Persistence & Hustle

Hustle – from urban dictionary – “To have the courage, confidence, self-belief and self-determination to go out there and work it out until you find the opportunities you want in life.”

“Good things come to those who hustle.”

I bought this sign at Hobby Lobby yesterday. I went for prizes for a baby shower, but this sign was screaming at me. I couldn’t stop staring at it. I’m sure people thought I was having trouble reading it. I couldn’t leave it there. I had to get it. I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. I would take it to work on Monday and hang it up. When I brought it in, one of the guys, who I consider a close friend, more like a dad figure, said something like “I’m trying to figure out how this relates to you.” Then he laughed. He and the other guy continued to laugh – and I know they were joking, but it didn’t feel like a joke. I let their joke and opinion of my sign directly affect my mood and outlook on myself. Honestly, how ridiculous is that. I hope all of you are rolling your eyes at me because I let this really bother me for at least an hour. Then I stopped thinking about their comments and just started thinking, maybe their definition of working hard is more work than my definition. Ugh why am I still on this. They were joking. But I let it hurt me.

Hustle – from urban dictionary – “To have the courage, confidence, self-belief and self-determination to go out there and work it out until you find the opportunities you want in life.”

I’m not a big urban dictionary person, but I love this definition of hustle. When I read this definition, I realized I have a couple of these characteristics. It is self-belief and confidence that I have lacked, basically my whole life. I have always been someone who reads into other people’s opinions. It is a daily struggle for me to force myself not to believe what others think or say about me. I have this quote written on my board at work – “Another person’s opinion of you is none of your business.” Thanks, Rachel Hollis. Only my biggest struggle on the planet. I have formed my identity in what others have thought of me. My parents, friends, people who didn’t like me, boyfriends, etc., anything they said would feed my soul…good or bad. They could create my good mood or kill it. That is too much power for other people. Someone else should not have that power over you. You determine your mood, not someone else, especially their words.

Let’s talk about this for a minute – if your best friend came to you and said I overheard Debra telling someone how I don’t work hard, my ideas for the company suck, along with other digs at my appearance on top of the other things. Your friend then begins to give into these insults, telling you how maybe Debra is right – I mean you can always work harder – who cares if you work ¾ Saturdays a month. You could work every Saturday and Sunday. Maybe then Debra will see that I am a hard worker. Maybe my ideas are bad – I’m going to withdraw my proposal. Oh, and my appearance – I already know I need to lose weight – hearing other people say it just add the cherry to the top. Ok, now wouldn’t you just want to beat some sense into your friend? I know I would. We will all have mean people in our lives, but how we act to them will determine our course.

Do you do the best you can? Do you work your butt off every day? Are you putting into society as much if not more than you are taking from it? If so…then you are a hustler. Take pride in your work. You are good enough – your work is good enough. Don’t let the negativity around you corrupt your mind, surround yourself with positivity. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. Keep hustling. If they’re talking about you, you’re doing something right.

Persistence: firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action despite difficult or opposition.

I started college in 2008 at UAB in Birmingham, AL with a double major of Early Childhood/Elementary Education. Hello summers off!! Being from the Birmingham area, I was NOT looking forward to going to UAB. I wanted to go away to school with my friends and be on my own for a while. Oh, naïve Savannah, school is not for partying – it is to get in and get out and I was not getting out of UAB anytime soon…graduating wise. Teaching is a calling…and it took me a while to realize I didn’t have that passion that others did. The year my dad passed away, 2012, I confided in a close family friend who is an attorney and discussed with her my plan on transferring to Samford University to go to night school to obtain a paralegal certificate. She thought it was a great idea, but we were concerned about my mom’s reaction because my grades were subpar to say the least. We made a deal that I could transfer and take two classes, if I did well, I could continue – if I didn’t do well – I had to get a full-time job that had insurance and I could go back to school on my own dime when I could afford it and when I thought I was ready. Well, Samford was the complete opposite from UAB. The classes were smaller, the curriculum in the paralegal program was interesting and I loved every second of it…except torts. That one was a tough one.

Anyways – I made good grades at Samford while working two jobs, 40+ hours a week and going to school at night. I finally graduated in August of 2015. 2008-2015…7 years which included a few failed classes and few major life events – having an extremely painful cyst on my tailbone in 2009, having that cyst removed in 2011, my dad passing away in February of 2012, having weight loss surgery in March of 2013, having my gallbladder removed in the summer 2014, and having another surgery on the cyst in December of 2014. It was A LOT. When I write it all down, I am proud of my persistence. If I didn’t have it – I would’ve quit. But I now have that extremely expensive piece of paper. This is not to tell everyone to go to college. College isn’t for everyone. It is to tell you to not give up, if you want it, keep going. Don’t stop. Do not make excuses – you can do anything you want to do if you work your butt off.

I challenge you to reflect on a season in your life…your college years, high school years, adult years, first years of marriage, first years of parenting, heck even middle school years (we all know Jesus got us through those) and write down things that happened during that season. Write down all your struggles and all your life events and you extra curriculars you did during those seasons. Write down how many conflicts you and your spouse went through in the first few years of marriage. Write down how many hours of sleep you missed after having a baby. Write down what you went through when you had to take your mom to chemo 3 times a week, be a wife, an employee and a mother. When you were in that toxic relationship and you were so scared to leave, and you were fearing for your safety and the safety of your children. When you failed those classes and you felt like a failure. Then look at how you survived those times. Look at what you learned. Look at how your strength grew astronomically. Those times when you didn’t think you would make it and now look at yourself. You are here…. you are strong…you are persistent…you are a hustler.