Lessons from Gary Vaynerchuck in Twelve and a Half (#119)

This post consists of the lessons from and summary of Gary Vaynerchuck’s book: Twelve and a Half : Leveraging the Emotional Ingredients Necessary for Business Success.

In the book, Gary Vaynerchuck shares 12 necessary “emotional ingredients”, which are essentially emotional skills, integral to have led to his success and happiness in life and business. The “half” is another emotional ingredient Gary is weakest at.

The Twelve Necessary Emotional Ingredients

  1. Gratitude: Don’t forget—over half the world doesn’t even have a real toilet.
    In the face of disappointment, use gratitude to limit dwelling on it.
  2. Self-Awareness: Delusional people lack awareness about their strengths and weaknesses.
    Insecurity often leads to avoidance.
  3. Accountability: When you blame others, you’re admitting to yourself that you’re no longer in control. You give leverage to the person(s) you’re pointing your finger at, and you become a victim of the situation you’re in. Instead of pointing a finger, consider pointing a thumb back at yourself.
    No matter what challenge you’re facing, you have to accept that in some way you made a decision that put yourself in that situation. Even if the decision you made was to ignore the situation until this moment, you need to hold yourself accountable for that, too.
  4. Optimism: Optimism is a word that has become controversial in some ways. There’s a misconception that it means the same thing as delusion.
    To be optimistic: start by surrounding yourself with optimistic people, and limit interactions with people who drag you down mentally.
    Optimism makes playing the game more enjoyable than winning it.
  5. Empathy: When you’re empathetic, you recognize why people behave the way they do. Gary deploys empathy and kindness against hate because he knows it takes more strength to be empathetic. From the outside, people think that those who come with negativity and aggression have the advantage in the interaction. GaryVee knows it’s the reverse.
    You can handle any situation if you can feel the feelings of others involved.
  6. Kindness: The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
    You can be kind, be candid, and hold your ground all at the same time.
  7. Tenacity: The quality or fact of being very determined; determination.
    “In my mid-twenties, some of my former classmates would stop by at my dad’s liquor store. These were people who graduated and became doctors, lawyers, or Wall Street professionals. They would buy expensive champagne, I’d walk into the basement and grab it, bring the case back up, ring them up at the register, carry the case out to their car, and put it in the trunk. In their eyes, I remember seeing a mix of pity and ego. I was the kid who was still working at his dad’s liquor store. It was my tenacity and conviction that allowed those moments to motivate me rather than devastate me.
  8. Curiosity: When people lack curiosity, they dismiss new opportunities instead of taking the time to explore them.
    Curiosity mixed with empathy can lead to intuition. Then after experiencing or “tasting” that intuition, you can develop conviction.
    When you have curiosity, you need to protect it with humility at all costs. “I don’t put my successes on a pedestal in my head because doing so would undermine my curiosity.”
  9. Patience: “Patience is a core ingredient to the lightness I feel inside.” When you have a good relationship with time, the pressure is lifted and you can do so much more.
    A staggering number of people from eighteen to thirty feel anxiety about their careers because they don’t have a good relationship with patience.
    When you’re desperate to prove something to other people in the short term, you don’t give yourself a chance to enjoy the process. When you don’t enjoy the process, you become more vulnerable to burnout.
  10. Conviction: When you follow your convictions against society’s pushback, one of two things will happen: either you’ll be right, or you’ll be happy you saw it through. If you quit your well-paying law-firm job to start a clothing line and it fails two years in, you don’t need to feel ashamed for not keeping your job like your mom told you to. You can feel relieved that in your eighties and nineties you won’t be asking yourself, “What if I’d taken the leap?”
  11. Humility: A comfort in one’s own understanding of one’s position in the world.
    Would you want to have the people who know you the least think you’re the best, or the people who know you the best think you’re the worst?
  12. Ambition: You should do it for the journey, not the destination.

    Gary’s half (his weak ingredient): Kind Candor: “I realized that kindness without candor was creating entitlement within my organization …
    I have a visceral reaction to confrontation, and so I was very bad at giving critical feedback for most of my career. After twenty-four years as a business operator, I’m heartbroken that there are people out there who don’t feel great toward me because I wasn’t able to be candid with them. I would fire them without giving hem enough feedback, or I would create situations that forced them to quit.”

As much as it is important to craft all these ingredients individually, it is even more so, to use them in combination. If one ingredient is secondary to another, the dish won’t be good. What’s more important, the fish or the salt? What’s more important in baking a cake, the flour or the eggs? The answer is always both. They are equally valuable but must be deployed in different proportions in different situations. As you navigate every second of your life, you need to add different ingredients at different times.

Anybody who starts the meeting with anger or aggression instead of kind candor has already set the foundation for an unfavorable outcome. If you come in hot, it’s over before it starts.
The “what-if…” is poison. it’s a source of regret and emotional pain in your old age.
If you look at every decision you make through the lens of optimism and layer it with kindness to yourself, there’s almost never a wrong decision.
Accountability is the antidote to anger.
Extreme perspective is truly liberating.
Learn through the lens of humility, curiosity and patience.
You might be better than other managers in technical skills, but if you’re not optimistic, you’ll face challenges in scaling your team. If you’re not empathetic, you’ll struggle in getting people on your side. If you’re not curious, you won’t innovate as quickly.
It’s not about the hours you put in; it’s about what you put in those hours.

Positive emotional ingredients provide more sustainable fuel than negative emotional drivers.
Insecurity, fear, anger, and hatred are powerful drivers for those who make money in the short term. If you’re angry and you want to stick it to the world, you can absolutely use that as fuel.
The question is, will it last? And more important, will you be happy and joyful in the end? The 12 emotional ingredients are the foundation for success that lasts.

3 words: Are you insecure?


All merit to this article goes to Twelve and a Half : Leveraging the Emotional Ingredients Necessary for Business Success by Gary Vaynerchuck.

You can check out the book here.

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