What Does ‘Hustle’ Mean To You?
- activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result
- a task or tasks to be undertaken
- To be engaged in physical or mental activity in order to achieve a result
- push roughly aside; jostle
- obtain illicitly or by forceful action
- a state of great activity
- a fraud or a swindle
It’s not hard to see why some people have a negative viewpoint about the word ‘hustle’. After all, it can imply being ripped off. Having a sole focus on money making. Engaging in illegal activity for personal gain. It can imply self centeredness. A sense of entitlement. And an air of distrust.
When I first came up with the name, ‘Monday Hustle’, one of my biggest concerns was that people might link it with Hustler magazine. I was like oh heyyeeeell no, this is gonna be too much for me, I just want to start a nice little blog that doesn’t offend anyone or have any negative connotations so that no one will judge me and no one will ostracize me and no one will ever expect nude photos simply because I used one little word that a few select humans associate with bare flesh.
And then I was like, oh but I could maybe do with the traffic..
I realized that it didn’t really matter what other people thought about the word Hustle, because what it meant to me was something that made total sense in terms of the journey I was about to embark on.
See, I had just resigned from my reliable 9-5. I had no job to go to. Nothing lined up. No guarantees.
All I had was a bit of money in the bank, a few contacts, a vague idea of what I might be interested in – and just a smattering of general optimism which was to be rationed, because I was in for the long haul.
I knew I was going to have to take a leap. To commit. To do things I didn’t necessarily want to do.
But more than all this, I knew that whatever happened, I was gonna have to keep moving.
I had no idea what was coming at me, but I trusted that the old universe would help me out as long as I kept staying true to my vision, and kept trying to make the most of opportunities along the way.
I had an innate knowledge that it wasn’t going to be easy. That it would take lots of time to get to where I wanted to go. That I would feel vulnerable and small along the way. And in fact, the thing that scared me the most was fear itself. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being judged. Fear of failing. Fear of putting my chosen path out there for the world to assess, to scrutinize and to laugh at.
So in the first instance, unbeknownst to me, I was Hustling to get to the point where I could let that fear go. And that process took time. It did not happen overnight. Along the way, there was doubt, uncertainty, roadblocks.. There was no manual for getting over that fear.
But one day, I just felt ready. I felt ready because the whole way through that journey, even though I had no idea when it would happen, no idea about the work I would need to do in order to reach that tipping point, I realized that I could keep thinking about it – or I could just do it – and work the rest out along the way.
I had learnt my very first lessons about the term ‘Hustle’, and what it means when it comes to discovering your purpose. I had learnt that there is no pre-described way to reach any goal. But that if you don’t try, you don’t leap, you don’t just do something – then you will never, ever know.
I see the word ‘Hustle’ as being very different to the word, ‘work’.
To me, ‘work’ implies that something is hard. Draining. That you are doing something slightly begrudgingly.
‘Work’ implies that you’re not doing it for fun. That you are ticking things off. That you are just getting through. That you are working for meaningless deadlines so you can get on with the rest of your life.
‘Work’ feels like a total chore.
‘Hustle’ on the other hand.. Hustle, to me, implies positive action.
It implies being malleable. Being flexible. Taking the good with the bad and assessing each interaction, each challenge, each step with a focus on the learnings rather than the black and white outcome.
‘Hustle’ implies that when something unexpected, unanticipated, or unheard of happens, you feel capable and are excited to pivot in the direction that makes the most logical sense at the time, even if that direction is completely new. This direction doesn’t even have to make logical sense. Your pivot point might simply be that from that point on, you will Hustle from the heart – which can take your Hustle world into a whole ‘nother realm.
‘Hustle’ is to back yourself and know that while it won’t happen overnight, when it does happen, it will all be worth it.
‘Hustle’ implies constant assessment and re-assessment, constant learning and growing, it implies constantly using steps back as ammo and motivation for steps forward with more competency and self-assuredness than before.
‘Hustle’ implies building on what you know, on what you have experienced, on what you are passionate about. It implies a deep rooted sense of belief that you are worthy of moving forward, and that you are capable of handling whatever life throws at you next.
‘Hustle’ implies an understanding that it is more than just work. It is a way of life. A way of life where you are working out exactly how you can best serve the world, how you can use your talents to best serve others, how you can make a positive impact with what you know and how you can give people permission to be themselves just by being you.
‘Hustle’ doesn’t imply crippling fear. It doesn’t imply running from the past. It doesn’t imply shying away from things that could potentially fail. To ‘Hustle’ implies growth. It implies embracing change. It implies that life, with all the ups and the downs, is cumulative, and we have the power to choose how we feel, how we react, how we move forward from each moment in time.
To ‘Hustle’ is to know that every experience exists to teach us something. That there is no experience that isn’t valuable. That no amount of work you do will really matter at the end of the day unless you Hustle to make sure the work that you are doing is personally meaningful.
So the question is – what does the word ‘Hustle’ mean to you? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!!
Image design thanks to the amazing Megan Stephens