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It can be easy to throw yourself so far into your work that it becomes counterproductive. You see all the entrepreneurs on social media telling you how hard you need to hustle if you ever want to succeed. You want to power through and push forward.
But I need you to know that hustle, as people on social media portray it, is completely misunderstood. The type of hustle they're pushing actually starts to hurt your business when it goes on for too long.This is because—at a certain point—you WILL burn out.
Trust me, I’ve been there.
At the end of 2018, a lot of things were starting to come together in my life in a way that stressed me the heck out:
- We had brought on a bunch of new team members that needed guidance
- We were launching several new products and programs
- One of my other companies was applying for funding
- One of my other companies was having financial troubles
I was literally putting in 18-hour days and 20-hours days, and I was miserable. I was irritable. I was frustrated. I was moody.
To top things off, my wife and I had a three-week trip to India coming up that we’d planned earlier that year before I knew any of this stuff was going to come up. When the time came for that trip, it seemed like the worst thing that could’ve happened at the time.
But I value family over everything else, so there was no way I was going to cancel it. I was just going to keep putting in the hours while I was gone, and that’s the way I started off. However, I quickly realized that it just wasn’t going to be possible to get any meaningful work done.
We were driving out two hours each way to visit our non-profit schools. We were going to family gatherings. We were going out to see sites. We were working on projects. There was so much going on that I didn’t have a choice but to stop working.
So, what could I do? If I couldn’t get the work done myself, I had to figure something out. The only thing I could do was to hand everything over to my team and trust that I’d put the right people in the right places.
And guess what? Everything went just as well, if not better, than it would’ve gone if I had been there myself trying to get everything done.
So, there are two important things I learned about leading by disappearing.
1. Other People Step Up
Your team is there for a reason, but that can be easy to forget when you’re constantly running yourself ragged. I know it feels good to be on top of everything, but at a certain point you start to do your team’s work for them.
You let your ego get in the way of progress.
Your team never gets the opportunity to grow and evolve if you’re always standing in the way. What I noticed when I stepped away is that my team actually became more efficient.
When you step DOWN, your team is forced to step UP.
Without you there, your team has to do things for themselves. Not having your door to knock on to ask every little question puts them in a position where they’re empowered to come up with innovative solutions on their own.
You being there all the time gets in the way of your team leading themselves. In this way, you become a block to progress and growth. Without you, your team is forced to become self-sufficient.
However, this means changing your role in the business a little bit.
Instead of being the all-star that does every single job and gives an opinion on every single issue, you should transition yourself into becoming a guide and a coach. Think of yourself as being there to put the right people in the right places so that you can focus more on the things that you’re excellent at.
With that said, I don’t mean stepping out of the picture entirely. After all, it’s your business.
Just remember to let your team do their thing, and help them when they need it to keep them on track. You’ll open yourself up to new opportunities, and you’ll lessen the risk of burning out.
2. Your Brain Turns On
Another massive advantage to disappearing for a bit is that your brain turns on.
It can be easy to get stuck in the proverbial mud when you’re constantly trying to solve problems and find solutions. This, in turn, leads to fogginess and burnout. Funny enough, by stepping back and giving yourself a break, your brain actually turns back on!
This happened to me.
I was struggling to find certain solutions, but I was forced into a position where I had to take some time away from work. While taking that time to relax, all of these great ideas started to flood in! By taking a break, I was able to find new solutions to problems - most of which I would have never thought of if I was still spending time running myself into the ground.
Really, what it comes down to is your mind needs to rest to continue functioning at a high level.
I know the idea of taking time off is nerve-racking. You may feel like everything will fall apart, and you’ll lose all of your momentum.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Trust me…it’ll be fine! You have to trust that people will step up while you are away. You have a team that’s eager to prove themselves, but you have to give them a chance to do so.
More than anything else, stepping back will give you a chance to really relax and recharge your batteries. You’ll feel amazing, and you’ll be able to actually enjoy what all of the hard work has afforded you.
After all, what’s the point of working so hard if you never actually get to enjoy what you worked for?
Don’t Get Trapped In The Hustle Mindset
If you’re an entrepreneur, you see it every day on social media.
“Sleep when you’re dead!”
“No time for rest!”
While I love hustle, the way that people interpret it is just wrong. Hustle doesn’t mean spending 365 days a year working every waking hour. That’s irresponsible hustle that will stunt the growth of your business more than it will spurn growth.
Hustle is working your butt off with boundaries.
It’s putting in hours but doing it with a plan. Yes, you may need to put in long hours sometimes. Yes, you may need cut your sleep schedule sometimes. But you have to build in times in your schedule when you AREN’T doing that.
Take some time off and spend some time with your family. If you can, take a short vacation. If you aren’t able to get away for that long, at least give yourself 48-72 hours of uninterrupted REST.
When you get back you’ll have fresh new ideas, you’ll feel amazing and your team will be much stronger!