When you ask someone to define the word “hustle” you normally receive a variety of descriptions, from a dance move to an athlete running on a competition field.  It’s a word I like to use as a description for myself as well as what I want to inspire in others.  My youngest daughter, Abra, likes to say about our family, “We’re Spisso’s, we always hustle!” Meaning we put in the work and do whatever is needed to get the job done, the right way, with honor and courage. I mean this simply as a way to propel yourself forward, even if you have a shortage of smarts or talent.  Hustle means to have pace, an attitude, and the ability to do things with a purpose as if a Halloween character is chasing you!

The military introduces hustle in new recruits by having them jog from one location to the next, or walking quickly when leaving the chow hall or on a marksmanship range.  As a drill instructor, military leader, and coach I was consistently reminding people that pace and hustle are the foundations of getting things done.  It also affects your spirit!  Hustle is truly the force multiplier; where GRIT meets talents and crushes them like your uncle squeezing an aluminum beer can at a barbeque.   I was recently talking to a young employee who holds an entry-level position at a company, and he asked me, “How do I get ahead?”  I replied, “Well first you need to show some hustle!”  He looked at me confused.  I continued, “Every time I see you it’s like you’re at half speed. Get moving, hustle, go, move, and show some excitement!” 

The basis of hustle is simple:

  • Never be afraid of the hard work!
  • Pick up your pace in life! The way you walk, the way you work, your attitude and demeanor.
  • Be a game changer!! That project or idea you worked on behind the scenes, after hours, where no one sees your effort, finally is brought to the forefront and it’s a home run!


Don’t overthink this.  It’s an attitude, a speed, and a step forward.  Increase your stride, expand your bandwidth, and change the way you see challenges.  A good friend of mine owns a multi-million dollar glass business; designing, manufacturing, and installing designer glass in homes and hotels.  He came to the United States barely in his twenties from Ireland with $400 in his pocket, the only money he had.  He found a job on a construction crew that was doing interior demolition and remodeling for a New York City apartment building.  He was working six days a week and twelve hours a day; scratching, clawing, and positioning himself to get ahead.

The owner of the company asked my friend if he “wanted any side work.”  He said, “Of course,” and took on a side project working a deal for a bonus for each room he completed.  Within the first week, he surpassed the owners’ expectations and was astonished by my friends’ progress!  When it was tough and lonely, my friend resisted the urge to go back to Ireland and play it safe.  He didn’t know anyone in the U.S. and calling home in those days would cost a day’s salary.  Despite the hard work and seclusion, my friend kept his focus and, more importantly, his hustle.   He turned this work into his own trade and his own business.  Today when I see him, he’s still walking with a purpose and focus on success for his family.

There are countless stories like this, and you’re either painting one yourself or have already done so.  Enjoy life, keep your emphasis and your stride, and never forget the good fortune found when you simply hustle!

“Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, others make it happen.” ~Michael Jordan