Photography Debra Hurford Brown © J.K. Rowling 2018
Who doesn’t love a good “rags to riches” story? I know I do! There’s something pure and entertaining when you hear about someone who is now thriving, but you didn’t realize came from a humble beginning. It brings a sense of relatability, and then natural hope for the same to happen to you as well. These people whose lifestyles we admire – whether it be the CEO you work for or a celebrity – become more human to us when we realize that this wasn’t always their lifestyle. I will never forget being in the fourth grade, it was 1999, and my teacher Mrs. Robert would read to us after lunchtime. It was the highlight of my day. We were halfway through a book that had just been released, the most amazing book any of us had ever read, and we couldn’t get enough. Mrs. Robert explained to us that the author of this book had written it in a small café in London, asking people at the café to watch her baby while she wrote. She had no money, and could barely afford food, let alone a babysitter. This woman was J.K. Rowling, and the book was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I couldn’t believe this woman had written this THICK book, in a tiny café, with no money. Just faith. Blind faith. This was a huge lesson for us little eleven-year old’s.
Because of her faith in herself, Joanne (Rowling’s legal name) went from barely surviving, to absolutely thriving. In 2007 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows became the fastest-selling book ever, selling 2.65 million in the first 24 hours in the UK. The Harry Potter series is now published in 80 languages, and over 500 million copies have been sold across the world. Joanne has also received many awards and honors, including an OBE for services to children’s literature, France’s Légion d’Honneur, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award. It’s incredible to picture this woman, once struggling, now living what most of us would classify as a “dream life”. I don’t think there’s a person out there who hasn’t heard of Harry Potter and I can’t imagine being the woman behind it all!
What’s more fascinating is how Rowling had the help of almost no one. She put all her faith into working tirelessly day in and day out while raising a child alone. She created something with just her mind and her hands, and it was hard. She dug her way out from heartbreak, poverty, and fear, and created one of the most iconic franchises of our lifetime.
I think we all get that warm fuzzy feeling when we hear a story like this; it helps us to see what could be possible for us and our future lifestyles. To get to the good stuff it always takes work, but Rowling shows us that with pure faith, the juice is worth the squeeze.
About the Contributor:
Athene lives just north of Boston with her husband, 10 year old son, and 3 year old daughter. She loves being a coach for her salon company as well as a fitness and life coach. Athene believes that what we think about, we bring about – and that we can find the light in everything.