I was chatting with an old friend the other day who messaged me about how well it seemed I was doing. I explained how amazing my life had become (and not in the fake Instagram/Facebook/Twitter way, where we only show HALF the story), but I mistakenly complained about my schedule.
I'll be honest... I am not healthy person right now. My sleep schedule looks something like this:
Stay up late, go to bed for a few hours, get up and be super productive for 4 or 5 hours, take a nap, have another really productive 5-6 hours and then maybe take another nap or maybe take a "brain break" and stay up until I repeat the process. I probably put in between 16-18 hours every day between my clients, my business stuff, writing, marketing and *learning. And I drink a lot of coffee. Too much coffee. A lot of freaking coffee.
So that leaves me very little time to do things like sleep, eat, bathe, (haha just kidding... kind of) watch TV, read for pleasure, clean the house etc.
But some of those things HAVE to be done, so sacrifices get made and shit gets done. Albeit, not always the things that should. I've been known to skip an entire day worth of meals and/or shower - but it's a really good thing I work from home and don't have to worry about being in public. ;)
Back to the friend. They made a comment like, "What's the point of all this working and running yourself into the ground if you can't enjoy it? You can't live like this forever."
It was a good and valid point. But there're a few things to point out.
1. Unless you've been where I am (that is, starting and owning your business, being responsible for YOU and the contribution you make to your household and everything else that comes with it) you don't really understand the importance of hustling. The importance of dedicating yourself to something because if you don't - you will lose it all.
I'm not saying that people who don't own their own business don't know the meaning of working hard - on the contrary. It's just that they don't understand this particular brand of working hard.
2. Working hard does not equate to hating life. Yes, I put in some demanding hours, but I *love* it. I would rather put in 16 hours a day working for myself, doing the things I love doing, than work 6 hours a day at a job I hate. A job I dream of leaving.
3. My success will not work if I don't. Meaning, that at this stage in my life/career, if I don't put in everything I have, I will not be successful. That's just the way of the world and the niche I've chosen to be in. Some professions, you get the degree, you get the job, you put in hours and you get the same paycheck until you get a raise or promotion or more responsibilities and the process repeats. Not the case with my business. I quit working, I fail. At least right now. It's too early for me to call retirement ;)
Once I explained those things to my friend, she seemed to understand a bit more but she wasn't convinced. So I said exactly what my Cousin has been preaching to me since I was a little girl, "Put the hard work in now, and you'll reap the benefits later."
I'm working my ass off right now so that in fifteen, twenty years I don't have to work hard. We all know that the Y and Z (Millenial) generation have a less-than-optimistic view on retirement. Let's be honest - most of the younger generations will be lucky to retire at a decent, enjoyable age. But that's why I want to do right by myself now. It's much easier to struggle as a twenty-something than it is as a forty-something, a sixty-something. And I have to be honest here, I don't want to have to worry about working my ass off when I'm 50 or 60. I want to travel the world, read books all day long, give back to the people who helped me become who I am.
It may seem silly to some people because society has told us that dream isn't "likely." That it's foolish to think you can have that life. But why not? If you're willing to put in the work and do it right - don't you deserve it?
I know I do. If I keep up the schedule and lifestyle I live right now, (granted, I might not be alive to enjoy it...haha) I am more than deserving of lax lifestyle when I'm older. And I won't feel one bit bad about it because I worked my ass off to get there.
I guess the whole point of this post is to say that you shouldn't let anyone make you feel bad for working hard - especially if it's something you love to do. People who are stuck in a rut or scared to change often project their fears onto you (I'm not saying that's what my friend did, just merely stating). They are afraid of the time, energy and work it requires to make a change and so they live in mediocracy and/or complacency and make justifications as to why what you're doing is "wrong" or "silly" or "not worth it."
Will I always work 16 hour days, a crappy sleep schedule and the kind of health that worries a doctor? Nah. Because I'll have worked so hard today that tomorrow will be mine to spend as I wish.
That's why, every day I'm hustlin'
*Learning things is probably one of my most favorite traits about myself. I yearn for knowledge and knowing more about everything. I research like it's my biz-nass (and sometimes...it actually is). So while continued education isn't necessary to many people - it is to me. Which means officially and unofficially, I spend precious time learning things. (For example, my masters classes I had this semester, a Copy Editing class, A workshop on the craft of dialogue, reading an entire 300 page novel on the financial aspects of self-employment and freelancing).