You’ve got it clenched in your hand—that winning lottery ticket we all say we covet. So, now what? Do you think you will become instantly happy, you unhappy lawyer you?

business woman with fan of 100 dollar bills
A wad of Benjamins, the path to career happiness?

It’s possible. It could be that really and truly, the absolute only thing between you and happiness is cash flow.

So here’s a quiz, to test that theory a little bit: Make a list of how you would spend $50 million.

Don’t go all lawyer and worry about tax rates, investment rates of return, and all that. Just assume those things are taken care of, and that you have $50 million at your disposal. Where would it go? Write it down, quickly and furiously. I’ll wait.

So, what kinds of things turned up on your list? Cars, houses, big honking TVs, renovations, cool gadgets, clothes? Travel? Stuff for family and friends? Healing work, for body or soul? Tuition for college or grad school (for kids or for you)? Something philanthropic? What about seed money for a business idea? Living expenses so you can do what, instead?

It might be interesting to categorize your list (your categories may overlap):

  • What percentage is stuff, necessary or frivolous?
  • What percentage is to pay others to do loathsome tasks like clean the toilets or gutters?
  • What percentage is for other people?
  • What percentage is for learning of some sort?
  • What percentage is for security, financial or emotional?
  • What percentage is for making a big change in your life (not your standard of living)?
  • What percentage is for health, physical, mental or spiritual?
  • What percentage is for fun? Experiences? Relaxing?

And now the big questions: Do these percentages reflect the person you long to be? What do they say about your purpose in life? Are you happy with that message?

Maybe you don’t know who you long to be. If you don’t, all the lottery winnings in the world aren’t going to make you happy. Distracted? You betcha. Is your purpose to be distracted, to let fear (of unpleasantness, violating social norms, or whatever) grab the wheel and steer?

I’m not here to judge your choices. I’m just here to say that if you want fulfillment and happiness, a perceived lack of money isn’t what’s between you and a more satisfying life or career.

Jennifer Alvey is a recovering lawyer who finds it a useful spiritual practice to buy a lottery ticket. She helps unhappy attorneys figure out how to make their life feel like they have already won the lottery. Schedule a discounted sample coaching session to find out what that’s like–email today!