Cult of the Grind, or the Age of the Business Warrior – Part 1

“Cult of the Grind”

If you spent any time around entrepreneurs, you probably heard many times that “working hard” and “always be hustling” are the ways to succeed in business.

In other words, if you’re not working your butt off, then maybe you’re not serious enough to be truly successful.

I call it the “cult of the grind.”

The cult of the grind almost puts you to shame for not being willing to put in long hours, sleepless nights, and doing what needs to be done to reach success.

There’s honor in the grind. People respect your ability and willingness to work tirelessly to achieve results.

I remember feeling totally embarrassed about not being willing to stay up late on my “cart close” day during a product launch. After all, everyone else does it, whether it is to watch the sales coming in, manage their team, or send “just one more email.”

The cult of the grind implies being willing to do whatever it takes:

  • Need to do five live webinars in three days? Sure.
  • Need to jump on a new social media trend? No problem.
  • Speaking at two live events in one day? I am there!
  • Have to fit three promotions in one week? Gotta do what you gotta do!”
  • Need to write another email, even though it’s 11pm and you’re already in bed? I’m up!

You guessed it right – all of these are examples from my own business. And I know I am not alone.

When I announced that I was taking a 90-day sabbatical after leaving my previous business, the biggest feedback I got from my peers was this:

I am so jealous! I wish I had this opportunity to just walk away. You’re so lucky!”

“The New Normal: Brink of Burnout”

Some people shared with me that they wish they had a chance to start over. I could feel their pain and exhaustion. They have to maintain and manage what they created, and continue to grow.

They’re on an entrepreneurial treadmill and cannot stop. Their business is wearing them out but they have no idea how to do it any other way.

Unfortunately, this has become the norm. It’s normal and even expected to become a “business warrior” if you want to succeed. It’s normal to hold 24-hour “marathons” during a big promotion. It’s normal to hire three new people in one month then keep creating work for them so you don’t lose “great talent.”

I’ve talked to people who were “on the brink of burnout” and they’re starting to re-evaluate their entire business models because they realize they can’t go on this way. If they’re lucky, they start seeing red flags early enough to do something about it.

So the question I’d like for you to ponder is this…

  • Question #1: If I keep doing what I’ve been doing, WHEN and HOW might a breaking point show up in my life?

It can show up in your health, relationships, or both. Since I started sharing my story of burning out and leaving the business, many people have told me their painful stories of divorce, cancer, or bankruptcy. For me it showed up in sudden panic attacks. Although at the time I had no idea what they were and why they were happening, today I know it was a warning. I was in complete misalignment in my business and something had to change.

My intention is not to scare you, but to make you pause for just a moment today and ask yourself 3 more critical questions:

  • Question #2: What does “taking my business to the next level” look like?
  • Question #3: What am I willing to do to get there?
  • Question #4: What am I absolutely NOT willing to do?

I think we are all great at asking and answering the first question. But take your time to answer the other two questions, because this is the only way to create personal boundaries and avoid having to sacrifice the things that matter most to you.

Read Part 2 of “Cult of the Grind” Here

Cult of the Grind, or the Age of the Business Warrior – Part 2

24 thoughts on “Cult of the Grind, or the Age of the Business Warrior – Part 1

  1. Deb

    I love this post Milana. I love what you’re doing. I’m just beginning my business so I’m faced with these questions every day. I won’t be one of those 24/7 hustlers. The reason I’m doing this business is to be of service and make a living while still having a life. Yet being surrounded by evidence of the “cult of the grind” I keep getting nervous about whether or not I can do this on my terms. Your posts keep centered and inspire me to be true to the business I want to create. Thank you!

    1. Zora

      This sounds like exactly what I’m going through, too. I keep getting sidetracked by all the “hustlers”, and the “grinders”…what does that even mean, anyway? I mean, I do hope they are enjoying it at least a little bit, otherwise what are they going to do – spend the rest of their lives grinding their way to the grave? I resent that mindset, because it automatically makes me feel like what I’m trying to do – live my a LIFE out of spreading my heart-inspired expertise – is but child’s play or something. I say – like you – that we can look at these people who thrive on the grind, and see it from another perspective: they are only trying to motivate from a outward perspective (that works for some, usually guys) while people like us NEED to work from the inside out (ie. the stuff on the inside is 90%, while the marketing/business is 10% or something).

  2. Judy Morris

    Hello Milana,

    You are spot on. I do have something that you might want to add to your toolkit. I am not selling anything. But I have found something that can bring even more success in less time and effort. It is ancient and new at the same time.

    I am not selling this. I am sharing the opportunity with you because I think you might be ready.

  3. Sara

    Thanks so much Milana for your blog
    .In the field of energy healing we learn that the presenting problem is very often not the real problem. ie a person can experience career burnout which is really a symptom of a deeper spiritual/cosmic burnout.

    The question is really- What was I born into this world to be and do? Whom was I born to be?

    When we are living our lives in alignment with that mission there Cannot be burnout, but when we Dont live in allignment with it, there ultimately Will be burnout. It need not be career burnout- it can be ‘cooking daily dinner burnout’ or carpool burnout.

    So thank you Milana; I love your blog because I feel in it the seeds of a deeper awakening for everyone. And the seeds can begin to sprout through our asking ourselves – Whom was I put in this world to BE at this crucial junction in history?

    Milana, wishing you much much success in all your positive work toward shifting global and personal consciousness.

  4. John Cummuta

    I think part of the distortion comes from most of our “success models” being marketers who market to other marketers…not to end consumers.

    The big sales numbers, the “10x” crap, the launch contest with a Mercedes prize are almost (if not) all from people selling tools or methods to coaches and other service providers…who are then supposed to use them to sell their products and services to non-business consumers.

    This leaves coaches, healers, authors, and other teacher/service providers who sell to regular people – NOT to other coaches – with a distorted view of the potential sales numbers they can expect or should even be shooting for.

    B2B (business to business) products and services can be priced much higher, on average, than can B2C (business to consumer) products and services. And consumers aren’t as spring loaded to whack $997 or $1,997 on their credit cards as are business people who feel they must spend money to make money.

    I’m sure there are exceptions, but what this generally adds up to is that the revenue potential of people selling products and services to end consumers is nowhere near what the gurus can make selling their magic marketing programs to us. If it was, they’d all still be selling their original coaching programs to end consumers.

    That’s not to say we can’t have successful businesses. We can, and I do. I just believe we need not measure ourselves against marketers who market their stuff to us marketers.

    1. Jane Duncan Rogers

      Good point made there John. Only just realising this fully myself. Its a bit irritating to say the least that this is not pointed out more clearly, cos when you;re a newbie its really easy to believe the marketers!

  5. Deborah Gauthier

    Excellent blog for those who think taking their business to the next level will put you on easy street. The fact is if you don’t automate or delegate you must keep managing and maintaining it. Thanks for this amazing information as it was an eye opener for me.

  6. Jane Duncan Rogers

    Great blog Milana. I remember saying (after a burnout years ago) that I was not willing to do what everyone else said you had to do. To some extent I have kept to that – I put holidays first, I didn;t stay up late. Life is far too short to spend it in this way. However I did get hooked in later on down the line and started criticising myself for not being as good as the ones who were teaching me. I knew there was something wrong, but I blamed myself.

    Now, I am more pragmatic. I realise it is going to take longer, maybe much longer, to have my business build in the way I know it can. Now I know more re marketing online I can apply that – but in my terms, and in my way, one which honours me and my heart and soul. Imagine how awful it would be if I died in the middle of having a horrible time trying to meet a deadline! Therefore I now either don’t create deadlines, or only accept them when I think I can enjoy the work, no matter what. And guess what – the work gets done anyway! Hurray 🙂

    1. Milana Post author

      I don’t like deadlines either Jane! As a self-employed, though, I feel like I usually create self-imposed deadlines. So now I deliberately move them back to give myself more room to breathe. Thanks for your comments here!!


    Well, first and foremost let me thank you for this piece of advice. Though brief, I have gained some insight of what I need to do at this stage to meet my desired goals.
    Admittedly, the key to success is hard work. But nowadays, hard work is not just enough due to the fast paced ever changing World. In my view. a bit Luck and education is also cardinal. Bill Gates for instance did not have any Degree but was born a lucky man to invent what has made him be one of the respected and richest tycoon living today.
    Another man in Africa ,Dangote has huge investments in more than ten countries and yet his education background was not good enough. Dangote simply mastered the nit gritty of business tactics at a tender age and we all envy and ‘pray’ to him to save our poor souls.

  8. Helen

    Wow, did you know how I was feeling today. I’m in the Cult Grind and how do I move from here. I was told you have to re-invent yourself. I already did that and this is my third time. I don’t want to have a fourth. The cash flow ride isn’t fun. Having employees isn’t fun. But to Play Big I had to add to the team. Now I’m worried and stressed of making sure they grow and have reason to stay with the team.

  9. Janelle

    I love your writing Milana and I’ve been thinking about this all day. There is a cult of the grind out there, and a celebration of being obsessed with a goal. For me, work is best when it’s like a game, when it’s fun to play, and something that I come back to again and again to get better at. When it becomes a “should” or a “have to” or “need to” then it feels like a grind. Thanks for being you and sharing from the heart here. I appreciate it.

  10. Sumaya

    I’m glad someone is speaking out about this. I’ve often gotten the vibe from other entrepreneurs if I’m not willing or able to work such long hours that it means I”m not serious about my business.

  11. Cloris Kylie

    This article resonates with so many people because as you say, there is an unspoken “cult to the grind.” And yes, awareness of what we really want and are willing to do is the first and most important step. Thank you, Milana!

  12. Michelle Manning-Kogler

    Glad we’re talking about this. Because burnout in this industry is rampant, and almost no one has been willing to address the issues! It really is time to find a different model for success, because too many really talented, engaged entrepreneurs are falling along the way, and that’s not OK.

  13. Emily Cohan

    I really love this perspective. I have begun to look at my own work more like physical training, in that I want to keep going consistently in the long run, so it’s pointless for me to over-train today. If I am going to speak, I build space around it. If I am going to therapy, I build space around that and my work schedule. And many spurts of hard work in the middle. I run into the edges of this fairly often (especially as I need more downtime than I expect), but I am working on it.

    My 2017 intentions have a lot to do with restorative travel – spa time, visiting Esalen. I just had my first facial last week! 🙂

    It’s still really hard for me to consider the rest as part of the work, but it’s very important. And I think for me it gets more confusing when I add tuning into the multiple directions I love going in… Like rest for just rest, versus rest being a “figuring it out” phase. Thank you for this post.

  14. William Brown

    Thanks for sharing this. The main reason I believe I can hear what you are talking about is because I experienced a couple of your examples. Being taken to your needs personally and professionally is more than humbling it has been debilitating. Even though I wish this conversation happened three or four years ago. It is helping me lay a solid foundation

  15. Sandy

    Burnout… Been there. Done that. I don’t ever want to go there again. The question is how do you make money when you’re trying to avoid burnout?

  16. Nancy

    Join Network Marketing, they say….it’s fun, they say….you can make a lot of money, they say…it’s all about mindset, they say…create a residual income, they say!! They forget to say, it’s not easy, you’ll get a lot of rejection (hope you can handle it), you’ll spend a lot of money to make pennies (unless, you’re able find lots of builders right away), plus you have to spend more on attending events, convention, trainings and trying to bring in more people, loose friends and family, cause you keep trying to get them to join you!! Get your 2 contacts at minimum per day! Read, read and read again to change your mindset!! Maybe attend another training to learn some more of the same!! I work a 45+ hours a week job, plus do Network Marketing, my husband loves the product and hates the business aspect! Give up your life to create what, stress, anxiety heartache and dispare, because your not making it as a Network Marketer!! Yes, I’m still doing it because I have so much invested at this point, but it can be more of a rat race than my job!!

  17. Patricia LaCroix

    OMG — thank you for this blog article, Milana! This actually happened to me with the business that I had for 30 years, doing what I knew I loved doing, but burning out on the stress of making every deadline, working late nights and losing sleep, making every client feel like he or she was the only one, and being the only one who could serve them “well.” This was with my OWN business… I was supposed to have control and be doing things “my way.” And to a certain extent, I did create boundaries over the years, and that was a VERY GOOD thing. But I think it wasn’t quite enough. Now, at nearly 53, I’m exhausted, and want and need to be doing things differently. More than anything, I need to explore what I’m NOT willing to do anymore.

  18. mustapha alkaihal

    Hi Milana, I love what you’re doing. I’m thinking to begin my business so I’m faced with these questions every day. I completely agree


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