“You’re only competing with yourself. No one else defines you.”
Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia and judge on Apple’s upcoming Planet of the Apps series, is constantly dishing out real talk when it comes to entrepreneurship and success (however you may define the word). His docu-series, DailyVee, will simultaneously put your hustle to shame, shock you with his genuine heart and shut you up in a get-the-hell-to-work kind of way.
Vaynerchuk recently took a call (footage below) with Taylor Clark, a 22-year-old woman from Buffalo, NY. She was unafraid to ask something that many motivated, young adults are struggling with regularly (and often unknowingly) in a digital age. The question was essentially:
What do I do with all this passion and drive to be “successful” or do “something big” in a world with so much noise and pressure? What do I do when I feel stuck?
NOTE: If you listen to this call and you think it’s harsh then — a) you aren’t familiar with Gary (get to know him) and b) you are seriously underestimating and doubting that women are capable of both executing and being treated the same as a man on his show.
We know from The Women’s Leadership Gap that although American women hold over half of all professional-level jobs, they are underrepresented in leadership positions. Women “are only 14.6 percent of executive officers, 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, and account for only 14 percent of senior management positions at Silicon Valley startups. Women of color account for only 11.9 percent of managerial and professional positions (via Center for American Progress).”
For this reason, Vaynerchuk’s dialogue with this young woman along with the time he spends answering questions and micro-mentoring others - matters. It matters because it influences women like Taylor Clark to feel comfortable to ASK questions, put themselves out there and challenge outdated mindsets. It causes women start to shift their mindset, feel encouraged and think, maybe that can be me some day.
If only more CEOs were following his lead.
I reached out to Taylor Clark and she told me, ”after the call with Gary I was extremely motivated to go DO work! Everything he said to me was sobering to hear and exactly what I needed to get back into action…I respect [his] bluntness. As a millennial, I believe we all need to be told the truth, without a filter, and that’s exactly what he did.”
Here are key takeaways from their conversation:
Live in the “clouds and dirt.”
“Macro patience, micro speed.” — Vaynerchuk
Vaynerchuk explains to Clark that it’s crucial to execute efficiently daily while also understanding that the big picture requires patience. This alludes to Gary’s school of thought: playing in the “clouds and dirt.” The clouds represent your vision, the long game, your legacy, your strategy, the big picture. The dirt is your grit, getting your hands dirty, practicing your craft by executing. Both are necessary and must be consistent to win. In what areas can you better align your daily activities with the larger goals you have? Are you pulling at one side too hard or not enough?
At the core of what Vaynerchuk preaches is: shut up, do the work and love the process. What stories are you telling yourself that are preventing you from executing or doing what gives you joy? Whether you're a parent or a teenager or a college student, women are under a ton of pressure to meet the expectations and live in the boxes society has defined. It’s time we lead our lives on our own terms and not care what others think.
“I want the process of trying to buy the New York Jets more than buying the New York Jets, understand?” - Vaynerchuk
Set your boundaries and quit comparing yourself to others.
Audit your time and your circle for alignment. Eliminate distractions and understand that newsfeeds are just a curation of people’s lives. Do you need to limit the time you spend on your newsfeeds? Do the people you spend time or follow with drain your energy or amplify it? How much time are you spending doing things that will directly elevate your career, business or goal? Be honest with yourself and then put boundaries in place where you need to. For example, choose to only follow people who inspire you or explain to your friends what you're seeking to accomplish and how this will affect your social life.
“Every second you spend thinking about what somebody else has is taking away from time that you could create something for yourself. You’re losing...[when] you’re laying in your bed looking at somebody’s glamorous, photoshopped picture of them doing something cool… and you’re impatient and it’s crippling your upside.” - Vaynerchuk
Put more females who are executing and earning their way to the top on your radar.
With all do respect to the Kardashian/Jenner family, we need young women to be able to recall, at any given moment, influencers and women in leadership who are earning their way to the top and pushing the needle forward when it comes to clouds and dirt. Women are kicking ass out there and can do much more if we help remove the barriers limiting them. One way is to start spotlighting their work and valuing their journeys. We need a new wave of relatable role models and influencers that can help women make the mindshift we see in the conversation above. We need to see deeper and value more than just the posts of Rolexes and shoes.
Maybe that role model will be you.
“I hope my conversation with Gary can inspire other young women, or men, to go create their futures. Not just think about them.” - Taylor Clark
Trust that you can handle being in the arena.
What I appreciate about Vaynerchuk is that Clark was treated like any other person calling into the show. Why would she not, right? Well, often advice delivered to women takes a different tone because there is an implicit bias of what they know, can accomplish or handle. Vaynerchuk’s underlying assumption of this call and his fervor seems to be rooted in the belief that not only can Clark win but that he wants her to.
From Clark we can learn to put our true selves out there and ask for guidance when we need it. We can assert ourselves and rise up to meet a challenge. We can remember our resilience when it comes to not only taking care of business but also being able to navigate criticism that helps us grow. We can prove to others that there’s no need to doubt what we’re capable of.
Enhance your self-awareness.
Being honest with yourself is the first and fastest step to change. Self-awareness is like a muscle. You have to continuously exercise it. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Where can you call yourself out? In what ways are you feeding into the script of what women-YOU-are “supposed” to do?
As for Taylor Clark? She says she is taking each day one step at a time and documenting her experience over at her blog, The Fabulous Journey. She’s seen an outpouring of support from VaynerNation, Gary’s community, who is “inspiring me even more, too... encouraging me and sending me so much love.” Clark says she is looking forward to focusing within the fashion and/or travel industries where her experience and passions lie. You can follow her and support her #30DayGaryVeeChallenge on Instagram over at @thefabulousjourney.