As the phrase and others like it appear on more water bottles and coffee mugs in department store aisles, as it is the star of Pinterest quotes reposted again and again, I have to wonder at the toll it is taking. As a freelance writer, I feel the temptation to be sucked in to 12-hour work days, to eat lunches across from my computer, and to spend any time not writing researching how to become better at it. The hustle promises a lot, but does it actually deliver?
Here are five lies to stop believing about the hustle:
1. The more time you spend, the more you will gain.
When I was in college, I called my mom crying because of a project I received a terrible grade on. “But I spent so much time on it,” I remember saying, feeling exhausted and defeated. “Well, Jillian, just because you spent a lot of time does not necessarily mean it was a quality project.” That hit me – hard. Studies show that the more hours you work, the less productive you actually are. That means the amount of time you spend hustling does not alone increase the quality or value of what you produce.
2. You will only be successful if you work seven days a week.
We all have dreams. You might be working two jobs and coming home to spend time on pursuing the career you actually want. You may have weeks where seven days of work is unavoidable. However, it should not be your normal. You will spend more time accomplishing fewer tasks and you will experience intense burnout quickly.
3. Always saying “yes” only leads to more opportunities.
Imagine you are a child again and it is your birthday. There is a big cake with your name on it, balloons filled with helium floating in the living room, and a big box covered in wrapping paper, just for you. Now, imagine that your little sister asks if she gets cake and balloons and a present, too. So, your parents cut the cake in half and write her name on that portion. Then, they grab half of the balloons, hand them to her, and tell you that you have to share your present with her. Your older brother walks in, asks the same question, and the cake, balloons, and present are divided even further.
You would feel jipped. It was your birthday, yet what was meant for you was split up between those whose birthdays were months away, which made you feel less valued. This is how I imagine it is for those who say “yes” to every opportunity. Instead of guarding those yes’s and offering them to only the best that comes along, they spread themselves too thin and take away from the opportunities they already have.
4. You aren’t good enough unless you _________.
Fill in the blank with any of a thousand things and cue the impostor syndrome. Whether you are an entrepreneur, working in an office, or a student with dreams you just have to start working on now, the lie of the hustle is that you will never be good enough. There will always be just one more thing to accomplish, one more step to take, one more goal, but on the other side, you will still feel like you have to do more. Instead, working from a place of rest allows you to take ownership of your worth while still taking steps toward your dreams. The difference is in the attitude and mentality with which you accomplish your tasks.
5. Resting means you aren’t trying hard enough.
Have you ever felt guilty for going to sleep instead of finishing up a project, or for spending an entire day with family when you could have been working on your business? I have, and I recently discovered what was driving that guilt: fear. I was afraid that if I spent time away from work, that it would never become what I desired it to be. I was afraid that if I chose a nap, a meal out, or even a few hours away that someone else would come along and take an opportunity that could have been mine. Here is what I had to learn: it is never wise to make decisions about your business out of fear.
Everyone needs rest, even science says so. If you are fearfully or otherwise avoiding rest, your work will suffer and your relationships will suffer. Don’t let that happen by avoiding what is best for you.