HDW2: Hustle vs Flow – The wrong mix can mess with your life (and business)

In 2016, I moved to NYC and I had an amazing business year.. and a terrible personal year. Living there, made me have some big realizations around the balance of hustle and flow and what it means for a successful entrepreneur. I share my insights in this episode.


I feel that we need to talk about this hustle and flow thing. I am a huge believer in the fact that hustle is important, especially in business. It’s not the ability to float through life and manifest everything without any effort because that’s just not how it works.

I feel like a lot of people are not understanding that there has to be the right mix of both hustle and flow in your life. This balance will help you create the life that you desire and will ensure that you achieve the things you set out to accomplish.

Before we talk about the mix and balance and why that’s important, let’s first talk about hustle. Hustle is when you move passionately, with drive, towards your goals. You are doing a particular task in a shorter period of time, and doing it intensely. When you are in hustle mode, you are pushing yourself to new heights to get things done. You might even be doing things that make you uncomfortable. But, you’re doing them anyway because you know you have to achieve a very specific goal.

Some people tend to take it to the extreme, and that’s where the phrase “Team No Sleep” comes into play. People are just hustling 24/7 and very often that looks like doing a lot of menial tasks that they don’t have to be doing. It ends up feeling like hustle, but it’s not. If you want to learn more about this, I address this topic in depth in the first Hustle Monday episode.

Now, on the other hand, we have flow. Flow is a state of being and is a specific mode that you’re in when things just seem to happen. There isn’t a demanding need to push things; it’s more of a pull mentality where things are just pulled to you and seem easy.

Clients may be coming to you, and you’re finding opportunities everywhere without necessarily having to do a whole lot. You’re in this magical, beautiful space and this state of mind where things are working really well for you.

A lot of times people use the word manifesting, as in, you’re manifesting all of these things since it doesn’t necessarily feel like work. Hustle seems more like work since you’re typically doing particular and intense tasks.

I hear people saying, “You need to hustle all the time! Hustle hustle hustle!” and that this is all you have to do to be successful. Then there’s the other group of people that talk about flow and how you can manifest and create the things you desire with the power of your mind. I don’t think that it’s one or the other because it’s both.

Let’s think about it. You can’t really have flow and just manifest things out of thin air if you’re not taking action, right? I can’t manifest $1,000 by only sitting on my couch not doing anything. You have to be doing the work to get something done.

So, I like to use the hustle to support me being in flow, because very often when you hustle you do something quickly. You should not be in hustle mode for extended periods of time. If you do go to this extreme, it might get you to burn out and feel overwhelmed. Fast.

You have to make sure that you have balance. Do the things that support you in getting into that space of flow where things are feeling more creative and feeling good overall. It’s that push versus pull mentality and that push versus pull marketing. Both are important based on what kind of goals you have, whether short term or long term.

What’s interesting is that you need a different mix of hustle versus flow at different times in your business. When you are newer in business, you typically need a more significant hustle over the element of flow because you need to get things started. You can’t expect clients to come to you if nobody knows what you do. You can manifest and think about it all you want, but that’s just not how it works.

You have to get out there, reach out to people, and talk to them to create the results that you desire. That is the hustle.

Now as you grow your business and start to develop structure, that hustle should be getting a little bit smaller, and flow should become more emphasized. The thing that you need to determine is the right mix for you based on where you are in your business.

I want to share a quick story about how I found out that this hustle versus flow concept even exists. When you think about hustle, that’s really the thing that’s getting you the primary results that you like. For example, if you’re doing a launch. I’m planning a launch, and some of the time I tend to be in a state of flow because I love doing this kind of stuff. But, when it comes to notifying people in a short time frame, I want to make sure that everybody sees that sale so that they’re signing up.

Hustle is definitely in place at that point.

With things in between like list building and sales funnels, there’s a lot more flow since things are already in place. There’s just a little bit of tweaking and being creative, but overall no hustle is needed here.

In the first two years of my business, I was very heavily into hustle. I think it was year two and a half in my business and I was starting my first mastermind.

Just recently I was talking to one of my clients that had joined that mastermind, and she told me what made her want to sign up. She said that she was really attracted to that hustle persona that I had. It was all about hustle and getting stuff done, and that’s how I was then.

I’m not that way now, which got me thinking about what might have happened that caused this shift.

There was a very specific thing that occurred. Before I was launching my first mastermind in the beginning of 2016, I was living in downtown Chicago and was feeling a bit isolated. My friends didn’t really understand what I was doing, and having an online business, my social life was not that great.

I wanted to change my life, and I wanted to be happier. So, I just decided to pick up and move to New York City. At the time I was convinced that this was my dream city and I was so excited. I decided that my life would change and my business would skyrocket once I moved.

I don’t know if you’ve been to New York City, but it is very hectic and energized. There’s always a lot going on, people are walking everywhere, and there’s a lot of hustle. You can really feel the fast-paced energy when you’re there. I thought that I would LOVE it. And I did, a little bit, at first. But because I was operating so heavily from hustle already, I was faced with even more hustle when moving to New York.

I realized that I was starting to feel suffocated.

Thankfully, I lived very close to Central Park, which is a huge, beautiful park in the middle of Manhattan. I would have the need to go to this park every single day to recharge. I never considered myself to be an outdoorsy person or a nature person since I love being in cities. But, all of the sudden I move to this new place and I operate from the hustle mentality and face an environment that’s almost 100% hustle.

I was feeling overwhelmed, and this caused me only to isolate myself further.

I started to get really in my head and have a lot of anxiety. I was diagnosed with panic disorder back in 2011 after a car accident, and after having my panic attacks under control for a while, they were starting to come back once moving to New York. I was going to the doctors all of the time, and the experience just wasn’t what I thought it would be. But, I was in denial for the ten months that I was living there, and thought that it just so happened that I was sick.

I created a lot of trips for myself that gave me a break from being there for too long. I was seeking flow and space to just BE. But, I was creating the environment for myself that perpetuated that continuous mode of being on – that hustle mode. It was a time where I really needed to have more flow in my life and business because otherwise, I was burning out. My health issues illustrated that.

My business was skyrocketing which was the most confusing thing. I had reached my first almost $40,000 month in June of 2016, so clearly things were amazing. I was like “Oh my God, New York is the best thing ever for me!” But, at the same time, I was feeling all of this anxiety and isolation.

It was a very confusing time because I wanted to have more flow, and that’s really what the issue was. I had no flow in my life, I had no creativity, and I had no space for just being – for just letting things happen. I always felt like I needed to push for things to happen.

I was finding myself going on multiple trips, and that’s when I hosted my first retreat in Virginia Beach. I was going to all of these places that were not New York, and I would even go to Chicago to visit my parents and be there for two weeks at a time. Subconsciously, it was just too much, and I needed to balance it out.

That’s when i really realized that the hustle versus flow thing is so real. It kind of touches on the masculine and the feminine, too. I have operated from masculine energy for a very long time, and I needed to bring more softness and feminine energy into my life and business. This was necessary for me to continually operate in a way that supports me as I grow as a human being, and for getting into the next level of my business.

The next level needed to have more flow, and this was something that I felt on a visceral level.

I left my apartment about two weeks early and came back to Chicago. I ended up staying at my parent’s house for two months because I did not know what to do. I thought that New York City was the end all be all for me and that I’d be so happy there. I had this whole life that I imagined, but because I was so freshly operating from that hustle/masculine energy, my body was just rejecting it.

So, I moved back to my parent’s house which was embarrassing to do at 26, but I did it. One day I was talking to my emotional support coach, and I brought up the topic of San Diego, California. The West coast is a lot more flowy, chill, and has feminine and soft energy. I wasn’t really sure about going there because I never thought of myself as a California person, but my coach suggested trying it since I didn’t know where else to go.

I knew I didn’t want to be in Chicago. I knew I didn’t want to be in New York at that time because it had not worked for me. So where else could I go?

I had my mastermind retreat that I was hosting in San Diego in January. It was kind of serendipitous if you think about it because I decided to pick that San Diego location way ahead of time. I decided to come a couple of days early, look at apartments, and now I live in San Diego!

Now that I live here, I can really see that flow took place in my life and my business. Having flow is something that I was lacking when I was living in New York, and I needed an introduction in a way that was changing my environment.

When I was in New York, I was 95-100% hustle, and in San Diego, it’s a little more like 60/40 – 60% hustle and 40% flow which is nice. For me, 50/50 would probably not feel very good. If you are into human design, I am by default a generator, and that’s just what I do. I get stuff done, and that’s just how I function. For this reason, I need to have a lot of hustle in my life, but I need to make sure it’s balanced. I found this out by moving to a different place.

I’m saying this to you so that you can start looking at what is happening in your own life. If you’re feeling a lot of burnout and overwhelm, maybe there are a couple of things that you can shift in your own life that would support you in creating more flow. Whether there’s an overwhelm of hustle, or if there’s a lot of flow and you want things to happen, but it’s not moving fast enough. Maybe what’s needed is creating some habits and an environment that support you in being in the hustle a little more.

It’s all about understanding what the right mix for you is, and the only way to find that out is by actually doing it.

I can’t tell you what that perfect balance is for you. It might need to adjust with time, and chances are it will. Practice finding what works for you and where can you be the most productive and the happiest at the same time.

Hopefully, this is helpful to you in some way. I look forward to hearing what you think and what your thoughts are on hustle versus flow as well as masculine versus feminine energy. What do you think you need in your life for you to operate at a better capacity? Thank you so much for listening, and I’ll talk to you next week in another episode of Hustle Monday!

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