Okay, friends. Let’s address something that’s a popular theme in our culture right now… the “Hustle” mentality. People in power suits and mommy influencers with perky ponytails alike are inspiring the world around them to work tirelessly for high-reaching goals, making sacrifices and seemingly never stopping to take a break. And we as a society respect, perhaps even idolize this drive, this extreme level of work. Some people have a main hustle, some have a side hustle, and some just hustle in everything they do.
Our society is built upon this need for better: to be better, do better, and most importantly, seem better. In America, striving towards something greater and better is the basis for all of our greatest change. Without getting political, I think we can all agree that the tireless efforts of great people are what brought us our country’s independence, what motivated and continues to motivate civil rights leaders, entrepreneurs, and artists to create and dream.
#Hustle. At it’s root—it’s not bad. Hard work pays off. But it’s when comparison and the sacrificing of contentedness are involved that we run into trouble. I have experienced this personally when I’ve been working on things I love, but just too much. I have had to set boundaries and make sure clients and friends know that I won’t answer emails or phone calls after a certain time… I’m available about 14-16 hours a day, which is more than enough. This is a very unpopular real estate practice, but I have found that my clients respect my time off with my husband and my down time. My clients know that I can work harder for them when I am at my best, and I’m at my best when I have gotten enough rest and downtime. Because of the nature of the business, I rarely take a day off, and almost never take more than one day in a row off unless I’m physically leaving the country. Even on vacation, I am answering emails, taking calls, and texting clients. I don’t think this is a bad thing at all! I enjoy my work tremendously, and I know that part of the deal with being self-employed is that there are no rules when it comes to how much time off I get. That also means that I can take more trips than the average person, and I definitely exercise that right as much as possible. But when it comes to turning off my work drive… I have such a hard time with that.
In the past few months, since transitioning from a massive real estate company and building Mission Real Estate, I have been learning a lot about what it means to slow down. Six months ago, my anxiety was sky high, I was working non-stop, and I wasn’t enjoying the things I was working hard to achieve. When all you do is work, how do you enjoy what you work for? If we’re meant to hustle, to what end? If your goal is money, what for? For me, a huge motivator is travel. I love working, and I love working hard, and getting to travel with my husband and friends all over the world is incredibly rewarding. So working hard to make money and travel is the reason for my #hustle.
One thing I was really (stupidly) worried about in this transition was that in prioritizing my mental, spiritual, physical, emotional, and relational health to the same or higher level as my work would make me lazy. HA. Ask anyone around me, I think it’s actually impossible for me to be lazy, especially when I’m at my healthiest. I have SO much energy and motivation for building this company, spending time with people I love, and traveling—but with less of the anxiety and exhaustion. My future is less certain than if I had stayed and kept grinding… but pushing and pushing to have an amazing future seems futile to me if I’m not embracing and resting in the present.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m a planner and I still have days when I’m anxious about the future. As a child I was the kid with endless journals and drawings of exactly what I wanted my future family and house and career and DOGS to look like and be like… I want so desperately to have a death grip on my future plans and what I think my life should look like. But I’m choosing to trust and give up control. Just a little bit. This quote from Shauna Niequist’s book Present over Perfect took the breath out of me when I read it. “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and look back and realize that the best thing about me was I was organized.” I don’t re-read books, but this is one I want to read and reread over and over.
“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and look back and realize that the best thing about me was I was organized.”
I’m going to make this argument: We’re NOT meant to hustle. We’re meant to work hard, passionately, and fearlessly, but we’re also meant to settle in, rest, and absorb all of the good there is to have in life. I think I’m anti-hustle. It even makes me anxious to type that, because for so long I’ve found my identity in the words that people say about me; “I think you work harder than anyone I know” or “Do you ever take a break? You seem to be constantly working or doing something. You have so much energy” OR THIS ONE: “You have your life together more than anyone else I know” (That one had to be an exaggeration…) I loved being that person. The hard worker, the hustler, the youngest one in charge, achieving and achieving and achieving. Part of that is my nature, my natural drive that really does get things done and does things well. I’m learning though, that there is also merit in the part of me that loves taking walks just to enjoy the weather even though I have emails to answer. And the part of me that says NO to leading or volunteering because I am focusing on fewer things so that I can truly enjoy them and do them well and without anxiety.
The anti-hustle isn’t a dislike of work, or even hard work, or being busy. It’s just a life choice I’m making every day to be present and celebrate every little thing.