confessions of a retail-owning, kid-wrangling extrovert...

The Poster-Gal Hustle

Have you ever heard a phrase and thought, “Oh Dear Lord in Heaven above, that was created for me…”?

I’ve had that happen many times but none more memorable than when I attended the Big-Hearted Business Conference here in downtown Northcote, Victoria.  It was one of the first business-type events I’d been to in years.  I remember sitting there feeling pretty down, no area of my life was coasting.  In fact, at the time, everything was a bloody hard slog.  In my gut I knew that many changes were needed both personally and professionally and it was up to me to make them happen, but my energy levels were reaching an all-time low…so too were my funds.  As I took my seat, I thought, “Is this an un-necessary indulgence? Is this the best thing to be doing with my time, with my money?  It’s the weekend, I need to rely on others to mind the little blokes, to take care of the gallery.  I’m not sure how beneficial this will be when I can’t even be bothered speaking to people….” My typical glass half-full thinking was spiralling down…

I’d been hearing a lot about luck, do you find it interesting how people like to tell you (or others) how ‘lucky’ you are?  I’d found it particularly interesting given I was, by that stage, soul-parenting two children under 7 whilst dealing with their beautiful Dad’s newly acquired disabilities (thank-you 5th grade brain bleed), I was trying to lead a retail business through a global financial crisis and keep a grip on my mental health.  I have always known my good fortune and always felt a sense of gratitude but I was hearing alot about how lucky I was to have the people I had in my life, in business.  And quite frankly, it was pissing me off and turning me into a paranoid pinball; I’d been trying my hardest to show my gratitude in a variety of ways, particularly to Team-Galerie, being reminded of my luck through such a challenging time was making me question whether I was doing enough when I really didn’t have much more to give. But there was more about it that was niggling me, I just couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

So then, Clare Bowditch – that beautiful, glorious-voiced, big-personalitied, flame-haired, wonder of a woman – began talking and of all she said, I remember one phrase – Hustler with Heart.  I knew that three little word phrase was mine.  I finally got to the crux of what was driving me insane about the whole ‘luck’ thing.  Yes, I was lucky alright, I was born into a loving, incredibly giving family in a country that had given me every opportunity I could ever dream of, I had a clean-bill of health, as did my children, but the rest, I finally realised, might have – dare I say it aloud – had a tiny bit to do with me.

I thought back to all the opportunities that I’d grabbed, the chances I took, the risks – emotionally, personally, financially.  Everything from my working life to my personal relationships I realised was a bit of a hustle…to be noticed, to get the information, to acquire knowledge, to get that job, to be accepted, to get assistance…I was indeed a Hustler….with Heart.  And that realisation gave me a burst of energy, as I realised that I could definitely get through the imminent changes I needed to make, I could hustle my way towards the life I wanted, the support I needed, the business I imagined, the ideas that were constantly filling my head.  Nothing was impossible anymore.  I had a new-found appreciation for this part of my being.  Everything, though still a slog, was suddenly do-able.

The funny thing was, once I’d fully embraced that side of myself, I recognised it in so many others…particularly other people in small business and I loved them all the more for it. I was attracted to the ‘Hustlers with Heart’, I had unwittingly gathered a tribe of like-minded people around me who were all hustling their way into creative, interesting lives. I don’t want to give too much away, but really, the ‘fake it til you make it’ phrase should be tattooed on our foreheads – we are simply out there giving shit a go and if it doesn’t work, we try again, or head in another direction all together until something sticks….that, to my mind, is hustling, it kinda makes the ordinary an adventure. And through living this way I realised that, regardless of all the tough decisions and crazy times, I was indeed the luckiest.

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