A bunch of magazines stacked on a table with an Entrepreneur magazine with Gary Vee on the cover.

Why Gary Vee’s “Crush It” Mentality Was Crushed by COVID

The “just work harder” mantra seems a relic from almost a different world.

A bunch of magazines stacked on a table with  an Entrepreneur magazine with Gary Vee on the cover.
Photo by Luigi Estuye, LUCREATIVE® on Unsplash

“Time — the one asset none of us are ever gonna get more of.” — Gary Vaynerchuk

First of all, I LOVE Gary Vee.

When I first read Crush It back in 2017, I knew this was the secret to my dreams of success.

I had just resigned from my current job as a director of a sales company making a six-figure salary and was embarking on a journey to become an entrepreneur.

I needed something to ensure I was approaching my day with the right motivation and strategy for success, and when I read Gary Vee’s book, I knew that was it.

Work, work, and work some more.


If you want to be successful, you must put in as much time as possible to ensure your brand and name are omnipresent in whatever industry you’re in.

Two and a half years later, when I decided to return to corporate America because I was burned out from working 70–80 hour weeks, I knew something was wrong but couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

Fast forward to 2020, COVID took over the world, and the realization of why Crush It didn’t work for me became clear

For someone like me, and for many people in the world, the concept of ultimate sacrifice for success and money is NOT the American Dream.

There is a fine line between working your ass off today to be able to do all the things you want to do in the future and having a balance to enjoy the life you’re actually living today.

COVID helped us realize that and put Gary Vee’s philosophy on the backburner by teaching us a few valuable, poignant lessons.

It taught us balance was important for our mental health

Before COVID, talking about your mental health or needing time just for you was taboo.

After COVID, however, in which it seemed that almost everyone’s mental and emotional stability was put to the test, this became more of a mainstream topic than ever before.

Whereas in the past, people would work 60, 70, or even 80-hour work weeks, all to live #hustleculture, now the fear of overworking oneself to the point of burnout has become an accepted possibility due to the number of people who are experiencing it every day.

Before COVID, people could get somewhat of a break from work stress when they got home to spend time with their kids. However, during COVID, parents were pulling double duty as parent and teacher, and the dual stress of having to be “on” all the time meant something had to give.

And not surprisingly, the majority of people chose to reduce the amount of time and focus they put on their work rather than reduce the time they spent with their kids.

This helped them achieve a better overall balance and has remained after COVID due to the increased overall healthy balance that resulted from this.

It helped us create boundaries to cut work off

As an extension of the decision to spend fewer hours at work, a distinction had to be made between what was considered working hours and what was considered free time for the employee.

Without a true barrier of an actual physical office to identify this (if you’re in the office, you’re working), the chances of individuals working early in the morning and late at night increased dramatically.

This has created a world in which employees have to shut down their computers and set clear boundaries with their co-workers and managers to ensure they are all on the same page regarding an acceptable time to make a business-related request.

In the past, as an individual wanted to move up the corporate ladder, there was the feeling that one had to be available at all times to show they were a team player and willing to do whatever it took for the company.

With everyone (including senior leadership) now more accepting and on board with the importance of mental health and the long-term benefit of all of their employees, it makes sense, even fiduciarily, to push a culture that is focused on the employee putting themselves first.

Creating these work boundaries has allowed us to do so.

It reminded us that tomorrow isn’t promised and life is about enjoying the present

Lastly, this is the by-product of COVID that even Gary Vee’s great motivation and encouragement to be great couldn’t overcome, as the number of deaths caused by COVID in 2020 was a wake-up call to everyone that tomorrow is not promised.

This related to people deciding that work was not the essential thing in the world, and to prevent missing out on precious memories, you had to make sure that you were not treating it as such.

With the many elderly passing away, we were reminded that we only have so many days on this planet. Therefore, we are obligated to ensure we are maximizing this time with those we love and putting that promotion or new start-up idea on the back burner.

And while this doesn’t mean that you still can’t “Crush it” to achieve your entrepreneurial dreams, the thought of doing it at the expense of everything else is not a price that most people are willing to pay anymore.