What I learned from Gary Vaynerchuck


In the early summer last year I had the pleasure of watching a private interview with Gary Vaynerchuck (ran a camera actually) at Harper Collin’s (he was there working on his most recent book, “The Thank You Economy“, with his editor).

As he was answering the interview questions he said something that just lit me up. What I mean is, I was listening to everything, but that particular piece stood out for me and I took special note of it. I knew it was important, profound even. Later Gary circled back to it and mentioned it again saying he wasn’t sure if they’d understood the gravity of it…

Essentially the crux of what he said was ‘failure’ doesn’t exist for him, and never has. I knew immediately he hit on one of the universal truths of successful people – one of a very small and distinct handful of traits that set successful people apart. Essentially, he said that there was no experience, no initiative – nothing – in his life that he ever considered a failure. If he didn’t ‘win’ or it didn’t go the way he expected or hoped, he learned from it and then looked forward to the next thing.

Imagine how your life might be different if you never, not even for a second (never mind the hours of self-torture most of us put ourselves through over the smallest of things…) gave thought to something that wasn’t exactly the ‘success’ you wanted? What would your life be like? What would you be willing to do? To risk?

A short time after the interview the whole concept was reinforced by a good friend and very successful business woman. We were talking one day about some of the initiatives she’d launched within an organization she runs. I said something about how some of them hadn’t worked out, had ‘failed’.

She looked at me dumbfounded. Completely and utterly dumbfounded.

It had NEVER EVEN OCCURRED TO HER that some of what she’d done, because it hadn’t panned out completely, might be seen as a ‘failure’ to other people. And, it certainly wasn’t a failure to her. She’s just not wired that way.

Ever since hearing it, I’ve worked hard to take it to heart. It takes a while to undo years of self-training, but it’s going pretty well so far. What I do to interrupt the pattern is pretty straight-forward:

  1. Notice you’re doing it (that thing you do in your head when you say something or do something that doesn’t work out… or that you say in your head before you even get started, as a way of stopping yourself… yes, I know, I have those moments too…).
  2. Make a decision to think differently about it.
  3. Spend a little time choosing a different thought.
  4. Practice the NEW thought instead of the old one.

I know, sounds really simple, but it’s how every single belief you have and I have is created. Beliefs are nothing but practiced thoughts. Practice different thoughts for a while, and you’ll start to get different results.

Let me know how it goes!

(Oh, and, I’m part way through Gary Vaynerchuck’s, “The Thank You Economy” – it’s great, so be sure to check it out. And, if you’ve never watched one of Gary’s famous Wine Library TV shows, it’s time you did.)

And, stay tuned for an upcoming post on a couple of the other characteristics and traits I’ve noticed are different for ¬†successful people.

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  1. Yes, it’s that sense of nothing being wasted… as if on our journey, we can’t get to the destination any other way or become who we’re meant to be without the battle scars and badges won along the way.

    What a splendid mid-week post! I feel totally inspired on this hump day; lovely to share in your wisdom and point of view. Thank you.

  2. Payson says:

    Thanks Debra, so true. I like to think of the fumbles as my very own special ‘education’ – in the end it may cost the same as an MBA, but I’ve got the experience on the ground to build a foundation of success. :-) Glad to inspire your week!

  3. Naomi Mimi says:

    I got to see Gary V. in Phoenix last week. Initially skeptical about him and his message, his genuine sincerity and encouragement to get beyond the concept of “failure” really hit home for me. Glad we got to share that wonderful message – here’s to turning more failures into successes! :)

  4. Angela says:

    Hi Payson! I knew that I was going to love this post before I even read it because it referenced Garyvee and I was right. What I love about this is it’s short and sweet. If I stop defining things by failure(good or bad) and just see it as an experience and learn from that point then I am ahead of the game. Thanks for sharing this and I definitely plan to practice this more often than not. It’s a game changer!!

  5. Payson says:

    How fun that you got to see him Naomi – he’ll be in NYC in the next week or so at one of the Apple stores – have a feeling it will be early or don’t get in at all. :-) And, I’ll raise my glass to that – here’s to your successes! :-)

  6. Payson says:

    So glad it stuck a chord for you Angela – it is very definitely a game changer! Keep me posted on how it goes!