Pay It Forward


Today was a great reminder of why we should take time to be a servant.

Several times as a young man I recall trying to find my way as a long-shot-professional athlete, a graduate student, a newbie in my professional career… and the list goes on. Anyways, I felt completely lost and didn’t know whom to turn to for answers. So, I did what many of us do every day… I made mistakes. I failed. I entered situations underprepared.

But I also learned from those failures, embarrassments, and missed opportunities and used that knowledge to not only better myself; but when the right opportunity presented itself to help others: I recognized that I could make a difference. Earlier today I received a random email from a college senior whom I have been mentoring throughout his senior year. He played small college football and was an All-American linebacker at a pretty decent Division III school. The compelling element of our relationship is that I have still not even met him face to face. We communicate long distance and 100% digitally. Which maybe 15 years ago would be ridiculous, but today, it reminded me that sometimes we don’t even have to stand up to help someone.

I was paired with his father at a charity golf outing last spring and like every proud father, he bragged about his son. I took an instant liking to Adam’s father; and especially liked the fact that I was consistently longer off the tee than him. After a few cold ones and eigtheen holes, we were friends. He asked if he could pass my card along to his son and of course I encouraged him to do so. “I’d be happy to talk to Adam, I told him. “Who knows,” I told him, maybe I can help him prepare for the real world if football doesn’t work out.” – “I have plenty of experience in football not working out, and I’d be happy to talk to him.”

Six months later I received this email…

Hey Mark,

I’m just emailing you to catch you up on how things have been since we talked. Our season ended up 10-2 we made it to the second round of the playoffs. I went on to play in the Metrodome for the All-American bowl and that was a blast! Right before New Year’s I ran into a guy while shopping with my mom; I gave him the elevator speech (which you told me to prepare) and he took down my information. Long story short, today’s my first day at TransAmerica Personal Financial Advisors, I’ll be helping people spend and invest their money and I think I’m really gonna like this job. I just wanted to thank you for the time you spent with me giving advice. I hope all is well and that you’re having a great new year.

Pay it forward friends. It’s worth it.

One thought on “Pay It Forward

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