I discovered Gary Vaynerchuk when I was eighteen. Not because I wanted to learn about business, but because I loved fountain pens. Loved them so much, I obsessed over The Goulet Pens Company, listening to their podcast, participating in their weekly Instagram giveaway contest, and watching their videos on YouTube. In one of these videos Brian Goulet, the owner of Goulet Pens, showed the audience the books on his office shelf. And one of those books was Crush It by Gary Vee.
Being the inquisitive person that I am, I borrowed Crush It from my local library and read it cover to cover. I was mesmerized. Here was this guy telling the world, telling me, that anyone could start their own business and become successful online. Not in a “get rich quick if you buy my $29.99 e-course” kind of way, but sensible, realistic way. A way I had witnessed in companies like Goulet Pens. It stuck with me. I imagined it in detail. Building a website, blogging, sharing on social media. I even went so far as to buy a domain name.
It was a beautiful dream. But in the end just a dream.
In retrospect, the timing was wrong. I was a nervous teenager, too insecure to share myself with the interent. Too occupied with the stresses and worries and goals I had at the time. So, I returned the book to the library and went about my life. Finishing college. Starting a job. Thinking of Gary Vee every so often, but confident I was doing life the “right way.” My life was perfect.
I wasn’t happy. And after a certain point, I knew I had to do something about it. So I did the most logical thing I could think of and wrote a fantasy book in one month.
It was the first book I’d drafted in over three years. As I typed away each night, I was reminded of how happy writing made me feel. How fulfilling it was. And I thought, Wow. I should do something with this. So I started this blog, revamped my social media, found a community of writers online, re-read Crush It! and binged The Gary Vee Audio Experience on Spotify, and started pumping out blog content.
It took time to get comfortable sharing my writing. I gave up often, but came back every time. Eventually. Because creativity is part of me. I can’t not create. It’s what make me me. Even if I’m away from my blog- as I have been for most of this year – I know I’ll come back.
I’m a firm believer in fate. I don’t think we decide what we like, what we enjoy. We discover it. And that’s something Gary preaches: discovery. Don’t know what you like? Try everything! You’ll find what you love. And you’ll love it.
In an episode of Gary’s podcast, he talks about the three most important things in life: Self-Awareness, Happiness, and Accountability. Those three words have stuck with me and I think of them when I feel lost or discouraged. They point me back towards my goal: happiness. But to get there, I needed a few things first.
This is understanding who we are, what our talents are, and – most importantly – what we enjoy. Stepping away from society’s expectations and discovering what you love to do! Awareness leads to change in habits and perspective. Being aware harder than it seems and can lead to huge adjustments in perspective but ultimately it led to the goal.
This is the goal of self-awareness. Once you know yourself, you’ll know what you need to be happy. Maybe that’s reading more books or picking up a new hobby. Maybe it’s starting a business. Or maybe it’s working a 9 to 5 then coming home and spending time with your dog. Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t magically appear without accountability though.
What’s the point of self-awareness if it doesn’t lead to change? One half hour self-awareness meditation can’t make you happy for the rest of your life. Sustainable happiness comes from continual change. Be accountable. Are you working towards happiness each day? Are you investing in activities that will foster happiness in the long run? Or are you sticking to the same routines that distract you from unhappiness.
These three qualities are powerful together. The perspective shift was monumental for me. One that continues to develop every day. Sure. Somedays I take a few steps back, but that’s life. You have ups and downs. Victories and learning experiences.
These realizations don’t happen in a day. It takes time to figure yourself out, so be patient. Have compassion. Love the journey. You’ll put together the puzzle that is you one day.
I can’t wait for us to get there.
Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion
Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too