Here's Why Hustle Culture Is a Big Lie The social norm of hustle culture is a scam. The only way to ensure continued success is to take great care of yourself, prioritize your health, recharge your relationships and keep your body and mind fresh and energized.
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The idea of working all day and night in pursuit of extreme success and riches has dominated the entrepreneurial space for years. However, the topic came under national scrutiny recently when new Twitter owner Elon Musk warned employees that they would need to express a willingness to work "hardcore" hours to remain a part of the team.
Unfortunately, it's not just Elon. This message is everywhere. Social media is overflowing with motivational speeches of hustle gurus promoting waking up at 3:00 a.m. to get ahead of the next person. But this incessant grind isn't sustainable for high-earning entrepreneurs who want to stay successful. That's a path to burnout. Instead, I suggest you carve out time to focus on your health, relationships and maximizing your talents. Let's break down why, along with some advice on setting yourself up for success that includes your life outside work.
If you've overfocused on your business, and your relationships have fallen by the wayside, there are a few steps you can take to get things back on track. Firstly, tighten your circle by identifying the most important people in your life. Who matters most to you and deserves more quality time with you? Once you've determined that inner circle, it's time to set aside non-negotiable, uninterrupted time to recharge these relationships. Schedule this time into your calendar, and treat it as a meeting with a client or investor.
Aim to be fully present and in the moment to maximize this quality time with family and friends. Set boundaries for yourself (e.g., no distractions, outside emails, text messages or phone calls). Don't allow work to bleed into this time. Let someone else handle the business interruptions for you. Show your people that you care about them. Inner-circle relationships deserve your full and undivided attention. And don't think about this as a temporary solution to strengthen old bonds. Make this your M.O. moving forward, and set an example for those who look up to you.
Prioritize your mental and physical health
Your health is your engine. Nothing goes forward toward success without good health. Failure to care for your mind and body will stop you from reaching your goals. You simply can't ignore this. The first thing to do is determine what works best for you to avoid burnout and exhaustion. Next, make self-care a part of your routine by regularly indulging in activities that support your well-being. This can mean exercise and movement, mental rest and meditation or time spent outside and away from the office. When it comes to mental health in particular, step back and assess whether your responsibilities are contributing to counterproductive stress. You might need to reevaluate your time management or speak with peers who have navigated similar challenges for support.
Next, hone in on improving your diet, even if that means consulting a nutritionist. Food is medicine. The right foods convert into crucial fuel that supports your total health, allowing you to feel your best and be fully equipped to succeed. Making poor food choices — whether downing several cups of coffee but not drinking enough water or skipping meals entirely to meet one last deadline — is proven to trash your productivity. In the last couple of years, I've hired a family chef, a personal trainer and a massage therapist — all with the goal of improving our physical and mental health. The results have been phenomenal, and my wife and I see these people as part of our family now, critical to our health habits.
Lastly, consider taking a biohacking approach to your mental and physical health. Biohacking is approaching an issue from multiple angles simultaneously to solve it. Implementing aspects like meditation, exercise, improved diet and other health habits at once can help make essential processes in a shorter amount of time. Focus on implementing what will be effective, and implement a routine that you'll stick to.
Optimize your unique talents
As someone who has worked hard to grow their business, I can attest that it's okay to take a step back from day-to-day operations and focus on the bigger picture. Your time is limited (and valuable), and the work is endless. You've got to recognize there's only so much you can achieve as an entrepreneur and determine what you're best equipped to take on.
Something that my team and I do together to make sure we are all working on things we are uniquely best at is a Post-It note exercise. Each of us writes down the tasks we complete on a typical day, and then we identify which tasks are least enjoyable and hardest for us to complete. Everyone on the team then looks at each others' tasks on the wall of Post-It notes and discusses who might better take that task for themselves. It's pretty amazing to see things fall into place. What one person dislikes might be another person's favorite thing to do.
You can adapt this exercise by similarly jotting down your strengths and weaknesses and ultimately narrowing down which of your strengths are the most important to you and your goals. That clarity can help determine who you may need to add to your team. So, if you're numbers-driven and recognize that creativity is not your strongest asset, or if you're more inclined toward ideating and don't have a natural head for math, you could onboard somebody who complements your abilities rather than overlaps them.
If you've already reached high levels of financial success, clinging to the outdated paradigm of hustle culture will take you directly into burnout or backward, away from your future goals. Achieving true freedom at this stage of your journey requires a different type of time investment and a renewed commitment to balance. Instead, by focusing on your relationships, health and talents, you will hit new highs professionally while enjoying the personal flexibility that hard work has afforded you.