Pay It Forward for Success

Interpersonal competence is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become interpersonally competent, you need to do three things.  1) Get to know yourself, so you can better understand others.  2) Build solid, long lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with the people in your life.  3) Learn how to resolve conflict positively, so that it enhances, rather than detracts from your relationships.

My best advice for relationship building is to “give with no expectation of anything in return.”  I know that it seems that the world works on quid pro quo.  People expect it.  That’s why when you do something nice and unexpected for others and expect nothing in return, you’ll be on your way to building strong relationships with them.

Here’s an example.  In my blog post on Wednesday, I featured an article in Self Improvement Magazine by Tricia Molloy called “CRAVE Your Goals.”  I featured it because I thought Tricia presented an interesting and unique way of looking at goals that would be beneficial to my readers.  I also hoped that I would give Tricia some exposure to an audience she might not normally reach.  I didn’t know Tricia at the time.

The day after the post went up I got this comment from Tricia.

Hi, Bud:
Thanks for sharing my ‘CRAVE Your Goals!’ system with your readers. I enjoyed reading your comments about each step.
Tristan's comment about common sense not equaling common practice is so true. People often think these practices are too easy to work. They assume achieving goals always takes hard work and a bit of suffering. What I suggest is to start with the one CRAVE step that resonates the most–like cleaning out some clutter or using an affirmation–and that will give you the energy and clarity to try another step until all five steps become a habit.
To more common sense!
Namaste, Tricia

Tricia and I are friends now – all because I took a little of my time to feature her article on my blog.  This was a win/win/win/win.  My readers benefited; Tricia benefited, Tristan Loo, the publisher of Self Improvement Magazine benefited and I benefited — all because I took a little step and did something with no expectation of anything in return.  It’s karmic really, it seems that very often you get things back when you least expect to.

This is an example of a basic rule about relationships.  Strong relationships have no quid pro quo.  In strong relationships all parties do things willingly for one another, for the benefit of the individuals involved and for the benefit of the relationship.  It’s similar to the idea behind the hit movie “Pay it Forward.”

The common sense point here is simple.  When you pay it forward in a relationship you are demonstrating that both the relationship, and the other person or persons, are important to you.  You build good will by being the one who is willing to go first.  In my coaching, speaking and consulting business I have found that paying it forward has helped me build solid, long term relationships with clients.  Interpersonally competent people build relationships by doing for others.  They don’t keep score.  They know that in the long run, good things will come back to them if they do good things for others.  Try this, it will work for you too.

That’s my take on interpersonal competence and paying it forward.  What’s yours?  Do you have any stories about paying it forward – whey you did, or when others did to you?  If so, please leave a comment sharing your thoughts.  As always, thanks for reading.


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  1. dear Bud
    Your articles about the way people susseed in life are very wise. I read your last one on “pay it forward for success” and an a bit confused. I understand what you mean by saying that we should do good things for others witrh no expectations of anything in return. That’s what I’ve been doing for years, as by nature I’m very generous person, that’s what others say about me. However, I have few extremely negative experiences with some people who hurt me so much even though I had done so much for them. Unfortunately, these few people started expecting more and more from me, and the minute I was not able to give any more, they turned against me and did a lot of damage to me. I don;t know where I made a mistake with these people. It seems I did for them nothing different than I did for many others who have been nice and appreiciative. But the few, I’m talking a bout are the source of great disappointment and sometimes put me in a doubt whether giving is the right thing to do with everyine.
    Kind Regards

  2. Nada:
    Thank you for your kind words on my blog posts. I work on them in the hopes of being helpful to many people.
    I understand your frustration with feeling as if people take advantage of you and your willingness to pay it forward. I have had similar experiences.
    However, I keep on paying it forward for two reasons: 1) I feel better about myself. 2) I find that things come back to me from unexpected sources, so even when I am disappointed in some people, I am pleasantly surprised by others.
    Hope this is helpful. Thanks again for your comment.

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