Ok, so maybe there’s something about the mini-bun, a great cup of coffee on the go, and treating your new passion-turned-job startup seriously like a six-figure mad-boss that hits the spot. There’s some serious lingo, trends, and lifestyle choices that define the millennial view of being what you want to be when you grow up.
Somehow, all those factors added to your amazing work ethic and stunning portfolio of work elevate you to most-wanted status. Whether you’re a young teacher, aspiring artist, chef, mom, inspirational writer, photographer, instructor, dancer, whatever it is, you are a little time capsule of culture. I’m sure that artists in the 90’s went to those cool urban clubs, stayed in a cool studio apartment or something in order to be relevant. Maybe the 80’s dance instructor wore and endorsed those ankle warmers, big hair, and those funky high hipped thong suit thingys…. Perhaps in the 00’s, all of us middle class peeps embraced the Uggs and knock-off Dooney and Burke’s to align with the posh culture of Hollywood. Wanting to fit in hits home for all of us. Maybe you want to validate the title of ‘great mom” by using child-friendly cleaning products, shirts that say “Mama Bear” and whatnot. (Actually, I love those Mama Bear things….I’m not cracking…) LOL. And then like the previous sentence, there’s the person who does any one of these listed things because they truly LOVE them and somehow, it’s part of their core.
In my journey as a beginning photographer/artist, it was essential that I observe other artists and see what I could learn. In the process, I picked up some lingo and slang that runs rampant in this community. “Hustle” being one that supposedly embodies the work and ambition of a young millennial, and even better if they are an independent business. This word encapsulates the hard work someone has to invest in order to build an “empire”(there’s another one) from the ground up.
I started to be bothered by this word. As a reflector and intentional in all things, I thought about why I used this word. My answer to myself was so shallow and surprisingly selfish. I use this word because I see other successful people using it, and I feel like I need to be like them in order to be successful.
This revelation led to a business goal analysis. It helps to sit down and define your business as precisely as you can. Some of the best businesses thrive off of a very specific need. For example: Apple = Technology. McDonalds = Fast Food. O’Reilly’s = Auto Parts. Starbucks = Coffee. The North Face = winter/warm wear.
What three words describe your work? Who is your target customer? What is the most appealing part of your work? Sadly, the undertone of the word “hustle” has it’s roots in the proper meaning of the word, which is laced with force and coercion. The noun falls into line with a type of force as well, as in “HUSTLE! MOVE! GET TO WORK!” or “I gotta hustle!”
All these words of force and action inject a subconscious imagery of types, of someone who is of an exhausted, burnt out, quick moving, instant-gratification, I-only-work-to-make-money persona. Will my clients want to sit with me if my behavior is less meaningful, or that I make them feel indifferent in my selfish goals? Think about it, do you want to move so quick in your work with clients or coworkers that it translates as boring routine that you don’t enjoy doing day after day? This is what “hustle” stands for to me. I honestly just can’t abandon gratefulness in exchange for busyness that makes me look like I’m cool and successful.
I recently stopped saying “I gotta/got to…: and “have to” in exchange for “I get to..”, “I’d like to..” and the most intentional “I will/I am/I am going to…” Look below at how much more intentional, joyful, and focused these sentences are with just a simple change of wording…
Before: “We have to go to the store.”
After: “Let’s go to the store later.”
Before: “I gotta go answer all these emails.”
After: “I’m going to answer these emails.”
Before: “I have to go paint so I can get this done.”
After: “I get to go paint so I can complete my project.”
The right selection of words can change so much. If I hear myself say “gotta” or “have to” I quickly substitute it with a different set of words. It really changes my interactions. People are more engaged, enjoying the conversation, your motives are clear and people feel a bit more connected than before.
Same thing with “hustle”…the word is cool and all. If you want to use it, by all means, use it! Your motives may be different than mine. But if we have the same goal, that is, to share the gospel, we get the joy of being intentional instead of victims of force. (see what I did there? no “have to”s!)
Let me encourage you! Whatever your calling may be, there is so much more joy and thankfulness in identifying why you do what you do. You will soon have a clear cut guide of the path you are to take to further glorify our Father. It will permeate your being and bring a fulfillment that was previously thought impossible. Beyond the use or disuse of one word like “hustle”, there is a great calling for us. A calling beyond the culture of 2016, beyond the timeline that holds many ideas of what success looks like. Our ultimate success is to make His name famous.
And if you’ve ever shared the gospel before, you know that sharing in a quick and busy manner doesn’t display our Father’s Love. It is slow and intentional.
It doesn’t “hustle”. It fills. It lingers.