Your Hustle Tank is on “E”? Now What?

Share Button

Hustle Tank on E

A recent post discussed the career dangers that result in a Hustle Tank on “E.”  The purpose was just to raise awareness that if you find yourself there for an extended period, you are in a REAL AND PRESENT career danger zone.

Than someone dropped me a line and said, “I’m there, any advice to get out of it?”  I always appreciate readers engaging, and this is not an easy question!

So here are some thought on how to attack a Hustle Tank on “E.”

First, let me assume (could be dangerous) that things in one’s personal life are relatively stable and not in a state of turmoil.

Everyone has challenges beyond work, but let’s assume those challenges are not EXTRAordinary.

Step # 1

1)  Analyze Your EXISTING Daily Routine:  How you use your time can be a major contributor to a tank on E.

  • How much “dead” or wasted time are you spending per day?  (Take a look at your TV habits for a starting point)
  • Are you working out?
  • Are you reading new things?
  • Having conversations with trusted people?  Old Friends?  New contacts?  There’s a coffeehouse on every corner, use it.

Key Point:  Getting your tank beyond “E” will likely involve utilizing your time in a very different way.  Start small, 20 minutes a day with something different.  Write it down, whatever that new activity is, each day.  Nothing fancy, a cocktail napkin works.  But do SOMETHING different each and every day.

What “bigger chunks of time” or new experiences are you consistently engaging in?

  • Service to others?  Non Profit service is a great way to charge your batteries and get the attention off yourself and onto others
  • New “side projects?”  Start yourself a blog, new hobby, a free on-line course from Wharton or a bunch of other elite institutions, etc

This one is harder to do daily, so you may want to think of this as a WEEKLY activity or bi-weekly.

2)  Get a Plan Quickly And Approach Your Employer

  • Nothing infuriates an employer more than someone that is clearly on “E” and doesn’t seem to care.  If your in this situation you need to deal with it head on and start sitting with your management.  The more well thought out your meeting the better.  More solutions you bring to the table the better.
  • The point is to not let “E” be long term, it will diminish your reputation, get on top of the situation and confront it.

There is risk involved with sitting down with your employer and telling them “I’m burnt out!”  Many people don’t want to approach it for fear of losing their job.  Maybe the emergency funds are not built up?  Maybe the confidence is low?  There could be a hundred reasons why people avoid the conversation.

Balance the risk of “looking the other way/ignoring the problem” vs. confronting the reality head on and a being in the room while the problem gets discussed and worked.

I’ve never met a high achiever that prefers to let OTHERS make a decision (especially negative ones) behind close doors vs. having a seat at the table.

There is one obvious solution I’m leaving out:

Expand your options, find alternatives.  Translation?  Find another job.  That is intentional.  Most people don’t analyze the root cause of what gets them on “E.”  Or some do, but they never confront the situation with their Employer, for whatever reason.  Lets say you jump to a search and find another job, great, Congrats!  How long will it be before that tank finds itself on “E” again?  The answer is not “IF”, it’s “WHEN.”  What’s the solution going to be then?

Working towards Excellence is not an easy road.

Business is a CONTACT SPORT.  There’s no shame in having your Hustle tank fall to “E.”  The only shame is not figuring out why, than developing an action plan to fix it.

Good luck, and I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts on how you refill an empty tank….drop a comment below!

Share Button

Career Warning Sign: A Hustle Tank on “E”

Share Button

HUSTLE is core to everything I think about, talk about, practice and study.  It’s a borderline obsession and why my blog is named “Hustle or BUST!”

3 reasons come to mind why it’s the cornerstone of my philosophy:

  1. It’s one of life’s massive difference makers.
    • People of “average” ability that outwork someone with tremendous NATURAL talents, will flat out level the playing field.
    • Give me a factor you are competing with, HUSTLE can play a massive role squaring up the so called “disadvantage.”
  2. It’s 100% controllable.   Like attitude, it is a choice.
  3. Massive Hustle is really not that common.
    • Hustle is not just “working hard” as many people can claim that.  It’s about working hard on things that make a real difference, that generate results.  Than MASSIVELY out-working people in those areas.
    • Many waste time on things that if they stopped, no difference would be felt.  Think 80/20.

In short, Hustle is within everyones reach, and as they embrace and craft it, life improves.

The reverse is also true.  People’s “Hustle Factor” is not a constant level.  It ebbs and flows, especially in the workplace.

If one’s HUSTLE comes into question in the workplace, they have entered a very real career DANGER ZONE.

Hustle is a vital organ of your career.  Think of it as your career HEART.

When the heart stops beating……blood and oxygen stop going to other vital organs.

The problem with the metaphor however is the TIME factor.  In real life, your heart can’t stop beating for long, or death is imminent.  In careers, when hearts slow (or stop completely), death can be quick, or it can be painfully slow.

Slow and painful deaths are never fun, especially when you can control it by recognizing warning signs and taking immediate and deliberate action.

Warning Signs- Hustle on

Warning Signs:  When Your Hustle Indicator is on “E.”

  • The clock seems to consistently move slower.  Each day…

  • When you leave more tired from the same effort

  • You fail the Optimism test I learned from my 7 year old waking up each day.

  • You spend significant time thinking:  Does my effort create tangible results?

  • When more energy goes into politics/drama vs. generating results, serving customers, or helping people over extended periods of time.

  • When you feel like your on auto-pilot, have “leveled off” on your development.  You’re not GROWING.

  • When people stop seeking you out to solve problems.  Especially one’s that used to in the past, and your not thrilled with those changes.  You don’t ask why, because you’re afraid of the answer.  

  • When there’s a body part that seems to be getting sore:  Your heels, because you are always on them, playing defense.

This list is not exhaustive.  And the key point?  The Blue are internal to how YOU Feel, the RED are external to OTHERs recognizing you are on E. RED warning signs are therefore more critical.  

People are human.  We all go through valleys where we can answer along the lines of “E” on the above warning signs.  Recognizing what’s a valley that you will pull out from vs. a permanent “E” with little chance of replenishing is key.

But make no mistake:  Having a Hustle Indicator on “E” can’t last very long.  Recognize your warning signs….

Share Button

An Employer’s Perspective: On-line No Pay MBA vs. Traditional MBA?

I am fascinated by the market for higher education.   My views of the market are shaped through the eyes of 3 roles I currently play in life: As a father of 2 youngsters (7 & 10) having the challenge of figuring out how to fund what will … [Continue reading]

Training: Step 1 is to Prime The Pump For Results

Training, like most words in business conjures up various images: Class Rooms Work-books Certifications Boot Camps Lectures I think of training in 2 buckets: 1)  Formal 2)  In-formal The bullet points above are … [Continue reading]

The Small Business “Sorry” Dilemma


I root very hard for the success of the small, locally owned small business.  A thriving small business community is a cornerstone to a great OVERALL community. But I can't help but scratch my head at a recent experience. The Scene? A local … [Continue reading]

Working Towards a 2am Friend…..In Business

In February of 2014 I wrote a post on the holy grail of relationships:  The 2am Friend.  Who would you call at 2am if you were in a real bind, stuck on the side of a road 100 miles away from home?  Or some other bind where you cringe picking up the … [Continue reading]

Your First 90 Days & The Only School That Matters

The first 90 days on a new job are probably the most critical for ANYONE.  It's a time when you are confronted with so many new things.... New Colleagues:  Establishing sound relationships, remembering names, knowing who the key opinion leaders … [Continue reading]

Advice: Not All is Created Equal, so Use The ENERGY TEST!


There are some realities in life I refer to as "Brutal."  You may not like them, but they are true.  One of them that always seems to ring true is that of the.... The Bell Curve:    Most distributions of life resemble this. The 80/20 rule:  A … [Continue reading]

The Most Under-Rated of All Holidays? Labor Day


If I were to think of all the nationally recognized holidays that define the USA "idea," Independence Day is probably number one. A VERY close #2? LABOR DAY. la·bor noun work, especially hard physical work verb work hard; make great … [Continue reading]

Reflections on Non-Profit Leadership: #Icebucketchallenge


Like many people, I am amazed at the viral social media success of the ALS #Icebucket challenge fundraising effort. According to the website, donations have reached $62.5mm as of 8/23/14.  It seems impossible to visit Facebook without seeing … [Continue reading]


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: