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Understanding the Hustle

“The dream is free, the hustle is sold separately”- Unknown

Hi, guys welcome to another episode of Side note with D-Terence Today's episode is titled: Understand the Hustle

In this day and age, the term hustler is now commonly used to motivate people on social media and to drive the narrative of success

A hustler is someone willing to put everything on the line for the dream, goal or believe irrespective of the obstacles, challenges or restrain they face.

As an immigrant, specifically one from the African continent, this is one character treat you must have in order to not only excel but thrive in the wold.

In this episode we will go over the 5 things you could do to ensure you embody the hustler’s mentality. Some of these you will probably be doing already or have heard of, and once again these are not set in stones and are my recommendations only: obviously if you share a different opinion or care to add to the list please do so by using the comment section or reach out to me on my social media page and I will be more than happy to discuss this further with you. So lets jump right in shall we?

1- Have a Clear Vision:

As an immigrant, settling in a new society and making a life out of your new circumstance requires allot of courage, determination and a clear vision of what you want to achieve in life. In episode 1, we talked about moving to Europe for studies and/or work: sticking with this scenario, you need to be able to have a very clear image of what your future would look like, what do you want out of life?, how would you get there?, why do you want this future?. A vision is like a compass to your journey in life. When I was completing my master’s degree in Liverpool, I knew I wanted to get a job in HR and make my way through the ranks to a management position. This was my gospel and I never stopped making this vision as clear as possible: I pictured myself having the ideal job, what my colleagues looked like or at least what they seemed like. I imagine how my new life as a corporate employee will look and feel like. In order to make this vision a reality I had to put in the work and do the required research, for instance I carried out numerous researches on the job market and how I could get in while being aware of my competitors (nationals and European). I was not oblivious to the fact that the journey will be particularly tougher for me because I knew I had to work twice as hard to outdo my competitor; nothing is given to you and if you want something you must be willing to go out there and take it. Having a clear vision is what shapes your outlook on life and makes you stay on track. Here are three things I use to ensure I have a clear vision on my life: a) Create a clear and detailed set of goals:

It is important to be as specific as possible with your goals. Most people vaguely have an idea of what their goals consist of with no real and concrete way of measuring, or tracking and evaluating said goals in the course of the year.

Do not just write down what you want to achieve, but elaborate on this goal: what does it consist of?, why do you want to achieve this?, how do you plan on making this come true?, When do you want to have achieved this goal?, what exactly do you want to be doing?, how do you want to feel?, what can you do today and each day in order to get a step closer to your goals?.

A clear set of goals and objectives will help make your overall vision is clearer. Let me give you an example: I used to be that guy who went on in life not really knowing what he wanted and using the phrase “we will deal with that when we get there”, never really getting anywhere….I was coasting. Then when I turned 25 something happened, I started reading books on personal growth and development: I bought a journal and wrote down my goals (which back then was very small) and started tracking them and immediately a state of calm creeped in, I felt in control of my life, I was more determined and focused. So when the time came to make a move after my Master’s degree, this was more of a second nature to draft a clear set of goals for what happens next. b) Have a Plan:

Once you have your goal all set and written down, the next step will be draft a road map. How do you see yourself achieving said goals? What steps need to be taken?

Some of your goals will require extensive personal development, while others will require you adapting or improving on your routines. Take time out to really get clear on your plan as this is what will get the ball rolling. Let’s get to the goal of career progression, I knew what I wanted to do after my degree, once I had identified which field in HR I wanted to get into, I identified which skills where needed to be competitive in this field and I dug right into it.

Read a bunch of books, attended seminars, spoke to friends who already work in the field and basically soaked in all the knowledge I could find. This gave me a clear blueprint of what was needed to get into the market and be ahead of other applicants. I remember I use to go on so many interview not really wit the hopes of getting recruited but mainly for the experience I would pick up from these situations, so that when the opportunity presented itself with the job i really wanted, I was ready and confident.

Another example of how I devised a plan for my goal is with my music: as an artist you need to constantly develop your skills and develop new ones to stay ahead of the game. Now I was always a great lyricist, and could rap/sing on any beat, however I had to make sure I was In tune with the music scene to keep up with any changes.

So, I identified some of the greatest artist I wanted to be like and modeled their approach to the music scenes, studied how they wrote songs, how they marketed themselves and most importantly how they stayed relevant. With this I was not only able to improve on my skills as a musician and lyricist, I have acquired new skills like photo and video editing, stage presence and understanding music cadence. A goal on its own is worthless without a clear plan on how to execute it.

Have a plan and break that plan down in action steps in order to get start step by step and don’t slack off. c) Execute:

All you have left is THIS. Execute the plan you have come up with: create a new routine, a new set of habits, a new level of focus, whatever it is that’s in your plan to achieve your goals you have to embody it and make it part of you, as these are what will bring you to your goal. It doesn’t have to be forceful; you do not need to put yourself in a whole lot of pressure.

Start by asking yourself each morning: what is it that I could do today that will bring me closer to my goal? How can I take my first action step successfully? When you add this all up it will amount to a great deal over the weeks, months until you reached it and completely surprise yourself. Go Bold or go home! START NOW!

2- Stay Focused:

Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed”- Paolo Coelho

This is the hardest part for most people. So, you’ve identified a new set of goals you want to achieve, its written it down, and you got it all mapped out. However somewhere along the line you find yourself falling back on your old habits, you feel discouraged, you’re having doubts and you no longer have that fire. Therefore, it is important to keep that fire alive by staying locked in on your goal and stay focused. Staying focus is what fuels your fire and keeps you on track all the way. I struggle with this as well, fumbling back to my old habits, like going to bed late and not waking up early, missing my morning workout, and feel like chasing after time. Procrastinating on my daily tasks and thus not making any real progress towards achieving my goal. We’ve all been there, here is how I get back on track every time I catch myself swaying back to the old habits.

a) No negative energy:

I know this sounds cliche but it’s true. It’s important to stay clear of all forms of negativity. You will encounter allot of people who didn’t go after their dreams, are filled with resentment towards life, or people who are just primary negative in their ways. You got to resist the urge to get drawn in by these energy fields. If anyone in your circle isn’t helping you get closer to your goal or provide you with an edge up, then you should move away from them.

When you are around people who see the world through a negative lens, sooner or later you will begin to switch up your lenses to match theirs. It’s important to stay within a positive framework: one way to achieve this is to stay around people with the same energy as you. Try and identify like minded people who you can use as sounding boards or inspiration when you need one. Its all about energy, the energy you surround yourself with is undoubtedly contagious.

The people I surround myself today are nearly not the same as those with whom I use to surround myself with when I was younger. Back then my focus was on having fun, chilling and making crazy memories so of course my circle of friends and acquaintance where characterized by folks who enabled this objective. As I grew older especially when I entered my late twenties I began to notice as these friends weathered away as they were replaced by new faces: people who were going to help better myself and achieve my new set of goals, folks who were, were I wanted to be. You need to be constantly challenged, so you don’t fall into the framework of being content (this is a black hole that will suck you in and would not let go). There is an old saying which goes “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are”. Jordan Peterson said it best “Make friends with people who want the best for you” this is how you stay on track; this is how you better yourself, this is how you stay away from negativity.

b) Block out the noise:

There are always folks who believe they know how to do the job better than you. Yup that’s right, am talking about those “unsolicited” advice from people you barely know. It is important to remember that people will view you and your decisions based on their own insecurities and inability to make the same moves as you. Your mind is your most fragile and priced possession which you must protect at all cost. Doubt is the bullet that kills your dreams. Do not let others opinion derail you from your objective. When I decided to relocate to Germany two years ago after getting a great job offer, a lot people told me not to go for it, they felt this was too short noticed, that I did not speak the language and would struggle to integrate and may not even keep the job long enough to settle. What they were doing was putting themselves in my position and listing all the reasons why “they” wouldn’t relocate so suddenly. What they failed to realize was that before I made the decision to relocate, I had already considered all this factors, and I had a plan on how things will go, once I get there. So, I simply blocked out the noise I referred to my blueprint: and I can say this today, that this was the best decision I ever made in a long time. Sometimes you may feel like it’s you against the world, but as long as you are clear on what it is your trying to achieve and you are surrounded by the right people and have faith in yourself, then this battle you will win.

c) Self believe:

It doesn’t matter if a car has the best state of the art design, and premium tyres, leather seats and enough leg room, all of that is useless if the engine under the hood of the car is faulty. In order words all the aforementioned points are irrelevant if you do not belief in yourself and your ability to achieve greatness. Self believe is trusting in your own abilities, and this is something you can develop and perfect through time. When I was growing up, I was a huge introvert; always stayed to myself and was quite very shy- as a knock-on effect I always questioned myself and what I was able to do. Every time someone would question my actions or thought process, I will either change it to fit their frame or not do it at all. Safe to say my self-belief bar was pretty low. Today, I am a different person, am very confident, charismatic, and believe I can do anything I set my mind to and thrive at it exceptionally. The last 7 years of my life are a good representation of this point: I took a 50 k bump in salary in my corporate job, relocated to a country in which I do not speak the language but yet settled in perfectly, initiated my first real-estate property, working on launching my clothing brand and chasing a music career. All this was possible once I built up myself and by consequent increase my level of self-belief. You can improve on your self-belief by the following:

  • Meditate: Do this ideally every morning (5- 10 mins) and evening before bed. This will ground you and give you a sense of focus when you start and end your day.

  • Reward yourself: we often forget to pad ourselves on the back when we achieve little milestones. This goes a long way as it validates our actions and helps boost our self-esteem. If you set out for example to run 5k on the weekend but you ended up doing 2 km, instead of feeling dreadful about missing out on 3 km, instead reward yourself for making it to 2 km. You could have slept longer, watch Netflix while having breakfast: but instead you got out o bed, got dressed and ran 2 km, that deserve a pad on the back, next time you aim higher.

  • Read: Educate yourself on self-confidence and everything that will help improve the way you see yourself and how you interact in society. Books on behaviorism and social interactions could be something you should consider here (insert examples of books you read).

Your self-believe and great deal of hard work is the key to unlock your true potential.

3- Build a Network:

“Your Network is your net worth” – Porter Gale

There is an old saying “no man is an island.” Sometimes having people in the right place can make you ascend to the top a little smoother. Building yourself a network of like-minded people will go a long way in helping you achieve excellence. Having a network makes the hustle more palatable: meeting people who share the same mindset as you, being either at the same level as you or ahead is something which I believe is highly valuable. It doesn’t matter if your introverted or extroverted, having a group of people whom you can reach out to, bounce ideas, share experience, exchange value and built excellence is an essential part of a successful life. As the old saying goes, “Your blessings could come from unlikely sources” …you never know who you would meet and how they will influence your life and your pursuit to happiness. The way I see it, the more open you are when you meet new like-minded people, the more likable you are socially, the more likely it is for you to be part of a network and thrive with the use of this.

4- Sacrifice:

“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it” - J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Nothing good comes easy. If you want to make it in life you have to be willing to put in the work, bust your ass and make allot of sacrifices. We all have 24 hrs a day each, how we choose to use those will determine how far you’re going to go in life. Here is how my work week (mon. - Fri) looks like: I wake up at 5:30 am, have a 10 mins meditation, check on the morning updates, 10 mins abs, hop in the shower and leave for work by 6:45 – 7 am. I normally work 9- 10 hrs a day so I back at home at 6-ish, hit the gym by 7pm for an hour, dinner by 9 ish pm, and between 10- 11 pm am working on my passion (music, podcast, brand etc). For my weekends I spend some quality time with my family and friends, and in the evening am back at working on my goals, oh and I do spend time studying German since I moved to Germany 2 years ago. Now I do own a PS4 and love Netflix and going out for drinks and concerts and juts chilling at home: however I make sure I priorities my needs and pleasures carefully to ensure that I am moving closer to my goals each day, week, month and year. You need to be willing to give up your short-term pleasures for long term gains. I believe most people are afraid and too lazy to give up their comfort for a potentially more fulfilling life. The uncertainty of this, coupled with the immense sacrifice (in some regards) is sometimes off putting for most people who are not strong willed enough. In my opinion, sacrifice is not mandatory, if you are content with where you are in life, there is no need to engage into this route. I spent most of my twenties honing my knowledge, while doing 2-3 mean jobs in order to give myself the ability to place myself in a position of comfort and excellence. The beauty about sacrifices is the sense of fulfillment and purpose when you finally achieve what you set out to do. So do not get weak feet whenever you gotta make sacrifices for the advancement of your dreams or goals: it could be in your personal life, financial, relationship or any other areas of your life. It might feel shitty when you do but I the long run you will look back and acknowledge the necessity of making those sacrifices.

5- Pride:

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you” – C.J Lewis

After I had completed my master studies In the UK, I spent the next 6- 8 months doing allot of mean jobs. My day will look like this, from 7 am to 13:00 I will work in the kitchen of a hospital or primary school (depending on where the agency sent me), between 15:00 to 17:00 I will be cleaning office spaces, hospitals, toilets and do this all over again 7 days a week. So here I was a holder of a master’s degree in HR, previously an HR Assistant (back when I was in Cameroon) and here I was cleaning other people’s mess. I must admit this period had me question allot my decisions, I was not getting any positive response from the jobs I applied for, I felt like I was beneath these jobs and the frustration was killing me. But then I decided to look at the situation from a different perspective, maybe these mean jobs are an opportunity for me to build some character I the face of adversity, maybe there is something to learn here, at the very least I was not dealing around. Through these mean jobs I mate a friend who ended linking me up with the person who gave me my first corporate job in the UK. I could have chosen not to do any of these jobs and gotten mad and angry about my situation, but then I would not have built the character treats I needed for the what lied ahead of me. Sometimes, life puts you in situations which humbles you and requires you to put your pride to the side and face the music.

So there you have it folks the five things to practice to develop the hustler’s mindset:

  1. Have a clear vision

  2. Stay focused

  3. Build a network

  4. Sacrifice

  5. Pride

If you want to engage with me further on this topic please do so with the comment section for those of you listening on Anchor or reach out to me on my social media pages which can be found on the home page of this podcast. Until next time, I’ve been your host D-Terence, stay blessed.

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