An Open Letter: The Hustle Phenomenon

I woke up at 5:10 this morning and didn’t hit snooze. Do you really care?

When I first got started really chasing after my passion, I realized that hard work was one of the main components to actually realizing my life-long goals. It takes a tremendous amount of sacrifice, dedication, and patience for you to achieve the most challenging goals. I’ll admit, the “hustle life” is something that I was taking pride in because I am working hard to achieve my goals. I choose to get up early, I choose to work while others relax. But even here’s the reality:

No one really cares about my hustle.

Hustle just to Hustle Isn’t Valuable

One of the champions for living the hustle and has shown what it takes to be a real entrepreneur, is Gary Vaynerchuck. He shows what his life is like on a daily basis and you quickly realize the insane amount of work he does regularly. He’ll sarcastically say, “It’s all bottles of champagne and boats, right?” while on a red-eye to his next keynote speech. Just by watching a handful of his videos on YouTube, you can see that he reveals that the images you see on Instagram of people out on their yachts, relaxing in the sun, sipping bubbly don’t accurately represent the true life of an entrepreneur.

This is by no means a slight to Gary V. He has been a role model for me as well. His hustle is part (if not the core) of his personal brand and what people get inspired by. But we need to admit that that is his brand. Not all of ours.

What is happening right now is this phenomenon where we have made the “hustle life” the new superficial entrepreneurial bragging right. We humble brag about getting up at 4 or 5 in the morning. We talk about not going out with our friends because we have work to do. We share on Snapchat that we’re up late to finish a project. But what good does that do? How does that help our audiences?

How are we providing value if we’re constantly bragging about our obsessive work ethics?

For myself, I found that I was putting so much focus into sharing my hustle that I had lost sight of why I was working hard in the first place. I was working hard and taking pride in that instead of what was coming out of my hard work and the goals I wanted to achieve. I was hustling just to hustle and I just wanted to have the right to say I was working hard.

I realized bragging about my hustle is uninspiring because it doesn’t help my audience.

Shift Focus from How to What You’re Doing

What’s funny is that I used to publish content mainly for my audience or for my mere entertainment. I liked sharing what I was working on. I wasn’t obsessing over the excessive amount of time I spent or ludicrous hour in the morning I woke up so I can revise a sketch before I could vectorize it. It wasn’t about the amount of work I could cram into a day. I just made things and shared them with the world.

We need to spend a little less time talking about our work ethic and spend that time on providing value to our audience.

This is what I’m going back to. I know you don’t care about my hard work. I’d be wasting your time if I sat here telling you, “Look at me, I’m working hard!” Instead, I’m going to focus on sharing what I’m working on and providing helpful information about branding, logos, and visual identity because if you want your audience to care, make it about them, not you.

Be proud, but don’t show off

Here’s the thing: I still show up daily. I only get about six hours of sleep at night. I get up early without hitting snooze. I do my morning routine to workout and write before work. I find breaks in the day to work on building my business. I work late into the evening working on projects that will take me to the next level as a logo designer. I read before going to bed to learn more about branding.

I still work extremely hard and I’m more efficient than I was when I first started and was boasting about my hustle on every social media channel.

Am I proud of myself for being able to work hard?

Definitely! But you aren’t going to hear me bragging about it daily because it doesn’t provide you with value. I realize that no one cares about how hard I work. My audience is following me to hear about what

I’m working on and to learn about branding and logo design. They care about the product, not the amount of work that I’ve put into it or the sacrifices I had to make.

Your Audience Wants You, Not Your Hustle

I just want to challenge this phenomenon where we’re spending more time bragging more about our hustle than we are creating content that’s valuable to our audiences.

Instead of sharing how late you’re working, share behind the scenes of your next product that shows how much you care about the quality. Explain why you want to provide your services to potential clients and how you go out of your way to make sure they are happy. Show how meticulous you are when adjusting the kerning in a logo type.

Each of these examples can educate your audience on how important your work is and show your audience how much you care about your work. On top of that, you indirectly reveal your hustle.

That’s like a win-win-win!

So, realize a lot of us are making daily sacrifices. We’re all working hard to build our businesses. A lot of us even get less than the recommended amount of sleep each night, but it isn’t something that needs to be shared across social media constantly.

Appreciate your hustle and dedication to your work. Just don’t let it become the reason why you hustle.

I won’t be surprised if this post strikes a cord, but I hope you get something out of it and start to think about working hard without needing to show it.

What do you think?

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