What Happens When ‘Awesome’ and ‘Hustle’ Combine?
Nearly a year ago, my friend Cam and I were out for pizza and wine. Now, this is a pretty standard thing to do with a friend, but as it turned out the conversation we had over said pizza and wine would be one that would alter our future dramatically.
That night, we talked about the challenges we personally were facing at that time. We talked about how our stories of struggle and triumph seemed to resonate with our respective audiences (Cam is an inspirational speaker). We talked about how many amazingly brave people we had encountered since we committed to making our dreams a reality. We talked about how these people had overcome adversity, how they possessed raw talent and an insane amount of resilience, and wondered how we could help other people feel confident that they could tackling similar challenges.
Thus, the foundations for Awesome Hustle were born.
Each time we caught up, we would develop the idea a little further. We would discuss the details in more depth. And we slowly but surely came to realize that this might be a viable thing.
We started to sound people out about whether or not it was something they may be interested in. We thought about a suitable venue. We started to brainstorm speakers, and discuss how the purpose of the event could be summarized in a way that would capture the essence of what we wanted to provide.
Come December, we had cemented the event space. And once that was locked in – there was no going back!
A couple of weeks later, I snapped my Achilles. However, we didn’t let that deter us. February 16th was the date. And even if I was in a moon boot, it was going to go ahead.
We took a break over Christmas, and returned back to Auckland city with fresh excitement ready to keep on at this whole thing and make it amazing and smash it out of the ball park and then.. I re-snapped my Achilles.
Cam and I had another discussion and wondered it we should push out the date. Cam hadn’t been feeling the best, and I was recovering from a recent surgery, so we decided there was no harm in pushing the event out another month so we could put our full heart and soul into it.
Thank goodness we changed the date, because on February 16th, I was still in hospital recovering from my fourth surgery of 2017. I’m pretty sure that if we had kept the original date, I would have escaped hospital and Hustled my drugged-up-ass to the venue ready to be the hostess with the mostest – but I’m kind of glad we shifted the date so I didn’t end up as a viral heavily-under-the-influence-of-morpheine Facebook video.
Side note: when I came back from surgery, I’m 90% sure that while I was being wheeled down the hallway, I was singing religious songs involving the subject of crucifixion. I’m also 99% pretty sure mum has a video of my performance. I’ll ask her.
I get out of hospital, and almost immediately I head back to Wellington to be looked after, and feel so bad for Cam who now has to do all the running around for Awesome Hustle that I nearly ask if we should cancel the event. My energy is also low. My morale is rock bottom. And the event is only three weeks away.
BUT. Something told me that come March 23rd, I’d be ok. This event gave me a deadline to work to, a date to be back in Auckland, a timeframe in which I could focus on recovery while keeping my mind occupied and my momentum forward.
And thank goodness I made that decision.
Last Thursday was absolutely amazing.
At 10am, Cam and I went out for brunch to caffeinate and fuel up. We went to the plant store to buy our speakers a symbolic little gift. At 12pm, we went our separate ways to get ready, and seeing as it was the first day I’d been back to my flat since I went into hospital on February 3rd, so fair to say I was a little anxious about what I’d be wearing. I had to find something to go with my moonboot asap. More on this later..
At 2pm, we had an unexpected message from our original performer to say that they could no longer make it.
SH*T. Ok. That’s fine. First obstacle of the day.
I messaged an amazing musician I am lucky enough to know on EVERY PLATFORM I COULD THINK OF to check if she was free and keen to step in. I crossed all my fingers and all my toes,(apart from the toes on the end of my snapped Achilles leg because ow) and miraculously.. She was free. And she was keen!
We went down to the venue at 3.15, and finalized the power point, scribbled down what we might say as the hosts of the event, tried to answer questions about lighting, staging, run plan as best we could – and then all of a sudden it was 5.10pm and the event was due to start at 6pm and we were like oh my gosh we need to get dressed so we did and then it was 5.40pm and the speakers were arriving and the guests were early and the pizza was arriving and the wine was being laid out and OH MY GOSH IT’S 6 O’CLOCK and 40 minutes later our musician started playing and the audience were being seated and Cam and I were introducing the event and then we were hearing 5 inspirational speakers share their stories and before we knew it we were giving our speakers their symbolic plants and receiving a standing ovation and it was over.
We did it. And it was epic. Because of the fact that this was the first Awesome Hustle, I’m pretty sure that most people turned up at the event with little expectation – however, it seemed that every person left a little kinder, a little wiser and with a little more faith in both themselves and the rest of humanity.
Cam and I were asked when the next event was, our speakers were asked whether they could present at other events, people came up and told us that they wanted to share their own personal story at the next one.
People also asked me what my story was, to which I replied that they would have to attend the next one to find out. Lol, Monday Hustle, playing hard to get – classic!
Cam and I left that night absolutely buzzing – a buzz which has not yet left!
What started as an idea over wine and pizza with a dear friend has dramatically altered the future. Cam and I celebrated the event and planned our next move over a champagne breakfast on Friday morning, and are currently working extremely hard to piece it all together. Much like the entire Hustle journey, this event is not stand alone. And I am so excited to share what’s next with you very, very soon.
To The Grid, the best venue ever, thank you for being some of the first people to believe in this event, and for providing a space where the Awesome Hustle community could experience what Awesome Hustle means.
To Benefitz, thank you for designing the first of our evolving logos! Can’t wait to work with you more closely soon.
To Insphire, thank you for providing the plates and the glasses. We’d all be grubs without you.
To VinoMofo, thank you for the delicious selection of carefully considered wine! Can’t wait until you and the team are next in NZ. Also note that if ever you need a wine taster, I will drop everything to be that taster for you.
To Harrison and Phodiso – thank you for capturing the event in photo and video! Looking forward to sharing your work with the Hustlers soon.
To Abbie – you are incredible – thank you for dropping everything to share your amazing musical talent with our audience. Apparently someone called – Addell? Addle? Adele? – was playing the same night, but everyone was stoked that they were in the audience for the vocal performance of the year at Awesome Hustle!
To The Borrowed Collective, thank you for providing me with the most beautiful dress on the day of the event!! Because of lack of appropriate threads, without you, I literally would have tried to make a rubbish bag look good.
To our volunteers, Jo, June, and Danielle – you helped us to make this dream a reality more than you’ll ever know.
To those of you who were members of the first ever Awesome Hustle audience – thank you so much. Thank you for being brave and for having faith that this would be an event worth your time. Without you, the essence and life-changing energy of Awesome Hustle would never have been felt as strongly. It was an absolute privilege to share that experience with you, and we promise to make the next one even better.
Finally, to our speakers – Naresh, Liam, Brylee, Jacqui and Phoenix – thank you for sharing your stories in such an authentic, vulnerable and uplifting way. You are the very definition of Daring to be Brave, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for you next.
Hustlers – the takeaway here is that if you have an idea? If you believe in the power of it’s potential? No matter how uncomfortable the implementation of making it a reality feels? It will be worth it, obstacles, challenges, discomfort and all.
Here’s to continuing to be brave, and living a great story. Keep up that Awesome Hustle, team – and who knows – maybe at the next event, we’ll be asking you if you would do us the honour of sharing your story on the AH stage!