I’ve stayed away from the word “hustle” for years, and I don’t have a good reason. For the most part I’ve always associated it with manipulating people and circumstances; finding any which way to make something happen with no regards to ethics.
Like when I used to work for a cell phone company and would have to coerce people into buying new phones or dropping current carriers to sign up for the ones I was hired to push. No better than the used car salesman I bought my second car from (my first car was bought from someone with more integrity) who upsold the value to three times what the car was worth along with a warranty that spanned four pages of fine print and time-pressured into a decision because he lied about someone else looking to make an offer because it was such a deal. I ended up totaling that car and paying it off five years after because of the massive amount of hoops I had to jump through sprinkled in that fine print.
It wasn’t until the last couple years that the word–hustle–has entered into my lexicon again, but this time I didn’t feel as slimey.
In business, the word hustle was reintroduced into my world by the likes of Gary Vaynerchuk, wine-guy turned marketing expert. Most people are turned-off by him–the crude language or the blunt commentary–but I absolutely love that. Not for the sake of being different, but because he comes off as authentic. That authenticity is found from his consistent personality. Plus, I’m sure you can tell when people are being phoney.
Viewing “hustling” from a business standpoint has tweaked my association of the word from filthy, dirty-dealing douchebag (Triple D?) to someone who passionately and maybe aggressively tackles situations head-on and takes care of business. Gary seems extremely (and also aggressively) passionate, and that’s one thing I respect very much.
You just can’t argue with passionate people on their path, it’s those people that I enjoy working with–creatively and in business–and it’s that passion that I aim to rekindle as I move forward figuring out my shit.
Motivational Quotes. Not a big fan. And here’s why:
9 times out of 10, it’s a lie.
…and the contradiction.. oh the contradiction.
I like working with people who DO. I have major respect for those that get shit done.
How do I decide to work with people–either creative, business, or both?–I check out the stuff they post on social media. I look for evidence that they push things out into the world. If I see they put out more WORK than FLUFF, I’m a fan.
Of course this doesn’t always work if they are a private person, which in that case I’d have requested seeing what they’ve done and if possible hang out with them. It’s easier to gauge someone’s work ethic when you’re around them.
Seeing a wall of motivational messages on their Instagram suggests to me they’re more interested in making themselves feel better (probably because they’re not doing anything) than doing any actual work, and that is not hustling.
I speak from experience because that was me years ago during my personal development phase.
I like the occasional quote every now and again, but mainly to backup an assertion that I hold onto. And definitely not generic messages like “Follow Your Dreams” or self-affirmations like “I Am A Miracle.” They at least have to be something I can extract an actionable truth from.
And there’s the key word: actionable
Hustle isn’t standing around, It’s kinetic.
It’s rapidly moving forward, building momentum.
It’s knowing there’s an outcome in place and figuring out a way to get there.
It’s seeing an obstacle and bypassing it, working your way around, over or through it.
It’s not always intelligent but always a learning experience.
It’s not standing around and whining when something doesn’t go to plan but finding an alternate method.
Hustle is action. Simple.
MY CURRENT HUSTLE
As of now, my current thought-process is to become the best-in-the-world. It’s very broad, so from top-down it gets a little more complex.
I aim the be the best-in-the-world in my chosen craft of filmmaking. Lots of other things had to be cut down in order for me to focus and not spread myself thin such as musician, marketer, investor, producer (film & music), graphic designer, photographer, voice actor, martial artist, and attaining a PhD in applied sociology.
Still very much a jack-of-all-trades, I do have a main focus and drive. My hustle is to master my chosen craft which in mastery can lead to a plethora of good things. “World-renowned” comes to mind as a positive outcome, which leads to notoriety and being sought-after, to contract bids, raise my rates, gain support, and make my way to the top of people’s minds with anything associated with filmmaking–or niche within.
Seth Godin makes a valid point in his book, The Dip, about being the best in the world. Paraphrasing:
The market loves superstars and being number 1 disproportionately offers you more benefits than being number 2.
It’s a short book, but pretty revelatory.
So, my current hustle in bulleted form:
- Continue to learn and master the many disciplines of filmmaking.
- Establish my filmmaking style as well overall creative style.
- Develop a web series to practice my craft.
- Finish short film (Victorious Kitty) to put through the independent film festival circuit and put myself on the radar of producers and backers.
- Transform the BAD OR BAD brand from film reviews to an overall publishing platform with topics discussing movies, video games, nerd culture, tech and whatever else I find interesting later.
- Transition from freelancer to building my creative agency or film production. (Haven’t decided yet)
- Develop my team of operational managers and creative professionals.
- Continue to pitch ideas to those that can help to make it happen.
- Expand my network of awesome people.
ENERGY + SCHEDULING
In my opinion, there are two very critical factors that may need to be addressed, often continuously: energy and scheduling.
If I don’t have the energy to take on projects or tasks, they are not going to get done or even started. This relates more to health than drive. Where drive is fueling the mind to do, health is required for the physical tasks of doing. Diet and exercise. That’s it.
Scheduling is required to focus your time. Sure you can try to carry out tasks by keeping them all in your head and decide to work on things emotionally–whenever you feel like it, but more than likely you’re not going to move very rapidly, and we are talking about hustling here aren’t we? Knowing how to manage your time is important in the hustle, with all the minutia that can happen in a day… ain’t nobody got time for that.
FINDING HUSTLE IS FINDING PASSION
Chef (written and directed by Jon Favreau) has recently made its way into my favorites collection. I found this easily to be most well crafted film helmed by Favreau–well, besides Iron-Man, but that reasoning is skewed because I’m an Iron-Man fanboy. But this scene, to me, illustrates conviction in the few lines performed.
For me at least, in this new perspective of the word, finding hustle is finding passion and that passion drives the actions necessary to push myself and take care of business. My business.
So what does your hustle look like?
Let me know in the comments, I’m interested to know how you hustle and what you’re hustling for.