Hustling is Not the Answer to the Question of Growth

Business not as hot as you’d like? Repeat this simple mantra, “hustle.”

That seems to be the answer you’re most likely to find for all your woes. Write more, create more, network more, pitch more. Hustle.

Really? Hmm…

I don’t have an across-the-board problem with hustling. My problem with it is that it can easily lead to more ugliness than it solves.

When you’re measuring your work against the hustle imperative, it’s hard to see others success in perspective. You end up repeating others hustling instead of figuring out what actions would best serve your own goals.

The hustle imperative can also force you to work from a sense of scarcity. There’s only so much time, only so many tactics, only so many connections that count. You’re constantly racing against the clock and your own sanity.

It’s not that it doesn’t work; it’s that it’s exhausting.

Hustling is not the key to growth. It’s the key to getting individual things done, checking things off the list, sealing the deal. It’s not a long term strategy.

Growth is big. It’s expansive. It’s nourishing.

Growth requires effectiveness. It thrives on ease.

If you’re ready to grow your business–make a bigger impact, reach a wider audience, or generate more revenue, you need to focus on discovering what creates the most returns (as you define them) with as much ease as possible.

Doesn’t sound much like hustling to me. What do you think?

Let’s go a bit deeper with this conundrum, though. It’s not enough to say that growth is more about ease than hustle. There’s a pervasive belief that, while concentrating on ease, strengths, and core desires can lead to plenty of good feelings and a softer variety of prosperity, these things don’t lead to the kind of immense impact that hustling creates.

What I want to see in this new year of growth is a melding of ease & effectiveness with big goals & hardcore prosperity. It’s not a choice.

A brave approach to ease really can lead to bold growth.

Click to tweet.

As you begin to execute on your plans for this year, consider what bold growth might mean for you and your business: a bigger team, a shorter workday, 10,000 downloads, a life transformed, a 6-figure year, a book deal, a vacation, a baby, an investment. And as you’re tempted to do more and more and more to achieve that growth, remember that there’s a path–albeit, not well marked–by which you do less to reach greater success.

Effectiveness leads to expansiveness.


My new book, The Art of Growth, tackles exactly this subject. How do you make a bigger impact with your business without working yourself to the bone?

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19 comments on “Hustling is Not the Answer to the Question of Growth

  1. thetarotlady says:

    If this is what you are serving up, I cannot wait for January 8th! Brilliance!

  2. Love this, Tara! Just wrote a similar piece, so I”ll be getting your book for more inspiration. I’m all about ease AND expansion!

  3. Love this thank you!!

  4. Tammy Vitale says:

    I am so happy to see this idea of “less hustle” entering into the business field. Not so much the 4 hour work week as practical sense…it totally resonates for me. And I love the way you’ve laid it out. Must run off and share with some of my biz folks. Thank you!

  5. Just got done journaling a similar idea for my approach to this year. I’d completely ignored something I used to know at my core, that intention can do the heavy lifting if I remember to come from that place. That squeezing my inner guidance shut by “trying to make this thing happen” is not the way I prefer to grow myself of my book. And speaking of books, will def grab yours when it’s available.

  6. dmdobbins98 says:

    I’ve found this to be true for me. The more I relax and focus on one thing at a time the more I achieve.

  7. pjrvs says:

    Can’t wait for your new book! Hustling, for me at least, seems to imply working hard until a goal is achieved. I’d rather work smartly, redefine, or even abandon if necessary and work less (but work smarter).

  8. EllieDi says:

    I have a very hard time letting go of the hustle mentality. It seems to be working for everyone else but me, you know? (I realize that’s a gross overgeneralization, but you get what I’m saying.) I’ve tried to figure out a gentler way to do it – and to grow more patience – but it always seems to slip away. Super looking forward to your book for the insight I’m sure it’ll give!

  9. Oh Tara, you’re dead on about the hustle imperative can force us to work from a sense of scarcity. It causes to feel like I’m running around like a head with my chicken cut off. And you’re absolutely right about bold growth requiring more melding and less hustling. Most days I look at what I’ve achieved during the day and think, “Damn, I thought I got more done today, but don’t have a lick to show for it.”

    Honestly, I’ve never been fond of the word hustle. It always sounded dirty to me. Like you’re trying to get something for nothing. Now the word ease sounds smart. Like pjrvs said above, I’m boldly striving to work smarter, not harder in 2013.

    Happy New Year and congrats on the book.

  10. I tend to switch between hustling and being contemplative, but it’s a natural pattern more than self-imposed. One thing that might be pervasive across both modes is that of being ‘hungry.’ Hungry doesn’t always mean hustling, but it does mean being efficient and acting with purpose.

    Btw, love the little jQuery nuance in your comment box.

  11. Thanks for this gem, Tara! Cheers to a successful 2013 for all of us :)

  12. Cory says:

    Great points! Hustling does seem to often lead to more problems rather than less problems. Our goal for 2013 is to work smarter not harder.

  13. pjrvs says:

    I work myself to the bone for a client when I’m hired to do a job. That way I don’t need to “hustle” to promote what I do, my clients gladly do it for me. And it’s worked well for me for the last 15 years too.

  14. “Growth thrives on ease.” Such a welcome departure from the usual noise. Looking forward to reading more.

  15. melissa says:

    Loved this and had to send this out in a tweet :) love your work.