266: Burn The Boats, With Matt Higgins

June 13, 2023

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Dr. Pelè (00:00):
Hello, happy people. Welcome to the Profitable Happiness Podcast. Hello everyone. This is Dr. Pelè with the Profitable Happiness Podcast, and today I have with me CEO and co-founder at RSE Ventures, the author of "Burn the Boats." Oh my goodness. You're gonna have to tell us what that's all about and an all around nice guy, Matt Higgins. How are you doing today?

Matt Higgins (00:29):
I'm doing great, doctor. Thank you for having me. A little jealous of that hat, but, uh, <laugh> appreciate it. I don't think I can pull it off.

Dr. Pelè (00:36):
Oh my goodness. Matt, I wanna start by asking you, probably the most important question, when people think about a book called Burn the Bolts, <laugh>, there's a little bit of trepidation, burn them, all of them, like have no safety nets. Is that what you're saying here? Tell us about the challenge, the central core challenge that your book and your approach and philosophy addresses for organizations.

Matt Higgins (00:59):
Well, first of all, my book is meant to engender that response in you <laugh>. It's a, it's meant to provoke, because I'm saying, if, if you wanna go down this journey, it's gonna be a little bit uncomfortable. And the book could have been very soft pedalling like, you know, maybe, maybe, you know, set use sparkles on the boat. You know what I mean? <laugh>. But, so, but actually, all kidding aside, the book is a little, the covers a little bit of a Trojan horse, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so let's start, let's start with the phrase, but the phrase goes back to the beginning of military history. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, every culture, every society has a Fable, military general that was out numbered a hundred to one. And what did they do in order to succeed? Two things. One, they burned the boats and they eliminated their food provisions and they won.

(01:38):
The story is often attributed to Cortez in 1519. Very bad man, don't emulate him. But what's what's interesting is, actually, it goes back to the beginning of recorded history. Soon Sue in the Art of War and 500 bc uh, Chinese have a story that was a Muslim crusader, uh, named, uh, mu Muslim general name, uh, Tariq in 7-Eleven, Concord, Spain. Like, there are all these incredible stories of military leaders tapping in to something that their soldiers didn't realize they had, which is another level of commitment. And so I thought, what is it about this idea that's so counterintuitive? We're taught to be prudent and have backup plans. I, I have dealt with anxiety in the past, imposter syndrome, shame from growing up poor. So I'm not the one who was born self-possessed. And as I started doing research, but the research is proven, which blows people's minds, is that actually just thinking about a backup plan undermines your true purpose, your plan A, and number two, it actually makes you much less interested in achieving it.

(02:36):
So everything we've been taught as little children and by society is not true. Now, anyone listening would say, that doesn't pass the smell test. I gotta pay my rent. I gotta pay my bills. What did I set out to do? I set out to demonstrate that the metaphorical votes in your life, whether shame, anxiety, and whatnot, are the things that are preventing you from fully committing. And how do you process risk at the beginning of your journey when you go all in on something so that you don't keep looking over your shoulder the entire time. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, my entire, we can get into it my entire crazy life from dropping outta high school when I was 16, living on government cheese. Still keep the box. It doesn't have the cheese anymore. But the <laugh> behind me to ending up on the faculty of Harvard Business School, a shark on Shark Tank owning some of these beloved brands is all owed to the title of the book. And that little boat right there is not some pagan symbol. It's a, it's a childhood boat in my bathtub that I needed to burn first in order to keep my full potential.

Dr. Pelè (03:32):
Wow. Wow. You know, um, I can just imagine employees in an organization who fully commit to be engaged because of some of the philosophies you're talking about, or leaders who really show up at work knowing that this is the only option. The success here is what we're looking for. I think that's a, a, a powerful way to look at things. But I tell you, in my life, I've actually seen this work, you know, as a musician, when I decided that I was not gonna go into the world of work without my guitar <laugh>, without my music, it changed my perspective and allowed me to actually show up as a purple cow show up as a unique, different, uh, thinker. So I think that there's a lot of power here, and I want to explain,

Matt Higgins (04:16):
But I love that actually, can we spend for one second on that with a side? Cause people ask me to like, explain what the difference is, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and I say, you burn the boats for goals, not tactics, right? So your goal was to be a musician, right? Yep. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, and, and what happens is we, we create backup plans to, to, to mitigate the psychological discomfort of wanting something so much mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? Like, you want to be a musician. So what happens is your backup plan ends up a, uh, a, a way to achieve the subordinate goal. Well, I needed a job. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So in your case, you could go work at a record store, right? Cuz you love music. That's very different than being a musician, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so that's what often happens. We create these backup plans in order to alleviate the pain of wanting something so bad. Wow. But the pain, you know, when you try to do something really hard, like me, and, and we can get into how I ended up at the faculty of Harvard Business School, like I needed 110% to pull that off, not 95. And that 5% energy liquor would've let you go to Bob's record store. And when me would've let me, you know, settle for some soul crushing job as a lawyer rather than do all the things I've been able to do.

Dr. Pelè (05:19):
Yeah. You know, you know, Matt, I have a saying actually on my wall all the time. It says, A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. And you strike me as someone who has written a book because you've been there, you have walked this walk. I'd love to know if you could tell us how you arrived at being the person with the burn the boat strategy. I mean, look at your, your resume. My goodness, you've been part of Shark Tank. You, you, you have partnerships with, you know, Vaynerchuk. You are just like, gosh, I can't even, I won't even go into your resume. You're gonna have to do that for us. But tell us exactly how you became Matt Higgins, the guy burning the boat says of methodology.

Matt Higgins (06:00):
First of all, thank you. You know, with my resume, although I could care less about this, that stuff, the thing I do care about, and part of why I wrote the book is what happened to me when I was a 16 year old kid. And so I, I grew up in Queens, as I mentioned, but I was a, a product of a disabled divorce mother. And my framework was selling flowers on street corners and scalping tickets and scraping gum under tables at McDonald's, like all this desperation to try to get out of poverty. And my mother's health was declining. She was very obese and had all sorts of, uh, issues. But she left my dad when I was young, and she got her g e d she didn't even have any education, but she was brilliant. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> got her g eed and went to college.

(06:38):
And so my formative viewers were spent praying that the cavalry would come embarrassed. I never had a single person over my house my entire life until I was 26 years old. And so everything was about shame and concealment, but also depression and desperation and a and a degree of self-destructiveness because, you know, you just want somebody to step in and you kind of feel like, why doesn't anybody care? Yeah. And I had an epiphany that was born of capitulation. I realized I no longer am gonna live my life as if things are happening to me. I happen to things. And I would have these conversations with my mother who had been eroded, you know, like, you know, just kind of eroded by life and just felt, she would always debate with me like, you know, that's easy for a kid to say and we'd have these debate.

(07:20):
I said, no, no, no. That's the way I choose to live my life because the alternative sucks. And so I had an epiphany and I I, I was looking at an ad and a penny saer that's a little newspaper. And it said, you know, delivering flyers for a congressman was like $8 an hour. And I was making 3 75 McDonald's. Like, what is it about being a college student that can double my salary overnight? I was like, whatever it is, I gotta get there, <laugh>. And I said, wait a minute. What if I were to drop outta high school at 16? I could start college two years earlier and get that job right? Mm-hmm. And I remember telling my, you know, doing the research and finding out that technically there was no prohibition from that. And I told my teachers and my galls guidance counselors, and they were like, you're crazy.

(07:56):
You're gonna be a loser forever as a high school dropout. It's gonna ruin your life. And, and, uh, interestingly, my mother was the one person who didn't think it was crazy. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, the one gift she gave me was this, uh, unshakeable belief that whatever I set my mind to, I could pull off. But here's where the burn burn. The boats came in. I was under so much pressure from everybody who had no context to get me to conform. I used to get picked up by the Tru and Police of McDonald's and like, and i's like, no, I got a plan. And then I realized I must self sabotage. Mm. I must give myself no way out. And I decided to fail every single class from high school except for one typing, because I knew typing would be useful. <laugh> and I, I would hang out with the kids, the, the drug dealers with the beepers and everything necessary.

(08:35):
And eventually the school and the system wrote me off. I dropped outta high school and I was 16, of course. I thought I then I was like, oh my God, what have I done? This is absolute madness. But I took my gd, my SATs, and I returned to my promise president debate team with a 3.5 gpa. And that single decision took me from high school dropout at 16 in a desperate rush to take care of my mother to making a hundred thousand dollars by the time I was 26 and press secretary to the mayor of New York, uh, the youngest one in history. And my mother died that morning.

Dr. Pelè (09:06):
Oh no.

Matt Higgins (09:06):
And so I say that without any buildup, cuz it's hard for me to talk about all these years later. But it sort of proved to me everything in that 10 year period, the cavalry isn't coming. No one is guaranteed a happy ending. I must put myself in positions which I have no alternative but to succeed. Yeah. And I must block out conventional wisdom if it has no context. I am the greatest expert there will ever be on me. <laugh>. Only I know what ticks only I know what I'm going through. And so the reason why I start there, all the other accolades and credentials that I've achieved were one to help me get to where I wanted to go and, and explore my full potential, but more importantly, to give me the authority to do this interview with you so that anybody listening would not see me as a middle-aged rich, white guy, but see me as the kid eating government cheese who found a way out that you can relate to. So I bled on this book, sharing all these details about my mother and having cancer, getting divorced, you know, to, to model what fa what shame and failure and redemption really looks like. Not some stupid Instagram post. So that I could maybe inspire somebody listening to this right now and say, shit, maybe I can do it if I just went all in. Wow. Am I allowed to curse doctor? Cause Yes,

Dr. Pelè (10:18):
You are, sir. And and I, I, you know, I, I feel like, I feel like saying, damn, because <laugh>, you know, um, you know, your book, the subtitle that, that you've got on your LinkedIn, uh, uh, background here, is that how science proves that just thinking about your backup plan is, is sabotaged. But something you said, uh, just now has as much power for me. And that's when you said you decided that things don't happen to you, you happen to things, you know, I'm just so inspired by that. I I got goosebumps just, just imagining that, that growth process for you. Isn't it

Matt Higgins (10:51):
True though? And I remember I'd sit in the chair with my mother and she, she would tell me, you know, let's just let Oh, a true conversation. You don't understand I'm dying. And for, and I was like, well, I am too. You know what I mean? But what am I gonna do with the time? I don't know when, nor do you, I I'm not gonna live like this. I hate this. Wow. I hate this. We used to take a bus an hour to a church in order to get food and an hour back so that nobody in the neighborhood would see us getting the box of food. You know, I was like, I hate this <laugh>, so I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm gonna do something about it.

Dr. Pelè (11:22):
So here we are, right? Um, yep. You've, you've written this book. I took a look at it, um, before we met actually, and happened to find you on LinkedIn. Um, and I was like, oh my gosh, let me just try and see if he'll talk to me. And you did. So I'm really, really grateful. But I wanna say this, how can we talk about applying this to leaders specifically? Because as you know, you know, uh, they have to burn the boats too in terms of commitment to their goals, their organizations, their employees. Draw for us a line between your books, concepts and how people can tangibly put these into effect in organizations.

Matt Higgins (11:57):
Great. Alright. Let, lemme tell you a quick story. So, um, I, uh, I was, I had a big job at the New York Jets. You know, imagine 16 years old. By the time I was 20, maybe eight or 29, I was running the New York Jets. I was executive, I, I had everybody's dream job. I had an office on the 50 yard line. I had finally gotten to a great place, had a son, three months old. And then I'm driving and I feel a pain in my grind. I'm like, every guy. You're like, ah, yeah, it's nothing <laugh>. And then two days later, I'm, ah, man. And then I went and got it checked out. I went from that pain to having my right test to go cut off and getting, uh, getting radiation intensive radiation therapy, uh, at Sloan Kettering in a short period of time in between <laugh> getting, getting that feeling, going to the doctor, getting confirmed.

(12:44):
The surgery happens like 24 hours later. And I remember meeting my head of HR on a street quarter in New York cuz I didn't want anybody in the office to know that I, I had an issue cause I wanted to change my life insurance beneficiary. But I wanted to meet on a corner. This is how it messed up. My mind was right <laugh>. So I get, I get, I get my right testicle removed. I wake up the next day and all I could think about was that I am gonna be picked apart. That they are gonna think that I'm weak and this is the, and I'm gonna be back in that apartment in Queens and I gotta show them that I am not defeated. I went ahead, there was a di a dinner with all the coaches, uh, and I decide I'm gonna go to that dinner and I go to the dinner, I walk in the room, I have an ice pack in my groin, right?

(13:23):
And I sit down, everyone's looking at me, how you doing? I'm like, I'm fine. You know, Neil half loaded up on Vicodin or whatever and I, and I said, and I said, I said, I wanna raise a glass to a toast. Let me tell you my new motto. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> after the ball's twice. The man, I just got it made on a dog. Tagami, right Now I share that story in the book. And, and people think what they read it, oh, here we go. Here's the bro brag, you know, toughness, whatever. And I actually look back that with, and I cringe in it. And here's why. Years later when I got divorced, and that was something that did defeat me, that did make it impossible for me to conceal it. That moments made it impossible for me to function. It's like every, my life flashed before me.

(14:03):
And I started looking upon that incident when I came to work the next day and said, imagine what it was like to work for me at that moment. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, imagine if you were an employee that meant if anything you were dealing with that was short of getting amputated in a radical surgery very quickly, you better suck it up. And that was my attitude. My attitude was like, Hey, I grew up on government cheese and I'm fine. You should be fine too. And it was like, I was so broken through the divorce. I share that. I shared it in, in there. Yeah. So much pain that I realized when you're a leader, if you don't deal with your own legacy issues mm-hmm. <affirmative>, first of all, they're gonna show up in the workplace. Right. Second of all, if you don't share vulnerability mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that means nobody around you has permission to do so too.

(14:44):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So part of the idea of burn the boats is to self-audit, to be aware and say, what are the boats that are holding me back to realize my full potential? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because I guarantee you, you are perpetuating something in the office that is making it harder for PE to get the best out of people. So I have done a 180 and believe generally you wanna create a lot of space for people to be able to bring their idiosyncrasies, their shame, whatever they're dealing with to the office, because people just perform better. So yeah. I, I reframed that story, which once seemed like a brag to like, what the hell were you doing? You were a child.

Dr. Pelè (15:16):
Wow. You know, I love your central metaphor. And even more than that, I love the way you roll it out in your book. You, you have sort of a three phase process. First you talk about people getting in the water, right? Getting in the water, just get started somewhere, trust your instincts, all of that. And then you move to a phase of helping people understand that they shouldn't ever turn back. And then you talk about inviting more boats. So it's like a three phase process. Take us through that as a, maybe a pathway to explaining how someone can implement, uh, some of these ideas in their lives and in their businesses. Yeah,

Matt Higgins (15:49):
I think, I mean, I think the, the getting in the water is the part of, okay, what, what is it gonna take to make you comfortable? Right. And what's, what's it, what, what are the issues that hold you back from fully committing? So I talk about anxiety and imposter syndrome and how to deal with it. I talk about failure and my own process for failure. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, you know, specifically, I think the first thing we do, and we, and we could just drill down on one of them if you'd like, double. Yeah. The, the failure in particular, I think a lot of the, um, a lot of what you read, there's so much talk now more than there ever has been openly about failure. But it still tells, it doesn't show if that makes sense. Right. It just like tells you failure's, good failures.

(16:24):
Nobody really believes that. Everyone tries to avoid fail failure's. Useful. It doesn't mean failure's desirable. Right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And my process for failure is, is premise on the idea that when we experience a failure, what we first rush out to do is protect our reputation. What, what we should be trying to do is protect our self-esteem, our self-esteem. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, our self-esteem is much more valuable than the supposed reputation. Cuz what we imagine is not true. Anyway. So my four step process for failure and I followed, you know, very specifically is number one, I have to acknowledge that I have failed. I have to take away the power and I have to say it out loud that I have failed. Right. But number two, I am not a failure that I cannot become enmeshed my, my, my identity, my self-esteem cannot become wrapped up in that single act of failure.

(17:08):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, number three, what is failure trying to teach me? In my experience, every single setback I've had and even my mother, I've been able to extract tremendous value that would never have been possible without that setback. That sounds like rhetoric. Except if you look throughout the course of my book, you'll say, oh, that's actually true. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then number four, I'm gonna go buried in the desert. Never pay my respects again. <laugh>, you know, it's a very simple process, but the book is the first thought about getting in the water. What are these things that are holding you back? Then the second part, what are these things that are trying to derail your journey or that are trying to sink your ship? To extend the metaphor. So I go into all the different things that get the naysayers and all the different instances of, you know, all the things that cause us to re to return back.

(17:47):
And that's where I get into my process for risk. The re burn the boats is not for the reckless, it doesn't say burn the boats with you in it. It's all my, my my my premise is very simple, right? What the reason why we look back and can't fully commit and we conjure back plans is because of these metaphorical boats that hold this back. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, one of them is we haven't processed the fear of the unknown, the risk. And so before I do anything very hard, I have a simple four step process. Number one, I embrace my inner catastrophizer, I embrace my anxiety. I say, okay, what's the worst crazy thing that can happen? Let's, let's voice it. And you, you realize most of the things you worry about are reputational. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Right. Okay. What's the worst number two, what would I do if that terrible thing would happen?

(18:31):
And the reason why it's so important, humans are hardwired to mitigate our, our, our our. We we're high rare to survive. We all know the crappy soul acrylic crushing job we would take in your case if you know, musician or whatever it is, I wanted to, we would go figure it out. Yeah. And it's important to voice that at the beginning cuz you're like, oh yeah, I'll go, you know, whatever. I'll go do the job I was doing before in my case, I can go be a lawyer. Right. I have a law degree. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> number three though, what's the likelihood that the worst thing that's gonna happen really will happen? The prob you need to handicap your catastrophizing because then when you talk some sensitive into yourself, you're like, that's probably not gonna happen. I'm not gonna lose all my friends or all my money.

(19:05):
Like, it's probably gonna be somewhere between. And then for the most important part, what would I not be willing to do or sacrifice, endure experience to achieve my true purpose. And in my case, teaching in Harvard, being on shark tank, like I'll come within an inch of my life to get the things I want. I will walk on holes, I will be subjected to ridicule. I just don't care. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so, and here's why that's so important because most people don't go through that risk process, um, exercise. We're afraid to look almost right. So we're like, we gotta get going. Yeah. I gotta launch this business. I gotta whatever. We're not well constructed then to withstand thero in the second phase of my journey when we start to get incoming, because we didn't process it. We're not well constructed. But when we have, and this is what happens to me because I do revisit things.

(19:47):
I have anxiety. I'm an insomniac. When it starts, the tobacco plant creeps. I'm like, no, no, no, no, no. We dealt with this already. Like we already, I'm gonna be fine <laugh>. Like I'm still gonna have friends. I'm still gonna have a bank account. And that's the second part. And then the third part is the overall underlying subtext of a book, which is the joy of living is in the striving mm-hmm. <affirmative>, when anyone who's run a marathon knows that it's not the metal that we craved. It was the suffering, the endurance. It was testing our capacity because we don't know why we're here and we don't really know where we're going. But when we begin to touch the ceiling of our potential, it feels closer to God. Mm-hmm. It feels closer to the universe and Right. So we wanna feel that over and over and over again.

(20:23):
But we don't talk about that. We don't accept it. We put too much emphasis on winning or the goal. And I believe I've come to realize having gone to the top of the mountain, mixed metaphors, look, there's not much to see. Yeah. But I really enjoy is the, is the climb. So the, the last chapter is, okay, well how do you create your life so you can keep doing it? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, but not, not have, but not look behind you and see a bunch of half finished pro projects. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, nobody respects themselves when they see half-finished projects. So like, so the last section of the book is the how do you build more boats? And the number one way you do it is submitting to the greatness of others.

Dr. Pelè (20:55):
Wow. You know, I I I have to say, um, metaphor is powerful. It is so motivational. Yeah. In fact, when I, when I, uh, take my morning walks, I like to walk in the morning, I always listen to some kind of a book or something motivational. I, I listen to yours and I always feel better after those walks. I'm powered up, I'm ready to go attack my next business or sales or marketing strategy, everything's fine. But then if I don't listen to a book or take a walk in a while, my motivation goes down and I gotta figure out a way to keep myself up, you know, all the time. Right. And now I'm thinking this metaphor, burn the boats. <laugh> might just be the one I should shout Right. Knows when

Matt Higgins (21:36):
I need it. Funny. Yeah. You know what's funny? I know sometimes we always think like, oh, I'm not affected by advertising. Right. Me, when I start the book, I was like, well, I'm not affected by metaphors. I don't know if I want metaphors and then <laugh>. Yeah. But then all around me, when I hear a beautiful lyrical metaphor, it sticks. It sticks. Part the reason, you know, it's interesting. I have, we all have different aspects of our personality. One aspect is wonky. Right? I love studies and research and data. There's part of me that would love to write a textbook, but in this I made a choice saying people assimilate information through storytelling. Yes. Not through prescriptive reference manuals. I think a lot of business books, frankly, tend to be a little lazy because they're re redundant and they want to be prescriptive. They want to tell you what to do.

(22:14):
And I, I chose to show you what to do. Hmm. I interviewed 50 different people. These aren't just like random people. It's Scarlet Johansen, my partner in a business. It's billionaires. Like, it took me hundreds and hundreds of hours to do this because I wanted to make sure that the stories would assimilate and that you could identify. I also, frankly, wanted to do a range of human experiences. So the book, you know, I have been surrounded by incredible female CEOs, leaders, entrepreneurs, but I don't wanna be preachy, so I just show the stories. So the first story in the book is Freddie Harrell. She's a black woman who created an incredible business around Harris tensions. And the last story is a woman who rejected my job offer and created a company worth tens of millions of dollars. Right. Like, wow. So the, I did a lot of with the book, but the most important part is storytelling, to your point, metaphor. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But I thought, I, I thought I was immune to metaphor. And then I looked around like, oh, I love metaphors. Like they, they help me retain information.

Dr. Pelè (23:03):
Wow. Wow. So, you know, speaking of metaphor, let's, let's talk about how these stories affect people in their jobs. So, you know, my big hot topic is I believe in happiness. I think that's the central, in fact, I think that's the non-negotiable for pretty much everything we do in companies or in our lives. And so with, with your, um, approach to, you know Yep. Not having a backup plan. Look, you know, what is the non-negotiable, all of that. How do you intersect, um, your views to employee happiness in the workplace, to to employee performance in the workplace? How can you take that metaphor and sort of help people be profitably happy?

Matt Higgins (23:44):
Yep. So great question. And I, I say, I just gave us talk about this the other day, and I said, uh, and every, all the CEOs were taking, I said, uh, employees do not burn the boats for bad leaders. Ooh. Like, you're never gonna get somebody to fully commit to your plan if you're a bad leader. Now, what is the word? Bad leader, and I couldn't cover the entire range, but I tried to cover five of them. Yeah. <laugh>. And, and, and one that I, and some of them are more obvious, the gaslighting leader, you know, Elizabeth Holmes would be kind of an example of that. Right. But I tried to do ones that are a bit more subtle, but more but as insidious. Right. So, one I covered was, uh, this, uh, I just made up this word. When you write a book, you get to make up words, <laugh>, uh, a a withhold.

(24:24):
And the withhold is the insecure leader who knows that you're a pleaser and that you thrive on affirmation of a job well done. But they subtly deny you that praise or redistribute that praise to a colleague because they know it keeps you destabilized. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And they may do that for a couple of reasons. They may do that because they're insecure that you'll leave them. So it's what, it's a form of manipulation, but it comes from at least a place of, of, uh, insecurity or it's a way to subjugate you. It's a form of power. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which is a totally different impulse. The reason why I highlight that one is so that an employee out there reads it and says, wait, I knew that was what that one was doing. I couldn't put my, I tried to create words to something that we all sort of feel.

(25:08):
Interestingly, C N B C, that was their favorite part of this whole book. They exerted it. And for three days, it was the number one trending story on apple, on cn, bbc, like all over the world. And it was the five toxic personality traits of, of, of bad leaders. And I thought it showed you how, how oppressed people feel in the workplace, or every leader was reflective and trying to see which one they were. So my own vulnerable point is, remember the, the metaphor really means that which holds you back from fully committing less than the backup plan. The, the, the, the boats, the metaphors are the things that prevent you going, oh, to create the backup plant. But what really matters are the things that are holding you back. One of them, of course, is context. Yeah. You work for crappy people who don't care about you.

(25:47):
You're not gonna, you're not gonna burn the boats. And so, yeah. Now I also talk about the what makes a great redemption. My favorite stories in a book, one of the flawed le leadership traits is the martyr. The martyr is the person who, you know, the founder who believes that, you know, it's on them. It's like they're crossed to bear to do everybody's job. And they reluctantly only assign jobs because they just don't have enough, you know, hours in a day. And that person's corrosive because nobody's good at everything. Mm-hmm. And that also doesn't scale and eventually begins to topple over. My favorite story in the book is in chapter eight, about a somebody, a A C E O who was a martyr and life brought them to the knees. Our company came within, you know, months of being a zero. And he embraced the work, I use an industrial psychologist organization.

(26:31):
She hates when I say that organizational psychologist Yeah. <laugh> for 20 years, same person. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and brought her in. And he embraced self-awareness and vulnerability, created a culture of transparency, shared all his interview secrets, and within 19 months he sold the company for 150 million changes life. Wow. So anyway, I, in the chapter three, submitting to the greatness of others, let's be realistic. Because somebody's sitting here saying, I'm not bird of the boat for him. I get that <laugh>. The other thing that happens often, frankly, is an employee will recognize themselves in his book. And because they, maybe they don't, they have an unsupportive spouse. Yeah. They have a parent who's approval they're trying to win, or they have anxiety, they've self-selected out of their own ambition. They read that book, they opt back in again. Yes. And what happens, a lot of people end up quitting when they read the book. So for CEOs out there, I'm not sure you wanna share, I'm just kidding. <laugh>. It's fine. But, but by the way, if you have somebody who should have been an entrepreneur working for you, you should want them to quit. And you should want them to live their true purpose.

Dr. Pelè (27:25):
You know, um, when, when I was listening to your book, cuz that's how I read, I love to listen, you know, even though you weren't specifically talking about this, I, I would occasionally sort of flash to my favorite movie, which is called Braveheart. And you know, brave use it. You love Braveheart too, right? Yeah, of course.

Matt Higgins (27:42):
I love Gladiator is like number one, Braveheart is like right in there, number three probably. Right, right up there. Yeah, yeah,

Dr. Pelè (27:47):
Yeah. You know, and, and so, so for me, when you talk about employees would not burn the boat for a bad leader, I'm thinking of that scene. And Braveheart, when he calls, we are gonna go die right now, and everybody just

Matt Higgins (28:00):
Rushes, but he's not the horse. And he goes back and forth that, that

Dr. Pelè (28:03):
Yeah, exactly. And everybody's just rushing to go die for this leader. I mean, what, what power is that? So

Matt Higgins (28:10):
I would, and I always think the, um, the ma so my one is Maxim X, when he goes and he goes, my God, no, I don't wanna be, you know, and he goes, no, that is why it must

Dr. Pelè (28:21):
Be you. Ah, <laugh>.

Matt Higgins (28:22):
Like, he doesn't, Maximus doesn't want the role. Right? Yeah.

Dr. Pelè (28:26):
So, so, you know, I I I don't wanna boil your whole book down to just three words, but my goodness, burn the boats is powerful. Okay. It

Matt Higgins (28:34):
Is. And I think that the, the thing that I have taken upon myself is because I, my view was if you could take something that's already interviewed with authority and goes back to the beginning of time, right. If you could pull that forward, but I could reappropriate it if that was such a word for the masses who don't, you know, don't need to read this book. Sometimes people write something for that audience. Like, yeah, this book is not written for the people who don't need it. Yeah. This book is written for the other people who have more to give know they have something inside themselves, but they want somebody to hold up a mirror and say, yeah, you can go all in. Yeah. And this is why you haven't mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but you've got to do the uncom, you've gotta get past the cover <laugh>. You've gotta be willing. And if you're not willing to cross the threshold with me, you will never achieve your true purpose.

Dr. Pelè (29:17):
Absolutely. Absolutely. Hey, Matt, I have a question for you. What are you excited about right now? What's new? What's the next project and how can people get ahold of you so they can learn more about your book and whatever else you are offering right now?

Matt Higgins (29:32):
Oh, that's such a good question. Honestly, I, I'm just, I'm so excited about the book. Like I, I only released a couple months ago mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I love talking to people about it. I wake up every day, every time I want. You know, everybody wants, it gets fatigued. Or especially when you're selling something, sometimes you feel cringey at your own behavior. What are you doing? Shouldn't have just sell itself. And then I get a message and says, keep doing what you're doing. So I'm most excited about, about the fact that people from every demographic and walk of life have reached out to me. And that feels amazing. Uh, and then, uh, and I have a new show coming out that I'm working on. I got a bunch of stuff like that, but I care about the book. And then in terms of, uh, professionally, LinkedIn is where I spent a ton of time. I love being on LinkedIn. I love the audience here. Uh, Matt Higgins on LinkedIn and also, uh, on Twitter m Higgins.

Dr. Pelè (30:13):
Awesome. Well, you know, I just wanna say thank you so much for your motivation, your content, the scientific aspect of this. We didn't cover too much of that, but it's absolutely in there as well. Thank you so much for bringing a metaphor into my life. And it's the life of others that will help us burn the boats and keep going towards success. Thank you for being on this show.

Matt Higgins (30:34):
All right. Thank you. Burn the boats everybody. Thanks again. Have a great day. All

Dr. Pelè (30:37):
Right.

(30:40):
Thanks for tuning in to the Profitable Happiness Podcast. For more episodes, visit dr pa.com. And remember, get happy first and success will follow.