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Hustling: It’s become the new “it” word in our culture. The word that “cool people” use to describe their work ethic — you know the ones. The entrepreneurs. The boss babes. It’s the hippest new verb to describe not only the way you work but the way you LIVE.

You know what I am talking about. Hustle is now a LIFESTYLE. You’ve heard the rhetoric:

“Embrace your hustle. Embrace the struggle.”

“Good things happen to those who hustle.”

“My entire life can be summed up in four words: I hustled. I conquered. ”

“The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately.”

“Hustle in silence and let your success make the noise.”

You get the idea…

Somewhere along the way, we have gotten it all wrong.

On the surface, these slogans and inspirational quotes seem harmless, even helpful. After all, we all appreciate some motivation. But beyond the hype, the hustle lifestyle carries unintended consequences.

Let me explain.

The current use of the word hustle, especially when it comes to business, refers to an individual determined to succeed at ALL costs. People who put achievement above all else in their life. Individuals who are determined to create as much external material evidence of their accomplishments as possible.

In contrast, those who don’t hustle have been incorrectly labeled as weak, unwilling to work hard, unambitious, passive, and willing to settle for mediocrity, among other things.

And hustlers? Well, they want everyone to know about it.

I know this because, for two and a half decades, I HUSTLED my ass off! I was the epitome of a hustler. I wore this badge of honor proudly for everyone to see. And, in the event they could not see it for themselves, I somehow always managed to let them know, just in case…

I worked day-in and day-out, hustling to get ahead, hustling to get to the top, hustling to be the best, hustling to win, hustling for recognition, and hustling to chase every dollar I could.

Did it work? I suppose that depends on how you define “work”.

Yes, I did achieve a measure of success. I climbed corporate ladders and built up my own very successful agency.

But I was rarely satisfied, at least for the long term.

Each time I succeeded, the gratification I felt left quickly and I was onto my next quest. What I have come to learn is that success gained on the competitive plane of existence is fleeting and hustling is all about competing.Click To Tweet

I always tried to justify how long I worked, or how often I was away from my family, telling myself over and over again that one day … someday … it would all be worth it.

Hell, like all hustlers, I even pretended to love how much I worked. I said this over and over again to myself, so often that I even started to believe it on some level. That’s what hustling is all about, isn’t it?

But this is total and complete bullshift.

The truth is, the hustling lifestyle? The one that’s been built up as the epitome of success? It sucks!! And now, because of what I’ve learned over the past years, I’m not afraid to say it!

Why are we so obsessed with this unfulfilling lifestyle? Because we have a warped view about what hustling is and we have come to glorify it in every way.

But hustling is NOT directly correlated with success. It is NOT even necessarily correlated with achievement or accomplishment. It is not correlated with lasting happiness, joy, enthusiasm, and passion in one’s life. Hustling has nothing to do with realizing your dreams or your goals.

And it certainly is not indicative of one’s work ethic, passion, and determination!

Yet, we’ve all been duped into believing that that’s exactly what hustling means, right? That those who hustle the hardest succeed the most.  That only those willing to sacrifice everything else will win the biggest prizes. Those who claw and scratch, bulldozing over anything or anyone in their way make it to the top, and that that’s something to be revered, something to be commended!

In fact, what I have realized is that those who hustle, those who brag loudest about how much and how hard they hustle:

  • Have a scarcity mindset
  • Are paranoid about losing
  • Are afraid of competition
  • Have something to prove to themselves and others
  • Are motivated by fear
  • Are terrified of failing
  • Base their value and self-worth on external success

What does this all really mean? That those who hustle most actually lack the most self-confidence. Looking back, I can see that this is exactly where my need to hustle came from as well.

I was horribly bullied in middle school and, as a result, I felt worthless. I believed that the only way to reclaim my sense of self was to become “better” than everyone else. I thought that my external success would validate my worth. And so, for two and a half decades, I hustled to win at everything. I had something to prove–to the bullies, to society, and most of all myself. But hustling doesn’t make it all go away. It just forces us to bury whatever we are trying to run from deeper and deeper.

Since then, I have learned to have the courage to say “To Hell With The Hustle!” I have come to discover a new way, a far more enjoyable way to create the life I really wanted all along, a life bigger and better and more abundant than I could ever imagine, without hustling!

Learning to say “To Hell With The Hustle” was the #1 way I was able to go from Stressed To Blessed and get ANYTHING I want...Click To Tweet

Of course, opting out of the hustle is the first step, but not the only step.

It was the work I did on the INSIDE that mattered most.

I have been able to go from working 80 hours a week to less than 20, doing what I love and serving others (and never on weekends or vacations). My time is spent with the people I WANT to see … not the people I HAVE to see.. I have discovered my purpose and live with more passion and freedom than I ever thought was possible.

And you can, too.

But first, you must have the courage to look deep within yourself and identify why you feel the need to hustle in the first place: What are you trying to prove? Who are you trying to prove it to? What void are you trying to fill? What’s fueling your hustle? You then need to make a commitment to create significant changes in your life. Finally, you need clarity about what you really want your life to look like, and focus all of your energies and passions there. And when you do? You will be on your way to creating a lifestyle filled with the prosperity and freedom you crave.

The time has come for us to redefine what success looks like and to say To Hell With The Hustle, once and for all.

Click to read my blog post, The Hidden Dark Side of Hustling: How Overwork is HURTING Your Chance of Success.