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I Raised My Income From $45K A Year To Over $150K By Making These Life Changes

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

Workin' Girl

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.

My therapist's reaction

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.

Related: How Getting Laid Off Was The Best Thing To Happen To Me And My Career

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.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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