My partner Tim and I often talk about the balance of doing versus being.
We say “doing” when referring to taking action and getting things done, whereas, when we talk about being, we’re referring to the things that shift our state of being, such as meditating, getting out in nature, or going to yoga class.
It’s all too easy to feel like these two modes are on opposite ends of the spectrum; we’re either hustling and meeting goals or we’re blissing out on the beauty of the universe in a detached, meditative state.
The key, then, is to integrate the two, to take action steps toward our dreams while maintaining our centeredness—especially in the midst of a harried work week, with the demands of family life, scheduling, and everything in between.
So, how can a person get their hustle on while remaining zen?
1. Detach from the outcome.
A major cause of stress is having a predetermined outcome for a project or goal, as we get caught up in what we think should happen. It’s easy to feel let down, especially when we’re more likely to set our expectations too high, rather than being realistic or giving ourselves time and room for growth. We open up to the idea of online dating on Monday, and, after meeting three duds for coffee, we decide we have failed and declare ourselves asexual hermits.
That mindset will set us up for disappointment, whereas detaching from the outcome allows us the freedom to fail without judging ourselves or the situation. Detaching from the outcome gives us the liberty to step outside of our comfort zone and take risks, without the need for a payoff.
To do this, get in the habit of catching your thoughts as they drift to all the reasons why your project isn’t doing well enough or why you’re wasting your time. Instead, choose peaceful thoughts, such as: “I’m doing my best” or “Everything is working out perfectly.” Let yourself off the hook of having too-high expectations.
2. Stop comparing yourself to the masters of your craft.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s impossible to measure up when we’re continually comparing our progress to the accomplishments of others.
The mind looks to a master of our craft, someone who is the most successful and reputable in that arena, and it seeks out all of the reasons why we’re not on that level. We hardly consider all of the years that person invested before attaining success, nor do we consider all of the strides we’re making in the other areas of our lives. If we sing, we compare ourselves to Demi Lovato, and if we want to lose weight, we ask ourselves why our abs don’t look like Madonna’s.
The truth is, the only person we can compare ourselves to is the person we were yesterday—and there’s room to be flexible even about that.
3. Figure out what’s standing in the way of both your zen and your hustle.
Everyone has their own particular roadblocks; while one person might have limiting beliefs about money, success, or relationships, another person might suffer from insecurity and a lack of self-love.
To really make movements on our goals while maintaining a feeling of peace, we can get still and reflect on what’s standing in our way. To do this, we can get centered by meditating or going out in nature, and then we can do some journaling around the following questions:
>> What thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors can I let go of to achieve my dreams?
>> What thoughts, beliefs, and actions can I let go of to feel more peaceful?
>> How can I allow for more ease in my life?
Figure out what’s in your way and take the steps necessary to shift.
It’s possible to be highly productive while being as calm as Eckhart Tolle. All it requires is some inner work and the presence to redirect our thoughts when they go to comparison or negativity.
We don’t have to choose between “zenning out” or getting things done. We can have our cake and eat it, too.
We can stay zen while hustling.