Less Hustle | More Happy
I don't subscribe to the hustle life. Mostly because it steals my joy and I'm a pretty fierce protector of my joy these days. I like to work smart by setting clear weekly goals, tackling them as fast as I can during working hours, & then revisiting them later at night or on the weekend ONLY if I'm feeling excited to do so. Yes - sometimes I'm actually excited to complete a project or task... especially if it's one that aligns with my core values. Don't get me wrong: I love to work! Every employer I've ever had has described me as having "great work ethic" and being good at "getting shit done", but this "hustle harder" mentality is seriously killing my buzz. I don't want to work 7 days a week. I don't want to be on my computer the second I wake up and the last thing before I go to bed. I don't want to feel like I can't stop thinking or something might slip through the cracks. And I really don't want to feel like I have to explain to everyone how much I'm doing and how hard I'm working and how impossible my job is in order to feel worthy in this world. It makes me feel like I'm a juggler with 10 balls in the air and I must.keep.juggling.or.everything.falls.down! I'm getting dizzy just thinking about it.
What I DO want to feel is freedom. And joy. And connection with myself and those around me. I want to wake up and get my coffee and play with my dogs and take my time easing into the day. I want to knock out a 'to do' list faster than expected and then get a jump start on some back burner projects. I want to talk with a friend on the phone. I want to read that article in the New York Times. I want to plan what we're going to have for dinner. I want to take a bubble bath before I leave the house. Sounds kinda lovely, right? I want that to be my life.
Success means different things to different people. Success is not necessarily being known. I honestly don't care if anyone knows me. Success is not necessarily being rich. I don't care about that much either. Success is not necessarily being cool (although if I'm being honest, I actually do care quite a bit about that one).
Here's what success feels like to me:
- Doing something I enjoy and I'm good at and getting paid for it
- Having a high level of autonomy in my workplace where I can enjoy a flexible schedule that is results-based and project driven as apposed to punching a clock constantly with someone breathing down my neck 24/7
- Living in a community I'm proud of where there's lots of diversity and people are socially responsible & creative
- Being involved in creative projects where I can express myself (like I do on my blog or on my podcast) & I feel like I have a voice
- Being in love with someone who loves me back and treats me with kindness
- Spending time every week with my son where we both feel happy & connected
- Having lots of pets around me that shower me with kisses and make me laugh every day
- Not worrying about money
- Nice sheets & pillows (I love nothing more than a perfectly crisp cotton sheet!)
- Little luxury items sprinkled throughout my world (like fresh flowers, Starbucks lattes & beautiful-smelling candles I can light while I watch Netflix and read US Weekly)
- Friends who are there for me when I need them and who allow me to be there for them - there are only a few who are "true", but a few is all I'll ever need
- Being healthy
- Not experiencing debilitating anxiety but instead, daily doses of actual peace
I understand this list will look different for all of us. For some people success is a long marriage or a big home on a lake. For some it is reaching a certain level of financial independence such as having x amount in a savings account. Many people consider education and various job promotions to be indicators of success as well and I totally get all of those things and more. It doesn't actually matter what your success list looks like... you just want to make sure that it FEELS like freedom and joy. It should feel empowering and purposeful and light. It should feel peaceful. You should feel like the luckiest girl around. Maybe working a lot is what makes you feel connected to your purpose. That's totally okay! You just want to make sure it's delivering you connection and not overwhelm. What it LOOKS like to others is not important. All that matters is what it actually feels like to you in real life when you are standing in front of the mirror and being honest.
I know many people who spend a ridiculous amount of time convincing everyone around them that they're living the dream and that they have an INCREDIBLE LIFE HOLY SHIT LOOK WHAT I CREATED YA'LL I'M AMAZING!!! but in reality they are miserable. They're lonely and bogged down with tasks and struggling to make meaningful connections with others. They have a lot of anger deep inside them that bubbles up when they aren't paying attention and they are desperate for everyone to admire them because "Hey - maybe that means I'm admirable?"
What others think about us is none of our business.
I'm not sure who originally said that, but I've always loved it. Success, to me, is not having to convince everyone of how successful I am. Success is living with ease. It's sometimes a messy house and a basement full of laundry. It's always an unmade bed and dogs that need a bath. It's also having kids around (hence the messy) and clothes that get dirty (so, duh, I have to wash them... what a problem to have) and those crispy sheets I mentioned before along with the smelly dogs who like to spoon me if I ask really nicely.
The good stuff comes with the messy.
Life is just like that, isn't it? If we can't embrace all of that imperfect nonsense than it's going to be really tough for us to ever experience bliss. They come together in one big ball that's basically impossible to untangle. Success is being ok with that and not feeling the uncontrollable urge to create a spreadsheet to make it all a little more manageable.
Like most of us, I admire the hussle. It impresses me. I honestly kind of stand in awe of it. You haven't had a day off in how long??? Wow. You don't have time for relationships? Jeez! You are the only one who can do that thing that you do that makes you successful? That's impressive. But... at the end of the day... how do you feel? If you feel more than one or two of these things on a daily basis, then I would challenge you to check in on your hussle:
- anger (not always sure at who or what...)
- pressure (I have to complete this OR...)a
- moodiness (one minute I'm fine and the next I'm a mess...)
- perfectionism (it's never good enough...)
- judgement (why is everyone always fucking up?)
None of us are perfect and we all get stuck in the rat race from time to time. There are bills to pay and mouths to feed and money doesn't grow on trees, etc. BUT, my loves, this is no way to live permanently. No way at all. Crispy sheets may not mean success in your world, but I know you have something small that does. What's the point of the crispy sheets if you can't enjoy them because you're checking your e-mail ONE LAST TIME before you fall asleep?
Just literally stop, drop, and roll that shit right out the fucking front door. Enough is enough. This is your life! You are living your life right now! It doesn't start tomorrow or next week or next year when your Franklin Covey planner is color coded. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. We only have RIGHT NOW. Who are you RIGHT NOW? How do you feel? Do the gut check test and report back.