14 Lessons I Learned Shadowing Gary Vaynerchuk For Two Years

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So, Gary has a new book.

#askgaryvee is a compilation of his thoughts on how to win at business while living a good life (my definition).

I am nearly finished, and the book is damn good.

But I have some unique insight. You see, I train Gary under a pretty unusual arrangement.

I see the “real” Garyvee.

Vacations.. business trips.. I almost accidentally saw him naked the other day when I barged into his bedroom to announce he must finish the shrimp cocktail before leaving for the night.

So, I want to share a few lessons he’s taught me.

Some are expansive on points in the book, others aren’t in the book.

But these lessons have helped me grow my business exponentially and become a better person in the process.

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14 Life Lessons Learned Shadowing Gary Vaynerchuk For Two years

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1. Always Do The Right Thing

Last week, an eager fitness hustler offered to purchase 75 books if Gary would give him a five minute interview.

Here’s the thing: Gary and I had already decided that the next trainer needs to be someone we already know. The job is too personal to take a chance on a complete stranger.

Gary could have still taken the meeting.

He could have nodded along for a few minutes and waltzed one step closer to the New York Times Best Seller list.

But instead, he replied:

tell him no, would feel bad taking this

This is a behind the scenes view of someone doing the right thing when absolutely no one is watching.

Pretty cool.

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2. Be The ’98 Vikings

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Do you know how many articles I posted on this blog between April 2014 and September 2014?

One.

I’m a writer, and I wrote ONE article in 6 months.

You know why? 

Because I was playing defense. I wanted everything I wrote to be better than my previous post. And I was afraid it wouldn’t be.

That pressure crippled me.

Gary taught me that putting out consistent content at 85% quality is far superior to posting “perfect” articles once in a blue moon.

You can’t win if you don’t play the game.

I guess you also can’t win if your franchise is cursed, but whatever.

Offense, baby.

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3. More Important Things Than Money

I remember the first time I realized money would never be a problem in my life: I enjoy hard work and possess a skill set that people value. And I need almost nothing, so my expenses are very low.

My first thought was wow, I’ll be able to do cool things like buy my parents stuff. 

I brought this excitement to GV between sets of triceps accessory work.

Man, it’s gotta feel good that Lizzie and the kids are always going to be financially secure and you provide such a nice life for them.

His nose scrunched and lips pursed, almost like he ate something too sour, which is a tell that he’s about to disagree with you.

sure, but I am wayyy way way wayyyyyyyyy more proud of the emotional support I provide”

Nice things and vacations are cool, but giving your time and attention and emotional support is far more valuable.

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4. You Have To Be Able To Sleep At Night

I promise my coaching clients that I will reply to email every single day.

At 11pm on March 8th, I took a deep yawn from the back of the Q&A Gary was giving. It was our first stop on his book tour, and I was beat tired after a long day of travel.

But I hadn’t been in my inbox yet.

I could feel myself rationalizing this mistake: it’s okay, people will understand if you miss one day. 

And you know what, they probably would have.

But that’s bullshit.

I promise daily communication because I believe in it. And I would not have slept well without taking care of business first.

So, when the event ended, I went to my hotel room and from 2am to 5am answered emails, assessed progress, and tweaked training and nutrition programs.

It was the right decision. I was being true to my word.

And even though I didn’t sleep that night (literally, we had a 6am flight to Atlanta), I slept like a baby the following night.

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4b. “How you make your money matters more than how much money you make” -G

 

5. Communication Solves 99% of Problems

Gary received a text late one night from an employee.

It felt a bit erratic to him; the employee was worried about some things. And given the time of day and tone of the message, Gary assumed the employee had been drinking.

Personally, an uncomfortable situation like this would have knotted my stomach to the point where I couldn’t think of anything else.

GV set it aside completely.

He later told me it didn’t impact him because he knew they would have a conversation in the morning and clear the air completely.

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6. Your Employees SHOULDN’T Care As Much As You Do

I used to get pissed when walking through VaynerMedia.

People only doing three hours of real work in a day, screwing around on Facebook, taking 90 minute lunches, and going on coffee meetings just to socialize.

Yet, Gary has fun joking with employees when he walks through the office.

How are you not pissed that everyone isn’t hustling like you???

He gave me that black cherry warhead look again except with a flair of anger, like, are you an idiot Mike:

Because it’s MY company. Of course they aren’t going to care about it like I do.

Aha. Yeah. That makes sense.

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7. Know Who You Are

I wanted to grow a giant business because it seemed like the cool thing to do.

I partnered with my genius friend Brett.

I failed.

Then I hired a grinder named Chris to intern for me.

I failed.

Then, after watching this video too many times, I realized something: I’m not a businessman. I enjoy coaching clients. And I enjoy creating content.

Not managing employees.

So, I have since stopped trying to grow a giant fitness business and become content doing what I do 🙂

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8. Be A Practitioner

There is a reason I track my own macros every day, always have goals, train with intensity, and don’t act like I’m too cool for fitness.

It’s because you learn things by actually doing them.

Don’t be a guru sitting atop the iron throne telling everyone what to do. Get your hands dirty. You will be better for it.

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9. Listening To Yourself Always Wins

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10. Give 51%

Gary has been addressing this in talks lately.

But it’s a concept he instilled in me from day one, when he said:

You need to reply to every single email, Mike.

And I do.

Sometimes I get backed up a month or two, but I reply to every single email.

Most of the people I email with will never pay me a dollar. And I am 1000% okay with that. Here is why:

First, helping people is never ever a bad thing. When you look back on your life, you won’t regret lending someone a helping hand.

But second, it’s actually a good business strategy. No one expects you to help them for free because no one does it. Most are too transactional, short-sighted, and impatient.

Let me give you an example, my friend Amanda complained to me that people on Snapchat ask her questions.

What am I supposed to do? They think I’m just gonna help em for free?!

Answer them, I told her, answer every single one.

If you have time and you want to grow your business, give them massive value for free.

Many of these people will become part of your community. Some might buy from you in the future or want to work with you. Many will help you spread your message because they believe in you.

Give 51.

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11. Champagne Problems

So many people are emailing me for advice.

I was being a bit whiney, in hindsight, and if there is one thing Gary hates, it’s whiney.

Oh, you mean you have TOO big an audience? You have TOO many people that care about what you say?

That’s a champagne problem, Mike.

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12. Don’t Take Your Problems Home

It is completely irrational to let a problem at work impact how you treat your kids.

But most of us can’t separate work stress from our personal lives.

Gary does.

One morning during a dungeon gym workout, I asked him how he does it: gratitude.

He said he is so grateful that he gets to work as hard as he does that it would be massively unfair to Lizzie and the kids if he let work problems impact his mood and demeanor at home for even one second.

I guess he is pretty big on gratitude:

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13. QBs Take The Blame

I have shared a backseat with G for a lot of internal VM calls.

And I constantly hear:

That’s my fault.

Yes, the CEO is in charge of the business therefore every issue is technically the CEO’s fault.

That’s not what I learned.

Every single one of us should be taking the heat in my life because it’s effective.

First, it saves time that might have been wasted arguing over who was actually at fault. But more importantly, it wins you respect from onlookers who know it wasn’t actually your fault.

It makes you a leader.

Plus, if you take responsibility for the losses, you get more glory during the wins.

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14. We All Have 24 Hours

I hate to list this because it’s so cliche, but it is probably the single factor that grew my business the most.

The moment I got access to Gary’s calendar, I internalized this concept. Holy shit. This guy goes hard all the time.

My next thought was… this is a decision

Any human being can choose to do this.

We all have the same amount of time.

I immediately audited myself.

30 minute walks around the block to “get in the zone” before writing. Nonsense Facebook scrolling to “refresh my brain” during the afternoon.

There isn’t anything wrong with this, except that I thought I was a hard worker.

Just remember we all have the same 24 hours. And choosing how you use it is the best way to control your results.

If you would like more lessons (340 more, to be exact) check out the #askgaryvee book.

If you have any fitness questions, I reply to all emails.



Comments for This Entry

  • Craven

    Great article, Mike! Gary's got some great wisdom in those tips, especially the stuff about champagne problems. Loving all the content you've been puttin' out lately, especially on the SNAP; it's really inspiring and has helped me pursue my own en devours in the fitness industry. Can't thank you enough for all you've done for me without even knowing it. Keep up the hustle.

    March 13, 2016 at 11:37 pm | Reply to this comment

  • adam

    Best post YET ! I have followed you for quite some time now Mike and have always loved your content from the equals and alternatives series to your writing. This one hit home the most for me especially #7. I wanted to create a giant business and have had ups and downs and have been more happy in the last year earning less but doing what I love than earning well and having to manage a business rather than work in it. Keep up the grind mate !!! You inspire us all

    March 14, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Reply to this comment

    • Mike Author

      This is really an important concept that 99% of people struggle with -- deciding what you actually want and doing that without letting perceptions of what you SHOULD want or what is right to want impact what you choose to go after

      March 18, 2016 at 8:26 am | Reply to this comment

  • Dean

    Great article, Mike. Really liked the "Time" video so will definitely check out more of your content on YouTube. Keep up the hustle :)

    March 14, 2016 at 9:04 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Allen Seto

    Great list Mike. It is so awesome you get to spend this one on one time with Gary V doing what you do. Well deserved, and it is a testament to your own hustle and dedication.

    March 16, 2016 at 9:32 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Jamie

    The content keeps getting better and better. This may be your best yet! *Disclaimer* I'm an online coaching client and I've seen good results with Mike. He truly cares and loves what he does. As much as I'm enjoying my time with him, I almost can't wait til it's over so I open a spot for another family member.

    March 17, 2016 at 5:28 am | Reply to this comment

  • Hanson

    Wow! I learned so much from this article. I should read this every day. I am going to bookmark this article. Thanks Mike! :)

    March 17, 2016 at 11:59 pm | Reply to this comment

  • George Bryant

    Awesome Mike. This post was the one that pushed me to comment for the first time. Keep bringing the fire and insights, you're powerful! See you on snap

    March 18, 2016 at 8:42 am | Reply to this comment

  • Lee B

    Awesome post. I struggle at my job, as a manager, because I feel like I care so much more than the employees I supervise, but this article helped me see that that's okay! Also--that Time video is probably my favorite video you've ever posted. Glad to see it included here. Keep up the good work.

    March 18, 2016 at 9:48 am | Reply to this comment

  • Justin

    Mike, one day you can look back and be grateful for the positive influence you have cast on people's lives. I'm ecstatic to say I'm one of those lives. Steak is on me next time I'm in NYC!

    March 18, 2016 at 10:17 am | Reply to this comment

  • Mike ModelSky

    Hi Mike!!! This is my first time posting and I have to say I've read a few of your articles and have really enjoyed most of them, I can't say I know too much about the fitness game but I know plenty about having to put in the hard work and having to make sacrifices, it always amazes me people's outlooks and takes on life and the different perspectives I take from them, but taking it deep hard look at someone who works as hard as Gary Vaynerchuk and yourself helps inspire me, most of all I think from this article I've taken the fact that detachment as well hard work are a big part of any success, you can't allow outside influences you can do nothing about to affect your mentality or competency, detachment is a real key for dealing with what you can and accepting what you can't. Secondly I would like to thank you for all the advice you've given over Snapchat, it has been invaluable to me on my weight loss journey, with me being such a massive size due to my illnesses, sometimes it's hard to see things as a big picture and the long haul, but your simple macro advice and to keep up the walking has really helped so thank you. Lastly thank you for your quality content i'm here YouTube and most of all thank you for the regular Snapchat's they not only inspire, but give people a good idea of what life is like both from the perspective of someone who is already fit and healthy and trying to change their life, i.e. you and your bulking up, but also for those like Gary who just wanna get fit and stay healthy, so I look forward to watching more YouTube videos, more snapchats and mostly reading more of your blog posts, good luck and thanks a lot.

    March 18, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Timo

    Great post, I like your additude! I think you separate yourself enormously from the herd this way. I'm looking forward to your response on my e-mail, eventough I have no expectations... Keep on inspiring! :)

    March 18, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Reply to this comment

  • James McDonald

    Mate... Great stuff. Really informative Mike. Favourites would be 7, 8, 9, 12 and 14. Or the whole article for that matter 😂 Cheers bro

    March 18, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Brian

    Awesome article Mike! I saw you snap about it in your story this morning and decided to take a look. I've become a huge fan of Gary's over the past few months, and everything I've been learning from him has really been changing my life for the better. And your unique perspective from working with him is no different. Thanks for sharing this!!

    March 18, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Tony D'Angelo

    Great read Mike. I've been following you for a couple months now. Found you through watching one of Gary's videos, I admire your work ethic and your take on things. I always feel like a hard worker until I see what Gary does in a day. It's ridiculous. I'm sure the whole experience of working with him has been extremely eye opening and beneficial (and probably just really fun too) Anyway, just figured I'd comment and tell you I really like your content and I look forward to new stuff from you all the time!

    March 18, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Robert Gillespie

    Hey Mike, another great post. Your #2 point about the Vikings is probably where I am at now, or just leaving should I say. I was always seeking perfection but ended up doing nothing as a result...just an excuse for being lazy really. I have said this to you before as we both like poker, but I was the most negative player going looking for the easy tables, grinding it out, using HUD's just so I could win a paltry amount. I never went on the offense and it's no surprise I never made it big. Same applied to my own content and business in general. Thankfully I am now a lot better but you (and Gary) are bang on. 85% of something is better than 0% of nothing. See you in London next week! I'll mention Poker to you so you know who I am! ha... Keep up the excellent work!

    March 19, 2016 at 11:12 am | Reply to this comment

  • Angela

    Awesome as usual! People are noticing my weight loss and asking how I found you. My answer is on the web. I get a Huh? look and they don't understand the 'online coach' thing. "He actually lived up to his word and answered me with 'free advice' that worked." I then get a 'Oh!' look. Yes, just helping people and living up to your word works in today's world. I also tell them his program actually works! Thanks Mike!!! I don't need a trainer that yells at me during my last set of the day. That yelling needs to be from me to me ALL day, ALL month, ALL year. Online coaching teaches you that sort of YELLING.

    March 19, 2016 at 11:36 am | Reply to this comment

  • Anthony Rajchel

    Hey Mike, Been keeping up to date with your articles lately and I am loving the consistent content you are putting out. Very relatable and really helps put things into perspective for me . I find myself loving business and being my own boss, but I also don't see myself as much of a businessman or boss so to say. I'm trying to find that balance between being my own boss and not hiring employees making them do shit that they hate. You're doing great things and a great role model for younger generation like me. Thanks!

    March 19, 2016 at 11:44 am | Reply to this comment

  • Kristi

    Love this. You're amazing writing skills, and overall outlook grabbed my attention when I simply searched "counting macros" and you popped up. You're so great at what you do, and I'm thankful to be a small part of it. Gratitude is always the best foundation.

    March 19, 2016 at 11:54 am | Reply to this comment

  • Emily

    I love the way you write. You just write like you're talking to us and it's so effective. So many awesome life lessons in this post... this will be one people come to for a LONG time, Mike. KEEP WRITING!

    March 19, 2016 at 11:55 am | Reply to this comment

  • Sharon

    Love your insights. I am a big fan of Gary's and have been following him for years. Stumbled across you somehow, and so glad I did! Always enjoy reading insights like this, so thanks for some important reminders here.

    March 19, 2016 at 11:58 am | Reply to this comment

  • Ashley Q

    Man... This article was awesome. So informative. You're always bringing something valuable to the table- it's so appreciative. Can't wait for the next one!

    March 19, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Liz

    "Anything worth doing is worth doing wrong." "Backbone is stronger than wishbone." 2 quotes that remind me of your #2 point that have shaped my life over the past few years and I keep going back to again and again. Especially now that I am a parent in a brand new city where I know almost no one! Great post, I continue to enjoy all your work!

    March 19, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Caroline Morell

    Great read! Gary should do one on you: "14 Lessons I Learned from Training With Mike Vacanti for Two Years"

    March 19, 2016 at 12:09 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Scott Stiffey

    Excellent article Mike! Keep bringing this and the great snaps bro!

    March 19, 2016 at 12:18 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Jan Gribble

    As a (former) professional dog trainer who burned out after 20+ years I wish more dog trainers would read this.

    March 19, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Rebecca

    Great stuff and I think being true to who you are- not growing a massive business is a great thing to figure out.

    March 19, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Marcos

    There is no way "time is the asset" video isn't going to grow in views. Hahaha 3 times! Good strategy. Great post Mike, i feel part of your community.

    March 19, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Paul

    Yeah you "accidentally" almost saw Gary naked. 😂 Good stuff man, your snapchat is one of my favs.

    March 19, 2016 at 1:14 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Heather

    Such amazing advice especially when it comes to family moods and time. Great job again Mike. 👍🏻

    March 19, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Suzy

    I love reading how you and Gary inspire and help each other in different ways through life!! You and your information offer me the same support and inspiration that you and Gary offer each other! Thank you so much!

    March 19, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Lisa

    Mike, you already know I love ya and this is just one reason why. You say what needs to be said, straight up! Great work, keep up the awesome efforts and following that intuition. =)

    March 19, 2016 at 2:02 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Jessy

    Ok Mike, I'm writing this because you said you reply to all. I'm happy with your content. I like it. Really. And that's because I know about fitness. I wanna talk about self-awareness : I believed I like to coach people. It was before getting in the job. I hated fitness classes, I hated telling people what to do and hearing they arguing with me lol. I believed it was their fault until I realized it was mine. I don't believe in my success in that field. Now I'm putting myself out of business. It's hard because of no degree, and no money to feed wife and kids. Thinking of going back to fitness is killing me. Maybe I should? I sincerely don't think so. I fear lack of money (because of bills), most importantly I feel lost. What do you think? @SoulmanScofield

    March 19, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Robert torres

    Good article mike! Anytime your in Los Angeles it would be awesome to sit with you for lunch. Ig roborobt

    March 19, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Laran Evans

    This post is gold. Great thoughts. Thank you for taking the one to share them. Great work.

    March 19, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Moelwyn Hopkins

    Hey Mike, I have a word to describe your wall in point 9... 'Resistance'. You should definately check out the book 'The war of art' by Steven Pressfield. Good job with Gary 💪👍👏

    March 19, 2016 at 6:18 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Kat Jackson

    I love this! It applies to all of us, all the time. You can't genuinely say that about most internet wisdom. Thanks for sharing your work with us (and Gary V's work too!). I'm going to have a look at that book - sounds like a winner.

    March 19, 2016 at 7:40 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Nick Ciolino

    Legit thoughts Mike, I enjoy your snaps and your overall positive vibes so many peeps are lucky to absorb. Stay grinding brother! 😎

    March 19, 2016 at 9:11 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Andy Korman

    Great post Mike. Thank you for your thoughts and insights. I really do appreciate your knowledge and can't wait to print your Macro article. Cheers!

    March 20, 2016 at 12:37 am | Reply to this comment

  • Staci

    Sometimes I run across something I believe is valuable enough to read out loud to my kids. This post is one of them. They are ages 17, 19 and 21. Yep. It may take a month to get it done with each, but they're always glad to do it (out loud because then we always end up discussing it). Oh, and yours is in an elite group -- I only find 2-3 gems per year, otherwise I know they might start avoiding "story time" altogether. ;-)

    March 20, 2016 at 12:54 am | Reply to this comment

  • Agathor

    Such a brilliant article. Totally agree with you and Gary :)

    March 20, 2016 at 5:00 am | Reply to this comment

  • Darryl

    Really good points, and well written as always. The more you read what somebody has written , the more you see how they truly are in a way. I really like #10 and #13. First giving without return always comes around even only if you project better vibes. Secondly taking blame or not needing to win every point with everybody isn't weak but shows true class. Thanks Mike

    March 20, 2016 at 7:32 am | Reply to this comment

  • Bobby

    Hi Mike, Good post and easy to read..Yuuge Vikings fan unfortunately the 98' team brings back some serious scar tissue!! ironically they didn't go on the offense at the end of the game and settled for OT against the Falcons and we all know how that ended:( Motivation is like a shower the results don't last so daily usage is recommended! Thanks for providing all the hustle Bobby

    March 20, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Ciaran

    Absolutely loved this. Point 13 especially resonated with me. It reminded me of the book "Extreme Ownership" by Jocko Willink. You have made a subsciber of me Mike

    March 20, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Chad

    Great article Mike. I found you through Gary Vee and it's been great to watch your progress, growth and learning from being around him. I wish you continued success with doing wha you love! Thanks for continuing to share the authentic you.

    March 20, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Nav

    You're a legend Mike! The fitness industry needs more people like you.

    March 20, 2016 at 9:30 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Benjamin Pullum

    Great article bro! Enjoyed reading it!

    March 21, 2016 at 11:58 am | Reply to this comment

  • Alykhan Gulamali

    Great post man. Just listened to Gary V's interview on the James Altucher show and it was one of the best I've heard in a while. Dude's a beast.

    March 21, 2016 at 6:33 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Courtney

    Inspiring! (As usual) Had to order Gary V's book now... ;) Thanks for all the great content.

    March 23, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Jayne

    Omg it took me over an hour to read through this whole list because of all the extra links. Before I knew it I had like 239483 tabs... AND THEN I READ THOSE ARTICLES TOO! I feel like I should have some type of Mike Certification after all that.. haha jk ok maybe not. Anywhooo... awesome article(s), your thoughts + mindset combined with wisdom of Gary Vee = Gold. If this was social media, I'd Like or Heart this post. <3

    March 25, 2016 at 12:14 am | Reply to this comment

  • Glendon Evarts

    Mike - you're such dude! Awesome write up and epic video on the 3 second rule. I am definitely going to try it. I suffer massively from anxiety and it stops me from doing a lot of things I want to do, maybe implementing the 3 second rule will just stop me from ruminating and get me doing! You just gained another fan, and it was nice meeting you in Soho the other night. Proper stand up dude! Keep it up bro!

    March 25, 2016 at 5:50 am | Reply to this comment

  • Veronica Ortiz

    THank you for this article Mike!! i enjoyed reading it found you because of Gary I will come back and read it again for when i need inspiration! ^^*

    March 27, 2016 at 8:02 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Jarek hamilton

    Absoutly great article Mike. The gifferent perspective that you offered was awesome. One thing I like more than listening to Gary's content is hearing how it impacts others as much as it has impacted me. You can always tell who it's really impacted by listening to how someone has changed after learning from him. I wish you the best on your business ventures.

    March 28, 2016 at 8:36 am | Reply to this comment

  • Alex

    Awesome article Mike! Really great to hear this perspective of Gary and his impact on a more personal level. Thank you, really appreciate your work and your snapchat game 👌🏻

    March 28, 2016 at 1:31 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Ashley M

    This is a great read. I constantly go back to emails, and your content for that extra push of motivation. Your ideals and ethic are inspiring! Thank you!

    March 30, 2016 at 11:44 am | Reply to this comment

  • Nick Davis

    Loved this, thanks Mike!

    March 30, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Reply to this comment

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