I wrote about paying it forward before in this blog.

And I smiled inwardly as I recalled this theme that I love so much, while watching a documentary film called Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon about Shep Gordon, an influential and brilliant show business producer of generations of stars we all know.

He is lovingly and appropriately portrayed in this film as a true mensch (definition at bottom of this post). Not just a regular run-of-the-mill mensch, but a super one. Not for some things he did that are truly admirable, but for so many ways he touched people and for the depth of his generosity.

Yes, you should see the film. We need to admire a man who came from little and a loveless home and poured it on others as an adult.

In a series of interviews interspersed in the film, he is revered for giving out “coupons:”

Shep often talks about doing ‘compassionate business’ and what this means is that no one loses, people only win. This means the introduction of another Shep invention, ‘The coupon’ a coupon is when a person does something for you and you don’t have the means at that point to equally pay them back (I don’t mean financially) but you pay them back the moment you have means or something they might like.


He gave with no expectation of equal (or any!) dividends, financial or otherwise. He just helped others who needed a touch of his magic.

Imagine the feeling of warmly giving selflessly, just to receive the “psychic compensation” as someone with immense networking vision I know likes to say, that warmth later reverberates as a rewarding story of your connection benefiting from your collaboration.

Please emulate Shep in actions and gestures, in person and electronically.

Here are 5 ways to be a coupon mensch on LinkedIn:

  • Reach out to someone you are connected with on LinkedIn, but have fallen out of touch, and send an article to him/her, letting the recipient know you thought of them enough to share the thought.
  • Answer a question in a LinkedIn Group to give the benefit of your experience and insight.
  • Contribute a long form Post with an observation on your business life to create community within your personal learning network.
  • Endorse someone for a skill you actually know they possess and demonstrate well.
  • Surprise someone who went above and beyond and send an unexpected LinkedIn recommendation.

Let’s all be more like Shep.

Give out coupons. Try it just once today.

Make it a habit.

Definition of a mensch:
Being a "mensch" is not at all related to success, 
wealth or social status. A judge can be a slob, 
a millionaire can be detestable, a professor can 
be sleazy and a Doctor can be unscrupulous.

A Mensch is many things and one simple thing.  
A mensch does what is right because it is right 
towards family, towards strangers, at home and 
in public.  

When people behave with honesty, integrity, 
consideration and respect they themselves 
prosper as does society at large. By spreading 
mensch-like behavior we can make our society 
happier, healthier and more successful.