give of my marketing skills to help a group I was never aware of prior to being asked. I am confident if you do this, your actions will come back tenfold. What types of things can you offer of yourself?
Step 3: Money Does Not Equal Action
Donating money isn’t the same as donating your time. While writing a check may be easier, I’d argue that for this to work, you need action. Writing a check doesn’t get you in front of people the way steps 1 and 2 do.
Step 4: Do It For The Right Reasons
People can spot insincerity, so if you aren’t following these steps with humility and compassion, maybe it isn’t the right avenue for you. It’s the holiday season, a time to give of yourself. We all have things to for which to be thankful. Why not pay it forward? You might just enjoy it and Santa may reward you for it too! Happy holidays!
Michael Quinn is a co-lead for the YPN Marketing Team. He is a marketing consultant for Investment Centers of America and a self-proclaimed media enthusiast and wannabe entrepreneur. @Michael_L_Quinn