In High School I was caught in the middle. I was the kid in all of the AP courses who got straight A’s, but I also played basketball for the high school team. I had friends in the “smart” group and in the “baller” group, but I never really hung out with them outside of school; instead, I had my group of close friends (about 5-7 guys), and pretty much never hung around with a girl.
Changing my brand
When UCLA came along, I had it in my mind to finally change my “brand.” I made it a point to be more outgoing, go out of my way to help people, and participated in as many organizations as I possibly could. I wanted to be the cool guy with a lot of friends that everyone wanted to hang out with. However, after a few quarters at UCLA, I reluctantly found myself in the same position that I was in high school. I had a group of 5-7 close friends who were guys, and was close to a bunch of groups, but never best friends with. Furthermore, I finally broke out of my shell and talked to girls, but never really had “best friends” who were girls. If I hung out with a girl, it was because I was dating her.
I recently moved to Mountain View, CA with the intention of making it big with my startup, and also as a chance to finally become the person that I’ve always wanted to be. I made it a point to participate at a lot of events and call up everyone I knew in Northern California. I kept it up for several weeks, but ultimately realized after a month or two that I’ve fallen into the same position that I’ve always been in: I have a few close friends who are guys that I always hang out with, and I’m cool with everyone else (I still don’t have any friends that are girls that I consistently hang out with).
The point of it ALL
Even though I try as hard as I can, I can never be someone that I’m not. The realization is that I must do what Gary says, “Embrace your DNA!” If I embrace who I am, love who I am, and am honest with myself, then I am able to reach my true potential and enjoy my life.
Who are you and what’s in your DNA?
Who are you and what are you supposed to do with your life? Without the answer to these questions, you can’t find your path in life. And if you don’t know where you’re going, it’s impossible to enjoy the present. The following two people have helped me greatly when it comes to finding who I am:
Use the advice on those blogs to figure out who you are and what makes you happy.
Pay your bills and get out of debt
You of course can’t embrace your DNA if you’re tied down to bills and loans. The following two blogs are the only ones that I read when it comes to paying off my debt. Because of these two blogs, I was able to pay off ALL of my student loans and save up over $20,000 in under 1 year:
Destroy the debt and be free to be who you want to be.
A healthy living
I’ve never really had a personal trainer, and I’ve never had the patience to read exercise or nutrition magazines. Luckily, I have two great friends who are my go-to fitness and wellness experts:
If my mind and body are healthy and fit, then I can focus on being happy and being true to my DNA.
Let your personal brand be who you REALLY are
I tried to be someone that I wasn’t and failed.
If you’re shy, embrace your shyness. You don’t have to be super outgoing like Garyvee. Instead, be great at what you can be great at and do it in a humble, non-self-promoting sort of way. People will appreciate you when they see your quality.
Embrace your DNA and find the right bus to get on. If there’s no “right bus,” then build your own bus. My friend and business partner Yu-kai Chou built a tribe on Twitter in the past year using Twitter lists.
When you know who you are, are out of debt, and are feeling strong in mind and spirit, then you are free to embrace yourself and do what you were meant to do.
Jun Loayza is the Co-Founder of Viralogy – Ecommerce personalization engine and ecommerce analysis. Jun has lead a digital marketing agency, built a group blog with leaders in the blogging community, and has spoken at large conferences such as Social Media Strategies, Optimization Summit, and Web 2.0. If you’re a young entrepreneur, feel free to reach out to Jun at anytime or visit him in Mountain View, CA.