A few weeks ago I felt the first bit of hater backlash via a Reddit thread. It was in response to my post about why I still work at my 9-to-5:
Obviously, this person doesn’t know me. Obviously, they generalized my entire worldview and neatly stored it away in their “millennial garbage” filing cabinet.
I’m not going to lie, it hurt a little to read what he had to say. I was tempted to write a blog post to lash back. But I took a beat. I thought for a few seconds. And I realized something important…
I’m finally saying something worthwhile.
If you have haters, doubters, or naysayers (and aren’t racist or a mean person) it means you are sending a message to the world worth hearing.
And if you aren’t prepared, it’s time to start digging in for battle.
I Met A Guy Named Gary
I’m going to reverse the situation I demonstrated above.
I used to be a hater. It’s true. I was part of the local chapter, I made tee-shirts, I even memorized the motto (Haters gonna hate).
Okay, I wasn’t that extreme, but roughly one year ago I stumbled across on the internet a man named Gary Vaynerchuk, or more commonly known as Gary Vee.
Gary is an entrepreneur, and he’s…well let’s say a tad bit brash.
Gary is known for his eccentric style, foul mouth, and love of one thing: work (actually two things, add the N.Y. Jets to the list).
The first time I watched one of his videos, I got through a few seconds before I was totally turned off by his message.
What does this guy know about hustling? Why is his solution always work harder? What about spending time with family? Does this guy care about anything other than himself?
From Irk To Idol
Gary irked me. Gary bugged me, I couldn’t stand him. I tried to ignore him, but as you know the way things are on the internet, you can only control so much of what is shared on your social feeds.
So over the next couple months, Gary and I virtually bumped into each other. Determined not to fall in his web (Gary has an expansive following) I tried my darnedest to keep ignoring him.
But there was something, something about him I couldn’t shake. Something behind his f-bombs, something obscured by his ego. Something…
I must fight the temptation.
But I then discovered Gary’s love of wine. I then learned about his difficult upbringing. I then heard about Gary’s decision to keep his family out of the social spotlight (I don’t post pictures of my son on Facebook either.)
I started to see Gary’s generous side. I started to understand how all the pieces fell into place to create the person he is today. I started to empathize.
Finally, I understood Gary’s worldview: only action gets you to where you want to go.
Today, I consider Gary a major influence on my life. I contribute a lot of my hard work and late nights to his inspiration.
I wasn’t originally turned off by Gary because of his brash style, I was turned off because I was unwilling to listen to his message.
Because deep down, I knew it was true.
Say Something Worth Saying
I understand not everyone reading this has a blog or platform to share their opinions (besides social).
But you can still embody your message simply by the way you live. Are you saying something worthwhile with your life? Does the way you view the world manifest itself in your day-to-day?
It doesn’t have to be anything big like Occupy Wall Street. Start small instead.
Take, for example, I work in a big international company but still manage to wear mismatching socks every day because I believe only results speak for my performance, not what I have to wear.
Have people called me out on it? You bet. But I keep it up because I hope to inspire some change in the corporate world, at least in the offices I work in.
The biggest hurdle we all face with sharing our message with the world is fear of backlash, namely confronting haters/doubters/naysayers. But this should be used as a sign you are saying something worth saying.
Or living a life worth living.
Bring on the haters.
If you liked this piece, you might enjoy listening to my book “The Millennial Way.”