A number of years ago, before I started a solo practice, I got to know a woman a couple decades older who had a successful career in the financial sector. We took walks together and went to lunch occasionally. At the time, I was in a “meh” job, frustrated that I was not yet achieving my goals (even though it was the recession). My friend reassured me that I was smart, had time, and was going to be okay.
One day, as we walked from her (very nice) car to a restaurant, she spotted a penny on the ground, and exclaimed, “ooh! A lucky penny!” and she picked it up off the pavement and put it in her wallet. She was dressed in business attire, but when she picked up that coin, she morphed into a happy little girl for just a moment.
Mind you, this woman did not need the penny. I didn’t know her net worth, but I knew she had a position of great responsibility and was probably very well paid. It made a profound impression on me: Respect and be grateful (gleeful?) for every bit of money that comes into my life.
It sent me into a flurry of meditation and journaling. I listed out every single thing I could possibly want to spend money on per year, totaled it up, and realized that if I had a take-home pay of less than a quarter million dollars, it would be way more than I could ever know how to spend. I knew I wanted to earn more than I was earning in nonprofits, but with rough numbers in front of me, I saw that I didn’t need to make anywhere near a quarter million dollars to be okay, and in reality, I did not need much more than I was currently earning. Within months, I paid off four figures of credit card debt I had built up a couple years prior when I was working a low-paying nonprofit job, and shortly thereafter, I started my solo practice.
It simply hit me in a way I could finally grasp: respect and be grateful for every bit of money that comes your way. This is not something I learned in school. Like many middle-class achievers who pursue advanced degrees, I had "work hard and get good grades, and everything will be fine" etched into my brain from a culture that teaches people to please, perform, and conform. For a nonconformist, that could only take me so far. Until my profound “lucky penny” revelation, I thought that following passions and causes only makes you broke, and conformity was the only way to survival. That lucky penny bust through that false dichotomy like the Kool-Aid Man busting through the wall.
I no longer felt duped by the middle-class mindset that got me into law school in the first place. If I could marvel at a penny, I could create a life where I did not have to work for other people if I did not want to. Over the several years that followed as I built up my practice, I learned to trust myself and my skills on even deeper levels. And I still pick up coins off the pavement.
To your prosperity,