When I was younger, I assumed many things about adulthood. I assumed, for instance, that I would be feasting on the finest ice cream this beautiful world has to offer at each meal. Well, that one ended up coming true since Blue Bell is so widely available, but that’s beside the point. Another assumption I had was that I would get a job…one job…and work hard at it until the day I decided to hang it up and retire. One job; it’s that part that was false.
My folks were—and are—hard workers and great examples. They would go to work, do their job, come home and do it all over again the next day. My dad is a VP for a ministry in South Carolina that cares for the homeless, the addicted and the orphaned. My mother, now retired, was the receptionist at a small company for many years before ending the last decade of her career as a counselor at the same ministry as my dad. They taught me many things about work over the years, but two lessons have always stood out. The first lesson was this: you must provide for your family. It is no one else’s responsibility but mine to make sure their needs are met. This “hand out” generation could learn a thing or two from advice like that. The second piece of advice was equally as important. “Find something you love to do and get paid to do it,” they would say. I have tried to emulate their example and heed their advice over the years. And what I have found is that those two bits of wisdom—providing for my family and getting paid to do what I love—do not always come packaged together in one source of income. Because of that, it is incumbent upon me to rely on my creativity to make it happen.
In 2014, I started Beard Joy, which is a small business that caters to the grooming needs of men with beards and mustaches. In 2015, I began Cup o’ Joy which is fresh roasted, whole bean, specialty coffee sourced from all over the world. (For more information on both of these ventures, visit www.beardjoy.com). Beard Joy and Cup o’ Joy have been a way for me to heed those two pieces of parental advice. I am providing for my family while doing something that I love. My ventures allow me to make a little extra cash on the side without sacrificing too much precious time away from family. And that’s the goal, isn’t it? I want to share these experiences with my family. I want them to be an integral part of the process. The goal, for me, is not necessarily to make a mountain of money. Rather, I want to be an example to my son of what hard work is. I want him to see that hard work can be fun work. I want him to see me staying busy and I want him to see that hard work requires healthy rest. I want him to know that his dad isn’t afraid of the hustle.
When I was young, the phrase “the hustle” had negative connotations to it. But the older I get, the more I realize that there is just as much positive to say about “the hustle” as there is negative. Coaches use the word hustle all the time to convey the message of working harder and going deeper. They use it to encourage their athletes to give it all that they possibly have. The hustle is a mindset. The hustle keeps you going when you’re tired. The hustle wakes you up at 5 in the morning to reach your goals before clocking in at the day job. The hustle requires you to keep moving forward. The hustle motivates. The hustle is that fire and drive that helps you provide while getting paid to do what you love.