Hustle: The Forgotten Soft Skill (And the Key to Career Success)

HustleLooking to take your career to a new level? Thinking about heading back to school? Starting your first job hunt? Whatever project you’re working on, learning this one thing will help you succeed more than about everything else:

How to hustle.

What the Heck is Hustle?

I don’t mean hustle in an Urban Dictionary kind of way (i.e. “make money doing something slightly shady”). And I’m not suggesting we should revive that amazing 1970’s dance move (but that would be awesome).

When I say hustle, I’m talking about the forgotten soft skill: hard, tough work where you’re pushing yourself to your limits.

Three Keys to Turning Hustle into Success

As entrepreneur Joe Kraus says, “persistence is the number one reason for our success.” That’s because it’s not about taking the easy road—it’s about continuing to move forward even, as the cliché goes, when the going gets tough.

Hustlers also share three important attributes:

  • They are savvy enough to tell the difference between a temporary barrier and an immovable wall. Reaching for absolutely impossible goals—the ones that no amount of hard work can achieve—will guarantee failure
  • They have a goal that truly motivates them. You’re not going to hustle if you don’t believe in your end result; you are the only person who decides how hard you work, so choose something you really want to fight for
  • They know putting out positive energy attracts people who will help them reach their goals. When others see you actively working to achieve your aims, they will be much more likely to lend a hand, tackle a problem, or point you toward a new ally. In this way, hustling helps you to build the network you need to succeed

Hustle Trumps Talent?

In the middle of writing this piece, a friend sent me a link to blogger Brett McKay’s post on the power of persistence. He had a great personal story about playing football in high school that’s worth sharing. By volunteering for extra practices, staying late, eating a strict diet, and busting his butt in the weight room, he finally got to a start a game in his junior year. He remembers the pay-off:

After the season was over, one of the coaches … put his hands on my shoulders and said, ‘McKay, there are plenty of other guys on the team that have way more natural athletic ability than you. You’re not a naturally athletic guy, but what you lacked in talent, you made up for with hustle and heart. You earned your success.’

Now hustle can’t turn you into Michael Jordan if you just don’t have the natural talent. But it will take you farther than you and those around you thought was possible.

Makes you want to get up and go, doesn’t it? (Queue “Rocky” music, here).

The Challenge?

Don’t be lured into thinking success should happen overnight.

In the age of viral videos and Mark Zuckerberg, it’s easy to see “instant” success stories and overlook all the years of sweat behind them. Working your butt off is still the best way to make change happen – and make a difference. Remember the saying, “the race goes not only to the swift, but to those who keep running.”

Let’s hustle more… because hustling makes us awesome.





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Inside Jobs!



AnnieAbout the Author: Annie Favreau works for Inside Jobs, a site that helps people discover strong careers and connect with the right education to achieve their goals. Follow Annie on Twitter!



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