Seems like you can’t get online these days without seeing some guru talking about the “hustle.”
The message seems to be that if you want to build something big, you’ve got to give it ALL up. Things like sleeping. Eating. Health. Family.
Oh, and of course, your sanity.
But is there a middle ground? Can you reach your full potential without burying yourself under a ton of exhaustion?
In other words, is the HUSTLE really necessary?
If you’re part of my Groove Seekers Community or you’ve spent any time around me, you know my approach. I challenge women to reach their full potential, and I’m all for moving, shaking, and creating.
But I also know that to get lasting results, you need equal parts of drive AND grace. I’ve seen that most of the women I work with are all about the drive. It’s the “grace” part that proves to be the challenge.
And if you’re a naturally Type-A, goal-driven woman to start with, it’s WAY too easy to be consumed by the hustling culture of the online space.
Not that I’m any stranger to hustle–it’s been with me since long before the internet!
I was raised by a fourth generation farmer dad and a mom whose family ran their own cheese factory. After moving from Wisconin to North Dakota, my grandparents bought a main-street business in our small town and continued that gung-ho, up-with-the-chickens work ethic.
So I grew up with that constant drive in addition to being a naturally achievement-oriented person. I learned how to go after my goals and make big things happen, which was awesome. But of course, there was the flip-side…
As you might suspect, getting into a Zen-like state was never my forte! All my life, I’ve felt the pull to DO things. But have rarely taken the time to just BE.
In other words, the “hustle” has been a way of life longer than I realized. And this past weekend, I had something of an epiphany surrounding that ever-present, 24/7 grind.
My husband had taken our boys on a weekend trip, and it was just me and my three and a half-year-old daughter at home. And when she went down for her afternoon nap, I realized that for the next hour or two, it was just me and my thoughts.
And of course, that lengthy “to-do” list started reading itself out loud in my head.
I need to this, I should be doing that. I’ve got so much to do…
But at that moment, I made a radical move. Instead of giving in and doing what I thought I “should” be doing, I chose to do something I wanted to do.
So I took some “me” time and rented the movie “The Greatest Showman.” And wouldn’t you know it, it was the perfect choice of movie for my weary and battered soul…
In case you didn’t know, the movie is all about P.T. Barnum and the creation of his traveling circus. And at the time, his ideas were pretty revolutionary.
Of course, when you’re an innovator like he was and you’re breaking new ground, the setbacks are inevitable. So it’s not a spoiler to tell you that our hero has his challenges, to say the least!
But the most significant struggle of all was when Mr. Barnum got so caught up in the pursuit of his dream that he lost sight of what his dream originally was. He was so obsessed with winning that he forgot the reason that he started playing.
In other words, he became so ensnared in the hustle that he nearly lost everything that he valued the most.
How about that for a wake-up call for all of us?
Now, let’s be real. I’m not saying that grand visions don’t require any sacrifices. A certain degree of hustle is necessary, especially when you’re first starting out. That’s just the nature of creation and change.
But what happens when the hustle never stops? What happens when you push yourself to the point where you don’t sleep, you don’t eat, and eventually, you sacrifice yourself?
That’s what I mean by “hustle.” And this is what I’m questioning the most.
The irony is that sometimes the harder you hustle, the more it holds you back. Sometimes the push that you think will help you get what you want sets you back in subtle yet powerful ways.
I’ve seen it in myself, and I’ve seen it in others. The thing that you think will help you achieve your goals ends up derailing them, and right under your nose.
And that is the part of the 24/7 grind that we can all live without.
So how do you know when the hustle is doing more harm than good?
I’ve identified three ways to know tell if you’re pushing success away by getting too deep into the grind, and I’m sharing them below…
You get so consumed with chasing the dream that the chase becomes the dream. All of your attention shifts to the achievement rather than the prize. And in the end, you lose sight of what you were hustling after in the first place.
One thing the world needs is creativity and innovation. But they both require a certain amount of “white space.” And by that, I mean space in your schedule, space in your soul, and space in your heart to allow new things to grow.
And if you’re dealing with an overbooked schedule and an overfilled mind, creativity cannot grow.
We think we’re doing ourselves a big favor by putting our heads down, plowing through our projects, and getting big stuff done. But when your mind is filled with the hustle, there isn’t much space for anything else.
It clouds your perspective. You can’t hear or process feedback. And it stifles your creativity. So if your space is crowded with hustle, there’s not much room for expansion and growth. And this, of course, keeps you spinning your wheels and getting nowhere fast.
It’s the biggest drawback of all. The more you push, the less you focus on your own well-being. And eventually, if you’re not careful, everything falls apart.
Sure, sometimes late nights and early mornings are required, especially when you’re in the beginning stages of a new business or passion project. But when pushing past your basic needs becomes the rule rather than the exception, that’s when the trouble begins.
When you skimp on sleep, it shakes the very foundation of your health. And not only do you suffer, but your relationships with friends and family take a serious hit, too.
And in the end, maybe you see the hustle through and achieve your big goal, but at what cost?
If you’re not careful, you might win the prize, and then being too worn out to enjoy it when you get it. Kind of defeats the purpose of going for the dream, doesn’t it?
It’s a beautiful thing to want more, dream big, and go for your dreams. But it doesn’t need to cost everything you have. And you don’t have to sacrifice mental and emotional well-being to follow your mission.
Ultimately, it’s about understanding the difference between a solid work ethic and back-breaking hustle. Of course, you can make big things happen. But it doesn’t have to cost you everything you have.
So how do you feel about the ever-controversial “hustle?” Do you find yourself susceptible to the message that sacrifice is necessary for success, and has it affected your happiness? OR, have you found a way to bring self-care back into your life to restore that balance and? Let me know in the comments below!
P.S. If you LOVE topics like this and you want to hang out with others who are seeking their own personal groove, then the Groove Seekers Community is the place for you! Stop by and check out my community of ambitious women in small towns who have big dreams!