What does it take to become a Shark Tank Investor? Today’s guest has the answers. Matt Higgins is the CEO and Co-Founder of RSE Ventures. You may have also seen him as a recurring Shark Tank Investor on the famous ABC program. He joins Julie Christopher to share his inspiring journey from poverty to financial success. Matt attributes his success to self-awareness and the power of intuition. The good news is anyone can cultivate intuition. Learn all about how and get to know more about Matt and his moving story in this episode. Be inspired to be intentional by tuning in.
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The Power Of Intuition In Business Success With Shark Tank Investor Matt Higgins
We are so excited to bring forth such a beautiful entrepreneurial light being in the show now. We are welcoming Matt Higgins. He is an entrepreneur, investor and operator. In 2012, alongside Cofounder Stephen Ross. He launched RSE Ventures, a private investment firm that focuses on companies across sports and entertainment, food and lifestyle, media and marketing and technology. He holds dual roles as a CEO of RSE and Vice Chairman of the Miami Dolphins overseeing the business of the team. [*Note: Higgins recently stepped down from his role with the Miami Dolphins]. He is an executive fellow at Harvard Business School and was a guest on ABC’s Shark Tank for seasons 10 and 11. Welcome, Matt Higgins, to the show.
Thank you, Matt for showing up in your life for us, the show and for the world to see you. How did it all begin, the most popular show on Shark Tank? Meeting you on Shark Tank was like a highlight in the mirror and now having you here is like an explosion. What prompted you to be on the set of Shark Tank and then share from your soul the experience that you have now when you go back as a child? What did you feel like growing up? Share as much as you can. Share from your heart.
First of all, you’re so nice. Thank you for the encouragement. I don’t know how to receive it, but I’ll just put it off to the side. I want to rewind from Shark Tank because for those who don’t know me or my story, it’s not so different than many others who suffered quietly or secretly as a kid. I grew up extremely poor with a single mother who is incredibly intelligent but was a product of abuse to the extent to which I didn’t understand as a kid. We never understand. I only found out as an adult only a few years ago, to the fullest extent, which was pretty horrifying but through the prism of a child, born in typical dysfunction that accompanies poverty. A sick mother who is doing her best to try to get out of poverty but get an education.
She didn’t even have a high school diploma until she was 36. She was a high school dropout. My journey as a child was from a very young age, watching her trying to figure out how to take care of four boys. I achieve some motive in the day in her life and me working young selling flowers on street corners or handbags at flea markets. A lot of kids work to supplement their income. I was the income.
From a very young age, I took on the parent role, which can be hard. It takes a lot of years to overcome that too, when the parent roles are reversed. I would say I took on the parent role very early. I don’t know if I was designated to be that or if something inside of me maybe suited to be that, but I took custody of the situation.
I had a lot of frustration as a child looking for that other parent to step in, a parent being society, family, teacher and being disappointed enough times. You start realizing the Calvary is not coming and you have to take matters into your own hands. When I was young, I had an epiphany that time was running out, that I needed to try to find a way to help my mother get the care she needed and make money. At the same time, I wanted to ensure that I made the most out of my life and I knew that I needed to accelerate the progression.
I don’t know where all this came from, but I had an epiphany when I was probably thirteen years old. There’s a loophole back then that if you dropped out of high school but did well enough on your GED, a high school diploma, you could get into college at sixteen years old well and advance of your class graduated. The reason why that mattered is I was making $3.75 an hour at McDonald’s. My job was to scrape gum from underneath of the tables in the party room and lots of wonderful demeaning jobs because, in the end, it taught me a ton about life. That was my epiphany.
It’s probably the most important serious segment of my life because it set in motion the rest of my career, but I haven’t thought if I could do that. In order to do that, I had to overcome conventional wisdom. I had to overcome everybody’s saying, “That’s crazy. If you drop out of high school, you’ll never show the stigma of being a high school dropout.” What I realized back then is no one ever has the full context of your life because we carry so much shame that we conceal. The inputs you’re getting from people that you can solve are distorted by their and your lack of transparency and their lack of visibility. That was a very long, convoluted sentence, but it makes sense.No one ever has the full context of your life. Click To Tweet
As a result, if you are not self-aware of what you’re concealing, you realize you’re reacting to distorted inputs. My guidance counselor didn’t know I was wearing Jordache jeans back at the time and I’m beating myself. I was trying to look like a kid who was prosperous, but in the end, I’m dying at home. I’m sleeping on a dirty mattress and everything falling apart. I make the decision. This is the second point. It was the beginning of my brother’s philosophy. I said, “I’m never going to have the courage to go with this radical decision unless I have no choice.”
Why don’t I create a self-fulfilling prophecy? I will get left-back over and over again. I will sit in the back of his homeroom and rot for two years of purgatory. By the time I graduate and I have to make a choice, I have no credits. It’s irredeemable, except for typing. I took one practical thing from school, which is to learn how to type. I type 100 words a minute now because of that. Everything else, I failed. That was the beginning of my burn-the-boat scenarios.
I made the decision and I’ll skip a little bit of the last day of school, but it was a tour way out. It’s one thing to theorize about a radical decision, it’s another thing to execute, but I did execute. I dropped out of high school. I had to walk the gauntlet of ridicule, but I returned to my high school at the end of my first year of college as the president of the debate team. I remember showing up. I had transcended from a kid worthy of shame and pity to somebody worthy of admiration.
I remember seeing my teachers and my guidance counselor and the look have changed. It’s not that I was playing for the look. I never played for the look, but it’s interesting to see like, “That’s interesting that with one chess movement, I’ve switched the board around.” Why does that all matter? Why does that leave your Shark Tank? It’s because so much of my life, philosophy and principles can be distilled down to that moment.
Number one, when you need to ameliorate someone’s suffering, it calls for radical decision-making and bold action. I knew my mother was in jeopardy. Also, I didn’t like my life and I figured there was no cavalry. I do believe it’s in the Bible in other ways, or it helps those who help themselves. I had an obligation to be the catalyst of my own redemption. That was two and three.
The fact is that when you conceal your shame, no one has context. You’re depriving yourself of a world of feedback. Once you shed that shame, everyone can see you perfectly as you are and the feedback is valid. I made that radical move and then I’m going to skip 40 years of development. I ended up on the set of Shark Tank. I can fill in the pieces for the rest of this interview, but that’s the genesis. The unfortunate part is how it ends in that chapter of my life because I dropped out at sixteen. I started college early. I had tremendous career moves at an early age to the point that by the time I was twenty, I was working for a newspaper.
One, multiple journalism awards, I was nominated for a Pulitzer. Anybody can be nominated, but Carl Bernstein was the owner of the newspaper and wrote a nice letter for me. I had all these extraordinary things happen very early. By the time I was 26 years old, a decade later, I went from working overnight at a deli and scraping gum at McDonald’s to the press secretary to the mayor of New York. No other person would ever do that because I was on a mission to get myself out of poverty, achieve escape velocity and take care of her before she said succumb. She died the morning of my first day on the job. That one is still raw to me.
I’m not sure what the moral of that story is, if I’m being honest. For me, it felt like an utter failure. I had come close and then she had passed away. In retrospect, now that I’m the parent, I know that the true parent-child relationship is all you want for your child to be happy self-actualize. Knowing that’s how life worked out for me, I’m at peace. My mother would have been okay knowing. In a non-crisis state, when everything is typical, that’s how you would have seen life. I look back and say, “Even though it’s so tragic, she would be happy because everything has worked out great.” This is very heavy.
It is heavy but necessary because there is a light that goes through it that comes and shines through that. Those are great at you early because you are an old soul. You came in here on this rock like an old soul to transform. That’s your destiny. That’s what you are made to do and what you are wired to do. You were giving in a sense upgrades at an early age, so by the time in your twenties, you were high graded for success because you had so much more to do.
It had to happen on the soul level very early, which find a way you yourself made your own contract. You come here and you have those contracts. You don’t remember in the physical, but you have those soul contracts. We don’t die. I’m trying to bring into perspective because this condition that we were brought up to believe that there’s life and death, it is not real. It’s an illusion or delusion of the mind. Those transition into spirits, it’s always here and she’s always will and that’s my contribution to you now at this moment in time.
I believe that. I’ve loved reading Buddhism. I’d probably read the same book over and over again, Buddhism Plain and Simple, because I like to reconnect with it but I love that when you distill down a book and you say, “What is the book? Is the book the words on the page? Is the book the paper from which the tree came? Is the book the author that wrote the book?”
If you trace all the way back the book, you can’t find the beginning of a book nor the end of it and humans are the same. We cannot find the beginning or the end. I love that general thought. It also relieves you of the stress of beginning, end, finishing, starting, where am I going? Where I did I come from? It never ends and begins. I would never be going there.
Thank you so much for sharing this piece, this intensity. It’s very powerful. I hear you talking about the decision a lot. Do you feel like your intuition played a role in that important decision-making as a skill in life and in business? Can you share a little bit about an experience that you had when you had this encounter with your intuition and self-awareness?
The first one, I’m working on a book and I talk a ton about that intuition and how we are counseled or directed to seek wisdom on the shelves of bookstores, on the internet or from a mom and dad and yet we’re not given the tools to cultivate our intuition self-awareness. I would attribute the genesis of all success to pattern recognition. It is a fancy word for intuition. Intuition is a word combination of what’s in your soul and what you experience being synthesized by sitting in the stream of data? I feel a ton of gratitude. Everyone was like, “What’s your hobby?” I’m like, “That’s a little convoluted in abstract.”
I like the process of being early, identifying something and then later being right and marveling at it, not for the by-product of the rightness because it’s money or accolades but for marveling at what has gone. To me, that’s amazing. Something in my factoring settings enabled me to see where the world might be going. I had to cultivate the conviction and act on it. Acting on the opportunity before the tipping point of evidence and then I get to see that it played out and marvel at that.
That’s to me, is so joyful. That’s what keeps me going every day. I want to do that again. I want to see it a little bit earlier because it brings me closer to the universe and in a spiritual way. It’s very hard to convey. I find myself doing that in all different contexts. Looking for opportunities to be a little bit early, a little bit right and then having the conviction to act on it and the faith to believe in yourself and your intuition and watch it play out. That, to me, is amazing. I owe most of my success to intuition slash pattern recognition.
To hear your feedback selfishly a little bit helps me because I founded Biztuition, business intuition. That’s what I teach. Several years, I was a black sheep like, “What the heck is she doing? She comes barefoot. She’s got a guitar on her back. She teaches all these skills.” Now, it’s off. In business, we’re looking for people like yourself to write a book, to talk about intuition and the skills. This is a superpower.When you conceal your shame, you’re depriving yourself of a world of feedback. Once you shed that shame, everyone can see you perfectly as you are, and the feedback is actually valid. Click To Tweet
What I found in the office environment is it’s very uncomfortable to believe that success might be guided by intuition because it’s like, “Where do I find it? How do I reduce it? Intuition doesn’t exist on an Excel sheet.” I talk to my book about how the best decisions in life are gut sandwiches. They begin with gut and intuition in the middle of data, but they end with gut intuition. If you believe that you’re going to end with data, data will mostly give you the reasons not to do something. It will never prove it out unless you’re doing two plus two equals four. You have to ensure that data is in the middle of your gut sandwich.
When you tell people that you give them permission to return, but it’s uncomfortable at first because you wish the world could be reduced to mathematical equations. It’s safer, simpler and you know the answer but it’s not. That’s a lie. We didn’t know that we wanted to carry around 10,000 songs in our pocket until Steve Jobs told us we did. He had an intuition that told us we all would love that. He would love that because he was a huge Beatles fan. I talk about it all the time and I also try to relieve people of that anxiety who feel like they’re not empathetic, empaths or intuitive, that anybody can cultivate their intuition.
It begins with an acceptance of the fact that self-awareness is the greatest arbitrage in business and personal life. That self-awareness is the greatest unlock. We look at these unlocks everywhere, in promotion, validation, spouse and book. The question I tell people to meditate on it, especially the young people, “Do you want to have breakthrough success? Meditate on what’s preventing you from being self-aware.” It probably starts with some degree of shame of exposure. The imposter syndrome, defying somebody’s expectations, parents, spouse, some vision you had for how life would be, some ugliness you carry on difference and otherness. If you can figure out whatever is blocking you from becoming self-aware, the greatest arbitrage is entirely in your hands.
For you, you declared that you had those programming. As a child, we didn’t understand. You could possibly not understand what was going on internally. Your self-awareness, your intuition, you had a knowing. I said to someone about you. I said, “You were a Zen master in disguise.” That’s it, to me.
Did you say this to everybody?
No, but you are. To me, that’s how I see you. I don’t know if it’s a compliment. I know it is what it is.
I receive it as the highest praise one could give. I’m going to allow it to settle into my identity because I love it.
You were speaking about data. My keynotes are about is infobesity. I got the name infobesity and put it out there. I’m writing a book on infobesity. They have a lot of information.
I talk a lot in my book about fallacy choice and how it makes it hard for us to act intuitively.
The question was to spark your interest in infobesity and what do you feel like we should or you should guide people towards self-awareness when there is so much load of information? There is karma sitting there and people cannot see through it? What do you suggest that entrepreneurs will do when it comes to infobesity and the search for focus, clarity and be present?
It starts by accepting what I believe is truth, which is the key to a happy life. At least professionally, it’s intentionality. Being intentional and setting intentions all the time. That information overload gets in the way of sending the intention. If you have set the intention, you’re going to be laser-focused on getting what you need, the information and input otherwise to execute that intention. When you don’t set the intention, you allow yourself to take so much information in because you’re feeling around the dark to try to set the intention. If you set the intention, you’ll resist information overload because it gets in the way of execution.
I always say, “What am I trying to do here?” People think I’m frenetic or I’m pursuing a lot of things at the same time, but being highly intentional is exactly what I’m pursuing. I’m putting guard rails around my life to ensure I pursue it. I solicit only enough information necessary to execute it. Sometimes I deliberately sit in the stream of information because I want to pick up the signals, but that’s intentional.
I’m spending a lot of time on NFTs, believe it or not. I sat on discord for three hours and listened to people talk, but that’s intentional. It’s not infobesity because I’m deliberately doing it. I 100% agree with you that I think that there’s this fallacy that somehow by having all of these inputs, that we’re going to make better decisions when in fact, it clouds at them. It creates a barrier between you and your intuition at the end of the day. Intentionality is my antidote to most things.
Self-acceptance, being intentional and you didn’t say it, but you claimed it, gratitude. When you speak, I hear you and it comes from the base of vibration that is gratitude frequency, and it’s remarkable. You’ll hold that in your field.
I’m grateful that I have it, but sometimes it’s very overwhelming. I believe that nobody is anybody and everybody is somebody. When I see somebody experiencing pain, it feels like an injury to me too. It’s not all the time. I try to create healthy boundaries, but oftentimes I can’t. I think if you recognize that you have no greater claim to this world than anybody else, that we are eight billion equivalents. When somebody suffers an injury, you feel that injury. To me, that’s a flip side of gratitude. It’s that empathy and awareness. I’m grateful that I’m now immunized from some of the things I was acutely suffering from or watch somebody suffer with but I also don’t want to stray from it either.
I realized that pain and suffering are bigger than the whole universe and more important than anything. I think about that woman in Afghanistan who handed her baby to the soldier over the fence. I’m almost like, “How do we go about our lives knowing that somebody had to make that horrific choice?” I think it only enters because we allow ourselves to be a little bit other than, different from because if we saw that as our neighbor, our sister, our fellow American, you would be overwhelmed with heart.Self-awareness is the greatest arbitrage in business and personal life. Click To Tweet
I rather try to leave behind my sixteen-year-old self or my dying mother. I think it’s better to hold onto it, go back to your day but I try to hold on to and I try to reconnect with it. To me, that’s the flip side of gratitude. I’m grateful that I am where I am, but I don’t want to go away from where I began so that I can say stay close because that to me feels more important than any I do on a particular day.
It not only makes sense, but it’s the truth. The truth is the truth. You can turn it and twist it but you got to go back to the truth. The fact is that pain and suffering are such a gift. I tell people to be grateful for your suffering because it’s going to get you where you need to be. We have to get there. We have to go through that process and I know I’m not from here. I’m a gypsy. I’m a global citizen. I’m French-Moroccan. I came here with nothing. I have $50 in my pocket with a guitar in my back. I didn’t even speak a lick of English and I have to say, I still don’t.
You have a beautiful accent. I was trying to figure it all out. Now, I understand.
I was homeless on the street playing guitar to make a living and everything you say to me resonate so much.
I’ve been doing this work with the Vatican and I’m seeing Pope Francis confidentially. We see these images of migrants coalescing somewhere and I feel like the general response is, “Why are they coming here?” instead of saying, “What are they running from? What is it horrible to make you want to leave?” Imagine you are living in Manhattan and you have this comfy life. You’d like to go to the Upper East Side on Fridays for tapas with your friends. Imagine what it would take to make you run from your parents, your family, your way of life to a strange place because you have the internet. You’re aware that place is probably hostile to you because you were taking their benefits or whatever.
I feel like we don’t ask ourselves like, “What are they running from?” We would do that to our family. We would feel that way. I think it’s strange that we have social media that is connecting us to imagery, to Instagram and to messaging, but it hasn’t connected us empathetically to see everyone else as one of the same. That’s why I got involved with what I’m doing and what I said about it. The Catholic church is on the front lines and all these incredible places dealing with issues that I supposedly care about. I talk about it, but I’m not out there doing that.
I feel an obligation. If I can help raise the money, redirect the energy, at least I’m living to my intention, which is to do something about it. That’s why I took the stage and talked about that effort. I’ve been thinking about those images all the time and that mom with the baby in Afghanistan. My children are my everything. I can’t even imagine what it takes to make that choice. That’s why I’m passionate about the work that I’m doing.
Your work on many branches and trees, but it feeds so many people. We need to clone you. What about for entrepreneurial purposes, the 3 to 5 tips that come through and resonate with you as far as you have those entrepreneurs who are seeking investors. Do they want a Shark to invest or they’re just seeking investment? What do they start doing? What do they have to do?
I’ll channel the advice as if somebody was coming on the show. I think it’s the easiest prism to do it through because that’s earlier stage investing and whatnot. Number one, everyone has limited time, including a shark. They’ve also said their intention about whatever their objectives are, become trillionaires or whatever it is. There is no judgment.
When you walk on the show, you’re competing with their intention. Start there. Know that they are looking principally to be opportunistic. It’s not philanthropy or else it will be called Philanthropy Tank. It’s called Shark Tank. My point is, you’re not trying to enlist someone on a rescue mission, “Come help save my business.” I’ve only had you. You want to paint a picture that things are going great. This is where I’m going. I need one thing to get me even bigger and you could supply that.
Everyone wants to know that they have the ability to not only invest in a great business, but if maybe they could do one thing, they could change their trajectory. I find what people can run a mess is either they tend to tap into pity or they are saying, “These are the 50 things I need to be done and you’re going to help me.” It’s like, “No, I don’t want a second job. I want an opportunity.” Be very clear about the fact that you’re sitting on top of an amazing opportunity and if you could enlist this investor, they would bring strategic help to go ahead and unlock something.
This is one of my biggest pet peeves on the show. To be successful as an entrepreneur, you need a blend of confidence and humility. You need the confidence to go ahead and execute your plan, but also identify when things are not going right and you need the humility to acknowledge that things are not going right because then you can make those course corrections.
When you’re on the show and you’re pitching, you can’t simply cave into everybody’s suggestions. It’s the worst signal like, “You don’t like my name? I’ll change my business name.” It’s like, “No, don’t listen to me.” Ironically, taking too much feedback on the show is a negative signal because it shows that, one, you don’t have conviction. Two, you might not have integrity because you’re willing to do what anybody says in order to get a deal done. I know it’s a little bit counterintuitive because you want to look like you’re a consultative person or you take feedback but too much is too much. You want to show that you have resolute. Be careful when you’re pitching an investor.
Three, know your numbers. Let’s say I’ve seen this scenario in a restaurant where someone’s a chef and the chef was like, “I focused on making great food. I don’t focus on the numbers. I have my partner, Betty, who does that.” That’s the whole business. If you were making great food, that’s called having dinner at your house. This is a restaurant, so you got to know your numbers. It’s not acceptable to say that you’ve outsourced fundamental elements of your business to somebody else. You both have to own that.
Four is this business you’re pursuing may be compelling to you, big enough to you, life-changing to you, but that’s not the standard by which you’re trying to solicit investment. It’s got to be appealing to me. I found that people often pitch a business from their vantage point like, “This is going to be great, but how is that going to change my life? How’s that worth the opportunity cost I’m going to have to do to invest time in you versus something else?”
I always say, “Put yourself in the shoes of the investor so that you could appeal to what would be worth it for them, not worth it for you.” That’s often the biggest misalignment. People can understand, “This is going to be great. I’m going to sell a million widgets in 2021.” It’s like, “That’s nice but I already saw 100 million widgets.” That one’s probably the harshest one when I have to give me back. I’m like, “This is great for you. This is a business for you. It’s not an investible business for me.”
It goes back to the same talk that we launched now in a show about the self. It’s as if you want to tell people to know thyself. Don’t try the nonsense out there. Try to cultivate who you are so you can step into the set of Shark Tank with your power of authority and talk to them saying, “This is my business. I have value here for you. You need me more than I need you.” I feel for those people because I’ve been on the set a few times and I talked to different guests and why not? They’re so scared and I tell them, “You got to be who you are. You don’t need to compete or become somebody else. Show up and be you.”Data will mostly give you the reasons not to do something. Data will never prove it unless you’re doing 2+2=4. Click To Tweet
You can intellectualize your way to understanding what I’m saying or you can get there intuitively. To your point, if you knew yourself, it would be a lot easier to realize like, “I’m a reflective person.” I get that. Kevin O’Leary has got a million things going on. Why would it be interesting to invest in my Pet Stop, my pet store in Springfield, Illinois?
That doesn’t make sense. How do I make it worth it? If you’re not to look within, you can’t see without. That’s duality it but very hard to make people. That’s why I always try to work on whatever it is. It’s getting somebody on stuff. This work has to take place at the CEO level. Everything I’m talking about applies equally to the President of the United States, as it does to anybody, anywhere, at any point in life.
There’s an Italian phrase, “The fish rots from the head.” You have to work on whatever it is that’s preventing self-awareness. When I’m assessing a deal, whether it’s safe to do a deal with somebody or a partner, I’m largely assessing aside from the fundamentals, intellect, leadership, I’m assessing self-awareness because I know that without self-awareness, we’re never going to iterate.
I’ll give you an example. I find that self-aware people are able to perceive the iceberg before they need to see it off about. People who are not self-aware need to have it upon them and by that point, it’s too late to pivot and course-correct. I always try to assess. How long will it take for you to identify an inevitable problem and act on it before it’s in front of you?
The amount of time, the distance between when something becomes objectively inevitable and the time it takes for you to act on it, completely correlates to your success or failure. The hard psychological thing for me to get at is to figure out, “Are you the person that needs to see the iceberg before believing it’s there or can you understand what all the data is? ‘There is probably an iceberg there. I’m going to change the direction.’”
It’s interesting. These psychological issues are so important to success, and I find that the worst deals I’ve ever done or when I partner with a massive private equity institution because the reams of data and diligence they will do are irrelevant to whether or not we’re going to be successful. It’s almost like, “Let’s put all this paper from experts that document that we did the thing we say we’re doing well but let’s not do the thing we say we’re doing.” Usually, what happens is on week four, I’m like, “Did anybody notice that the CEO is about to have a breakdown?” The cost days are up. The guy’s face is all red turns. It turns out he’s going through a personal crisis.
It goes back to your point. The reason why one would not look is because that one doesn’t place a premium on intuition or how important it is for the well-constructed self to be successful. You think it’s about the data. I think it’s very corrupting in investing in a business. There is that overemphasis on it. It’s also my opportunity because I generally take advantage of that. People ask me, “How do you know to do this or that?” I was like, “It’s because I was looking in the right place.”
I screw up many things, but the differences I agonize over them and then I think about them so that I can learn from them. I don’t respect my ego on whether anybody knows that I did the second and that gets in the way too, the need for ego validation. I’m perfectly comfortable looking at it like, “I messed that up. I cannot believe I made that decision.” Oftentimes, when I make the worst decisions, it’s because there was some emotional trauma that was blocking the signals. Colloquially speaking, it’s messing my head up. That was making it harder for me to be clear and see outside clearly.
It’s difficult, Matt. It is very challenging whether you are going through cancer, which you have healed from, thank God. When you go through those traumas, your pain comes first. It’s hard to discover the light within it.
We all have a finite amount of emotional bandwidth to deal with high-conflict situations. Being direct with an employee is a high-conflict situation. It takes a little bit of emotional energy. Terminating somebody is a ton of emotional energy. Acknowledging failure in the workplace and fear of consequence. When you are going through something personal and you’re concealing that, most of your emotional energy is now being redirected.
You’re going to do everything you can to avoid expanding in the workplace and you don’t get the best out of a leader. If you’re a professional environment doesn’t give enough safe space for people to acknowledge whatever their personal trauma is, you’re being denied the benefit of a full view of the situation because now they’re suppressing and concealing as opposed to having permission.
I was thinking of divorce all the time. It is one of the most traumatic things anybody can go through in their entire life. It does not exist in the workplace and it’s not considered a thing. I remember haven’t been having gone through it myself, I’m like, “I needed way more care and handling than I did when I had cancer.” With cancer, I got everybody’s attention. Divorce got everybody to look away.
I’m fascinated by the thought that we need to create a professional environment. We’ve done this more. This is a good post-COVID outcome and progression too, where all this focus on mental health does enable people to be more honest about what they’re contending with. Let’s go back several years ago, that was not the case.
As a result, when you’re a manager, you’re in charge of people, and you’re making decisions that are optimal because you can’t acknowledge what you’re going through. Whereas if you’re a leader and you are going through a divorce, you’re about to lose your entire identity, potentially. You’re right through with your own children. Financially, there are things that are going to change you. You’re going to feel like a failure. You need support, yet it doesn’t occupy a place. That’s one of many things that we all go through as people but don’t have a place in the reference.
Google have now their employee to meditate. The executive of Google is now telling people, “This is what you’re going to have a space to do to work yourself. We’re going to allow you to learn about meditation.” It brings me to this point of the sponsor, my friend and where I collaborate on business. There is BrainTap technology. The Founder of BrainTap is a sponsor for this show. BrainTap technology is now in Google. There is this amazing gadget like a headset. What happens is the technology where it gets light to light up the brain. Entrepreneurs or anyone who’s wished to elevate their game are now able to reset their brain was BrainTap. This is a fantastic way to meditate. They have an app or a headset.
I think meditation is the single greatest gift you could give yourself. It doesn’t work for everybody. I have this debate with my wife. My wife is like a Jedi and a force of nature. You can do anything and be anything. People always say, “Who’s the person you admire the most in your life? Who’s your hero?” It is my spouse because she’s amazing. She’s self-regulated and I don’t think she meditates. She might be the one person in the world to everybody else out there, but including myself, meditation is a single greatest gift. It’s amazing how you wake up.
You close your eyes in a monochromatic world where things seem grim and you wake up in technicolor where everything seems a little plus for the greens and the blues are vibrant. It is amazing. I love reading the research about how 30 days of consistent meditation or something like that will physically shrink your amygdala from the beginning to the end.To be successful as an entrepreneur, you need a blend of confidence and humility. Click To Tweet
The entire fight or flight part of your brain will shrink. You’ll increase the main centers of your brain, where you’ll have a higher self-awareness. It’s the one thing I wish I did every day that I know. I’m like, “Why don’t I do it?” Anybody out there reading, I think meditation is the key to so much happiness. I never tried your products. I can’t plug it, but I’m going to try it.
I know we’re getting out of time. There is something that I wanted to share with you my advice for an entrepreneur to fight for their dream. A quick little insight, fight for your dream, liberation.
I always imagine the future Matt at the end of achieving an outcome. I did this one when I went through Harvard Business School. I had the opportunity. Something I always wanted to do was teach. I helped manifest a course at Harvard Business School, which is amazing. A kid from Queens from nothing now, I’m teaching in Harvard.
When I was going through a lot of the work, I would always look back to the moment when it was all over and ask myself, “What wouldn’t you have done to be standing here right now having done that thing?” The answer is I would do almost anything. When you’re going through that, imagine whatever that thing is, and ask yourself, “What would you have done? What would you have not done to get here?” Especially when it involves freedom.
I’m playing my whole life for freedom and more autonomy. I perform better the more autonomy I have and the more freedom I have, the more unfettered by decision-making is I perform better. I knew from a young age, that’s what I was playing for. Every time I hit a new level of freedom, I said, “What would I have not done to get here?” Anybody out there struggling, that’s number one.
The second piece of advice is to be careful with your Mason Dreams. They’re fragile and tender, be careful who you consult. There are these consult the skeptics. Consult the people who bring you down there. There is plenty of time to pressure test your idea but in the early phase, you need to consult informed pragmatic optimists. People who know something about the general area, who have your back or are generally optimistic because putting forth the idea in the world is an optimistic act. It’s not a pessimist. I don’t know any successful pessimists.
You got to be careful those early days to who you consult because I’ve had many things die because I was like, “I guess not.” Even though I really felt like and then I looked back. There’s a great essay. If you don’t believe me, pick up Self Reliance by Emerson. At the beginning of that essay, it’s amazing. Anybody out there who’s struggling with trying to cultivate a sense of self and go for it, he talks in that essay. It’s beautiful prose about the time where we all had this spark, this idea and we rejected it because it’s our own. We are later forced to take it from another.
He does it in a very 18th century way. He talks about the dignity of being forced to accept your own idea, spoon-fed from somebody else. We’ve all experienced it like, “I had that idea.” I would say that anybody, be careful with your fragile ideas and do not reject your insights because they are your own, instead of coming from somebody else’s. At the same time, ask yourself, “What would you have not done to achieve that goal?” That’s how I got here.
What’s the next big bang in Matt’s universe?
There’s a concept in land zoning called highest and best use. You always want to take a piece of land and as the world evolves, you want to make sure it’s deployed for its highest and best use of the moments. I said, “What’s the highest and the best use of me now at the moment?” It’s the work I’m doing then with the Vatican, as part of this Global Solidarity Fund. The purpose was to bring together people of all faiths and religions. I’m very Catholic but that’s not the point. The point is we need to bring humanity together under one big giant tent to work together, to ease suffering, especially for migrants, women and children.
It’s inspired by Pope Francis and said famously, “Who am I to judge?” The work is bringing together all these different faiths, including non-believers of goodwill, to raise $100 million. That’s a big number, but we’ve already raised $28 million. That’s what I’m working on. I want to emphasize that again. It’s not so much about religion but it’s about spirituality and it’s about vanity. Whether somebody is Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Buddhist, when you’re on the front line dealing with people who are going through enormous suffering, you’re like LeBron James to me. You’re my superhero as a kid. You’re my G.I. Joe.
I feel at this point in my life that I want to give back to those people. Not to be grandiose, I’m a random business executive sitting on a desk in New York City, but I have something to offer. I’m somebody who uses that power and influence the best I can to try to catalyze. I had an incredible moment where I sat down with a priest who oversees all the different programs in the Catholic Church, around the world, dealing with suffering and migrants. He was telling me some of the things he’s dealing with. If you’ve heard them, they will crush you. I think out of all the things I’ve done so far, that’s probably the most important work I have going on.
It’s your purpose, your divine purpose, your soul purpose. You’re on a mission and now you’re on.
I feel like the rest was filler or maybe ladders to get here because they were important and I derive joy from it. I do this thing through Queens College, where I write scholarships for single mothers who are in the exact place my mother was in. It’s been years later and I spoke at the commencement address from my mother’s college. That’s where she had her dignity restored and two of the women were in the audience where their little children. Back to purpose, I think that’s why I saw what I saw so I can go back. I can understand what it means to be a single mother trying to go to college with your child.
I think it’s tremendous when you see somebody who is simultaneously presuming survival and aspiration. Think about how the two things are in conflict. To barely survive usually eclipses aspiration but to see somebody advancing both of those things at the same time is incredible. Whether that person is an Uber driver or that person is a scientist trying to cure a disease, they are doing the same thing, especially when they’re under deprivation.
That’s why I think it’s incredible. Back to my point about migrants and you see people massing at a border or massing at the base. Those are the best of society doing the best they can to fight for their future. We shouldn’t look down upon them. We should marvel at them like, “What did it take to leave your place?”
It’s about unity, humanity and unlocking who we are as a divine being and seeking for the hard piece, the purple heart, Christ consciousness if you will or whatever you want to name it. To have you here now on the show gets that even to that level of experience for myself, for the readers and for Entrepreneur Magazine. To have you here was such a gift. There are no other words to say. Can you recall a mystical experience you had?Putting forth your idea in the world is an optimistic act. Click To Tweet
I was going through something hard and I was spending nights alone in a hotel room. I’ve been through a ton my entire life. I have never felt that I had a situation I needed help with and I can overcome myself. There was that moment of life had brought me to my knees to the point that it scared me. That I was so overwhelmed and so in need of help because I had never turned to them like, “Where do I get help?” It was in the middle of the night. I’d been up for three days and I was praying. “I need something to help.” It felt like an apparition that I heard the words in my head, “Matthew, you’re okay.” I know there are so simple.
For whatever reason, I interpreted those words that you were born whole. You have everything you need. You’re okay and you don’t need the thing that you’re holding on to and the validation. You’re okay. I tell my children, “You are born okay and whole.” Whatever it is you think you need, you lack or that was taken from you, you’re okay. It was a mystical experience that happened several years ago. It was as clear as day as the closest I’ve ever felt to have a conversation with God because it was in a moment where I needed it.
Thank you for you.
I’m so embarrassed by the praise but it feels nice to talk about it and topics that we don’t talk about in the world, but you are embarrassing me. I want to tell you that. I’m going to catalog all the things I do that I’m terrible or have done, so I feel that this is a more balanced conversation.
This is what the world needs. I hope we meet again. If not on the set of Shark Tank, on a set somewhere on Earth. You will get a set of BrainTap and let me know how that goes. You will enjoy it, I’m sure. How did you enjoy the show?
I think it’s fun to talk to you. You are clearly born with insane intuition. It’s great. I’m slightly embarrassed because you said some nice things about me, but otherwise, I’ll blow it up. Thank you.
I have to tell you, I have divine love for you and for all of you who’s reading this, take good notes. I’m going to rock it up was Matt’s bio and his wisdom in Entrepreneur Magazine. It’s going to be beautiful. Thank you for your divine timing. In glory and the Holy Spirit, thank you so much, Matt for being here.
Take care. Bye.
What an incredible experience was, Matt in this episode, he is phenomenal. In the transparency of his story, his heart, his beautiful way that he speaks about his childhood traumas and those deep places of suffering and now sharing to us on the show, entrepreneurs all over the world how can you get to access your spiritual powers and your soul purpose.
One of the wisdom that shines through this episode, at least to me, I know if you read this episode, you would also align with his wisdom and that was intuition, self-awareness. For instance, he was speaking about, “If you’re going to want to pitch a shark or you seek an investor, be you.” He’s saying, “Be empowered about what you do and know the stuff. Know that you have a power within you.” He spoke about how as a young child, he already had a sense of knowing.
He didn’t know how to put it into a format because for him, it was something that was natural and then he developed those skills over time. He’s very clear about, “Your survivor skill is your intuition, your self-awareness that we have it within us. It is innate, but we must develop it.” As you were saying, the data, the information, the technology is one thing, but at the end of the day, technology is not wired to know your truth or to know the truth. You are the one to know the truth and the key to that higher rung of dimensional where you get a flow, not in energy, but information, because at the end of the day, what is light?
The light comes from you, from the source, from your beingness. Light is information. We have to learn how to process and to oversee those light codes. How do you know if this is intuition or if it’s not? You feel a certain way. You feel expanded in consciousness instead of being contracted in fear. He was very clear about his upgrades and each one of us who are seeking the work so close on a soul level that it was so clear about, “Be grateful for the struggle.” The struggle allows you to go through those upgrades. At the time of those moments of pain and suffering, you might not realize yet that this is given not to you but for you.
Eventually, it’s not even for you that you’re going through whatever the situation it is that you’re going through. It’s for someone else because, at the end of the day, our purpose is to help someone else. Matt’s mission, if you read the blog, he’s speaking about a meeting with St. Francis, the Pope. He’s on a mission to declare humanity, unity, global union, independence and liberation from the mindset of poverty that he went through growing up.
What came out of this end to you was very obvious. The beautiful colors were that within you, you not only hold the keys to your success and yet you might read the books, go to business schools and all those sound good. Until you face your shadow and even your demons, we all have demons sometimes but unless you’re willing to go through those trenches in mind, only then you can liberate the mind. First, we got to go through the self to the self.
What a beautiful sharing now and I’m so grateful for you that are supporting the show and our consciousness in expansion, in our human evolution, revolution. This is the time that each one of us has to wake up to the fact that we are that key to our own gifts and that we are born holy. We are born with the presence of light and divine love within. Our human purpose is to return to that holy place within Christ’s consciousness and to go back to which is home. It feels to me like it’s home. You feel at peace if you’re at home.
“What is it going to take for you to realize that now it’s your time and that you also have help?” You have myself, group, tribe and all this magnificent being like Matt, ready to help, support and facilitate on your journey on your higher path, which we all are on a high above different level of consciousness but we are one sole family. It’s now time to see it for what it is, to go and get down to your dream, to your mission and to your passion. I am so grateful to all of you. I send you lots of love and light. Be well, my friends. Success is already within you. Namaste. Much love.
- RSE Ventures
- Miami Dolphins
- Buddhism Plain and Simple
- Self Reliance
- Global Solidarity Fund
- Entrepreneur Magazine
About Matt Higgins
Founder. Operator. Investor. Educator. No matter the role, I’ve always believed in trusting your instincts and never outsourcing your judgment.
That mindset has led me down an unconventional path from poverty to investor. I grew up in Queens, hawking flowers on street corners and working at McDonald’s to help put food on the table. On a mission to transcend poverty as fast as possible, I dropped out of high school at 16 to work full-time and enroll in college early.
Over the next decade, I earned a law degree from Fordham at night and began a career as the youngest press secretary in NYC history, where I helped manage the global press response to 9/11.
I went on to be an executive for two NFL teams, found and invest in some of the most dynamic brands through RSE Ventures, and become a guest shark on ABC’s Shark Tank (seasons 10-11).
Most recently, I became an executive fellow at Harvard Business School, co-teaching the Short Intensive Program (SIP) Moving Beyond Direct to Consumer, and launched Omnichannel Acquisition Corp (NYSE: OCA) as chairman and CEO.
Always looking to meet great founders and the people who invest in them.