Recently on my holiday in Lombok I learned of an amazing story of Paying it Forward. Pictured here with me is Sonya. Sonya was born and raised in Kuta, Lombok. Her family were unable to afford to send her to school, so at 8 years old she started selling pineapples on the beach. At 15 years she started selling sarongs and did this for the next 12 years. Sonya was married at 13 and had her first child when she was 14. She now has eight children and is 34 years old.

In 2010 she met Jessica, a then 19 year old on holiday from England. Jessica lent her money to start her own restaurant best known as …. well … Sonya’s!

Sonya’s sells fresh fish and seafood off the boat that day and it is cooked in front of the restaurant on the BBQ.

Sonya has repaid the loan and will forever be indebted to Jessica for providing her with this life changing opportunity. She has now teamed up with more people from her community and created Solah, a sister bar and restaurant.

This one kind gesture, with the expectation of nothing in return, has had a significant impact not only on Sonya and her family but also others in the local Kuta Lombok community.

My way of giving back is to volunteer. I am generally a giving person by nature and I have always held the strong belief that more hands make light work.

My way of giving back is to volunteer. Most of my volunteering has been within my children’s school community although I did do a two year stint as Tuckshop Lady at Auskick on a Saturday morning! Within the school community, I have always held the strong belief that more hands make light work.

I’m currently doing three jobs at three different schools (although this is nothing compared to what some of the other volunteers do!) and I am generally a giving person by nature. If you’ve read my blog, April Fool’s Day, you will know that a car ran into my clinic and forced closure for five weeks. The clinic re-opened again just before Mother’s Day. As I had idle resources in the clinic and whilst I focused on building the business again, I offered a complimentary skin treatment and discounted products to all of the volunteers who worked in my team. This was my way of paying it forward and saying thanks for your help to the other volunteers. I stood to make no money out of doing this and in fact, technically would lose money on products used in the treatment process.

A couple of days after I sent the invitation, I received an email from one of the senior school leaders advising that he had received a number of emails regarding me contacting families directly, promoting my outside business and that this style of outside promotion within the school community was not encouraged. Needless to say, I was devastated when I read this email, not only because of the complaints but also because the Senior Leader lacked the courage to personally call me to explain the situation. It was incredibly hurtful to receive this email, particularly when he had no context to the situation from my perspective. Courage is one of the three core qualities essential to leadership. Sometimes it takes courage to say it like it is, however when you deliver messages with compassion and sensitivity being mindful of your tone, body language and timing, the outcome can often be profound.

The lesson in this story – take off your own shoes – set aside your personal viewpoints, change your lens, broaden your perspective and consider there are multiple sides to every situation.

I sat on my emotions for a couple of days, picked myself up, dusted myself off and sent around a note of apology. The happy ending to this story was that I received 17 emails from other volunteers thanking me for my volunteering efforts and my generous offer. A big shout out to those who cared to write back!

The lesson in this story – take off your own shoes – set aside your personal viewpoints, change your lens, broaden your perspective and consider there are multiple sides to every situation. Learn more about Paying it Forward and the tremendous power and positive energy in giving without expectation of receiving anything in return.

Pay it forward today and come and see us at Unique Laser about a skin treatment suitable for the person you want to celebrate.