“What’d you do today?!"
“Excuse me?” I responded.
This wasn’t an innocent or idle question. I’d been fretting to a colleague that I didn’t reach a goal I’d set for myself. Her response was curt and dispassionate.
“What’d you do today? What did you do yesterday?”
She never said anything else but just let me live with my own responses.
If you want to make a difference with your photography, your degree of success is often found in the actions you took today. And yesterday. It’s your level of effort.
It’s your hustle.
I was listening to Chase Jarvis interview Levar Burton on the 30 Days of Genius series when Levar dropped this truth bomb:
You have to not only be the artist and creator, you have to be the promoter, too. The distributor. The chief bottle washer. You have to sweep up. You have to hustle. You have to hustle. And I believe one’s hustle is a sign of the degree to which one is really passionate about getting it done. So where is your hustle game?
Let’s unpack that quote because in it Levar Burton gave us the opportunity, the prescription, and the challenge.
Listen to the podcast
What does it mean to hustle?
Hustle means you are always working toward a clear goal
- People who hustle correctly are goal oriented
- In episode 45, the one big mistake is Randomness
- Hustling without clear focus is just activity.
- You end up being one of those people who are always busy but don’t accomplish anything.
Hustle means you are responsible for everything it takes to ensure your success
- In episode 29, we discussed how easy it is to pick yourself.
- You no longer have any gatekeepers.
- The flip side is now you are responsible for everything — creating, promoting, networking, publishing — everything.
Hustle means you ask, 'will the next thing I do get me closer to my goal?'
- Here’s how you keep focused.
- Ask yourself “will this next activity bring me any closer to my goals?"
- You will have more and more opportunities as you become successful.
- That one question can help keep you from becoming distracted.
Hustle means you choose not to do a lot of fun things to focus on the important things
- FOCUS - follow one course until success
- Steve Jobs famously said success means saying no to a lot of good options.
- Say no to everything that isn’t essential.
Hustle means you are committed to improving daily
- Lifestyle learning means you focus on getting a little better every day
- It means you practice your craft every day
- Mark Cuban said ‘if I’m not working, I’m learning.'
Hustle means you keep a short list of people who influence your decisions
- Brene’ Brown says she keeps a short list of people whose advice she takes.
- You have to be in the arena doing work I respect or admire.
- You have to be where I am trying to go.
- That’s it. When you get a criticism, first see if the person criticizing is on that short lit.
- If not, move on.
Hustle means you don’t quit until the job is done
- You aren’t punching the clock anymore. You don’t quit when the bell sounds but when the work is done.
- When my thoughts beckon my tired body homeward I will resist the temptation to depart. I will try again. I will make one more attempt to close with victory, and if that fails I will make another. Never will I allow any day to end with a failure. Thus, will I plant the seed of tomorrow's success and gain an insurmountable advantage over those who cease their labor at a prescribed time. When others cease their struggle, then mine will begin, and my harvest will be full. - Og Mandino
Hustle means you sometimes make decisions that people will think are unreasonable or crazy
- People who don’t understand your hustle won’t understand your decisions.
- Many will think that you are being unreasonable or crazy.
Hustle means you don’t have to do it, you choose to do it
- The sacrifices won’t seem like a burden when you are truly invested in the outcome.
Hustle means you own the results, good or bad
- You know that this might not work.
- You don’t back away from a challenge.
- You own the results.
Hustle means you learn from your mistakes, make adjustments and keep grinding
- Ask the right questions.
- What can I learn from this situation?
- Make your adjustment and keep grinding.
So where is your hustle game?
The Levar Burton interview was used with permission from Creative Live. Join renowned photographer and CreativeLive Founder Chase Jarvis as he interviews 30 of the brightest minds of our time. Sign up for free here.