04/03/2013 06:34 pm ET Updated Jun 02, 2013

What Exactly Is "Hustle"?

Part-charisma, part-sales, part-hard work, hustle is hard to pinpoint, but, when you see it, you know it.

The hustler has something to prove. While the layman gets handed opportunities, the hustler takes them. The layman waits, the hustler asks.

They layman "should," the hustler already did.

He might not have what he wants yet, but the hustler acts like he does. And that makes you believe he does. The hustler might bend the rules from time to time, but he never breaks them. Talk a big game? Yes, but the hustler always backs it up with results.

Confident? Of course. But arrogant? No way -- the hustler knows there's always someone somewhere better than him at something. The hustler is never satisfied, and always has more to accomplish -- his intense competitiveness prevents him from getting complacent.

Not "above" any task, the hustler will always roll up his sleeves and do whatever needs to get done. The hustler is relentlessly focused on getting stuff done.

They layman does it for work, the hustler does it for sport. The layman thinks he needs a finished product before selling, the hustler loves the challenge. Yeah, the hustler wants rewards, but the process of achieving those results is even more rewarding.

What he lacks in business acumen he makes up for with pure drive. The layman wears a tie, the hustler wears a sweatband.

When faced with a challenge outside of his skill set, the hustler quickly learns how to get it done or delegates it to someone that can do it best (if he must). The hustler craves responsibility and doesn't back down from challenges.

In an effort to optimize for speed and not miss out on opportunities, the hustler would rather ask for forgiveness than permission. While this can lead to missteps, the hustler always takes responsibility for outcomes.

Pushing himself as hard as he does, and moving as fast as he does, the hustler inevitably faces failure or rejection. The hustler is unblemished by rejection; it only makes him stronger for the next time around.

He understands that he can't succeed if he doesn't go for it. The hustler has ambitious goals and a big vision. You might not want what the hustler's got, but it's hard to say no -- partially because he won't take no for an answer and partially out of fear of missing out.

While he may be rough around the edges now, the hustler is always growing, learning and improving. While the layman is sleeping, the hustler is... well... hustling. The scrappy hustlers of today, will become the CEOs, Directors of Business Development, and venture capitalists of tomorrow.

Cocky, shameless, a loose cannon, lacking proper credentials? Some knock the hustle -- but for those same reasons, you have to respect the hustle -- because they're doing it anyways. Get on board or get out of the way -- the hustler has no time for nay-sayers.

You can find hustlers hanging out "around the hoop," with elbows out. With an innate sixth sense for identifying great people and opportunities, the hustler seem to always be in the right place at the right time.


I believe hustle is what gets people to levels above where they "should be" playing. It separates leaders from hopefuls.

Tactics can be learned, but being a true hustler requires a certain DNA. Husting can create a lot of value. The hustler is definitely someone you want on your team.