How are you paying it forward?

I’ve been blessed. Blessed with a great family, blessed with overall health, blessed with brains and the ability to build a life, and blessed with great opportunity. Time after time throughout my life, I’ve been at the right place at the right time. I needed to have a spinal fusion at age 14 and just happened to live 20 minutes from a phenomenal place where I could have that surgery, be an in-resident patient, and recuperate under extraordinary care. While living in Florida, I was offered a transfer to the Seattle office, which introduced me to the city that would capture my heart and become my home. When I decided to return to college, I was within walking distance of the one of the best schools I could choose for my major.  You get the idea. There are many more examples. I’ve truly come to believe things happen for a reason.  Whether it’s a person who has come into your life, a job that accomplishes something you need, an error you made that teaches you an invaluable lesson that will help you in more important ways later on.

So, here I am, living the life I envisioned for myself just one year ago. Yes, I SAW this life. I knew what I wanted, I knew where I wanted to be, and I knew what I wanted to be doing with my life. I am still amazed I’ve accomplished it all in just 12 months. It’s quite astounding.

And, yes, I’m grateful for all that I have. I never forget all those who helped me along the way. Yes, I did the heavy lifting, but there were people along the way who helped in one way or another. The friend who offered her home to me so I had a home once I arrived in Seattle. A friend who gave me counsel along the way, kept my perspective and made sure I celebrated the accomplishments along the way. The new friend who introduced me to the realtor who helped my find my new home. Yes, it does take a village. In so many ways, I had people with me, freely giving of themselves to help me achieve my dream.

So, now that I’m where I want to be, it’s time to take account, look around and find ways to give back. I’ve gotten started, but have so many more things I want to do. I’ve met some young people and love coaching them and helping them get started in their career. I’ve recently joined the board of directors for a local professional organization. And I look for more. I have to. So many have done so much for me, it’s the only response I can imagine. Think of the impact if each of us chose just one thing we could do to pay it forward for all the blessings each of us have in our lives? Just one thing. Let’s see what we can do. I challenge each of you who have been blessed in your life to find just one thing you can do to pay it forward.  And please, if you do, share your stories so we can all celebrate them!


About Andrea Cole

Four years ago, I followed my dreams and my heart by quitting my job, selling my home, and moving myself back to Seattle from Washington, DC. I didn't know how things would turn out, but I knew whatever life held in store for me, it was going to be in Seattle. And what a ride it has been! I now help others live their lives through rewarding career and meaningful retirement coaching. My website is
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