Blake M. Bowland

There are two words that represent recurring themes for me lately: Integrity & Hustle.

Integrity became a recurring theme in my life ever since I decided to give up a fantastic opportunity because it didn’t align with who I was or my hopes and dreams for this life. That opportunity was a career as a financial advisor. Right before I made the decision to end that career, I realized I wasn’t just making a decision to end the career–I was making a decision regarding the rest of my life.

That was a decision to live a life of integrity. As much as I thought I was living a life of integrity before, hindsight has allowed me to see that I certainly wasn’t. I was always striving for a life dreamed up by those around me–those I respect and admire. It’s not that they tried to impress their own opinions on me, it was just that I revered them so much that I assumed the way they lived their lives was the correct way for me as well. Boy was I wrong. They were living their lives the correct way…but that’s because they were living lives that were true to who they are.

After I realized that, everything clicked and I can truly say I’ve finally begun living a life of integrity, and it hasn’t ever felt better.

Now, on to hustle. I recently stumbled upon a guy named Gary Vaynerchuk. If you haven’t heard of him you need to check him out. Gary’s passions lie in multiple areas: business, marketing, wine, the Jets, his family, and many other things. He mostly talks about these passions, but in doing so I truly believe he can provide people with more than just his knowledge on those passions. He delivers something far more important than that–a life of integrity, pursued voraciously…through a life of hustle. Seriously, I’ve never met, heard, seen anyone that oozes integrity and hustle like Gary Vaynerchuk. He just–real. And we don’t get that much these days. Because of that, I would encourage everyone, and I mean everyone, to listen to him–even if you don’t share any of the same passions. That’s how much I believe his passion, his integrity, and his hustle will rub off on you and into your life.

The reason I associate him with hustle is because it is at the core of who he is as a person. That guy has hustled ever damn day of his life, and you can tell just listening to him. I can tell you that of the small amount of content that he has put out that I’ve absorbed, I’ve already become a GaryVee evangelist (this post being case and point). And on a side note, I will meet Gary…soon, too. I don’t know how, I don’t know when, but will make it happen dammit.

I digress. Hustle is something everyone is capable of. It doesn’t matter who you are, you can hustle, and it will lead you to the life you’ve always dreamed of living. The only problem is, 99% of you won’t. Not even after reading this. Not even after listening to Gary.Why? Because were all too damn lazy. Or…is it perhaps for a different reason?

I believe I’ve hustled a majority of my life. But, I don’t feel like I’ve ever really reached my true potential. Why you ask? Because I wasn’t focusing that hustle on the right things (the “different reason”). Remember how I said I wasn’t living a life of integrity even though I thought I was? Exactly my point. I think a vast majority of people out there don’t hustle because they aren’t being true to who they are. Of course you aren’t going to hustle if you honestly don’t give a shit about something. So go find something you do give a shit about!! Yeah, some of the ramifications may suck for awhile, but at least at the end you can say you were true to who you are as a person.

I don’t know about you, but if I lived a life of integrity and hustle, at the end of the day…heck, at the end of my life…I will be happy and will have given all of the true me to those around me. And that’s all that matters.


Originally published at

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