I was scrubbing the floor. The kids were sleeping. I was at work as a nanny in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, and I was 24 years old.
My boss (the dad of the kids) walks up to me as he cracks open a Redbull. “I really appreciate you scrubbing the floors,” he says, “You work your ass off.”
He hands me forty dollars.
“Are you sure?” I ask.
“Pro tip,” he says, “Never ask ‘are you sure’ when someone hands you money.”
He was so right.
I used to feel so awkward when someone gave me money. But why? I know I worked for it. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Receiving money doesn’t make you a bad person. It means you have skills that others appreciate. Be thankful! Be accepting! Be open!
Millennial loves, this post is for you.
If you were a typical suburban kid growing up in the nineties, your parents and teachers told you that you could be anything when you grew up. They told you you could be doctors, astronauts, lawyers, architects.
You were also told, “You won’t make money as an artist, writer, or musician. You’ll live in cardboard box.”
(Hold my beer while I let out a long, hearty, satisfying laugh.)
And so we grew up wanting to get into the best college, wanting to graduate with a solid degree, and we just knew we would get hired right out of college and make so much money and then we could buy fancy cars and fancy houses and live the dream.
But we inherited quite an economy, didn’t we?
The crash of 2008 meant that many of us graduated college in a year when everyone else was getting laid off.
It means that even years later, we will never catch up to make the same amount of money our parents did.
It means that for years, we’ll be sandwiched between student loans and jobs that underpay.
And like most other millennials, I made a paltry $12/hr right out of college instead of the cushy corporate gig I always expected. I believed I would always be a low-earner. I believed that there was nobody out there willing to pay me for my skills.
And what I hear a lot of us saying is
“Making money is so hard.”
“It will take me months to find a job.”
“People with money are assholes.”
“I don’t care about making money.”
“I can’t negotiate, because they’ll say no and won’t offer me the job.”
I have said all these things. My friends have said all these things. And yet, if we made tons of money, we would probably feel weird about it. Like we didn’t deserve it. Like we were fakes.
But something happened when I stopped bad-mouthing money. Something happened when I stopped saying “Making money is hard”, and “I’ll never make money”. Instead, I started saying, “Yes, I’m going to ask for more.” and “I know what I’m worth.” and “It’s easy to make money.”
Now, I’m not talking about the pie-in-the-sky Law of Attraction scheme that made the authors of “The Secret” so much money. I’m certainly not naive enough to believe that if you change your thoughts about something, you’ll suddenly get what you want. That’s unfair to plenty of people who have an entire system working against them. I’m not talking about Starbucks drinkin’, skinny jeans privilege.
If you think, “I am going to make lots of money!” It’s not necessarily going to happen just because you think it.
But one thing I do believe is that our thoughts are the starting point to our attitudes and actions. If we keep telling ourselves that money is bad, than will we be open to making more of it?
If we keep telling ourselves that we’re never going to get out of debt, than will we really be motivated to pay it down?
If we keep saying that people with money are assholes, are we willing to get rich?
As soon as I banned these thoughts from my brain, something incredible happened. I started making money. And I mean serious big-kid money. Like I was a grown up. I can finally pay down my student loans. I can finally save for retirement. I stopped winching whenever I checked my balance.
As a freelance writer, my income is not stable. Sometimes I don’t know where my next paycheck will come from. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, and I’ve heard other freelancers say that while they love the freelance life, they wake up in night sweats over dreams of making a steady income.
So in the face of being my own money maker, in the face of thinking more positively about money, I compiled a list of some of my favorite money affirmations. So the next time you start feeling financially insecure and believing that you’re not worth much (raises hand), than consider these thoughts:
1. I give myself permission to be prosperous.
2. I release all resistance to attracting money. I am worthy of a positive cash flow.
3. Money flows to me easily and frequently.
4. It is safe for me to make money from my creativity
5. It is safe for me to use my skills to attract wealth.