One of the things I notice more than anything when it comes to successful people building careers is that they all have a single focus. They put all their energy, effort, and attention on building their business, developing a skill, or creating something to share with the world. In a word, they hustle!
Hustle is the cool, ‘catch-all’ phrase that people use today to say they are ‘crushing it’… 24/7/365. It’s a way of saying, “You will never outwork me because I never stop.” People talk about getting up at 6 a.m., 5 a.m., even 4 a.m., every day in order to start their hustle before their competition. And thanks to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, we get to see their hustle lifestyle and peer behind the curtain to see what it takes to be successful. I love watching these guys and gals crush it in their fields.
I’m the first to say that watching people like Gary Vaynerchuk, Eric Thomas, and Casey Neistat can be super inspiring… but it can also be super frustrating. People see their videos, their interviews, and their millions of followers and think, “Hey, I want that, too!” What people don’t see are the sacrifices they make every single day in order to create that lifestyle and build that following. And even more, what they didn’t see are the years of the same dedication and hard work that went into what these people built before anyone was watching them or cared what they had to say.
Four years ago I started getting up at 5:00 a.m. every morning. I would do my 20 minutes of meditation and then I would write until 6:30 a.m. when I would get my kids, Lili and Noah, up for school and I’d get ready to go to my full-time job. I started working on a book during that time about dealing with anxiety and overcome my fears. Deanna and I got married and we had our youngest son, Camden. Then it happened… Camden took over my morning routine.
Both Lili and Noah slept pretty well when they were very little, so I knew I could get at least an hour or so of work in before either of them would get up. But Camden is a morning person, like his Dad. I would get up at 5:30 a.m. and he would get up at 5:35 a.m. So I went back to getting up at 5:00 a.m. and he started getting up at 5:10 a.m. So I started getting up at 4:30 a.m. and he got up at… well, you get the picture.
Needless to say, my morning routine has been dead for the past 2 years.
I’m still working on my book but some weeks I don’t write a single word—I just don’t have time. But I’m still hustling… it’s just right now it’s a dad-hustle! I’m up playing catch with Camden at 5:00 a.m. instead of writing. Most morning’s my meditation time is spent watching cartoons and eating pancakes. In the evenings, I’m driving to soccer practice, baseball practice, softball practice, basketball practice—on weekends we go from game-to-game and field-to-field.
My wife is an amazing partner in all this! She works full-time and teaches online. She is the most organized person I know and is the sole reason that I have never accidentally ended up at the wrong field or forgot to pick up a kid someplace. I don’t know what I would do without her with me!
And while we may not be Instagramming from an airplane or giving career advice via snapchat from the back seat of a car between meetings, we both hustle… 24/7/365. And what do we have to show for it? Three amazing kids and a busy life I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world!
Someday my morning routine will return to what it once was. Eventually, I’ll finish that book and will probably have to hustle to promote it. I’ll still be up at 5:00 a.m. and I’ll still be getting things done. That won’t change. Because that’s life. And life isn’t just about making money or doing things worth tweeting about… it’s about making a life that you can’t wait to get up and start.