From Frenzy to Focus: Julie Lowe Of Socially Aligned On How We Can Cancel Hustle Culture And Create A New Sustainable Work Paradigm

An Interview With Drew Gerber

Drew Gerber, CEO of Wasabi Publicity
Authority Magazine

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Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, can help you stay present, focused, and calm. Incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine to cultivate a sense of inner peace and balance and help increase your self-awareness.

“Hustle Culture” is an ethos often propounded by young self-proclaimed internet gurus that centers around the idea that working long hours and sacrificing self-care are required to succeed. This mentality may have gained popularity in the mid-2010s, but it has peaked, and now it has been sardonically renamed “Burnout Culture.” So why exactly is Hustle Culture the wrong path to take? What damage can it cause? What is a viable, sustainable alternative to hustle culture? How can we move from Frenzy To Focus? In this interview series, we are talking to business leaders, mental health leaders, marketing experts, business coaches, authors, and thought leaders who can share stories and insights about “How We Can Cancel Hustle Culture And Create A New Sustainable Work Paradigm.” As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Julie Lowe.

Julie Lowe is a Certified High Performance Coach and the founder of Socially Aligned. She helps ambitious entrepreneurs and professionals develop high-performance habits before they burn out or burn it all down. Julie’s expertise has been featured on Good Morning Washington, The List, Huffington Post, Yahoo! Life, Highly Sensitive Refuge, and GOSS Magazine. She is currently working on her first book, A Few Good Habits, due out in Fall 2023.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to know how you got from “there to here.” Inspire us with your backstory!

Thanks for having me! My story starts with a love for entrepreneurship and a desire to help others succeed. For the past decade, my focus has been on coaching and consulting online businesses, helping them achieve extraordinary growth and scale to seven figures and beyond using my specialized marketing services. But the more I worked with these entrepreneurs, the more I noticed something troubling.

Despite their success, many of them were struggling with burnout, anxiety, and self-doubt. They were sacrificing their well-being for the sake of their business, and it didn’t sit well with me. I also started hitting the point of burnout myself a few years ago. I knew there had to be a better way.

Looking for answers, I began to dig into the science behind high-performance habits and nervous system regulation techniques. Through my research and experimentation, I discovered that these practices not only improved my productivity and effectiveness but also had a profound positive impact on my overall well-being.

That’s when I had an epiphany. I realized that I didn’t just want to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses; I wanted to help them grow in a way that prioritized their well-being. And so, Socially Aligned is now a unique blend of services, offering both marketing services and high-performance coaching.

In my coaching work, I help ambitious entrepreneurs and professionals develop high-performance habits before they burn out or burn it all down. I love teaching others the science-backed practices that changed my life and helping them have breakthroughs in their brains, bodies, and bank accounts.

My mission is to help women go from overstretched and stressed to calm and confident. I believe that when we prioritize our well-being, we can achieve success without sacrificing our mental and physical health. And that’s a message that I’m passionate about sharing with as many people as possible!

Tell us about your typical day!

My typical day starts with a workout to give me the mental clarity and energy I need to tackle the day ahead. I plan out my week on Sundays, so when I sit down to work each day I already have a plan of action, I just have to do a quick review each morning of the game plan. Then, I dive into work, creating content, working on ads for my done-for-you clients, and facilitating one-on-one coaching sessions with my high-performance coaching clients.

To stay productive and focused, I have a routine I stick to. Every time I sit down at my desk, I set a timer for 60 minutes. It might seem counterintuitive, but taking frequent breaks throughout the day actually helps me stay on task. I use those two to five-minute breaks to stretch, take a deep breath, and reset. It keeps me feeling refreshed and focused throughout the day, instead of feeling drained and overwhelmed. By the end of the workday, I feel accomplished, and ready to spend some quality time with my family.

For me, getting a full night’s rest is absolutely non-negotiable as well. That’s why I hit the hay at the same time as my kids. I used to stay up late to savor the peace and quiet, but I realized that it wasn’t doing me any favors. By getting to bed earlier, I wake up feeling refreshed and energized, and I don’t end the day feeling cranky and exhausted anymore.

What lessons would you share with yourself if you had the opportunity to meet your younger self?

If I could give advice to my younger self, I would emphasize the importance of finding my own definition of success. It’s easy to get caught up in external markers of success, like money or status, but those things don’t necessarily lead to happiness or fulfillment. I would encourage myself to think deeply about what matters most to me and to build a life around those values.

Another lesson I would share is the importance of taking care of myself, both physically and mentally. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and grind of everyday life, but neglecting self-care can lead to burnout and other health problems. I would advise my younger self to make self-care a priority and to find activities that bring joy and relaxation.

Finally, I would encourage my younger self to take risks and not be afraid of failure. It’s easy to get stuck in our comfort zone, but taking chances and trying new things can lead to growth and new opportunities. I would remind myself that failure is not the end of the road, but rather a valuable learning experience that can lead to future success.

Ok, thank you for sharing your inspired life. Let’s start with a basic definition to make sure that all of us are on the same page. How do you define Hustle Culture?

Hustle culture is a work mindset that prioritizes constant hard work and productivity to achieve success, often glamorizing long hours and multitasking. While some people see it as promoting determination and resilience, it can also lead to negative outcomes such as burnout, stress, and a lack of work-life balance. As someone who has experienced the toxic effects of hustle culture firsthand, I’m particularly concerned about its impact on mental and physical health. It’s crucial to find a balance between ambition and well-being, which allows for sustainable success and personal fulfillment.

Now let’s discuss an alternative to Hustle Culture. To begin, can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority on the problems that come with Hustle Culture?

Absolutely! As a Certified High Performance Coach and the founder of Socially Aligned, I have spent the past decade working closely with ambitious entrepreneurs and professionals. This experience has provided me with a deep understanding of the problems associated with hustle culture. I’ve had the privilege of helping thousands of individuals scale their online businesses, and I can personally relate to the challenges of hustle culture, having experienced burnout myself before finding healthier ways to run my business. This personal journey has fueled my passion for guiding others towards a more sustainable and balanced approach to success.

My mission to help women transition from feeling overstretched and stressed to being calm and confident has given me firsthand insight into the negative effects of hustle culture. With training in high performance and a strong foundation in the neuroscience behind achieving peak performance, I’ve been able to delve into the science of these issues and share practices that lead to significant personal and professional breakthroughs.

My expertise has been featured in various media outlets, including Good Morning Washington, The List TV, Yahoo! Life, and GOSS Magazine, where I have discussed the dangers of hustle culture and offered guidance on adopting a more balanced approach to success.

I am also working on my first book, A Few Good Habits, which is due out late 2023 and features a chapter that specifically addresses the toxic aspects of hustle culture and proposes healthier alternatives for achieving a fulfilling work-life balance. Drawing from these diverse experiences, I’ve developed a real passion for sharing my insights on hustle culture, and I’m dedicated to helping others overcome these challenges and find a more balanced path to success.

The specific term “Hustle Culture” may have been popularized in the 2010s, but the concept behind it and the behaviors that come with it can be traced back hundreds or perhaps even thousands of years. From your vantage point, experience, or research, what were the main drivers of Hustle Culture?

Hustle culture may seem like a more modern trend, but the idea of working hard and pushing ourselves to the limit has definitely been around for centuries. I believe the driving forces behind it are complex and interconnected, spanning economic factors, societal expectations, technology, competition, and personal ambition.

For starters, economic pressures have always played a role. People have been driven to work harder and longer hours in pursuit of wealth and success, especially during times of economic change, like the Industrial Revolution. As societies shifted from farming to industry, the focus on productivity and output laid the foundation for hustle culture. This mindset even influenced the way our educational systems were designed.

Society doesn’t let us off the hook either. Most cultures see hard work and ambition as signs of success, pushing us to put work above everything else. That pressure has been there for ages, and it still influences how we work today. Many of us grew up in families where a strong work ethic was highly valued — I know I did!

Technology has played a huge role as well. With advancements like the internet and smartphones, work has become more accessible and interconnected, making it harder to separate our professional and personal lives. We can work anytime, anywhere, which only adds to the pressure to be constantly productive and available.

Competition and social comparison play a big part in all of this too. In our super-connected world, it can feel like we’re always competing for recognition and success. And with social media, it’s so easy to see what everyone else is up to, which just makes us want to work even harder to keep up or outachieve others.

Finally, there’s our own ambition and motivation. Some people are just born go-getters — though I do think it’s important for us to be aware of these outside influences so we can make informed decisions about how we approach work and balance in our lives.

I work in the marketing industry, and so I’m very cognizant of this question. What role do you see that marketing and advertising has played in creating the frenzy caused by Hustle Culture that many of us feel?

Marketing and advertising have definitely played a big role in shaping the Hustle Culture that many of us feel today. I’ve been in the marketing and advertising industry for over 20 years, so like you, I’m highly aware of this influence. While I’m not thrilled about the part it’s played, I do believe that we can use the industry’s influence to drive positive change.

One way marketing and advertising have contributed to hustle culture is by fueling a never-ending desire for more — whether that’s success, wealth, or material things. Ads often tap into our insecurities and ambitions, convincing us that we need to work harder and aim higher to find true happiness and fulfillment.

On top of that, marketing and advertising can sometimes push the idea that being busy and constantly productive are signs of success. By celebrating overwork and hustle in ads and marketing campaigns, the industry can create an atmosphere where people feel pressured to prioritize work over everything else in order to meet society’s expectations.

Considering all of this, I’m on a personal mission to change the way we talk about hustle culture. As a marketer and a coach, I’m all about promoting a healthier work-life balance, focusing on self-care, and really highlighting the importance of mental well-being. By harnessing the power of marketing, we can help create a more balanced approach to work and life. In fact, my book, A Few Good Habits, is all about finding that balance in our lives so we can be super successful, but not at the cost of our relationships or health. By finding this balance, we’re not only helping ourselves but also making a positive impact on society as a whole.

Can you help articulate the downsides of Hustle Culture? Why is this an unsustainable work paradigm?

The downsides of hustle culture are pretty significant, making it an unsustainable way to work. For one, it glamorizes overworking and pushing yourself to the brink, which can lead to burnout and decreased productivity over time.

Hustle culture can throw your work-life balance way out of whack, with people prioritizing work over everything else, neglecting their personal lives, and putting their mental and physical health at risk.

Another downside is the idea that our worth is based solely on our productivity and output, which can lead to feeling like we’re never doing enough and even result in anxiety, stress, and mental health issues.

Moreover, hustle culture can be exclusionary, favoring those with certain privileges, like financial security or supportive networks, while leaving others behind. This can perpetuate societal inequalities and contribute to the overall stress and burnout of individuals who are unable to keep up.

It’s clear that hustle culture isn’t sustainable in the long run, and we need to shift the way we work. We need to prioritize balance, self-care, and mental well-being to create a more fulfilling and sustainable work culture that benefits everyone.

Let’s now discuss Focus, the opposite of Frenzy. Can you please share one area of your personal or business life where you simplified things and then felt less frenzied and more fulfilled? Can you please explain?

One area where I simplified things and felt less frenzied and more fulfilled was in my business. As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to do everything and be everything to everyone. I found myself feeling constantly exhausted, and it was affecting my overall well-being and my relationships.

For me, simplifying my business and focusing on what truly matters has been a game-changer. I used to try to do everything myself, take on every project, and say “yes” to every opportunity that came my way. It led to burnout and a sense of being constantly overwhelmed.

So I took a step back and evaluated what really mattered to me and my business. I focused on my strengths and passions, and let go of tasks and projects that didn’t align with those. I also started delegating and outsourcing tasks that weren’t the best use of my time or energy.

The result? I now have more time and mental space to focus on what I love and what brings the most value to my business. I’m able to provide higher-quality work for my clients and feel more fulfilled in my work. Plus, I have a better work-life balance and more time to spend on things outside of work that bring me joy and fulfillment.

What life experiences have you adopted in your business or personal life that have left you more satisfied? Can you please explain?

In my personal life, I’ve learned the value of setting boundaries and prioritizing self-care. I used to be someone who said “yes” to everything, but I realized that this only led to burnout and resentment. Now, I prioritize taking time for myself and doing the things that bring me joy, whether that’s spending time with loved ones, getting outdoors, reading, or painting.

By doing this, in addition to how I’ve simplified my business, I’ve found that I am more fulfilled and satisfied. I’m able to focus on what truly matters to me and let go of the things that don’t, which has allowed me to achieve greater success and happiness.

Okay, fantastic. Here is the main part of our interview. In your opinion, how can we break the addiction to being busy or trying to find the next big thing? How can people truly focus on tasks that make THE difference to their business and lives giving them satisfaction or life purpose alignment? Based on your experience and your area of expertise, can you please share “Five Ways To Move From Frenzy to Focused”?

Breaking the addiction to being busy or always trying to find the next big thing requires a shift in mindset and a commitment to self-awareness and self-care. We have to let go of the need to be constantly busy or chasing something new. Embrace the present moment and focus on what you can control. This can help you cultivate a sense of contentment and satisfaction in your life.

In addition, it’s important to recognize that busyness can often be a coping mechanism for dealing with stress, anxiety, or other emotional challenges. By constantly staying busy, we can avoid facing difficult emotions or situations. However, in the long run, this can be detrimental to our mental health and well-being. Learning to slow down, be mindful, and address issues head-on can help us develop healthier coping mechanisms and lead to a more fulfilling life.

The key to focusing on tasks that make a real difference is to identify your values, goals, and priorities and align your actions accordingly. Break down the most important tasks into actionable steps, eliminate distractions, and hold yourself accountable by setting deadlines and seeking support. By doing so, you can make progress towards your goals and achieve a sense of satisfaction and purpose in your work and life.

Here are Five Ways To Move From Frenzy to Focused:

  1. Prioritize rest and recovery: Rest and recovery are essential for maintaining focus and productivity. Make time for adequate sleep, exercise, and other self-care activities. Getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining focus and productivity. Aim for 7–8 hours of sleep each night to ensure that you are well-rested and energized for the day ahead.
  2. Define your priorities: Take the time to define your priorities and focus on tasks that align with these. This can help you avoid getting caught up in the busyness of everyday life and stay focused on what truly matters. Don’t spend your days caught up in urgent but not important tasks. Learn to say “no” more. Saying no to commitments that don’t align with your priorities is crucial for maintaining focus and balance in your life.
  3. Create a schedule: Create a schedule that reflects your priorities and ensures that you have dedicated time for the tasks that matter most. Break tasks down into smaller steps: Breaking tasks down into smaller, actionable steps can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and make progress toward your goals. This can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and stay focused on what’s important. Make breaks part of your schedule. Taking breaks is essential for maintaining focus and productivity. Schedule regular movement breaks throughout your day to recharge and refocus.
  4. Eliminate distractions: Identify and eliminate distractions that prevent you from focusing on your most important tasks. This might mean turning off your phone or email notifications, closing unnecessary tabs on your computer, or finding a quiet workspace. This also means not chasing after ‘shiny’ new opportunities that take you away from your most important goals.
  5. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, can help you stay present, focused, and calm. Incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine to cultivate a sense of inner peace and balance and help increase your self-awareness.

How would you describe a work paradigm that is a viable alternative to Hustle Culture? What would it look like, and what would you call it?

A work paradigm that’s an alternative to Hustle Culture would prioritize work-life balance, personal fulfillment, and sustainable productivity. It recognizes that balance between work and other aspects of life is the key to true productivity and success.

So, what could this look like in practice? Well, it could involve things like setting realistic goals, time-blocking, taking regular movement breaks, and incorporating mindfulness practices like meditation to maintain focus and reduce stress. By doing so, we can achieve better work-life balance and prevent burnout.

What’s more, people would be encouraged to pursue their passions and interests outside of work. When people are given the opportunity to do what they love, they tend to be more fulfilled and happy, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and improved mental health.

And what could we call this work paradigm? How about “Sustainable Success?” The name focuses on the importance of balance between work and life and emphasizes sustainable productivity practices that benefit both individuals and organizations. If we implement this work paradigm, we could see increased job satisfaction, improved mental health, and higher productivity. It would lead to a more sustainable and fulfilling life for individuals, while also creating more sustainable business practices for organizations.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that have inspired you about working differently?

So many! My work has been greatly inspired by Brendon Burchard, James Clear, and Kelly McGonigal in particular. Brendon Burchard is the founder of the High Performance Institute and that is where I received my Certified High Performance Coach training. He has a great podcast and my favorite book of his is High Performance Habits. James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, is also a wonderful resource for learning how to make healthy habits stick. Kelly McGonigal’s book, The Upside of Stress, also had a huge impact on me and has influenced how I think about the stress that arises from being an entrepreneur and how I want to approach it.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can inspire.

If I had the power to inspire a movement that could do the most good for the most people, it would be focused on the idea that small changes can have a big impact on our lives. I’m a big believer in the power of cultivating good habits to improve our overall well-being and productivity, which is why I wrote my book, A Few Good Habits.

This movement would encourage people to prioritize self-care and mental health by incorporating a few simple, but effective habits into their daily routines. By focusing on a handful of high-impact habits, individuals could improve their overall well-being and productivity, while also reducing stress and burnout.

By promoting the importance of self-care and mental health, the movement could help break down the stigma surrounding these issues and encourage people to take better care of themselves. And by focusing on just a few key habits, the movement would be accessible to everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Ultimately, the goal of the movement would be to create a society where individuals can thrive and achieve happiness, health, and success by empowering them to take control of their own well-being and make positive changes in their lives. By working together to promote a few good habits, we could create a ripple effect that benefits not just ourselves, but also the people around us.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

You can find my website and blog at https://sociallyaligned.com/ and I am on the following social media channels:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/coachjulielowe/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SociallyAligned

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/julielowe/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

Thank you so much for having me! It’s been a pleasure!

About The Interviewer: For 30 years, Drew Gerber has been inspiring those who want to change the world. Drew is the CEO of Wasabi Publicity, Inc., a full-service PR agency lauded by PR Week and Good Morning America. Wasabi Publicity, Inc. is a global marketing company that supports industry leaders, change agents, unconventional thinkers, companies and organizations that strive to make a difference. Whether it’s branding, traditional PR or social media marketing, every campaign is instilled with passion, creativity and brilliance to powerfully tell their clients’ story and amplify their intentions in the world. Schedule a free consultation at WasabiPublicity.com/Choosing-Publicity.

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Drew Gerber, CEO of Wasabi Publicity
Authority Magazine

For 30 years, Drew Gerber has been inspiring those who want to change the world