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We’re Hustling Wrong

A Sales Growth Company
July 1, 2024

Have you ever just watched a hamster on a wheel? Little dude’s hustling, no doubt. He’s working hard, putting in the effort, but, despite all that where is he heading? Absolutely nowhere.

This is one of the issues we see with today’s “hustle” culture. Too many people are bought into the idea of relentless effort being the key to success. They’re bought into the hype that if I just outwork everyone eventually I’ll come out on top. If I wake up first, stay in the cold plunge longest, sit at my desk for the most hours, eventually it’ll pay off. Truth is, hustle isn’t the only piece that matters.

Where we focus that hustle is just as important.

 

Strategy over Sweat

I’m not suggesting that hard work isn’t important. We absolutely have to grind it out and out-work most people to achieve great things. Most people aren’t willing to put in that level of work. Their definition of hard work doesn’t sniff what’s actually needed. Real, vigorous hard work is unreasonable to most. It’s rare.

But, even for the select few that have the willingness and ability to hustle at that level, so many get it wrong. They hustle for a week, month, maybe a year before they burn out. Why? Some realize it’s just unsustainable, but, many simple direct their efforts to the wrong thing. They expend effort without a strategy. They’re the hamster on the wheel. Grinding and not moving forward.

We’ve got to know where to focus your efforts, how to prioritize your effort, and when to pivot. Successful people outwork everyone in the most important areas. They prioritize their work in the areas that yield the greatest results. Here’s 3 areas that can move the needle.

 

Keys to Effective Hustle

Knowledge

Most people will never hustle enough in the learning department. The working world is fast, it’s ever-changing, it’s entirely information based. Continuous learning is now more crucial than ever. Very few have deliberate learning plans. Even fewer dedicate 20-30% of their time to expanding their understanding and expertise.

The successful are voracious learners. They’re constantly hustling to stay ahead of the curve. They know more than everyone else and they’re passionate about expanding their knowledge.

Ask yourself: how much time have you dedicated to learning? How often are you reading industry publications, taking courses, or talking with a mentor? The internet has made world-class educations accessible to anyone with Wi-Fi. If we’re not using that to our advantage, we’re falling behind.

 

The Little Shit

Possibly the area that has the most potential but one that’s often pushed to the side: the little shit.

The mundane, boring, seemingly insignificant tasks that most people hate. The grunt work, the nitty-gritty, the unsexy stuff that makes for a boring LinkedIn post.

Hustling here is so powerful because so few are willing to do it. Most of us neglect these tasks. We’d rather be working on the big, flashy projects that get recognition. But, it’s often the accumulation of these small tasks that starts to set us apart. What are the little things in your field? Following up on every lead? Double-checking every line of code? That’s where we should be focused.

It doesn’t feel like much. One small task seems insignificant, but the small details day after day, week after week, month after month creates a level of skill that’s hard to match.

 

Creativity/Innovation

Too many of us spend too much time trying to copy, follow, or fit in. We look at what others have done or are doing and try to finish faster or better. That’s just running on a hamster wheel. Those people who make an impact are looking for ways to be different or be first. They use their hustle to innovate.

Innovation doesn’t need to be a gadget or tech, it can be a new solution to an old problem. It’s looking at the same thing as everyone else but seeing something different.

We need courage to tackle innovation. It’s scary to step off the well-worn path and try something new and different. It’s risky to invest time and energy into an idea with an unknown outcome. But that’s exactly what set’s innovators apart.

 

Question Everything

Why are things done the way they are? What problems are consistently faced? What solutions exist? Which solutions may be overlooked? Explore those questions, fail fast, and learn.

Work smarter, find gaps others have missed, create value in a way no one else has thought of.

Let me be clear: hustle matters. Working hard is critical. I’ll never argue against that. But we’ve been sold the idea that hustle alone is all we need. And that’s just not true. To be successful we need a combo of:

  1. A solid foundation of knowledge
  2. Attention to the little details others overlook
  3. A commitment to innovation and creative problem solving

We want to be productive, not busy just to be busy. Take a look at where you’re focusing your effort. Is it moving you forward?

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