Last year, when I decided to jump in and fully embrace entrepreneurship, I became a sponge — reading, listening to podcasts and audiobooks, and working with a coach and group of like-minded ladies to create for myself a supportive and knowledgeable base from which to grow. Submersed in this new culture, it quickly became clear that there are many buzzwords in the trendy world of entrepreneurship, hustle definitely being among them.
It seems like I can’t go one day without hearing someone preach about hustle.
Even in my reading of The School of Greatness yesterday, author and podcast host Lewis Howes recalled his experience with hustle: “[I] worked my ass off. There were no days off, no coffee breaks.” Further in the chapter he writes, “Training? Suffering? That is the hustle.”
For a long time I didn’t notice this concept bothering me. And yet day after day, a tiny voice in my head whispered “you aren’t hustling enough, no wonder you aren’t where you want to be. You are doing it wrong.”
After all, I’m a big fan of coffee breaks. And long walks. And spending extra time in the gym stretching and chatting with friends. I enjoy my day to day, waking up slowly, reading, writing, creating, and learning.
What I’m not a big fan of is beating myself up, consciously or subconsciously. Because let’s be real, beating ourselves up helps nothing, and in fact, I would say the negative whispers do more to pull most of us off track, distract us, and keep us from meeting our goals than anything else.
What’s more, the notion of hustle — just work harder, longer, more; don’t take breaks; work tirelessly until you make it; suffer through it until you achieve your goal — this concept gives no room for us to be kind to ourselves. No room to relax, play, relish in gratitude and enjoy the little things in life.
Whether we are talking about building a business or improving our health or achieving any other goal, the concept of taking action still applies. Things don’t just happen. We cannot expect change if we do not make change. This I believe. Even Einstein recognized insanity as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.
But believing that success only comes from a strenuous and miserable daily grind? And if things aren’t shaping up the way we want them to, well then, we must not have been hustling enough? Well that’s just crazy.
In her novel Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert writes, “if you’re going to live your life based on delusions — and you are, because we all do — then why not at lease select a delusion that is helpful?”
For some people, the delusion of choice is hustle. And for others, like myself, a gentler, more forgiving delusion is in order. But regardless, I believe we are better equipped to be successful in pursuing our goals and personal growth, not to mention feeling happy, when we select the ideas, beliefs, and stories that ultimately make us feel good, light us up inside, and give us the courage and motivation to continually strive for bigger and better things.