You’ve probably heard the term hustle culture, used to describe the glorification of work. Those who adopt hustle culture have the urge to work harder and longer, working 50/60+ hours in a full-time job, or working a 9-5 plus or a side hustle or two.
People who are part of the hustle culture say they have increased productivity and higher motivation leading to professional success. But along with that rise and grind mentality comes some negative effects – stress and anxiety, a lack of work-life balance and complete burnout.
Anti-hustle culture is about people being against the whole idea of hustling… and I’m all here for it! You CAN work less (smarter) and reach your goals. It IS possible to hustle less to be better productive.
How did we get here? And how can we adopt anti-hustle culture into our work lives?
I spoke with Shawn Fink, a Business Strategist & Courage Coach who offers fierce business strategy and soulful support to women+ entrepreneurs who want to Brave UP and release fear & self-doubt so they can grow, uplevel or pivot their business for greater joy and revenue. She’s also a writer and nature lover and mom of twin teen girls. Book a FREE coaching exploratory call with her now.
Maria: Tell me about the anti-hustle culture… I remember a time where it was so impressive to hear someone say how busy they were and how they were working on all of these projects, and they didn’t have time to do anything other than hustle because they were having so many side hustles. When did this switch happen to the anti-hustle mindset?
Shawn: I can’t say for sure that I know when and I don’t even know that it has completely switched. I think people now more than ever want an anti-hustle life and mindset. But I think still people are caught up in in the hustle, and it’s because it’s a hard habit to break; and certainly the systems that our country our world is made of makes it kind of like necessary to hustle. I actually wrote a book years ago called “Savoring Slow,” so my own mentality has always been more kind of leaning towards slow and not getting caught up in busyness. One of the things that we’ve noticed over the last few years since the pandemic and COVID and lockdown, especially from Lockdown, as people realize that they had more priorities than they had prior to COVID and lockdown. Everybody was like busy hustling, getting things done, off and doing this and that. And then the lockdown allowed for space – space to tend to yourself, space to bake bread…there was a lot of time to do things that people hadn’t done before. So, since COVID and returning to work, we’re seeing a lot more conversations and workplaces around mental health burnout, exhaustion, and quiet quitting. People are like, I’m not going to give you know the 150 I’m going to give enough.
I work with entrepreneurs so and it’s hard to be an entrepreneur, especially if your business is still in that growth stage, to keep things afloat. You are kind of in a survival mode so it can you can’t get caught up in the hustle of it all. I know that everybody that I talk to doesn’t want that; they didn’t start a business because they wanted to have like a 9 to 5 life — they started a business because they wanted freedom. So, I try to work on concepts with my people that is power taking impact moves. I call them “Brave yes” power moves because it’s all about how I can make the most impact with the least amount of energy.
Maria: I almost envision someone on a treadmill and they’re going and going and going like a hamster turning the wheel, trying to get somewhere but not using their time productively. How can entrepreneurs and women still achieve success but with more purposeful time and energy rather than that hustle?
Shawn: It’s funny, your question reminds me of probably 10 years ago or so I had I had another business it was called the Abundant Mama Project and I was doing a lot of study in Buddhism and I had a Zen teacher and I remember specifically asking her well how do I be successful and go after my dreams and hit all my goals and still live this like Zen life? She was like, “one thing at a time – one thing at a time.” I think that’s what we forget especially in entrepreneurship. We forget that there’s this here and now and that we can focus on the Here and Now and at the same time, one thing at a time to get to the next step to get to the next level.
I do think that it’s a balance and a struggle and I don’t think that I have it figured out and I don’t think that I’m ever going to coach somebody perfectly to get it figured out. But it’s a practice; it’s kind of like balance. We’re never going to achieve balance; it’s something that we have to work at constantly every day. Am I going to have balance today? It’s kind of like, “how am I going to focus on what is needed and important and also not get caught up in the should” and the shiny objects all of can add to our busyness because we do. It’s everywhere, what could be doing self-care wise? Travel? What you can do to your house. You can get caught up.
Maria: I always bring it back to social media but I feel like social media can make you feel that way too because you’re constantly seeing what other people are doing and people are constantly selling themselves and hustling online that probably plays a big role too doesn’t it?
Shawn: It does and it’s a necessary evil right? Like we have to market our work especially as women entrepreneurs who are not going to have that upper edge, so we do need to put ourselves out there more even which is work that I do with my clients. But it’s all about two things you’re referencing. We have to be conscious consumers and be careful with the messaging that’s coming through particularly the messaging. There’s a lot of psychological selling and marketing tactics which I don’t buy into at all in my work and I think it’s probably because of my aversion to it in the market. Seeing it in my feed all day long, you have to kind of get to a point where you can see it and then not see. It’s like I don’t need that I don’t need that I need to focus on what is important and what I know will work for my business. Almost two and a half weeks ago, I took all social media off of my phone because I was noticing I was scrolling randomly. It wasn’t like I was not doing what I needed to do – I was scrolling too much so I took it off and I have actually noticed a big difference in my focus in in on my own business and my own creative projects. It comes back to the I’m not as distracted by all these messages that are flooding into my brain…all these ideas of the things that I could be doing. I’m staying on my path now. I’m still using social media – I still use it on my computer I still post. I want to clarify that I didn’t take an Instagram off because I didn’t know how to do stories any other way so that was the only the only little problem in my little plan!
Maria: You mentioned earlier some good advice about taking things one step at a time. What does that look like for you?
Shawn: First of all, I’m somebody who will always have multiple projects going because I’m creative so I have this project over here and I’m writing two books right now but I can only write one book at a time and I can only work on one project at a time and so for I think it begins with knowing your vision and knowing your priorities and then getting granular with what those look like because again we get caught up in the “shoulds” and the possibility of what everybody else is doing and maybe I should be doing that too. But if you can stick to your goals and your vision and work diligently on each one until they’re done each time. And getting support from people who can do the things that you can’t do or getting support to do the things that you can do but shouldn’t be doing but don’t want to.
Having systems in place, time blocking – I do more like a project blocking time, saying “I’m working on a quiz right now from my website -it’s quiz block time.” I’ll work on everything related to the quiz and giving myself that time that gift of time to be able to dive in and focus on that and not feel like I also have to be checking my email and getting on social media and responding to people. I need do this other thing and work on the thing get the thing done, then you can move on to the next thing! I know it sounds easy enough, I know it’s not. A lot of people are getting diagnosed with ADHD in the older years but in more in recent years last couple years and I always say, I don’t think our brains are meant for this amount of information that is coming at us. I mean it is a flood of information and it is it is creating a lot of focus distractions and focus issues. So, we do need to give ourselves Grace that we weren’t meant for this go-go-go. Go slow allow yourself time to process and contemplate and give that space which is I think what I’ve seen with taking all the social off my phone. I’m not feeling that flood getting a little bit more clarity from it.
Maria: And that goes hand in hand with the slow living concept too. Can you tell me what are some healthy ways to integrate hustle into your work life?
Shawn: The bottom line is I like to work with ambitious entrepreneurs. I’m not going to lie, I want the hustlers and then I want to help them slow down. I talk about how entrepreneurs want what I call the “entrepreneur freedom trifecta”. It’s space for time and freedom but it’s also space for identity and creative passion or creative expression freedom. In a business, especially in the work that I do, I want time to be able to write, I want time to be able to create, I want time to be able to focus on the things that I love that drew me to the work that I do. So, the number one thing when we’re thinking about hustle is, are you doing what brings you joy? Focusing on what brings you joy and what works in your business and doubling down on those things as opposed to all the tactics that might work. We can get caught up in that and that’s what creates the busyness. It’s like, I have to create this funnel and I’ve got to get this, I’ve got to put 10 social media posts out there, I’ve got to hit this content strategy. If it’s bringing you Joy and it and it’s working, double down on that! A lot of my work helps entrepreneurs identify those strengths both within themselves and then in their business so that you can have that impact instead of working on things that aren’t in your strengths. It’s like trying to fix what’s broken versus working with what’s already there. That can elevate because it’s such a relief to focus on what’s working instead of what’s not.
I can do what I’m good at, yes! A good example of that is video – you’re a great example of somebody who can do video very well. I don’t do video. I can be on video, but I don’t I don’t produce it and that’s because I’m a writer. I was a writer to start and I’m a writer now and I’m through and through a writer. So, I own that as my strength rather than trying to hustle on grind to learn video put up video get all the reels. I might do one from time to time but I’m not going to master it, I’m not going to make that my thing because that would add in so much more hustle for me.
I work with my clients on, can you feel the friction when you’re trying to do something and that that’s going to feel like hustle. Avoiding those if you can offload them to somebody else. Or maybe you don’t need to do them at all and focus your priorities on what is very important and if you are sticking to it, you won’t feel like hustle – it’ll feel important as opposed to trying to fill your calendar or your schedule 9 to 5. Instead, you say “I only have two priorities today and I do the two priorities and then I get to go and read my book in my hammock.”
I think a lot of people, especially entrepreneurs who are still trying to shift out of that corporate mindset of “I must fill that time slot 9-5 or 8-4 and I gotta do this and that.” And they get to the end you still don’t feel like you’ve done enough! You still don’t feel like you’re arrived, and you wake up the next day with the same list… it’s the same list every day. So why not focus on what are the big priorities, I call them “the brave yes power moves” in my work. What is the power move that’s going to move the needle in my business that I can do today? And then I can go read or take a walk or do the dishes fold that laundry or make another call about the kid’s appointments.
Maria: Tell me tell me how fulfilling working with women entrepreneurs is?
Shawn: Oh, I’m amazed that I get to do this work I’ve been doing it for 10 years…not all with entrepreneurs but with women. It is very fulfilling. I love to help build and grow the person behind the business and then the business itself, so I feel very fortunate. I work with mission driven entrepreneurs, so they have big dreams and visions for how to heal and change the world, change systems. I feel honored that I get to help them do that because not a lot of people want to listen to that. They want to go back to conventional business stuff, and I don’t do conventional, I like the unconventional.
Maria: You also work with them to figure out what their strengths are and where they should focus their time?
Shawn: That’s the first thing we do as soon as they sign up, they get a whole bunch of assessments that they have to take and then we kind of pull out the strengths and their passions and what they’re good at. Then, we start to design their business model around that. Most people don’t pay attention to that when they’re building a business; you might build a business that doesn’t work for your personality, your strengths and then now you’re stuck in something that’s not going to feel good five years later.
Maria: Tell us where people can find you?
Shawn: shawnfink.com. I’m also on all the social medias – Shawn_BraveYes, but if you Google “brave yes”, you’ll probably find me!