I was reminded of the importance of the hustle in a conversation I had with my wife Judy earlier this week.

Throughout the many essays that I’ve written over the years there is one topic that, although I’ve danced around it hasn’t been explicitly highlighted and that is the importance of the hustle.

I can just see you scratching your head and trying to understand what I mean…

One thing I learned early in life was that if I wanted to achieve anything in life the only person that was going to make it happen was me.

Not that I had a choice at 17 when I left home and went to university.  My parents were not in a position to help me financially and so I had to figure how I was going to be able make ends meet.

I soon realized that no job was too big or too small, and that irrespective of the type of job (yes, there were some pretty grubby ones) that this counted for naught in the grand scheme of things.

From working on farms, driving trucks and heavy equipment to working in factories and even cleaning sidewalks and gutters it made no difference.

Even become a single parent to two teens was undaunting because I knew deep in my heart that I had the personal fortitude to become a strong role model and great dad.

These years weren’t always easy, but we given the relationship I have with them today I believe I was successful in raising two incredible human beings.

Both are emotionally intelligent, strong willed and passionate individuals.  Different in many ways but understand what it takes to make your dreams become a reality.

My hustle mantra became, and still is “if this is the worst thing I have to do in my life, then I’m ahead of the game”.

Motivation to work hard and make your dreams come true comes from within…

No one is going to save you…  there are no safety nets in life.

It’s just you!

Personally, I never spent time feeling sorry for myself cos’ I was too busy making plans and working hard to care.

All I knew was that to create the life I’d always wanted it was totally up to me.

Strangely, what this equates to is that quickly become knowledgeable in a lot of areas, or as I like to say, “a jack of all trades but a master of none”.

This coupled with an open mind, ready to absorb and learn as much as you can along the way are fundamental capabilities.

I’m not sure if there is anyone more formidable that a person with a hustle mindset and capabilities to learn quickly.

As I said many times life is not a straight line, and just because you may have come from priviledge or attended the best schools around the world it doesn’t really account for much without the drive to make your goals a reality.

I know that over the course of my life I invented and reinvented myself over and over to continue my journey forward.

Seemingly always falling on my feet often to the surprise of those around me…

I’d like to think that this was because of my experience and knowledge alone, but the reality is that the true secret sauce to success is when you combined this with passion, energy, and drive,

A single mindedness to creating the life I’d always wanted continues to this day.

In recent years the word hustle has often taken on a negative connotation…

Call it what you will but it’s the “do whatever it takes” mindset combined with your passion, energy and drive to make things happen.

Remember, if you want it to happen it takes more than hope and desire.

You need to take action!

Taking action all the while keeping your goals and objectives at the forefront of your mind may take you on a circuitous route, but eventually will get you to where you need to be.

During this, sometime long journey you have to believe that it will deliver what you desire most.

A great example is my son Zach’s desire to become a history professor.

Although he wasn’t accepted into a PH. D program this time around this week, he was offered a spot in the University of Chicago’s History program to complete another master’s degree starting in September.

Although not ideal, it will provide him with a placement that positions him to build relationship and learn new skills thus potentially opening doors to future PH.D programs.

How he uses this opportunity is totally up to him.

If he wants it badly enough, he will find a way to get where and what he wants most.  No one can do it for him…

The self-realization that you own your destiny is powerful.

And the way to achieve it lays with your ability to hustle and act every single day.

So, what are you waiting for?

There is no time like the present to adjust your mindset and determine what your priorities are…

Until next week