Power of Hustle

By D Smith


“Every day I’m hustlin..”

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of sharing a few thoughts with our high school students at their last meeting of the semester. We talked about the upcoming break and how to make the most of it by staying hungry and avoiding coasting. I want to look forward a little further today.


I want to look into the spring semester because I know that your success in the spring, along with mine will be shaped by the goals we set and the attitudes that we choose over the next few weeks. I don’t know yet what you chose to put on your vision board for 2016 or what goals you’re setting for the spring semester. I’m sure they will be as varied as the people who are creating them. I do know how you’re going to reach them though. The magic word is H U S T L E.


In 2006, Rick Ross added the above quote to popular culture and provided an anthem for all those going the extra mile on a regular basis.  The essential elements of hustling? Harder. Faster. More focused.  These separate those who achieve greatly from those who meet standard requirements.

I have bad news: The requirements that seem to be placed on you to help ensure your success are setting you up for failure. Simply meeting the requirements for your current roles in life will only get you that role. They will not get you the next. Norman Public Schools would consider a D to be passing grade. It meets the requirements. In reality a D in a class one year often becomes an F the next. It doesn’t prepare you for the rigor of advancement. On a sports team, showing up at practice and doing what coaches require may be enough to earn playing time, but it won’t get you to the next level. Only those who are going beyond what is expected make the jump from one level to the next. Showing up at your job when required, doing your job and going home when allowed will probably be enough to keep your job. When an opening for advancement comes up, however, that employee won’t be considered. Why? No Hustle.


The most common excuse seems to be “I’m too tired!” I want to clarify that rest is important and like the lesson of the Starving Baker teaches, we can only lead well when we’re fully charged. Too few people are leading and living life from a position of overflow where they are ready to pour into the lives of others. They don’t get enough sleep, or enough solitude, or positive relationships, or quiet, or reading. This seems odd though as they aren’t trading these things for reaching their dreams. They are trading them for cheap, easy entertainment. Hustling is hard. It means waking up early, picking up a book instead of turning on a screen, working when you’d rather be sleeping, choosing people who will support you, giving up what you want now for what you want most. The hustlers choose to spend their time working toward their dreams when it’s not required. They turn off the phone or TV and stick to a solid bedtime to be sure they give themselves time to get back to 100% before they need to wake up.


There are things that you can learn by watching the way an individual walks. You may see differing levels of confidence, urgency, grace, or power. Hustlers usually walk with a little urgency in every step. Not rushed or stressed, but full of purpose. They are more interested in doing the task at hand and doing it well than theyare with filling the hours of the day. They move quickly because what they are doing is important and they know the next thing is just as important as the current. I love the end of the day at Loveworks when most students have been picked up and leaders and students are buzzing around the Loveworks Center getting it set-up for the next day of programming. The leaders of leaders are giving full time and attention to quickly knocking out things that must be done, from sweeping floors to wiping tables or washing dishes. In those moments, hustlers shine.


Why do some choose to hustle and others seem satisfied to meet requirements given to them? What common thread to all hustlers have? A passion for a dream and the vision for seeing that dream realized. They remain focused on a daily basis on not just the dream in their heart, but the strategy and action steps needed that day to make that dream a reality. Their focus is laser sharp. If they find themselves low on passion, they go back to the source. They revisit the dream and where it was birthed. They talk to the people, watch the videos, listen to the music, read the books, visit the places that inspired the dream.


As you wrap up the work on your vision boards and you set goals for the spring, consider adding this word to your vocabulary and preparing to go above and beyond in every area that’s significant!


“Every day I’m hustlin…”

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