There’s a running joke in the film ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding;’ Windex has the power to heal everything. It’s a panacea that can be sprayed anywhere and problems vanish in a glittering instant. We tend to treat hustle the same way.
It’s convenient to think that if we spray enough hustle on our business challenges we’ll achieve the breakthroughs we need when we need them. If only life were so simple.
What does hustle mean
Hustle means “To force (someone) to move hurriedly or unceremoniously in a specified direction. (verb)
“Busy movement and activity.” (noun)
Informally a hustle is a fraud or a swindle. Hustlers are con men and fast talkers who will say anything to get their way. Startup life is full of these confidence men, but the true hustler is a person who’s ability to create luck on demand is the stuff of legend.
We need hustlers. They get sh*t done. Hustle is an essential trait in any team member, but it’s helpful to remember that there are two sides.
The downside of hustle
Hustle is not a strategy. Hustle is a short-term tactic to deliver short-term results. Hustle is great when you’re in a bind, and you need to hit a sales goal by the end of the week. Some people would rather curl up in a ball and hide, but a hustler gets out there makes it happen.
But sometimes hustle makes things worse. If you’re hustling on the wrong track, you’re just going to hit a brick wall faster. While the fail-fast adage applies, hustling stupid is a good way to burn out.
Hustlers often miss the bigger picture
Most hustlers are like the kids at the birthday party who scramble to grab the candy that spills out of a piñata. When the piñata breaks everyone piles on top of one another to grab what they can off the floor. If anyone were to go up to the piñata shell they would have the majority of the candy to themselves. When we hustle too ruthlessly it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.
Hustling is just one ingredient in success
Hustle is the one of crucial ingredients in success, but it’s not the only one. Remember that determination is just as important to achieving goals as is the ability to pick up the pace.
Hustlers have to continually step their game up
While chatting with a friend the other day she said she didn’t want to be an entrepreneur her whole life. She runs a successful consulting business, appears regularly on TV to promote herself, and is thinking of writing a book, or several. She’s in startup mode, I told her, and people like her never stop being entrepreneurs. After all, Oprah is a media entrepreneur at the top of her game–and worth billions.
The path of the true hustler is graduating from the $10 hustle to the $1oo hustles to the $1 million hustle. Rap artists like Jay-Z and Kanye West are icons to a lot of entrepreneurs because they rose from the streets to the corner office off the strength of their hustle. But it only happens with time and patience.
When the day is done, I want to be surround myself with people people who know how to hustle, how to get things done, but also know when it’s time to take their foot off the gas pedal, and let things pan out.
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