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No Longer Impressed by "Busy": The Downfall of Hustle Culture

When I worked as a lawyer in a big organisation, there seemed to be a few key responses when asked "how are you?" at the coffee machine, that one HAD to use in order to be seen as a good employee:

>> "Busy"

>> "Surviving"

>> "Tired - I worked late last night"

No one would ever dare say something like: "really well, thank you" or "oh I'm feeling really relaxed and rested today" - and understandably so, because a positive answer usually meant more work getting dumped onto you. As if feeling good was a sign that you weren't doing enough. As if feeling tired, anxious and overwhelmed should be the norm.

In the beginning, I was quite impressed by all these people claiming to have worked all weekend or late into the night. I felt like I should be doing that myself. Like in many other corporate settings and social groups, stress was worn as a badge of honour. Lack of sleep was the number 1 characteristic of a good employee.

But see, today, I'm no longer interested in "surviving". I am here to thrive. And what I'm impressed by has changed as well.

I no longer want to hear about your long hours of work. I no longer admire your ability to survive on 5 hours of sleep. I no longer respect you for the length of your to-do list.

Instead, tell me about...

  • your ability to implement healthy boundaries

  • how comfortable you are with saying "no"

  • the way you prioritise your mental and physical health

  • your personal projects, hobbies and passions

  • your discipline to eat right and get enough sleep

  • how you always make time for loved ones

  • how truly, profoundly and deeply happy you are. Or the work you're doing to get there.

Don't get me wrong - I do admire hard work, ambition and dedication. I strive to embody these qualities myself. But what has me rolling my eyes so far back they might fall out is the glorification of feeling like crap and the lack of basic respect for one's health and well-being.

Plus, "busy" isn't a feeling! So... how are you truly doing? Let's start giving each other real answers.

I love the "Feelings Wheel" by Gloria Willcox as a tool to help identify how you feel:

Tell me, how do you truly fell? Email me your thoughts at!

I'll go first. Today, I feel a mix of... thankful - and a little unfocused too.

All love,


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