In the business world as it is today we are used to wheeling and dealing, turning and spurning. Everything has a monetary value; time is important as is making sure you are being valued! Not too cheap not too expensive; always trying to target the right markets, market to the right clients.

In the world as it is today people are unused to unsolicited and unconditional acts of generosity and kindness. When these are unearthed the individual is showered with praise. The response is often one of surprise and the individual (if they are discovered) are universally acclaimed and given temporary ‘living angel’ status, which they often feel reluctant about. For example recently we had Katie Cutler who set up a funding appeal for pensioner Alan Barnes, who had been attached outside his house, and was too scared to return.

The fund went viral and raised over £300, 000 enough to ensure that Alan now can afford a new flat to live in. Kate set it up because she felt moved to try to do something to help a stranger whose story touched her heart.

Recently I suggested to a forum of likeminded creatives about the idea of finding a mentor. I meant an established business person, working in a compatible industry who I could look up to and who would offer mentoring on an adhoc basis. I wasn’t looking for a business arrangement rather a pay it forward arrangement. I would love a mentor. A real mentor in the traditional sense of the word. In the early days of my career in drama and the arts, I had a few mentors whom I could call up to ask for advice or run ideas past them, or perform a new audition piece to them.

Recently I took part in a project set up by the fabulous Oh Comely Magazine. The idea was to connect to perfect strangers together, who would create a parcel for their allocated person and send it to them.

I was partnered with the amazing Sanna Dyker, a young talented illustrator from Kerrie Muir. She wrote a statement about herself and I put together a parcel for her. So much joyfulness in this activity, and I didn’t mind if I didn’t receive anything in return. I so wanted to do something unconditional for her, my perfect stanger. This is her post about it
on her beautiful blog.
She sent me the most beautiful parcel full of magical, handmade and hand drawn by Sanna herself. I cried when I opened it. It truly was the best thing ever.

In the arts world informal mentoring take place all the time. That is my experience. You help people who are less experienced than you are. So I decided that rather than ask for a mentor (though if you are out there I would love to hear from you) I would mentor a photographer informally
and for free, whom I felt needed or could really benefit from the input, on an as needed basis. This photographer was momentarily speechless and surprised that I would do something like this for no personal/monetary gain. In truth if I could live my life by giving and not expecting anything in return, as long as I didn’t starve, and I could take care of my family, I would be entirely happy.
My instinct told me that if I pay forward, he in turn would pay it forward in a different way. We chatted and he shared with me the things he already does for ‘voluntarily. These acts are amazing and heart warming. I didn’t know about them before I approached him, and I was so delighted to hear about them. He already pays forward in abundance.

My dream would be if we could all pay it forward when we can, unconditionally and without expecting anything back. It might not earn you money, but the act of giving is so life enhancing and not only will it help another person, it will make you feel great and it will help make the world a better place to live in.

So if any of you reading this are interested in doing something similar and working with me on a pay if forward initiative please do leave me a message.

and if there is anyone out there who would like to be my mentor – do get in touch.

Lots of love
Carolyn x

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