A Look at Passion, Dedication, and Knowing When to Take a Break
Like nearly everyone else who runs a website or writes in a blog, there are certain tomes that I consider to be essential to my library.
You’ve heard of most of these, to be sure: The 4-Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferriss; Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferazzi; Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath. All of these give great information and advice on how to improve your business and power to monetize your efforts so that you can improve your lifestyle.
Penned by Gary Vaynerchuk—one of the most loud and energetic dudes ever to grace the interwebz—Crush It! is full of insight and step by step instructions on how to start a blog or website and drive it with pizzazz, passion, and a plan, all with the goal of making money by doing something you enjoy.
Pretty damn worthwhile goal, right?
Rather than being something selfish, Gary Vee asserts that this is one of the best things you can do for everyone—sure, you’ll make money, but because you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re likely to be better at it, and that’s better for everyone.
Vaynerchuk’s book really just takes all of the things successful internet entrepreneurs have been saying and doing for years, and puts them in plain English as a story, as well as giving some actionable steps. Crush It! drips passion, and you can’t help but feel like you’re going to be successful after reading it.
Obviously, it’s had a big impact on me.
The great thing about the book is that it jives with my philosophy: if you have something great to give, you have a responsibility to give it. Putting aside my ego to whatever degree is possible; I honestly believe that I have a lot to contribute to the fitness world.
Of course, I should assert that this was the plan all along, and that Crush It! sort of just provided me with a blueprint of how to go about it.
I’ve spent the past few months dedicating myself to my passion and my business to the near-exclusion of all else, all at Gary’s behest. I have been writing articles, designing programs, giving interviews, doing guest blog posts, and pretty much making sure everyone in the fitness industry knows who I am and why they need to get on board with Roman.
Which is to say, I’ve been crushing this shit like I used to crush Taco Bell when I was a fat kid—and clearly, it’s been working. Outside of whatever professional esteem and momentum I’m managing to build as I’m developing my personal brand, I’m also doing better financially. While I’ve always been busy as a trainer and strength coach, I now have athletes coming in from other states to train with me, as well as new clients who know me from articles I’ve had published. But it’s taken a lot of work and dedication. And I knew that going in.
Chapter 7 of Crush It! contains a section called “Hustle,” which essentially describes the need for tremendous dedication of time, effort, and energy. In fact, I think years from now, GV will have worked himself into the vernacular in the sense that we may compliment people by telling them they have “a Vaynerchukian work-ethic.” Seeing how much he was able to increase his business by altering his lifestyle to put in the time, I had decided to do the same.
Anything insane has a price. If you’re serious about building your personal brand, there will be no time for Wii. There will be no time for Scrabble or book club or poker or hockey. There will be time for meals, and catching up with your significant other, and playing with the kids, and otherwise you will be in front of your computer until 3:00am every night.
I read this and it was like a mind bomb. Now, there might be like 5 people left in the world who don’t know that I love poker almost as much as I love push-ups, so let me tell you that the decision to walk away from playing Hold’em for 6 months (I was playing about 15-20 hours a week at the time) was one of the hardest of my life. But necessary.
Giving up poker (as well as a number of other social habits) took effort but clearly paid off.
However, this week has been pretty rough.
As I gear up for the release of my book and a few other projects I have lined up, I cannot help but notice that I’m tired all the time, my relationships are suffering, and I’m running at a bit of a frantic pace. I haven’t seen any of my friends in about 4 months, unless they were somehow involved in the fitness business. My dog is so mad he won’t even sleep in my bed anymore.
I haven’t done any of my favorite things lately. I haven’t played poker in 6 months. I haven’t read a non-business related book in far too long. Seriously. In fact, I didn’t watch the season premier of 24, which is one of my favorite shows of all time. Fuck, I haven’t even gone shopping in weeks, and boy oh boy do I love shopping.
I have a bit of an all-or-nothing personality, and any time I start to do something not related to my business, I feel guilty.
And so today, I’m sitting here typing this blog because, well, Gary said if I don’t blog at least once per week none of this is gonna work. Which I don’t believe. More to the point, I’m writing this blog because I don’t believe in being a superhero. I’m tired, I’m cranky, and I honestly just want to take a day off.
And then I remembered this something from another book I read—a non-business book.
In The End of the Affair, author Graham Greene asks:
“What happens if you drop all the things that make you, I?”
A startlingly simple but incredibly profound question, don’t you think?
I have to ask myself: if the thing that makes me successful is my multitude of interests outside of fitness—and my resulting ability to write about those interests—will neglecting those interests in my pursuit of success be counterproductive?
Even if it won’t, is giving up all of the things I enjoy doing to achieve success really success?
On the other hand, the argument can be made that right now I’m just in the “brand-building” phase of this whole thing, and that right now I have to put in the work so I can relax later. I agree to an extent.
Gary Vaynerchuk, like myself, is known for being a die-hard Jets fan. In about 40 minutes, our beloved New York Jets are going to be facing off against the Indianapolis Colts in their first AFC championship in 10 years. And to be honest, I had originally planned on skipping the game to work on some articles and client programs.
I just changed my mind. I’ll just stay up late and do more. You can’t live your whole live in a state of frenzied productivity.
If I learned anything from my good buddy Zach Even-Esh at Transformation Domination Live last weekend, it’s this: sometimes, you absolutely have to say “Crush It!” – and other times, for you own health, you need to just say “Fuck it.”
So I’m gonna go to the bar and watch the game with some non-fitness friends. If Gary Vaynerchuk can watch the game, so can I.