Pay It Forward…for Introverts

November 4, 2012

Sing it with me…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year….it’s the hap-happiest season of all...

Really Traci, Christmas songs already? No my friends, I’m talking about the season of giving and thankfulness and specifically Pay It Forward Month! Yep, it’s one of my personal favorite things we do at SEP!

Here’s the skinny for those of you new to the game…we give each and every person at SEP who wants to participate $50 to go and share some goodness with random (or not so random) folks. We get nothing in return (and yet truly, get so much in return). Awesome, right?

So, why am I pointing out ‘who wants to participate’? Because I want EVERYONE to participate! Now, my extroverted self says this is one of the easiest things to do. Truth: The first time I did this in the bookstore last year I felt like I was approaching the Queen and really had to psych myself up to do it. Oddly enough my kids had no problem (parenting lesson in there?). I had peer pressure from my 10 year old to finish the deal since he had. Now, I can say, it’s easy. But maybe for you it’s excruciatingly uncomfortable to go up to complete strangers and give them something. I get it.

So, my hope is to give you guys some ideas that will make this a little less uncomfortable. See if there’s something on this list you can do. If you have kids, this is a great way to teach them about selfless giving and the joy you can share and feel by little acts of kindness. My boys have been talking about this all year and have been planning what they want to do. If you want to borrow them, let me know! They are great at getting you to step outside your comfort zone!

So here are some good, minimum interaction ideas to share some cheer:

  • Pay for the car behind you in the drive-thru. Super easy, zero interaction.
  • Put some money in one of those fancy new parking meters downtown or in Broad Ripple. Mass quantity of cheer spreading on this one.
  • Buy a gift card (think bookstore, grocery store, etc) and leave it with a cashier to use for the next person thru the line. Warning: the cashier will think you rock!
  • Send flowers to a hospital or nursing home. For extreme introverts…do it online!
  • Stop in a bank and ask the teller to deposit the money into a random person’s savings account. Hit the drive-thru window if that makes it easier!
  • Leave a really good tip when you’re eating out for a great server. Up the awesome factor by writing a ‘Thanks for a great dinner!’ note on your receipt.
  • Put some money or a gift card in an envelope in your mailbox with a thank you note for your mail carrier. They do come in the rain, the snow, the sleet…
  • Drop off cupcakes to a hospital’s children’s ward. You know those kids will be smiling!

Another way to ease into this is to make it a group activity. There’s comfort and power in numbers. Why not grab your FitBit team and take a walk and spread some cheer down the Monon? Still unsure, feel free to swing by my office. I would LOVE to help! (Warning: This kind of stuff make me giddy-happy. You’ve been warned!)

So, let’s do this! Let’s spread some cheer and see what happens. I guarantee you will not go thru this experience unchanged. You will see things differently, you will make an impact on others and you will smile (or cry…I’ve done both!)

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Ghandi