I don’t much like the word hustle. I know it’s all the rage these days. Hustle is the new black. People have their “side hustles” and they hustle early in the morning and they hustle late at night. They hustle, hustle, hustle. But I’m a word person, and I don’t like the sound of hustle.

Where the magic happens.


  • to move hurriedly or unceremoniously in a specified direction
  • to obtain by forceful action or persuasion
  • to push or force one’s way
  • to act aggressively, especially in business dealings
  • to push or convey in a hurried or rough manner

And as a noun….

  • busy movement or activity
  • a fraud or swindle
  • anything you need to do to make money (Urban Dictionary)

There are so many words inherent in the definitions of “hustle” that are the absolute antithesis to how I want to live my life. I don’t want to be in a hurry and move without ceremony. I want to have soft edges. I don’t want to merely be “busy.”

I know that, as a freelancer and small business owner, the world may tell me I should hustle. But I’m over shoulds. And I think there are plenty of nicer actions you can take that will still inch the needle forward on your goals.

Rather than hustle, let’s…

  1. be dependable
  2. live with intention
  3. savor the moment
  4. celebrate
  5. make a list
  6. work hard
  7. show up early
  8. ask good questions
  9. be consistent
  10. enjoy the journey
  11. focus
  12. do one thing extremely well
  13. plan ahead
  14. prepare for all eventualities
  15. use language persuasively
  16. get enough sleep
  17. prioritize
  18. consider life to be a grand adventure
  19. commit to the process
  20. defy expectations
  21. embrace who you are
  22. explore the possibilities
  23. take the next logical step
  24. run the numbers
  25. be the change
  26. get the job done

I’m not knockin’ hard work and getting in over your head. I’m not knockin’ working weird hours, or a lot of hours. I’m not knockin’ pouring every drop of your blood, sweat, and tears into achieving a goal. I just think we’re better than hustle.

Let’s chase the work we’re proud of, the work that makes us happy, and the work that supports the kind of life we want to live. ~ Lisa Butler

Pick your word. There are plenty of alternatives to hustling.

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman