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8 Realizations about the Corporate America Hustle

Hustle is like bacon. You sprinkle hustle on any activity and you instantly make the activity better. Imagine how better salad tastes with a little bacon sprinkled on top [Jim Gaffigan makes this exact point in his comedy special “King Baby”].

What can hustle do to business development? Hustle can make life better… whether that’s life in corporate America, life before corporate America, or life after corporate America. Many dream about leaving behind the corporate life, but when it comes right down to it, they are really dreaming about leaving behind a corporate activity (or set of activities) lacking that special hustle ingredient.

Hustle is the dream ingredient— that perfect spice of success, flavor of focus, and recipe for results. In fact, hustle is such a significant ingredient that other words carry more weight when you put Hustle next to them: Hustle and Flow; Hustle and Bustle; Hustle and Soul. I recently read an Inc Magazine article from Scott Mautz titled: – I Left My Corporate Job and These 8 Things Became Clear. Scott’s story is inspiring, primarily because it’s about a serving up of hustle.

In the article, Scott talks about how after more than two decades at Procter & Gamble, he made the grand exit away from corporate life to “go all-in on [his] side hustle of writing, speaking, and teaching”. Now what was once his side hustle is now his full hustle and “[he’s] hustlin’ (and loving every minute of it)”. So how did Scott make this move? Here are his eight realizations that can help you get better at your hustle wherever you are (whether in corporate life or out of corporate life):

1. Two things will be the death of us: death and meetings.
It’s even clearer now. So much time is wasted in meetings, in so many ways. On minutiae, micromanagement, or masquerading. If I could have back just a quarter of the time I spent in meetings, I’d add a dollar to the stock price. Stage a revolt. Question why you’re meeting. Ask if you can get it done through email or by (gasp) just deciding.
My Hustle Take: Corporate meetings without a business development angle (whether big or small) are really a waste of corporate resources. I consult all the time with my executive clients (big and small) about how to get the most from their meetings. In fact, just a few weeks ago, I was able to work with an executive team to run a number of LinkedIn Sales Navigator Corporate Solution searches on one of their target accounts that they had an upcoming 90-minute meeting with. After we did some quick due diligence searches and identified some account intelligence points, they decided to cut the proposed meeting time with this target client from 90 minutes down to 15 minutes. Yes, 15 minutes!

2. I miss most of the people and none of the processes.
Process can serve a purpose, sometimes. The people we work with give us purpose, all the time. Oh, to be able to get back all that time spent serving some mundane process and reinvest it in relationships. When you’re removed from the people alongside whom you’ve labored and laughed, you’re reminded of something. Life is relationships. The daily little investments you make in others will matter in the end. Think of it as the 401(k) for a meaningful life.
My Hustle Take: Here’s the money math: People > Process > System. When you need to make a tradeoff (because frankly, there’s no such thing as a free lunch), start with Systems and Processes, and then think creatively before you get to the People. Power to the People!

3. It’s less about being impressive, and more about making an imprint.
In the corporate world, it’s easy to spend too much time worrying about how you come across in meetings or what your boss (or boss’s boss) thinks of you. I certainly got caught here at times. But I see more clearly than ever that it’s not what people think of you that counts. It’s what they say about you, from the heart, when no one is looking. What kind of person are you? What kind of imprint did you leave on the lives of others? Find ways to broaden your platform for making a difference to others. Chase authenticity, not approval.
My Hustle Take: You know you’re being authentic to yourself when there are at least some parts of your work that don’t feel like work.

4. All that little stuff really is little stuff.
Ugh. So much time getting caught up in crap. Stuff that just doesn’t matter. The little jab from a manager, a co-worker has dropped the ball, the disgust with your outdated office surroundings. Whatever your little stuff is, just remind yourself that it’s just that and don’t let it cumulatively eat at you. Eat a different meal — one of perspective and positive attitude.
My Hustle Take: Some days the glass is half full, some days the glass is half empty; the important stuff is that there’s a glass to begin with.

5. Flexibility is intoxicating.
For me, leaving corporate life has meant working a much more flexible schedule. I’m just as busy, but twice as productive. I honestly think if I were still at Conglomerate Inc., I’d find a flexible work schedule 10 times more motivating than a huge pay raise. If you’re a boss, be brave, trust, and find ways to grant this powerful flexibility. If you’re an employee, ask for it.
My Hustle Take: Genius is not restricted to a 9-to-5 workday.

6. My presence is more of a present.
I don’t mean this egotistically. Being outside of a highly stressful corporate environment has lowered my defenses, and raised my interpersonal IQ. I’m more relaxed, less preoccupied, and more fully present with others. I know — that’s easy for me to say when I no longer have to explain bad share results in the morning. But I’m wistful that I wasn’t able to put the stress in its place more often to more fully invite in the gift of another’s presence. Learn from me.
My Hustle Take: Reminder, relationships matter. In a business development context, a good relationship with a happy client or colleague is like a gift that keeps on giving.

7. There’s no greater pick-me-up than feeling challenged and growing again.
In my role, the work and challenges were becoming repetitive. Life is dotted with many tempting parking spaces, and I may have pulled into one without realizing it. My world is now one of writing and speaking full time, endeavoring to build online courses, teaching at a university — all new and all energizing. Recommit to the idea of challenge and growth. It’s an elixir of joy.
My Hustle Take: The good news here is that regardless of what you’re doing today, you can apply more hustle. Have you heard the story of the janitor who became the CEO? Have you heard the story of the general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor? Striking story!

8. Your health belongs on a pedestal. Period.
Corporate life can be synonymous with sacrifice, often of the mental and physical kind. Being able to up my health investment is paying dividends in my professional life. Health and work don’t have to be mutually exclusive. It took my getting out of the grind to realize that. I’m thankful for everything that corporate life taught and gave me. I hope now to continue my evolution from being to becoming. Wherever you are, you can do the same.
My Hustle Take: Health is wealth. Please ensure that you do your best to balance your diet as you balance your books.