Your Own Hustle

It’s easy to be caught up in the frenzy of the start-up hustle. At events and conferences you see people pitching to everyone else, trying to outdo the previous one. There is the notion that one has to work the room and maximise every opportunity to talk about your agenda. I got tired just thinking that I would be doing this for a couple of weeks and that I must keep doing so for months to come. Then got more exhausted when I remembered that my husband has been at it more actively, out on the road for months now. I’m surprised we still have a lot of energy for each other. It really is a choice to make sure our cups full for those who matter the most.

Whenever I feel the pressure to hustle bear down on my shoulders I try to go back to why I am doing what I chose to do in the first place. It eases up and I am reminded once again that I don’t have to follow everyone else’s way of hustling. If I replace hustle with the following mantra I observe marked difference in energy:

  • Your presence
  • Your genuine interest in the other
  • Your authentic voice
  • Your listening ear
  • Your attention
  • Your compassion for another
  • We each have to find our own unique hustle. It is what suits who we are and the distinct genius that we embody. In the same light, we choose our own measure of success, the path that resonates with us and the intentionality that we bring to the world. So let the hustle begin:)
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    Love Letters

    I haven’t written on the blog for a while, after doing so religiously for almost an entire year. But I have been writing everyday, in a different format- love letters. Letter writing to my children, especially to my son started when he was learning to read at age 5 or 6. It started as an exercise to help him with his reading skills but caught on and has now evolved into a nightly routine. Even when we travel we leave them with letters to read for every night that we are away. This has kept on for almost four years.

    Lately I have started to do this as well for my husband. He has been traveling so much for work and I know how these trips are a mix of highs and lows. It is the quiet moments after an exhilarating busy day that get to you during these trips. I would not be there to keep him company so I write letters to give him solace. It also serves as a form of journaling for me since I write to the person I consider my safest space.

    The letters are also balm for my waning energy. I have been very deliberate about how I spend it lately, trying to stay centered instead of sapped. I choose to focus it only on my immediate family, on the work that I ought to do and on interests that give me fuel. The letters are part of this new energy source and I’m happy that my loves find this as a respite as much as I do.

    The Greatest Show

    I’m a wannabe performer. More specifically a frustrated dancer. This is counter to how I typically want to do my work, painstakingly at it on the sides and happy just putting in the hard work. Front and center is not my natural state and it takes out so much from me. I need full recovery after hours of this. But lately I’ve said yes to addressing a crowd and have even done improv performance to get better at this. Maybe it’s the desire to go beyond the safe and comfortable. Admittedly exploring the fringes has been a fun practice.

    Our lives and how we lead it are our own performance. Some may want the fancy grand stuff while others are content with the ordinary and mundane. One is not better than the other, just a different expression and manifestation. What is universal is the attempt to stage our own versions of our truest act, of our own greatest show. There is magic in that alone.

    Every year we say we would do better than the last. This may mean achieving or doing more, accomplishing things that you thought you wouldn’t be able to do. While others may want to do less of what wasn’t working for them anymore. Either way, it is the show we choose to mount and spend our energy on. We own it as much as we give it back to the world:)

    Transcendence in the Ordinary

    I was walking to work and noticed tiny yellow flowers beaming brightly against the heat of the midday sun. I remembered these flowers from my childhood, thriving in the cool mountain weather. Noticing it and remembering a memory made me smile. I had a sulky morning and so this was nice.

    I detail a simple interaction like this one as a reminder to see the magic in the mundane. The poet Michael Longley beautifully refers to this as transcendence in the ordinary. The key is to deliberately see, to notice intently sometimes beyond the obvious to unravel the meaningful. Making petite discoveries everyday, in everything. “It really is not about what you are experiencing. It is about how you are with what you are experiencing. That’s where life is happening”

    Heeding the call to see things through this lens is important in the face of our desire to go to places larger than ourselves, to do greater things and to be what we think are our best selves. This path is lined with voices that harp on the grand, audacious objectives, large challenges, a million big dreams. The largeness casts a shadow on the little things that are right here, right now. Listen to the echoing whisper to stop and look.

    Being Surprised

    We typically equate a surprise with a feeling of delight at the discovery of something unexpected. But surprise can also mean being unsettled in the face of unfortunate events. I like this grounded meaning of the word. It connotes something that leaves us stirred, like a call to be more curious. It compels is to ask more questions and revel not just in the answers but in the inquiries themselves.

    Rilke puts this beautifully when he speaks of living the questions. We ask when we don’t know or when we are caught unaware. There is a sense of wonder in the midst of a surprise and this leaves our imagination running. It compels us to ask what is it, why is this so, how come? There may be various permutations of this existential query but at the heart of it is a desire to know more and also do more.

    Surprise compels us to act. We cannot unsee it because it has lit a spark within us. The inner workings of our being reverberate and won’t keep still until we find out more or do something. And even if we don’t the asking is the act in itself. We berate kids sometimes for just doing without thinking. Actually they are, thinking with curiosity, surprised with how the world works and just flowing and moving with this wonder. So just like a child, let’s open ourselves up to being surprised everyday.

    Leaping Before Looking

    Sometimes I leap before I look. I do so when I’m faced with something that I’m obviously scared of but need to absolutely learn. Signing up for an Ironman 70.3 triathlon race even before I even knew how to swim and bike was very much like this. But what that experience gave me apart from learning these skills is the firm belief that I can still learn new things, excel in them if I put in the time. That taught me to be deliberate about my learning and skill building.

    So just this week I once again signed up for something that I didn’t really know much about. I did so because I think it will push me to be a better speaker and storyteller. For this gig there is no other way but to show up front and center, sharing my entrepreneurial story. Always one to work on the sidelines, listening more to others share about themselves than speaking, this stint is definitely outside of my comfort zone. They say magic happens when you explore beyond the fringes. So let’s see. I’m hoping to sharpen my edge through this.

    Saying yes to this experience is also part of a personal experiment I am conducting. I just want to flow into things instead of forcing any situation. I listen closely and flow towards my inkling. I follow movement and breath not just in exercise but also as I go through my day. So far it has kept me less frazzled and has allowed me to think more clearly. Combining this practice with the nervous energy of saying yes to new things seems like an interesting mix. So here goes….