Meet Gary Vay-ner-chuk. I have been watching his content for about a year and Gary is now one of my biggest online mentors.
At first, I couldn’t pinpoint what’s so attractive about his content but I think I nailed it down. Let´s take a deep dive into Gary’s underlying principles. Not only why he is so successful in the business world but why his content so damn attractive.
The First Impression
When I first came across Gary’s content, I felt like I was hit by a truck. He is brutally honest and doesn’t try to put things in an elegant and discrete way. I guess because of this, a lot of people dismiss his message, perceiving him as pretentious or insensitive. At this point, I think some context helps to understand from where Gary is coming from.
Gary is the firstborn of former soviet union citizens who immigrated to the US in 1978. He arrived in New Jersey when he was 3, living with other 8 family members in a studio apartment. As an immigrant family, Gary’s father, Sasha worked non stop until he could start his own business.
Gary was also earning his own money by trading baseball cards and hustling at a young age to have the things he wanted. Eventually, he joined forces with his dad and together they build up their family business, Wine Library. Now Gary spends his time on Vaynermedia, one of the hottest digital agencies in the world.
So when you look at Gary, you have to understand how he built everything around him.
He is highly competitive but that how he got where he is. He did it by being himself, and that’s what we see in his content. A straight to the point, practical, busy Gary being himself and once you understand that, you can really open yourself to his wisdom.
A Contemporary Philosopher
He shares a lot of tactics about social media and business and I think that how the majority of his audience discover him. But I feel people stay for different reasons.
Gary is highly inspirational, talking about hard work, hustle, and legacy. He is highly aware of the things people struggle with both in business and in life. He brings up these complex concepts to the table and breaks them down in a unique way, making them super easy to understand and relate to.
I see him more as a modern philosopher than a businessman.
He has the habit of reducing complex concepts into 1 liners: Patient; 51_49; Clouds and Dirt; Speed…
Perhaps, the biggest of them all is…
Self-Awareness, the Ultimate Power
This doesn’t mean anything about robots becoming aware and killing us all although that how Gary things will end.
Self awareness means knowing ourselves. Your strengths, weakness, our tendencies. Knowing how we work and developing a lifestyle that empowers that. Deep down, we all know how important this is and Gary simply puts into context.
And because it’s so important, obviously everyone wants to know how to become more self-aware. Check out this interaction between Gary and legend Larry King:
He didn’t try to come up with a clever answer. Or beat around the bush. He knows his limits and he’s not afraid to show them. By telling us that he doesn’t know how to teach self-awareness, he’s teaching it.
Here is my take away from this conversation:
Own yourself, don’t look for yourself in others. Follow your gut feeling and if it feels right, keep going but the second it feels wrong, don’t be afraid of failure and try something else. We all have different levels of awareness but deep down we all know what’s right.
To cut through those excuses is the point of Gary’s content. As he says, to suffocate all the bullshit.
Pulling from Opposite Directions
Gary plays with a very interesting concept that he calls pulling from opposite directions. You can see this mindset in almost all of his principles:
Cloud and dirt, focusing only on the long-term picture (the clouds) and on practical action to achieve that vision, the dirt and nothing else in between.
Not caring about what people think about him, meaning having a strong self-belief and having a direction and at the same time, caring about what people think, meaning listening to feedback and caring about their problems and concerns.
I think we all can benefit a lot from this mindset. It allows us to remain flexible, not to get stuck by romanticizing over an opinion that might not be true anymore. It also makes it easier to empathize with others because there are no sides. Pulling from opposite direction allows us to try to understand how others feel, which brings us to Gary’s biggest attribute, emotional intelligence.
EQ over IQ, Leveraging Human Interaction
Gary often brags about having insane social skills and by watching his interactions with employees or fans, he is definitely doing something right.
Now, I can only see what’s being shown on Youtube and on social media but the way he and others behave on camera never feels forced so I can only assume that all the love, respect, and empathy is real.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand both our own and others emotions and use that information to improve how we communicate and think. That’s what we see Gary doing all the time.
On stage, he never gives the same speech twice because he is constantly reading the crowd and adapting to their narrative. Running Vaynermedia, he regularly meets with employees just to know what’s up. Or on Gary’s podcast, he often asks a question and immediately explains why he’s asking it and how he believes the other person will react to that question.
He over communicates to make sure he’s is not being misunderstood and that others understand from where he is coming from. More than business advice, Gary’s social dynamics are extremely valuable lessons that I take great pleasure in learning.
Doing the Right Thing is Always the Right Thing
One of these great lessons happened recently on one of Gary’s shows with another of my favorite authors, Tim Ferriss. At the end of a very lighthearted show, Gary changed his tone and said this to Tim:
Now Gary is referring to a speech he gave back in 2009. He was talking about hustling and hard work and said this:
“It’s hard work. Period, end of story. None of this bullshit Tim Ferris 4 Hour Work Week! That shit does not work!”
This was 8 years ago. At the time, Gary and Tim already had a relationship going. Two months before this speech, Tim was having fun drinking wine with Gary and by the looks of it, they remained in touch until this day. Yet, Gary still takes the time to apologize in public to Tim and put in black and white how he feels.
It felt right to end my analysis on Gary with this interaction because it reflects all the lessons we saw today.
How important it is for us to look for our inclinations in an attempt to be more self-aware. This journey will be accelerated if we remain flexible, not being afraid of being wrong and being open to understanding both extremes. But while being ourselves we do something that doesn’t feel right afterward, owning our mistakes and communicating them with no shame.
Now you know a bit more about the lessons behind Gary Vaynerchuk.
But everything comes down to action. So what are you gonna do now?