Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pay It Forward

In the fall, I began to take part in something called a Goal Achievement Circle.     It's a group of like minded individuals who get together once a month to share goals, share what they have achieved, talk about challenges during the month, and share ideas to keep you on track towards achieving the goals you desire.    

During the month of November, we were encouraged to keep a gratitude list of what we were grateful for.     We were also encouraged to do random acts of kindness during the holiday season and for me personally, this was something that I couldn't wait to do.    Personally, I did things such as paying for a cup of coffee to the next person in line, paying a toll for the person behind me, letting someone go before me in the grocery line, and just offering a smile to perfect strangers.    When I did these random acts of kindness, I also made sure to keep it a secret if I possibly could.     I made sure that the cashier didn't let the person behind me know that it was me paying for the coffee.    To be truthful, paying for the coffee was minimal; watching people smile and share their excitement over a free cup of coffee was worth it's weight in gold.  

In December, I had the blessing of witnessing the true reason for the season.     At a Business After Hours with the Greater Barrington Chamber of Commerce, we had a Chamber Raffle with the prize being $500.00 worth of oil or $250.00 in cash.     A Chamber member won and immediately wanted the prize to go to a local family who was in need.     It turns out that a Chamber member's son who has a young family was recently in a car accident.    The accident would involve several surgeries, months of rehab, leave him unable to work, and because of this,  the family had some financial stress.    The oil was donated to this family and it really touched my heart.     This man didn't know this family, didn't think twice about it, he just did it.     It was something that both professionally and personally, I would love to be able to do without a blink of an eyelash.  

As a business owner who frequently receives referrals from many business owners, it is in my nature to try to give back if I possibly can to the ones who continually give.    As much as I would love to do this, the reality is that it's just about impossible.     Personally, several home and car insurance agents in the area continually give me referrals for health insurance and I pass their names along to people who are looking for the types of insurance they offer.     The hard part is that it isn't unusual for me to receive one or two referrals a month from five different agents.    It would be quite impossible for me to refer all of them.     I can thank them and do so, but never feel that it is enough.   I've also thought about telling them all the good that came from their referral, however, I have to follow privacy laws.  

With this said, I wanted to try to do something both professionally and personally that would allow me to do random acts of kindness or "paying it forward" while being mindful of the reality of my business.    Then I saw this on a Facebook status:  Pay It Forward in 2013 - The first five people to comment on this post will receive something from me sometime this year (a card, a baked good, something that makes me think of you).   There won't be a warning and it will happen whenever the mood strikes me.    What is the catch?     You must make the same offer in your Facebook status.   Let's keep paying it forward and spread the happy."  

I loved the idea and will be posting this on both my personal page and business page (Balanced Care Health and Supplemental Insurance) this week.      My goal is to obviously pay it forward and do random acts of kindness on a regular basis, however, it's also to share with you all the good things that people do on a regular basis.      It's also my hope to share more business pages, more testimonials for businesses, and just continual good news about all the good that both people and businesses do in their community.     

For myself, it gets very depressing to continually see bad news.    As someone that works with people each day, I believe that most of us need to read good news more often.     I also believe that as a business owner, it gives me great encouragement if someone has taken the time to go out of their way to write a testimonial or share a referral.    

I hope that you will join me in my effort of "paying it forward" in 2013 and look forward to reading and sharing all the good news that comes as a result of reading one small post on Facebook.    Let's Pay it forward together and share our business, our good news, and all those random acts of kindness.