I recently listened to a podcast by one of my favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell. The episode was called “Chutzpah vs Chutzpah”— at first glance, a homonym. It is the same word, but it has different meanings in different societies (US vs Israel). While reflecting on how I’ve been working the last few months since the pandemic hit, it made me realize that the word hustle also has different meanings.
Being an active three-sport athlete in high school, I knew the word hustle in a more traditional sense. “Hustle up!” “Let’s see some hustle on those sprints!” Working day to day, I’m still hustling. Get the work done, move on to the next to-do item. The hustle and bustle of working, commuting, picking up the kids, making dinner, etc. can be exhausting but it means you’re getting things done and accomplishing what you need to meet your goals.
Since mid-March, I’ve realized my hustle has taken on a different face. It’s what MCs rap about. Or some people will talk about a side hustle, which is a side business they start. This hustle is about making things happen for you. With events being postponed or even cancelled, we’ve had to create new opportunities— ones that did not exist before. I’m almost embarrassed to say I had two sponsorship sales calls in one day for a virtual conference that did not even have a prospectus yet! I’ve been creating sponsored webinars for clients who have never had sponsored webinars before. This hustle is about creating one’s own opportunities. It’s also about making sure that money is coming in. That’s a hustler.
Is one type of hustle better than another? Probably not. Each serves its own purpose at its own appropriate time. However, if you’re in sales, you’d better have at least one.