How many Instagram posts have you seen glamorizing hustle culture? Working late into the night, not taking days off, devoting all of your energy to financial success? I’ve probably seen thousands of these posts, and every single one of them makes me sad.
I’ve got news for you. Hustle culture is toxic. What’s more, it isn’t the only way to succeed in business. You can run a business with ease and balance, all without running yourself into the ground.
Breaking Down “Hustle Culture”
What Does “Hustle Culture” Mean?
Have you ever met someone who seems to work constantly? They answer emails in bed at night, work long hours without overtime pay, and (worst of all) glamorize how tired and overworked they feel. If so, you’ve met a victim of hustle culture.
Hustle culture is the idea that working hard all the time, often at the expense of your wellness, is desirable. Any form of rest seems like laziness. When you’re deep in hustle culture, it can feel shameful not to overwork yourself.
In the entrepreneurship space, hustle culture is everywhere. Business owners who work long hours every day are revered. Influencers preach that overworking yourself is the only way to the top. Anyone who isn’t miserable and exhausted is doomed to fail.
Where Does Hustle Culture Come From?
Hustle culture has been around in Western culture since the very beginning, but it’s seen a major rise in in the past few decades.
The eight-hour workday, which got its start in the early 1900s, was built on an antiquated vision of the Western household: father works full-time, mother keeps the house, and children go to school until they’re old enough to work. Fortunately, our modern households are much more varied! We have single parents, couples without children, same-sex couples, couples who both work, roommates who split the bills, couples who run their own business together, single folks living their best lives… The list goes on and on. Because of this, the eight-hour (or more) workday just doesn’t work anymore. We run ourselves into the ground trying to work full-time jobs, keep our homes in order, and (for some of us) raise children.
And because the traditional workforce has always been dominated by men, hustle culture takes on a particular masculine energy that, in my experience, doesn’t align with most women. The vision of “bro marketing” (luxury cars, corner offices, and sleazy sales tactics) isn’t one most of my clients aspire to. That’s great! To step away from that image, you also need to step away from the culture that feeds it.
Is Hustle Culture Toxic?
The problem with hustle culture isn’t necessarily that it makes us work hard. Hard work is good! The issue lies in the total unbalance of work and rest.
Because we’re so accessible – via email, text, Slack, you name it – it’s difficult to create boundaries between work and home. If you’ve ever answered a business email after dinner or responded to a Slack message before you’ve had your coffee, you know what I’m talking about.
The result? Burnout. It happens to everyone, but I see it most often in business owners. It’s hard to find a balance between work and home, especially when you feel your business’s success rides solely on you. When our minds are constantly ready to work, we never get to mentally ‘clock out’ and recharge.
Luckily, there’s more than one way to run a business. You can be a successful, happy business owner without existing in a constant state of hustle.
The Alternative to Hustle Culture
Embody Your Feminine Energy
This is your invitation to step into the exact opposite of that “bro marketing” image.
So many women I work with struggle to fit into the old-school entrepreneur mold. That’s a good thing! Personally, I embody feminine energy in my business. I treat my business as a living thing, a thing to be nurtured. Like a plant, I water and feed it, but I don’t try to force it. Trust that growth will happen in due time, and keep tending the garden.
Also, pay attention to your body’s natural cycles. Are you more energized one week than the next? More creative another week? Analytical the next? Adjust your work schedule to fit into these cycles. When you work with your feminine energy instead of against it, you’ll find a better flow in your business and avoid burnout.
Stop Forcing Things
Time for an uncomfortable truth: If you’re hustling day in and day out but seeing no progress towards your goals, maybe those goals aren’t for you.
It’s hard to let go of the image of success we’ve built for ourselves, especially when you’ve put so much work in. But chasing a dream that isn’t meant for you will only lead to heartache. Spend some time with yourself, recenter, and decide what you really want. It may look totally different from your original plan, and that’s okay! You’re allowed to grieve for a goal you never achieved while also redirecting your energy towards one that’s more aligned with your values.
If you’re absolutely sure this is the goal you want to reach but still aren’t seeing progress, reassess your efforts. Are you trying to force success before your time? Are you using a business model that doesn’t feel right? Are you firmly rooted in your visions and values? Often, stepping away from hustle culture means reevaluating our business processes. If yours don’t feel good, chances are they aren’t right for you.
Accept Ease In Your Business
I know it’s hard to believe, but running a business can be easy. Sure, it’ll require hard work. There will be bad days. But when your business is totally in line with your vision, things tend to work themselves out.
Anyone would say they wish their business came easily, but so many of us still feel shame when it does. Am I hustling hard enough? Am I deserving of this success? Is this fair? This shame drives us to hustle when it’s not necessary, and that ends in burnout. If you’re in a period of ease in your business, enjoy it. If you’re not, let’s get you there.
Ready to give up the hustle?
A truly aligned business doesn’t require hustle. When you get real about building a business that feels right, everything else falls into place.
If you’re feeling caught up in the hustle, let’s talk. We’ll take a look at your business, chat about how you’re feeling, and create your custom, soul-driven business plan. Click below to explore mentoring with me.