The movie ‘Pay It Forward’ left a very memorable impression on me. Having premiered in 2000, it was the story of a young boy, Trevor, (played by Haley Joel Osment) who was given an assignment to think of something he could do to change the world and then to put it into action. Trevor conjures the notion of paying a favor not back, but forward–repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people.
Frequently I will ask frontline associates, who I consider very special at what they do, why they do it. In other words, what makes them treat customers so well? What makes them able to portray such a welcoming and warm feeling to every customer (person) that they meet? Jefferson, who works at Starbucks on 14th street in Manhattan, gave me this reason; he likes to treat people like he has known them forever, even when he meets them for the first time. He said that it makes the customer feel more comfortable and makes him feel more comfortable as well. He also said that he believes in the concept of paying it forward. If he makes a customer who might be having a bad day feel better, they in turn might make another person in their life, perhaps someone they have just met for the first time, feel good too, which makes him happier as well!
Chip Conley, who is founder and president of Joie de Vivre, spoke at the 2010 TED conference about the concept of “Gross National Happiness”; how a country’s worth should be evaluated not on their GNP, but by how happy their people are. It’s the Jefferson’s of the world who live the concept of ‘pay it forward’ every day. He feels that his job is more than just serving coffee; it’s to put a smile on everyone who he comes in contact with. And he hopes that they, in turn, put a smile on another person down the road. If we all practiced ‘pay it forward’, the world truly would be a better place.
What can YOU do to ‘pay it forward’ today?
Image courtesy of: http://www.amazon.com/Pay-It-Forward-Kevin-Spacey/dp/B00005B4BI