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Paying it Forward

Leadership is never about being placed on a pedestal. Leadership is about elevating others. If you are not paving the way for someone else, if your aren’t creating opportunities for others, and if you hoarder your skills and abilities to restrict the benefit of others you are not a leader. Leaders lead. Many of us successfully lead our teams to the best of our abilities but I want to to encourage you to think out of the box and find ways to lead and pay it forward that don’t directly benefit your own team or organization.

Servitude should be in the heart of every leader. There is no right or wrong way to serve. I can’t state a 10 step guide on how to pay it forward because it should honestly come from the cheerfulness of your own heart. Do what works for you! What I can tell you is to expect these three things when you pay it forward:

  1. Your blood pressure and anxiety levels can lower. According to The Huffington Post, “Acts of kindness create an emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure”. Doing good literally makes you feel good! In a society where work, goals, work-life balance, and personal needs cause constant stress and burnout, as leaders we should accept any relief and help to our physical and mental health that is available.

  2. You will build a strong repertoire and trust. Any person or organization that you pour into whether it be with monetary gifts or with your time, will remember your act. Your gift or opportunity will remain with them even in your absence. Your reputation with them will be established as a talented leader and a giver. When they or someone they know needs the services your provide they will think of you first because they remember and trust you. These potential referrals and introductions are important to your career! People you would have never met under different circumstances, through giving can now become pivotal players in your life.

  3. Your ego will erase. A big ego is unhealthy and detrimental to any leader. An obnoxious ego or even the beginning stages of a growing ego will be eliminated every time you give or service someone else. Your act of kindness and servitude will remind you of times you were in need and keep you humble. It will also keep you tangible and connected to people who don’t view things just like you or who may not be as successful as you. This connection to various cultures, career levels, and success paths will remind you that the world is bigger than you!

Again, I can’t tell you when and how to pay it forward but I can leave you with the number one method that helps me find direction and meaning when I am seeking the best places and opportunities to share my resources. ADVOCACY! One cause that I am obviously the most passionate about is education and creating equity for both students and teachers so that they thrive regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. I will serve and advocate for establishing equity every chance I get. What are you passionate about? Think of the occurrences you hate to see, the missions that matter to you the most and the places and groups where you see a void. Then, be the creator that you are and be the change you want to see. Whatever cause you are passionate about could improve and thrive with the right resources so be the resource! Pay it forward with your time, money, support, mentorship, referrals, advocacy, or whatever works for you!

Lastly, paying it forward is not about recognition but it is important to know that those closest to you are watching. Your team, your family, your community, they are all watching to see what you do with your success and talent. This matters, not because you need their praise but because you need their attention so that they can be inspired. As a leader isn’t the goal to raise future leaders? Yes! Inspire change, empathy, giving, servitude, and humility. All of these are traits of any impactful leader. Paying it forward is good for personal development, good for business, and good for impressionable future leaders who are taking note.

If this inspires you and you want more thoughtful commentary and discussions on leadership, success, professionalism, and more subscribe to my YouTube Channel:

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As a speaker and author, my focus is to train emerging and seasoned leaders to align strategy with equity, change and communication.

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