Every ex-little leaguer is familiar with the admonition to “Show some hustle out there!” This was usually accompanied by the obligatory three claps, and then your coach would clear his throat and expectorate a mixture of spit, phlegm and tobacco juice*.
It was an expression meant to shake you out of a daze, and encourage you to give your best. He said it to let you know he was watching, and you’d better get your head in the game. I was not much of a baseball player, and sometimes I paid more attention to the clouds and kicking a dirt patch in the right field grass than the actual proceedings. I heard the coach yell, “show some hustle, Venturmarino”.**
I’ve been thinking about hustle lately. For most American adults, hustle means taking life seriously. It’s about working hard at your job, keeping your self present in the life of your wife and kids, and diligently doing all the little life things that makes the world work. You have to hustle to keep your head above water. Many of us are afraid that if our hustle fails us we’ll flounder and sink. Some people have checked out of the hustle altogether. Checking out is the same as losing.
Chris Guillebeau, who hosts the podcast “Side Hustle School” says it this way. A hustler is the synthesis of a charlatan and a martyr. A charlatan is all talk and no action. A martyr does all the work, but isn’t willing to advocate or advertise his message. It’s style without substance, or substance without style. But style with substance equals impact. Being a hustler is being willing and able to talk about the work and deliver the goods. I think Christian’s should be hustlers.
I’m an entrepreneur. I own businesses, and I’m on the Godly Culture crusade. For me hustle looks a little different. My livelihood is derived from keeping my customers and readers happy. If I fail to deliver immense value, then I run the risk of losing business. So, I choose to hustle. As a Christian, I know that I am supposed to be the hardest worker and give the most effort, resulting in supreme value. I choose to crush it and make sure everybody gets a chance to join in the mission.
Example: A Christian can be an excellent house builder, but that’s only half the work. He also needs to be able to sell it. What if the amazing home he just constructed just sat there empty? What good would that do? So, he has to build something amazing, then tell the world about it. This is how good becomes great!
Hustle looks different even between how I split my time between ministry, family, work, and Godly Culture. But, the elements are pretty much the same; outperform and spread the news. Spreading the news gives others the chance to benfit and join in.
Side note: We have to teach our children how to hustle. I’m seriously concerned about today’s kids. As Christians and hustlers, we will be held accountable for our lazy kids. And, they will not be able to uphold the biblical mandate to “work that which is good with your own hands, so you have something to give...”.
In all honesty, my wife puts me to shame, when it comes to hustle. My wife is the biggest hustler I know. It seems like her ambition is as limitless as her energy and love of life. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve learned a lot from her. She comes from a long line of entrepreneurs… like 500 years long. We did her genealogy and found out her ancestors have been farmers (which is the quintessential small business) for 9 generations. That’s hustle!
Your hustle muscles are in your creative brain, busy hands, and motormouth. You’ll need a hammer to build with and a megaphone to project your voice. My basic point is this, don’t be a charlatan and don’t be a martyr. Do be better than the next guy, do tell the word about it, and do deliver the goods! Get out there and hustle!
*I did have a coach who habitually chewed Copenhagen. It’s a gross habit, but they weren’t allowed to smoke in front of us kids. I guess he had to do what he had to do.
**Yes, some of them actually did call me by the wrong last name. Was it carelessness or intentional neglect? I will never know.