Success Tweet 127: Pay It Forward

My new career success coach book Success Tweets: 140 Bits of Common Sense Career Success Advice, All in 140 Characters or Less is turning out to be quite a hit.  Over 1,000 people have downloaded the free eBook version and several people have purchased multiple copies of the hard copy book.  I think it’s a great addition to my career advice writings.  Go to to get a .pdf of Success Tweets for free. 

If you want to purchase a hard copy for yourself – or two or three to give to friends, associates, people you mentor, people you manage, your kids, your grandkids – go to or send me an email at  I’ll send you quantity pricing information. 

Today’s career advice comes from Tweet 127…

Pay it forward.  Build relationships by giving with no expectation of return.  Give of yourself to build strong relationships.

This tweet reminds me of an inspirational movie I sent to my subscribers a while back.  It’s called the 100 – 0 principle.  The principle is simple.  The best way to build solid relationships is to take 100% responsibility for them.  You can see this movie by logging on to   Check it out.  It is a great movie that you’ll want to share with your family, friends and coworkers.  You have not only my permission, but my encouragement, to do so.

In 2009 I participated in a writing project with my colleagues at the Creating WE Institute.  We published a little 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.  I’d like to share the career advice in this essay – with a few minor edits — with you here.

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.  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, or building strong relationships.  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.  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.

Giving without expectation of return not only helps you create a WE-centric culture, 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.

I’m still in Washington DC.  I found a great example of the karma associated with the career advice about paying it forward on the flight from Denver.  Cathy and I had preassigned seats across the aisle from one another.  When we boarded the plane, their was a woman sitting in Cathy’s seat.  Two small children were sitting the middle and window seats.  The were her children.  

The woman explained that she was assigned a middle seat about five rows back.  She asked if Cathy would be willing to switch seats with her.  It was a full flight.  Both Cathy and Iwanted aisle seats.  I volunteered to take the middle seat.  We couldn’t let those two children fly four hours without their mother.

Two things happened.  First, a second woman who was sitting on the aisle next to the middle seat I was taking volunteered to move to the aisle seat I was assigned so Cathy and I could sit together.  Second, as it was a mid day flight, we chose to purchase sandwiches for lunch.  The flight attendant had noticed that we switched seats with the woman with the children and gave us our sandwiches for free.

See what I mean?  We payed it forward by helping out a woman with two small children.  Our kindness was repayed twice within a couple of hours.  And, the middle seat wasn’t all that bad.  I must admit though, that I hope this doesn’t happen on the trip home tomorrow.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  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 – give 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 can result in lost relationship opportunities.  Do yourself a favor, follow this career advice when it comes to relationship building – pay it forward.

That’s my take on the career advice in Success Tweet 127 and the 100/0 movie.  Check out the movie on relationships by going to  Let me know what you think in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading.


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