I tell people all the time, I feel so blessed in life and in my business. In the 10 months since I started my own consulting firm, I have been busier than ever.
I get to work with funny, smart, intuitive, kind and passionate clients who all have one thing in common -- they want their companies to do better to be better.
They do not want to miss the boat when it comes to social media. They want to have a plan of attack.
And so as a result, business has been great -- in fact more than great.
My phone and email are bursting with speaking requests -- which is beyond flattering and humbling.
I was the girl who at four and five-years-old was so painfully shy that I would barely say hi to an adult. I remember a home movie where I was literally hiding behind my mom's legs and peeking my head out to see if the camera was still on.
Yes, that girl is the girl on stage and that is girl working with all of these brilliant people.
And a lot of people who read this may say, 'Boy, she is really lucky.'
And boy, would they be wrong.
I am the first to say luck has had absolutely, positively nothing to do with it. Was I in the right place at the right time? No and no.
I don't believe in luck.
Now sure, some people are lucky, but what I really hold stock in, and what gets me fired up - is my passion for what I do.
I work hard. Damn hard if I may say so!
I admit, I am one of those people who grabs their phone first thing in the morning. Heck, at 6:00 a.m., it's already 9:00 on the east coast! I'm already behind!
My lively hood is social media -- so I live and breathe for watching the ebb and flow of the Twitter stream and the red notifications that inch up in numbers as my morning moves along.
Of course, I do not work 24/7. I love going out for an afternoon coffee, or meeting a friend for lunch, or surprising my boys and picking them up early.
This is one of the biggest benefits of being an entrepreneur -- those choices that we make. When people ask me about my life as an entrepreneur, one of the first things I always tell them is how much I love my quality of life.
But make no mistake, I work really, really hard. Email, social media, texting, hand written notes, phone calls, Skype, Google Hangouts, coffee meet-ups, conferences, multiple tabs open on my laptop, multiple screens in front of me, dings, notifications, more email, and more cords than I can count.
Some call this the hustle.
Photo credit: Gary Vaynerchuk
I have a love/hate relationship with that word. There is a slight negative connotation with 'hustling,' but make no mistake -- to have the level of success you want to have in your business and in your life requires the hustle.
When I talk about the hustle I talk about things like surprising people in a way that they haven't been surprised before.
Delighting people with an unexpected gift or card.
Under promising and over delivering -- time and time again.
Not being all things to all people.
Staying focused. Showing up early.
Calling when you say you are going to call. Doing what you say you are going to do.
Following up. Being persistent. Taking the initiative.
Doing the right thing.
Not waiting for the phone to ring.
When you can surprise and delight someone by your actions, by your integrity and by your work ethic -- it speaks volumes.
The two biggest principles I think of when I think of 'hustle' are: thinking long term and recognizing opportunities. Too many people try to close a deal or a transaction too fast. They don't understand the dance, the relationship building part of it.
It's not all dollars and sense -- it's working with someone you trust, who is authentic and who has an extremely hard and loyal work ethic. It's working with someone you connect with.
Recognizing opportunities to me means reading between the lines -- knowing where you want to go, but also being open to new opportunities and conversations. You never know where this will lead you.
Now hard work and hustle are a double-edged sword -- especially as a wife and a mother.
When people ask me about this time in my life -- as a wife and a mother I admit that I sometimes struggle. If I were painfully honest, there are some days that I feel like I am so much better at my job than being a mom, but I know I can't compare one over the other. As any mom will tell you: motherhood is hands down the hardest job in the world.
I know my boys are only little once, so yes, I intentionally put my phone high on a shelf when they are home and I intentionally get down on the floor for giggles and playtime. And I protect that time fiercely. I don't take calls between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. That is my family time and I protect it like a mama bear with her cubs.
But at the same time, I know that this level of work and hustle doesn't last forever.
I am in a season in my life -- a season that I hope lasts a long time but a season nonetheless. It's a season my husband recognizes and because of that he is able to lean into our family and home when I am unable.
At the end of the day, all of this hustle and hard work have brought me amazing people and clients that I hope to work with for a very long time.
It has brought me clients that I now consider dear friends.
It has brought me a renewed sense of purpose and reason for what I do.
It has brought me a reason to teach my sons what it means to be an entrepreneur.
It has brought me validation that I am good at what I do.
And as a result of all of this, it has brought my family more financial freedom then we have had in a very long time.
Someone once told me, the harder you work, the luckier you get. That may be true.
But is it really luck? No I'm not lucky. I just love what I do!
Follow Katie Lance on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@katielance