Why I Am Anti-Hustle

anti hustle

I remember hearing “good hustle” yelled from the sidelines of the basketball court as a preteen.

I remember hearing “hustle Em!” from my parents as they were rushing me out of the house…because I was taking too long.

I remember embracing the word “hustle” as I grew and stretched to open a charter public school, even buying office products (my kryptonite) with the word “HUSTLE” in big bold shimmery gold letters.

And then.

And then I realized the hustle was literally killing me and my relationships. My stress levels had gone through the roof. I would have anxiety attacks. I was mean to my family, the most precious people to me in the entire universe. All in the name of hustle.

I hustled so hard. I woke up early to work…email was the first thing I saw as soon as my eyes opened. I stayed up late to work…email or a work-related text message was the last thing I saw before I drifted off. My hustle worked me into the ground. I no longer laughed as easily, I had spent all my energy on work. I no longer did anything for fun, because you can’t measure productivity when you’re having fun. There’s no accomplishment checked off the list when you have fun (well, unless you put “have fun” on your list I guess….I didn’t).

I may have hustled my way into a HUGE accomplishment that very few have done but I hustled my way out of a life in the process.

Now? Now when I hear the word “hustle,” I get a little angsty. It rubs me the wrong way. Big time. I’ve never had such a physical reaction to a word…unless you count hearing the names of people who have purposefully hurt me or names of my husband’s crazy ex-girlfriends. I don’t want to hustle anymore. I don’t want to sacrifice my relationships and my health for work. I don’t want to put everything else before my health and happiness, my marriage and my children. Hustle has left me feeling empty, desperate, hurting, and resentful. I don’t want to hustle anymore. Personally or professionally. My worth is not defined by my hustle.

And yet…

I still want to accomplish things. I still want to feel the rush of doing something I never thought I could do.

So how do I reconcile my feelings about the word “hustle” with the desire to accomplish?

I truly feel if you’re going to do something, anything really, you need to do it in a passionate way. This is vital to a life well lived. And I want a life well lived.

As I did some research on this subject, I came across a lovely woman named Dr. Rebecca Ray, from Australia. She says:

I am a big fan of money because it is the currency of freedom over your own time and it allows you to do amazing things for others. But I’m not a fan of putting yourself in hospital with exhaustion to get it.

I’m a big fan of big goals. But I’m not a fan of losing your sense of meaning and purpose in pursuit of those goals because you haven’t taken a day off in three years.

I’m a big fan of being comfortable in your own skin. But I’m not a fan of depending on other people’s approval to get there.

I’m a big fan of standing strong in your own story. But I’m not a fan of convincing yourself that you need to fix yourself and tidy up the story in order to own it.”

I love this. She sums it up so incredibly well.

I’m not looking for the opposite of hustle (which is: slow, delay, repress, suppress, procrastinate, pull and wait) I want to accomplish yet not lose myself in the process. I want to live mindfully.

How the heck do I do this? How about this:

I want to work hard towards my goals; and,

Rest when I need to; and,

Be present, learn to live in the moment; and,

Acknowledge that my actions today affect tomorrow; and,

Don’t cop out on what I’m capable of; and,

Stop if it’s not working; and,

Ask for (and accept) help if needed; and,

Know the outcome doesn’t define my worth.

There’s a time to work hard, to strive, to reach….yet tempering that with mindful living is how I am going to live my life moving forward. I suggest you join me.

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