Wise Words from a Former Intern: Hone Your Hustle

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If you’re anything like me, you hate to lose more than you like to win. You squeeze every ounce of focus, sweat, and energy into winning the battle, or at least putting up a good fight. I’ve often been asked what is the one thing that fuels my fire. For me, it’s simple. It’s hustle. There’s never been a time I’ve regretted hustling hard—only the times someone else hustled harder. Growing up a fearless competitor, one would think hustle comes natural; however, it doesn’t. It takes hard work, grit, and can be exhausting.

During the summer of 2012, I started my journey as an account management intern at FCB Chicago. It was no doubt my first real-life hustle test. Walking in on the first day, I quickly realized I was surrounded by the finest problem solvers, innovators, thinkers, and creatives in advertising. An array of emotions rushed through my veins, but it all boiled down to figuring out how to hustle in order to make a memorable impression among the best thought leaders.

The days ahead were filled with endless opportunities and challenges including:

  • Career panels
  • Field trips to Cubs games
  • Tough projects
  • All-agency social events
  • Volunteering with inner-city kids at Off The Street Club (Chicago’s oldest Boys and Girls club)

This hustle also meant adapting to situations. After sitting in a full day of meetings, I had this moment of realization that the conversations were full of many advertising acronyms and analogies that I hadn’t learned at Indiana University. From that moment, I made it a priority to be nearly the first one in the office every morning to gather thoughts, questions, and be prepared to do more listening and less talking. Quickly, I found myself providing fresh thinking instead of being a spectator.

Most importantly, I learned to hustle with a purpose. Being a part of a company whose purpose is to embrace culture, diversity, curiosity, and game-changing ideas has taught me a different kind of winning and learning. So find your purpose—the thing that drives everything you do and inspires you every single day.

Two years later, I’m proud to still be hustling with the best game changers in the industry as an account executive at FCB and lucky to be a part of an organization bigger than myself.

Be the hustle you wish to see in the world, and I invite you to follow my adventures at @khajmoney.