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Hustle vs. Hard Work

Mar 21, 2023

I started swimming a few years ago to help recover from an injury. 

I was the egg beater in Lane Five. I faked it til I made it across the pool, hustled and muscled. I was “swimming” eighty laps a few days a week (gold star from my PT) but I was secretly exhausted and miserable in the process. 

The masters swimmers one lane over amazed me. Watching a beautiful swimmer swim is remarkable.

Well that’s just not who I am. I thought. It’s not pretty, but I'll always get it done. 

This was a pattern for me. A painful one. Rooted in the stories I was telling myself, the thoughts in my head:

If you start something, finish it

I can outwork anyone

I have so much to prove

First one there, last to leave 

No one cares, suck it up, just get it done

There’s always more to do

If I don’t catch these thoughts with my mindfulness practice, I can still lapse into my old hustle. When I’m the eggbeater - doing everything and anything to keep my head above water. It’s all urgent! I have to do everything, always, now. What priorities? Balance? Rest? Cue the exhaustion and misery (and a speedo wedgie) day after day. 

Hard work, on the other hand, is hard and satisfying - no wedgies. It’s fueled by feelings like grit, courage and perseverance. Hard work is about feeling grounded, sufficient and focused. We choose to point it right now, on purpose - and will recover and shore up, on purpose. The thoughts we're thinking make us feel proud and create results we’re proud of - we're not kicking our own asses along the way. 

That hustle, Nina? It wants so badly to help you! But without recognizing the difference between hustle and hard work and balancing the two - you will become depleted and eventually burn out. 

So to be clear, you never have to give up on the work (or throw in the towel at the pool). Instead, you need to consider changing the thoughts driving the work. 

Check your head: what thoughts are creating your results right now? You can change them. You can kick ass out there and feel that way. It’s the difference between hustle and hard work. 

We’ll show you. 

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