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Everyday inspiration: Pay it forward

How can you make the world a better place? Start small. An unexpected gesture of kindness just might start a chain reaction of goodwill.

Pay it forward |

Photo credit: Marek Uliasz/iStock/360/Getty Images

Challenge: pay it forward

Why? Doing a good deed for another can create a ripple effect of kindness. Plus, practicing random acts of kindness has been shown to boost your happiness.

Our ladies react:

Angela Save the Children |

Victoria: Paying it forward in a highly privileged city like New York didn’t feel right when I started to really think about it. Would buying a cup of coffee for someone make them happy? Sure. But it’s something that they could likely do on their own. To truly make a difference, I decided to look outside my city boundaries and do something I’d always thought about doing: sponsoring a child in need. I checked out the top-rated children’s charities, which led me to Save the Children, and I am now a sponsor to a girl named Angela in Africa. I look forward to tracking her progress and seeing how the program is able to make even the slightest change in her life.

Buying the Goldfinch book |

Erin: On a sunny day last week, the sandwich guy that I buy lunch from several days a week comped my meal. How many times do you get a free lunch just completely out of the blue? It made my day and I told myself that I would have to pass on that kind of good deed in my attempt to pay back the universe. Well, my mom has been asking me for Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch (recent Pulitzer Prize winner — hollah) so I bought her a copy today and got it wrapped up all nice. If there was ever someone you should pay it forward to, your mom is probably a good bet.

Kristen: I believe in empowering other women, and received a lot of help when starting my career. I feel so grateful to those who gave me a chance to try something I’d always dreamed of.

This week I helped our production assistant at Fox Sports (a former Syracuse softball standout) attain her dream job: in-game host for the Miami Marlins. I advised her, gave her pep talks and encouraged her to have a voice and to not be afraid of failure. These are important lessons I learned, and I was happy to pay it forward and be a small part of her success.

Tracy: It was a dreary and anxiety-filled day. I packed my non-napping children into the van. It was the week before I was to return to work after having a baby. We needed to get out of the house, and I needed a pick-me-up. We headed to the Starbucks drive-through. Once I paid for my grande soy chai, I decided to pay for the drink for the person behind me. I thought she could use a pick-me-up too. As I drove away, I caught a glimpse of the big grin on her face. My greatest hope is that this started a chain reaction in which people continued to lift each other up with kindness.

Our Everyday Inspiration series wants to inspire you with small ways to improve your life. We’ve asked 20 women to take on a variety of small challenges and share their results. See all of our Everyday Inspiration challenges here, and meet the women here.

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