Paying It Forward: Sharing of Yourself

Published On: October 7, 2013By Categories: Blog

By Lana Straub

A friend recently called me to let me know that a friend of theirs who I had never met was stranded because their car broke down near my house. She asked if I could go help her out.  Without hesitation, I jumped in my car and went to her aid, even though the girl was a total stranger.  Why? Because I believe in the concept of paying it forward.  Let me explain.

I have had many mentors in my life who lent a helping hand in a time of need.  Sometimes it didn’t seem anything big at the time but might have turned out to be a life-changing moment after the dust settled. I am not a traditionally trained writer. Quite the opposite actually. When I first began to write for the Water Well Journal in 2003, I queried then Editor Jill Ross with nothing more than an idea.  Jill being an open-minded editor asked me to put together a few articles based on my idea.  She then took it upon herself to mentor me through several rewrites until I produced a product that was worthy of publication by the National Ground Water Association.

My initial idea and Jill’s mentoring grew into a regular column for me and more than a 10-year writing relationship with the Water Well Journal. Jill passed her mentoring torch onto Thad Plumley, and he and I have enjoyed a similar relationship.  Under Thad’s direction, I even won an award.  All of this because someone reached out a hand and shared of themselves and their talents. Taking knowledge that they acquired somewhere else and paying it forward to me.

Luckily, you don’t have to be a writer to pay it forward. You can do it in any profession.  Even the groundwater profession. There are several opportunities on the state and national level to share your talents with your peers. Have you ever thought of sharing your professional experience with others? Have you done any speaking engagements or led any classes?  Have you ever thought about taking your expertise into the classroom of the primary and secondary schools and sharing your knowledge with the math and science teachers at your local elementary or junior high?

Unfortunately, recent studies are showing a decrease in entry into the trade professions.  Some people see these professions as lacking value and therefore not worthy of a lifelong career. Are you proud of what you do for a living? Do you feel that you provide a valuable service to your customers and your community? What are you doing about it?

Opportunities abound to share of yourself and your business. Your local state groundwater association and the National Ground Water Association have materials to help you reach out to others and share a little of yourself and your lifelong experience.  When was the last time your shared what you knew and paid it forward?

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