A few months ago I noticed an acquaintance’s LinkedIn post. It went something like this: Keep hustling and fighting for your dreams. You’ll get there if you just keep pushing.
This struck me. Really? Hustling? Fighting and pushing for your dreams? Is that really the best way?
Even the most successful activists opted for peaceful power over hustling and fighting – think Mandela, Gandhi, Martin Luther King. True power doesn’t require force. It’s much more profound than that. Qualities like perseverance, determination, courage, integrity, intention and having a vision are extremely present in those who choose peaceful power.
HUSTLING YOURSELF SICK
I encounter a lot of people – clients – who have driven and pushed and hustled themselves into illness, chronic stress and empty meaninglessness. And what for? In my opinion and according to my observation of both my experience and that of my clients, pushing and hustling makes you less likely to achieve what you truly want, and is much more likely to make you sick, purposeless and tired.
OPERA AUDITIONS – A PRIME EXAMPLE
The counter-productiveness of the hustle/push mentality was crystal clear when I was auditioning for operatic roles in the USA, UK and Europe. The more pressure I subjected myself to, the less likely I was to get the gig. The less pressure I subjected myself to and more fun I had, the more likely I was to get the gig (and the less I cared!). It was that simple.
The less sense of force and pushing, the more likely the success.
YOU STILL NEED TO TAKE THE ACTION
Of course, the discipline, work ethic and perseverance still has to be there.
This may surprise some of you, but being a successful opera singer takes a lot of hard work! But, when you know that you’re doing all you can, you’re putting in the effort and leaving no stone unturned, you can relax and enjoy the ‘show’, so to speak – with satisfaction in the knowledge that you could have done nothing more towards achieving that particular goal.
THE LIMITED, NARROW FOCUS OF THE SURVIVAL STATE
When you’re hustling you’re trying to force outcomes. You’re trying to control outcomes. When we do this, it’s fear driven and we’re in a survival state. Our focus is narrow, we’re usually running on adrenaline and stress hormones, and we become self-focused or selfish. Then we start to feel alone.
In this state, we’re allowing our (usually) self-created environment to flip our cells into ‘survival’ and out of ‘thrive’.
We’re busy pushing ourselves, pushing outcomes and pushing other people for the sake of what we think we want. In this state, your brain isn’t capable of being creative or thinking outside the box. You’re more likely to feel competitive rather than being aware of possible win-win outcomes; you’re more likely to feel frustrated, envious, judgmental, guarded, protective, jealous, fearful, angry, guilty and burdened. You also won’t recognize unexpected, left-of-centre opportunities in this state. Your focus is too narrow for that.
Your relationships probably aren’t going to be great, either.
… a sense of calm and expansiveness as you take steps towards your goals.
Imagine seeing new and unexpected possibilities and opportunities and feeling pleasantly surprised.
Imagine feeling energetic, inspired and excited as you go about your life and your work – NOT fatigued and worn and burdened, or on a constant adrenaline rush.
Imagine being present in your tasks, curious, giving each task its due attention.
Imagine only aiming to get done in one day what is realistic and kind for yourself, and being fine with that, knowing that it’s enough.
Imagine being present with your team, employees, clients – not feeling like your attention is split and scattered, but feeling centred instead.
Imagine knowing, trusting, that the effort you’re putting in is your sole responsibility – knowing that you’re only responsible for your effort, not outcomes.
Can you get a sense of how expansive that feels? What a relief!
In this state there’s no sense of separation and isolation. There’s no sense that the world is sitting on your shoulders alone.
In this state, you’re maintaining balance. You’re allowing for homeostasis in your system, so your cells can rest, repair and build.
STILL CHOOSING HUSTLE?
Truly – what are you believing that makes you want to keep hustling and pushing and bullying yourself?
Do you believe you’re lazy if you’re not manic and on the move all the time?
Do you believe that success can only come with hard, hard work?
Do you believe you’re only worthy if you’re hustling and working yourself into the ground?
Do you feel like you have something to prove?
Do you believe that being crazy busy and exhausted somehow validates you?
Isn’t time to stop telling yourself those stories? Isn’t it time to stop hustling yourself sick?
Get in touch if you need help.