As I’ve started to gain a bit of steam on the internets, I’m beginning to see some comparisons come my way. Particularly on Linkedin where I post videos daily, once in a while I’ll get a comment from a viewer who will say something along the lines of “you remind me of so and so.” Most often people say Gary V. While I think being compared to someone like Gary Vaynerchuk is an amazing thing, and I have the utmost respect for him, I don’t ever want to be like him. In fact, I don’t want to be like anyone. I just want to be me.
If you’re going to be the next anyone then be the next you, period. And while we’re on the subject of Gary V, if anyone out there would agree with me, it’s him. In fact, I’ve met Gary V. A couple of years ago I spent about an hour, hour and a half with him in his New York office, the same one you see in videos with the bobbleheads and cool pictures on the wall.
We had a great conversation. It was mostly about business, what I was doing with Facebook at the time, how we might be able to work together, etc etc. Here’s what I took out of that conversation:
1. I could never work with Gary Vaynerchuk
The second I started talking to him I knew that if someone like Gary V ever offered me a job I would turn it down in a heartbeat. Perhaps in my 20s I would run to sign up to work for a company like Vayner Media, but now? At age 41 I’m extremely in tune with exactly who I am and what I don’t want in life. I’m pretty sure I’ll never know exactly what I do in fact want, but avoiding the things I don’t want has been a huge key in shaping who I am and the direction I head in. While I have absolutely nothing against Gary V as a person, he’s extremely intense. I have no doubt that our personalities would clash in a work setting and it would be a nightmare. I just know it. Again, there’s nothing wrong with it. I just know it.
2. Gary V is a 1 in a million animal and quite crazy
Something you need to understand about Gary V is the following: he’s nuts. Yeah, he’s crazy. Anyone who would work 23 out of 24 hours a day for years on end is nuts. Anyone who would replies to every single tweet even at 4 in the morning for years on end is nuts. Don’t ever try to be Gary V. There is only one Gary V. That’s why he’s Gary V and you’re not. Vaynerchuk is a different kind of animal but he’s the right kind of animal for himself. What he does works for him. His insanity and prolific work ethic is a part of his DNA. It’s who he is. It’s not who I am and it’s likely not who you are. He above all people would tell you the same thing.
3. I have profound respect for him and could definitely be friends with him
Just because I think Gary V is crazy doesn’t mean I don’t like him. In fact I think I could have a great time with Mr. Vaynerchuk in nearly any setting with exception to a work setting. I have plenty of crazy friends. Does that mean I don’t like them? No. Same goes for Gary V. One thing I got out of meeting the guy is that he is definitely the real deal. What you see is what you get and anyone who is unapologetically them, I give great kudos to.
Run towards yourself, not anyone else
While being compared to successful people is a wonderful thing, that’s all it is, a comparison. Am I saying you shouldn’t emulate a person? Of course not. There are tenets of great leaders and performers out there that I hold very important in my life. It’s great to take a little bit of someone else and apply it to your own life. But the one thing that is going to differentiate you from the rest of the pack is you. In this day and age of content, authenticity is one of if not the greatest currencies out there. Don’t ever forget that.