It Takes Hustle to Make Wishes Happen

The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately.”

As I read daily sometimes certain quotes have me stopping in my tracks. This was one of them. When I searched, no one person was aligned to it. But for me it hit home, as it is so true.

Where is your dream?

I am 7,000 miles away from home, living in Dubai. I travel throughout the world each month working with my clients. However, when I think back to an email I received about 5 years ago inquiring whether I would be interested in a CHRO position in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, I remember immediately jumping at the opportunity, as my dream was to live life as an expat. Six weeks later the offer came, and within a couple of weeks I was on a flight from JFK to Riyadh.

What would you do?

As I am constantly asked about opportunities in this region, I think back to my decision. Would you really do it? I caution them that, yes, now I live in Dubai, but Riyadh was not Dubai.

Everyone has dreams of doing something other than what they are doing. The ones who are following their dream had to hustle to make it happen. I came for one opportunity and because of a host of issues, I eventually left for another position in Dubai. By this time I knew I could ultimately make a living doing and following my dream. So I hung out my shingle and never looked back.

I think back on that email and sometimes wonder what I would be doing if I had just ignored it. One thing I do know is that I would not be living and traveling the world, that is for sure. What would you do if that email came your way for some far out of the way place?

Taking the leap

We all love the dreaming part of the equation; staring off in deep thought. That’s when, at least for the most part, the pathway seems clear. When we drive for long distances, our minds kind of go into overdrive. All the ideas and possibilities seem within reach. When we lay in bed at night under the covers, that cocoon gives us a sense we are going to make it all come true.

Then comes the morning alarm clock and the beginning of the follow-through. Think of a time when you had a vacation or something big that you were looking forward to. You bounced right out of bed. But that dream you had last night or those thoughts that have been kicking around, well, morning brings reality. Are you ready to get up and hustle to achieve them?

One of the questions I ask my coaching clients as they wax on about a dream or a problem, “You so eloquently laid that out, now WHAT IS YOUR PLAN?” Then comes the vague answer. My friends, the plan is the HUSTLE. What are the steps? It is a very simple exercise, but it is powerful. As I tell them, until you lay out a plan it is NOT going to happen. You cant’ bumble your way into success.

The hustle puzzle

The hustle is like putting together a puzzle when you do not know where all the pieces are. This hustle puzzle gives you a few pieces at a time. As you put them in place you may find others right there in front of you.

My father would always say that the alarm clock is a life differentiator. Some will gladly bounce out to pursue their dream, ready to pay the hustle price. Some will hit the snooze alarm not wanting to face the morning.

Now,  I must caution that even the most motivated of you won’t be in that bounce out of bed zone 7 days a week, every week. But your goal is to max out the week with more positive days to stay “fit.”

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So at your next “dream session,” after you come out of the euphoria, start thinking of building the blocks that will make it happen. It is not easy, and anyone that is living their dream will tell you that it will be hard. But the more you try, the easier it comes.

Another phrase from my dear father was, “If it were easy, everybody would be driving Cadillacs.” In his day that was the dream car. Yours may be different , but the challenge is the same.

Dream on, but remember to hustle on. They go together; can’t achieve that dream without the hustle.

Ron Thomas

Ron Thomas is Managing Director, Strategy Focused Group DWC LLC, based in Dubai. He is also a senior faculty member and representative of the Human Capital Institute covering the MENA/Asia Pacific region.

He was formerly CEO of Great Place to Work-Gulf and former CHRO based in Riyadh. He holds certifications from the Human Capital Institute as Global Human Capital Strategist, Master Human Capital Strategist, and Strategic Workforce Planner.

He's been cited by CIPD as one of the top 5 HR Thinkers in the Middle East. He received the Outstanding Leadership Award for Global HR Excellence at the World Human Resources Development Congress in Mumbai, and was named as one of the 50 Most Talented Global HR Leaders in Asia

Ron's prior roles included senior HR positions with Xerox HR services, IBM, and Martha Stewart Living.

Board memberships include the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, McKinsey Quarterly's Executive Online Panel, and HCI's Expert Advisory Council on Talent Management Strategy.

His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Workforce Management and numerous international HR magazines covering Africa, India and the Middle East.