When I first met Gary Vaynerchuk he touched my heart

Bear with me here through this backstory…I’m going to tie it up to an epic point.  I saw Gary at a conference here in Arizona a couple days ago and prior to that I knew nothing about him. I had heard the name, but I didn’t know who he was.

I listened to the talk and I loved it, but it was after the event that I was observing him when two lines were formed to see him – one was for a book signing and one was a selfie line.

I got in the selfie line, which by the way is extraordinarily rare for me to do, even if I love the speaker. I don’t actually care that much about selfies – I love the photo but wasn’t going up there primarily to have a photo and project it to the world.

What I really wanted to do was get a closer look at this guy who was up there on the stage talking about self-awareness and intuition, something I’ve valued on such a high level (and I hate to say it, but it’s actually rare to find in people).


I knew Gary was someone who really got it, and someone who was wicked smart far beyond what schools teach. He talked about things that resonated with me on such a deep level, that it seemed to have brought something out of me and possess me to get into this dang selfie line.

What was interesting is while I watched him interacting with people in these lines, all I sensed from his identity was kindness, empathy, and a whole lot of hard work. I sensed this before actually finding out how hard he works. I did NOT however sense the fame, the accomplishments (even if they have affected his behavior by making him more confident or whatever else), I had no idea how “important” he was in the realm of business, marketing or whatever else and I didn’t care. I only was taken by the energy he put forth.


I’m also fascinated with identity. I’m fascinated with how people DEVELOP their identities over time in their lives, what kinds of things in their lives affect them and make them feel important and thus allow those things to define who they are. People who are self-aware don’t let external things define who they are all that much, because they know who they are to the core, before all of that stuff.

When I’m out in public observing people many times I can see right off the bat who they think they are based on their mannerisms and what they’re doing, because you can feel the importance they’re placing on whatever activity they’re doing and how they think it defines them. It is absolutely fascinating to me (and it can kind of unfortunately also create a disconnect for me from other people if I feel like I can’t get at their real selves, but then I can reconnect if I activate my empathy).

Gary is/was affected by external circumstances, but I know he doesn’t let them define who he is. You could almost say he works backwards — he knows the core of who he is so he works with that and external events and accomplishments only magnify it, not modify it. This only works for people who actually really know who they are.

And now here’s ultimately where I’m going with this:

THIS, I believe, is a big part of where business is going in the future. Our consciousness levels are raising as time goes by. We WILL have more and more self-aware people. I’m a believer in that we’re advancing in this realm, and we can make some interesting predictions based on this and how it will reflect through businesses in the future (I haven’t made them yet, sorry, but I’ll be thinking about it).

So the lines will become far more blurred between our business selves and the core of who we are as people as we learn to discover what this core is.

I was inspired by Gary to think about human behavior and how it will change in terms of increasing self-awareness. Many of us when we think of the future associate futuristic scenarios like A.I. being dominant and all sorts of forms of technology taking over our lives and our identities, and many of us envision being actually further dehumanized by this technology and the less our personal identities will matter. I think it’ll be the opposite.

While I think technology WILL take over our lives to an increasing degree, I think we along the lines of our growth of self-awareness we will actually become more ourselves, more human, less formal, and businesses will be able to represent this and increasingly connect with people.

I feel we often try to envision the future based on further advancements of science & technology, but not necessarily how further advancements of the self and consciousness will play into it. Even businesses nowadays have a hard time really connecting with people because there’s a big divide in the marketing they put forth and the ability to establish a real connection.

Learning to establish this connection is going to become more important in the future as people learn what it means to be self-aware.


And, there’s a whole lotta noise out there. I don’t know much about business compared to many but I know this: Gary’s right when he says we need more self-awareness, but that can’t be taught. But still when it comes to business, follow trends, but also just follow your heart. Sometimes (or a lot of times) you gotta turn off what everybody else is saying you should be doing and THINK. And learn to let your internal compass guide you and give you insight you may have not otherwise gotten.

When you can identify with a business or a person and maybe they uncover something in you you didn’t know was there, or something that goes far beneath the surface, that’s where REAL connection happens.

So strive to be genuine. Be human!

“Later, after Zen Master Bankei had passed away, a blind person who lived by the monastery said to a student monk who was practicing Chan, ‘Although I am blind and cannot see the faces of others, I can still determine from someone’s tone of voice their personality. Usually, not only can I hear tones of jealousy in a person’s words of blessing to those who are happy and successful, but I also can hear tones of self-satisfaction in words of comfort to those who are unfortunate or defeated as if he could gain much benefit from those comforting words.

However, in all my experience, Zen Master Bankei’s tone of voice when speaking to others was always sincere and unaffected. Whenever he expressed happiness towards people, I only heard the tone of happiness. And whenever he expressed sorrow, I only heard the tone of sorrow.” – excerpt from Chan Heart, Chan Art by Venerable Master Hsing Yun

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