gary vaynerchuk

I always look for inspiration in random places. I’ve found in doing this, I push myself beyond what I believe and know to be true and begin exercising new beliefs and habits that undoubtedly bring me closer to who I am at my core.

I’ve always found a lot of what @Garyvee discusses in terms of his belief systems growing up to be on par with my own and I often listen to him to speak while driving to my office or at the gym. I would have moments where I would be thinking “this guys in my head” or “how did he know I was thinking that?”. It was spooky but also really cool.

I thought about the movie Being John Malkovich and this got me thinking…

  • What if Gary was in my head?
  • What might my life look like?
  • Would I be deaf from him yelling at me 🙂 or fueled ready to take on the world?

So, I did what any normal person would do, I decided to take on one of his quotes every day and apply it in my life to see how I could absorb the essence of his words and passion.

I decided I needed some ground rules to follow. I created the following because I knew I could keep them in place and hold myself accountable:

  • “Be Inspired” by the quotes that really light me up (and in some cases I took on more than one).
  • “All In” or nothing, adopt the mindset of the quote 110%.
  • “Act As If” Gary was screaming this in my head on a loop.
  • “Be Coachable” and allow myself to be with what shows up in the sense that it’s only a quote and I have to do the work, there are no magic pills.

Here are the quotes of his I chose to take on and what I learned each day about myself, life & others:

“No matter what you do, your job is to tell your story.”

  • This is so true, I realized that I spent a lot of time believing no one wanted to hear my story until I began listening to those who were. Once I “got that” it became increasingly clear that my story resonates with others and to not withhold something that inspires them to be the best version of themselves. Takeaway: You are entirely up to you so be the best version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else. Authenticity is priceless.

“Stop doing shit you hate.”

  • I thought working in advertising was my life and a great paying one at that until I discovered my true calling as a coach. As soon as what was fun and creative became boring and tedious, it was time to move on. Takeaway: If you hate what you do it will ultimately show up in your results and performance. Find what lights you up and follow that until your hearts content. The money will follow you where you go.

“We are in control of the one asset that we all give the most f**ks about, and that is time.”

  • Growing up in New York, f*ck was a noun, adjective and verb – meaning it was a mindset and way of life. Where you put your focus and energy is where your actions will take you. Takeaway: Stop giving others control over your beliefs. They are yours only. Being influenced is okay but being infiltrated is not.

“Family first. Nothing else really matters.”

  • As a husband and father of two, I am fiercely reminded of my commitment to who I am for them and who they are for me. Takeaway: Never get lost in yourself and forget those who are there now (or where there then) to support you and love you. Having all the success in the world is meaningless if you have no one to share it with.

“Cash is oxygen. You can make the greatest cup of coffee, the greatest sneaker, the greatest TV show, or the greatest work of art ever, but if you can’t sell your product you are out of business.”

  • I meet people all the time sitting on the next Shark Tank invention but don’t know what to do or how to sell their product. When I started coaching eighteen years ago the question was “how do I sell a service that isn’t tangible?” and the answer lied not in the service but the experience. Takeaway: It doesn’t matter if it’s 140 characters, a 3 second video or YouTube video – find what medium works for you, your product and most importantly your customer. Sell a solution not the product.

“Success in general is a well-balanced blend of luck, DNA, confidence, and hustle.”

  • It’s taken me a good amount of time to get to where I am today and none of it came it easy. There was (and continues to be) late nights, weekends, early mornings and yes, luck, hustle and confidence building from the wins I created and the loses I endured. Takeaway: Never be quick to confuse luck with being fortunate. Luck is random and mostly out of our control, whereas being fortunate can come from hard work which creates opportunities to you (by you).

“Care immensely or die!” 

  • Passion is supremely underrated. I look at what I have achieved and it wasn’t schooling or friends or outside circumstances that was the common thread, it was my passion and drive. Without that, it would have been placing a peg into a round hole. Takeaway: Find your passion no matter what. Once you do, it will fuel you for a lifetime – more than coffee anyway.

“You have to understand your own personal DNA. Don’t do things because I do them or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban tried it. You need to know your personal brand and stay true to it.”

  • My coach once asked me if I would do something (that I did) if I was Starbucks or Nike and it always stuck with me. Thinking of yourself as a brand (with all of its extensions) forces you to think big(ger) and explore possibilities that you may not have considered before. Takeaway: It’s too easy to follow the crowd versus your heart, especially with social media but don’t believe what you see, read or hear. Spend more time making a name for yourself and less time making other people famous.

“Skills are cheap. Passion is priceless.” 

Growing up in NYC was the best education I could ever had hoped for. With all the schooling, I have been fortunate to attend, none of it would matter if I was passionate about what I do day in and day out. I have met more unhappy executives, leaders, and celebrities who are miserable because they work doing something they don’t enjoy but stay for the wrong reasons. Takeaway: Get the skills because you need them, but look to align those skills towards something you are passionate to take on.

“Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, what do I want to do every day for the rest of my life…do that.”

  • Spending mindful and quality time with myself has been something I practice for many years. Since I first started coaches training many years ago, I was forced to look deep within myself and pick apart what I needed to become the best version of myself. It’s been one of the best lessons and a journey I continue on till this day. Takeaway: Get real and I mean in a way you probably haven’t felt or experienced before. Spending quiet time with yourself is critical to reset and listen to what’s inside. Unplug each day and start focusing on what’s important inside.

“The truth is that finding happiness in what you do every day is so imperative.” 

  • Every day I wake up feeling grateful and being grateful for what I have created in my life and for my amazing family. Do I have everything I want? No but I do have everything I need and that makes me happy. Takeaway: Sometimes finding happiness doesn’t require searching externally but rather internally. Being in a state of gratitude can improve the way you and your life show up.

“You didn’t grow up driving…you figured it out.” 

Life is all about figuring things out. So much of what I learned about myself, others and life in general came from taking the time, being patient as well as persistent until I got it. Takeaway: The expression, “All good things come to those who wait” has always been missing something for me. I believe it should be, “All good things come to those who wait but it comes quicker to those who are persistent and committed to figuring it out.”

“Time – the one asset none of us are ever gonna get more of.” 

  • Probably the one topic I speak the most on. I learned how precious time is when my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. That’s the day the game changed. That’s when I learned that we all have 24 hours and it’s not just what you do with it (in terms of actions) but mostly your “relationship” to the hours we are allotted. Takeaway: Life is short, we all know that so why spend one second doing anything that doesn’t serve you, your life and your overall happiness? Tell the ones you love – you love them.

“All your ideas may be solid or even good, but you have to Actually EXECUTE on them for them to matter.” 

  • A great idea is only as good as the person behind it and the people behind the person. I learned early on in my entrepreneurial career to surround yourself with the best people possible not just the ones available otherwise execution isn’t a possibility. Take away: If you truly believe in an idea and want to make it a reality, then take that same belief and find the right support structure which will bring it to fruition.

“Love your family, work super hard, live your passion.”

  • This one truly speaks for itself. I personally love the order in which it’s stated. Family first and from there, work hard (and smart) and you will undoubtedly live a passionate life. Take away: It’s easy to be grinding, hustling, working etc. and forget about those who love and support you for whom without them, you may not be doing what you do or working where you work. Take the time to show them the love.

“I’m just always looking forwards. I spend very little time, looking backwards” 

  • This completely resonates with me – as a coach I get this completely. Coaching is spent only looking at the past in terms of how to move forward. I do spend certain periods of time when I need to if I find the answers I am seeking aren’t in front of me. Take away: Looking at your past mistakes can prevent future ones as well as learning what to avoid moving forward. The key is to not set up shop there.

“Effort is grossly underrated.”  

  • History is paved with success stories not from the smartest or richest or even best looking people but the ones who gave it their all. The grit, grind and hustle from these people instilled a belief system so strong success was the only option available. Take away: Typically the point at which you are about to give up is the point in which to double down your efforts. On the other side of a breakdown is always breakthrough.

“You can market your ass off, but if your product sucks, you’re dead.” 

  • Sell solutions not products – This saying has always stuck with me since my days working in advertising. Never overhype something that isn’t worth it, especially if it’s your first product launch. It’s sometimes impossible to recover from a fall of great heights. The more money and effort you put into the marketing should be equal to or more than your products capabilities and potential. Takeaway: Take the time you need to perfect your product/service. The marketing is the easier part of the equation. Focus on the “what” first and the “how” will follow.

“Legacy is greater than currency.” 

  • I thought about this one for a bit and where I landed was that work to make a name for yourself so you no longer have to introduce yourself. Sometimes it takes age and hopefully wisdom to realize that everything you do and say leaves a mark on others as well as your own reputation. Take away: Pausing to think about the actions you take can be the difference between the legacy you want and the fallacy you create.

“I hate how many people think “glass half-empty” when their glass is really four-fifths full. I’m grateful when I have one drop in the glass because I know exactly what to do with it.” 

  • I firmly believe being grateful for what you have and focusing on that is way more important of a habit to adopt then most people realize. Whatever your morning ritual maybe – think about including some gratitude into and your perspective will shift dramatically. Take away: Whether the glass is half full or empty, the key to remember is that you can always refill it.

“If you live for the weekends and vacations, your shit is broken.”  

  • When I was younger I totally bought into this but as I’ve matured what I have openly realized is that if you are living for the weekends, then you aren’t living – you are existing. Take away: If you find being in the present moment isn’t possible (especially with work) then you should seriously consider the work you are doing and where you are doing it.

“You need to spend all of your time and energy on creating something that actually brings value to the people you’re asking for money!” 

  • As I stated earlier, sell the solution not the product. It takes a lot to ask someone for any amount of money so make sure you have a compelling case to share as to why you need their financial support. Take away: Learning the art of selling is something so important and something that’s not readily taught in school. That means selling your ideas as well as yourself.

“Stop whining, start hustling.” 

  • Throwing a pity party and being a victim in life is something we have all done. We even got dressed up and ate the cake. Take away: If you are going to be a victim and whine, do it and do it 100% but intentionally choose a time in which the party ends and you clean up. Setting boundaries around what we do (and act) helps instill accountability and maturity.

“Know the philosophy, know the details, and ignore everything in the middle.” 

I struggled with this one, I won’t lie. For me, I took away that it’s about doing your homework and understanding the context, the why and why not for any product or service or meeting you have to attend. Take away: Nothing can shortchange the time needed to prepare for life. Give yourself what you need to make sure you can sell yourself and your product as well engage with others on various topics.

“We only get to play this game one time…one life.” 

  • This is by far on of the better quotes and sentiments I have read. There is only one true certainty in life which is the moment we are born, we begin to die. Now before you go off on me for that statement, think on it for a second. Life is what you make of it and the clock starts ticking the moment you arrive – it doesn’t stop. Take away: There is no dress rehearsal, this is it – this is the big show now get out on the stage.

“Whether you’re 9 or 90, stop trying to fix the things you’re bad at, and focus on the things you’re good at.” 

  • I believe you need to focus on the areas and things that derail you in life but I also subscribe to focusing on and leveraging your strengths as a way to level up. Take away: I highly recommend Strengthsfinder over many of the hundreds of assessments that exist. Understanding what you are innately gifted at gives you the precise area to focus on.

“A penguin cannot become a giraffe, so just be the best penguin you can be.” 

  • I will never be Tony Robbins or GaryVee and I wouldn’t want to be. I also won’t be 6’3″ but that’s a different story. The point is, work with what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t. Aspiring to be like someone else is normal and can be motivating but never let it hijack your own sense of self. Take away: When you focus on you (in all aspects), you become a more authentic version of what you aspire to be.

“It’s easy to dream about it … Much harder to execute it ….Work!” 

  • There’s simply no substitute for hard and smart work. That said, it does start with a dream and a vision and sometimes that part is the most challenging. Executing against a clear vision will always prove to be a more rewarding experience versus winging it and just grinding it out. Take away: There is a big difference between being in action and being productive. Remember, a rocking chair can be in action but gets nowhere.

The floor is yours: Where do you find your motivation?

Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.

With leadership,

Joshua /

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