Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pay It Forward

Remember that 2000 movie starring Haley Joel Osment? In the flick, based on the novel by author Catherine Ryan Hyde, an 8th grader named Trevor is challenged by his social studies teacher to do something that will change the world. As a result, Trevor decides to do one very good deed for three different people, telling them that rather than paying him back, they are to "pay it forward" to three others. The results are, in fact, life-changing.

I have been thinking about this term a lot lately, especially as I try to start up my own writing business. I have been incredibly blessed by so many sources of support: from good friends helping me get my website up and going, to computer troubleshooting advice from my awesome IT brother, to the volunteers at SCORE with their savvy business advice, to the countless colleagues and acquaintances who have helped me network and just given me good solid encouragement. I can certainly never pay them all back, but I have made myself a promise to pay it forward. Whether it's a down and out friend who needs a good resume, some PR direction for a non-profit group, or my own words of advice and encouragement for someone else trying to make it on her own - I plan to pass my good fortunes along.

But paying it forward extends to more than just the business world. Many, many people are struggling these days, not only with work, but with relationships, kids, school, personal crises, or just... life. I know I've been helped immeasurably in all of those areas, especially by my family and friends. My parents have been a constant source of unconditional love and support in more ways than I can even list here. I can never pay them back - all I can do is pass that along to my kids... my friends... my colleages... and let my parents know that their example is helping well beyond just their daughter.

My friends - my true friends - make me stronger every day, and I hope, in turn, I do the same for them. They provide me with shoulders so broad that I am always carried, encouragement so strong I feel I can conquer the world and laughs so hearty I think my stomach will burst. My wish is that I not only pay that back to them, but pay it forward to others as well.

So as you begin your week with your life and all that is good and bad about it, think about how YOU can channel the good fortune that others have bestowed on you... and pay it forward. Just like in the movie, the results CAN be life-changing.

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