Let’s have a show of hands--who here has been asked, “How’ve you been?” and replied, “Great! Super busy!”?
Come on, be honest--we’ve all said it. We use “busy” as an excuse, as a badge of honour, and as “proof” that we’re going places and doing important things. That we aren’t just sitting around with our family and friends and, god forbid, enjoying life.
What I’m about to say really isn’t news:
I don’t have to tell you that--perhaps you’ve been working on your business for years and you’re still struggling to make ends meet...and yet you’re always so freakin’ busy.
There seem to be 2 schools of thought when it comes to the “best way” to build a business (I put that in quotes because really there’s no one way to do it). The school of hustle, and the school of “ease”.
Hustle seems to be developing a lot of new definitions lately, but I decided to google it to see what the official definition is:
I don’t know about you, but do ANY of those definitions sound like how you’d want to run a business? They definitely don’t appeal to me.
The school of “ease” in entrepreneurship is when you build your business from a place of inspiration. Of course that doesn’t mean you won’t ever make mistakes, or you won’t ever be afraid of failing at anything. It also doesn’t mean that you don’t have to work at it.
It means that you’re focused on the right activities, and you don’t have all the mental clutter slowing you down and filling up your days unnecessarily. The result is reasonable work hours, money coming in more quickly and consistently, and a lot less stress.
But isn't hustle just "part of being an entrepreneur"?
I’m a huge fan of entrepreneur facebook groups, and I’ll see posts from time to time that say you can’t build a business if you take weekends off, or that being an entrepreneur is simply swapping out a 40 hour workweek for an 80 hour one.
And I couldn’t disagree more.
There are certainly people who have proven that it’s possible to build hugely successful businesses by brute force and pushing through even when they hated their business and themselves. People who will pull 12 hour days, sacrifice family time, and miss out on everything that they say they’re working for.
Let me be clear; there’s nothing inherently wrong with working 12 hour days. Hell, if I wasn’t married with kids I’d probably do it from time to time. The problem happens when you’re working 12 hour days when you don’t want to, simply because you think that your business will never work if you don’t.
I had a client months ago who was a 12-hour-day’er. Her to-do list was miles long, and her stress level was through the roof. She was so busy that she didn’t even notice when she hit 6 figures in her business! And when she did finally notice, she didn’t even enjoy it because she was already so focused on hitting the next milestone. Talk about missing out on your own success!
After working with me on her mindset for a couple months, she did a total 180 in many ways. Now, she still works a lot of long days, but only when it lights her up. And on days when it does NOT light her up, she walks away and does something else. And that’s a key distinction.
You know all those annoying people you see online who say they love their business pretty much every day? They probably chose the school of ease.
If you’re working long days, is it because you genuinely want to? Or because you’re afraid of what will or won’t happen if you don’t?
If you're working long days, is it because you genuinely want to, or because you're afraid of what will (or won't) happen if you don't?
Why do people hustle if they don’t have to?
Great question and I’m glad you asked 😉
There’s a LOT of mindset gunk that we pick up from a young age that contributes to the hustle mentality. And it looks a little different for everyone.
For me, my version of hustle was never saying no to a paying gig. I’d say yes and figure it out. And sure, it usually worked out just fine. There was always food on my table and a roof over my head. I was proud of how resourceful I was when it came to finding money.
That mentality served me well when I was younger, fresh out of my parents’ house and eager to experience the world. But once I decided to get serious about coaching and creating online courses, I knew it was time to stop saying yes to everything. And that’s worked well for me so far.
For you, your version of hustle might look quite different. It might be feeling that EVERYTHING on your to-do list feels urgent, so you just keep working working and working some more until you fall asleep in front of your laptop.
Or maybe it’s a resistance to asking for help. You think it’s easier to just do it yourself, or you just don’t trust that anyone else can actually do it as well as you can.
What’s behind all this?
Usually at the root of the hustle is a belief that making money = hard work. And I SO GET IT. Many of us grew up with parents who worked long hours and barely scraped by. They told us that money doesn’t grow on trees, and that you have to work hard for what you want. How many times have we heard that in our life, right?
Some people even feel guilty about earning money easily, when their parents spent their whole lives struggling. So they subconsciously sabotage themselves so that it becomes the hard work that they believe it takes to be successful.
But these are all just stories in our head, and are only as true as we believe them to be.
Living your dream life NOW
When I ask people what their dream life looks like, not once have I heard them say “I want to work 12 hours a day and then collapse in bed, stressing about my to-do list”.
Usually their dream life involves getting up at whatever time they please, having a peaceful morning, working for a few hours, and having the later part of the day to do whatever they want. Sounds pretty nice, right?
But this life isn’t going to magically happen when you hit a certain milestone. It’s not like once you hit 6 figures, suddenly you’ll have less to do. You’ll have MORE to do.
It’s not as if your fears of outsourcing will magically dissipate when you’re earning the big bucks. It’ll be the opposite because you’re not in the habit.
This stuff happens through consciously deciding to make it so.
Living your version of a successful life doesn’t automatically happen when you hit 6 figures, or even 7-8 figures.
It happens when YOU decide to start living it.
Living a successful life doesn't automatically happen when you hit 6 figures. It happens when YOU decide to start living it.
Sure, there may be elements of your dream life that require more money than you have in your account at the moment, I get that. But there is SOMETHING you can do to move your lifestyle closer to how you want it to look, even if it’s just buying the fancy coffee instead of Folgers.
You can decide to start living like that now, in a year, in 10 years, or never. But the only way to live your dream life is to start pulling elements of it into your PRESENT.
Take a weekend off and go away! Play hooky and spend the day with the kids! Hire a cleaner so that you don’t have to waste your evenings doing housework!
Start wherever you are, and stop putting off your dream life until things are less crazy. Because spoiler alert--they don’t get less crazy until you make them less crazy.