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Cultivating Hustle: The First Ingredient

It doesn’t have to be a mystery...

Hustle.

We all want it. We see others that have it, or living within it. We read that we need it, we should want it, we have to get it, we shouldn’t stop until we have it, we should have it already.

It’s a verb, it’s a command, it’s a lifestyle, it’s the secret ingredient.

So how do you get it and why do some have it while others don’t? Good question! But it doesn’t have to be a mystery.

There are two primary processes that lay the foundation for cultivating hustle.

1. Write down your goal.

If you don’t write it down, it stays in your head and when your thoughts and ideas remain solely in the mental landscape they remain intangible and abstract.

When you write them down, they become real. You’re actually looking at your idea with your real eyes and not just your mind.

2. Break your goal down into small steps.

When you break your ultimate goal into smaller actionable steps, the whole process seems more attainable because each of those small steps is something you can achieve.

It removes the daunting prospect of becoming successful at the ultimate goal and replaces it with achieving success with small attainable goals that lead to the ultimate goal.

Plus, these small achievable goals keep spurring you on because you get a dopamine release with each goal attained. And you see yourself getting closer to the ultimate goal.

Why Your Brain & Body Likes these Two Steps

Here is an excerpt from a 2015 Forbes article that illustrates what happens to our brain and blood pressure when we set attainable goals:

Emily Balcetis, a social psychologist from NYU, recently explained how properly set goals boosts our systolic blood pressure (SBP), which is the measurement of our body being geared up and ready to act. If the goal is easy to achieve we get a nice spike. If it’s moderately hard but seems like a feasible challenge (harder than easy) we get a larger spike and thus more excitement in the body and sympathetic nervous system. But if the goal is seen as impossible our system writes it off, indicated below by SBP decrease.”

Meaning, your body gets excited when it anticipates an achievable goal, even more so when the goal will take some work but is still within our means, but once the goal is perceived as impossible the body shuts down.

So think about how this relates to our large goals. If we don’t break the large goal into small goals you’re not only daunted by the enormity of the goal itself, you also don’t have the bodily and mental support you would otherwise if the goal was smaller, more specific, and easily attainable.

Give yourself the advantage by breaking your large goals into smaller, achievable ones. Make your body chemistry work with you rather than against you.

Managing the Small Goals…

I highly recommend Gary Keller’s book, The One Thing, when it comes to achieving each of your small goals.

Keller says once you have your umbrella goal written down, write down everything that you can do to get to that goal or that you know has to be done to get to that goal.

And then within that, what are the actions you need to take to make each of those individual steps to come to fruition and figure out what the steps within those steps are. Until you’ve broken the whole goal-getting process into bite-sized pieces that are not daunting.

For instance, if your goal is to have a coffee shop, your ultimate goal is “coffee shop.” But that’s loaded with tons of small action steps you need to do before you get the coffee shop:

  • Find the neighborhood that you want to open your coffee shop in
  • Does that neighborhood need a coffee shop?
  • Decide on a name
  • Research coffee vendors and their prices
  • Determine how much coffee you would need to sell to make this work
  • Are you going to sell food?
  • What is the look of the shop?

Etc etc. And each of those steps is more manageable than simply “I want a coffee shop.”

Keller’s point is “what is one thing you could do right now that can bring you closer to your goal?”

So each day you can focus on that one thing. It doesn’t have to be in order of importance. This isn’t a linear process.

Hustle is omnipresent, it exists in all directions, and can be accessed from many different vantage points.

If we stay with the coffee shop idea one thing you could do right now is take a walk through different neighborhoods and see which is lacking a coffee shop.

The next day you could think of a name.

The next day you could reach out to other coffee shop owners to ask about their experience.

The next day you could do a Google search for “Coffee suppliers.” You don’t have to pick one, you don’t have to call one. The search alone is one thing you can do.

Each of these one things add up to the umbrella goal.

The marathoner places one foot in front of another to reach the finish line.

This is the first process for cultivating hustle.

When it comes down to it…

“Hustle” sounds really sexy and alluring but it’s actually pretty boring when broken down to its components.

Hustle is action, it’s activity, it’s planning and following through. It’s setting goals, creating action steps for those goals to materialize, seeing what may need to be improved upon with your goal setting, making new action plans for your goals, repeat and rinse.

Try, fail, succeed ad nauseam. It’s pragmatic. It’s work. It involves the sexiness of calendars, reminders, perseverance, resilience, reframing challenges as opportunities, activating your locus of control.

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