We've reached peak Hustle Porn. It seems if you aren't working incredibly long hours, you simply aren't working hard enough on your idea. If you aren't constantly "grinding" and "putting in work" then you're destined to fail. Your business isn't making enough money? You aren't hustling enough.
I will fully admit that I subscribed to the hustle mentality a few years ago. You know where it led me? Stressed. In Debt. Overweight. Completely unhappy with my business. I had to stop working like I thought I should (and saw others doing). I had to redefine what hustling meant to me.
Am I telling you to stop working long hours?
Absolutely not. Most businesses require a lot of extra hours to reach certain milestones and desired levels of success. But there must be balance. You simply can't keep burning the candle at both ends and working until your fingers bleed (if you're reading this and bleeding, please call a doctor immediately).
What I'm advocating is counteracting the time you overwork with time to underwork. I know exactly how it feels to see a never-ending to-do list. I know what the financial crunch feels like. I know how it can feel to think that just a few more hours of hustle will get you where you need to be.
You don’t have to work like other people work.
Listen, I love Gary Vaynerchuk as much as the next entrepreneur. I'd even call Gary a friend. But that guy plays on a different level than we do. He also has huge teams of people at his side. Gary can do what he does (constant hustle) because of a lot of behind-the-scenes factors. Oh, and let's also not forget his DNA, which he openly admits is unique to him. Gary is the type of guy who has been wired for hustle since he was a little kid.
You and I are not Gary Vaynerchuk. We shouldn't aspire to work like him. We should find our own version of hustle and work in a way that feels congruent with who we are as people.
There are so many inspirational quotes about working hard and hustling and making sacrifices and blah blah blah. Yes, some of this stuff can be helpful at certain times. But make sure you're running your business (or your life) your way. Just because you work 90 hours a week doesn't mean you're going to be successful. Even if you model your work off of someone else who is successful, there are too many other factors at play that you can't replicate.
Hustling doesn’t put money in your bank account.
You can't pay your mortgage with hard work. You can't buy groceries with a few extra hours of effort. You aren't going to be happy with your business (or life) if you're constantly working.
Hustling can provide you experience. It can help you learn lessons. It will open doors that might otherwise be closed. But again, you have to hustle in a way that makes you feel like you aren't overextending yourself and going to an unhealthy place.
When you take a hustle break, good things happen.
Last year I took a break from social media for 30 days. During that time I found a new sense of clarity on my personal (and business) values. I slept better than I had in a long time. I started appreciating things in my life more that weren't on a digital screen. Oh, and I came up with a business idea that brought in more than $40,000 in revenue. Not too shabby.
With my latest break, a break I took from writing for the past 8 weeks, I stumbled into what could be my biggest and craziest idea yet. You can read more about Project Galaxy on Medium.
When you take a break from constantly working and constantly thinking, you allow space for creation and new ideas.
Rarely does anyone come up with a great idea while pulling an all-nighter or after 14 straight hours of staring at a computer screen. All of my great ideas have come at times when I haven't been working myself overtime. I've just shared two examples, and I could go on. I never have groundbreaking ideas when I'm stressed to the max and over stimulated.
I believe in the hustle, but I also believe in balancing out the hustle with rest. Listen to your mind and body. Take breaks. Enjoy life. Realize that you don't have to work every hour of every day just because some people think that's a cool thing to do.
Take a moment to define what hustle means to you, then hustle that way.