What I Learned Over Coffee with Team Gary Vee Alum Brittany Hoffman

She's more than her social media.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t actually know what I was going to talk about when Brittany Hoffman agreed to have coffee with Karlie and me. I didn’t know if the whiskey she liked was single malt or blended but I decided to come with a bottle of Balvenie’s 12 Year Double Wood — sort of a ‘thank you’ in exchange for the the traveler, ex-lawyer, ex- Gary Vaynerchuk brand manager’s time. I didn’t even really know why I asked to meet in the first place. Maybe it was the intriguing dichotomy between her writing and her photos, or the jet-setter lifestyle she portrayed that I aspire to. What I did know is that we had a common interest in the process and psychology of the people behind personal brands.

Karlie and I sat outside as Brittany grabbed her cappuccino and realized we’d never actually hear her speak. Her voice and demeanor were as cool, calm and collected as her Instagram photos portray but her knowledge, confidence and natural authority were brighter than any iPhone screen could display. I wasn’t surprised but I was taken aback by the transparency she offered in our conversation.

The three of us had moments of wisdom and vulnerability all while having comfort in having a mutual understanding that — we are who we are. I’m not talking about our Instagram bios, nor am I talking about our latest Snapchat story. We were the people sitting outside of that Huntington Beach Starbucks.

In our hour and a half I learned a lot about not only Brittany, but what people have to offer outside of their social media profiles.

Our Story is More than Our Bio

We are all more than the 160 characters Instagram allows us to use to describe ourselves. Brittany’s has read everything from ‘recovering lawyer’ to ‘personal branding consultant’. As someone with a similarly unconventional journey in life, I learned that no matter how much you read up on people you’ll never truly grasp the depth of an individual until you sit with them face to face.

The Journey for Fulfillment is Never a Short One

I almost jumped out of my chair when Brittany mentioned she tried her hand as a professional poker player (pun intended). I was stunned that her law degree led to a a job the entertainment industry, which led to working directly with one of my idols (for lack of a better term), and yet there we were brainstorming about where we wanted to take our careers next. It’s comforting to know that happiness cannot always be found in our ‘dream jobs’.

Never Judge a Person by Their Instagram Page

One scroll through Brittany’s page and you’ll find a collage of confidence, elegance and a feeling of stoicism. Some may find it intimidating, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t at first. After a few minutes in conversation, I realized that there was a warmth about her that was so great that it couldn’t possibly be translated on the Internet.

The one thing I enjoyed more than anything about meeting Brittany was that she was in fact more than her social media. In a time where we so quickly make judgements on how someone decides (or inadvertently) to brand themselves, I believe it’s crucial that we never forget the magic of personal connection. Our voices can only be heard so loudly through a blog post and our vision only so clearly in a photograph. If you find interest in someone, make an effort to hear their story from their mouths, not their page. You’ll be surprised with all you can discover.

Connect with Brittany on Instagram and Twitter.

If you liked this article, please let me know. Feel free to start a conversation with me on Twitter or Instagram.

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