4 years ago, I decided to open a brick and mortar business. While it’s been one of the most exciting journeys of my life, it’s also been (second to parenting) one of the most exhausting journeys of my life. Opening a business is like starting a new relationship.
The first few months are exciting. Everything is new. The space is new, the paint job is new, the staff is new, the relationships are new. Sure, you hit a few bumps in the road, but overall, you feel as though you can conquer anything.
Opening my business also set me down into a path of hustle culture. I lived and breathed the success of it. I did all the jobs from the day to day management to teaching to scrubbing toilets to marketing. In the beginning, my pride was “doing it all.”
After a few years of hustling hard, I was exhausted, burnt out, and physically ill. I had bought into the lie of Instagram memes that say things like good things come to those who hustle and the only cure for the struggle is the hustle.
My struggle was the hustle. My struggle was not allowing myself time to rest and being too prideful to ask for help. My struggle was taking advice from people who placed their worth in being busy.
After a few years of hustling hard, I became physically ill. I remember being sick for 6 months straight, and no matter what medicine I took, I couldn’t shake it. My body was so worn out and so in need of rest that it rebelled. The truth is, you can hustle all day, but your body can only be beat into submission for so long.
Then I decided that I could no longer live the hustle life. I’m okay with being okay. I missed out on time with family, time with my friends, and time with myself. I missed vacations, dinners, and rest. I missed living.
I asked for help. Asking for help is one of the hardest things for me to do. I hired a team. I learned to outsource. I purposely blocked out time for myself and my family. I learned to unplug. I reminded myself that what I’m doing isn’t life or death and if someone doesn’t get a response from me right away, they will survive.
Then something crazy happened. I found joy in my business again. My personal growth led to my business growth. By allowing myself time to think and play and rest, I was able to pour more joy and happiness back into what I was doing.
Do I still work hard? Absolutely, but it’s on my terms now. Hustling will control you. Hustling will lead you to believe that you need more, more, more and no matter how much more you get – it’s still not enough. Hard work will give you pride and yield productivity. Hustle will leave you feeling lonely, empty and tired. Hard work gives you pride and a sense of accomplishment.
So where are you today? Are you hustling? Well, sweet reader, I’d like to give you permission to stop, rest, drink a cup of tea, focus on the inhale and exhale of your breath, take a long bath, snuggle with kids while kissing their foreheads and smelling their hair. That’s what life it about, the rest is just details.