Author Topic: I am free but how do I figure out my goals?  (Read 7022 times)

GemJedi

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I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« on: November 24, 2014, 12:22:22 AM »
I have achieved financial freedom. My investments create enough income to live on. Yay. But now I find myself questioning if this freedom comes at the expense of motivation.

As background I am an attorney. I practice the kind of law that I generally like but being an attorney is not really a happy profession.  I help my clients get the money they are owed by insurance companies. When I am finished and they get paid the claim that was originally denied, they seem thankful for my services. But I realize that my fee is setting them back money they should not have to pay if the insurer had just come through in the first place like they promised. And in the rare cases I lose, I tend to get devastated by the injustice. So what, nothing is perfect right? But the thing is I don't need to work for the money, I need to work to stay busy and be fulfilled. And at the end of the day I am not sure fighting with other attorneys all the time, reassuring clients in financial distress, and feeling guilty over my fees is that fulfilling. What I like about it though is that it keeps me busy but I control my schedule. I can take long weekends or vacations without worry. And it is a solid gig in the eyes of society so I don't look like I am a country club shrub.

I used to be a practicing jewelry craftsman. I enjoyed that a lot. Except the part where the industry goes nuts in December and no one is allowed to take vacations during the time when most people, including me, want to take vacations. So I am reluctant to go back to that.

My mindset is not tuned in right to the freedom to do whatever I want. When I was young and hungry I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted to become the best goldsmith around, big shot designer. I did that. Then when I realized the financial gains were not so great I went to law school. I would have told you then that I wanted to be a big shot with a big practice, lots of prestige, money, etc. So after law school I struck off on my own and did well by myself. That lead me to now, wondering what to do going forward. The thought of getting really big in law scares me though because 1) as I said law is not that happy so bigger law will probably be even less happy and 2) I am 49 and the 16 or so years until 65 don't really seem that long and I don't want to make a mistake creating something not happy.

I sometimes think about famous musicians who make hit records and achieve fame while young. But then I wonder where they went, why they stopped creating hits? With the talent they obviously have it would seem that age would be kind to their creativity and their songwriting would get better over time. But generally they fade into obscurity as they get older. I wonder if it is simply a truth that hunger makes us succeed and success makes us lethargic and seek comfort.

I feel like perhaps one would feel by inheriting money but then losing motivation. Even Mr. Money Mustache has posted about the evil of giving children all your money only to rob them of motivation. Perhaps financial freedom at any age does this and that is what I am grappling with.

I recognize that consumerism is not the answer to my happiness and I appreciated the posts Mr. Money Mustache posted in that regard.

I just wonder if there are resources or reading material that speaks to my low motivation and how to create a new goal when I am no longer hungry?

Thanks.

Primm

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Re: I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2014, 01:12:05 AM »
I know nothing about the jewellery market, but it strikes me that this bolded part...

I used to be a practicing jewelry craftsman. I enjoyed that a lot. Except the part where the industry goes nuts in December and no one is allowed to take vacations during the time when most people, including me, want to take vacations. So I am reluctant to go back to that.

...would completely cease to be a problem if you didn't have an employer.

When you say you have achieved financial freedom, is there enough wiggle room to set yourself up as a jewellery craftsperson who works for themselves? Even some of the good jewellery on places like Etsy seem to go for quite a bit of money.

lhamo

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Re: I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2014, 03:00:03 AM »
I would totally go back to making jewelry -- but 100% on your own terms.

If you are good, the more you limit your product the more valuable it will be.  You potentially will make more money per hour the less you produce. 

Could you do something like have a short window every year where you take orders, then a few months where you produce the pieces, and then a LOT of free time?

marty998

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Re: I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2014, 03:26:24 AM »
I used to be a practicing jewelry craftsman. I enjoyed that a lot. Except the part where the industry goes nuts in December and no one is allowed to take vacations during the time when most people, including me, want to take vacations. So I am reluctant to go back to that.

You should read MMM's post on a life lived off peak.

Why would you want to take a holiday when everyone else is? Hell is other people!

I sometimes think about famous musicians who make hit records and achieve fame while young. But then I wonder where they went, why they stopped creating hits?

They all died at 27. From Kurt Cobain to Amy Winehouse. None make it past 27.

lpep

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Re: I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2014, 08:39:07 AM »
Could you do some psuedo-lawyer volunteer work in a non-money-related field? A family friend was a child's advocate for awhile in the court system. Not exactly happy work, but you could be a huge help with your background, and it's part time.

2ndTimer

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Re: I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2014, 08:49:59 AM »
After reading a very interesting post on this subject by Trent Hamm over at TheSimpleDollar, I started looking hard at the things I want to spend money on.  He suggested that this meant it was something you wanted to do and weren't getting enough of.  I found that to be the case and modified my life accordingly. 

So I would take a hard look at your discretionary spending.  What have you bought in the last year or so?  It will tell you a lot about where your mind is at.

dude

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Re: I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2014, 10:05:11 AM »
After reading a very interesting post on this subject by Trent Hamm over at TheSimpleDollar, I started looking hard at the things I want to spend money on.  He suggested that this meant it was something you wanted to do and weren't getting enough of.  I found that to be the case and modified my life accordingly. 

So I would take a hard look at your discretionary spending.  What have you bought in the last year or so?  It will tell you a lot about where your mind is at.

Yeah, for me this makes a ton of sense.  Traveling, climbing, snowboarding, surfing, camping.  Yep, that's where I want to spend my money and time, alright.

Joan-eh?

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Re: I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2014, 04:01:08 PM »
GemJedi,

I hear that you were frustrated with the system at the law firm, did I hear right hat it was the injustices that were the part that bothered you most. It sounds like there are parts of that service profession that you are really good at and do like.  Are you looking for a way to stay doing that and be happy? Or have you you made up your mind to leave?

Would it help  you write down 10 things you enjoyed engaging with. Then write down the feeling you get from those activities..... Then Focus on the feelings.

When I did this "freedom" kept coming up over and over. Seems ill do any job as long as I feel autonomous and free.  Maybe you would discover your values his way.

You asked the question "how do I figure out"   I'm a part time life coach - who helps with the figuring out.  A few sessions with a life coach might help.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2014, 04:29:23 PM by Joanie »

GemJedi

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Re: I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2014, 06:18:36 PM »
Some very thought provoking responses, thank you.

I have thought about doing something with jewelry on my terms as suggested. The thing is that it is a very expensive thing to do as a hobby.  You really need a store if you create custom pieces, otherwise a lot of money gets tied up in inventory with little chance of selling. I have considered teaching in some capacity as I found that a rewarding part of having achieved a high level of competency.

As far as the law, yes I find some parts fulfilling but a lot of law is just grinding through adversity caused by intransigent insurance companies. Right now I have a nice specialty niche that is not being served. I think perhaps I can continue to take on a few of the better cases and just keep the practice going part time.

I think the angst I was feeling that caused me to make this post revolved around the fact that monetary freedom allows you to not work, but work creates some fulfillment in life.

Exflyboy

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Re: I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2014, 07:26:14 PM »
Hah  friend of mine was (is) a famous musician.

Played with Arthur Lee and Love in the early 70's.

I asked him why he isn't doing it now? His answer.. "you wouldn't get me me back to that crazy lifestyle for millions of dollars.. You earn millions of buck and its an INSANE lifestyle.. It basically sucks!"

Oh yeah and one of his close friends was non other than Jimmi Hendrix.

OK I guess being an engineer wasn't so bad after all..:)

Frank

mozar

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Re: I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2014, 07:35:44 PM »
Musicians stop after awhile (and not all or even most) because playing gigs at 10pm is tiring. That's my bedtime and I'm 31. I enjoy singing and thought about singing more when I retire but not if it means touring or singing in the evening. Maybe I'll just put videos on youtube. There are always options.

deborah

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Re: I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2014, 08:25:35 PM »
I have thought about doing something with jewelry on my terms as suggested. The thing is that it is a very expensive thing to do as a hobby.  You really need a store if you create custom pieces, otherwise a lot of money gets tied up in inventory with little chance of selling. I have considered teaching in some capacity as I found that a rewarding part of having achieved a high level of competency.

I think the angst I was feeling that caused me to make this post revolved around the fact that monetary freedom allows you to not work, but work creates some fulfillment in life.
I (maybe naively) think that jewelery could be a very doable internet store rather than one with real bricks and mortar - especially if you didn't do rings.

This "work creates fulfillment in life" thought is what worried me a lot before I retired. Then I decided I was going to set up an internet business, and did all sorts of things to prepare. But it hasn't happened, and it probably won't, and I get a lot of fulfillment in other ways.

lhamo

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Re: I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2014, 08:55:24 PM »
You really need a store if you create custom pieces, otherwise a lot of money gets tied up in inventory with little chance of selling.

Sorry, I don't get this.  Why can't you have an online store and work exclusively on custom, bespoke orders?  The deposit covers the cost of materials, COD for the completed piece is your profit (after expenses).  It might take awhile to build up the clientele to replace your current income, but you don't need that.  Assume you already have the tools.  No need for an extensive inventory if you are just making what you know people already want (because they have paid you a deposit).  I guess maybe you'd need some sample pieces, but still...

GemJedi

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Re: I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2014, 11:00:23 PM »
I can either make one-of-a-kind pieces and try to sell them in whatever venue, online or brick and mortar, or as you suggest try to do custom online. What I had originally said was that the first way of having an inventory to sell is a fairly expensive proposition from an inventory perspective. Just creating pieces because I feel like creating them, without also having a way to sell them, is a costly hobby.

Your suggestion about doing custom is a good one from the perspective of not having inventory, just making to order. I am very good at doing that face to face. I find out what they are looking for, draw sketches, show them samples, and gain their confidence through my ability to give timely information and advice. In fact for a while as I was transitioning to law full time, I worked as a shop manager for a Jared. The store people would bring me out onto the sales floor for the stated purpose of selling the custom mounting but really they were more interested in my selling the $20,000 diamond than the $3,000 mounting. (I know, punch me in the nose for selling unnecessary crap to people). I am very good at this. Doing it online, however, is more difficult. Jewelry is a face to face experience and gaining trust online seems unlikely. I suppose that with enough time one could become a sought out expert so that people would look past the impersonal delivery of the internet.

lifejoy

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Re: I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2014, 09:15:21 AM »

I can either make one-of-a-kind pieces and try to sell them in whatever venue, online or brick and mortar, or as you suggest try to do custom online. What I had originally said was that the first way of having an inventory to sell is a fairly expensive proposition from an inventory perspective. Just creating pieces because I feel like creating them, without also having a way to sell them, is a costly hobby.

Your suggestion about doing custom is a good one from the perspective of not having inventory, just making to order. I am very good at doing that face to face. I find out what they are looking for, draw sketches, show them samples, and gain their confidence through my ability to give timely information and advice. In fact for a while as I was transitioning to law full time, I worked as a shop manager for a Jared. The store people would bring me out onto the sales floor for the stated purpose of selling the custom mounting but really they were more interested in my selling the $20,000 diamond than the $3,000 mounting. (I know, punch me in the nose for selling unnecessary crap to people). I am very good at this. Doing it online, however, is more difficult. Jewelry is a face to face experience and gaining trust online seems unlikely. I suppose that with enough time one could become a sought out expert so that people would look past the impersonal delivery of the internet.

I feel like you're telling yourself why goldsmithing isn't a viable hobby, instead of why it IS. It also sounds like you want to do it, you just don't want it to suck you dry ;)

So, how can it be done? I can tell you that I took a silversmithing course from a goldsmith. It was great fun :) Could you explore teaching opportunities? He pitched the idea to the continuing studies dept of a local university. They tried it, and have expanded because his courses are full + waiting list, every time. This guy also makes jewellery and sells it online and at trade shows.

Worried about online presence not being good enough? Check out reviews on David from Diamonds by Lauren. This guy has such a good reputation, and most of his customers never get the chance to meet him! A lot of online and on the phone work.

Change your mindset. Find ways to support the things you want to do. If you do lawyer-y things once a week, does that give you enough mula to buy goldsmithing supplies? And like someone else said, work for YOU so you don't have to be busy during the holiday season.

I really think you could do this, and I wish you all the best!

Myself, I work at a jewellery store (and LOVE IT) and I'm taking GIA courses online. They're great fun, so that might be a nice hobby for you if you haven't already covered those bases. Feel free to send me a PM; I could talk about this stuff all day!

lifejoy

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I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2014, 09:18:32 AM »
Another example: this guy is only open 4 days a week: http://eriebasin.com/

I kind of forget, but I think www.annasheffield.com or www.ericaweiner.com (one of them?) has a showroom that is only open about once a week. Most of what they do is online.

Last idea: why not have an etsy shop? Check out "artemer". Gorgeous stuff. Made to order.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2014, 09:20:39 AM by libraryjoy »

mozar

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Re: I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2014, 05:35:45 PM »
You could do Skype appointments.

Joan-eh?

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Re: I am free but how do I figure out my goals?
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2014, 06:48:55 AM »
Some very thought provoking responses,

As far as the law, yes I find some parts fulfilling but a lot of law is just grinding through adversity caused by intransigent insurance companies. Right now I have a nice specialty niche that is not being served. I think perhaps I can continue to take on a few of the better cases and just keep the practice going part time.

I think the angst I was feeling that caused me to make this post revolved around the fact that monetary freedom allows you to not work, but work creates some fulfillment in life.

Am I hearing that it's very possible that you could go back to jewelry making, but it's a risk, and could take you off financial security?    Since you like parts of your current work and it's contributing to society and you feel good about that, what would need to change in order to stay? Could you drop certain parts and delegate that  part  to others?  Would phased "retirement" leaving support your goals? If you rate your situation a 6/10 for example, what is one thing you could do or think differently to make it a 6.5 tomorrow?