People sometimes ask why I write this career advice blog – and why I write so much. I write five posts a week, 50 weeks a year. I take off the last two weeks of each year. My posts average about 1,000 words – some as little as 700, some as much as 1,400. So if you figure it out — five posts a week, times 50 weeks times 1,000 words comes up to approximately 250,000 words a year – and that’s just this blog. I also tweet and write guest posts, articles and books; all of them are about life and career success.
So why do I write a quarter million words a year about career success on this blog? I do it to pay it forward. I am committed to helping as many people as I can create the life and career success they want and deserve. My blogging helps establish me as an expert on life and career success – which in turn helps my coaching, speaking and book sales. But primarily I blog to help other people create their career success.
Every once in a while I get a bonus. Last week this email from Terry Nippard popped up in my in box…
I thought this morning I would write, after a couple of years receiving your emails, to express my appreciation for your endeavors. Your daily Success Quotes and your Tweets have played a significant role in assisting me in getting through possibly the most difficult two years of my life. Since finding you, I’ve come to look forward to your work as a source of wise, common sensical approach to living successfully no matter what the aim, purpose or goal.
I remain in contact with a great many internet success “gurus” of which, if I may be so bold and presumptuous as to rank you a guru, you out shine all.
Once again, thank you for your work and seemingly boundless enthusiasm and commitment. You are a wonderful role model.
Emails like Terry’s are another reason, I write this career advice blog. As Mark Twain said, “I can go for a whole month on one good compliment.” Terry’s email was better than a good compliment. It was a heartfelt expression of thanks for doing what I do. I wrote back to Terry offering signed copies of a couple of my books for the kindness showed in that email.
I share this story because it illustrates the power of paying it forward when it comes to building relationships. Strong, mutually beneficial relationships are an important key to creating the life and career success you want and deserve. Tweet 127 in my career advice book Success Tweets says, “Pay it forward. Build relationships by giving with no expectation of return. Give of yourself to build strong relationships.”
In 2009 I participated in a writing project with my colleagues at the Creating WE Institute. We published a little career advice book called, 42 Rules for Creating WE. The rules were short essays that contained a lot of great career advice. I contributed three rules. One was called, “There is No Quid Pro Quo in WE.” This rule goes directly to the idea of paying it forward described in Tweet 127. Here is that essay — with a few minor edits…
WE is built on relationships; the idea that we are all connected, and that through a WE-centric, rather than a traditional I-centric approach, our collective wisdom grows and evolves. This kind of thinking creates stronger organizations and societies. It fosters mutual shared respect for the unique contribution every person is capable of making. Solid, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships are at the core of WE and life and career success. Giving with no expectation of return is a great way to create these types of relationships.
This is a quid pro quo world: you do for me and I’ll do for you. While there is nothing wrong in reciprocating a good deed or a favor, there is a fundamental problem with quid pro quo. It is reactive not proactive.
Too many people wait for others to go first. They adopt the attitude, “When and if you do for me, I’ll do for you.” This scarcity mentality is not conducive to creating WE, building strong relationships or creating your career success. When you come from a scarcity mentality, you focus on holding on to what you already have. This can prevent you from receiving what you might possibly get.
On the other hand, giving with no expectation of return comes from a proactive abundance mentality. When you give with no expectation of return, you are acknowledging the abundance of the universe. You are demonstrating faith that the good you do will benefit others close to you and the world at large – and that good things will come back to you.
Giving with no expectation of return is ironic. I have found that the more I give, the more I receive; often from unlikely sources. Terry’s email is a great example of receiving something wonderful from an unexpected source. But that’s not my reason for giving – and I hope it is not yours. The best reason for giving is the basic joy of making a difference in other people’s lives and in creating a WE-centric world.
I love the Liberty Mutual Insurance “responsibility” ads. They are a very visual demonstration of the ideas behind creating WE – especially giving with no expectation of return. You’ve probably seen them.
They begin with someone going a little out of his or her way to do something that benefits others; picking up a piece of trash, opening a door for another person who’s hands are full. Another person observes this and goes out of his or her way for someone else. The cycle repeats several times during the ad. The message is clear. We are all better off when we help each other.
Deborah Brennan works for one of my corporate clients. She is an Environment Health and Safety professional. The other day, she shared a video with me that she produced for employees at her location that was derivative of the Liberty Mutual ads. It showed people acting safely – others watched and not only mimicked their behavior, they found other ways to incorporate safety into their daily work routine.
We all set an example for the people around us. It can be a positive, proactive, pay it forward example, or a negative, reactive, quid pro quo example. If you want to create the life and career success you deserve make sure you set a positive, proactive, pay it forward example.
Giving without expectation of return not only helps you create your career sucess and WE-centric cultures, it helps you build strong partnerships. Larry Agresto is a WE-centric guy. He says, “Truly successful people never compete, they network and leverage their relationships by providing value and giving more than they receive.”
In the end, giving with no expectation of return comes down to your mentality – scarcity or abundance. If you come from a scarcity mentality, you will live by quid pro quo, and perpetuate the I-centric status quo. If you come from an abundance mentality, you will give with no expectation of return and begin to create a WE-centric world and create the kind of strong, mutually beneficial relationships that will help you create the life and career success you want and deserve.
I choose abundance and paying it forward. I agree with Winston Churchill, who once said, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” When you give with no expectation of return you will get a good life. You’ll also get a better world; one in which we all look out for one another, and one in which your chances of creating the life and career success you deserve are great.
The career success coach point here is simple common sense. Successful people are adept at building strong relationships. They understand and use the career advice in Tweet 127 in Success Tweets. “Pay it forward. Build relationships by giving with no expectation of return. Give of yourself to build strong relationships.” Paying it forward is the opposite of quid pro quo. When you go first – giving of yourself to help someone else, with no expectations of return – you are laying the foundation for a successful relationship. When you wait to reciprocate a good deed by another person, you are engaging in quid pro quo behavior that usually results in lost relationship opportunities. Do yourself a favor, follow this career advice when it comes to relationship building – pay it forward.
That’s my career advice on building relationships – and your career success – by paying it forward. What do you think? Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment. As always, thanks for reading my daily thoughts on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you.
PS: If you haven’t already done so, please download a free copy of my popular career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained. One is 140 bits of career advice, all in 140 characters or less. The other is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail. Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy. You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.
PPS: I opened a membership site on September 1. It’s called My Corporate Climb and is devoted to helping people create career success inside large corporations. To celebrate the grand opening, I’m giving away a new career advice book I’ve written called I Want YOU…To Succeed in Your Corporate Climb. You can find out about the membership site and get the career advice in I Want YOU… for free by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.