One thing I should doing a better job of is clarifying when I’m talking in the context of business and when I’m talking in the context of my personal life. As many of you know, I’m quite private. Not a lot of pictures, if any, of my children or my family exist on social media. Despite how disproportionately important they are to me, I’ve kept them pretty under-wraps from #DailyVee and Snapchat. Considering how public my professional life is, this is how my family and I have decided to live our private lives.
Something I want to make clear is that I have two bucket lists. When I talk about my “bucket list” (i.e., buying the New York Jets), I am always talking about it in a professional setting. But, I also have a personal bucket list.
My “real life” personal bucket list is all about family. I think about how I want to be at every one of my kids’ birthdays, all the vacations I want to take with my future grandchildren, and how I want to spend the next 10-15 years with my parents. I have all of these soft, warm, and fuzzy bucket list items that are really only predicated on the time spent with the 12 people who are in my inner family circle. If we’re looking at my real bucket list, I just want to love my family, cherish them, and make them proud.
But, I do want to clarify one thing, once and for all, about my professional bucket list–my selfish endeavors. For a lot of people, a bucket list means traveling and and seeing the world. It’s well documented that I don’t care about sightseeing. I couldn’t care less about pyramids, rivers, or paintings. For a lot of you, it’s a retirement plan. For me, it’s the complete opposite.
I only have one bucket list item and it’s something that I think a lot of you know, but it would be fun to clarify it once and for all (even though I’ve clarified “it once and for all” a couple of times already). I’m even going to continue to put out content about this every 4-6 months so you guys get it. My one bucket list item is not to buy the NY Jets—it’s the pursuit of buying the NY Jets.
As you can see from the Instagram comment here, people continue to confuse the two: buying vs. pursuing. I’ll be honest, I don’t do a very good job of differentiating it (hence this article). But it’s massively important that you understand this about me. For me, it’s not about reaching the peak of the mountain, it’s the climb. It’s the process. And when I finally do buy the NY Jets? Will it be the best day of my life? Or, will it be one of the worst days of my life knowing that the decades-long pursuit is over? (It stuns me how funny it is that I don’t know what that day will be like.)
Loving the climb is just how I’m wired. For example, on a very high level, I look forward to vacations with my family. But, I’m almost never as excited as you think I would be once I’m actually on vacation. My family and I joke about it because the second we land on a tropical island or the moment when we pull up to a vacation house, I actually start getting depressed. As a matter of fact, at the time of writing this article, I cannot wait for Thursday night at AJ’s house. It’s when the next life event I am looking forward to will happen– watching the NFL Draft. But the second I walk into AJ’s house on Thursday night, I will stop enjoying it as much as I anticipated. I will start becoming slightly depressed knowing that in 3 hours, it will be over and I will have to wait an entire year to watch the draft with my buddies again. I love the chase. I love the climb. I love the process.
The reason I’m so happy, so comfortable, and so at peace all the time is because, as of this second, I’ve achieved my bucket list item. I am in pursuit of buying the NY Jets (not owning them). It’s like I’ve won before I even started.
I implore so many of you to really give some thought on how you can create a game in your life that you’ve actually won before you’ve started it. It’ll help give you the perspective you need to stay motivated (even though it may seem the opposite to many of you).
At Wine Library, I used to talk to Brandon (the VP of Operations at Wine Library) and my dad about winning before starting. It’s also how I thought about VaynerMedia. VaynerMedia is a huge success because I focused on dominating the game before I even got my first client. I audited the landscape, I knew that I was the leader in social media thinking, and I knew that I knew how to operate a business.
Even though a lot of things that I achieve seem “big” or complicated, I’m actually quite realistic in how I set goals. I put myself in a position to succeed before it even happens. That’s why there will be no devastation at my last breath if I don’t own the Jets. There would only be devastation if I didn’t go through the process of trying to get them. Effort. I’m addicted to it.
Image credit: CC by New Jersey National Guard