Its All A Hustle Essay

We’re a society who buy things we can’t afford, with hours from our lives that we’ll never get back, to impress people on Instagram. 

We proclaim we’re “so busy!” and “have no time for anything!” without a second thought. We wear our busyness as a badge of honour. We compare our broad daylight reality to other people’s edited highlight reels. We complain about being overworked. We continue.

As Catherine Baab-Muguira so eloquently puts it, “we’re the generation who were raised with a “you can be whatever you want to be” ethos that met the worst job market in years”. We feel we have to overcompensate and overwork to feel like we’re achieving something… anything.

We’re constantly being told by self-professed career gurus and self-made millionaires to “hustle hard”. That expensive things equal a successful life. Ideals that were once reserved for rap songs have become our raison d'être.

Hustle hard” has become the advice du jour. Give up your morning latte and you’ll own a house by the time you’re 68, says the internet. Forget having a social life and you too could have your 15 minutes of Silicon Valley fame. Learn to code. Speak Mandarin. Network often. Surround yourself with the right people. Work harder, hustle harder, try more, be more, do more. More. MOREMORE! 

These inspirational messages scream that you, as you currently are, are not enough. Except you are.

Because your self-worth isn’t based on how hard you hustle.

You don’t need to make work your sole focus to be successful. You don’t need to burn yourself into the ground to be worthy.

There will be times in your life when you are physically unable to work harder than others. This doesn’t mean you’re inferior to the stories you read on the internet. It doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It doesn’t mean you’re unsuccessful.

If you do, truly, hustle hard you will burn out. Hustling hard is not productive long term, nor sustainable. Hustling too hard has seen the breakdown of so many talented people. Hustling hard has become some kind of justification for all of the sacrifices we have to make to live *the life*. Hustling hard, really, often means sleep deprivation, struggle, and being shackled to your desk by your own drive.

And let's face it, many people hustle hard and only a small fraction of them ever “make it”. Arguably, the hustle hard mentality implies that those who don’t have a six-figure bank balance are lazy. What could be more damaging than that?

Yes, we need to feel inspired, and, yes, working hard is honourable. I’m simply saying that we don’t need to keep glamourising the “hustle”. There is no light at the end of the tunnel for the person who burns out the fastest.

“In the end the race is long, and it’s only with yourself.”

When it comes to having a working life, the real goal is to have a life at all. If you want to do your best work, you need to have breaks. Success comes in situations of all shapes and sizes, and it’s time we started talking about it. Your own source of fulfilment paired with self-care is your success. Shouldn’t we be celebrating those who work smart *and* live more, instead? I can’t be the only one who wants to hear a little more about that. 

Hustling yourself into the ground isn’t healthy, and it’s time we stopped aspiring to do so.

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Ever heard the expression, “go knock on a few doors” if you want to get something accomplished? Well, if you want know how to hustle in business or call yourself a hustler I think it’s time we all take that advice to heart.

In my earlier days, when I didn’t have the base that I have now, I was out on the streets hustling for Wine Library (formerly Shopper’s Discount Liquors) working to get small business exposure locally. I was walking into any business that might be relevant to my community and networking with other local businesses, passing out flyers and coupons one-by-one to gain more exposure. Nobody gave a crap or knew who we were, but I knocked on doors and made sure we got the exposure we needed, because I knew that’s how to market locally.

When you have passion around something, you’ll do whatever it takes to execute on it. You’ll work and grind away until you’ve squeezed every last bit of juice out of that ‘lemon.’ When you’re truly in that hustle, you are maximizing every last bit of energy you have in order to produce. Sure, people say they’re “hustling” all the time, but are they really? I’m blown away by people who say their “hustling to achieve these great things,” when in actuality their actions don’t match. It’s like wanting to lose weight and sneaking away to scarf down a Big Mac. It’ just not going to work.

Hustling is putting every minute and all your effort into achieving the goal at hand. Every minute needs to count. There is so much hustle in my day I don’t even have a second to spare to “hang out” and catch up with the people around me. It may not be ideal for most, but it’s what I’ve signed up for, it’s what I love, and it’s what allows me to get the things done that I seek to accomplish.

Many of you often ask for ways to increase engagement around your content. Short answer: Hustle. Long answer: Make sure you’re putting out quality product. Once you know that you’re hitting the right notes with the content you’re putting out, you need to put your efforts into business development. You need to knock on the right doors, understand where you’re trying to take your efforts, and hustle until there’s not a single ounce of juice left.

And so, when an opportunity presents itself, pounce on it. HUSTLE. Be mindful of the environments and conversations you want to get involved in and be sure that you’re offering them value in exchange for what you want from them, which is likely exposure. Remember that although you may be hustling to push your business to the top, you need to be respectful of those helping you along the way, and there’s no better way to show respect and appreciation, than in providing value.

So the question remains — are you willing to hustle to make it happen? Are you willing to work 15+ hours a day to get it done? Can you biz dev? Can you do what it takes to take your business to the top while also providing value? In today’s world, there’s so much room and opportunity to bring value to somebody, but it’s never going to happen if all you care about is yourself. Stop being romantic. Put out great work and hustle. Wake up before everybody else and work those long hours. Emotionally and executionally, make the commitment to yourself and to your legacy that you’re willing and ready to go ALL-IN.

Thanks for reading! Know somebody not doing it what it takes to get the job done? Show them this for a dose of motivation 😉

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