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The Two Meetings with Gary Vaynerchuk That Changed My Life

Four lessons in life and business with one of the world’s savviest marketers.

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The Two Meetings with Gary Vaynerchuk That Changed My Life
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Noah St. John

ENTREPRENEUR LEADERSHIP NETWORK CONTRIBUTORCEO of SJECGlobal.com

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September 21, 2020 6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Savvy entrepreneurs are familiar with Gary Vaynerchuk books like #AskGaryVeeCrush It and Crushing It. Those in the social media world know Gary Vaynerchuk as a brilliant marketer and entrepreneur. I had the opportunity to see Vaynerchuk speak before he was a social media phenomenon with eight million Instagram followers, and the lessons he taught that day are ones I still reference today.  

It was 2007, and I was one of a group of 300 entrepreneurs who saw Vaynerchuk at his very first public speaking appearance. We had heard of this crazy Russian with the funny name, but none of us knew what to expect. I remember sitting there listening to Vaynerchuk speak and thinking, “This guy is amazing – but I have no idea what he’s talking about.”

Social media was still a burgeoning industry in 2007, and frankly, pretty much his entire talk went right over my head. So he finishes with his speech (no notes or PowerPoint, of course) and then says to the audience: “Any questions?”

I looked around the room, and there was an awkward silence. No one raised their hand. So I slowly put my hand up. Vaynerchuk calls on me. I gulp.

I said, “Well Gary, everything you just said was brilliant. But I have no idea what you just said.”

The audience burst into spontaneous laughter and applause. I think a lot of other people were thinking what I was thinking and were glad I spoke up. Vaynerchuk’s response is just one of the brilliant lessons he’s taught me in the decade-plus since then. 

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Give away your content for free

When I asked the question, Vaynerchuk didn’t miss a beat. He says to me: “What do you do?”

I said, “I’m a business coach. I help entrepreneurs grow their business and have more financial freedom and time freedom.”

He says, “Perfect! Do you sell books, online courses and coaching programs?”

I said yes.

He says, “Great! Now I want you to start giving away all that stuff for free.”

I sat there, dumbfounded. Remember, this was back in 2007. Today, everyone gives away content to bring attention to their brands and companies. But back then, it seemed like a new concept, at least the way he was saying it. 

Long story short: I followed Vaynerchuk’s advice. (My momma didn’t raise no dummy.) I started giving away my content on platforms like FacebookYouTube, in videos, on my blog and on podcasts. Following his advice has become one of the cornerstones of my customer acquisition model, arguably the most important one.

Related: The Headline That Made Gary Vaynerchuk’s Head Explode

Put family first

Soon after that first life-changing meeting with Vaynerchuk, I had a second opportunity to spend time with him — this time, when I hosted him in my car. Vaynerchuk was about to go on his very first book tour, so I called his office, asked for his assistant and told them: “Hey, I’m a huge Gary Vee fan, and I’d love to host him while he’s here in Ohio.”

His assistant said, “Great! We were actually looking for somebody to do that.”

“I’m your man!” I said.

I remember how focused and driven Vaynerchuk was, but the thing that stood out to me the most was how he put family first. Vaynerchuk would take phone call after phone call — with CEOs, celebrities, his staff. Because he was in my car, I couldn’t help hearing his end of the conversation. During many of these important phone calls, he’d say this: “Sorry man, I gotta call you back. My wife’s calling.” Then he would click over to speak with his wife, and without the slightest hint of irritation, he’d say: “Hi honey, what’s up?”

Vaynerchuk’s Twitter profile says “Family First,” but that’s something many people in our industry say without actually following through. But I can tell you from firsthand experience that Vaynerchuk does indeed put his family first. 

Related: Gary Vaynerchuk and 8 Business Moguls Reveal Their Secrets for Building an Unstoppable Brand

Be present

One of the other things I noticed during that trip was how Vaynerchuk never hurried anyone. He was exactly the opposite of many of the divas you see on social media today. For example, after his book signing, I took him to a party that was held in his honor and filled with “Vayniacs” (passionate Gary Vaynerchuk fans).

You might expect the guest of honor to be “too busy” or “too important” to talk to everyone. Well, in many cases, you’d be right. But not our man Gary Vee.

Nope, Vaynerchuk took the time to talk with every single person who wanted to talk with him, no matter how long it took. He was completely present with each person. He looked them in the eyes and really listened to what they were saying. 

Related: Gary Vaynerchuk Is Showing Us How to Make It as an Entrepreneur

Be yourself

One big lesson I learned from spending time with Vaynerchuk is that you have to be yourself (as cliché as it sounds). I swear I’m not making this up, but in the two days I spent with him, I never once saw him go to the bathroom; he ate about enough to fill a hummingbird; and according to his schedule, he slept maybe four hours a night.

I finally asked him about that, and he admitted, “I’ve always had a weird metabolism. I don’t need to eat or sleep much.” (I didn’t press him about the bathroom part.)

That might work for him, but I eat like a horse and need sleep, like a LOT of sleep. Don’t try to be like Vaynerchuk if that’s not your body or your metabolism. 

I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity to spend time with Vaynerchuk and learn from him, as well as for the life and business lessons he taught me that I continue to use today. 


How To Be A Successful Leader From Home

Before the pandemic, working from home was something that a few people did and a lot more were interested in trying out.

Before the pandemic, working from home was something that a few people did and a lot more were interested in trying out. Now it’s rather suddenly become a fact of life for entire workplaces and teams, and many of us are still working to adapt. If you’re finding it difficult to manage some elements of working with your team or even staying on top of your own workflow and habits in this new normal, here’s some great advice compiled from my clients who are experienced in successfully working and leading from home

For Your Team:

Overcommunicate, especially when things are uncertain. Provide additional detail and context to make up for the information people can no longer pick up organically in casual conversations. Be as clear and consistent as possible to keep everyone moving in the same direction.

Raise the flag if something looks off. It’s important to speak up, because it’s harder to spot things that have gone awry when everyone is working separately. If you have a concern, check in to see if what others think . And if you’re spinning your wheels on a project, let your colleagues know. Identify problems early so you can start working toward solutions.

Create inner circles of collaboration. If you do your best work in collaboration with a work partner or small group, block a few hours to share a virtual room. Use technology to see each other, view each other’s screens and set up a virtual whiteboard to share ideas and work through problems.

Check in with others. Find the structure that works best for maintaining open channels with each member of your team, making sure you check in regularly. It’s more important than ever that you ask lots of questions and listen to the answers.

Recognize effort as well as accomplishments. There are fewer opportunities for recognition when everyone is working separately, so make an extra effort. In addition to celebrating wins, recognize those who are contributing extra effort and longer hours, those who are working through stressful situations, and those who have taken a risk or tried something new—even if it didn’t work out.

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For Yourself:

Start and end the work day at a specific time. Those who are new to working from home often experience burnout because they feel they never leave work. Set a schedule for the beginning and end of every work day. Of course there will be some nights you work late, but make them the exception, not the rule.

Work with your peak hours and low-energy moments. We all have times when we’re more focused and productive and times when our energy is lower and we’re more prone to distraction. An advantage of working from home is that it’s easier to balance your time, energy and productivity around your individual rhythm.

Remove as many distractions as possible. When you’re working from home, it’s easy to realize you’ve just spent an hour on social media or down an internet rabbit hole. Take social media off your work computer. Leave your phone in another room and get rid of any distractions that you know will get in the way of your productivity.

Create breaks during the day. No one can sit at a desk for 12 hours straight and do their best work. Even 15 to 30 minutes a couple of times a day can make a big difference in your focus and clarity. Treat it like a meeting and make yourself unavailable.

Exercise or do something vigorous at least four days a week. Aside from the physical benefits, exercise increases mental sharpness and makes you better at handling stress. It’s harder to fit exercise in, especially if you’re used to the routine of going to a gym, but your productivity and mental attitude—not to mention your health—depend on it.

Pay attention to your mindset. Working from home makes it extra important that you stay on top of your thoughts and mental attitude. It can be harder to find ways to clear your head, and there are fewer interactions with others to keep you grounded. Find things that nourish you—take your laptop out on the porch, play some music, read an author whose work inspires you.

Fight loneliness and isolation. Working from home, you miss out on camaraderie, companionship and interacting with others. But you don’t have to feel you’re on an island. Set up a virtual lunch date or happy hour, or create chat channels for topics of interest. Spend a bit of time every day connecting with co-workers about nonwork topics- think of it as the online version of stopping by their desk to chat.

Lead from within: Successfully working from home is a skill; it takes time and commitment and dedication to develop that skill. But with a great leader at the helm, people and teams can find their way and be as successful as ever.


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How To Create Everlasting Motivation To Achieve Your Goals

What most people don’t know is that motivation comes to you when you’re doing the work.

Published 23 hours ago

on Sep 3, 2020

By Anthony Nebel


If you’d like to learn how to consistently motivate yourself so you can achieve any goal you want, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.


People are always waiting for motivation to strike them before they start working on their goals. However, waiting for motivation to come to you before you start working is an unreliable method if you want to consistently work on achieving your goals.

What most people don’t know is that motivation comes to you when you’re doing the work. The more time you spend working on your goals and achieving progress, the more motivation you get which helps bring momentum to progress even faster.

In this small guide, I am going to show you how to create a reliable stream of motivation to achieve any goals that you want:

1. Create Small Mini-Goals For Your Larger Goals

People argue whether you should create small goals or big goals for your motivation but the real secret is to have both of them.

Here’s why:

  • You want goals and dreams big enough so that it makes you get excited to work for the bigger picture
  • You want small goals for your big goals to show proof that you are making progress

In other words, you need to have goals that get you excited and goals that show you’re making progress. When you have goals that show you are making progress, it shows that whatever actions you are doing is not in vain and that you are one step closer to that exciting big dream.

There’s a problem if you’re missing on just one of these because, if you only have big goals, you are going to lose motivation when you see no progress in 3 months. Same for the opposite, if you only have small goals, you aren’t going to be excited enough to keep working on them.

Define your biggest goal that you want and create mini-goals for that big goal to show you are slowly but surely making progress.

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso

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Motivation comes from seeing progress and results from working through a period of time. This means that when you are working on your goals, you want to journal and measure how far you have gone: Daily, Weekly, Monthly and yearly.

The funny part is that you won’t feel a difference whether it’s been 3 months or 1 year. You are just going to feel normal. It’s when you see physical proof that you have evolved based on your past ideas and progress that you can see you transformed into another person.

That’s why I want you to keep a journal and record the most important metrics of the goal you are working on.

For example, if you are trying to lose weight you want to record:

  • How much you weigh each week
  • How many calories you are eating
  • What types of food you are eating
  • How many times you exercise per week

Having data allows you to see what works and what doesn’t work and gives you the opportunity to make changes to see the results you want. When you start to see the results you want happening slowly over time, this will make you much more excited to be consistent to reach your goals. 

3. Celebrate Your Small Successes

A lot of us who are tracking our progress in achieving our goals don’t take the time to celebrate our little wins. It’s the small building blocks that build the foundation to achieve our goals.

When you take the time to reflect on how far you have come and start celebrating your little wins, you are putting yourself in a positive framework where you reward yourself for doing something that you want.

This is a powerful tool in making sure you continue to stay persistent in your goals as you celebrate your small wins which eventually lead to your big win.

Here are some ways to celebrate your small wins:

  • Eat out with the family
  • Take time to watch Netflix
  • Do a hobby you enjoy

The key point is to do the above in moderation. You want to reward yourself in such a way that it doesn’t become a habit. That’s when rewards become even more powerful as a tool for increasing your motivation.

“Small successes are still successes; great failures are still failures.” – Mason Cooley

4. Find Your Inner “Why”

There’s a reason why a lot of people who have New Year’s resolutions suddenly quit on their goals. People are excited to have their own business making a lot of money, their ideal body, and the relationship of their dreams. But when it comes down to trying to change themselves, most of them quit within a couple of weeks.

This is because they realize that the pain of trying to change is greater than the pleasure of staying in their comfort zone. You need to delve deep in yourself and find your inner “why.” Why do you want to change so badly?

You need to start asking this question whenever you are trying to change one of your habits. Things will get tough as it’s hard staying consistent in doing the right thing every day.

Here are some more questions you need to find and answer when things get hard:

  • Are you unsatisfied with where you are now?
  • Are you willing to make some sacrifices for the goals you want?
  • Are you willing to change your habits and understand it takes time?

You want to answer these questions honestly and figure out how to make it a reality.

Conclusion

Waiting for your “inspirational motivation” is an unreliable way to get started on your work. Rather, true motivation comes from seeing the progress and results when you start working on your goals.

The way to create this true everlasting motivation is to create small and big goals and track your progress in achieving them. You also want to have small celebrations along the way to maintain your motivation and reward yourself. Finally, when things get hard you need to fall back into your inner “why” on the real reason why you want to change.

Which motivational tip did you find most surprising? Let us know in the comments below!

RELATED TOPICS:ACHIEVE YOUR GOALSCHANGE FOR THE BETTERCHANGE YOUR LIFEGOALSHOW TO GET POSITIVE RESULTSHOW TO SET GOALSMEASURE YOUR PROGRESSMOTIVATE YOURSELFSETTING GOALSWHATS YOUR WHYDON’T MISS8 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Your Motivation Back

Anthony Nebel

Anthony Nebel is a freelance writer who is obsessed with self-development. He has tried everything from meditating, journaling, fasting, and writes about it all on his blog, AnthonyNebel.com, on his personal transformation as well as marketing hacks you can use for your business.


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The 4 Ways of How to Build a Learning Culture While Your Workforce is Remote

 

Mandating a three-hour webinar training is no longer going to cut it.

BY MARCEL SCHWANTES, FOUNDER AND CHIEF HUMAN OFFICER, LEADERSHIP FROM THE CORE@MARCELSCHWANTES


4 Ways to Build a Learning Culture While Your Workforce Is Remote

As business leaders and individuals grapple with the staggering impact of Covid-19 one thing has become undoubtedly clear. In order for leaders to foster organizational resilience and weather the post-pandemic storm, they must prioritize the learning and development of their workforce.

I don’t mean mandated Zoom presentations in which employees multitask on the side. What I mean is flexible, passion-driven learning where employees learn what they want, when they want and on their own terms.

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Shelley Osborne, VP of Learning at Udemy, offers a much-needed revision to corporate training in her new book: The Upskilling Imperative: 5 Ways to Make Learning Core to the Way We Work. In it, Osborne challenges traditional, one-size-fits-all approaches to training that are no longer relevant to modern workers–let alone those working remotely.

Shelley recommends the following to help leaders develop an effective and sustainable learning culture–with an eye toward continuous employee growth and long-term business success during (and beyond) Covid-19.

Demonstrate how learning drives business success

“When beginning to build their learning culture, leaders must consider that employees need to understand how their learning impacts business outcomes,” says Osborne.

As businesses continue to operate with limited staff or reduced capacity, it’s critical for employees to stretch their skill sets further and fill tasks and roles they wouldn’t normally. Individuals are more likely to learn and seek out learning when they understand the role it plays in overall business success.

“Leaders can signal the value of learning throughout the organization by setting aside their own time for it and sharing with their teams and the broader organization what they’re learning,” she says. “This makes it clear to employees that learning at work is not only accepted, it’s encouraged.”

Let your employees define flexibility for continuous improvement

Harnessing the power of learning isn’t as simple as rolling out more training modules or sending people to a slew of workshops.

Employees require more flexibility today than ever before, and that is especially true when it comes to learning. Due to Covid-19, parents are working double duty as busy professionals and homeschool teachers, while other employees navigate the nuances of working remotely with roommates. Bottom line: mandating a three-hour webinar training is no longer going to cut it.

Building a sustainable learning culture means giving employees time and space to learn where and when they want. Doing so will encourage them to seek out new learning opportunities independently and allow for psychological safety and the ability to learn.

“One of the greatest leadership lessons I’ve learned is that we must recognize we aren’t perfect and there is always room to learn and grow,” says Osborne. “When you have teams and businesses that provide flexibility for growth and development, we can all continuously improve.”

Focus on change agility

We need to do more to lay the groundwork for unexpected change. However, this preparedness can’t be exclusive to pandemics and recessions. We must understand and accept that change is constant, necessary, and beneficial for surviving and thriving in today’s workplace.

Osborne refers to this type of adaptability as “change agility”–seeing change as an ongoing opportunity, not as a threat or liability. And at the center of change agility is continuous learning.

“Grounding a company’s culture in learning is the surest way to navigate through change,” says Osborne. “A strong learning culture empowers employees to upskill themselves in the face of change, continually grow and adapt to new challenges.”

Continuous learning & Covid-19

If there is one message Osborne would like readers to take away from her book, it’s that learning programs must evolve with the times. Traditional approaches to training (a la overhead projector and chalkboards) were built for a world we don’t live in anymore. What’s more, they aren’t engaging for today’s workers who are accustomed to consuming digital content on their own terms. This was true before the pandemic and it’s undeniable now.

Beyond modernizing the learning experience at work–companies need to transform at every level into learning-driven organizations, where working and learning are inextricably linked.

As companies continue to navigate this new environment, Osborne is optimistic that the fundamental shift toward flexible, accessible online learning is here to stay. AUG 29, 2020. Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you’ll never miss a post. The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.


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