DAVE HOLLIS: “The first thing I would suggest is if you're in a situation where you're doing the same things and it's not really taking you into places where you could truly be exposed as not getting it right, you could truly be exposed for having gone for it and falling on your face, push yourself into that space. And it's easier said than done because nobody loves the idea of running towards failure. But you will feel unstuck if you are having to dust yourself off and learn, acquire the data of failure, right? Failure is just offering you the instructions on where you can get better and yet we’re, just as people, so resistant to failing, we’re so resistant to what other people might think of us for having tried something and failed. But if you feel stuck or you’re in a place where it just has gotten a little too routine, push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and all of a sudden you will feel the ‘drinking from the fire hydrant’ feeling that is, holy cow, I'm going to learn and maybe be a little exposed and trigger some of my insecurities, and in that space, acquire some new skills.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, money, and time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started.
AMY PORTERFIELD: When you wake up every morning, are you ready to show up for the life of your dreams? Do you wake up, willing to do what it takes, even the tough stuff, to build a life and a business that you love? Or do you wake up slightly afraid of the work that it's going to take? Do you wake up believing old beliefs and lies that you've been hearing all of your life in your head? Lies like hard work is exhausting; becoming a successful entrepreneur is next to impossible; you don't have what it takes. My friend, I sure hope you wake up with the first attitude I mentioned. But I also understand what it's like to feel stuck in the hamster wheel of lies and all the “should haves” and old thought patterns. You are not alone. I get it, and so does my guest today.
So let me tell you, you are in for a real treat because today I’m chatting with Dave Hollis, the COO of the media company and inspirational powerhouse, Hollis Company, which he runs with his wife, and my dear friend, Rachel Hollis. So I'm thrilled to have Dave on today because guess what. He just released his very first book. This is freaking exciting. It's called Get Out of Your Own Way, and it's simply phenomenal.
Now, today Dave and I are going to talk about a lot, but we're going to talk about those “shoulds” and those ideas and thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back from showing up as your best self. We're going to talk about where to find motivation when you get stuck. We're going to talk about what it's like to be a skeptic and not necessarily naturally positive and not always internally motivated. So Dave is very different than his wife, Rachel Hollis. So he has a very different take on how he gets results and how he shows up as his best self. It's a really great interview, very insightful. And I did ask him about what it's like to have a wife that's such a big deal. and that was an interesting conversation as well. Like I said, you're in for a treat. I can't wait to jump into it, so I won't make you wait. Let's do this.
Well, well, well. Welcome to the show, Mr. Dave Hollis. How you doing?
DAVE HOLLIS: I’ve been waiting for the invite to come on your show for the entirety of my life, and this day finally has come. I’m so happy to be here. Thank you, Amy.
AMY: I’m so glad you're here. I'm pretty sure I’m going to laugh my way through this whole thing. Dave’s sense of humor always makes me laugh to the point that my cheeks hurt. So no pressure, but you better make me laugh.
DAVE: Here’s the headline in our relationship: your attention to professionalism is contrast against my interest in breaking down your attention to professionalism. And so every time you bring the Amy Porterfield we've come to love and know,—the professional, buttoned up, perfectly polished—I'm like, it is time for me to come in with the kill.
AMY: He does, you guys. He loves to break it down, and then I get nervous and I get a nervous laugh. And this is our relationship since the beginning.
So, okay, well, let's do this because you, my friend, holy cow, you've been killing it. You have a brand new book. I already talked about it in the intro. First of all, congratulations. That has got to feel so good.
DAVE: Thank you. It feels amazing now. I’ll be honest. It’s been the craziest odyssey of life in that I went from having myself been someone who tried to talk Rachel out of writing her Girl, Wash Your Face when she originally wrote it because of how transparent and honest and vulnerable it was. I thought it was a mistake before it was printed. I then got to witness the power in connecting with people through the stories of struggle and realized, hey, you know what? There maybe are some things that I could identify as my own struggles, but through the lens of a skeptic, through the lens of someone with a different mindset or who struggles with motivation, unlike her. And I got to writing. But I'll tell you, it feels amazing now compared to when I was actually in the midst of writing it because it was freakin’ hard to write a book.
AMY: That's what I've heard. That’s why I’m scared to do it. It takes a lot. And you went to some dark, deep places in this book.
DAVE: Yeah. Well, what's interesting now, I will tell anyone who, one, struggles, you are not alone. There is so much universalness in the struggle that each of us as humans possess in our humanity that when I, before I really became comfortable telling stories this honestly, I felt alone. If you are struggling, and you're not talking about what it is that you're going through, the chances that the story you're telling in your head is one of isolation or you being unique and having gone through this thing is just so much higher. And so I can see so clearly now how my having owned all of these things that were not awesome parts of my life or me not showing up well for myself, the ones that I love, I’m not alone in that. But, two, my willingness to talk about it has been the thing that's allowed me to connect with this audience because of them in some way seeing themselves in the stories that I'm telling. And so here I know we're going to talk about the book and stories that are part of it in some way, but we're also talking about online marketing, the context of what this show and what you do ends up being.
I came into this work with my wife two years ago, thinking I understood what it would mean to attempt to actually connect with an audience inside of a space that's so forward front facing online, and with still only sharing certain parts of my journey and still manipulating the curation of the feed on Instagram and Facebook or the messaging that was coming through in our conversation in a way that made it seem like things weren't as bad as sometimes they were, or that I'd figure certain things out that I hadn't. And now I am just, like, a fully transparent, totally comfortable to own all of the good, but also, and maybe even more so, all of the bad, because one, that's who I am. But in that ownership, people see themselves more in the failures that you've learned from or the shame that you carried or the mistakes that you made than they do sometimes in the success, because the failures, the struggle, they're way more universal than some of the successes are. And so if you're looking in an online world to connect with the humanity that you are in community with, you've just got to be honest about what you're going through. And that was really the experience of this book writing.
AMY: Okay, I want to talk to you about some of the challenges that you went through before you started writing the book and kind of what made its way into the book. But before I even get there, you just reminded me of something.
I had an experience the other day where I was invited to speak to a group of, like, fifteen entrepreneurial women, and they’re women that are doing big things, kicking butt. This is an amazing group, okay? And on my way, driving over there, I got on the phone with one of my team members, and I started crying. I was overwhelmed. People needed stuff from me. I was way behind. Like, I'm crying on my way to talk about what a badass I am about being a female entrepreneur. I’m like, I am a hypocrite. I can't tell these women I just cried on my way here, because they're looking for me to tell them how to crush it, how to do great things, and how to keep going. But you're saying you think sharing the ugly stuff, the not-so-sexy stuff, is actually the best way to go.
DAVE: I do. I mean, I think it's a good business plan. I think it's good for connecting with people that you're trying to influence. But more than that—I mean, those in and of themselves would be good reasons. More than that, I recently had an experience where I tried to, in looking back at where pain had presented itself in my life over the last couple of years, my practical mind needed to try to understand the consistent ingredients that were there every time pain showed up. And one of the places for me where almost every single time I was having insecurity, having imposter syndrome, having some kind of fear-based, identity-based pain, there was a thing that was there every single time. And that for me was this dissonance that existed between who I was telling people I was and who I knew myself to actually be. And sometimes it was, I was suggesting that I had it all together or that I understood a topic or that I was killing it when I knew myself not to be. And that dissonance was creating in me something that made me feel like the integrity was off. I was not being myself, and I wasn't owning the bad with the good.
But there were other times where I was doing work and being recognized for work without having actually put in the effort. An example that I'll give: like, if I say that I want to be a thought leader in this space, then I have to be someone who is just wildly a consumer of books and podcasts, challenging myself to be introduced to the different ways people are thinking so that I can develop my own perspectives and opinions on what is being taught and have my own thoughts come from it. And for a long time I struggled with liking to read. I just didn't like to read. And I've been given some gifts. My ability to speak could have me faking it a little bit for an audience to actually—like, man, they could take what I'm saying and think it really smart. But if it's not actually informed by having spent the time in the conferences or spent the time in the books or spent the time doing the homework, they may not know, but I will know.
And the thing you have to—right? It could be good, but it's good business or it could be that it's effective in helping get you sales. But when you're falling asleep at night, when you are by yourself, how you think about yourself when you're by yourself is the truest test to whether you ought to own who you are truly and fully. Because the times when I was representing that I was something that I wasn't, I may have been effective in convincing the masses that everything was great, thank you very much. But the dissonance that existed between who I was representing, this mask, this image of myself that I was putting on, and who I knew myself to be in the privacy of my own head as my head's hitting the pillow at night, that was creating this dissonance that was creating pain.
AMY: Gotcha. So because you knew that there wasn't total integrity there and honesty and openness, that's the part that you started to kind of examine more and more. And that truly is what's coming out in the book. So talk to me about some of these personal challenges that you had on your way to eventually writing this book.
DAVE: Well, I mean, it started with me being in a place, in this weird transition from my thirties to forties, where I started asking a bigger set of questions about why I was on this planet, why I'd been given gifts that I wasn't having to fully exploit, while I was doing work inside of an environment that from the outside everything looked ideal. I'd been working in entertainment for twenty years. I spent the last seventeen of those years at Disney, and the last seven of those years as the head of sales at the studio, where, with Marvel and Lucas and Pixar and Disney, I am selling the very best movie product. So on the outside, it's like this is the dream job. This is amazing.
And because I'm at forty years old, asking these questions about why I don't feel like I'm in a position to fully utilize some of the potential that I've been given because my team is so good and the leadership is so good and the intellectual property I’m selling is so good that I don't have to work as hard to do well at my job, it creates for me this crisis, this identity problem, of who am I and why am I here?
And instead of doing some of the work to figure that out, I, for a couple of years’ worth of time, just really got stuck. I got in my own way. I started withdrawing from my family, not showing up as well as I should have to my wife and my kids, and wrote a book about getting out of your own way as I’m talking now about what it took over the course of the last three years of time to really understand why I found myself in this self-inflicted ditch and what it took to follow a trail of breadcrumbs out of it so that in having found my way out, if you in any way relate to some of the lies I was believing that got me there in the first place, you can stay out of, get out of your own way, too.
I had the benefit of being married to Rachel Hollis, something that most people can't say. In this window of time, while I am struggling, she'd gone through some things that she was struggling with, too. She'd struggled with some anxiety. She'd struggled with some coping mechanisms. And she decided to go on this journey of understanding herself better so that in thinking differently with mindset or working differently through habits and routines, she was able to, in this personal-development journey, just become a better, stronger, different kind of person who could withstand some of the stuff that was previously in her way.
And I am watching her become this better version of herself while I’m stuck, descending, truly. Like, we are on divergent trajectories. And that distance between who I was becoming and who she was becoming was widening every day. And we had the hardest, hardest conversation ever and most important of our marriage when at one point she said, “Hey, if we stay on these paths, and I continue to grow while you continue to not, will we still go on dates in three months? Will we still make out in a year? Will we still be married in three years?” And I knew the answer.
It was like the kind of “paddles to the chest” moment that I needed to really jolt myself into action. And the action became a whole bunch of these steps that I end up outlining in the book. But I first had to decide that personal development was something that was for me, and doing some work in therapy was a requirement, and not worrying about what other people think has to come with it, and choosing truly, for me, first, leaving something I knew—the Walt Disney Company—for something I needed—pursuing growth with my wife and chasing things at the Hollis Company—was the next step.
AMY: Okay, so, Dave, this is so important because a lot of those that are listening are female aspiring entrepreneurs, and they're going after this big thing. They're changing their mindset. They're working on their self-development. They're just in it. And their spouse is like, “Whoa, you've gone a little crazy. I'm not pacing with you.” And they tell me. They're like, “I don't have the support system at home.” So before we get into so many more questions I have for you around what everything you just said, my first thought was, can you give some advice for that woman that the spouse or partner does not really get it right now? Because I don’t think the answer is “she has to work to change him,” right?
DAVE: Oh, yeah. No. I mean, like I said, there’s a few things at play. If you're a woman married to a man, and he's not yet on board with development, I'm going to argue as a man who was not on board with development, as Rachel was just truly becoming the very best version of herself, part of it was some wiring from the way that I was raised in society, through masculinity, some conversation about my family of origin, believing certain things or not, some honestly came out of a religious background where if you reached for tools that didn't have someone with a Bible in their hand, it was somehow sacrilegious. There were a whole host of things that worked for me, and Rachel had to, like you will, listener, have to make the decision, does Dave’s groan, when I wake up early to pursue my side hustle, is his groan more important or powerful than my dream? Is my interest in finding a solution for my anxiety more important than making him uncomfortable? Because I definitely represented my discomfort.
I was not complicit in my wife becoming the best version of herself, which is a terrible thing to have to confess. But it was not about her becoming a better version of herself. It was this insecure, not even probably totally conscious reaction to this possibility that her becoming better, if I didn't, would have her outgrowing me, that if she became—not if but when—she became this evolved next level of herself, she might wise up and decide that she doesn't want to be with somebody that's like me who's stuck and struggling. And so like a crab in a pot, one crab starts to get to the edge and pulls itself up. And what's the crab that's left in the pot do? Pulls that crab back down.
You have mediocre people in your circle or in your life. You've got a sister-in-law or a mother that they see you start to break away from the pack. You start to emerge in your business or in your personal-development journey, and in your emerging into a better version of yourself, as you start to create space between you and them, man, mediocre’s always trying to pull people back to mediocre because they're threatened by the possibility of you outgrowing them. And that’s the posture I was in.
Now, Rachel definitely, there were a few times where she asked if I was interested in participating in something that she was receiving great benefit from. Usually, I said no. Thank you, but no.
But I did, more than any other thing that was effective, witness firsthand the influence of her consistency to her own process. And the way that she was able to be the beneficiary of this work that she was doing for herself, it was a rope that was thrown over the edge of this thing I was down inside of that I could use to help climb out of. She was holding a light, her own light source, so far down a path of her own journey that I was able to, like a trail of breadcrumbs, follow it out of where I'd been stuck.
And so if you're listening and you find yourself in this space, do what you need to do, do what you want to do, but from my experience, I would not push them wanting to do this on them. Show them how your belief in this being a thing that is for you can produce fruit and results, and then let their curiosity become the thing that in it being their idea to show up for their life actually affords them the kind of transformation that you'd hoped for.
AMY: Oh, Dave, that’s so, so insightful because I've never gotten to talk to anybody who would willingly admit, I didn't support my spouse and I didn't show up that way, and then this is what it looked like for me and this is how I got there. I think you just gave a gift to many people. So thanks for being honest around that. I knew you would be honest, but thank you.
DAVE: This book is littered, honestly, like, of course, do I wish I could grab my old self by the lapels sometimes and shake myself? But there are plenty of examples included in this book about times when I thought it was love showing up to try to stifle some grandiose dream of hers so that she wouldn't be disappointed. Or I thought that it was me protecting her from publishing her book because of what it might mean to be as vulnerable as she was being. That was misguided. I was being led down a path that the fear was the thing dragging me, and it wasn't truly love as much as it was my own insecurity.
And the headline is, I'm happy to admit it if it affords someone else the breakthrough of being able to identify it in their own life, in the hopes that in their seeing some of their story in these, they can maybe ask a better set of questions and do some different work.
AMY: Amen to that.
Okay, so in your book you talk about this idea of the “shoulds” and how a lot of us have these old beliefs, or these “shoulds” that are ingrained in us from a very young age. And I was hoping that you could talk about that concept, and then how do they hold us back? What does that look like? because I think people really start to see it in their life if you kind of explain it a little.
DAVE: Well, I mean, we live inside of an identity frame that has been defined for us by someone or something else, for the most part, as we’re growing up. So our family of origin is telling us how good girls are or good boys are. Society at large is defining for us what masculinity or femininity looks like. The church is defining what—like, any of the social constructs that we afford weight to are telling us how we should be. And it’s reinforced, in some way, by a circle of people that we’ve given weight to that if we were to deviate from the way we should be, would judge us for having been that way.
I mean, the most obvious one—knowing that you attract a community of female entrepreneurs like Rachel does, I don't ever get this question, but Rachel gets it all the time.
AMY: This one kills me. I’m ready. Go ahead. I know what you’re going to say.
DAVE: The question of what pursuing this work will do to our children. “What will this do to our children” is a question that Rachel gets a lot that Dave Hollis, her husband, does not get. And the question has an implication associated to it because of the gender-norm-role assumption of what women should or shouldn't do and how hard it is in that context for a woman to both be an entrepreneur and a good mom.
You couldn't possibly be a good mom and have ambition, which, of course, I just wholesale and completely disagree with, but there are people or there are portions of society—and certainly it's different generationally, and the older generation feels a little more attached to it, relatively speaking—but the decision that you're going to have to make, whether it's this or any of the examples of what we should be, is if you afford weight to the people or the structures that told you that was how you were supposed to be. Right? Our identity’s been informed by these things. They are coming from a source. Is that source still credible? Does that source's credibility have a place in your family, in your business, in your life? If the answer is yes, okay, they better than be aligned to your personal, professional, and family values, because if you are letting them in, they are by definition a part of your values. If your personal professional values are misaligned with what society or your mother-in-law or the other moms of PTA or anyone else have to say about how you're operating your life, be free.
And when somebody asks, “What will this do to our kids?” I always say they are saying it in the wrong tone of voice. I have three boys. They are thirteen, eleven, and seven. They will not, for one second of their lives, question if a woman can be a two-time number-one New York Times’ bestselling author, sell out stadiums, run a boardroom, have a clothing line and a product line at Target. They will not question for one second that a woman can do that. What will this do to your children? It will fundamentally change the way that they think about what women can do. And they can do both. They can both be killer entrepreneurs and killer moms.
I also have a daughter. What will this do to your children? My daughter will never need to read a book that my wife wrote called Girl, Stop Apologizing, because she has never, one time in her life—almost three—seen my wife apologize for who she is. She was created to do this work. And in having not just been created to do this work, but then have the courage, against the current of other people questioning whether or not she should, deciding to do this work has modeled for my daughter what it means to live unapologetically with the gifts that you have been given to give them back to the world. It's crazy to me. Honestly, this single example makes my blood boil. I could go into what it means to be a real man or what it means to be a real—truly anything. And all of it, any of it only matters if you decide to afford it weight, and if you do, you better make sure you're asking the question in the right tone of voice.
AMY: Oh. So good. I love what you said about that. And I love hearing you talk about Rachel in that way, because I know you believe in her more than anything in the world. So that is just so special.
Now, I'm going to ask you a question that I wasn't actually going to bring up, but before we started this podcast, you said I get to ask you anything, even if it's uncomfortable or awkward. And it might not be awkward or uncomfortable for you, but it kind of is for me.
DAVE: Are we going blue? Are you going to take this into an inappropriate place, Amy Porterfield?
AMY: It’s not inappropriate.
DAVE: Be careful; kids could be listening.
AMY: It’s not inappropriate, but it's always been an awkward conversation that Hobie and I have had publicly a few times now, so we're getting over it. But your situation's a little bit different, but let me set it up.
So I started my online business, hardly was making any money. Hobie's a firefighter. We're pretty kind of even there. My business takes off, and I'm making way more money than Hobie will ever make as a firefighter, okay? And so we started having conversations of what that means because of our upbringing of the guy makes the money, and we both have stay-at-home moms, so that was really different than us. So Hobie and I have had that conversation. He's been honest. Like, I really struggled with it in the beginning because it felt awkward to me, and what did it say about me?
So for you, your situation’s not necessarily the same. You had a big, corporate, amazing, impressive job, but you left that job, and now you are working alongside Rachel, and she's a frickin’ big deal. And I want you to talk about the fact that she's done all this stuff. She is a big deal. She's making tons of money. You're making it with her now. But did this change the dynamic in any way? Did you have to humble yourself? Did you have to take a “you should be the breadwinner,” and turn it on its head? Like, can you tell me some honest feelings you have around that whole thing?
DAVE: Yeah. I was humbled by it.
AMY: Okay, I didn’t know that, actually.
DAVE: Oh. So, I mean, what's interesting is I was unaware of it being important until it emerged. I lived for—we've been married almost sixteen years—I lived for fourteen of those years as the primary breadwinner of our family. And as much as we were both always working, my work was placed where more of the value to creates our security and be able to do stuff with our—buying a house or whatever it might be might come from.
And there was something that I, again, unconsciously had associated in my having this ability to afford us the things in our life that was connected somehow to the way that Rachel felt about me in our marriage. And again, I wasn't aware of it at the time. But when I left the Walt Disney Company, and it coincides with Rachel's Girl, Wash Your Face, selling three million copies in the first year that we've left, we make the decision to do this before the book comes out. It is a just unbelievable pivot point in our business, and in it taking off opens up the events business, working in coaching, working in—everything's working.
Rachel has in the first year after I've left the Walt Disney Company, a year that's bigger in terms of her financial contribution to our family than the ten previous years I had at Disney. I left as the president of distribution. I had a good job, and she had a very big year, and it messed with me. And the reason why it messed with me was that on some unconscious level, as she, for the fifteen previous years, had been working in a business that she was scaling, the times when she decided to pivot into a new business venture and the “will it or won't it work?” moments were there, I always represented the backstop, the safety net that, hey, if this thing goes sideways, don't worry, I've got it covered. And as much as there weren't very many times where she truly had to come and be like, “Uh oh, I made a mistake. I went into the floral business. Floral isn’t working. Let's get out of the floral business,” there really, truly weren't very many of those instances, but because it existed as a thing just in case, I had given some weight to that need as being part of why she wanted to be with me. And so now, in the absence of her needing me, because she doesn't need me at all, will she want me?
As I wrote about—there is a chapter in the book. The lie was, if you don't need me, you won't want me. And I, in some ways, can see what a disservice I'd put on our love for having made it contingent on my ability to provide for her. And so as much as from an identity standpoint it was disarming and jarring to process this reality, it also, in the absence of my provision, created a depth to our love, not needing that provision, in a way that made it richer and better.
I still had to go through this wild moment of who am I in this relationship if I'm not providing for you? And what role do I play if you don’t need me to show up in that capacity? And what it took for me—and I don’t know if you are in relationship with someone, have created a business, and are looking for some answer for how you're able to feel better about the situation—the way I was able to come full circle, to be able to fully appreciate and process this as an absolutely “for me” kind of thing is coming back to my why at that crossroads between thirty and forty. Why am I on this planet? What are these gifts for? What is the legacy of my life, for the meaning of my life, going to be twenty years from now, forty years from now?
And as I continue to come back to that answer, the answer always was inside the word impact, and impact was about affording people, through the tools that we were creating, an opportunity to take control of and change their life. Well, my life is a vessel for impact. And when I could really get connected to the way that I could unleash my superpowers as an operator and integrator into a space where she is the visionary lifeforce of the company, all bets were off. Like, forget it. Katy, bar the door. This thing’s going to go to Mars. And in it hitting Mars, the impact in part because of me being complicit in using my behind-the-scenes skill to fully unleash to help really syndicate the message and have it go across platform was part of how I could connect to, “Oh, I have great value here. And if she wants to make it rain all day, I am going to celebrate that that rain is a reflection of the people whose lives are being changed because of their willingness to take the work that she's doing that we're getting out there together and take their lives into their own hands to make the changes that’ll change them forever.
AMY: So good. And also, you've carved your way independently in some ways, because—I know we're not here to promote it, but I still want to talk about it—you have a coaching program, and it's just you, and out of the gate, did incredibly well from the get-go.
And one thing I got to say is, guys, we were behind the scenes at RISE-this is why I love Dave so much—we are behind the scenes at RISE. And he had come into the green room, and he looked kind of like a little tired, a little flustered, and I could tell he was out in the mob of people. And you said, “Look, I'm going to touch lives, one person at a time, one hug at a time, one smile at a time, one conversation at a time.” And then I go out there to the mobs of people, and there you are, right in the center, literally a line around the corner. But one by one, you were talking to people. That's something that most people are not willing to do, Dave.
DAVE: I’m running for mayor, literally.
AMY: They do call you “the mayor” over there, don’t they.
DAVE: I'm running for mayor every single place I go. Well, here's the headline. I have so much respect for the work my wife does and who my wife is and how her wiring was so inspiring to me and helped me have transformation in my own life, I’ve been Rachel Hollised by Rachel Hollis. I'm super, super grateful for having been the beneficiary of the way that she sees the world, but I don't see the world the way that she sees it. I am not wired like my wife.
And the question of impact and how I could play a role that was complementary to hers was, is there the possibility that in my ability to story tell through the lens of someone who is skeptical of tools, through the lens of someone who was not on the same wavelength as she with mindset, as someone who does not have the kind of “wake up in the morning” belly burning—like, she's a heat source of motivation. I am not motivated that way. I’m way more extrinsically motivated. She’s way, every day, more internally motivated. And so as I start in this partnership of ours, through the podcast, through the morning show, representing just who I am, I start seeing more and more in the comments, more and more in the DMs and the emails, “Man, I can relate to you. I also struggle with fixed mindset. Man, I can relate to you. I'm super skeptical. I can relate to you.” And that was the beginning. That was like the seed.
But then also, we're serving an audience that is unbelievably more female than male. And to a person, there are—it's not universal, but there is a large majority who have in their pairing someone, as they're married to men or in relationship with men, that doesn't feel the same thing in their development journey. And they're interested in understanding a little bit of how, with wiring like mine, maybe they can have a breakthrough with this person they love in their life.
And so then it's like, okay, God, the universe, I was looking at this bridge between thirty and forty for the why, the what, the legacy. And I'm now two years into the legacy of my life. I had a full career. I had a lot of accomplishment that could have otherwise been, for many other people, the thing at the end of their life would have been written in their obituary, and the things that’ll be written in my obituary, the videos that are shown at my funeral fifty years from now are going to have very little to do with the first forty years of my life. It is all about what’s coming ahead and my ability to step into this space, even as it's in the shadow of my amazing wife, even as it's completely different than her teaching style, I think part of why I will have the kind of effect that I will and do the work that, again, can live side by side hers is because of it being different and because of it acknowledging that I want to try to meet people where they are if they relate at all to how I'm wired.
AMY: Okay. So good. Two takeaways from that. One, it's never too late to make a pivot or to transform yourself or to change direction—not that you were that old, but you were really deep into your career. People would have thought you were crazy for leaving. So no matter what your current situation looks like, if you're called to do something different or to change your life for the better, it is never too late. So that part is big.
And also this idea that you're different than Rachel and you know you have something different to offer and not everybody looks at their life the way she can. She's a unicorn. I tell her this all the time. And so I love that you're, like, I've got something to offer. And your coaching is incredible. So I just want to give that a shout out.
DAVE: Thank you. You wanted to just address real quick. For someone who’s listening and feels like I’m too young or too old or too this or too that, if that worry is in any way connected to what other people might think of you trying to do something because of this qualification or limitation you're suggesting they might judge you for, let me give you a free piece of advice: no one is thinking about you.
AMY: Okay, Hobie tells me this all the time. Repeat that one more time.
DAVE: Amy Porterfield, Hobie is a prophet. You need to spend more time honoring Hobie’s wisdom.
No one is thinking about you. And I say this having come from a place where as the head of distribution at the biggest movie studio during the most prolific run in the history of movies, I decided to leave a job that nobody does. And I waited to leave, even though I knew I was getting more and more stuck for not leaving, because of worrying about what other people would think. And I can tell you, and this is not an indictment on any human I have ever known or worked with, they are not thinking about me now. They were not thinking about me then. They had a beautiful going away party. I got some hand-drawn animation. I got all the things. And the day after I was gone, they were back to their lives, just like you, the listener, are. Because we are all—you, too, Amy, even though you should be thinking about Hobie more often—we are all thinking about ourselves. That's humanity, right?
And so one of the most unbelievable gifts in this transition for me has been the freedom that comes in the 100 percent confirmation that nobody is thinking about me. And it's part of why I can say and do whatever I want as long as it's consistent with my personal values, I keep the integrity of who I am, because if someone doesn't like it, so what? Literally, who cares?
In the book, I reference this idea that we as people are under some crazy illusion that we're free ice cream. You're not free ice cream. You cannot make everyone happy. You cannot make everyone happy. And the story I tell in the book is like, look, I cannot stand the Lord of the Rings. Like, I can't stand it. And my not liking the Lord of the Rings doesn't make it unlikable. There's a whole host of reasons why I don't like Lord of the Rings, but I have absolute proof because of the billions of dollars of box office and millions of fans that exist around the world that there are people that love it. And I don't. And it should exist and it should be loved, and me not loving it doesn't make it any less lovable. I hate The Hobbit that came from the Lord of the Rings for the exact same reasons. And they also are loved by people, right?
You're going to do things in your entrepreneurial journey. You’re going to put out courses and content and social, and it’s going to suck. But it’s going to work for some people that need it. To a person, we could have 100 people have life-affecting, life-affirming new perspective, change their life forever. But because ten people told us that we are terrible, we would stop ourselves from creating because we wanted to keep the ten people happy instead of changing the lives of 100. That is idiotic. That is egotistical. That is the insecurity of your fourth-grade self, letting the possibility of the rest of your life unfold. Let that go. It's ridiculous.
AMY: So good. I’m going to steal that and say it a million times, “You are not free ice cream.” That is so good, Dave.
DAVE: You’re not free ice cream.
AMY: Sometimes I think I am, though.
DAVE: Hobie is free ice cream.
AMY: Moving on. I’m going to do a little pivot here because one of the things my listeners wanted me to ask you the most was this idea of feeling stuck. And I know that you can offer some advice here. So a lot of those are listening, they're still in a nine-to-five job, and their online business is a side hustle. You know this audience from Rachel's audience as well. And they're just filling stuck, like this is not happening fast enough. I don't even know what I'm doing half the time. I want to get out of this job, but I'm stuck there. Or just stuck, like my launches aren't working. This doesn't feel right. And so what advice can you give, what motivation can you help them find when they are stuck?
DAVE: Well, I mean, my stuck was very much connected to not being in a posture where I could grow, or, said another way, where I was not in a situation where I could fail. So I was doing things that I could do—again, because of the strength of what had been around me—in my sleep. I got high grades for it, well paid, I had a good title, but my feeling stuck was connected to not having the opportunity to fail. And so the first thing I would suggest is if you're in a situation where you're doing the same things and it's not really taking you into places where you could truly be exposed as not getting it right, you could truly be exposed for having gone for it and falling on your face, push yourself into that space. And it's easier said than done because nobody loves the idea of running towards failure. But you will feel unstuck if you are having to dust yourself off and learn, acquire the data of failure, right? Failure is just offering you the instructions on where you can get better and yet we’re, just as people, so resistant to failing, we’re so resistant to what other people might think of us for having tried something and failed. But if you feel stuck or you’re in a place where it just has gotten a little too routine, push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and all of a sudden you will feel the “drinking from the fire hydrant” feeling that is, holy cow, I'm going to learn and maybe be a little exposed and trigger some of my insecurities, and in that space, acquire some new skills. That's the first and best piece of advice.
The only other thing that kind of comes to mind, especially in this online-selling market is if you are selling something that is disconnected from what you believe or who you are, people will feel that. And so you have to get connected to your belief in it being criminal for you to not convert a sale, or you're not going to convert a sale. Either you need to find a way to reposition the way that you're connected to the benefit to the consumer, or you need to be more honest in your storytelling about how the benefits of what you're selling have affected you in your real life in a way that exposes you a little bit to not being as perfect as you have maybe portrayed yourself to be in your online persona.
And that's hard, but I'm only speaking out of a place of where I've been able to watch its effectiveness. We really try to own the ways of us applying the tools that we are in real life attempting to make available to other people as having an effect on our own.
I am running a marathon on Sunday. We have been talking about the power of moving your body, and after having run—I've run twenty half marathons in the last six months. I’m running a full marathon on Sunday because I'm trying to put my money where my mouth is. I can't tell this community to move your body and then not myself get on these dang roads. I'm putting in some of this work so that I can go and do some things that make me feel uncomfortable as I'm representing the power of embracing discomfort.
So if you're selling something that's inconsistent with the way that you're showing up for yourself, to me it comes through. And so there's so many messages, there's so many things that people have to kind of figure out what they're going to gravitate towards in a world of hyper curation. If you can be the thing that breaks out because of your owning who you are and what you are, it'll be something that connects because it will be more connected to that universal struggle we talked about at the beginning of the show, which exists everywhere in a way that some of the curated stuff doesn't actually feel like is real because everyone's dealing with something wherever they are.
AMY: Oh, so very true. And the thing is, your entire book is getting out of your own way and making way for this person that you truly are and who you're meant to be. And on the show, we get really tactical. So we tend to give specific how-to strategies that people can try right away, and I know you've got some of those. And I was wondering if we could talk about some practices to shift your thoughts when you know what you're thinking right now—the “should haves, would haves, could haves” all of that stuff that comes up—is not serving you. So what can my listeners do to actually snap themselves out of that?
DAVE: Well, I think, first, you have to have unbelievable clarity of who you actually want to be. If you don't right now have a list of your personal value or the five things that you believe in capital-T truths—the absolutes of your life; there's no compromise; doesn't matter what else is introduced in your life, these are the things that matter—if you don't have those things, you have to, first, have a list of those things. What do you stand for? That's the first thing. What do you stand for?
Once you know what you stand for, then you can actually define who you have to play in the role of your life to have those things come together in the story. So I call them operating principles. Once I have my personal values defined, I had to make a list of the ten things that I would have to do on a very consistent, every single day kind of basis to have someone describe me in my absence the way I'd hoped to be described.
If I was not available to make it to the job interview for the job of my dreams, and I sent in a proxy who has been witness to me consistently behaving, would they be able to represent what I am, who I am, how I show up, the values I embody, because of the way that they were able to watch me consistently acting out my operating principles every single day? If you're consistent in it, the answer should be yes. They’re the secret shopper in your life. They happened to be watching when you're not paying attention. Your integrity is doing what you know to be who you are when you don't even think anyone's paying attention. So I'd start with that.
Then, I'd say you need to connect to a why that is bigger than the unpredictability of life. Life is going to show up and throw stuff in your way that is going to try to knock you off the track. It's going to try to distract you from staying consistent to your operating principles. So you need to connect to something that's bigger.
I call it and talk about it in the book as leverage. And for me, there's two kinds of leverage. You can paint a picture of something that's so unbelievable that you believe you are capable of growing into, and the way that that future version of yourself makes you feel is such a strong feeling that you can attach to it and connect to it, and that becomes your why. And it's motivating in the days you don't want to do it. It's beautiful. It smells like Febreze. It’s fantastic. I don't go to that leverage.
Some people love the positive leverage. I go the other way, and I go super dark. I go, what is the possibility of me not living up to my potential? What is the possible outcome of my life where I haven't shown up the way that I suggest that I want to consistently when the secret shoppers of my life are watching?
And I went so far as to think of a very specific scene, a movie sequence of my life. At the time I was forty, so I painted this picture for twenty years in the future. But you can do it for any time in the future. I imagined the sixtieth birthday party, where twenty years in my future, my now-adult children, we’re sitting around a table, raising a glass to honor the way that I impacted their life and the pride that they had for the way I showed up for mine in the last two decades of time.
And there's two different versions of that story. There's one version where they are saying the greatest things ever. I'm sobbing like a baby. They're sobbing. Their young children, they’re sobbing, because I have so fully lived into and embodied every single thing that God put in me, and I've given everything I can to impacting this world.
And then there's another version of that dinner where some of my kids don't show up, and the ones who do don't have anything to say. And it's a thing I can start crying about it, thinking about it, because I know if I give in to my coping mechanisms, if I give in to depending on being motivated to go chase down what I have inside of me, that I could very easily end up at a dinner that no one shows up to. And that wakes me up in the night. That is a thing that on the days that I don't want to go out to that stupid garage gym, I am out there because I have to manufacture the energy to show up and do this damn work.
And so it starts by defining what you believe in. It then goes to identity. Who are you? Now that you know what you believe in, who do you have to be? What role do you have to play every single day consistently to have somebody say those things about you when you're not in the room? And then what's the leverage that would afford you the blessing of being able to stay on it on the days that you don't feel like it? When seasonal stuff shows up and tries to knock you off course, your why has to be so damn strong that you'd be broken at the possibility of getting to the end of your life with regret for not having fully unleashed what was possible for you.
AMY: Okay. This is good. This is so good and so actionable. So I'm going to put you on the spot really fast. Tell me one of your values, and then tell me an operating principle that goes along with it. I want people to get an example because I want you guys to get off this podcast and do this exercise.
DAVE: One of mine is growth. I call it better tomorrow, as in every single day, I will be a better version of myself tomorrow. And my third operating principle is taking assignments that put me outside of my comfort zone. For me, I identified my operating principles when I was leading teams through the years so that it was a faster way to get to know the values of me as a leader and what was expected of them as they aspire to be leaders.
But becoming a better version of myself tomorrow, it doesn't have a destination. It is something that perpetually puts me in places where I do not do it well, but in not doing it well, I am able to learn and grow. And the hardest conversation we had with our team about this idea of better tomorrow was right around the beginning of this brand new decade, telling them, “Hey, we've got a vision for what we believe this company to be headed toward in 2025. And the things that we are going to do in scaling this business and introducing new businesses, the complexity that will be introduced, not one of you sitting around this table is capable of being invited to that leadership table in 2025 with the skills you possess today. And that includes me because I am not strong enough a COO, I'm not strong enough an integrator, I’m not strong enough a person today to do all the things we're going to do unless I'm willing to go on this pursuit of pushing myself outside of where I am comfortable to learn new skills so that I can actually sit at that table five years from now.”
And whoever's listening, you say you want your online business to scale and grow? Okay, well, you don't have the skills that you need to run the online business you want five years from now. And that's not an indictment on you. That's just a statement of fact. And the sooner that you can appreciate that it's going to take you pushing yourself into environments that you're unfamiliar with, taking chances on things you don't know, sitting around a table with others in a mastermind, signing up for coaching, all of the things, it's going to take you committing to a perpetual pursuit of better tomorrow in order to get to where you want to be.
AMY: Yes and yes.
Dave, this has been an awesome conversation. And the only next step for all of my listeners is to grab your book. It’s called Get Out of Your Own Way: A Skeptic’s Guide to Growth and Fulfillment.” One last question: Who needs to get their hands on your book?
DAVE: All right. Before I answer your question, I would like to say to this audience that I have been witness to the amazingness of Amy Porterfield in person. And she is better in person. She is more generous in person, she is kinder and nicer and more a friend. In a world where chaos has been raining on the Hollis’, your friendship has been a miraculous gift. And so I honor the fact that, yeah, you're an online-marketing genius, and you're wearing cheetah print right now, but no one can see it because it’s a podcast, and you’re married to this dreamboat, Hobie, but you are beyond any of the other things you may accomplish in your professional life, an amazing human, and I am grateful for you. So, thank you.
AMY: Dave, thank you for that. That means the world to me. Thank you.
DAVE: Now, who needs this book, Amy Porterfield? Let me be very, very clear. If you are a woman, if you are a man, or if you are a cyborg, you need to have this book. All of humanity and even anyone who is cyborg sent back from the future.
Here's the thing. I wrote this book for people who are young or old, people who are working in or out of the house, people who are on the first or fifteenth chapter of their career journey, because the things in this book around identity and fear and imposter syndrome and coping mechanisms, habits, and the way that we think we understand somebody else's journey, whatever it might be, they are universal and existing and all of us.
I write, to be honest, in the same way that I have an interview like this with you. I use humor to try to welcome you into an uncomfortable space so that we can, after you've maybe laughed for a second, open yourself to the possibility of doing some work on a thing that sometimes you don't want to have to deal with. And the only way I could be really, really honest about a bunch of stuff that makes me want to cry or feel shame or drink when I now don't was to also crack a little bit of a joke as I'm walking you through the whole thing.
So hopefully, it's an entertaining read, but if anything, I hope that it's a thought-provoking challenge to get out of your own way, to step into who you were meant to be by taking a bunch of lies that all of us believe and making them unbelievable in a way that sets you free.
AMY: Well, that was perfect. That was exactly what I was hoping you'd say, because that is my listener right there. So you guys got to grab the book. I will be linking to it in the show notes, but you could also find it wherever they sell books online.
Dave, thanks so much for being a true friend as well as somebody that motivates me and inspires me, and now you’ve done that for my listeners as well. So thanks again.
DAVE: Good work, Amy Porterfield.
AMY: Talk to you soon.
AMY: So there you have it. I hope you loved this interview with Dave as much as I did. He is just such a great guy to talk about. Make sure you go grab his book. And I will see you here same time, same place, next week. Bye for now.