Yesterday I spoke about the fact that we’re getting personal development completely wrong. Shortly after the article went live, I was on a call with a good friend of mine and we got to speaking about something else I see people misinterpreting.
There’s this unhealthy obsession nowadays that if you’re not constantly working on your business or some new side project, you’re not taking full advantage of your time.
The word has been popularized by Gary Vee and preached religiously by the thousands of wantrepreneurs who worship him. (Ironically, if you have time to watch hours of vlogs, you clearly can’t be working as hard as you say you are. But I digress.)
But this hustle mentality is flawed (and harmful) in so many ways.
For one, work simply cannot become our entire lives. It’s the reason why children don’t see their fathers (or mothers) and couples don’t grow closer. And I can say from personal experience that being married and having a family is far more fulfilling than only focusing my time on work. If you think that’s soft, then I feel bad for you.
Remember, impact (like charity) starts at home.
If you look up ‘hustle‘ in the dictionary, there are two meanings; one as a verb and one as a noun. As a verb, to hustle means to “push roughly” or to “obtain by forceful action“. As a noun, hustle is “a state of great activity” or “a fraud“.
Let’s look at those a little deeper.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my business to feel like I’m pushing roughly. I want it to feel like my actions and services are aligned with my values and that I’m in a state of flow.
I don’t want my business to feel forced. I want to feel like I’m following my intuition, noticing opportunities that pop up along the way and taking advantage of those opportunities. To some degree, surrendering to what’s meant to be.
I don’t want to be in a state of great activity. I want to focus on what’s really going to move the needle forward towards my goals, and let go of wanting to do everything else.
And I sure as hell don’t want to be a fraud.
Now I get that it feels like you need things to happen as soon as possible, but working all the time and/or forcing them to happen isn’t the solution.
When we are rigid in our view of how things are “supposed to be”, we lose out on all the unforeseen opportunities which may have got us to our goals faster than the thing we had planned.
So what should we do?
The solution is an unsexy one. You need a little patience.
People want things overnight, but a more powerful question that one of my mentors shared with me is: “What are you so passionate about that you’re prepared to dedicate the next 10 years of your life to achieve before anyone knows your name?”
Ironically, even Gary Vee comes back to this again and again. Before anyone ever knew about him, he was consistently putting in the work for years in his wine business.
It’s the reason why any “overnight success” will tell you how long they worked on their craft before they were recognized as an icon in their field.
So if you’re feeling discouraged that you’ve been building your dream for 2, 3, even 5 years without the desired results, know that you might only be scratching the surface.
You don’t need to wait ’til you’re in your 50s or 60s to enjoy retirement. But you also don’t need to stress out about doing it in your twenties. You can spend the next 10 years of your life trying things, failing, and learning, finally have one idea take off, and still be young enough to enjoy an awesome lifestyle.
Instead of trying to force things to happen by working all day, get clear on the impact you’re inspired to make. Focus on the most important task you need to do that day to achieve your 90-day goal. Become a master of your craft. Act on opportunities that show up along the way. And then buckle up for the long haul.
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