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Read this Post Before Your Wife Hates You for Living the Hustle Life

The hustle life is so damn sexy.

Work. Work. Work. Work harder than is humanly possible.

Work 20 hours a day.

Make your every waking thought about the growth of your business and brand.

Hustle hard enough and eventually, your little startup with stand out. Venture Capitalists will back dump trucks full of money up to your apartment in a whirlwind round of angel investments.

You’ll stop going home for dinner.

Techcrunch, Wired, Fast Company and Inc will all do stories about how hard you work and how no one else was willing to put in the hours you did.

You‘ll start sleeping at the office’.

Podcasters will be willing to book out months in advance to have you on their show.

You’ll forget family birthdays.

You continue to hustle.

Your wife starts to hate you.

There are consequences to adopting a “Hustle” mentality.

Forsaking all else, to outwork your competition for a chance at extraordinary success, has its price.

Before you go all in on the #hustle life, I’d like to share a story.

The Hustle Trap

You want to be an entrepreneur.

You want to be an entrepreneur so badly. You want to be your own boss and build a business you’re proud of. You want your wife and kids to be proud of what you do every day.

You want some damn self-respect.

You want, you want, you want… but you also have a family. You have responsibilities (kids) and obligations (mortgage).

The idea of stepping out on your own at this point in your life isn’t bold, it’s irresponsible.

You secretly create your website and begin blogging. You’ve got talent. People start to comment on your work and connect with you on social media.

Influencers in your space recognize your skills and occasionally mention your work inside their own.

As the trend line in Google Analytics rises, so does your confidence. In a moment of self-indulgence you ask your wife to take a look at your latest work.

“Wow, honey, this is good.”

Recognizing talent and unwilling to battle something they don’t yet understand, permission is granted to pursue your “dream.”

At first, everything is good.

Your motivation and drive spark flames that had been tempered over years of marriage.

The rush of early achievement is intoxicating.

You haven’t felt this free since your first day of college.

Friends and family pepper you with questions about the new stream of content you’re sharing onFacebook. You’re more than happy to answer.

Feigning humility while explaining your new endeavor, you quietly judge each as unequal to the path you’ve set yourself upon.

Smelling the contempt in your responses, after a few weeks the questions slow.

But you don’t care, they don’t understand what you’re trying to do.

They don’t understand the #hustle.

So you check your phone throughout dinner, while playing with the kids and in between pauses during your wife’s recap of her day.

You’re trying to build something.

Your daily affirmations become a series of little white lies:

“I’m doing this for my family.”

“My wife will respect me more if I own a successful business.”

“I’ll have time for my family once my business is successful.”

The worst part is, strangers confirm your delusions. You have talent and do you work hard. People take notice and the messages start to role in:

“How do you produce so much?”

“Keep hustling!”

“You’re a machine!”

These strangers… they get you. Why doesn’t your family?

You keep #hustling.

You only need five hours of sleep.

You can sleep when you’re dead.

You’re miserable, tired and irritable. This is the price of building businesses and living the #hustle life.

Then one day you listen to James Altucher’s podcast and hear Derek Siversshare his experience building CD Baby. Derek explains his position on entrepreneurship. Derek describes an entrepreneurial journey that doesn’t involve grinding yourself into the dust working 19 hour days.

Respecting Derek Sivers opinion, you look up from your keyboard for the first time in weeks. You look up expecting to lock eyes with your wife and sharing a loving moment.

Maybe tonight I’ll take a break.

Yeah. Just one more email.

Just let me finish setting up this Facebook Ad campaign.

Just one more minute.

Except, when you look up, your wife isn’t there.

Your wife hasn’t been there, for a long time.

You’ve officially hustled your way onto an island, no one wants to visit. Congratulations.

The #hustle is lonely.

You can’t put your finger on it, but something is different. There is a distance that wasn’t there before.

Neither of you has the balls to bring it up.

Routine jokes fall flat, nits get picked and sexual advances get squashed.

Something is very wrong.

But how could something be wrong? You’re hustling for the family. Doesn’t she see all you’ve sacrificed to be a success?

Why can’t she see you’re doing this for her (and the kids).

You’re doing this so the family never has to worry about {insert bullshit goal no one other than you cares about}.


You can understand why, maybe, maybe, she might be upset. She did have to take care of the kids alone, again, when you decided last minute to take an unpaid speaking engagement because it was a good opportunity for exposure.

But she keeps telling you she understands.

She’s smiling when she says she understands.

So you book another out-of-town speaking gig for “exposure.” It will all pay off someday. She’ll see.

She doesn’t see.

How could she see? You’re gone all the time. When you’re home, your face is buried in the phone. You “forget” to take care of simple household errands.

You haven’t been present in a long time.

The Questions

Feeling her husband slipping away, your wife begins to ask questions:

  • Why are you going on this trip?
  • Do you need to be on that thing right now?
  • Why do you come to bed so late?

You get defensive.

You make excuses.

You start thinking about the next blog post.

Just one more hour before I go to bed. She won’t mind. She’s already sleeping.

image credit: http://gph.is/1L434A1

She feels rejected.

Simple disagrees turn into full blown arguments.

You start saying things like”

  • “Lower your voice,” and
  • “Not in front of the kids.”

What does she want from you?

You’re hustling (for the family).

Why doesn’t she understand this will all pay off someday?

Then you stop talking altogether. At first, you tell yourself this is a good thing. Out of respect, you’re being given space to get shit done.

Even if deep down inside you know this is a lie, it doesn’t matter. Just one more blog post. Just one selfie on Instagram. This is the last email, I promise.

You’re addicted to #hustle.

Barbs, jabs and full-on frontal assaults become how you communicate.

And god forbid anyone question what you’re doing. You’re ready to go to war with anyone who has the gall to question your decisions.

Fights become the only way she can connect with you.

You hate it.

She hates you (you’re pretty sure).

She just misses you.

You keep saying, “Everything will go back to the way it was… soon.”

image credit: http://gph.is/1Q3S35g

Here’s the horrible part, the #hustle is working.

You’re getting results. Google Analytics screams at you, “More, More, More!”

So you hustle, more. You write more. You do more video. One more podcast interview.

I need want to figure out this Snapchat thing.

Then one day you get in the car, look at the person next to you and realize you have nothing to say.

All you can think about is how you’re going to get more people on your next Periscope.

She doesn’t want to hear about that… and honestly, you don’t want to have to explain what Periscope is.

So there you sit, silent. The old jokes are gone. Somehow bitterness and ambivalence have taken the place of passion and appreciation.

You start asking, “Is something wrong?” A lot.

She says, “Nothing…” A lot.

But you know it’s NOT nothing. You know it’s something. It feels like something big.

image credit: http://gph.is/1aFD6l8

But she won’t tell you (at least not with words) and you have an email newsletter that must get out tomorrow.

So you comment on how awesome your kids are and start brainstorming email subject lines.

She starts to cry.

Don’t Blame Gary Vaynerchuk

“But Ryan, don’t you watch the #AskGaryVee Show? It’s hustle or die.”

Let’s get this straight, #hustle is just another word for work hard.

You get that, right?

Hustle = Hard Work.

When Gary Vaynerchuk leans forward into the camera and blasts off on #hustle, what he’s really telling you to do is work hard.

It’s just that, building your brand on the “Work hard life” is not sexy. Hustle, as a word, is sexy. It’s exciting. It has panache. It has just enough of the ’90s gangster rap vibe to still be super cool.

Gary Vaynerchuk is telling you to work hard.

He is not advocating you be a selfish dick by working yourself into a divorce.


Don’t make the mistake of taking stupid memes out of context.

You have to actually live the life you build for yourself.

If that life is built on selfishness and 19 hour days, that’s exactly what you’re going to get back.

As Jason Fried explains, “Being tired isn’t a badge of honor.

There is nothing in business more satisfying than coming home to love and appreciation of your family.

Shit. You’re an adult. You should know this.

Embrace Shared Struggle

But life happens.

We all make choices and sometimes those choices are bad. Sometimes we choose ourselves (not in the James Altucher way) and everyone hates us for it.

image credit: http://gph.is/1Q3S2OG

That doesn’t mean you can’t stop being an asshole, today.

You can.

It takes mindfulness.

It takes self-awareness.

It takes giving a shit about your significant other and putting their needs before your next blog post.

Where there is love, there is hope. Even when it seems like the world is burning down around you.

Repairing a damaged relationship takes effort.

It starts with little things, like making a special trip to your wife’s office to deliver her a diet Pepsi.


Listen like you actually give a shit. Better yet, actually give a shit.

At first, none of this will work.

You’ll wonder if it’s possible to repair the damage.

Keep trying. Keep making jokes. Keep doing the laundry. Start vacuuming. Remove burden from her life.

Your #hustle life has done nothing but place undue burden upon her. The least you can do is take some of that burden back.

Be present.

I mean, really super present. No phone. Be there completely in mind and body.

Ask questions.

Ask questions and care about her response.

Ask follow-up questions. Let her know you’re listening.

image credit: http://gph.is/19Xfhat

Keep trying, because one day, out of the blue and for a reason you won’t exactly be able to put your finger on, her guard will come down.

It will be a small thing. Maybe just a smile. But damn, that smile. That’s the smile you fell in love with. That’s the smile you lost.

You feel as good as you’ve felt in a long time.

The sun is brighter, colors more vivid and beer is colder.

“This is life!”

Unfortunately, the hard part has only begun.

You can’t go back to being a selfish asshole.

She loves you. She wants you, not the #hustle version of you.

This is a confusing and frustrating time. You are torn between being the partner and father you know you are versus the rockstar, ninja, guru, #hustle, world-dominator you want to be.

Stress ensues. Soul sucking, head throbbing, chest tightening stress cripples both your #hustle life and the family life you’ve worked so hard to reclaim.

Stress evolves into despair. Despair for regret you haven’t yet felt.

“I don’t want to be that 80-year-old who never went for it…”

How to Hustle Without Becoming an Asshole

Here’s the secret to living the #hustle life without becoming an asshole:

1) Do work that matters.

Stop doing things that don’t matter. I’m serious. I’m dead-ass, 100% serious.

Do you really need a podcast?

How important is it to build an Anchor following?

Would your audience prefer one incredibly valuable post a week over shallow fluff every day?

Will your kid brag about how awesome you are at Facebook to his friends?

Can’t the emails wait?

Have an honest talk with yourself about which work matters to your business and which is just you chasing shadows.

2) Do work during work time.

Checking your phone during playtime with your kids is a dick move.

It just is. They’re kids. All they want is attention. Give it to them.

When it’s work time, think about work.

When it’s family time, think about family.

This is called being present and it’s possible to stress just how important being present is living the #hustle live without being an asshole.

3) Spontaneous Acts of Appreciation

Your family is making sacrifices in order for you to live the #hustle life.

They are making sacrifices for you.

Even though they may be cool with those sacrifices and understand the “Why” behind the decisions you’ve all agreed to, they’re still putting themselves out for something YOU want to do.

Your going to want to apologize for their sacrifices. It’s a nice thing, but don’t overdue it. At certain level, everyone knows that’s just lip service.

If you really want to show your family (and particularly your spouse) to know you appreciate the hardships they’ve take on so you can follow your dream, show them through spontaneous acts of appreciation.

image credit: http://gph.is/17lh7zL

Schedule a babysitter, book a hotel and make reservations at your wife’s favorite restaurant in the closest get-a-way city.

Or you could stalk her computer for open online shopping carts with clothes she’s love to buy but is struggling to pull the trigger on. Then buy the clothes for her.

Don’t ask what she wants.

Figure it out.

The effort, the thought, that’s what matters.

4) Be Awesome. Crush it.

This one is simple. If you’re going to live the #hustle life and put your family through the stress and sacrifice you better fucking win.

They’re betting on you.

You must make good on your promises.

No excuses.

Go win.

5) Support Her Hustle

Just because you started watching the #AskGaryVee show first does not mean you’ve laid sole claim to the #hustle life.

You must support your spouse in her own endeavors as she’s supported you.

So you have to move your schedule around, so what?

Do it.

I’m serious.

You’re going to want to complain.


Don’t you do it.

Only a true #hustle life asshole would ask for someone’s support and then deny that same person when the same request was made in return.

Rockstars Can Be Family Men Too

Forget about that 23-year-old infopreneur dipshit traveling around the world preaching the entrepreneurial #hustle life.

“Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things.”

~ Master Yoda
image credit: http://gph.is/1aQtwxy

You got married, you have kids, that life is gone.


That life is lonely.

There is nothing more rewarding than killing at work and coming home to house full of people that love the shit out of you.

Here is reality:

  • There is always going to be someone who works harder than you,
  • There is always going to be someone who works longer hours than you do,
  • There is always going to be someone who’s willing set more of their life aside for work than you,
  • There is always going to be someone who’s life looks more exciting than your life,
  • There is always going to be someone to be jealous of…

But no one will ever be able to combine your gangster skills with the love of your amazing family.

No one.

That, my friends, is something to be jealous of.

Happiness, in the #hustle life, is having as much appreciate for the family you’ve built, as the work you do.

Thank you,

Ryan Hanley

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