Paying it forward doesn't have to leave you out of pocket and, in fact, can bring you a wealth of satisfaction.
Here are 5 free ways to pay it forward.
1. Leave a Read. For those of us who still love the feeling of flipping pages (and therefore own old school books), pay forward your good reads. We love to pass our faves on to our friends but sometimes we like to make a random act of kindness out of them by leaving them for strangers. If you want to see how far your random act goes, use the Bookcrossing system to label and track them. And, if you find a Bookcrossing offering, be sure to keep it moving after you've finished with it. Read it forward.
2. Finders Givers. Forget the old childhood chant of 'finders keepers.' Instead be a 'finders giver' – it's the ultimate way to pay your good fortune forward. This works perfectly with any change you might find on the ground, but it also works with some of that unexpected stuff we get like free samples or those bonuses that come attached to the products we buy. Find it and give it forward.
3. Sticky Note Hugs. This one is inspired by Airdrie teen, Caitlin Prater-Haacke who countered some school bullying by posting sticky notes with affirmative messages all over the school. It caught on and even Airdrie City Hall found its offices decked out in sticky-note hugs. We love it. Leaving little notes is a great way to pay forward positive feelings and it doesn't need to be limited to sticky-notes – virtual hugs can be delivered by social media, emails and texts. BTW – you're appreciated!
4. Make Connections. If you have a great yoga instructor who needs more students – spread the word. If you have some business connections that could help someone get to the next level – make the introduction. Or, if you have a friend who might get along with another friend – invite them both out to get to know each other. Don't keep the people you know locked in your contacts list – pay them forward with a few friendly introductions.
5. Simply Smile. It's so simple and yet we seldom do it. When someone smiles at you, smile back. Smile at people for no reason. Smile at someone who is doing something for you (you'd be surprised how few smiles bank tellers and waitresses get). Or, simply smile to yourself – just keep those smiles a coming. Not only will you get more smiles back, the people you smile at will smile at more people and so on and so on.
What a happy, smiley place it would be.