I looked up from my phone and he was gone. I could have sworn he was just here.
I get up and walk around the house, calling out for him. Nothing. I call his phone and he answers.
“Where are you?” I ask.
“I’m out for a walk.”
“Well why didn’t you ask me to come, I would have liked to go for a walk!”
“I did, but you were on your phone and didn’t answer me so I just left.”
My heart sank.
Unfortunately, this is a regular occurrence in my house. Questions that go unanswered, forgotten moments, and one-sided conversations.
All because of the phone in my hand and the career path I’ve chosen.
It never occurred to me that when I became a social media manager I would be constantly glued to my phone. I was more worried about the other business stuff, like how I was going to make a living. I somehow didn’t think that my main source of income would come from the apps on my phone.
That is a battle to contend with in and of itself: how easy it is to work from anywhere. And then there is the battle against that pull we all feel to do more, be more, hustle more.
Sometimes, the pull is necessary. It forces us to take the action we’ve been procrastinating, the action that will get us one step closer to our goals.
However, what’s more often the case is that it pulls on the last remaining piece of our sanity.
It’s virtually impossible to count the number of times it’s been impressed upon us to work harder, put in more hours, love the grind.
We’re told that if we want to be successful, we have to make our business our life. We need to work every waking hour, never stopping until we’ve “made it”.
But who says that’s the only way to build a business? Who says that’s the only way to be successful?
Here’s the actual truth: it’s not the only way.
We are all unique, we all have different ways of doing everything, so why is building a business any different?
Sure, there are best practices, guides, and lessons from those that came before us, but at the end of the day, there are a million different ways to start, grow, run, and scale a business. There are a million different ways to be successful.
I recently watched an interview with Matthew McConaughey where they asked him what he would tell his 20-year-old self. One of the things he said was, “Listen to your 3 a.m. voice”.
He described it as the voice, thought, or belief you have when everything goes quiet and there’s no one else around. He said that no matter what anyone else says, listen to that voice. Even if no one else is saying it, even if it’s not advertised or talked about, listen to your 3 a.m. voice.
This is what my 3 a.m. voice says: I don’t have to hustle and work 90+ hours a week in order to be successful and live the life I want.
By putting everything we have into our business—working all hours, burning the midnight oil, saying yes to every opportunity, putting the business first above all else—we miss out on our lives.
Why should we be hustling to one day have the life that we can have now?
The ideal life looks different for everyone.
For me, it means eating dinner with my husband every day and spending our evenings together. It means being able to drop what I’m doing in the middle of the day to go out to lunch with a friend. It means not having to coordinate vacation schedules with employers so my husband and I can enjoy time together. It means being able to drop what I’m doing at any moment to do what I want to do, like go for a walk, go fishing, visit with family, work on a new project, or create content.
For me, success means living life on my terms—having freedom and being in control of my time.
Jenna Kutcher said it perfectly: “Success shouldn’t look a certain way; it should feel a certain way.”
Success means something different for every single one of us, so why would we let someone else’s opinion or experience dictate how we achieve our own success?
Even if we put aside the cliche that life’s too short, the reality is you’re going to be a different person 3 months, 9 months, 5 years from now. So, the life you want now, may not be the life you’re going to want then.
Success means something different now than it will then. So, the reason to hustle will change and a new reason will take its place. It will keep changing as you change, and then what happens? You’ll be stuck in an endless cycle of hustling. Chasing one version of success, and then the next, and then the next.
That’s the challenge with hustle culture—it’s never-ending, and it’s not enjoyable.
Now, if you’re the type of person that loves to hustle, then all the power to you! For the rest of us, it is possible to build a business and be successful without hustling.
Does it mean it will take us longer to grow our business? Maybe—but maybe not.
What it will do is make the whole business growth experience much more enjoyable.
While I’m still working on putting my phone down when my husband is around so I can be present with him, I have taken big strides towards taking back control of my time, like not replying to client messages after 5 p.m.
And you know what? I haven’t lost any clients because of it, and I haven’t lost any momentum in growing my business. If anything, it has made me stronger and more confident.
Standing up for myself and the life I want is the most liberating experience I could ask for.
Autumn Wilson @awilson
I am a new social media manager focusing on building my agency and helping businesses grow online!