darren-nolander-gary-vThere are many influences and influencers in this world who want to mold you into what they consider to be your most successful self. While life coaches, therapists, bosses, spouses, mentors, colleagues and all the rest are chalked full of good, well-meaning advice, it should always be taken with a grain of salt – and with a little perspective on whether these directives are congruent with who you truly are as a person.

If you feel you’re lacking in certain areas, then absolutely, take it upon yourself to make the changes necessary to be the best version of you possible. If, on the other hand, you find yourself on a hamster wheel that is constantly spinning faster and faster as you strive ever harder to become the person someone else wants, thinks or tells you, you should be, put that wheel on halt. That’s the lesson I honed in on recently during a School of Greatness podcast with the legendary best-selling author and business guru Gary Vaynerchuk.

Gary V. may be an extremely successful venture capitalist, public speaker and astute investor, but that doesn’t mean he’s not plagued by the same insecurities as the rest of us. From aging to being a better husband/father to dealing with the dislike we all inevitably receive from at least a select few, Gary has felt and tackled it all. No matter how successful or insecure he’s felt along his storied career, this podcast keeps going back to the same lesson: you have to be true to you. You have to be selfless by being selfish. You have to stand independently to be great partner.

These statements may seem to stand in opposition of one another, but in reality, they make perfect sense. Your contribution to the world around you is minimal if you’re not making a major self-investment. Part of doing this successfully, Gary says, involves quashing self-doubt. When you believe in yourself and in your project, your abilities are limitless. This type of confidence and support can also go a long way into supporting others’ endeavors because, let’s face it, if you’re able to be your biggest cheerleader, cheering on someone else is easy by comparison!

Something else many people don’t know about Gary V. is that he actually hates to be disliked. That may sound like an obvious statement, as no one enjoys a critic, but there are very few high-profile, high-achieving people out there like Gary who will tell you that no matter how much money he makes or how many big deals he lands, he still cringes when he hears someone doesn’t like him. So how does he deal with it? He owns the criticism that rightfully comes his way. He tries to improve upon the points he can, and doesn’t beat himself up when his opinions or way of doing things doesn’t resonate with everyone. He can do this because he knows that is only one person’s opinion – just as his opinion is only one person’s opinion. It’s called perspective, people.

Gary V. also understands the power of negativity. That some people will dislike him no matter what, and that some friends and business partners just naturally adopt a “glass half empty” mentality. He weeds those people out where he can. Gary calls this “circle auditing,” a necessary tool to ensure you surround yourself with the best tribe possible. In essence, he wants you to subtract more of the negatives from your life to allow the addition of more positives, effectively overflowing your glass, which brings abundance to you, your passion projects and those you support. This notion brings us full circle on why it’s important to be selfish if you really want to give to others. And, giving to others, as we know, is the best type of karma for receiving more in return.

This all starts by showing the real you, unapologetically, to the rest of the world.

Regional Vice President - Southwest

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