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    Thursday
    May012014

    Finding Balance Between Money & Passion

    There are two types of work. The first is the work you need to do now, today, to earn the money to pay the bills tomorrow. I’ll call this “the money work.” 

    The worst version of the “money work” is a corporate job that doesn’t fulfill you, but you go anyway, to afford your lifestyle.

    Better versions of the money work are possible. For me, my money work is my wills and trusts law practice, which I like very much and which is well aligned with my principles. The process at this point is straight forward, and it pays my bills: day after day, it’s profitable, it’s fulfilling, it’s predictable, and well defined.

    Especially for an employee of a large firm or corporation, money work is easy – project after project after project, you do whatever comes across your desk, because it’s here, because it’s immediate, and because your bills are due, and you must get them paid.

    Money work is actually easy to do. The benefits include something to do, and a way to get the bills paid. And having no time, or energy, or perceived need, to think about the other work, the second type of work, which I’ll call “your life’s work.”

    Your life’s work is really an investment in something that is truly aligned with your long-term vision, something that unfortunately may not create money today or maybe not even tomorrow. This second type of work is a creative expression of your soul. And it’s really difficult.

    For me, my life’s work revolves around my passions: the reform of the legal industry, both in terms of the education and the practice of law; and inspiring young attorneys to appreciate all the countless benefits of the new law practice.

    The “life’s work” projects I’m working on are: this blog, the creation of a course to guide new attorneys through launching their freelance law practices, as well as a creation of an office share where new attorneys will be able to pay for what they actually need and use, and have access to a safe, comfortable, efficient, modern office environment.

    For, me, life’s work is really difficult for the following reasons:

    1. It’s really important, so I want to do a really great job. And doing a really great job at anything is very hard.
    2. It is unique – it’s never been done before – or at least in the way I propose to do it. Therefore, the process is highly creative.
    3. In doing this work, I must become vulnerable – I am putting something very important to me out there, to be judged by everyone, qualified or not. And that’s really scary.

    Now, the good news is that once I overcome the aforementioned challenges, life’s work is very pleasant to do, and ultimately easy – as I’m driven by passion.

    The process of transitioning from money work to life’s work involves these steps, and challenges:

    Figuring out that the work you are currently doing is money work, and not life’s work:

    If you figure out you are already doing life’s work – congrats!

     But even if you realize that you are working at your worst nightmare job - this is the awakening, or the rock bottom, or whatever you want to call it. It’s tough, but it’s easy to see it in a positive light, light a birth or a rebirth. Without it, fulfillment is not possible.

    Figuring out what life’s work is:

    If you are stuck, there are many resources. I was recently given Body of Work: Finding The Thread That Ties Your Story Together, by Pamela Slim. You can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Body-Work-Finding-Thread-Together/dp/1591846196

    If you realize that law is your money work, but your life’s work is outside the law, Casey Berman writes an interesting blog called http://leavelawbehind.com.

    But if you know – or suspect – that law is your life’s work, but you can’t get started, but are unhappy with the fulltime job lifestyle – talk to me. I may be able to help you come up with a more flexible structure.

    Figuring out the balance between your money work and your life's work:

    This is where I’m personally struggling at the moment. Whenever I talk to people about starting law practices, I always advise them, money to pay the bills comes first. It’s a hierarchy of needs – you can’t focus on your life’s work if you have nothing to eat. So that part is easy.

    The harder part is when your basic financial needs are met through your money work, and your money work is tolerable enough to keep doing it. That’s when you have to start making a conscious decision to forego some of the money that you could have brought in through doing more money work (or forego the free time that you have after your fulltime money-work-job is done), and work on your life’s work.

    That part is the toughest, I find. But without putting in the hours, your (my) life will remain filled with dreams of my life’s work, and reality of money work. And I think that long-term, that’s a bad way to live. What do you think?

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