I used to be spontaneous and silly, warm and whimsical. I used to dance in the kitchen and eat cake for breakfast with my kids. And then for a while things got a little complicated and a little busy and in order to keep up with my life and schedule and commitments, I had to hustle, multi-task, always staying five steps ahead, always planning, always ticking things off a list.

There wasn’t room in the system for spontaneous and silly. The life I signed myself up for required a level of strategy and structure that made me feel, over time, like I was running military operation, not living a life.

In October 2012  I said, I can’t live this way anymore. 2013 was the year of Prayer, Rest & Self-Care…but it was also the year of a book release, so maybe we broke even? I did make progress living into those three words, but especially in the last five months of 2013, my travel and speaking schedule did some damage, and I fell into 2014 a little worse for wear, sick and disconnected.

2014: the year of MORE LOVE, LESS HUSTLE.

When I say hustle, what I mean is that voice that tells you to get up off the couch as soon as you sit down for even a second. That voice that says with these ten minutes you should be able to accomplish these seventy six things. That voice that says you’re never done, you have to push harder, think ahead, plan ahead, hold it together, go, go, go.

HUSTLE isn’t about your job, necessarily, or my job, necessarily. I know people who work more than I do, longer than I do, with a lot more success and pressure…and they don’t hustle. And I know people who have very few demands on their time or very little financial pressure or whatever…and they’re always, always hustling.

It’s about your to-do list, but more than that it’s about what it is inside you that made you sign up for all that. Nobody made me take 30-something work trips last year. There’s always pressure from various corners, of course, but at the end of the day, I made choices that drove me further and further from the life I want to live. The need for a change began that October in that hotel room, and I’m still working toward a new way of living. I think it might take a while.

But here’s the good news: it’s working. It’s working. I’m a better person than I was that October in Texas. I’m a better parent. I’m a better partner. I’m less angry. I dance in the kitchen again. I’m remembering what it’s like to not be tired all the time.

I’ve said NO to some big and small things in this season—so hard for me to say, of course, for a million reasons. But saying NO lets me say YES to the most important things: my husband, my boys, our family and community, our church.

And it’s working. I’m enjoying our boys more than I ever have, soaking up time with them, tickling and listening and playing. I love this season of their lives and I’m thankful to be here more, in it more, with them more.

And wouldn’t you know it? It’s easier to have a great marriage when you live in the same house more often than not, instead of meeting in the kitchen with our roller bags packed–me just departing, him just arriving, talking through kid details & next week & the next week & the week after that & see-you-in-who-even-knows-when? I love spending time with Aaron, and I’m so thankful to get to be with him more in this season.

I believed, all those months ago, that if I walked away from some things—things I thought I really wanted, things that people told me were very important, things that would signal success or happiness or whatever—I believed that if I walked away, in exchange for those things, I would recover my own self. I would, possibly, with hard work, re-discover that silly, warm person. And it’s working.

I signed up for a life that required me to live like a soldier. But I’m not a soldier. The best of me is not the tough part. Whatever I had to prove about being a hard worker, being strong, being able…I proved that a lot of flights ago. Tough is not something I want to be. Hard is not something I aspire to. I needed to be those things to live the life I had created, and I’m creating a new life, where what’s required is soul. Love. Laughter. Time.

This isn’t a “work or don’t work” discussion. I’m a working mom. I love working. I’m deeply, totally thankful to do work I love. But I crossed over at some point, and I worked in a way that was destructive to me and to the person I want to become. I peered over that edge and I’m backing away as fast as I can.

This is the new framework:

If I said yes to that, would I have to go back into hustle-mode to do it?

Could I do that thing and still live with a spirit of great love and attentiveness?

Am I able to do this work with laughter and presence and connection to my community, or will it push me back into toughness and list-making, thinking seven steps ahead?

I knew, all those months ago, that I had to find a new way. And that new way is working.


41 thoughts on “MORE LOVE, LESS HUSTLE

  1. Oh Shauna, I am so glad I discovered you and your blog. I am in a different season of life now, (still-new mama to a 10 month old) and am adjusting from a the hustle of a very busy corporate environment. I don’t doubt that I am right where God wants me to be, but it is so encouraging to hear your ever-so-eloquent thoughts on how to stay in this place and cherish this season. Thank you!

  2. Ah, yes. I’m so tired of the barrage of hustle talk on my Twitter feed. I know it must be right for some, but it spins my type A head into a mess. More love, right on for me. Thanks.

  3. I love this. It seems like God’s doing this in a lot of hearts, my own included. We each have different ways and means of hustling, but they are still there.

    I wrote about my version of MORE LOVE, LESS HUSTLE as “Nesting & Saying No” (, and I love the divine echoes of that rolling around in the hearts of amazing women I know only through their words everywhere.

    Thank you.

  4.! Love it! Thank you for sharing! Always blessed by your transparency and grace! I love at the end how you said, it’s not a work/don’t work argument but working in a destructive way. That’ll preach!:)

  5. Beautiful words as always, Shauna. I recently said no to speak at a conference in Colorado for this exact reason. In between working full time, writing, maintaining friendships, and being a good wife–I just simply couldn’t squeeze anything else in and still love Michael well. More love, less hustle. Putting this on a sticky-note on y computer.

  6. Thank you, Shauna, for these words of wisdom, truths I need to hear and be reminded of! Often! I agree: it’s not what we do (work full-time, work part-time, volunteer, hibernate, etc.) God doesn’t give us a formula. He asks to be involved in our every day decisions. “Remain in me. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain on the vine.” John 15:4, 5

  7. Yes, thank you! Dancing in the kitchen, again, is where the change came for me. After days of never sitting down, except for the few moments around the table with my family, I realized I wasn’t thriving as the woman He designed me to be. Now we have dance parties, linger at the table longer, I snuggle a few minutes longer and read another chapter aloud to my girl, and even plan ahead to get a sitter and ask my husband out for dates. More Love, Less Hustle is a much more beautiful word combo than I’ve been using over the last two years: intention. It puts action, or quiet, into the word and makes it come alive and divine. Thanks for this, Shauna! Thank you for your authentic journey!

  8. Yes to all of this. Part of the problem, I think, is that many of us struggle with feelings of “not enough.” There is this sense that we might be lacking in some way and we think that we need to fill up with hustle in order to be worthy, to be “enough.” I just wrote about this on Huffington post here… My motto for 2014: Act with love. This, I beleive, will help guide me in these decisions about what to take on and where to direct my focus. Peace and blessings to you…christine

  9. “I signed up for a life that required me to live like a soldier. But I’m not a soldier. The best of me is not the tough part. ” I think working moms think they have to put on that armor…myself included. Thanks for the reminder that our best selves is not cloaked in armor.

  10. I am adopting MORE LOVE. LESS HUSTLE. as my mantra for 2014! As a full time working mom and very involved church and community member, I feel stretched to the point of breaking quite often – usually at the expense of my husband and two small children. I am striving to focus on the things that matter and saying no to those that Thanks for sharing your own experience.

  11. Thank you for modeling what it looks like to pursue the pace of life that works for YOU. It’s so easy to compare with other people, and I struggle with trying to keep up with everyone else. If they can do it, why can’t I? I’m learning more and more that life is not to be simply endured, but enjoyed, and this can be pursued even in the midst of struggle. So grateful for your willingness to do this and to share the journey with us.

  12. Shauna, thank you for sharing your beautiful words. You always speak straight to my heart, as I find myself on similar path. I am grateful for you and your words in my life.

  13. Sitting here a little weepy because I too fell into 2014 in an unglamorous heap after weeks of trying to carry a ridiculous work load. I did it for all those “right” reasons–to pay the bills, to provide for my daughter, to be mom and dad as a single mom–but I wasn’t happy. I had to apologize to my family for my grumpy several times. Before the year was even up I let go of one of my contracts which was progress.

    On January 2nd I made myself have a pajama day and sit on the couch and watch movie after movie. It was very hard not to attend to all those to dos, but I did it! AI just turned 40 and I only have a few years with my only girl in the house, so I really love these questions you pose. I will use these to weigh the things that I need to do against the things that I absolutely do not need to do. Maybe then I will have time to dance in my kitchen too.

  14. YOU ARE MY SOUL SISTER. Thank you, wise friend. Joining you in full force. More love, less hustle. Because we get to choose. We are not some benign force in our own life. Love you so. Thanks for leading the way.

  15. Oh, Shauna. Nearly everything you write feels like it’s speaking straight to my heart, but this in particular. I had a realization at the beginning of the year that I wasn’t the person I used to be or the person I wanted to be and I’m working toward figuring out how to get back to the person now. Thank you so much for your hearts and your words. They never cease to bless me.

  16. Yes to all of this! I don’t know about you, but for me, sometimes it’s a moment-to-moment struggle, too. Right now, I’m good, no hustle. And then in five minutes I might choose to let myself be overwhelmed with all the things and suddenly–hustle! Grr. Have to let that go again.

    So happy it’s working for you! :)

  17. Shauna, thanks for reminding me to make the choice to slow down and enjoy Love, Laughter and time with my wonderful family.

  18. Thank you for making me sit and think this afternoon. To really reflect on my life and what I’m doing and why. To make the hard decisions…like saying no so I can say yes to what is best. Love your heart!

  19. I am so thankful I found your blog today . Reading a n earlier post I found a book you mentioned titled”Neccesary Endings” I need to read it! Unfortunately I need to leave my job on the church staff, its painful but neccesary.

  20. My journey had become too much of a hustle, as well, but I am happy to say that I’m now on a path of simplicity, joy and intentional living. I’m now enjoying sharing this new mindset with my clients through my new business. Thank you for sharing your story…so many people can be supported when we each share our own struggles and what we’ve learned from them. I love your new framework! Great questions to ask to stay on the path of more love! Thank you!

  21. Love simply love, I have been reading Shauna forever and “love” is the simple ingredient in all her works. It is the ingredient we all thrive the most on. So if you have a little or a lot of it spread it everywhere you go. Love with all your being and tell God to save just enough for you but give the rest away! Never waste a way to give love. Personally I am in need of a lot of love and prayers right now. J.C.
    (not jesus Christ, he’s busy)

  22. I love this. This is exactly what I needed to hear at this moment in my life, and nice to know I’m not alone. Thanks for always being willing to share your story and encourage others along the way!

  23. Thank you Shauna. In my head we are best friends, and when you are brave enough to talk candidly about things that worked or didn’t work for you or times when you struggled it makes me feel normal. It reassures me that perfection is not the goal. PRESENT is the goal. Thank you from an insecure new mommy!

  24. Really appreciate the way you used the word “hustle” here. It’s completely in line with the crazy-making that’s been happening in my brain and something I’ve been working to tame/let go of. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  25. Love your thoughts on how to stop and listen to what is going on in our everyday lives and taking responsibility to say no when it is right for sanity and grace to prevail instead of franic living. I too am taking an inventory of what my days look like and be more intentional in setting limits to what I can do in one 24 hour day and giving myself permission to move more slowly & even sit and do nothing except breath & rest. I know we are to run the race set before us but I was to make sure I’m running the right race and not the rat race. Love your thoughts and books you have written.

  26. This. All of this. I needed to hear this tonight. I made a new year’s resolution to slow down and have failed miserably. This was a reminder that it’s a matter of deciding what really matters, and arranging life according to that. Thank you.

  27. Shauna,
    You will probably never know how dearly I love your words. You speak so much life in the let’s-prop-our-feet-up-with-a-hot-drink-and-talk kind of way. As a grad student who is surrounded by expectations of a future in diplomacy or some high-ranking position, I am slowly discovering how much my creative spirit needs to breathe in an atmosphere that may not necessarily lead to that future lifestyle. It’s wonderfully refreshing to hear you embrace who you are and what you love about how you’ve been created; I want to start listening more to that in myself as well. You’ve officially given me my 2014 (and lifelong) motto. More love, less hustle! Yes, please!! :)

  28. Love your blog and “Bread and Wine” – my book club has this book on our “list” and I can’t wait to read it again – I LOVE IT – and I love “More LOVE, less HUSTLE”. Awesome – thanks so much for sharing. xo

  29. Oh my gosh this was a perfect read for me – my life right now feels like yours must have. I’m not married but I’m juggling two careers, friends, family, and all that jazz and feel like my life is so “scheduled” that I can’t ever just have a fun day off without feeling guilty.

  30. A dear friend I work with introduced me to the beauty and humility and honesty and warmth of your words last year. I devoured your books. And I so enjoy stopping by here. I don’t know why I have waited until today to comment.

    The same friend also printed a picture out for me and put it in my cubicle at work. A “More Love,Less Hustle” reminder for this mom who wants to laugh more. A mom who wants to be a softer place for her family to land instead of all sharpness and edges.

    And yesterday was just a huge moment for me. I am now reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, and she also uses the word “hustle.” And the Lord showed me that my hustle is tied to me trying to find worth. Worth that I already have in Him.

    This comment is a million miles long, but I will end with this quote from her book…because it SO ties in with what you are saying…making me thankful for you both. :) “Living a connected life ultimately is about setting boundaries, spending less time hustling and winning over people who don’t matter, and seeing the value of working on cultivating connection with family and close friends.”

    Learning how to hustle less and love more. Learning that I don’t need to “hustle” to win over people who just don’t matter in the long run. THANK YOU – simply for being you. When you impact MY life, you impact my family. :) Thank you.

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