Balancing Your Hustle: The Secret Sauce to Success
Hustle. In a momentary lapse of judgment, I almost got it tattooed on my wrist. (No offense if you have said tattoo… I’m still deliberating “LEGEN” on one wrist and “DARY” on the other…)
Whether it’s permanently inked on your skin or not, “Hustle” is a word that most entrepreneurs know well. It’s what we remind ourselves of when our alarm clock goes off at 5:00 and when we’re still staring at a screen at 2:00. “Hustle” is what we say when we are explaining why we can’t make a friend’s party or a kid’s game or a parent’s anniversary. It’s the word we use to drive us to do more than everyone else, to keep going even when we want to stop. Hustle, we are told, is what separates winners from losers, success from mediocrity.
But what happens when HUSTLE takes over your life? When does HUSTLE become TOO MUCH HUSTLE?
As a yoga teacher and student, I am constantly talking about finding balance, which seems to contradict so much of what is taught and respected in the business world. As someone steeped in both realms, it can be tricky to navigate daily life and all of those schedules. I find myself feeling guilty when i’m taking a break, that inner voice yelling, “HUSTLE!” And I feel guilty when I’m doing the hustle (work not the dance - why would I apologize for that!?), my peaceful little yoga voice saying, “Breathe. Take a break. Wouldn’t a savasana feel nice right now?”
Add that guilt in with mom guilt, wife guilt, and female guilt and you’ve got yourself one fucked up person. Which might make you wonder right now, “And this person wants to give ME advice???”
Yes, yes I do.
Because over the past five years of balancing self-employment with motherhood, marriage, and that inner yogini - I’ve learned a thing or two.
First of all, yes, hustle is required in order to have success. I have yet to meet a single self-made successful person who doesn’t have stories about the sacrifices and hardships they endured on the way up. As much as we’d like to think it’s fine to take your time, success really does like speed - and if you’re not going, you can guarantee someone else is. And that “someone else” will be the next successful person you read about. There’s no way around hard work.
But, for me, “hustle” has come to mean something different than just hard work. Hustle is strategic. It’s very focused energy on work you care about. Hustle is knowing exactly what you want and, most importantly, how to get it.
Hustle is a very good thing when it’s done right. But…
You have to keep it in check. Hustle very quickly just becomes work. And work, we all know, gets old fast. That guilt I told you about earlier? Well, it’s something all entrepreneurs seem to suffer from. We have been taught somewhere along the way that we have to work non-stop. That we aren’t supposed to sleep. That the work is never done.
I call bull shit.
This is the reason why so many entrepreneurs AREN’T successful. Why so many either burn out or turn into giant assholes.
Hustle and working for the sake of working are two very different things. One will get you where you want to go and the other will drain you until you’re lifeless and broke. The secret sauce to success is balancing your hustle. It’s working strategically every day, but knowing how to also take care of yourself (and your family and your partner and your dog…)
Any success you gain at the price of your health, sanity, or relationships is never worth it. (And if you think it is, see the giant asshole reference above.)
As entrepreneurs we need to plan our days. We need to hustle as much as we need to rest. We need to focus and work as much as we need to stop and enjoy life (yes, go smell those fucking roses!)
Personally, I have found that lists give me super powers. I have two different ones I use every day: BOSS LIST and THE THREESOME LIST.
BOSS LIST: This consists of five daily habits that you need to have to be successful in whatever it is you are doing (Ex: contacting X amount of people, writing X amount of hours, studying X, etc.) These things are things you know you should be doing, but struggle to get done. They are not habits yet. You cross these five things off your list every day until they become second nature… and then you update your list and continue to grow.
My current Boss List looks like this:
1. Contact 20 potential clients
2. Update finances and receipts
3. Read 60 minutes
4. Get outside (no matter how cold!) for 30 minutes
5. Study 30 minutes and implement on current work
(Remember: these are done daily!)
THE THREESOME LIST: This is so simple but helps me get SO much done! This list is simply my top three priorities for the day. I make this list the day before, which helps me get focused the next day on what’s important and helps me stop working when it’s time to clock out. When you are able to knock three huge things off your to-do list before 9:00am, you feel so good! And have so much time to do those little things that give you an edge (like working a little more or, you know, getting a massage…)
Hustling is actually fun when you do it right. It doesn’t (and shouldn’t) make your life miserable and it will bring you success. The key is to be constantly observing it, knowing when it’s helping you and when it’s starting to hurt you. Hustle that ruins your life, makes you sick or angry, and makes the people around you resent you is stupid. Really fucking stupid. And that is something you, my friend, are not.