Why I struggled with this week's challenge to Pay it Forward.

I am not quite sure why “paying it forward” seemed like a difficult  #bebetter52 challenge for me to complete this week. I have two working hypotheses. One I am ashamed to admit, and the other one I hope is true.

My first hypothesis about why I had a problem carving out time to pay it forward with random acts of kindness is difficult for me to accept. Being a mom, wife and business owner, I find it difficult to make time to go out of my way to serve others. This hypothesis would make me really sad if it were true, so I am praying my second hypothesis is the actual reality.

My second hypothesis is that paying it forward is something I already do in almost every action during my day. This reality would sit a lot better. Most likely the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  Throughout the week when I was looking for opportunities to serve others, I would be attending to Cooper-- preparing her lunch or reading her books before naps. As a mother, almost everything I do is a selfless act of service.  I was also trying to come up with ways to serve during coaching or when I was working on Be Better. I soon realized the reason I love my work is because its mission is centered on improving the lives around me.

One area I worked to improve during the week was giving out more compliments. It became my “pay it forward” focus. When I admire someone or feel thankful for an individual, I often think up a compliment in my head but sometimes forget to vocalize it. This week I went out of my way to express those complimentary thoughts. Recently, I have realized the power of compliments and am surprised at how infrequently they are given.

Do you recall the story of the New York woman fatally attacked outside an apartment building while 37 people heard her screams but did nothing? Later, when the residents were interviewed by the police, everyone in the building admitted to hearing her cries for help but assumed someone else would call the police. Sometimes I feel compliments are the same. People assume others are thanking the individual and, as a result, few compliments or kudos ever get to the individual.

This week I also spent time noticing random strangers paying it forward. It is easy to be distracted by the negativity of national and world news, but I took time to notice little acts of kindness in my community. For example: while I was running in Old Town Orange pushing Coops in the stroller with my dog’s leash around my waist, we stopped at a bowl of water and bucket of dog treats one of the shop owners had left out for passing dogs. This random act of kindness made a dog and its owner happy.