The woman behind me in the grocery line was talking a mile a minute on her cell phone. In no time flat, I knew why.
She was thrilled in the Fall when they spontaneously purchased their forever home in a ski resort town. There were just a few wrinkles. They already owned in the area, and her husband didn’t plan to retire for at least five years.
Still, the new place was just too good to pass up. She was working through the questions of what to keep or move, but progress was slow because she had to consider their local house and what should be transferred from their primary home two states away. They thought her husband’s recent promotion had given them plenty of financial air cover. Sorting through the fine points would come later.
Guess what? Later came. And it brought So. Many. Details. Juggling three mortgages had turned into a hot mess with no end in sight.
“Hustle” has become a common concept. The positive side means to get going, to look sharp, or be on your game. But the woman’s story is important for the April series, Energy Balancers, because it shows how “hustle” can be a fancy cover-up for desperate, impulsive energy that makes you go around in circles. And that kind of hustling is exhausting.
So, how do you change the meaning of hustling so it’s not the same as anxiety or high-pressure? The answer is to harness your energy so it’s working at your direction instead of running the show. If you want a style icon, look no further than Buddha Doodles creator, Molly Hahn. Here’s a Facebook post before she moved last Summer: “In the last two weeks, I’ve drawn 430 storyboards, celebrated my 35th birthday, tended to a VERY sick kitty, had an art show in LA, packed up my entire apartment, and still managed to sneak in a party or two… #WONDERWOMAN”.
Is Molly hyper-busy? Yes. But she’s reinterpreted hustling to be “intense purpose.” She’s channeled her ultra-creative personality and raw energy into positive, demonstrable results.
You’ll know you’re on the edge of the bad kind of hustle this week whenever you find yourself rushing, out of breath, or feeling flustered. You can get back onto a firm foundation by remembering that your best decisions happen when you’re calm and clear-minded.
That technique applies as well if you’re on the receiving end of hustling. Staying the boss of your energy starts with managing your inbox. Delete marketing mails with scary headlines like, “Last chance!” or “Are you coming?!” without reading them. Also, get more information about the consequence of a missed deadline if the timing leaves you panic-stricken. I’ve often found that, “I MUST have this by 5:00” really means, “The world won’t go crack at 5:05, but I’d like to have a clean desk before I leave for vacation.”
Declare your independence from the fear of missing out and give hustling the week off. If you’re ready to take a quantum leap forward, replace it with powerful keywords like “excited,” “enthusiastic,” “whole-hearted,” “magnetic” and “driven.”