Even if we don’t like to dwell on it, we know that we have to use our physical muscles to stay strong. If you don’t use your muscles, they atrophy. They get weak.
When you take a few weeks off from your fitness program or usual stay-healthy routine you can feel it. You can tell you lost a little steam while you were on vacation or too busy to get to spinning class.
Luckily you can build your muscles back up.
When we go to work, we tend to think “I’m learning all the time at work. I’m getting smarter! I’m learning a lot about my field and my function.” You do learn a lot about your job and your industry if you keep your eyes and ears open at work.
When you learn enough, you become a subject matter expert. You are undoubtedly an expert in one or more topics already, even if you’ve never thought of yourself that way.
You can become a recognized expert in your field, or become a manager or be acknowledged for your talents in some other way, but here’s the thing: become knowledgeable and being recognized are not the same as growing muscles in yourself.
Now I’m not talking about physical muscles anymore, the muscles in your arms, legs, back and the rest of you. I’m talking about inner strength, self-knowledge and self-confidence. These are the new muscles we are all learning to flex and grow.
Now in the new-millennium workplace, we need these muscles more than ever. We need to think and act like entrepreneurs, even when we work for somebody else or a huge company. We still have to have an entrepreneurial mindset because this new-millennium workplace requires it.
We have to know our value. We have to know which companies and people have the types of pain we know how to solve. We have to know how to negotiate and how to work with clients or customers beyond one boss who rules 100% of our working lives.
We have to take a small or large step into the void, the unknown, the world of self-employment, even if we never intend or hope to work full-time for ourselves. Even if we expect to keep the job we’ve got until our retirement party, we still need the entrepreneurial skills you can only acquire by starting something of your own.
Some people call a second job or revenue stream outside your full-time job a “side hustle.” I’m not crazy about that term, although I encourage everyone to have a second income stream, and have a piece of their mind devoted to something beyond the full-time job.
I don’t like the term “side hustle” because to me a hustle is one step away from a grift, a con, or a racket. I don’t think your growth as a person or your ownership of your life and career is anything like a racket. It’s a really important, earnest, powerful thing to start a side business or second income stream and take more control of your career than you’ve had in the past.
It teaches you lessons about yourself and other people. Starting a side project to earn money and get stronger as a business owner — and the CEO of your career — is a life project. It’s not a hustle. It’s your growth, your learning, your life.
Maybe this is a good time to build your own second income stream. How would your life change if you did?