I Respect Gary Vee for a Different Reason
Many know him for his content and views on marketing, but there is a different side of Gary that is worth exploring.
Some people know Gary and some people do not. Gary Vaynerchuk first appeared in my life early in my blogging career. My friend Joel interviewed him for his podcast after he was inspired to start his blog because of a book Gary wrote a long time ago called “Crush It.”
I read the same book and while it inspired me a little, it didn’t have the same effect. What drew millions of people to know who Gary was in the early stages was his unconventional advice on marketing, and more noticeably, the f-bombs he dropped in front of live audiences and viewers of his videos.
It took courage to swear so much and he certainly copped a lot of flack for it. As his career and business matured, a different Gary was born. That is a Gary I now can say proudly, that I respect. But not for the reasons you might think.
Connecting on a different level
Gary has spent a lot of his career being interviewed, talking on stage and having conversations with strangers in the street. Right from the start, what I watched Gary do was have empathy.
He tried to understand how other people were feeling and get inside their head with every conversation. You could see it in his reactions and the way he asked questions.
From the outside, it’s as if he discovered that to solve problems, he had to be more empathetic. Looking at his early Youtube Channel called “Wine Library,” I am not sure he had discovered this yet. His early work from my inexperienced perspective felt somewhat self-promotional.
As I have watched Gary grow in front of the eyes of the internet, rather than be torn down like the tall poppy he is, he seems to have become more empathetic which is not the natural by-product of influence or notoriety.
The louder his voice has got, the softer his heart has become towards others and the daily struggles they go through.
He has shown me how to connect with human beings on a completely different level. It is for this reason that I respect him as a person. It’s not his number of followers but his empathy which has made me rethink my own life.
Could we not all have a bit more empathy?
Don’t talk down to others
It is easy to sit on your high horse after you have achieved a little bit of success and tell everybody to watch, respect, admire and follow your example. That is what so many influencers and celebrities do.
Admittedly, Gary did that a little in his career early on too. It is a trap I have also fallen into. Watching Gary’s latest content, I can see that he has changed tack a lot.
Because he has become more empathetic, he has learned that instead of talking down to others, he can inspire them.
He has used the example of his life and work as an experiment of what the two contrasts can look like.
At his heart, Gary has become an experimenter of human traits.
He is testing each trait in front of us and I am not even sure he is aware of it himself. None of us have all the answers — not even Gary — and that is worth remembering. All we can do is experiment and see what works for us.
Gary has had his fair share of haters and critics over the years.
The temptation, from my blogging career, is to tear these people down or call them trolls with the assumption that they are ‘misguided’ somehow and lost their way. As Gary has become a different sort of human being, he has become fascinated with people who disagree with him or even greatly dislike him.
He treats both the people that love him, and people that hate him, with the same respect which is uncommon.
You can see many examples of him doing this on his Youtube channel where he regularly can be seen finding the good in someone who doesn’t like him. I have a long way to go but this example has been deeply moving in the way I approach everyone I come into contact with.
Say you don’t know
As Gary is an expert in his field of marketing, what began to shock me was that he would regularly say “I don’t know.”
This is not what people who have been put on a pedestal in their career would normally say. Success means you are supposed to know or be creative enough to sound like you know. Gary has taken the opposite approach. If he doesn’t know, he just says it.
Nobody has all the answers and a lot of it just comes down to our own experience and how we see the world.
It’s not that you are right or I am wrong — it’s that we each see something different and that is our experience which we are entitled to have.
This is the art of questioning yourself and seeing your strengths and weaknesses. It is the idea that you are never a finished product and always have more to learn.
Gary has become more and more vocal over the years about pointing out things he is weak at. He also talks a lot about how he is perceived.
Self-awareness shapes Gary’s attitude and I believe it has a lot to do with why he has become more empathetic. (He even named his wine label Empathy Wines to remind him).
Self-awareness is the capacity to evaluate yourself and not be afraid to be critical, without crucifying yourself in the process.
You can’t figure out what is next in your life or what areas you need to develop in unless you have that tough conversation with yourself and admit where you are at — without all the shine, glitz and glamour of your ego.
Regardless of whether you care about marketing, social media or content, I’d encourage you to investigate and discover Gary from a different angle.
Compare, for yourself, the Gary of 2010 to the Gary of right now. If you take this challenge, I am sure you will see some of what I have seen for myself and perhaps a few takeaways that you can apply to your own life.
Gary is an example of why your human traits are worth exploring.