Note: The first installment mentioned below is now live. Gary Vaynerchuk and the Escalator Question.
Part 2 is now live: Gary Vaynerchuk Knows Himself Well
Part 3 is now live: Is Gary Vaynerchuk a Risk Taker?
Starting tomorrow (Monday April 1, 2013) I’m going to break down my interview with Gary Vaynerchuk into bite sized portions, talking about what I agree with, disagree with, and how my thinking has changed. But today I’m going to look back and lament the fact that I didn’t have an hour with Gary, that I wasn’t fast enough on my feet to ask him these questions.
What does it take to change your mind?
Gary is, as he stated in my interview, self-aware. He is also a very confident person, so what does it take for him to change his mind? I change my mind a lot but I’m guided by core values that bring me back to my true self.
How do you deal with doubt?
I asked about failure and it was the only time in the interview that I felt he was annoyed by me, by my questions. Failure is not something that Gary Vaynerchuk ruminates about and yet we all experience it and we all experience doubt. How does someone I revere, someone who has been so successful, handle doubt?
I asked Gary what he hoped people who listen to my interview, and the other interviews he does, will get out of them and he said that wasn’t something he thought about. But why does he write the books, why does he make the motivational videos, why does he talk about success, winning, and entrepreneurship, if not to get people to be more proactive and successful?
Posted in Curiosity, General, Success and tagged doubt, failure, gary vaynerchuk, self-aware, success, values by AJ with no comments yet.
NOTE: Starting Monday April 1, I’ll break down the interview into smaller chunks but first check out questions I wish I asked.
Monday April 1: The Escalator Question
Tuesday April 2: Gary Vaynerchuk Knows Himself Well
Friday April 5: Is Gary Vaynerchuk a Risk Taker?
Wednesday April 10: Balancing Ideas and Execution
You never know the outcome of a decision when you make it. You may have hopes or plans but the outcome can’t be known with certainty. That’s why successful people are flexible and do more things, try more things, and take more risks than average.
I have made many attempts (some successful and some not) at meeting certain people, at getting noticed. If an opportunity arises I’ll see what happens and that’s exactly what I did when I saw this tweet from Gary Vaynerchuk:
There was nothing explicit about that tweet, but I clicked the link because I’m curious, and learned that I could sign up to interview Gary, someone I believe is a What Next kind of guy. Gary took his father’s liquor store and turned it into a 60 million dollar wine retailer called Wine Library. Gary wasn’t satisfied to build only that business, however, and has taken many more paths as an author(Crush It, The Thank You Economy, and his latest to be released in October, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook), new media entrepreneur, and motivational speaker. He is someone I’ve wanted to meet and talk with for some time. A lot of people want the same thing so when I tried to register for my 15 minutes to interview him, I was told he was already booked.
I didn’t give up and learned that he still had a couple of spots available but that I’d have to wait until October. I was fine with that. That’s why I was so shocked to get a phone call from his PR rep asking me if I was available to talk to Gary the very next day, Thursday.
My answer, of course, was yes and the interview can be heard below. In the following days I’ll break the interview down to smaller chunks and have more specific posts about the topics we covered. Until then enjoy the whole interview.
Posted in Curiosity, General, Money, Success, Taking Action and tagged crush it, flexible, gary vaynerchuk, success by AJ with no comments yet.
Action and Reaction
Early in our school lives we all learn about Issac Newton and his apple mishap that led to his theory of gravity. Well Newton also had some laws of motion and his third law of motion loosely states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Welcome to world of consequences. For every choice you make there is a choice (or several) that you did not make and every decision leads to a result, good or bad.
Consequences start at a young age. Things you have control over but often don’t have the maturity to appreciate, like the importance of good grades, for example. Once we move on to the next level in life we choose our major in college or career in life, and we would do well to choose wisely. How many people are willing to go into debt for an education that may not provide the means to easily pay back that debt? That one decision will have ripple effects throughout life.
How many people delay investing in their retirement accounts early in their working lives because they think they can’t afford it, because it will negatively affect their lifestyle? The fact is that their lifestyle will be much more adversely affected in old age if they wait too long. It’s not that they can’t afford it now, it’s that they won’t be able to afford it later.
Taking a What Next approach to decision making is to weigh as many options as feasible, and to choose carefully. Asking What Next means you have a long term outlook and understand the ramifications decisions have. In financial planning terms that means understanding the future value of a decision. Put simply, the future value of a dollar invested today at 10% interest is $1.10 one year later. The future value of not going into debt to fund your education is the ability to start saving earlier and building your retirement nest egg sooner.
I don’t have children but I think I might have spent more time talking about the consequences of that decision with Julie, than most people who do have children. I’m not sure I can think of a weightier decision than the choice to have children and yet I wonder how many people treat it with the reverence it deserves.
The everyday choices we face today will affect the life we have later. Buying a house, a car, toys, taking lavish vacations, all diminish your ability to save for the future. Whether you stay in your home for a long time or move frequently, whether you buy a new car every couple of years or hang onto it for a decade, will determine your level of success. It is a balance between now and then.
The question for you is, are you well balanced? (I know what some people say about me – so let the jokes begin) Do you have a long term outlook on life? Are you confident that your choices today will still look correct a year or five years from now?
Share some examples of long term decisions that have paid off for you and some that didn’t.
Posted in Curiosity, General, Taking Action and tagged action, balance, choice, choices, consequences, decision, decisions, reaction by AJ with no comments yet.
Now this is funny. I began writing the introduction below in order to recap a post about failure but changed my mind. The introduction below remained but even though I selected a different post. Now the introduction doesn’t make sense but it is an excellent example of my good intentions not being executed well. Read on, it’s still a favorite post of mine!
I began this series to resurrect some of my favorite posts of 2012, to give new readers an opportunity to see what could easily have been lost to the archive. With more than 12 days before Christmas I figured I would have been much further along than the fifth installment. Oh well, my intentions were good but my execution, not so much. That’s a common thing with me, good intentions, bad execution and that is sometimes perceived as failure by others but more importantly by me. In 2012 I learned that failure is not a bad word, that much can be learned from failing and that if you never fail you aren’t attempting big enough goals.
Creativity Begets Creativity
Creativity begets creativity. If you want to be more creative then hang out with creative people, or read about them, or watch them on TV. If you want to be creative find a way to experience other people’s creativity.
I’ve seen a few tweets about something called World Creativity and Innovation Week. I’m too busy to look up what that is because I’m exploring how it can help me. A friend tweeted this:
Being a curious person I clicked the link and then clicked the second story in the list which took me to a post by Mike Brown. In his post Mr. Brown told a story about seeing a poster called Peter’s Laws which he modified and turned into questions to spark creativity.
Again being curious I wondered what the origin of Peter’s Laws was. A Google search later I had my answer with this webpage. Peter Diamandis is the founder and chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation which is most famous for their $10,000,000 Ansari X PRIZE for private space flight which Burt Rutan won.
Back to Peter’s Laws
A couple of the laws caught my eye because they fit so nicely with the concepts in What Next.
One law reads “When given a choice…take both!!” and that is an essential part of asking What Wext. You can walk multiple paths in life – we all do it as spouses, parents, employees, business people, and friends. What successful people do is excel on multiple paths and that takes dedication and work. If you aren’t dedicated and/or aren’t willing to work, then you won’t succeed.
The Peter’s Law that immediately follows the one above is “Multiple projects lead to multiple successes” and again we have the key point of What Next. The do one thing well concept is just as wrong as the jack of all trades master of none concept. Who says you can’t do lots of things really well or at least hire people who can?
Back to Creativity
I wasn’t sure what I was going to write my next blog post about but reading Mike Brown’s post and being curious enough to do a little research sparked my creativity and led me to write this, proving that creativity begets creativity. The same can be said about the other traits of What Next: curiosity begets curiosity, adventure begets adventure, action begets action, and success begets success. If you want any of those things then get to know people who exhibit those traits and start spending time with them.
As another of Peter’s Laws states “When faced without a challenge, make one” this is your challenge, to succeed, so what are you going to do about it?
Posted in Curiosity, General, Success and tagged explore, fail, failure, intentions, success by AJ with no comments yet.
This post also features Adam (@ajm5338 on twitter), the person I mention in the post below, who has indeed taken the steps necessary to reach the goal we spoke about at the event I attended early in 2012. I hope that Adam has a moment to stop by and fill us in on his progress.
Be The Trail Guide
Whether you are beginning your working life or are looking for a change, you have more choices than you realize. Choice is not an either-or proposition, however. You can decide to go to work for an established company, a big corporation, or you could set your own path, be your own boss. You could also do both if you want to.
Not too long ago I went to an event at a bar in NY organized by Andrew Warner of Mixergy.com. The event was a mixer (of course) where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs got a chance to talk and share ideas. I met a guy who just recently (six months ago) joined the workforce after graduating college. The thing that was interesting, though, is that he was already anxious for more. He was looking for his what next. The experience he was getting was valuable but he wanted to create something. There is no reason he can’t do both, continue getting great experience while creating something new.
Being at the event was a step in the right direction but to be an entrepreneur, he also needs to be a leader. He needs to be able to get others to follow him, to believe in his mission as much or more than he does himself.
He is like a hiker setting off on a trail others have been down before. Anyone can be a hiker but a leader is a trail guide who knows their way. In this case, only the entrepreneur with the idea, the sense of direction, can lead their team of hikers.
Is it enough to simply declare yourself a leader, the trail guide? No. You have to demonstrate why you should lead, you have to give as much as you get. The authority is not yours to claim but is earned as your enthusiasm and belief in the project lights the fire of those you want to lead to success.
Now get out there and explore the trail so you can be an effective guide.
Subscribe to the What Next Trail-Map to Success:
Posted in Curiosity, General, Leadership, Outdoors, Taking Action and tagged goal, hike, Hiking, leadership by AJ with no comments yet.
If only we can get some certainty on these things and much more, then our lives would be better, right? Certainty takes away the fear, the angst, the unsettled feeling we all hate. Or does it?
I think all those bad things, but mostly that knot in your stomach you think is uncertainty, is actually the result of your rejection of uncertainty. It reminds me of this quote from Eric Hoffer which begins the chapter called Money, Life, and Happiness in What Next, “the search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.” Replace happiness with certainty and you get “the search for certainty is one of the chief sources of uncertainty.”
Uncertainty is to certainty as failure is to success and hate is to love; there can’t be one without the other. The truly successful among us embrace uncertainty and use it to their advantage. A tweet I saw captures this choice cleverly, “Life is like a rollercoaster, it has its ups and downs, but it’s your choice if you scream or enjoy the ride.”
I’m not saying that we can never be certain or that we shouldn’t strive for certainty but rather we should understand uncertainty. Uncertainty was the topic of the weekly #PoCchat on Twitter (a highly recommended chat Mondays at 11am ET) and CASUDI captures the embrace of uncertainty best with this tweet “a real roadmap2 success has alt routes and contingencies built into it.” That is called flexibility and being flexible is accepting uncertainty as you work to tame it.
I made an observation about certainty that Greg (@StrategicMonk) astutely added to: “Certainty is boring,” I said, “and restricting,” added Greg. Certainty is stagnation and I’m not a fan of stagnation. Certainty is a well marked hiking trail but some of the best sights are found off trail.
That knot at the pit of your stomach is a good thing because it keeps you motivated. Bobby Umar (@raehanbobby the moderator of #PoCchat) seconded Angela Maiers’ tweet when she said, “if your dreams are not scaring you, they are not big enough!”
To be successful don’t strive for certainty, just pick a direction and get going, once you get there the certainty takes care of itself.
Posted in Curiosity, General, Success, Taking Action and tagged certain, flexibility, Happiness, uncertain by AJ with no comments yet.
The first lesson Mr. Moschen gives is knowing where the ball is in time and space, being aware. Where are you in time and space? Have you achieved the things you want when you wanted them? Too many people don’t know, don’t keep track of their progress, of their goals. Too many people are not aware.
The next step, once you know where you are in time and space, is adding complexity. But notice that he only added the complexity of vertical movement, he didn’t add several items, he added one! How many of us add complexity before knowing where we are in time and space? How many of us add several layers of complexity at one time? Too often, I think, having children comes first then we figure out how to make ends meet. Too often people start businesses and quit their job before they figure out how to make a profit.
Third was balance illustrated by a broom perched on his chin, forehead, and even his ear. Balance is making sure you’re the center. If the broom begins to list left, move left, to center yourself under it. As you begin to learn balance the movements are dramatic but the better you get the more still you become, the more you realize the power in small adjustments. Are you making small adjustments in life or are you waiting until the broom has almost fallen over?
The last items, not mentioned by name but clearly evident, were curiosity and experimentation. These are themes I talk a lot about in What Next, the book, and in this blog. Curiosity and experimentation is what leads to discovery. Seeing things in a different way is what inspires Michael Moschen to put movement to inanimate objects creating stunning visuals. Most of us look at the same things, in the same ways but the few who can look at the same things in different ways or who find new things are the most successful.
Here’s a similar type of juggling that I just had to share – and it’s much shorter than 38 minutes!
Posted in Curiosity, General, Success and tagged adventure, balance, Curiosity, experimentation, juggle by AJ with no comments yet.
“No amount of guilt can change the past,
and no amount of worrying can change the future!”
My first reaction was, “wow, that is deep,” that whoever said that (I know who but you’ll have to keep reading to find out) must have been very wise. Then I thought about the word worry. Is worry really a bad thing? Can worry change the future?
Imagine if, like the song Don’t Worry Be Happy, you didn’t worry, if you just did whatever you felt like. That’s what children do, people who can’t see the consequence of their actions. I actually worry a lot and that’s a good thing (I’m also very happy). Worry keeps me grounded, helps me to remember that my actions affect other people including me. I have a sincere respect for consequences and I want to make sure that the consequence of any action will be positive.
The downside of worry is that we often worry about things that seem big, seem insurmountable, but turn out to be much less significant than we imagined. We tend to make mountains out of mole hills only to realize that it wasn’t that bad once we get through the problem.
I say, worry, but don’t let it paralyze you. Let worry guide you to investigate, explore, test, and monitor your progress. Worry enough that you won’t make a stupid mistake because you were too confident but don’t worry so much that you have no confidence.
The original quote was by Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab and probably appeared like this:
لا يمكن لأي قدر من الشعور بالذنب تغيير الماضي،
ويمكن لأي قدر من القلق تغيير المستقبل
Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab died in 644 and according to Wikipedia, “was the most powerful of the four Rashidun Caliphs.” What does that mean? That wisdom is found throughout the world and throughout the various religions. What this post means is that just because something is wise doesn’t mean it is always correct.
What do you worry about and how has that helped or hindered you?
Posted in Curiosity, General, Success and tagged consequence, Future, risk, worry by AJ with 1 comment.
When faced with an impossible task you either rise to the occasion or you don’t. I think of the rare stories of people being lost at sea or while hiking, people who have survived difficulties none of us prepare for. These people found stamina they never would have imagined they had sitting in the comfort of their homes which means you have much more than you think as well.
There are everyday situations that require extraordinary commitment and focus, that many people either don’t have (I don’t believe that) or aren’t willing to put forth (all too common).
I’ve always considered myself entrepreneurial but I’ve been that way on my terms, meaning I’ve been somewhat conservative. My latest project has me taking on more risk financially than I ever have and while it is daunting, I’m having the best time I’ve had in a long while. The joy I have from working harder than ever before comes from my confidence, I believe I’ll do well, and my sense of adventure, I want to explore my abilities and discover new strengths. These things, confidence and adventure, often lead to flow, a mental state in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus and full involvement. In flow, times flies and before you know it, hours have passed.
So many people complain that they need more of something, more time or money but it’s there if they only look more carefully. You would be amazed how much money you could find if you just figure out where you’re spending it or prioritize things and give up the less important expenses that cost money but give you little benefit. You can find more desire by really exploring what it is you want to do, what you love to do, what excites you.
When we began our latest business journey, Julie was rightfully concerned that with our already busy schedules, we wouldn’t have enough time for this project, and that if we found the time, then we wouldn’t have enough time for each other. So far, I’m happy to report, we’ve found the time to devote to this adventure and, since we’re doing it together, we still have each other’s company – a win-win! But time is only one aspect and we’ve seen that we need more than we thought when it comes to money, knowledge (I’ve done more research for this than I ever did in college), and patience.
We need more of everything but it’s there if we’re willing to do what it takes to get it. In the case of money, maybe we have to give up somethings for the more important stuff and so we reduce discretionary things like cable tv or stop one type of investment in favor of another (which is what we’ve done).
As for time, this blog has suffered. I haven’t been writing new posts in a while but something has to give. As we move forward with this project I’ll blog more about it but that will happen when I’m finally ready to reveal this latest What Next. Stay tuned and check back here often (and explore – there are lots of posts with lots of good information if I do say so myself).
Posted in Curiosity, General, Leadership, Money, Success, Taking Action and tagged ability, adventure, Curiosity, desire, influence, knowledge, Money, stamina, time by AJ with no comments yet.