Recent data shows that, as wages continue marginal growth, millennials predict they’ll be wealthy at one point in their lives. California personal injury lawyer and syndicated media personality Frederick William Penney has a few life lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs as they work toward their goals, one of which is that only hard work earns you respect from others.
As a child, Penney grew up in a modest Sacramento, California family, but was forced to finance his own way through school. In 1988, Penney graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in philosophy, while later going on to earn his juris doctor from the University’s law school. Penney said he did not have the advantage his other friends had out of high school, and needed to constantly remind himself of his personal and professional goals.
“I grew up with little to no money. I remember wanting to become a lawyer, but realized that I had to persevere through a lot of schooling while my friends were out buying new homes and cars, because they had money right out of high school,” said Penney. But Penney says focusing on what he wanted to become and what he wanted to accomplish motivated him to develop the work ethics needed to succeed.
“I will never forget after many years of grinding through school, looking out the third story of the law school that I attended. Up on the hill were big beautiful homes that successful people had built,” said Penney. “When I would get down or was tired of studying and tired of making no money, I would just stand there for 10 minutes or so and stare, saying quietly to myself ‘patience Fred, patience.”
In 1992, Penney founded, and later became the managing partner of, his own personal injury law firm Penney and Associates. His firm won many challenging personal injury cases, granting Penney with an increased profile in the California legal world. His success also allowed him to grow his firm, opening new offices in the southern California area, including Irvine, as well as Santa Clara, Roseville, Rocklin and Chico. However, in order for him to maintain his work ethic, or “grind” as Penney describes it, he needed to find the right balance.
“In my opinion, you must work hard and long hours to become successful, but you must find balance between family, friends, religion and work,” says Penney, who thinks finding religion and mental balance can benefit an aspiring professional’s state of mind. “I truly believe that it is important to be a person of faith. Whatever faith you choose that promotes goodness is wonderful, just make sure that you are committed. This will ground you in life.”
“Find your quiet mind-clearing space, whether it is Yoga, a swing on the country farm, a special place outdoors, or even a quiet place in your home,” said Penney. “That space is important to clear your mind and allow you to make good decisions,” he added, noting that his quiet place was pivotal to maintaining a clear mind in the legal field.
Penney is also known for his media commentary on the legal issues of the day, as a panelist on “Five Star Bank Tank” and “VR Demo Days,” or as a radio host on the nationally syndicated show “Radio Law Talk,” which he does weekly with co-hosts. However, Penney says his success wasn’t handed to him by any means. Penney says he needed, just as aspiring professionals need to, to prove he was worth being listened to.
“I have always learned to endure to the end, I have always said that business success takes time. It is ok if it takes you ten years to build your business, getting rich quick is so rare but unfortunately those are the ones that make the headlines,” Penney said, encouraging others not to be discouraged from failure. “Work hard, persevere, keep balance in your life first, business second.”
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