Last week, a friend shared a fact with me. The nugget was, if you work 10% more, you will earn 40% more. While this fact might motivate someone, it triggered me, and here is why. Hustle culture harmed my health!
I am a recovering busy addict. I used to get off on the achievements, accomplishments and smashing of goals at whatever cost. However, it cost me my health and wellbeing.
Back in 2015, I started listening to Gary Vee’s audiobooks and YouTube vlogs. Now, I am not here to bash Gary Vee at all, the guy talks sense, and there are times when we need some motivation. However, I got sucked into the hustle culture and became unbalanced and emotionally burnt out.
Why? Because I was busy, going fast, in the wrong direction and ignoring my inner guidance. We are responsible for what we consume online, and I would eat hustle quotes for breakfast! I misread the message, I overworked, over shared, but I learnt a big lesson.
Channel Your Energy In The Right Place
You see, working 10% more might apply in some industries. However, in freelance and small businesses, to work 10% more on a project does not always equal a return.
However, spending 10% more time on tasks that push the needle for your business will result in a return. Knowing where and how to use your energy is key. Maybe you need to use that 10% extra time to rest? Being present and well-rested will give you more return in the long run.
Why Are You Busy?
A few years ago, I became the girl that when asked how I was, I would reply “so busy”. It was true, but I was busy but busy being busy. I wasn’t making time for myself, and being busy was a distraction. During the time I was overworking and burning out, I was also going through a traumatic relationship break down. I used overworking and success revenge as a way of coping. What happens when you try to run from your feelings?
They catch up with you, and fast! They manifest as physical symptoms. I would see these messages popping up on your newsfeed, “I’ve been really lucky because I bleed out of my eyes every day and work my fucking face off” – Gary Vee. Seeing these messages made me suck back into the overworking mindset.
You see, I did not feel like I was overworking or burning out because I was “Hustling”. Everyone else seemed to be doing it. Everyone seemed to be working full time with a second or third side business. So, why can I?
I learned two great lessons during this period. Being busy kept me numb to other areas of my life that were falling apart. It also highlighted my people-pleasing tendencies. I emptied my cup for others until I had nothing left to give.
Do Not Compare Your Beginning To Someone Else’s Middle
The dangers of social media are, we do not see the full picture. I noticed that some of the accounts promoting hustle culture had multiple assistance and large teams helping them.
If you are a team of one, do not try and churn out and compete with large companies. This applies to all industries. With social media, we can see the shop window of a person or business. We do not get a full picture of what is going on behind the scenes, so comparing yourself to their shop window is not fair to you or them.
Celebrate instead of compare. I love seeing businesses and people grow, and creating employment is a great feeling. Compete against yourself. Take small steps to get better each day and put your blinkers on to everyone else. We all suffer from comparison. I do not know one person that has not looked to see what others are doing. However, take the inspiration and leave the envy and get back to you.
I discovered that some of the people promoting the hustling lifestyle had rented their riches, from borrowing a fancy car for a photoshoot, photoshopped travel pics to fake images of cash on beds, and I began to smell bullshit.
Like I said above, we are responsible for what we consume online. Social media can be an echo chamber. When we engage in a topic, the algorithm will serve us more of that. Quickly our feeds can be flooded with one-sided opinions and views.
Yes, people make money from our insecurities. When we are in a vulnerable place, we are easy to sell to. When I was in a state of burnout, it was not an extra book or podcast I needed. It was the opposite. What I needed was to rest in the real world and to step off the hustle train.
We both have masculine and feminine energy within us. Masculine energy takes action, and feminine energy creates. These energies balance each other like a Ying Yang symbol.
When I look back at the time when I consumed so much around hustle culture. I notice that a lot of the content I consumed was unbalanced masculine energy. My masculine energy became toxic and unbalanced. I ignored my feminine energy that encourages less doing and more being.
When I am passionate about something, I can go full force at it. I am also an early bird by nature, so 6 am starts are no problem for me. However, in the past year, I have become more self-aware of how I work and the importance of rest. Learn your rhythm, are you an early bird or a night owl.
I am also more discerning about the things I consume online. From doing inner work, I realised that the achievement addiction stemmed from my childhood. By working with people I trust, I have been able to heal this. I am now more self-aware of when I am becoming unbalanced and when I need a reset.
There will be seasons where I will be achieving and then there will be seasons when I am resting and I am okay with that.
Be kind! When consuming social media, we see people in their different seasons. Some people are launching and having wins in their business and others are in their Winter season when they are less doing and more resting.
There is no right or wrong. Each to their own and their journey.
Sadly, I saw productive people (and people resting ) being shamed. If someone triggers you because they are doing or not doing, that is your responsibility and not theirs. Do your inner work before shaming someone else.
I could easily write a post blaming every hustle account for my burnout, but, it was me who caused it not them. We are responsible for what we consume on and offline.
Rest, Rhythms and Cycles
This year, I have been reading lots of books that talk about feminine energy. One thing that struck me was the importance of cycles and rhythms in nature.
We have four seasons, the moon has a monthly cycle and my feminine body has a monthly cycle. I am learning to honour that. We live in a masculine energy world, where doing is rewarded. We wash pain killers down with coffee when we are crippled with PMS so we don’t look weak.
We hold back tears when something touches us because we fear being seen as soft. I have started to ask myself, what is wrong with being soft?, what is wrong with resting when I have my period and saying no to the demands of others? Nothing, but we have grown up with these beliefs that I am starting to shed because they no longer serve me.
I am learning to listen to my body and work more intuitively, and I now say no more frequently. I feel empowered and relieved to take back time for myself.
If You Have Felt Burnt Out By Hustle Culture, Here Are Some Tips
- Mute, unfollow and clean out your social media feeds. Please be compassionate when doing this, its easy to blame someone else for them making you feel a certain way, but you are responsible for what you consume. Lean into what triggers you, as there is a lesson to be found within.
- Follow accounts that promote both productivity and rest and are more relatable to you and your business or lifestyle.
- Listen to your body, and if you need three coffees and a late night to get your work done, re-look at your workload and workflow and incorporate rest.
- Honour your feminine cycle. By tracking my cycle I know the times in my cycle when I have loads of energy and times when I need to retreat and be kinder to myself.
- Seasons, every project and idea has a season. We plant seeds in Spring, watch them grow in Summer and harvest them in Autumn. In a world of instant results, I have started to pause and allow things to have time.
- Boundaries, check out this post on digital boundaries.
- Daily journaling, for the past year, I have been doing morning journaling. It helps me to see areas where I need to focus. I also love the feeling of dumping all my thoughts out, and then I do not have to carry the weight of them around all day.
- Triggered? Lean into it. What is it trying to tell you?
I am not here to shame anyone who participates in the hustle culture, nowadays, we have enough shame to deal with. With everything going on in the world, I wanted to share this piece in the hopes it helps someone that is on the brink of burnout.
I am writing this post to highlight the dangers of over-consuming the hustle culture narrative and channelling your energy in the wrong direction. I want to highlight the importance of rest in a world that seems to be on 24/7.
If you found this post helpful, please share it with someone who might benefit from reading it. You can find more lifestyle posts here, including this one about the importance of digital boundaries. Check out this video I shared in December too. Thanks for reading, Chat soon, Catherine.