If You’re Hustlin’ ’til You Drop, SOMETHING’S Gotta STOP.

“Every day I’m hustlin’ (x4)”

— Rick Ross, “Hustlin'”, Port of Miami (2006)

The other night I was typing up a storm in #blkcreatives—by far my favourite Twitter chat right now—when something caught my eye.

That month’s theme was money and money management, which invariably got us talking about how we make money. Black folk are all too familiar with the hustle. We’re raised believing we need to work twice as hard to get half as far as our non-Black peers, but no one discusses the consequences of this thinking when left unchecked.

We’ve never been big on mental health. I sought professional help a few times in my 20s because I just pushed myself too hard. Working hard is important—I don’t have time for those complaining about their lives while doing nothing to change them—but so is finding balance. I’ve spent much of 2017 putting everything I could into growing the brand, but with all the things tugging me in every other possible direction—my family, my job, and my church—I just reached a point where I’d no more to give.

And this sorely affected my writing.

I’m don’t lack things to write—my to-do lists dozens of items deep—but writing is a feeling process. How well you write is completely dependent on how well you feel, so when you’re feeling burnt out, it isn’t doing any favours to anyone.

Something needed to give before it was me who took the hit!

31 Things I Know Now That I’m 31: #5 — I’m My Own Worst Enemy

If I could figure out what I’m trying to say with the hundreds of draft posts I have, I’d sleep far better at night. I’d schedule them in, get about six months ahead with content, and use the newly found spare time to handle other outstanding work in my life!

But that’s not realistic. I can’t turn my creativity and inspiration on at will, constantly struggling to fill the blanks in my stories, looking for the words that’ll make them sing. It’s a vicious cycle where I only make it partway through my thoughts each night, too tired to bring them to a close, having dance the exhausting productivity waltz with my mind for nights in a row. Then I go through my day, sit down at night, and try to get it together — knowing it’ll take more than I’ve got to give to write something I’ll love.

We all have our decisions to make — how we spend our time, what’s actually important to us — I just hope I’m making the right ones.

Long Live the Hustle

Last Updated: October 6, 2020

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the work that we never actually hustle to reach the goals that we set out in the first place.

What’s Your Dream?

It all starts with a dream. A notion. An idea.

After work, I caught a quick bite to eat with Sean Ward, an old buddy of mine, and he told me the big secret to getting where you want to be in life. To paraphrase:

Keep throwing things out there into the world, and eventually one will stick.

When he’s working on his projects, he’ll share shots and videos of the works in progress so people can get a good idea of what he’s been up to and where he’s going next. It’s not so much a humblebrag or anything of that nature, but rather it gives him the fuel he needs to keep producing and moving forward.

The Dangers of Thinking Too Much

Which connects right back to the original point — we might have unique ideas. We might have entire lists of things that we want to do but never get around to doing them. Why?

At dinner, I called it an “idea backlog”. I’ve said countless times now, but life is the sum of our experiences. And the more experiences we have, the broader our understanding of the world around us grows.

Here’s a look at mine:

So what do you think will happen to an idea that you’ve just left sitting around in your head without having done anything to make it more real? That’s right — it will only grow in scope and scale until it seems unattainable and leaving you too overwhelmed to start!

And no one wants to be stuck with a great idea but no hope to ever make anything of it, do they?

And So, We Hustle

In the end, you need to be less worried about where you should start and about people stealing your ideas, and more about never starting in the first place.

Don’t know where to start? Start somewhere. Doing something is countless times better than doing nothing.

Afraid someone’s going to steal your idea? Take what they did and do it even better. These days, we rarely remember the one who did it first—it’s whoever did it best.

Stop giving yourself an easy out. Stop giving yourself excuses to rely on and just do stuff.

Get your hustle on. What’s the worst that could happen?