Pay it forward

Knowledge is for sharing or paying it forward.


A couple of days ago Blahssome tagged me on a post by @karenmcgrane on the same heading, where she shares her experiences.

I have been lucky enough, most of my life to have earned enough goodwill to survive during the bad times, that seem to be equal to good times.

Over the years, I have stopped getting surprised by How, where, when, what, why this Goodwill has happened and it comes in useful. Destiny?

When I began my career, and was thrown in the deep end to perform or perish, I had said to myself, that I would not try and retain anybody who was leaving for a better or challenging role; but would always try hard to retain people who were leaving for money.

I have been fairly successful in this, a lot of colleagues, subordinates have become extremely successful as Entrepreneurs, Corporate czars etc and most of them remain in constant touch.

Over the past 15 odd years, I have met youngsters who may wish a different perspective on their Life, Career etc and have myself gone thru phases.

Phase 1 — When I felt very proud, involved, would advise, followup, feel let down if things did not work out or they did not keep me informed and in touch. This involved going out of my way, making time multiple times, so on and forth.

Phase 2 — Soon, I learnt to distance myself from the Life perspective, acting as a sounding board or devil’s advocate on career, business matters, helping them.

During both these phases, there were two kinds of people — genuine who needed advice, help AND then those who needed help, advice and made money from it. Both were fine for me, since I did not have expectations for myself.

Phase 3 — Over the past couple of years, in order to increase my knowledge I have met youngsters from different walks of Life, bought them coffee, learnt what makes them tick, applied some of the knowledge to my Life, career. During this period many ‘Entrepreneurs’ have reached out to me with an expectation of sounding board, opening my rolodex etc etc. I have always managed to make time, maybe not immediately but started realising that many were a waste of time and energy, no focus, just a meeting, no follow thru etc.

In January 2014 I finally changed all this. I still meet people. I still meet entrepreneurs. I still share knowledge but I also have basic rules:

Rule 1 Respect my Time — If it can be solved with email, lets not meet. If we meet, have a basic agenda ready, possibly email it to me also. Remember that I receive dozens of personal emails everyday and cannot reply to everyone within 24 hours. Reach at the time you have committed; Do not keep changing. Disengage when time is over.

Rule 2 Respect my Privacy — If we have corresponded on email, keep doing so, do not ask for my cell number immediately on meeting me. Do NOT, repeat DO NOT every give out my cell nos to anybody without checking with me.

Rule 3 Focus- Please focus on what you have to and need to discuss, feel free to make notes, send me details in advance etc. All this makes it meaningful and adds to takeaway.

Rule 4 Feedback & Sharing — Do I need a weekly, monthly, quarterly update? Nope, but it feels good to hear from a person once in a while, of how good they are doing, what changes have worked etc.

Rule 5 Expectations — Sometimes I will articulate, sometimes not, but the philosophy is two fold — If I reached out to them for somebody else, they would “Pay it forward” or my version of Godfather “Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a favor/service for me. But until that day, consider this a gift.”

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