"Have you heard about the 'hustle mindset'? Search the internet and here's what you're going to find:
- It's either the key to success or the cause of burnout.
- Something to be embraced or avoided at all cost.
But here's the problem - 'hustle' is a concept, and people define concepts differently. When you lead people, you have to define what hustle means to you. The internet is full of advice that warns against the hustle mindset. But they're cautionary tales of burnout written by people (or about people) that never found life-work balance. Hustle didn't work for them, so they advocate against it. And you don't want your team influenced by them.
Here's how I define hustle. Hustle is productive effort. That's all it is. It's not unproductive effort.
- It's not obsessing about work.
- It's not checking your email late at night.
- And it's not sacrificing your well-being for the good of the company.
Productive effort actually requires people to have life-work balance.
Quiet quitting is promoted as a defense to the hustle mindset, just like vaccines were going to protect us from COVID. It sounds good, but it doesn't work. Quiet quitting is just a coping mechanism for people that don't know how to hustle and live a happy, fulfilling life.
You've got to teach people how to give productive effort and how to avoid unproductive effort. When you do, they'll embrace hustle and still find life work balance. And that's your goal.
Once you define 'unproductive effort', you need to set some standards. That's how you define what hustle means to you. Here are some ideas:
- Hustle is productivity. It's their best effort against today's tasks, not tomorrow's tasks and not the tasks weighing on their minds.
- Hustle is resilience. It's the belief that setbacks are temporary, isolated and manageable.
- Hustle is flexibility and it accepts and adapts to change.
- Hustle is confident. It trusts that effort, their best and their reasonable efforts are good enough.
- And hustle is disciplined. It's not obsessive, it's not busy work and it's not token gestures of engagement.
You have to teach your team what hustle is and what it isn't. If you do, people will hustle for you. If you don't, they're going to trust what they read on the internet."
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