The Happy Hustle: Think and speak your way to greater self-compassion


That word is tossed about in the online business world like confetti at a 90s wedding.

It might be thrilling for some, but to me it comes off harsh, unforgiving and likely to leave a weird stain.

Hustle – as a noun it is defined as ‘a state of great activity’ – fair enough? Yes, but as a verb it is defined as ‘to jostle or push roughly.’

When you are in the midst of hustle, do you feel that your thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviours are pushing roughly about your mind and body? Is there a sense of overwhelm? Phone calls, emails, client work, reviews and blog posts all clamouring for your immediate attention? Inner critic piping up and giving you a running review of scathing commentary?

It is undeniable that hustle can be a productive and stimulating place.

But, when hustle allows its mates to gate crash – that’s where the challenges ramp up. Hustle has heaps of friends – you may have met them before: control, anxiety, despair, overload, apathy, irritability, comparison, exhaustion, perfectionism.

I’m sure you already have some wonderful strategies to minimise the damage that these gate crashers can do – and they may include things such as exercise, meditation, speaking to a supportive friend/mastermind/coach/mentor/counsellor, reviewing and making changes to your commitments, outsourcing, naps, chocolate, journalling and yoga.

Your best work emerges from you when you are in a space that is aligned, trusting, open and curious.

How you speak and how you think greatly influence how you feel and operate in these busy times.

Photo: Georgie James Photography

Photo: Georgie James Photography

Creative thoughts + words to boost your self-compassion.


1.     Don’t say “I HAVE to do (x, y or z)”  Say “I GET to do x, y, z.”

As in, “I get to respond to these emails now. I get to phone the event co-ordinator now.”

How lucky am I? I get to do these things.

This shifts you from obligation to gratitude in one word.

2.     Interrupt the inner critic with a song or silly voice.

Ever find yourself thinking “You’re a failure! You’ll never sell enough tickets for your event”?

Next time, imagine or say those words with a silly voice or that of your favourite TV comedy character.

Alternatively, sing those words in your head or out aloud, to the tune of Happy Birthday.

This helps to diminish the power and authority of your inner critic, to interrupt it in its tracks and have a laugh and treat it as unhelpful nonsense. Then you can move on to doing what you need to without undue distraction. Repeat as necessary. The more you intervene, the more your inner critic will get the hint: You’re not buying into her message anymore!

3.     Ask yourself three important questions

When you are in the midst of hustle and overwhelm, it can be easy to lose touch with your big why. The real reason you do what you do. Stop and check in with yourself.

  • What are my key values as a solopreneur?
  • Am I currently in or out of alignment with these?
  • What is one thing I can do, say or think right now to move closer into alignment with my values?

For example, one of your key values might be boldness and you notice feeling a discord with this because you’ve been hesitant to express your true self in business and do things your own way. You might then decide to move closer to alignment by deciding to finally post that very personal blog post, or creating a positive affirmation to repeat to yourself to help you feel more aligned with this value.

4.     You don’t have to like it, but can you make room for it?

Much of our so called negative feelings (dissatisfaction, anxiety, overwhelm, despair, irritability etc) arise when we judge an experience to be unpleasant or unwelcome. We try to get rid of the ‘bad’ feeling. It’s the trying to getting rid of it that often causes more distress.

Practising an attitude of acceptance can help you navigate through a busy hustle period.

This is how it is, not how it was, might have been or should have been. Not how I wanted it to be, hoped it would be or planned it would be. I accept that this is how it is (Unknown).

Trust yourself, you can make room for this.

5.     Toss that Confetti

Ha! We were getting a bit too serious, don’t you think?

I want you to remember to celebrate. Even the small wins! Share your stories, share your successes. Don’t play small and keep quiet. When you show courage to share wins, you create a climate for everyone else to do so too!

Self-compassion wants to find you playing, laughing, smiling and celebrating. It’s just as important tending to you in both positivity and in challenge.

Find your way back to the joy of the hustle, where it’s a happy hustle (a state of great activity) – not a push and a shove.


Remember to acknowledge that you are a beautiful work in progress, and in your devotion to experiencing the fullness of life and meaningful work, you embrace a loving and compassionate environment for your whole self – no matter what.

© Naomi Morrow, 2017.