People tend to either love or hate this word.
Some love the grind, others detest it.
Some associate it with getting $h*t done and being productive. Success.
Others associate it with going to work, running errands, being busy. Stress.
There are times in my life where I have loved the hustle and times when I have despised it. Times when my life was consumed with pushing forward and other times when I felt like I was trying to resist and pull back.
Two years ago, I was in a period of pulling back. Working to find balance in my life, I felt like I had been living at warp speed for a number of years. Growing in my career, going to grad school while working, jumping into endurance racing, hanging out with friends, seeking out the next opportunity to travel, to learn, to explore.
Living life to its fullest.
As full as I could pack it.
….I’ve always been one to overpack….
Trying to be prepared for anything. To be able to enjoy everything – at a moments notice.
I hustled. I worked my butt off.
I lived by the motto of work hard and play hard.
And I loved it.
Until I didn’t.
In 2015, I grew tired, but I fought it. I kept going, kept pushing. In my work life I pursued a change – a new job, new location, pushing in a different direction. Took a leap of faith (and didn’t land where I thought I would, but learned a lot from that leap…). The new job wasn’t working out, I grew even more tired, and blamed it on continuing to bite off too much in my personal life. My first move was to change direction with my training – shorter distances, new coach, faster paces. But, it turned out, that was not really the problem.
For a while, there was nothing but change in my life. New job, new people, new house, new life. Trying to figure out what was ‘off’ became a challenge since I changed so many things in such a short period. It was overwhelming. Luckily, I realized that sometimes you just need a break. To pull the plug for a bit.
So I stopped.
Stopped running, biking, swimming.
Pursued a change of pace.
A switch in gears.
When I stopped, I had time to breathe, time to think. Time to realize that some changes I had made were good, and others…. well… needed to change once again.
I realized that I still wanted to hustle. But only where it mattered.
And so, I came up with a new life rule – which is posted next to my bedroom door:
Every morning, before I leave my bedroom I am reminded to only run when it matters, to chase the goals that align with my values.
I started this post in 2016 but never hit the publish button. I think it was because I wasn’t sure that I knew the end of the story, or felt like I really had a true outcome. My post would have just made things sound amazing, like I had easily flipped a switch and had made all the right changes. I knew I had not. I knew I had lots of work to do.
I know I still have a lot of work to do. In reality, the work is never done. But I think that is a good thing. For if you feel your work is complete, you likely have calcified yourself – this may work for some people, but I think I would die a slow miserable death of boredom.
As 2017 is coming to an end, I am realizing that life has truly started to gear up again. The (second) new career is jumping into full swing, things are starting to move at a faster pace, and changes are coming rapidly.
I have to admit, it feels good.
By and large, life is not the overwhelming hustle of prior years. It is a more calculated hustle. A learned hustle. One with direction, purpose, and perspective. I’m excited to be rolling into the holidays. Excited to start planning 2018. Excited to see what changes come my way.
I know that I am going to have to continually remind myself to focus on what matters, to hustle for the good things, to let the ‘extra’ go (or at least put a lot less emphasis on it). I also know that I have learned a lot these past few years, and that while I have learned much, I have much much much more to learn. And that I can’t wait to learn it.