A friend and successful producer, writer and philanthropist Sixx King once told me; “I will always be on a fixed income. If I don’t hustle, it won’t get fixed!” Hustle has been a word used dramatically in the past 10 years. Ranging from corporate raiders, athletes and the Hip Hop community alike, hustle has a central theme that every human can relate to; not just surviving, but thriving. When rightly understood, hustle can be the edge or difference between a stagnant job and a career you are fulfilled in. Without it, you’re in a boat with nothing to row with.
Hus•tle (verb) ˈhəsəl/: To obtain by forceful actions or persuasion; To move hurriedly or unceremoniously in a specified direction.
A few weeks ago I placed a quote on my bathroom mirror as a reminder of my commitment to excellence. I still have it up and it reads; “This isn’t a race with anyone else but the guy in the mirror.” I found it and felt so strongly that it spoke to the constant need to work and do your solid best to out hustle what you did yesterday. In fact, over the years I have learned by experience that your compensation is a direct reflection of your contribution. We are rewarded or valued based on what we bring to the table. If you don’t bring much, you cannot expect much. This is empowering because no one can hold you down without your participation. If you want a higher salary, all you have to do is figure out where you add value....and do it! Life responds best to those ready to step up and put a plan into action.
Growing up in and around low income housing or the “projects,” hustle had a totally different connotation. It held a negative light and spoke of people doing anything illegal to make ends meet. As I grew older, I decided I would take the essence of their definition and rework it. Hustle took on the air of working your butt off (legally of course) and being willing to take on any task to see your dreams come to pass.
I found that we do specific things to actually hinder our own “hustle.” It is not the outside forces that attack us or deplete our energies, it’s our baggage. Here are a few things to avoid so you’re not hindering your hustle:
(1) Becoming too sensitive: In life, you’re going to need guides or mentors who’ve walked your path to help along the way. Quite often these mentors will be lending you advice while navigating their own courses. This means they may not always have time to handle you with a tender hand. Not that they are rude, just busy. Or you may need to get assistance from someone you’re not really fond of. So what?! Get what you need without allowing your feeling to short circuit your success. Too many have missed their destiny because they were overly sensitive and didn’t like the “package” that their help came in. Deal with your ego and remember it takes fertilizer to help you grow.
(2) Being unorganized: This is a big one, because an unorganized life is an indicator of an unorganized plan of action. Look at it this way, when you get things organized you begin to realize what should be happening first, then second and so on. That is order, and order is the foundation of success. People won’t take you serious if you’re out of order. You miss valuable opportunities when your life is in shambles. Take the time to align your purpose with your daily activities.
(3) Being disloyal: If people don’t believe they can count on you, it will directly affect their willingness to invest in you. Loyalty is a lost art amidst corporate scandal; government lies and sports figures are continuously being arrested. What is needed more than talent is loyalty. When you lack integrity and loyalty, your hustle diminishes. You begin to surround yourself with people just like you and soon after find your success has been derailed. Build a loyal infrastructure and watch your plans soar.
One of my favorite artists, Shawn Carter better known to the world as Jay Z wrote a song in 1996 entitled “Can’t Knock The Hustle” in which he said, “Y'all guys are lunching, punching the clock.
But my function is to make much and lay back munching; sipping Remy on the rocks, my crew is really something to watch.” What Mr. Carter is saying through his eloquent rap style is he and his crew is so committed to success they are hustling while others are sitting back relaxing. This allows them to be able to enjoy the spoils of their labor while others have to get back to work. I think he was really warning us that the quote on my mirror rings true; your only race is to out work the person starring back at you.