There’s a lot of talk about a thing called “hustle.”
As entrepreneurship has become more glorified over the last several years, hustle has become the latest and greatest buzzword.
We’ve got everyone from great leaders to wantrepreneurs throwing the word around.
But what does it really mean?
This list isn’t complete. I’m not sure if it ever could be because the nature of hustle can be so personal at times.
My list is mine, and it’s only mission is to get you thinking. Then doing.
What hustle isn’t.
- Staying up all night just to say that you stayed up all night.
Have you ever met someone who brags about how much sleep they didn’t get? They may not have slept much, but don’t be surprised when that same person doesn’t produce much either. Being tired is not the same as having true hustle.
- An all-out assault all the time.
There are Friday evenings when I choose to work rather than play. I’m positive that you’re the same way. But there are also people who post dumb memes that announce to the world that they’re working that night rather than going out. Look, there are sacrifices in entrepreneurship. Sometimes Friday evenings are that sacrifice. But not always. Even if they are, that doesn’t give us the license to look down on others for living the way they want.
- Always fun.
Hustle is glorified. It’s glamorous. We feel good when we talk about hustling. But here’s the thing: the hustle is mostly a grind. It’s mostly hard. It’s mostly frustrating. It’s mostly demanding. No, it’s not always fun to hustle, but great results are great when you hustle for them.
Unless you want to achieve nothing, hustle is mandatory. We have to put in the work. Day after day, we have to put in the work. If we don’t work for it, then nothing will work for us.
What hustle is.
- Strategic, even if you don’t know exactly what to do next.
One of my favorite podcasts right now is How I Built This, which is an NPR podcast about the origin stories of amazing companies. Airbnb, Samuel Adams, Spanx, Vice News. After hearing their true startup stories straight from the founders, it seems like most of them didn’t quite know what they were building in the beginning. But that didn’t stop them. They applied themselves in a certain direction, and the path to greatness eventually revealed itself.
- Working hard on the hard work.
It’s incredibly easy to do easy work. It’s easy to think about getting customers. It’s easy to think about making sales, branding, and marketing. Strategy is important, but the hard work is what comes after. The hard work is doing the work. Taxes, hiring, creating processes, and making sales. There’s nothing wrong with working hard on the easy work. But none of that will matter if we don’t work hard on the hard work, too.
- A long journey full of small steps and big obstacles.
Take a look at the two previous thoughts on what hustle is. Seriously, look quickly. Question: do those two things ever quit in our lives? I don’t think so. We’re not always going to know exactly what to do next. Likewise, we’ll never run out of hard work. Businesses are vague and tough. So are relationships. I imagine raising kids is pretty unclear and challenging, too. This means that hustle never ends. It doesn’t have a destination.
Get comfortable with the hustle.
In one way or another, it will pay off.
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