ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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Maybe We Need to Rewrite the Narrative Around “Hustle”—Because, Hello, It’s Fucking Killing Us

In: Hard Stuff, Success,

The wine was poured. And then it was poured again. Sometimes, a third glass. Jackpot, the whole bottle. It wasn’t really the wine I was after; it was what the wine gave me.

GLUG GLUG GLUG. Look, I’m relaxing.

GLUG GLUG GLUG. Emails? What emails?

GLUG GLUG GLUG. I clearly can’t do anything productive now. 

GLUG GLUG GLUG. Guess I’m off the hook for the night. (Phew.)

GLUG GLUG GLUG. Is this what it’s like to not be working?

The year 2013—that was the year in which I discovered a dangerous new trick:

If you’re tipsy, it’s finally outside of your control.

For an entrepreneur who believed that everything was within her control—this was, after all, how she had become successful—relinquishing it, for once, was a much-needed reprieve. Her body needed to rest. Her mind needed to rest. And so she discovered a way to override the settings:

With a delicious little trip wire.

How desperate, right? To be so trapped inside your own mind, constantly compelled to do more; to be more; to blow by the city limits of reasonable. It was a new form of slavery, one that had became a self-inflicted form of torture. Wasn’t this “hustling,” after all? Wasn’t this what all the rage in entrepreneurship was about?

I had followed the standard narrative to a T: (1) Girl grows up poor. (2) Girl hustles her fucking face off. (3) Girl goes from rags to riches, blah blah blah.

But what about the in between?
What about the small print no one’s talking about? 

We’ve heard the success stories; we know you’re killing it. We’ve seen your Instagram; we know you made seventy bajillion figures in five minutes. Your accomplishments don’t interest the world. What’s interesting is what they mean for the rest of us.

Where is the truth in what you’ve achieved? 
What does success really look like when no one’s looking?

Everyone’s busy talking up the country club’s sexy new tennis courts.

But the tennis courts don’t matter if you had to sacrifice of the golf course in order to afford it.

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