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Never Underestimate the Power of Hustle

If there’s one thing I’ve come to appreciate more than anything else this year, it’s the value of hard work.

Collectively, we under-appreciate the value of hard work. We’re tricked into thinking that success is based on luck, based on circumstance or some other outside factor. Being in the right place at the right time.

Throughout this past year, and throughout my life, I’ve come back to the same conclusion: Hard work is a prerequisite to success. Hard work pays off. Hard work is about taking things on step at a time to chip away at big goals.

But along the way we’re sidetracked by shortcuts – we’re encouraged to take the easy way out – we’re forced to make tough decisions and the easier path is, of course, always tempting. Why work hard if you don’t have to, right?

Learn from the hustlers

When it comes to results, we’re always in search for answers – we want other people to tell us how they’ve achieved success, how they are where they are today, and what got them there.

When I look at someone like my friend and partner, Sam, a guy who left a corporate lifestyle years ago, started a company, wrote a book, and has been living his passions ever since Рsomeone I looked up to when I was a wee lad in college, and now have the pleasure of working with. He is where he is today because he hustles and he works hard.

Or someone like Jenny Blake, a fellow blogger who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for the past couple years – someone who, like the rest of us, started a blog to put her ideas out there and share them with the world – had the dream of writing a book, and has now turned that dream into a reality. While the rest of us talked about writing a book, but never found time to get around to it, she made things happen and pretty soon she’ll see her book on store shelves across the country because¬†she hustles and she works hard.

Or my good friend (and client) Courtney Dial, who left her comfortable 9 to 5 to pursue her passion with Pizzazzerie – turning a blog into one of the best-known party, event, and entertaining inspiration sites on the web – with over 100,000 hits a month after only existing for about 8 months. She ignored people that told her it wasn’t a realistic business model, but has found huge success because she hustles and she works hard (and probably doesn’t get enough sleep).

It all comes down to hard work

When people ask me how I’ve ended up where I am today – my first response is “hard work”. Of course, there’s more to it than that, I’m also extremely fortunate to be in the position I’m in, but above all, I work hard – nights, weekends, whatever it takes to do great work. (Note: Hard work is much easier when you love what you do)

The value of hard work cannot be substituted with anything in this world. It is the essence, the life-force, and the reason for success. It’s also the biggest deficiency for most people – the lack of desire to work hard, especially in a society that demands immediate gratification, holds us back.

Don’t let it. Don’t be focused on immediate results. Embrace that results take time. Hustle. I’m living proof, as is everyone I mentioned above, that hard work pays off. And through all of those late nights, work-filled weekends, failures, and successes you’ll learn more about yourself and what you’re capable of than you ever thought possible.

How has hard work paid off for you this year? What are you working toward right now?

Check out the full rundown of my #reverb10 posts here

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26 Comments

  1. Thanks for the compliments. And for including me in great company like Jenny and Courtney.

    There is no such thing as an overnight success or a get-rich-quick scheme. Ever.

  2. Bravo! I am right here with you, my Reverb10 friend.

    In fact, my appreciation post bears some resemblance to yours… and I almost hesitated to write it because… it talks about tenacity over time. A kin to “hard work”!

    I am grateful I found you today through #Reverb10!

  3. Along with hustle, you have to know how to work smart, or all the hustle in the world isn’t worth anything.

    But between unplugging and enjoy life and hustling, which wins? I know you’ve written about both here Matt, and while I know which works for me, I think a lot of people look up to you and might wonder just which one is the true way for you to get things done. Just curious!

    • Agreed, you need to know WHAT to work hard on. Another problem is creating more work for yourself than you can handle – focus is important, and part of maintaining that focus is knowing when to step away, knowing what to take on, and how much – so yes, working smart is even more important than working hard. As much as I hate the word “balance”, it makes sense to use it here. It’s all about balance and prioritization. Great point, Ryan.

      • For sure, balance is definitely appropriate here. I know you’ve been going 100 mph lately and I’m sure the transformation has been nuts, but it’s great to see how you are adapting, especially with the community you have here. Thanks for sharing Matt.

  4. I’m really working towards making an income from working for myself. I’ve been focusing on my creativity and just opened up an Etsy store to share my work. It’s quite scary to put myself out there, and I definitely know that if I keep at it, I will get where I want to be – which is a successful entrepreneur making money doing what I love doing.

    Thanks for the post, really inspiring! :)

    • This is great to hear, Susan – putting yourself out there and getting started is the hardest part – Now that you’ve gotten it out of the way – get out there and make it happen! If you need any help along the way, the door’s always open!

  5. Great article Matt. I think sometimes you just have to dig in, and not stop. All the analyzing and planning in the world doesn’t do much if there’s no action behind it all. The best advice I’ve heard was to map out some sort of rough plan, get comfortable with it (quick) and start working towards it. You can always deviate and adjust later, but the most important thing is to go.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • I agree, to an extent, “going” – action – is the most important step, but not without some planning, some roadmapping, and some strategy. Otherwise you’ll be working your ass off on things that don’t really add up to your master plan – you end up creating work for yourself – which is never a good thing. Focus on what matters, THEN go for it.

  6. Whenever I hear the word “hustle” I think of Gary Vaynerchuk. It is forever embossed in my brain. I agree with what you and Ryan were talking about in the comments, it takes hustle, but you have to know WHAT to hustle on, and WHY you are hustling.

    • Gary V is a hustler, no doubt about it (not a HUGE fan, personally, but his message(s) are good just the same). But you’re right – the WHY is more important than the WHAT – understanding WHY you’re putting the work into something is the first step.

    • You’re a continued inspiration and it’s been a pleasure working with you and watching you grow this year. There’s only bigger and better things to come for you next year and in the years ahead!

  7. Man, I hear you loud in clear. The hustle is important but man oh man is it tiring sometimes. : ) I am constantly trying to build my business and it’s like going up a hill full of lots of social media.

    Good stuff : )

    • It is tiring, no doubt about it, it’s not easy, at all. But totally worth it, if you love what you do – and you should only be working hard on the things that contribute to your goals – focus on what’s important, and make time for those things that matter most. Cheers!

  8. You’re totally right. Even a little hustle will go a long way (but more is always better!). I’ve been easing into doing guest posts the last month or two and I’ve been really happy with the results. It’s so funny, but sometimes the solutions are just simple & obvious. You want more people to see you? Well, put yourself out there! Problem solved. And now I’m thinking about setting a guest posting goal for the first six months of 2011…can’t decide if I want to go with nigh=impossible ridiculous or slightly more attainable. I am, of course, leaning towards nigh-impossible ridiculous. ;)

  9. Oh gosh, I’m sort of in love with that pizzazzerie website/blog now! I was actually just before reading this Googling a cute cranberry christmas dessert for a party I’m hosting on Friday night. BINGO!

    Oh yea, hustle. yes. it works. I, also proof of that.

  10. Great post Matt. At the end of the day, I believe the world belongs to the Hustlers. Those who are willing to make sacrifices and work hard to achieve their goals. When the economy was in the dumps thousands of people made excuses claiming “The recession is killing me” – Well… IMO, the recession wasn’t killing anyone. The lack of ambition to get out there and hustle was. When I look at some of the great men and women from History who I admire all of them have one thing in common.

    The Hustle.

    This world we live in needs more people willing to hustle. People who are willing to go out there, give 100% and create value. Watching you go from unemployment to Proof Marketing shows that you understand the value of hustle. Keep doing your thing my man – All the hustle will most certainly be worth it in the end.

  11. Running Financial Samurai and the Yakezie Network is hard work… it adds an extra 25-30 hours a week to my already 50 hour schedule. However, it’s fun as hell! Hence, let’s do this!