If Merriam Webster had an entrepreneurial word of the year, it seems like the word for 2017 would be hustle.
Everywhere I look, people are talking about the importance of the hustle. Or working on their side hustle. Or how you need to hustle if you want to make things happen.
What does hustle mean to you? To me, and it seems to many people, it means spending long hours on projects or businesses that are important to you. It means being laser focused on getting more clients, more business, more money - growth. It means giving up social events and ‘me time’ in order to spend time on your business. Because you’re dedicated and it’s all gonna be worth it in the end.
There are a lot of people out there who have followed this formula. Many of them have achieved great success with it. Or at least, that’s how it looks from the outside.
From that angle, I probably look like I’m successful too. I’m doing something I love, with great clients. I work for myself and call all the shots.
But you see, I’m not immune to the whole ‘hustle ’til ya make it’ society we’ve built up. I’ve put in very long hours working, overbooked and overcommitted, all in the name of chasing success. I’ve made myself available outside of the hours I said I’d be working, all to accommodate client schedules or expectations. I kept telling myself it was going to be worth it in the end, because eventually I’d ‘make it’. Then I could take vacations or spend more time on my hobbies or whatever.
The truth is, that day doesn’t really come for most of us. It isn’t that our hard work doesn’t pay off - often, it does. It’s that the more success you have, the harder you end up working. That’s been my personal experience, at least. The harder I work, the harder I have to work. It seems backwards but it’s been shown to be true, time and time again.
So it didn’t surprise me in the least to discover an article last week on Inc that seems to say the same thing. In fact, it takes it one step further, boldly claiming in the headline that “Working Long Hours Can Kill You, According to Doctors”.
In summary, the article mentioned multiple studies that show that working long hours and skipping vacations increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, depression, cancer and diabetes. It also increases the general risk of early death.
So, why am I sharing this with you guys? What does this have to do with building a happy and healthy practice for yourselves?
Think about it for a moment. Do you tell your clients to take more time for self care? To come in for more treatments because their bodies need it? To be at the computer less as it’s good for their health? To consider taking a vacation?
I bet you do. I did all the time as an RMT! It was standard practice to chat with clients about how they can improve their condition and overall health, and done because I really cared for their wellbeing.
But do you take your own advice?
Do you work 10 or 12 hour days? Do you make yourself available at all kinds of times or booking outside of times you’d normally be working to accommodate people? Are you working lots of evenings and weekends?
Where’s the time for self care for you? Do you take vacations?
You know avoiding self care leads to feeling burnt out, stressed out, exhausted. At least for most of us. As you’ve already read, it certainly has for me. And the evidence points to it being very unhealthy for us - deadly, in fact. So why are a lot of us doing a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ with our clients?
It’s really great to have a career you really love, but it’s even greater to be able to enjoy the life you’ve built for yourself, including your career. So if we’re going to have an entrepreneurial word of the year, I’d like to propose ‘heart’. Because in the end, hustle to build your career is fine, but let’s be real: it’s your whole life that is important. Try leading with your heart instead, and you might just find the success you’ve been looking for.