Momentum Podcast: 900

Final Episodes 1 of 6 What Hustle Should Be

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

Join Alex in this podcast episode as he candidly shares his decision to wind down the Momentum podcast after eight impactful years. With over 900 episodes under his belt, Alex reflects on the entrepreneurial journey, addressing the pervasive myth of hustle culture and the toll it takes on well-being. Drawing from personal experience and scientific insights, he delves into the physiological and psychological effects of chronic overwork, urging entrepreneurs to prioritize self-care and balance. Through his own journey of self-discovery alongside his wife, Cadey, Alex emphasizes the importance of aligning with one's true passions and values. As they embark on a new chapter of exploration and growth, Alex leaves listeners with profound wisdom on navigating the complexities of entrepreneurship with authenticity and intentionality. Tune in to gain invaluable insights and bid farewell to a transformative era of the Momentum podcast.

Full Audio Transcript

This is the Momentum podcast.

On today's podcast I want to say a word about hustle and the current environment of hustle in the entrepreneurial world. I think we're going in the wrong direction. I think we're going in a challenging direction. I think we are actually in the process of destroying or at least severely challenging the careers of far too many entrepreneurs today when you look at the entrepreneurial culture we've created.

I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so We can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, We are the minority, the few, who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent positive human evolution, and we always will be.

Today's March 22nd, 2024, and this is the last six podcasts I will be recording for the Momentum podcast. I have been recording this podcast since 2016. It is in the top one half of 1 percent of all podcasts in the world. And because Cadey and I, my wife has, have decided that we want to do something different and that we want to create some time and space to figure out what we want to do, I am in the wind down of The momentum podcast. And there's only going to be six episodes left. So this is one of six and I feel like I'm going to record the most important six topics that I can for you in these final episodes.

And the first one is about hustle and the entrepreneurial world today. It's been interesting for me to watch this. I've been an entrepreneur for over 30 years. I've been in this culture. I've been in this world for three decades plus. And what's happening today feels like it's specifically challenging to entrepreneurs in a way that I've never seen before. The easiest thing in the world to tell an entrepreneur to do is to hustle, to work harder, to get up earlier, to stay up later, to sacrifice more of yourself. In fact, when you look at so many thought leaders today, they're saying things that just don't make sense. Get up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee, strap yourself to your computer, work all day, work an extra hour, work harder, work more, work weekends. And somehow you're going to create success. And it's interesting because there's these hustle advocates. Then there's anti hustle advocates. Then there's anti hustle advocates that are in the market today where there's people who are saying, Hey, all you need to do is hustle. And then there's other people saying, Hey, you shouldn't hustle so much. And then there's other people saying, Hey, the people telling you that you shouldn't hustle forgot what it takes to actually create a real business. And I think some of that's actually true. It does take a tremendous amount of work and a tremendous amount of dedication to grow a business and get it off the ground. But the problem with the entrepreneurial world today and the conversation that is not being had, or at least I'm not hearing is it so much of thought leadership today when it comes to hustle and running a business looks like success equals self destruction. Put everything you possibly can into your business and sometime you will have success. And after 30 years of coaching entrepreneurs and creating a proven track record of the opposite, I'm here to tell you that you really need to be careful who you listen to. You need to be careful who you allow to influence you because people who are telling you to sacrifice everything for your business don't understand the dynamic that creates.

Let me scientifically explain to you what happens when we're in a place where we're getting up every morning and we are hustling and we're pushing and we're not taking time for ourselves and we're not taking care of ourselves and we're getting up and grabbing a cup of coffee and just going to work all day. Here's what happens. You will trigger your body into an autonomic nervous system response. You will trigger a fight, flight, fawn, or freeze environment or a fight, flight, fawn, or freeze response in your body. And this is a survival mechanism. When you trigger a survival mechanism, it's hard to turn off. And here's what happens when you keep working, when you keep pushing, when you don't take time, when you don't let yourself breathe, you put yourself into a Survival response that does the following when we are in a survival response, when we stress our nervous system to the part point where it gets into a sympathetic nervous system response, here's what happens. Our heart rate accelerates, our body starts using adrenals and sex hormones and thyroid instead of the pleasant and the party hormones like serotonin and dopamine and the hormones that we actually want in our body and. We start shutting down and when I say shutting down, here's what we know scientifically. When you trigger a survival response, the options that you see available to you actually narrow. When you trigger a survival response, your focus becomes more on the present and more on the now. And so if you're getting up every day and drinking a cup of coffee and blowing your adrenals and your thyroid out and not eating food and not taking care of yourself, you will become a person who focuses on less options in shorter period of time. And as visionaries, as entrepreneurs, we want to see all the options and the longest timeframe we possibly can.

And so here's what hustle should look like in the entrepreneurial world. What we're being told is hustle looks like self destruction, but here's what it could look like. Here's what I would suggest it should look like for you. Hustling means getting up at a good time in the morning and having a clear morning routine where you eat and you move and you hydrate and you breathe and you take care of yourself in a radically good way. You optimize your body so that by the time you sit down to work, if you're putting in six, eight, maybe even 10 hours, you're putting in optimized hours where your body is supported, where it has resources, where you're not running yourself into the ground. And after that morning routine, you sit down at your desk and you put in solid work because you're optimizing, you're taking care of, and you've been outside and you moved around and your body's ready for work. And then you put in that work for a couple hours and you take a 10 or 15 minute break, maybe do some time in neutral or some breath work or take a walk, then come back, put in another couple hours, then take some time and have lunch, get a decent amount of food, take some time away from your work. When you come back, you'll see it with fresh eyes, work another couple hours, take another break and go for a walk, move around, maybe just sit and contemplate and then work again. And as a visionary when we take care of ourselves, when we give ourselves resources, when we hydrate, when we eat, when we move, when we breathe, when we get enough sleep, every hour we work is worth more. And every hour we work will be more productive. And every hour we work, we will get more out of it. And it's hard to believe this. I know it is. It's hard. It's hard to not work every single hour of the day. It's hard to not get into that frenetic position where you're just trying to do everything you can. It's hard to trust that if you don't push yourself so hard that you're breaking, that you're not going to grow a business.

But here's what I can tell you. Having coached entrepreneurs for over 30 years and really having coached entrepreneurs since 2016 in the simple operation system where what we encourage them to do is create a morning routine and plan each day and get clear on what they're doing and take care of themselves and get therapy and make sure that they're optimized and eat healthy and put systems in their business so they don't have to be there all the time. Here's what I can tell you without hesitation. Is that when entrepreneurs do this and we've watched it over and over again, six figure businesses become seven and seven figure businesses become eight. Because we are the most important person in the business, our wellbeing, our internal feelings are a direct reflection of what is happening in the business. And the businesses issues and challenges and lack of growth and plateauing are a reflection of our internal state of being as entrepreneurs. And you cannot separate those two things. If you're not clear on what you want, if you're not excited about what you're doing, if you're not compelled to move forward, if you're using adrenals and forcing yourself and motivating yourself, it is going to be very hard for you to take that internal environment of forcing yourself and pushing yourself and hurting yourself and sacrificing everything to turn it into true success. And I'm not just talking about financial success. I can personalize this.

I've been through this. I've seen this journey. Man, I wish when I look back that I had different perspective that I had different mentors that I had more help. Because in my twenties, I built a business that went from just me to dozens of people that went from no revenue to multi million dollars, that went from being responsible for no growth and no sales to over a quarter billion dollars in sales. We were a 250 million sales company, plus I think our cap was like 280 or 290, somewhere close to 300 million. And from the outside looking in, we were successful. I was winning awards. I, we were one of the top companies in our industry. We did more than just about anybody else out there. And I thought I was building this fortress of success. I thought I was building this incredible company. I thought I was building this organization that I was going to have forever. And when I turned 30, I met my wife, Cadey. And she changed my perspective on life. I wanted more time. I wanted more energy. I wanted to be able to spend more time with her. And it caused me to turn around and look at this business that I had built. And what I realized was I hadn't built a fortress of success. I had built a prison that I was stuck in. I built this company. I didn't want to be in. I built this company because for my twenties I was in a panic and I didn't have experience or understanding of what I wanted. I was in that place where I narrowed my options and the future pulled forward. And so I created this company out of desperation, out of frustration, out of hoping to succeed, out of deep desire to not be poor anymore, out of a drive to make money. And a lot of those things happened. But because I was in a place where I wasn't grounded, where I wasn't taking time for myself, where I wasn't really checking in with myself, I built a business that I could not wait to get out of.

And as a result, after meeting Cadey, we ended up I ended up fire sailing the company as fast as I possibly could so I could spend time with her. And in some ways we're in that position again, but only this time it's completely different. Cadey and I have worked the last 20 years to build resources, to create wealth, to become independently wealthy, to have no debt, and to have really strong investments that can support us for a long time. And in the last few months we've been talking about our business and what we're doing and what we want to do. And for the first time in 20 years, both of us have aligned around the decision that there's something bigger for us, that there's something more important for us, that there's something more exciting for us. We don't know what it is. We have some ideas. And that's why we're in this place again where we're shutting down our business and we're going to take time and space. And I think that in a lot of ways, this will be a decision that is criticized by entrepreneurs. It's quitting. It's opting out. There should have been another way we could do it. We shouldn't have been able to keep the business open. We should have, but I'm 46 and we know we have a long career ahead of us and we want that career to be exciting. We want that career to Really engage us. We want to be able to help tons of people. We want to be able to spend a lot of time together. We want to be able to do something that we're both fundamentally excited about and we get out of bed knowing that we are making the impact that we want to make and showing up in a way that's exciting. And because that's not happening right now, we've decided to hit the reset button.

And here's what I know. There are so many entrepreneurs out there. Maybe you're one of them. that have done the same thing we did. We built a company we didn't really want and that are in a situation like I was in my 20s where You just don't want to do it anymore. And I think so many of us continue forward out of obligation, out of status, like being so worried about what everybody else thinks. In fact, I was listening to a podcast yesterday with a neuroscientist and he said that human beings prioritize status over happiness. And in order for us to actually prioritize happiness, we have to proactively think about it. And make sure we're not just prioritizing status. And believe me, in this current decision for Cadey and I, when I heard that yesterday, I'm like, Oh man, that resonates because so many times we've kept this business open because what will other people think so many times we've kept the business open because we don't want to tell our members, all our members were quitting so many times. We've kept the business open because we don't want to go to events. And when somebody says, Hey, what do you do? We say nothing. And then we finally sat down and thought through all of that and realized that If we're not 100 percent into this, it's irresponsible for us to share with our member or for us to have members or to be have a team. If we're not really behind this, then it's irresponsible and it's unfair for us to keep going. And with the discomfort of showing and telling our members what's going on, what we realized was we're setting an example of what you should do if you don't love your business. If you don't love what you're doing and you have options, which we have. And when it comes to going to an event and telling people, when somebody says, what do you do when we say nothing, Cadey and I actually had the discussion and we're excited about it. We are in a place where it's not that we're doing nothing. It's that we have the option to do whatever we want.

And we've been together 20 years. Our relationship is By far in the best place it's ever been. We've done a ton of work over the past seven or eight years. That's really where we put a lot of focus and we use, we've used our systems to run a business and probably half the time that entrepreneurs do. And we've had an incredible lifestyle during that period of time. We've traveled the world. We do whatever we want. We live in a incredible house that I don't know. You could probably fit five of the houses I grew up in, in this house. We have the resources we want. We have the toys we want. And now we have the time and space to really feel into who we are and what we want to do next.

And so I will be recording five more podcast episodes. The last episode will be released on April 26th. And if you're interested in following along with what we're doing, if you're on our email list, from time to time we're going to send out an email and let people know how things are going. This is a really interesting time. We're walking away from a podcast in the top one half of 1 percent we're walking away from an established brand and business. It's been around for a long time. We're walking away from members that we love. We're walking away from a ton of work that we've done. But what we know is we're walking towards what we really want. And we're walking towards where we want our lives to be. And if this sets an example for you, and it feels like you're in this same place, then you're I hope that this has been helpful. And if you're an entrepreneur running any type of business, I hope that this has been helpful for you. Maybe as you think about what you're doing and how you're doing it, because the more present and grounded we are, the more intentional we are with what we build, the more we take care of ourselves, the more it allows us to see that we're moving in a direction we want. And the more that we actually integrate who we are with what we want to do, that's where we actually create massive outcomes in the world. And we create businesses we're excited about. We create a future that we're thrilled with. And we engage at the highest levels as entrepreneurs. And that's what we intend to do.

If you've been a Momentum podcast listener for a long time, I want to thank you for being here for years. And if you're new to the podcast, I'm so proud that I'm leaving behind almost 900 episodes of business growth and expertise on how you can grow your business and how you can move things forward. These are not going away. We're going to leave them up and you can access them anytime you want. And so from the bottom of my heart, I want to just thank you for being a momentum podcast listener. If you want to leave a review during these last six episodes, I would really appreciate it. I go read every single one of them so that would mean a lot to me. And I look forward to sharing five more episodes with you before we wind this up and an era in my life concludes. And if you've been a long time listener, maybe an era in your life concludes as well. And conclusions always lead to new openings and new beginnings. And that's what I'm most excited about. Thanks for being here with me today. I appreciate you.

Thank You For Listening!

I am truly grateful that you have chosen to spend your time listening to me and my podcast.

Please feel free to reach out if you have a question or feedback via our Contact Us page.

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With gratitude,


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