What is hustle?

This photo sums it all up:

Yup, that’s me, dressed as a pickle.

I spent two days handing out 360 pickles, promoting our service and actually having a great time.

At the time, the ICON sponsorship was more money than we had. We were less than 2 months old and barely cash flow positive. The trade show needed to result in immediate sales or we were sunk. So I did what I knew best: run around as a pickle hustling for people to sign up.

I wasn’t going to stand around waiting for people to come to our booth or hoping people would see our ad in the program. I needed to personally influence sales to give us every possible advantage to be successful.

While silly and quirky, this marketing event illustrated my fundamental belief in the power of hustle.

Hustle is personally doing whatever it takes on a daily basis to achieve your desired future outcomes. (Click to tweet)

“Personally doing” is a really critical piece of this definition. Hustling is not outsourcing, delegating, or expecting others to perform. Don’t get me wrong, to be successful in business you will need to do all of those things, but it is not hustling.

For example:

Not Hustling – Hiring an SEO expert to improve your rankings.

Hustling – Personally writing 100 blog posts in 100 days to improve your rankings.

Not Hustling – Sponsoring the lanyards at a trade show to increase awareness.

Hustling – Personally stopping by every booth at a trade show to gift an extra drink ticket on behalf of your company to increase awareness.

Not Hustling – Emailing your clients in one mass blast asking them to fill out a survey to gather customer feedback.

Hustling – Calling everyone of your customers to chat about their experience with your brand to gather customer feedback.

The idea of hustle has been lost by a generation entering the workforce looking for an app and a tool for every conceivable need. When things don’t work out as planned, blame shifts externally.

The app was wrong. The client was a bad fit. The process was broken. They fail to take personal responsibility for success and do the work needed to achieve the desired outcome.

We are currently experiencing this lack of hustle attitude with one of our vendors. We’ve seen more and more weeks missing our target goals and the only suggested answers place the blame back onto us or the tool:

  • The landing page loads slow
  • We changed our sales process
  • The campaign may have run its course

Who cares!?!

If our desired outcome is SALES, where is the hustle to get us there? What can he do to personally influence the outcome? The opposite of hustle is blame and apathy, neither of which work well in business or life for that matter.

I notice fear of failure often prevents people from achieving their full hustle. No one wants to be the person responsible for the wrong decision.

Rather than going all out, they hold back and make small incremental decisions with little to no risk attached to them. I get the logic here, and there’s plenty schools of thought around incremental or iterative based processes, but early on I believe this is a recipe for ultimate failure.

Any idea, solution or business absent of personal hustle lacks the thrust needed to escape life’s gravitational pull. We end up doing a lot of little things, knowing that little to nothing is risked, but nothing takes off.

Here’s the secret:

The right answer, path, solution, sales process or app is not a path to be passively discovered through incremental trial and error. The right solution is created with a machete, through an uncharted jungle, fueled by hustle, chopping down your own path step-by-step.Others may provide a map on how to avoid the tiger den or a shortcut around the quicksand, but the path is yours to create.

Don’t believe me? Artax didn’t believe Atreyu and look where that got him:

Behind every great business, epic billion dollar startup and iconic individual is a lifetime of hustle. You must put in the time and effort needed to strong arm the desired results no matter what stage you are at.

  • Hustle is calling 1000 people a week to find the sale.
  • Hustle is knocking on 100 doors a day to get a meeting.
  • Hustle is reading 10 books a week to become an expert.
  • Hustle is not giving up and trying again when nothing above works.

I sell ice in the winter, I sell fire in hell, I am a hustler baby, I’ll sell water to a well”-Jay-Z (Click to tweet)

So let me ask you this…

What is your desired outcome for the next three months?

Are you waiting for the right process, person, tool, app or opportunity to get you there?

Instead, how can you turn up the hustle and create your own outcome?

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