Hustle Factor: He Who Hustles Gets the Ball

Do you hustle enough, or are you counting on traditional rules to win? Each memorial weekend we camp with 100 of our closest friends from church. The multi-generation soccer game following the pot luck dinner has become a bit of a tradition. At times there are as many as 50 people on the field ranging from ages 4 to “I’d rather not say,” playing with mostly unspoken rules the most important of which is, “nobody squash the little kids.”

“The greatest shortage in our society is an instinct to produce. To create solutions and hustle them out the door. To touch the humanity inside and connect to the humans in the marketplace.”

This year, my friend K.P. shouted out a new rule early in the game. “When the ball goes out-of-bounds, whichever team hustles fastest to retrieve it gets to throw it in.” Fantastic. A hustle rule: Hustle gains advantage

This drove the seasoned soccer players bonkers particularly the analytical, athletic teens (and a few of their Dads). “That’s not fair ” “But that would mean..” Enough grown-ups (most of whom had taught these kids in Sunday School) responded with enthusiasm, so the rule prevailed. Not particularly democratic, but I was on the side of “let’s use our position power to create this experiment.” Game on.

What Happens With Hustle

With hustle, underdogs willing to work, gain the advantage. In this case the under 6 crowd now had a definitive skill set to contribute. Boundless energy and an ability to slip under the old fence quickly.

  • The game changes. Effort counts a lot. When effort counts, people make more effort. Go figure.
  • The game’s more fun when hustle matters, adrenaline goes up.
  • No referee. No playback needed. Not, “who kicked it out.” Whoever’s got the ball has the advantage. Let’s keep playing.

In a super-connected world, hustle matters more than ever. Tradition will try to reinforce protocol, but in the end hustle rules. The best idea can be out run by the great idea with serious effort.

Leaders must hustle. The rules are changing. Get up early. Build a bigger network. Share that new idea. Stay up late. Engage others. Work harder. Watch less TV. Work even harder. Invest in your contribution. Gain the advantage. Hustle more

Posted in Results & Execution and tagged , , , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders resolve workplace ambiguity and chaos, so that they can drive innovation, productivity and revenue without burning out employees. She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells - building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.


  1. Life is a game. It’s all made up.

    If you’re not happy with the way things are going, change the rules, change the players, change the playing field, change the way the game is played, etc.

    p.s.. Monday, I’m starting a 21 day challenge. Plant based diet, no meat, for 21 days.

    • Try doing a raw vegan diet for a week.

      Actually it’s not that bad. There are some incredible recipes out there. Just because you going all-plant doesn’t mean you’re eating salads all the time.

      Look around and you will be eating high on the…well, you’ll be eating good food.

  2. You have the best stories Karin.

    I love this. I love hustle. It’s why I listen to so many people that remind me to absolutely bust it, like Eric Thomas. He’s not for everyone, but I love his style.

  3. I love this on many levels Karin; changing the rules, lesson in being adaptable, “out of the box” thinking, opportunity to strategize in a completely different way, leveling out the playing field and building community with a super fun, physical activity. What an amazing Memorial Day weekend that won’t be forgotten. How will you top it next year?

  4. Karin, No playback needed. Not, “who kicked it out.” Whoever’s got the ball… has the advantage. Let’s keep playing. That is your writing and these are the recipes for influencer leaders. Influence with ideas, with passion, with fun, with blame-free culture and drive to work harder.

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