My journey to Gary Vaynerchuk began when I got a random text message a couple years ago about a networking event. I really wasn't sure what it was about and was hoping it wasn't another MLM pitch, but my intuition told me to go. So I went to this meeting with my good friend. As we were sitting there waiting for the event to start, this gentlemen came up to us and introduced himself. I will be honest. I had no idea who this guy was at the time, but I thought it was real kind of him to go out of his way to do that. He was already teaching us the first lesson in networking and marketing without us even realizing it. And then he went to the front of the room and began speaking. I come to find out that his name is Joe Polish, founder of I Love Marketing, Piranha Marketing, and the Genius Network. He was casually talking about big time people like they were his friends....only for me to realize that they actually were! "Damn...This guy is kind of a big deal" I thought to myself. But more important than that, as connected as he was, he still carried himself in a very humble way, which I really appreciated. Joe quickly became someone I looked up to.
During his talk, he gave us this book by Gary Vaynerchuk and showed us a video. I instantly fell in love with Gary's "cut the BS" East-coast attitude. I spend the next few weeks reading all of his stuff and watching his videos. He quickly became my favorite entrepreneur, just because of his focus on story-telling and the passion he delivers. But rather than just sit back and admire what he's done from afar. I put it in my mind that I'm going to meet him and see if there is room to work together.
It took me 7 months of consistent effort to set up a meeting with him in person. I'm not sure if it's because we both come from hard-working immigrant fathers, or because we share the same birthday, but we had instant synergy and both wanted to work with each other. I went there hoping to get hired by VaynerMedia, but Gary was more interested in me working with him directly. When he told me this I acted all cool and nodded my head, but deep down, I was doing backflips. The face to face meeting went great and I flew back to Phoenix feeling confident.
After the meeting, we went back and forth via email for what turned out to be a couple of months, but ultimately, Gary just didn't have enough personal bandwidth to take on another understudy. However, not getting hired by him ironically led me to a dream job and experience that I wouldn't have had otherwise. I explain more in this video:
It was a long epic journey to even get that close to working with one of my favorite entrepreneurs, but I got there. And that's really the point. People always ask me how I do all the amazing things that I do and meet all these great powerful people, and the answer is simple. Because I try! I try relentlessly. I'm not intimidated by anybody and don't think anybody is above me or below me. I've hung out with billionaires like Alki David, and mega super stars like Lady Gaga, and internally, I seriously felt no different than when I hung out with my friends back at home. They're all human beings, and each of them have a story to tell and something to contribute, and I just focus on what I can contribute towards them instead. All I care about is connection. Genuine connection. I also visualize myself in all these places, meeting all these amazing people, and it just happens. And even though I put in a relentless amount of effort, it still seems to flow effortlessly.
Life is funny. I had a certain vision (working with Vayner Media), and then I got teased with something even greater than I envisioned (working directly with Gary), only to have neither of those things happen, yet lead me to an amazing job anyway! The secret to my happiness for me is having unattached intentions. It's good to have a dream and go for it with everything you got, but if it ultimately doesn't work, let go and move on. Keep your eyes open to other places that it's leading you. Swim with the current, rather than against it. Steer as hard as you can, but know when to let go. The universe is constantly guiding you, but you have to be open, not only to hearing its messages, but also to having the courage to follow them.
And with all that said, many of you know that I love asking larger than life questions. Gary Vaynerchuk recently took on one of my questions during an episode of #AskGaryVee.
(Fun Fact: Gary Vaynerchuk does most of his meetings and interviews in the same room that the GaryVee filmed).