THE Creativity Chronicles

A journal of creative thoughts, content commissions I'm working on and where I'm at right now. The life of a creative copywriter.

"Creativity takes courage" - Henri Matisse

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The Anti-Hustle

November 11, 2016

I first mentioned the term #antihustle a month or so ago on a post by Fiona Humberstone of The Brand Stylist fame (fantastic book by the way, add it to your list to buy and keep an eye out for the sequel soon). Fiona had written an Instagram post that really resonated with me about stopping, taking a step back and not pushing.

As she mentions, the term ‘hustle’ is becoming commonly coined, it’s everywhere I look at the moment and I just think we take on certain words without really thinking the meaning through.

As an ex-hustler I choose not to promote the term. I’m not proud of the fact that I worked 7 days a week, often 15 hours per day. And I got pretty fed up with people telling me how successful I must be because I worked so hard.

It’s time to address the myth: working damn hard does not make you successful. It may make people think you are successful, it may mean more money but money doesn’t buy you what matters (you’ll have no time to spend it anyway).

And you know what? It doesn’t mean better work. 60 hour work week Jess was burnt out, wasn’t as engaged and lost her creative spark. The work going out was, dare I say it, ‘average’ and most of the time I was overseeing other people do work that wasn’t how I envisioned it.

Anti-hustle Jess is happier. Working less, producing more: more quality, more creativity, more work that I’m proud of and I finally feel like I’m introducing some much needed balance into my life.

What does balance look like? Walks on the beach, time with the dogs, laughing with my daughter and reading a good book.

It doesn’t mean looking at emails or a phone for 12 hours straight. And just because I was pushing it, answering emails round the clock, striving, working all hours and literally living on Facebook day and night, does not mean I was happier or richer and I wasn’t even that productive.

It was a constant cycle of pitching, winning, pitching, winning and it was exhausting. Now I don’t pitch. I see if we’re the perfect match and then I consider it a partnership, we’re in it together side by side.

The best thing I did was to stop hustling: driving myself too hard, too fast, to always be the best. Meaning I was stuck in a vicious cycle of working harder, faster, beating deadlines, making margin. I almost lost sight of what I’m in business for. What am I working for myself for and hustling so damn hard for anyway?

Oh yeah, freedom.

  1. Michele says:

    Hi Jess!

    This is a wonderful post! I am in complete agreement with you (and Fiona, whom I’m a big fan of). I remember being a little shocked, way back when, when I saw the word “hustle” trending in the entrepreneurial world. In the past, the word was always considered a negative; someone who cheated, rushed, or swindled their way to the top. So when I saw extraordinary entrepreneurs using the word in a
    positive manner, I was confused. I truly don’t believe hustling our way through life or business could ever have a positive outcome. Balance is indeed so hard to achieve, and yet possible, as you have proven. Thanks for opening this discussion. xo

    • Jess says:

      Thank you Michele, I completely agree! It seems to be a badge of honour to prove how hard we’ve worked when the truth is, we aren’t performing at optimum levels because we’re run ragged from hustling our way to the (supposed) top of our game. I wasted way too many years working in this manner, pushing myself harder and harder and denying my instincts so I’m championing #antihustle all the way so that the working climate changes. Being at your desk still at 10pm is not an achievement or demonstration that we deserve more recognition, it’s proof that we need to put some boundaries in place. Thank you for taking the time to comment, it means a lot!

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