Entrepreneurs

Welcome to the Era of the Anti-Hustle


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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Covid-19 has taught us that we are more than the AI machines we covet.

We are more than a series of tasks that must be completed on time-blocked calendars.

More than hopping on Zoom calls, Slack pings and DMs.

We are more than the definition of a hustler. No, we are the whole and holistic fragments that need attending to. We are what fulfills us. 

Once lockdown hit, it quickly became apparent that what we thought was important wasn’t. We didn’t die when we rescheduled meetings and prioritized scared children over clients. The peace we had wished to descend into a life of busyness finally did. And for a minute it seemed like our existence would be a free-for-all. Because that is what humans know how to do. 

Work a bazillion hours a day or do nothing at all. 

There’s never anything in between.

But life is meant to be lived in the in-between. That’s where it gets good.

We finally got permission to ease up on the grind. Maybe that is why we can now explore new solutions to old problems. But why didn’t we listen to our brains that threatened to sizzle and fry before it was the end of the world as we knew it?

The hustle mentality. It was quite good at sucking us in. 

I’ve been reinventing the hustle since I got sick in 2014 and had to quit working due to long-term Lyme and other coinfections and diseases. Since 2016 I’ve gone deep down the rabbit hole and connected with well over 100 coaches, studying what the common keys behind success are.

Well, guess what? The truth is in the middle.

It’s in the anti-hustle, or as I like to call it, the sick hustle.

Related: 3 Strategies to Help You Create a Meaningful Work-Life Balance in the Midst of Covid-19 Chaos

It’s in the way that you prioritize what will keep your business running, but it also centers on what will keep you running. After all, without you, there is no business. 

These six simple tenets came from my disrupted life. They will allow you to get done what you need without driving yourself into the ground — with some cool benefits, too. 

  1. What are your daily business goals? Get those done.
  2. What do you need when you work? After a major project, I build in time to rest or do a mindless activity to reset my brain and get sharp again.
  3. Who is in your orbit, and how do they need you? Put your phone on silent and read to your kid. Stop time from moving so fast.
  4. Don’t forget to network! It’s as simple as sending a single connection request daily.
  5. When is the last time you ate or drank some protein?
  6. What’s your mood? When you wake up and stub your toe, before you get on a tear, sit down and have a cup of coffee without thinking of the next to-do for five-to-ten minutes. Mini-breaks are miraculous. Give yourself what you need to begin your day again. 

These aspects of our lives might seem like they have nothing to do with work, but they do. When you are pushed so hard to do so much because of the volume you worked to stack in your pipeline, you can resent what you do. That doesn’t sound like working in a passion to me. 

My research for this article pointed me to this quote by Elena Touroni, Ph.D., a consultant psychologist and co-founder of the Chelsea Psychology Clinic in : “Being always on increases our stress levels and reduces our productivity significantly.”

Yep, we are designed this way, to do less. 

Related: Switch Off Covid-19 Stress: 5 Ways to Achieve Work-life Balance in the New Normal

If that’s not enough, I found more research telling us to slow it down. Dena M. DiNardo, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist in , notes that a constant hustle sets us up for a letdown. “It can perpetuate feeling like your skills or knowledge expire shortly after they’re acquired, and like there’s always something more we need to be doing to stay relevant.” 

Then I stumbled upon this mind-blowing truth from George Arabian, CEO of Nvision: “You only hear about the success stories and not the casualties of this mentality.”

It’s true. Society and the self-made community have slapped a big label on what success means and what it doesn’t.

Nearly kill yourself, while leaching from every aspect of your life to build your business: win.

strategic pauses that equal less volume but more gratification while nurturing all parts of your life: lose.

But how have you grown if you are too sick, fatigued, sad and stressed to enjoy the fruits of your labor?

The CDC notes, “Working too hard is the opposite of self-care.” Just more evidence that whether we want to hear it or not, the hustle is not good for us.

Overworking and stress also contribute to cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal issues, , and an increased risk of stroke and . Keep dumping the high-stress hormone cortisol in your bod, too, and prepare for a chronic illness. The cherry is back and neck pain from muscle tension. This is why healthcare costs for high-stressed people are nearly fifty percent higher than less-stressed people.

There is no better time to ask yourself if what you are doing and how you are doing it is worth it.

Life and work must be sustainable for a business to last. It took a pandemic to force us inside our homes and heads. We can use this time to rearrange our priorities the way we wish we would have from the jump, to plan for and handle the day-to-day without overwhelm.

My trajectory screeched to a halt when I had to reinvent myself. I am grateful and have mused many times that not many people have the chance to start over and change the record, mid-play. 

But now every waking individual gets that opportunity. The shot at embracing a new era: the anti-hustle of entrepreneurship. Let’s not waste this gift, only to awaken years in the future, wishing we had capitalized on the unbelievable time the entire world rebooted.

Related: 3 Tips That Can Help You Read More Books This Year

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