There are appropriate times to hustle in your business. Sometimes you’re hustling for a year or two on the side, creating your escape route and freedom business to jump ship from your corporate job.
Sometimes you stay up late and hustle the night before a course launches, or when you're putting the final tweaks on a project before a deadline. Sometimes you hustle in between gigs, moving across the country, lining the highways in a bus, or getting from bookstore to bookstore to sell copies of your book.
Hustling, however, is not a way of being.
Many professions and careers (and managers, unfortunately) make hustling an expectation. Too many companies create expectations that people will work non-stop, jump at an email, and stay up late with very little advance notice; this is hustling as a result of poor planning, not as a result of the ebb and flow of project schedules.
With few exceptions, hustling as an expectation and a way of life—when you're staying up too late and waking up early again the next day, time and time again, without an end date—is not sustainable. You’ll get sick, fall into depression or adrenal fatigue, contract bronchitis, or want to quit. The advent and appeal of lifestyle design comes not from people who are lazy but from people who are fed up. People who want to regain a bit of control over their time and want their efforts to matter.
Whether you're an entrepreneur, an employee, a self-directed freelancer, or a consultant, constant hustling isn't always indicative of a great environment. There is such a thing as too much hustling.
Hustle is a dial. Dial it up, ratchet it back. A mode that you can press to apply a bit more pressure, and ease up when it's time to rest.
Hustle is a dial—play it up, pull it back.
Play it like an instrument. Step on it gently or firmly like a gas pedal. Know when to apply the hustle. Know when to apply the brakes. (Brakes are there for a reason, and it's not just to slow down).
And as a counter-point: if you're not hustling, I suppose it's time to find something worth hustling for. Once in a while. It's alright to love something and want to work on it a lot. Ratcheting up the dial can make downtime so much sweeter.
But if you’re hustling non-stop, it’s probably time to step back.