Credit: Business and office workers going to work in a fast blur during morning rush hour in Tokyo, Japan
Hustle has so many meanings, but in Facebook posts and networking talks it means constantly moving, because if you stop, you will not excel.
When you are starting out in business, the hours are long, money is tight, and you are pouring everything you have into making your venture a success. Everyone else is doing it, so if you aren’t, you will be left behind.
The meaning of hustle has changed and it is not longer about an unbeatable work ethic and disregard for rejection, it has become a badge of honour that drives people to exhaustion. The modern-day hustle is a sure-fire way to burn out. Yes, you have to work hard in a new business. Nothing is handed to you on a platter but at what cost?
Today more than ever mental illness is rife. There are pressures coming from everywhere. Women are expected to be super woman. Men are unsure about what they are meant to be. Our kids are glued to consoles. Those in business are striving to create something from nothing. We are an exhausted nation.
I recently conducted a poll in the Australian Business Collaborative Facebook group on what are the most overused words in business. At the top of the list with 40 per cent of votes was hustle.
Suk-yi Lo, from The Caffeine Triffecta, said, “I don’t know why, it, just makes me think of someone reluctantly having to do it and in reality, no one is forcing me to set up a business. Even though I am tired every day, I have never felt so alive and fired up for a long time.”
Yet, the pressure to succeed, to go viral, to become the next big thing is lurking in the back of many entrepreneur’s heads. Yes, it is just a word but the images it conjures is of the shining success of people like Gary Vaynerchuk and other serial entrepreneurs. People do not start businesses to fail, they want the big bucks and lifestyle that comes with success.
But many are not making it because they are burning out. Because what we are not told when we “hustle” is to take time to look after your health, family and relationships. Hustling doesn’t take into account eating well and exercising.
We recently had a long weekend and in many Facebook groups, there were people bragging about how they were working through, and what champions they are. Sure, their dedication is admirable but what about their health especially their mental health? With over 3000 people taking their lives last year through suicide, it is time to reframe how we do business. The drive to hustle, grind, and push til you drop is not healthy – mentally or physically.
Hustling may be just a buzzword, but has become commonly used that people tie their performance to it. If people are not hustling, they are not doing well or if they are over hustling, and not doing well, then what is going on.
It is ok to take a step back and run your own race. Give your self-permission to do it at your own pace. Too often we look at our social media feeds and see others nailing it., and then think we are a failure. The reality is we only see the good stuff. We do not see the bad and ugly.
Angela Henderson, business consultant and founder, Angela Henderson Consulting