All of our lives, we have been told that hard work will help us achieve great goals. We have to hustle to be successful! There are several idioms (some older than others) that convey that message:
· Put your nose to the grindstone.
· Burn the candle at both ends.
· Pull your weight.
· Blood, sweat, and tears…
· Go the extra mile.
· Fight tooth and nail.
I don’t know about you, but just about all of those don’t really motivate me. If I think about tasks that I need to do and apply these sayings, I instantly imagine that I am going to be exhausted trying to meet those standards.
The sentiment makes sense. The feeling of accomplishment you get when you have completed a job (especially one that had challenges) can be exhilarating. But how healthy is that exhilaration if you have exhausted yourself in the process?
Sure, a little hustle never hurt anyone. But read on to find out a few reasons that hustling is not the way to achieve lasting success. Those will be followed by alternatives to try instead.
Number one, right here.
Being in “go, go, go” mode is fine in short bursts, but it’s unsustainable over the long haul. If you are trying to balance entrepreneurship, family, faith, health, etc. and you’re trying to hustle through all of them, burnout is inevitable in one or more areas.
Nobody has that much energy. And when you start to lose energy, other important aspects also fail.
This occurs in a couple of different ways. Most obviously, if you’re tired, you lose focus. How many times have you been at the end of a long day and can’t remember the simplest of tasks or details (like where your keys are or what else needs to be done before you can finally sleep)?
(Side note: Kids don’t help with this at all. They like to spring those last-minute projects and homework assignments right at the moment where you’re about finally “turn off” for the day. But we love ‘em anyway!)
Not only does tiredness play a part, but if you’re concentrating on getting work done quickly, you may not be seeing the bigger picture. It’s easy to get caught up in the minute details and lose sight of the end goal. This ultimately could result in taking longer to reach that desired goal.
Burnout and lack of focus are the perfect combinations for failure, which is the complete opposite of success. You won’t achieve your goals, you might even lose sight of the goals altogether, and other areas of your life may suffer.
It is also important to consider that if you’re hustling and you fail at one aspect, you may be putting so much energy into that task that you’ll end up at a loss if you need to change direction or realign your efforts.
Fortunately, there are some things to try that can still get you great results without experiencing the above issues.
Remember last week when I discussed what we can learn from our kids about willpower? Having patience while tackling tasks can help ensure that each task is completed thoroughly and accurately. Speed and haste can lead to mistakes; patience gives the gift of time.
This goes hand in hand with patience. By being diligent and methodical, you can easily see your path forward. You are not rushing through the trees. You are taking a stroll through the forest (so to speak).
Taking the time that patience gives you also allows for you to make adjustments as you see them coming rather than trying to fix things after they have happened.
You have a goal in mind. You think you know the steps you need to take to achieve that goal. Can you foresee every pitfall or issue that might arise?
Of course, you can’t.
If you are hustling through your tasks, you can miss important steps. As with the previous alternative, taking your time and keeping the end goal in your sight, you can clearly see the path ahead, including any obstacles.
More importantly, by playing the long game, you open yourself up to having the time and ability to fully address any unforeseen problems like shipping delays, material shortages, or those aforementioned last-minute homework assignments.
Hustling can be effective, and I’m not advocating to completely disregard the importance of a little hard work to reach your goals. But I think it is important to vary your approaches.
Have patience, be methodical moving forward, and keep your eye on the end goal to achieve more lasting results. If you have to work a bit harder every so often, that’s fine. Just don’t let it consume you.
Keep yourself in balance and see how much longer your success can be sustained.
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