When I landed my first job, I was so excited. Excited for the opportunity, excited to prove myself, to change the world … But perhaps I was most excited for my paycheck! After being a poor college student, I was going to be making more money in just a few months than I had in a year.
Of course I immediately shared the news with my parents of my new job. Both mom and dad were proud of me and excited. Before moving from Denver to Salt Lake City, my father and I had a great talk that I still think of often.
He asked me to go through a specific ritual when my first paycheck arrived. Here it is:
When you receive the check, hold the envelope in your hands, and think through what it has taken to receive it; The hard work, the creativity, the energy, blood, sweat & tears. Don’t forget the sacrifices you’ve made to be qualified to receive this money, the studying, the degrees, the interviews, the relationships.
Next, open the envelope and pull out the check, and read it – every line. Know how much money you made, how much went to taxes, social security, health insurance, etc.
Finally: hold the check up and look at it. Be thankful. Thankful that you have the ability to earn this money, for the opportunity, and most important of all, be thankful for the money.
I called him after I did this the first time. I told him about my experience, which if you’ve never done this, do it. Just for the awareness of it all, it’s worth it. I also thanked him.
I could feel him smiling on the other end of the phone. Then he ended the conversation, telling me that I need to continue going through that routine. Not every paycheck – or even at a scheduled time. Rather, on occasion, do this to be aware. But most importantly go through that routine to be thankful.
And I do. I do when I’m low on cash, and also when I’m not. I did with a client check I received last week – and I think I will with the next one too.
In an era of entitlement, it makes a lot of sense to look the other way & practice something different. If you tag a real Thank You to something you are grateful for, they feel it. People can sense sincerity. I believe the benefits run deep on having an attitude of gratitude. It can calm the nerves, and maybe even lead to some health benefits.