Fighting with your back against the wall is the toughest fight of all.
That’s what it feels like when you’re dead broke and hustling.
I absolutely know what it’s like to see that email saying that I overdrafted my bank account. I remember the pit in my stomach that came up every time I swiped my card, just hoping that the card wouldn’t get declined in front of the people behind me. I know what it’s like to scrape for rent money.
When you’re broke and hustling, it’s easy to become desperate and disparate.
Here are 12 reminders just for you.
Jealousy won’t get you to where you want to go.
It’s easy to envy the people who have something when we have nothing. Sometimes, we’ll fool ourselves into thinking that others have everything when we’re flat broke. It’s not true.
Comparing others’ highlights to our blooper reel isn’t just unhealthy, it’s straight up inaccurate.
You’ll be dealing with plenty of emotions while you hustle. There’s no need to waste your time on being jealous.
The greats struggled, too.
When we think of successful people, it’s easiest to think about the level of success they’re experiencing now.
But you’d better believe that most of them faced the exact same situation you’re facing right now.
They were broke. They faced challenges. They doubted themselves. They stayed up late. They got up early. Sometimes they didn’t get up at all because the weight of everything was too much. They’ve been there.
And they overcame it, just like you will.
- You will not be perfect all the time.
Mess ups come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. And there’s a size, shape, and color just for you.
We will not be perfect all the time. Even the decisions we make that are fantastic at the time may turn out to be horrible decisions down the road. That happens, so be ready for it to happen to you.
In addition to the plain old mess ups, there’s something deeper to talk about here.
You’ll hear some people talk about how they hustled for 16 hours a day for 7 days a week for years and years. Don’t feel for even a second that you’re a failure if you can’t match their work streak. Few can actually grind that hard.
Give everything your absolute best shot, and respond accordingly to the results you’ve earned.
You might be doing it completely wrong.
What you’re doing might be absolutely and completely wrong. Be open to the possibility of this being true. It’s the nature of taking risks.
With that said, understand that it’s better to find out sooner than later.
Structure everything you do in business so that you can figure out what’s working and what’s not as soon as you can.
Fix what you broke, and move forward.
Create meaningful work, no matter what.
Regardless of if you’re completely wrong or completely right, create work that matters simply because you can.
Seth Godin published a note the other day that spoke straight to this.
Since Godin says everything better than me, check out what he had to say about creating quality work.
What makes you money now may not be what makes you valuable later.
I’ve got a friend who makes a bunch of money when people hire his photographers to capture photos of their events, but that’s not what makes his company valuable.
What’s valuable is the technology he deploys against the pictures once they’re taken.
There are a ton of big time businesses being built right now that make money one way but are creating something valuable that we can’t see from the outside.
Understand that you may be making money now but you’re not creating anything truly valuable. On the flip side, be unafraid to build something that doesn’t make money now but will be valuable later. Those are the toughest to build.
That’s how the future is built.
All sorts of people will doubt you, especially yourself.
You may know them, or you may not have any idea of who they are. They may love you with all their heart, or they may hate you with every fiber in their body.
“They” may be “you.”
Doubt will creep in at the worst times. Understand that the best combatant to doubt is hope.
Believe in your vision, and move it forward with the people who believe in it even when you don’t. That’s the best circle to run with.
Your circle will change. Take charge of it.
When you strike out to do something different, your network will change.
There’s plenty of room for serendipity. People will come into your life that you could have never anticipated. Embrace those folks, and open yourself up to those moments.
At the exact same time, put yourself in the best positions for serendipity.
You can do this through hard work, reaching out to people to help, and being ready for when the moment arises.
It’s not all up to fate, you know.
The mirror will be your worst enemy and your best friend.
You’ll look into the mirror at different moments throughout your journey.
Sometimes you’ll hate what you see. You’ll look tired, deflated, and disappointing. Then there are other times when you’ll look like royalty.
Whoever stares back at you, be sure that it’s truly you.
Be sure that it’s your creation, not someone else’s.
Things will get dark and lonely. But they’re supposed to get that way.
Being broke is easy if you’re not trying to hustle your way out.
If you’re hustling, being broke is horribly hard. The journey out may feel like a one-man battle sometimes. You may feel alone. You may think you’re the only one. You may feel like the entire world is pushing you back.
This is all ok. This is right. This is supposed to happen. Remember how this feels.
Remind yourself that you’re in a tunnel right now.
It’s dark now, but there’s light at the end.
Don’t wait to be thankful.
Gratitude can be a light during dark times.
Tell and show others that you’re thankful for their love and support. Tell and show clients that you’re thankful for their business.
Being grateful will make us successful.
You’re in charge of writing your narrative.
One of my friends runs a business that does seven figures a year.
Of all of the stories he has, his favorite to share is of when he had to deliver pizzas at night so that he could fund his startup. He’s got a picture on his website of himself cleaning the pizza grill. Even in the moments of self-doubt, he believed deep down that he wouldn’t be delivering pizzas forever.
He knew that pizzas were going to be part of his narrative, and he was right.
Just like him, you’re in charge of your narrative.
Believe, hope, and keep hustling.
I can’t wait to hear your narrative.
Would you like to help us shatter stereotypes about men?
Receive stories from The Good Men Project, delivered to your inbox daily or weekly.
Photo: Flickr/Igor Spasic