If you haven’t heard all the self help and go-getter content lately, I think I would much rather be you.
All the “don’t stop till you get what you want,” stuff is all over facebook, instagram, pinterest, and I am sure every place else (those are just the socials that I frequent).
People like Rachel Hollis (no hate against her, I love her first book) are taking the internet and small businesses by storm to sell you the message that you can have everything you want if you just work hard enough.
And I truly believe that she, and others like her, are genuinely trying to be encouraging because that is the life that they have led, and believe it is open to everyone.
I admit that when that message first starting broadcasting everywhere, I loved it and jumped on board the hustle train.
“If you want something, all you have to do is work hard enough for it,” would echo in my head every day from taking in every word they had to say.
As a chronically ill person, there is a lot that I want.
I want financial security that I don’t have from not being healthy enough to work. I am an ambitious person with a drive for success, so I also want my own successful business. I want health plain and simple. I want to be able to stay out of my wheelchair and walk around a Target without passing out. I want to be able to do yoga everyday and not have to worry about a POTS crash. I want to be known as the person who worked her way out of poor health and bed rest.
Seems simple enough. All you have to do is work hard if you want something, right?
So off to work I went.
The first thing I did was try to find a job I can handle that paid me hourly. I got a babysitting job for a wonderful family. It was part time hours, which I hoped I could handle.
Then I decided that I wanted to define my brand, not as a person with a chronic illness (because in my mind, that definitely isn’t appealing), so I decided to go the Yoga route. That would check two points off my list anyways. I can be the yoga teacher that educated you on essential oils, and do yoga every day.
Then, because I wanted to not use my wheelchair, I simply didn’t (although that ended with lots of sitting down in the middle of isles, but I convinced myself that I still didn’t need it).
I would write often, post on social media often, try and set up as many doterra classes as I could, and work was always on my mind.
I was always trying to research how to grow, how to gain, how to become more independent. I would babysit in the morning, sleep in the afternoon, then work on my brand in the evening.
That seemed like a really good start to working for the life I would rather have. A working, healthy, financially stable woman.
Until a year later.
A year later, I am lying in bed writing this. I am back on heavy bed rest, mostly due to just wearing myself out.
I had to quit babysitting because the tachycardia episodes became daily with lots and lots of chest pains, dizziness, and lightheadedness.
Because of that, I also had to slow way down with my Yoga practice.
I will definitely need my wheelchair this winter.
And there was no way to disconnect my illness anymore with my brand.
All the “hustle” sent me straight back into a POTS flare. And a really really bad one at that. The message to wake up an hour earlier, make sure you work out every day, don’t spend less then 8 hours a day working for what you want, had put me there.
Hustle isn’t work till you get what you want, it’s work till you drop.
Because that’s exactly what will happen.
I know that you may write off my story because I have a chronic illness that prevents me from working as hard from a normal person. Maybe if I was healthy, I wouldn’t have dropped from all the hustle.
And maybe you are right.
Maybe the regular hustler can keep going for much longer then myself. Maybe, physically they can handle it. Maybe you think that if you are physically abled, that means that you are cleared to hustle all you want until your hearts content.
But that’s another point. Honestly, your heart will never be content. Once you get into the mindset of always achieving, always working towards something, always succeeding, that’s where you will stay. Like forever.
You have your first goal? Great, goals are actually totally fine and I have nothing against them. But when they become all you think about everyday, all day long, they become consuming. They become all that life is about. They become your idol.
You reach that goal, and then what? It’s not fulfilling to just stop there, so you set your sites on a new one. A bigger one. A better one. And you hustle for it. You work hard, sacrificing sleep, sacrificing family, and maybe like me, sacrificing health.
But you can get anything if you work hard enough for it right? That is actually the truth.
So you reach that next goal. Then what? Is it everything you thought it would be? Maybe, but you still aren’t fulfilled. You still aren’t content.
You go for that next goal, sacrificing, sacrificing, sacrificing until you get there.
You no longer know peace and stillness. Contentment is something you will reach when all your goals are met (except you won’t because there will always be something else), and look at what you have sacrificed in the mean time.
And for what? Was it all worth it? Was financial gain really worth the sacrificing of precious time with your family? Precious sleep that helps your body heal, rest, and rejuvenate? How about the mental and emotional stress that comes along with that much movement? Was any of that worth it?
For me, that’s a hard no. Life isn’t about how much YOU gain, it’s about how much love you give. And if you are always in your office, always on your laptop, always on the phone, how much love are you actually giving out?
How about your family. Those are the people God pick for you to love. How much love have you poured into them with all that always running lifestyle?
See for me, I now see the word hustle as selfishness. It’s putting yourself first, your desires first, your passions first, before the people in your life. Those people are there for a reason. Either for them to bless you, for you to bless them, or for you to bless each other.
And if we are hyper focused on our brands, businesses, goals, and achievements, we aren’t doing a great job of loving others.
Love is the sacrifice of self.
While I am in no way saying that goals or dreams or success or achievements are bad, because they aren’t. God gives us those passions. What I am saying is that hustle is toxic and creates a huge imbalance.
Life is all about balance. When things are out of balance, that’s when we feel stressed and tired. That imbalance creates this lack of peace, and stillness is just a concept you hear people talk about that do yoga.
Hustle will always be an imbalance because we are feeding selfishness. And selfishness is one of those things that when you give it an inch it takes over your life. It’s a hard thing to keep in check, which is why it’s important to depend on grace. To renew your heart every morning with the Truth before you even start your day.
So, before you get to the point of sacrificing your divine purpose of loving those around you, take a minute to take stock of hustle in your life.
Do you work hard for the benefit of others? Or is personal gain the only motive you have?
Are you willing to sacrifice time with the important people in your life? Or do you have clear convictions to set aside time JUST for them?
How often do you disconnect? How often are you renewing your spirit and are honestly concerned about the bigger picture then just yourself?
How much time a day do you spend thinking about how your actions or other people’s actions directly impact you, your dreams, your goals?
How often do you root for other people and sacrifice your time to help them reach their goals?
If you feel convicted about my words, girl, me too.
It’s easy as a single person with a devastating chronic illness that leaves me disabled to ONLY think about myself. In fact, other people don’t expect me to sacrifice my time and my health for them. So when I do, it’s elevated.
But the reality is that no matter how able bodied you are, everyone’s purpose on this earth is to love one another. And love is sacrifice.
So, as a recovering hustler and perfectionist (which hustle culture totally fed that beast but that is a whole other blog post), I find joy in stillness. In waking up and spending the morning quiet. I still have work to do on that, like not consuming any media at all in the mornings, but I trust grace to get me there.
I also have a clear line in my business now. If I don’t have the energy, or if I have to sacrifice family time, I just don’t do it. I will get to it another time. Which is not lazy, it’s kind. Kind to my body. Kind to my family. Promoting love.
Sometimes I wish I was able enough to work an actual job, but I have come to be thankful for what I do have. I do have an awesome community that does NOT promote hustle culture. It does not push me to do more then I can, and it does not shame me for not doing as much as others.
My community cheers for me as I prioritize what is important, and when I do put work in, it’s a blessing to those I am serving.
I can do it from my bed or my desk, on the road, in a wheelchair, wherever. I get to fully be myself without judgement, make my own boundaries and do things my way.
And the nice thing about it is my doterra community is open to anyone who wants that too.
I may be chronically ill, I may not be able to be as abled as everyone else, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have purpose and can’t reach that purpose right from my comfy bed.
And that, my friends, is so much more fulfilling than anything hustle could ever promise you. Because this way, it’s not about you, and that is the only thing that is ever fulfilling.