Hustle: hus•tle (ˈhʌs əl)
n. To Proceed or work rapidly or energetically
To push or force one’s way, jostle or shove.
To be aggressive, esp. in business or other financial dealings.
To urge, prod, or speed up.
One of the things I pride myself on is “being a do-er”. I am the person who gets out of a meeting, and moves right into execution mode. I can’t sit and strategize for too long, because I’m always itchy to action my ideas and produce results. However, I also have learned how to Chill the *French Word* down, and breathe, before I move. Creativity and Ambition are a double-edged sword, and it’s important to know how to handle.
The Hustlers Creed states that you have to work hard, obsessively, wake up early, stay alert 24/7, and knock your goals to the ground, because that instagram post says “Successful people are those who stay up while the the rest of the world sleeps”. The hustle mentality is promising, because it lures you with all the promises of quick success, and greatness, and you’re #Winning. Hustle sells us you the idea of being “self made”, it doesn’t tell you the truth which is that every success story has multiple hands, and people who shared their time, knowledge, and resources. You become completely absent in other aspects your life, and you’re struggling to sustain your business and relationships, but the Hustler mentality is so sweet, because it fills you with an adrenalin rush.
“Adrenaline causes blood to move to the action centers of the brain telling it to increase heart rate and blood flow and we get a sudden surge of energy as hormones flood the body. The trouble with this? The sympathetic system’s activity breaks down the body when stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol run unchecked. When this system dominates, energy is diverted from healing, building tissues, and eliminating waste. The energy for this system comes from demands placed on your glands (as opposed to the kind of energy that comes from eating food). And while it feels good or great at first, it is often followed by fatigue or even a crash. Over time, too much sympathetic nervous system activity breaks the body.” (Source: The Suppers Program).
I am of the school of thought that the Hustle mentality is pure Ego at work – unadulterated, messy Ego, that drags you down into a hole of confusion and loneliness. Sadly, this is the life of many people in today’s world.
When you’re asked how you’re doing, there is absolutely nothing cool about saying, “Nothing much. Just on the Hustle.” This is a sure fire way to crash mentally, physically, and emotionally. The problem with making hustling the primary way to express your creativity is that you cant be full or content, because it will make you feel in limbo or left behind. It’s quite interesting how many people have allowed one word to completely control their lives. One word has so much authority to constantly remind you to bust your ass and make sure that no one gets in your way. One word that makes you compete aggressively as though no one else should succeed, but you – pushing shared goals, and humanity to the side. Instead of building together, Hustle wants us to rush to the finish line and #Win … Alone. Hustling is a serious addiction with serious consequences.
Looking through history, I’ve found that some of the most genius creators struggled with mental illness.
Researchers at the University of California studying the link between Entrepreneurship and mental illness found that 49% of entrepreneurs surveyed were dealing with at least one mental illness (such as ADD, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Addiction, Depression, or Anxiety) and about one third of entrepreneurs struggle with 2 or more mental illnesses. Among Canadian start ups, mental concerns have been reported across 72% of entrepreneurs, compared to 7% of the general public. These numbers are significantly worrisome. According to The Globe and Mail, “Between 2011 and 2015 several high-profile suicides in the start-up world brought the issue to light, including the death of Austen Heinz, a biotech entrepreneur and the founder of Cambrian Genomics; Aaron Swartz, the co-founder of Reddit; and Jody Sherman, the founder of Ecomom.”
There is often a gap between the reality and expectations of an Entrepreneur that creates stress, combined with having to continuously project a confident image to investors, clients, employees, friends, and family. The internet doesn’t help either, as it opens up multiple opportunities to have full blown panic attacks from watching other people’s lives, and feeling like yours has slowed down. I have been a hustler before, and it was extremely draining. I would spend all my time being “busy” and chasing the next thing and the next and the next, while neglecting my inner purpose, nurturing my spirit, and being present for the people around me.
After I stopped hustling, I was able to think clearly, focus on work that truly mattered most to me, and spend more time listening and paying complete attention to people. I was able to create and explore opportunities for collective success. I realized that being in tune with my inner spirit, and making deliberate decisions allowed me to be joyful and grow in contentment.
Here are some things that have helped me transition from hustling to Entrepreneurship (Yes there’s a huge difference).
- Identifying purpose in everything – Before I take on a new project, or responsibility, I always ask myself why I’m doing this. My reason must make me comfortable. Even where I may not necessarily enjoy the job, I assess the scope of work and identify possible pro’s and cons, and then make a conscious decision whether to accept. If I find that my “Why” is coming from a place of guilt, or just to make someone else happy, then I drop it.
- Saying No, as much as I say Yes – I turn down partnerships, collaborations, and even clients that I am not comfortable working with. Interestingly, since I started doing this, my business has become more joyful and prosperous. My focus shifted to working with people whose missions align with mine, and whose goals I am passionate about. As Warren Buffet said once “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”
- Creating my own working terms, and communicating these terms – I set timelines based on several important elements of my life. I also notify clients upfront that they will not always have access to me, but can be assured that their work will get done. In addition, I have set times where my team knows not to interrupt me – During these hours, my productivity shoots up to the sky and I knock out as much work as possible while I still feel “gingered”.
- Being Whimsical and Having Fun – I’ve found that my most creative ideas come to me when I’m happy and playful. I have the most a-ha- light bulb moments when I’m hanging out with my friends, or simply listening to good music and chilling. The truth is that we lose our mental blocks when we open up our hearts to receive happy and relaxing times.
- Removing the word “Struggle” from my dictionary – There’s no doubt that there are entrepreneurs that enjoy struggling because it gives a sense of ambition and more. I draw inspiration from people like Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, Seth Godin, and Oprah, who have built some of the most amazing companies and brands in the world, but have fun doing it. One of the biggest myths that people have about the attainment of success and making money is that it must be a struggle.
- Sharing my journey in the most honest and open way possible – Sharing my journey publicly has allowed me to build a personal relationship with many people who are learning and growing through the experiences that I share. In return, these people inspire and motivate me to continue being a Bright Light and excelling in the work that I do. I am happier being able to tell my story as it is – ups, downs, sideways, and more.
Finally, I don’t think that the our community discusses this subject as much as we need to share. I think sharing our mental health stories will help other entrepreneurs feel more comfortable about sharing their own struggles.
Here’s a powerful quote I came across – “The river can go on rushing and hustling on it’s way without me, I know in the end it always ends up at the ocean. The big, real, powerful things don’t have to rush for anyone, they are timeless enough to wait for us to come home.”