If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are you’ve experienced the “hustle.”
Popularized by entrepreneur icons like Tim Ferriss and Marie Forleo, the hustle says you need to work relentlessly, obsessively, with unparalleled drive and insatiable and hunger for your goal. You should be “on” 24 hours a day, restless, raging, and unwilling to stop for anything or anyone.
To an outsider, it may sound crazy–absurd even. A work ethic like that couldn’t possibly be healthy or productive long-term. But within the entrepreneur community, it’s a mandate. A mantra. A mindset that determines whether you make or break it.
Subscription to the hustle mentality can be alluring. It promises to set you on the fast-track to success with a magnetic compulsion towards greatness.
But according to one entrepreneur, the hustle is not the definitive shortcut to success–at least not as a standalone strategy.
I caught up with Awad about his unique take on the hustle on this week’s episode of Unconventional Life, “Why Slowing Down Is The Key To Speeding Things Up In Your Business.”
For Awad, slowing things down hasn’t always been his approach. Growing up in Florida, he worked long hours in his parents’ Egyptian grocery store and adopted their work ethic of sweat and tears.
“I’d see my dad dancing in the kitchen, so excited because it was such a great day. Then the next day he would talk to my mom and say he wasn’t sure if he was going to make it,” Awad says.
Awad adapted to the unpredictability of business by working harder than anyone else he knew. By age 15, he saved enough money to purchase a car–though he wasn’t yet eligible for a license. In mechanical engineering school, he launched a business from his dining room selling car parts on ebay that he would operate from midnight to four in the morning “because that’s the only time [he] had.”
It’s hard to imagine anyone more dedicated to the hustle than Awad was. He was the textbook definition of a hustler… Yet he “was miserable.” He had attained success in business, but his personal life felt empty. He would return home to his wife and four kids feeling drained from the day.
Thus, the “slow hustle” was born. To Awad, it means approaching life with a sense of presence and attunement, slowing down to drink in the moments that really matter. Now, he has the energy to sustain fulfilling businesses and relationships that last a lifetime.
1. Do “batches” of focused work.Don’t keep multiple business related tabs open all day that will constantly draw from your attention. This can make you feel like you are “working all day” when in fact, you are distracted, unfocused, and unengaged. Instead, have one tab open at one time so you can hone in on that task. You might commit to answering as many emails as you can in 25 minutes, for example. You’ll be amazed by how much more productive you are and how much time this frees up for you to do what you really want to be doing.
2. Break down your goal into daily bite-sized chunks. When we set out to achieve a lofty goal, it can seem either overwhelming and obtainable, or manageable in a matter of time–depending on how you look at it. Awad recommends you break down your goal into small steps you feel confident you can accomplish each day so you don’t give up and burn out. With the right strategy, even the biggest feats are attainable. “At 12 years old I figured out what the car would cost and knew how much money I would need to make every single day to get there… and I got there,” Awad says.
3. Establish a clear distinction between “on” and “off.” Drop the mentality that you need to be available for work 100% of the time. This is unsustainable and you will inevitably feel overworked and exhausted. Instead, set up a designated time for work versus play in your life. Be willing to compartmentalize rather than overlap so you can be present to what matters most, when it matters. Awad has created a bracelet with a setting for “slow” and “hustle” to remind him when he is on and off the court. “I wear it on hustle all day long, but before I enter the house, I turn it on slow. It’s my visual cue that I need to leave everything at the door–don’t bring in the struggle of the day. I turn it off to actually be there and hear my kids,” he says.
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