How Do You Pay It Forward?
By Rachel Calderon
There’s a quote above my desk from Robert Brault that reads, “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”
Many times, it’s the little things that leave the deepest impression on us. A kind smile from a stranger, a simple “thank you,” a phone call just to say hi, holding the door open for a mom ushering in small children, the list goes on. We have all been the recipient of these small but thoughtful acts of kindness. They encourage us to slow down and ask ourselves, “What can I do for someone else?
Then there are the bigger things – like when you might have found yourself in a time of need and help was there. Maybe you’ve experienced an illness, the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, divorce, depression, challenges with raising a child, moving to a new city among other monumental things, and the only way you made it through was with the help of your family, a friend, a mentor, a nonprofit, or even an entire community. In these times, we feel so grateful for the help we received.
If you have ever found yourself in any one of these situations, big or small, good or bad, you might ask yourself, “How could I be helpful to someone else? How could I pay it forward?” Consider starting out with the small and simple gestures of kindness, like holding a door open or letting someone else get the prime parking spot. Make plans to volunteer your time, contribute money, or as you work on your estate plans, even consider ensuring that the services you received will continue to support others. It’s compassion that drives us to pave the way for others and make our community a better place to live. We are responsible for designing the kind of community we want to have around for future generations.
Paying it forward becomes a pattern, a habit, a cycle of caring, kindness and compassion. We could all use a little more of that to brighten our corners of the world. Add it to your to-do list until it becomes more of a habit. Have the conversation with your family and friends. Make an appointment with your advisor to update your estate plans. Wherever you see yourself in this picture, ask, “How can I pay it forward today, tomorrow and always?”