Good Hustler || Sarah De Jonge 1000 Hearts Project
Sarah and I met through the internet. When I say met, that sounds almost human, but our reality is that we had an exchange on Instagram about The Good Hustle, and I followed her account and was so captivated with what she was doing I reached out and begged her to be one of my good hustlers. There is power in vulnerability and also begging, but mainly in recognising that there are many, many people who have a beautiful idea, and just do it, because they are called to contribute. These contributions are often subtle and under the radar, but so geniunely radical and subversive in their impact they, have a power that is unstoppable. Much like Sarah...
"I’ve always worked for non-profit organisations in support roles, so I’ve had the privilege of sitting with people through times of intense challenge and have witnessed despair, fury, heartbreak and brokenness. The goodness and resilience of people always touches and astounds me. I’ve worked across age groups and in various therapeutic models and I’ve discovered that the heart of the work is always about connection and ultimately, love for our fellow struggling humans. When I started 1000 Hearts, I was nursing a broken heart and feeling disillusioned with myself and life in general. I wanted to offer love and connection without the restrictions of funding, research and frameworks. I love to sew and I decided to make one thousand pocket hearts designed to be carried as talismans of hope, courage, comfort or whatever was needed. I purposely made the project open to everyone, with no limits around who could access hearts. It was my love letter to the world, sent out in much the same way I posted letters to Santa when I was a child, with no expectation of a reply but with pure faith that good things would come of it."
1. Describe 1000 hearts in one powerful sentence.
1000 Hearts is dedicated to increasing the amount of goodness in the world by creating community, nurturing creativity and celebrating kindness; my goal is to change the world, one heart at a time.
2. How do you integrate service to others in your business model?
Service to others is at the heart of this project. For the first two years, all I did was send out free hearts to anyone who asked for them, and I ran some free heart-making sessions and talks about kindness in the community. It was pure altruism, and like most altruistic acts, the greatest beneficiary was me. By giving my heart away again and again, I discovered in myself a capacity for unconditional love that I hadn’t known existed. I also learned about boundaries and self-love which for me, has been the most challenging part of the journey. We generally find it easier to offer kindness to others than to ourselves, so a central principle of 1000 Hearts is offering kindness to yourself first and foremost. When people start making hearts, I always suggest that they keep their first one, as a reminder of self-love.
3. What were some of the highlights and lowlights of your journey to where you are now?
The biggest highlight is connecting with people who are impacted in some way by the hearts. I get a lot of messages from heart recipients who write to tell me what a difference this small gesture made to them. Many of them go on to become heartists, making and sharing hearts in their community, and so the ripple effect has grown in a truly beautiful, organic way. In terms of challenges, my biggest one is juggling 1000 Hearts with full-time work and trying to be good Mum to my two teenaged children, as well as nurturing my other relationships and running a household. I continually feel that there isn’t as much time as I need to really run with the project –last year I got to the point of considering shutting it down and I had a friend run the Facebook page while I took a break. It made me realise how much it’s become part of me and that giving it up is not an option. So instead, I’m looking at ways to create space for it. It’s an ongoing challenge.
4. Do you have a spiritual practice?
In the spirit of kindness to self, I’ve become pretty good at taking care of my spiritual life. I practice mindful meditation daily, exercise regularly and make sure I schedule in regular periods of solitude (cancelling social plans is my super power!) I’m a naturally introverted person, so I’m not big on small-talk and socialising for the sake of it. If I’m with someone, I want to be all in, listening closely, learning from each other and delving into the heart of who they are. The flipside of that is making time to be alone and recharge. It’s taken me a loooooong time, but I no longer feel guilty about prioritising time alone; it’s a survival thing!
5. Advice for others who want to start their own good hustle?
Don’t be put off by self-doubt and fears of what people will think. I used to assume I was a good person simply because being a good person mattered to me. I’ve realised that it’s our actions that make us who we are, and making a positive contribution takes consideration, commitment and massive effort. It’s worth taking some time to work out what really matters to you – when you’re in your last days, looking back over your life, what do you want to feel proud of? Then take that thing and make it a reality. It’s interesting…since starting 1000 Hearts, the thought of death doesn’t scare me like it used to, because I know I’ll be leaving a legacy of love behind – it gives meaning to my life even when the day-to-day stuff feels tiresome. In short, start being the absolute best version of yourself and see what happens!
1000 Hearts -a kindness project ❤️