How Much Did They First Pay You To Give Up On Your Dreams? - We Will Pay You To Follow Them!
WHO KNEW GIVING AWAY MONEY WOULD BE SO TOUGH
Now that I have shifted my focus from promoting to actually paying it forward, the first lesson I am learning when it comes to charity is that (to do it right) it is a business unto itself. I will be honest - I had no idea that it would be this difficult giving away money. For the past few weeks or so I have been posting on our social media and elsewhere that we are giving away money. So far the only responses has been from either friends, colleagues or family members making a mockery of it all, or followers on social media who’s motivations are questionable at best.
You’re giving away money, well I can use some!
This is not the response I was hoping for. Sure I can stand on the corner waving $20 bills and it would be gone in a New York minute (well actually I’m not so sure anymore). I guess I knew it would be difficult in a cerebral sense. I've heard about individuals of great wealth (Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, etc) who are trying their best to effectively give away their fortunes in their lifetimes. As Andrew Carnegie said...
The man who dies rich, dies disgraced.
Going in, I knew I would make plenty of mistakes on my charitable journey. I am counting on the fact that I’ll stumble and fail, get up again, fail some more, and hopefully come through this experience with a perspective that can only be gained without a blueprint or the aid of proper counsel. Now here I am staring into the next roadblock. How do I give away money?
Initially without giving it much thought I imagined I would somehow find folks in the community who needed to have their bills paid and give them cash. Then I thought how do I know if they will do what they say they would do with the money? And god forbid, what if they use this money in a way that isn’t in the proper spirit of paying it forward?
So then I thought, OK maybe I’ll wait outside a utility office and when people come to pay their overdue bills, I’ll just offer to pay their bills for them. But then I thought that is more like a single act of charity that evaporates into the ether. Also I am a bit embarrassed to admit that this didn’t have the kind of bang I needed to motivate me forward.
Then I remembered an old proverb and a resonating quote that gave me the strategy I needed to move forward. First the proverb...
...give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
It occurred to me that one way to maximize the benefits is to pay these dollars forward in a way that is more likely to help the community.
Then the quote…
The fish is having a day on our blog).
This last quote is relatable because for my entire academic life I was a straight C student. begrudgingly doing what I needed to do to get by so I can get to do the things I really wanted to do. Growing up my passions were in sports and art (I know a strange combination). My parents (immigrants from Trinidad and Tobago) wouldn’t think to encourage (much less invest) in any interests of mine that didn’t have a secure career at its end. As a result it never occurred to me to consider art or film school as an option.
As far as sports my favorite was American Football. However my religious upbringing (I was raised a strict Seventh Day Adventist) prevented me from doing anything that didn’t uphold his holy name on Friday nights or Saturday (Our religious day). This excluded varsity football because those games were mostly played on Saturday or Friday nights. I was a star on the JV team (Those games were played on Sunday’s) and was one of a few selected to travel with the varsity as a freshman (I had to turn down that honor as well). Instead while my fellow students were finding glory on the football field, I spent thousands of Sabbaths after service looking out of my parents window, watching people walk by my sidewalk as my entertainment (this actually explains a lot about my life).
When I finally left the church in my 20’s it was too late to properly start the football career I always dreamed of, and the best I could ever do was to play minor league football and attend a few pro tryouts.
The Einstein quote above resonates because it wasn’t until my late twenties and early thirties when I was able to tap into my passions as an artist, where I started to live. Taking stock in my passion as a videographer allowed me to travel the world, meet amazing people and have amazing experiences.
This has led me here today, struggling but happier than I imagine I would have ever been had I not followed my dreams. I tapped into my own genius and I want to help other people (who may also feel like they are living less than fulfilling lives) tap into theirs.
EVERYBODY IS A GENIUS
This has led to this latest iteration of Pay It Forward Friday. The idea is that we will pay unemployed and underemployed individuals in our community $15 an hour to do what they love to do most. Maybe your industry has been disrupted by a silicon valley unicorn and you were let go after 20 years of loyal servitude. But you’ve always had a passion for working on cars, just never found the time to do it. We will pay you $15 an hour to explore that passion in any capacity you see fit. Maybe it’s just going to auto shows and streaming videos about your knowledge of vintage engines. Maybe someone’s brakes needs fixing and they can’t afford the repairs, maybe a neighbor has to choose between getting an oil change or buying new shoes for their kid. All we ask you is that someday, anyday, when the moment arises, that you help someone in your community who is struggling like you were when we helped you. Whatever it is, hopefully you can apply your passions to helping them get through their day. The video embed below recaps this idea.
If you want us to pay you to follow your dreams sign up here. And follow our social media for the stories of folks who we pay it forward to.
I will leave you with this quote and video clip from one of my favorite films Up In The Air - This is from the scene where the George Clooney character (Ryan) was brought in to fire the J.K. Simmons character (Bob) -
Ryan: “You know why kids love athletes?”
Bob: “I don’t’ know because they screw lingerie models.”
Ryan: “No, that’s why WE love athletes. Kids love athletes because they follow their dreams. How much did they first pay you to give up on your dreams?”
Today is also Pay It Forward Friday. The truth is I'm still afraid of having a big day today like the day we had last week. But I also fear that I won’t grow until I lose this fear completely. This week I compromised with my crew about giving away a full day of revenue all at once and putting our business more at risk. That compromise took the form of making the PIFF payouts over time instead of all at once. This more measured approach was a compromise largely influenced by the strategy mentioned above. Honestly I am a bit relieved that we aren’t out of business today, but at the same time it feels like I didn't take the full leap of faith. The idea was that I would giveaway all the revenue at once even if it meant the business grinds to a halt. And that is the type of faith that would open doors even if they were not visible at first. This opening of doors has actually been my experience up to this point. The excerpt below best describes my feeling right now.
Jesus comes walking to them on the water and the disciples become scared thinking Jesus is a ghost… Jesus invites Peter to come walk on the water with him. Peter climbs out of the boat and begins to walk on the water to Jesus. As soon as Peter gets scared of the wind and waves and takes his eyes off Jesus he begins to sink.