Making money is, essentially, a game.
Once you learn how to play any game, it's often easier to win.
I've doubled my income multiple times over the last five years. Each time I made a leap in my income, it was because I worked on myself more than anything. I worked on how I lived my life. I worked on the beliefs I held. I worked on healing old wounds. I worked on my faith. I worked on my skills and abilities. I raised myself up to become the person who could make the kind of money I desired to make.
The first four years of my career were spent working at a global consulting firm. Although it seemed like the perfect job on the outside, there was a lot of pressure and bureaucracy that came with such a prestigious job and I didn't feel like I fit in there.
I was also working one, sometimes two side jobs, just to make some extra cash doing everything from promotional modeling to hostessing. Despite the hustle, I was only making around $45,000 a year. That was a lot of work and a lot of fight for such small paychecks.
I was also pretty unhappy in life and with myself. I was living in a place I didn't like. I spent most of my evenings watching TV. My friends and coworkers were buying homes, traveling, and living a life that was richer and fuller than mine.
I finally got fed up with my situation and started to work on myself. At 24, I realized no one was coming to save me and that it was up to me to save myself.
I canceled my cable and started going to the gym. I started reading books about personal growth, life, and money. I started cooking and eating healthier foods. I started thinking for myself as opposed to what we're told to think. And I starting focusing on the goodness in life as opposed to the things that sucked.
It was not easy, but I was determined to create a better life for myself. It took me about two years of self-improvement before my outside world fully reflected the inside world.
Before I knew it, I had paid off over $10,000 in credit card debt with the principles I learned about money and I set a goal to make $60,000 a year. That seemed like a lot of money and I didn't know how I was going to make it happen, or if I could make it happen. But something in me believed it was possible.
I shared my goal with my therapist at the time. I was shocked at her response when she told me my goal was bull-ish. Instead, she lovingly told me that I should aim for $75,000 a year. Not because $75,000 was some magical number, but because I was worth it.
$75,000 a year felt like a ridiculous goal. How could someone like me make that kind of money? I didn't have more than an undergraduate degree and a few years working experience. How in the hell was I going to pull that off? The fact that my therapist believed in me and believed I could earn $75,000 a year made me believe it also.
A few months later, a friend and colleague reached out to me because her consulting firm was hiring for a specific position that she thought I would be perfect for. A few interviews later, I had a job offer for exactly $75,000 a year. And because I was starting to realize how powerful and worthy I was with all of the work I was putting into myself, I had the balls to ask for $80,000 - and the company accepted my counter-offer!!!!!
The day I went from working two jobs making $45,000 a year to $80,000 a year with one job was one of the most profound days of my life. I felt like I had won the lotto. I remember crying, overwhelmed with joy thinking, How did this happen to someone like me?
It happened because of all the changes I made in my life and within myself. They had paid off - literally.
Once I started making $80,000, I knew I was on to something. So I set my next income goal: to earn more than $100,000 a year. And I wanted to own my own business.
After I set that goal, I kept focused on myself and on my growth because I knew my life had changed because I had changed. I did the necessary work on myself and had a higher sense of self-worth. And I delved even deeper into becoming the woman I knew I could be. I started attending online seminars and meditating as well as all of the other things I had been focusing on.
But as I grew, so did the challenges I had to face. I ended up getting unexpectedly laid off from that company after only a year of being with them. And I was devastated. I felt like I had just started making more than enough money to pay my bills and save.
And there I was jobless.
When I was laid off, I was able to handle it like an adult. I never thought I could have handled something to awful with so much grace. But I chose to view it as an opportunity to create something even better in my life.
And it was.
Instead of taking any job that came my way to make ends meet, I continued to work on myself while scouring job boards for positions that fueled my passions. I envisioned myself in those positions, and after only six weeks without work, an opportunity came my way. It would allow me to start my own business and I would be earning over $150,000 a year. A friend and colleague knew my situation and put me in touch with the program manger of a big project she was part of who was looking for a consultant. After a few phone interviews, the gig was mine. I registered my business and started a bank account in my business name the next week!
This was another profound, pivotal moment in my life. I had done it - again. I had achieved both goals within a year of setting them. But most importantly, I had evolved to the next level of myself and so I was ready for the next level of success.
When I started working on myself, it was out of fear that I might never move out of that crappy house and that I would be stuck in a job I didn't like. Fear that I would live paycheck to paycheck for the rest of my life. Fear that I might never live the full life I knew was possible. Constantly focusing on that fear and what I didn't like about my life only attracted more fear and turmoil in my life. Once I changed my thinking, and started focusing more on the things I enjoyed, where I wanted to be, and how I was going to get there, my life started changing for the better.
And I've continued to work on myself, not because of the money, but because of the woman I continue to evolve to be. Once you are able to build your self-worth, it will allow you the security of knowing that you will never have to settle for less than what you truly deserve in all aspects of your life.
Brittney Pappano consults and advises businesses of all shapes and sizes, from Fortune 100 companies to life coaches to women with a big dreams. She's a self-made hustler determined to live her best life and to help other women do the same. Her saviors are books, yoga, Drake, and daydreaming. Connect with her on Facebook: Brittney.pappano, and Instagram: @Brittney_pappano
Featured image by Getty Images.