For many entrepreneurs and business owners, the struggle of “the hustle” is real. It can also be stressful talking about and being around “the hustle” as that term gets thrown around as the way business should get done and needs to get done. I know for myself, launching a business this past year has been stressful enough! Talk about the constant “hustle” from other business owners only added to my own level of anxiety.
There were days that the stress was overwhelming. I had to dig deep to find my calm in the storm… to find my center. There were tips, techniques, and places that I cultivated over the years and now use as a guide to get me through the haze of walking into this new venture. After all, I had spent time in many other fields and pushed myself into areas I never thought I’d go. All of those experiences were just training ground for what I wanted more out of life and my business.
Here are the 5 go-to tips that I realized I have cultivated over the years and have helped me rise above “the hustle”:
Keep a schedule to fill your soul
For me this includes waking up early to do my morning meditation. If I don’t, I notice I start my day frazzled and it stays that way. Even 15 minutes does wonders to just find that stillness, center it, and begin the day from there.
I also try to read 20 minutes every morning with my morning coffee. Reading helps me become creative and think outside the box, in addition to opening my mind to new ideas and perspectives. Sometimes I’ll read non-fiction books ranging from business to social issues. Other times, I’ll pick up fiction to let me escape to another world, another life, and open my eyes and ears to my more creative senses.
Make time for your body
One thing that really put a damper in my process to find an alternative to the “hustle” mentality was having a knee injury that put me out for months from activities that I loved like running, CrossFit and hiking. I had to modify ways to find that stress relief through activity, until my knee recovered and I was able to go back out.
Hiking for me is a particular pleasure of mine as it not only relieves my stress but also connects me to nature, which I’ve learned from living in Phoenix, feeds my soul. I’ve developed a passion for hiking and love to explore every peak and the vantage point it gives, as well as the thrill of reaching the top!
Remember past accomplishments and achievements
Many of us feel that we are pressured to live the life of “the hustle” because of the creeping sense of imposter syndrome. So, we keep thinking we have to do more and more, work harder and longer, not necessarily smarter. One way to counter-act this is to just still your mind and reflect on your career roles and skills that you’ve already developed.
Literally, write them down! Write down not only all your professional career achievements, but also your personal ones. The things you never thought you could do, but did! Reflect on all the experiences you mustered your courage and resilience to say, “Maybe I’ve never done this before, but I know I can figure it out.”
Use this list whenever you feel the imposter syndrome creep up and as Max says to the wild things “BE STILL!” After all, as in the book “Where the Wild Things Are,” all these wild thoughts we tell ourselves are just in our head!
Tune your mindset – this is an adventure
At some point in my life, I had consciously or unconsciously decided to take on the mindset that everything I do will be an adventure. I decided to look at life in that perspective, personally and professionally. It made all of the highs and lows more fun! It is all a part of the process of discovery. Discovery of oneself: what I didn’t know I already had in me, but also my gaps.
Then, I could start thinking of how to fill the gaps and reach my next level of potential. Almost like hiking a mountain. You reach one cliff, only to realize you just couldn’t see the next cliff that you needed to overcome.
So, you dig in deep and put one step in front of the other, making your way up to the next cliff. Every time you think you didn’t have it in you, you look back and down and think wow, I actually did it! In fact, when I look back in life, so much of it was taking on adventures.
Every decision is a choice—a choice to take on something new and learn from it or stay back and be safe and comfortable. Most of the time, I’ve chosen to take on something new—take on the adventure of life and just see what I learn from these possibilities and opportunities.
If I fail, the worst part is that I have a more colorful story to tell my husband, kids, and future grandkids (I dream of being that old granny on a rocking chair, telling crazy but lively stories)!
Find your tribe – in fact, find many tribes
It is necessary to find a tribe of other women business owners that understand the similar struggles you may be facing and can be a mutual support system to get through the roller coaster ride of being a business owner. However, if you map out your life into the different communities you interact with, you’ll realize you have a broad support network that may or may not intersect.
It may be a mix of a spiritual/religious community, workout community, school PTA community, or causes that you are passionate about like animal welfare or the environment. I believe it is actually helpful to have different tribes to lean on for support and clarity during different points. Sometimes, you need to step far away from your day to day “business” role and just be in service to others. Reconnect with other communities to put life and your struggle for the day into perspective.
When you connect with others, it will help you reconnect with yourself. You may come back to that issue with your business with more clarity and if anything, with ease and peace of mind. Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Business owners can rise above and change the conversation of what success looks like. Many women business owners have walked away from corporate careers to start their own business specifically because of the toxic environment of “the hustle”. We can achieve success and redefine what that looks like by navigating the entrepreneurial waters and staying true to ourselves.
Shatha Barbour is the CEO of Hera Hub Phoenix, a “spa-inspired” coworking space for women business owners and entrepreneurs. Shatha is also a community builder, non-profit cofounder and a mother who is trying to raise three socially and spiritually conscious global citizens.