Ryan Berman talks to thought leaders from around the globe in business, sports and entertainment to uncover what it means to be courageous in today's world.
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EP102 Matt Gilhooly - Host of The Life Shift Podcast

Matt Gilhooly – Host of The Life Shift Podcast

At just 8 years old, Matt Gilhooly was struck with the abrupt and heartbreaking news that his mother had passed away in a motorcycle accident. This event marked the beginning of a long, soul-breaking journey of grief that lasted well over two decades. Today, however, Matt has found a healthy way to cope with his grief; using his experiences to help others do the same through his podcast, The Life Shift.

Episode Notes

As a host, he creates a safe space for his guests to open up about their own struggles and triumphs. But today, Matt shares his story for a candid, unfiltered episode on The Courageous Podcast. Matt delves into some of the most transformative moments in his life including the next time he had to face death in his family — the passing of his grandmother — and how that moment helped him move on with his life.

Ryan Berman 0:00

This is a show about facing fear, unlocking courage, and taking action.


Speaker 2 (Female) 0:05

Courage isn't necessarily a daunting thing.


Speaker 3 (Male) 0:07

It's going to give you more purpose, it's going to give you more drive.


Speaker 4 (Male) 0:10

It feels like making a courageous decision is going to get you closer to who you aspire to be.


Ryan Berman 0:14 

It’s knowledge, plus faith, plus action equals courage.


Matt Gilhooly  0:17 

Before my grandmother died, I was very much the person that would get promoted every year, worked my tail off, and I was making really good money. And I hated every second of it. And then, as soon as she died I was like, “I don't want to do what everyone else wants me to do.”


(Intro Music 0:34-0:42)


Ryan Berman  0:43

So, what I love most about our guest today… Well, there's a lot I love most about you, Matt. But, what I think I know is I rarely have another guest on that has his own podcast. And so, for one, I already know there's certain things that I don't have to tell you because you've been doing this a long time too. And, just to be clear, my guest today, Matt Gilhooly, hopefully, I didn't blow the landing there on the last bit.


Matt Gilhooly  01:11

You did it.


Ryan Berman  01:12

I got it? And you've got your podcast called ‘The Life shifts podcast.’ And it's funny, I have the slide in my keynote that I tried to get to in the first 10 slides. It's a split-screen slide that says, “Stop your bullshit, start your bold shift.” And I think that's what it is. I think often, sometimes, you need to short-circuit the brain. It'd be like, “No, this is bullshit.” Like you're just lying to yourself, or you're making an excuse and it's time to get to the shift. But I'm coming at it from a very corporate setting. And when I think about your story, I don’t… Clearly, it had nothing to do with corporate, and so, maybe you can sort of start what inspired you to get to The Life Shift Podcast, and permission granted to do the story right. So, go as far back as you want to just sort of talk about what inspired all of this.


Matt Gilhooly  2:20 

Yeah. I think, when you first asked if I would just come and have a chat with you on your Courageous Podcast, part of me, that imposter in me is like, “Am I courageous?” And so, what I love about, probably, my podcast for my guests, as well as, probably, yours is the concept of your show kind of triggers us to think, like, “Where was I courageous?” And I feel that aligning those, really, my personal circumstances in my life led me to a courageous moment which now feeds what my podcast is. So, my podcast is all about the pivotal moments that have changed people's lives forever. So, that could be corporate, that could be business side, but it also could be very personal. And so, for me, I go back to my childhood. When I was about eight years old, my father lived in Georgia, my mom lived in Massachusetts, I lived with my mom full time. And I was visiting my dad on a summer vacation because that was how life was going to be. My dad was far away, I was going to see him at holidays, and probably during the summer, I think. And my mom got to have her single time with her boyfriend. They went on a motorcycle trip across the country. And on Labor Day, 1989, they got in a single-vehicle motorcycle accident, and my mom died shortly after that accident, and her boyfriend died at the same time. And, in that moment, my life was no longer what it was 10 minutes before I found out. And so, it was like I was never going to be the person that I was developing into because of this one significant moment in my time. And so, hence, life shift. But really what happened was, as I was growing up, this is 1989, this is early ‘90s as I'm growing up, people weren't talking about things like that out loud. Mental Health was not like top priority. Grieving, everything was like, “How do we mask this right to make this eight-year-old feel better? Take them to Disney, buy presents.” Do all the fun things because that's how you solve grief in that time period, you don't really talk about it. But all along, me, behind the scenes, feeling I was the only person that had ever lost a parent. I just felt very alone in that moment. And it took me 20 years, or so, to grieve that process. And so, that kind of stems into what the podcast is now. But that failure of grief that I would say is really what led to a courageous moment after that. So I don't know if you want me to…


Ryan Berman  5:12 

No, first of all my heart still hurts. To think about the eight-year-old version of you, and what the… Even how the information got to your ears the first time, and all of that, but just to step into the shoes of anyone that might be trying to help you grieve. Where are they turning? There's no access. What, are you going to the library for a Britannica to pick up an encyclopedia on this? There wasn't like we just all had access to the internet, and there was reams of empathetic data on how to navigate your reality. So, I'm sure on both sides now, not that… You're eight, so you're like well…


Matt Gilhooly  6:01 

I had no idea.


Ryan Berman  6:02



Matt Gilhooly  6:03

I was actually talking to someone yesterday about the concept when you're eight years old. And I think the person that I'm saying I talked to yesterday was actually using ChatGPT. And I was actually trying to confirm something, and see if it knew. But at that age, you don't understand really what death is, you don't understand that it's… I think you do on a surface level, but you don't understand the finality of it. And looking back at my grief journey, I would say, for a good 10 years, I had convinced myself -- and this is protection -- I had convinced myself that my mother was in witness protection, or she was in hiding and would come back at some point in my life. And it's funny to me to think that a young child would understand witness protection more than they would understand death. But, to your point, nobody was prepared. There was no toolbox that people had to help me, and I don't fault anyone for that. My dad was mid-30s, and in all intents and purposes, was a single man living in another state. And that had a child, and would visit, and was a very good father, but was not prepared to take on both roles. And also, tried to navigate the world of his own grief of his ex-wife, but also, his child that's trying to figure out life as well. So yes, nobody really knew what to do back then. And I don't know if everyone knows what to do now, but it's at least talked about more.


Ryan Berman  7:29 

Did you end up moving and living with your dad?


Matt Gilhooly  7:34 

Yeah. So, at that day, I no longer lived in Massachusetts, I no longer went to the same school. I had to start a brand new school in a brand new state. I laugh because I came to near Atlanta with a Boston accent, and I was this student who started late because Labor Day… In Georgia, school had already started, but in Massachusetts, school didn't start until after Labor Day. So, I was already coming into the situation awkwardly, like, the kid with the dead mom, and he has this weird accent, and is totally lost in the world. So, it was quite an adjustment.


Ryan Berman  8:14 

Matt, in your mind, literally, in your mind, how much of this was compartmentalized versus, no it's seared, and you remember every waking moment?


Matt Gilhooly  8:26 

The first two weeks, I really don't remember much beyond a couple of glimpses of preparing for the wake, I didn't really understand what that was. And then, the moment at the funeral, just a brief moment, and then, at the burial site. But other than that, everything was kind of just this whirlwind of… I just didn't understand what was going on because… Like, my dad and I, to the point, we had to go to where I lived with my mom and tag things that I would bring so that the moving truck, or whatever, would bring the right things. I couldn't take it all, and I didn't understand why I couldn't take my life with me. So, there are only a few things I remember. They were pivotal, but it is a blur. But I was also eight, so I don't know how many memories you remember from eight, anyway.


Ryan Berman  9:19 

Well, when you and I had our prep call, you also talked about another instance where you had a front-row seat literally to death. Can you share, kind of, fast forward?


Matt Gilhooly  9:32 

Yeah. I think that's my courageous moment. I feel because I failed so much in my mind, I'm going to say that I assigned the failure to my grief of my mother, and taking so long, that I knew that if I was ever in that situation again I would not do it the same way, I would do it right. And so, because my mom died, I got really close with my grandmother. She was like a best friend at that time, she was discipliner at that time, she was just a perfect person that could have helped me through this journey. Maybe not emotionally grief-wise, but being close to her. And so, I'm not sure what year, maybe like 2012, or so, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. And so, we had to navigate that field, and how was I going to make the most of these moments and create the best ending it could, because we didn't really know how much time we had. And what I found, as we got closer, and as things started to deteriorate, I knew I needed to do something, one, for me, but also, for her, that I don't think many people get the opportunity to because it's very scary and it's a hard thing to do. And so, right before her last birthday, I sat her down and I said, “We need to have a conversation. We need to have the talk that everyone says they wish they had. We need to have whatever I would say in a eulogy, we need to do that right now. We need to talk about all the good moments that we had together. We need to talk about all the things that we did for each other.” And we had the deepest of conversations. It's hard to explain how deep it was. But I knew when I left her apartment that night that if she… I was convinced she was going to die. I was convinced that that moment, we did it all. We said everything that we ever needed to say, but I felt this piece that, if she died, there was nothing left unsaid. She ended up dying a couple of months later, and I sat by her side in hospice. But at that moment, when someone's brought into hospice, there's not a lot of… They're not thinking as clearly, the conversations are not as deep. So, I look back on that moment where I was like, “I'm leading into this, we're doing it now because I don't want to regret not doing this.” And so, I'm just so grateful for that. And then, just the opportunity to watch her take her last breath, I often describe as devastatingly beautiful because there's some kind of like… It's so very, very sad, but also, I get to witness this, this is something that she blessed me with. It was just a very odd experience, but I think had I not messed up my grief journey with my mom, I wouldn't have done that. And now, it leads into The Life Shift Podcast. And now, I want to just hear people's stories. I want to give them a space where they can share hard parts of their lives, and pick it apart, and talk about it, and how very much we as humans are connected. We're not that different from each other despite our experiences.


Ryan Berman  12:50

For those of you who are not fluent in sarcasm, when it… Again I'm sure I didn't feel sarcastic at the time. But you're eight years old, you didn't mess anything up. But the irony of the two, where, in one, you don't get a say on saying anything. And then, on the other, the fact that you have the courage to be like, “No, we're going to take this moment. This moment could last 24 hours. We're going to sit here and let's get it out on the table. Whatever it needs to be, let's have the talk,” like you said, is pretty profound, pretty beautiful. And it's crazy. To me, I don't sense that's about death, I sense that's about life. And it's about a rebirth in some ways, and how you need to liberate yourself. I'm sure you felt lighter just from having the talk. By the way, is…


Matt Gilhooly  13:42 

Not right after.


Ryan Berman  13:43

Ok yeah, well…


Matt Gilhooly  13:45

Right after, I was devastated. But, you know what? Looking back, yes, very much later.


Ryan Berman  13:49 

Was she your grandma on your mom's side or dad's side?


Matt Gilhooly  13:53

My father's side.


Ryan Berman  13:54

On your dad's side. Okay, cool. And so, you think if there was, like, you think about this moment that happens to you, and then, this moment that you're very much involved in, and you throw those into the cocktail outcomes of  The Life Shift Podcast?


Matt Gilhooly  14:12 

I think so. I recently went into it thinking, yes, my mom dying was a big shift. But I had the opportunity to watch my grandmother die. That sounds really weird to say, but it is a blessing. And I think that experience has fed more into the success of the show in the sense that it makes me genuinely curious about moments, and I want people to feel comfortable sharing really hard parts of their lives, or good parts. I don't want it to be like a fully grief podcast, but naturally, because I've had these moments in my life, I gravitate more towards the ones that feel more familiar. But I've had people that have listened to the show, and then they come on to be a guest, and they say, “Okay, I originally told you that I was going to talk about I change jobs, or something like that, but actually, I want to talk to you about something that I've never said publicly before.” And, to me, that's like, one, I want to just sit down and have this conversation, but for you to trust me enough to put this on a platform for other people to hear, imagine all the lives that you're affecting now. So yeah, I feel, yes, my mom dying, I think maybe the period after in which I felt that I wasn't doing things the way that I wish I would have. And then, being able to do that, and feeling like, as soon as my grandmother died, I felt peace and not a struggle for years, and years, and years, allows me to have this podcast, and to just find amazing people to share their stories. I've never had a more fulfilling project.


Ryan Berman  15:56 

Well, one, from eight to, I think, around 30. So you got 22 years in between-ish between the two experiences, and you come out the other side and create the platform. And then, I love hearing that, like, somebody comes on is like, “I've never talked about this before.” And what that tells me not only is safe space, and that's a mad cap-tip to you because you're creating enough of a safe space where people feel like they can share freely. But two, maybe we just haven't come that far still. If people haven't shared something, they're not stumbling into the resources, the tools they need, to feel safe, to learn what they need to learn to feel that they can share. If you feel like you're a salmon swimming upstream, and you haven't shared that thing that feels heavy. And maybe that's what it is, it's in some ways… Now, this is the optimist to me, Optimism is my number one value. And so, I kind of go back to what I said a few minutes ago, is it really about death, or is it about life? Is it really about the rebirth? And what happens from the shifts? What does the shift actually give you? Is it a restart, or reboot? You're not forgetting anything that's happened to you in the past, but is that how you see it?


Matt Gilhooly  17:26 

I do. And I try to end all the episodes with, “What are we grateful for, not of that moment, if it was a bad moment, but what have we learned from it?” And oftentimes, I get asked, “Would you go back to 1989 and change what happened?” And I have to say, “No.” Because I would not be this person, I would not lean into hard moments, I would not feel like I do, and have the opportunities that I do. So, I say it, yes, when my grandmother died, I felt a freedom. I felt that I had closed the door on my inability to grieve. And I felt like that was a blessing in it. That moment when she took her last breath was like, “Do whatever you want,” because I think we talked about this on the podcast a lot. Society has told us, I don't know where, but there's some kind of checklist that we're all supposed to follow, or that's how I felt growing up. We had to do this. We have to graduate high school, then you have to go to college, then you have to pick your career when you're 18 years old, and then, you just go from there and get promoted every day. And I talked to so many people about it, and I think it goes back to your point of why people don't share these things. Is there’s a fear that someone's going to find out that there is a flaw or crack in their facade. And then, we have to pretend because society wants us to do this. And so, I feel that was my rebirth. When my grandmother died, I was like, “None of that matters. I'm still here.” So, I've leaned more into that authenticity, sharing the gross parts of my life in the sense of, like, why are you sharing that Matt? Because someone out there might be experiencing the same thing. And if that helps them… It didn't hurt me by sharing it. So, I feel it's really just been a blessing since my grandmother passed to just feel that rebirth, as you named it.


Ryan Berman  19:27 

All right, so here we are man. We made it. We've made it to here now. Congratulations. I'm happy to be here, I hope you are too. Let's talk about where you feel in your life today is like, you know what? I need some courage. I need some courage right now. I'm dealing with like… It could be the podcast, it could be something happening. You're down in Orlando, right? Something happening in Florida. By the way, this is…


Matt Gilhooly  20:00

How much time do you have?


Ryan Berman  20:01

I know, yeah. Good point. Okay, pick one thing… This is how we'll set this up. There's this famous proverb that fear and courage are brothers. Fear and courage are kin. You really can't get to the courageous act without first channeling through fear. And I like to say I'm in the fear of shrinkage business. So, what's the biggest fear, or a fear that comes to mind that you're willing to share?


Matt Gilhooly  20:33 

I think, right now, I'm struggling on the career component of my life. I feel that, for so long, I followed that invisible checklist, and it got me to a place where I'm so far down the line that I feel I'm misaligned. And I'm still trying to find… And maybe this is utopia in my head, of finding a job that pays the bills, but also, that I enjoy doing, and that I'm skilled in. I have two master's degrees, so I think I have the ability to learn, and I have the ability to do things, but I still have that self-doubt, or fear, maybe, of going into a job and not liking it, and then feeling stuck, or not being able to do it. So, that's kind of what's percolating in my mind right now because I found the outlet for my heart right through the podcast. So now, how do I find the way to pay the bills, and the things that can light me up for those 40 hours a week, or whatever I have to work because that's just… There are bills to pay. So, that's where I'm stuck right now in my life, is really finding where I fit in, I guess, a paid industry.


Ryan Berman  21:51 

Do you see it as… Is this like a shift for you, or, in your mind, it’s like, “No, I don't want to shift at all, I want to take the skills I know, which is as a storyteller, and getting compensated to do that?”


Matt Gilhooly  22:06 

Yeah, I currently work in higher education, it's not a place that I want to be forever. And I think that's another story of where education is going, and what's happening there. But, to your point, yeah. I'd love to be more in the storytelling side, the communication side. I just got what I'm deeming a pandemic master's degree because I was bored. And so, I got a second master's degree, and I got it in communications. But, at the same token, I have this master's degree in that, but I don't have direct experience in the areas. And so, that creates a fear of job hunting, that creates a fear of feeling like I'm an imposter because I'm faking something. And so, that's what I'm grappling with. And I'd love to do this, I'd love to be able to help others tell their story, and help others feel like I feel when I do this and in this podcasting space because I've never felt so lit up, I've never felt so in my space in what I should be doing. And also, if I look back 10 years, I never would have imagined that this is what I would be doing either. So, it's like this weird space of like, “How can I love this so much, and never knew that I wanted to do it in the first place?”


Ryan Berman  23:25 

All right. So, this is my ‘oh shit’ moment. I've just reached the 100th threshold of podcast guests. And I've tried to make a really conscious effort -- and this is the behind-the-scenes look in for anyone that's listening -- of just staying in my lane. I've tried to really stay in my lane. Because when you're a podcast host, as you know, your job is to create the guardrails, but stay out of the way. I just had this conversation with somebody else, and we're like, the podcast is not about me, it's about can I ask the right question to extract out appropriate answers that are interesting, and curious. I think what you're coping with, so many people struggle with too. And again I'm back to, okay, me on a stage, which is the opposite, because, if you're on a stage, then, in some ways, I need to do my job to unlock whatever it is inside somebody else. And then, it's like, okay, Dr. Berman showing up. I'm not a doctor in any way, shape, or form, but you get the idea. So, I always say, and this is the word that you used. You'd said that you're stuck, you might get stuck in a job that maybe the pay isn't what it could be, or maybe they marketed the job one way, and then, it's like you get in there and said, “Oh shit, what just happened here?”


Matt Gilhooly  25:02

In there.


Ryan Berman  25:03

And so, I do think that a lot of us are stuck, scared, stale, or spinning. And I think, anytime you sense one of these four in you, then you need courage to get through it. You just need the courage to… And so much, that sometimes, paralysis kicks in, and you do nothing because you start speculating about, “What’s going to happen when I take this job, and then I get in there?” And so, this is the part that I've been trying to avoid, is maybe we take a little bit of time here and like, what would I do if I were you?


Matt Gilhooly  25:41

Yeah, I'm here for it. I think, before you do that, I think what's interesting is I think, logically, I know what I need to do. It's taking that step.


Ryan Berman  25:53 

Well, okay. Let's hear the logical steps. What's the steps?


Matt Gilhooly  25:57 

Well, I feel I need to really figure out what I can do, one; what my skills are and what I would like to do on a regular basis. And then, search to see what kind of jobs/ industry I would want to be in. And then, find my way to fill the gaps and take steps forward. But then, I'm like you said, it's like paralysis, it's the spiral.


Ryan Berman  26:22 

Well, again, what triggered me on this was you're so far ahead than most people. This is what I heard, wait a minute, you're telling me that you get lit up every single time you get to do your podcast? What's your podcast? Your Podcast is a platform for storytelling, the vessel just happens to be the audio through the ears. To me it's like, well, there it is. How do you utilize this? Almost every company needs content right now. And you're an expert in it not only can you create spaces for content, but you can be the voice of content. Orlando, so let's see here, every destination, escapism destination is down there. One of the tricks that I used to play -- and by the way, I didn't have a choice, I didn't feel I had a choice at the time -- is if I believed in my product, and I think you believed in yours, I would go in, and I would give it away free at first, or charge very little. And I know you got to pay the bills, but what do I need to do to get in the door? Just get in the door. Strategy number one is get in the door. You're the expert, you have the shift, the podcast is here, you've shown people how to do it. Let me show you how to do it, and like, get in and get going. I can think of, for courageous, on my side. I'll never forget -- this is an example -- I'll never forget one of the first calls I got when I had left my last agency, and I was in non-compete time. So I'm in non-compete time, I've got an 18-month non-compete. And someone knows my book is coming out, and they're like, “Will you come talk about what you've learned?” And sheepishly they're like, “Problem is, we only have $1,000.” And the brand was a prominent brand. And, in my mind, I'm like, “I would have paid you $1,000 to be able to say this brand's name for the rest of my life that I spoke at blank.” So I think it's almost like, how do you just get in and start? And especially if you know what you love to do. This is the Dr. Berman in me. So, that's the answer. The answer is, hey, let me come put on a podcast for you. Let me show you how to do that. We'll do it from the park -- right now I'm thinking of Universal Studios.


Matt Gilhooly  29:15

You are going to make me think of a Disney.


Ryan Berman  29:17

I'm going to make you wear the costume.


Matt Gilhooly  29:19

Oh good.


Ryan Berman  29:30

In costume.


Matt Gilhooly  29:21

in Florida in the summer, that’s a good one.


Ryan Berman  29:24 

As Pluto in only June. It's going to be great. Okay, easier said than done, but when you say you feel the spiral is real, which gets -- and this the other thing -- which gets in the way? Is it the; where’s the money to do that? How much time am I going to lose by doing that? Tell me what's the priority.


Matt Gilhooly  29:48 

The priority, or the fear spiral? The fear spiral is I think it's a lot of the imposter syndrome kind of things, of someone's going to find out that I don't have all the answers, or that I'm not something. And then, I start… It's as simple as when you just regularly search for a job, and you look at the job description, and you're like, “What is that?” Or, “I can do this, this, this, and this, but I can't do that, therefore, I cannot do this job.” And it’s that fear that just, like, what if they find out that I don't know all the answers, which I know, logically, no one has all the answers. And if they do, run.


Ryan Berman  30:32 

So, two immediate thoughts that come to mind. One is a comment, and one is a question. And you're not going to like my question, but, I guess, because it's courage, then we're going to go there. So, comment; I think, today, you have to care and not care all at the same time. If you care about your product, which you do, just like I care about my product… I always say, what I love most about my brand, is that it tells the world who it's not for, as much as it tells the world who it is for. If someone sees my brand, and they're like, “What is Ryan Berman doing? What the hell, courageous?” Good, do not waste my time. I do not care. I really don't. It's not even personal to that person. I truly might love that person. Seriously. But I don't care because, with the little time I have left on this planet, I want to do exactly what I'm passionate about. And that might be; take a stage, it might be having this conversation, it could be helping a client that's stuck. Okay, now this is the question. If you're sitting with your grandma right now on this conversation, what would she say to you?


Matt Gilhooly  31:54 

She would say, “Follow your heart and do whatever you want to do.” Yeah, she would say that. And then, I would say, “But…” And she would say, “No.” And it's different. I get it. I know it. I know I need to just lean into it. It's fear. It's so strong. And I know that I can overcome it. I don't… You're right. You win. (Laughs)


Ryan Berman  32:23 

This concludes the… No, it’s not about that, either you win.


Matt Gilhooly  32:27

No, I know. It's true. One of the things that I always stick with, or think back to towards the time that she was, kind of, losing her thoughts. And she said, “I wish I hadn't worried so much because all that matters is love in the end.”


Ryan Berman  32:45

Hmm. That's good.


Matt Gilhooly  32:46

And it sticks with me because… And I think it's helped me. It sticks with me because I do worry a lot about this, that, or the other. But when it comes to my heart, I don't. It's almost like this professional life is like, I know I need it because I know I need to pay the bills. But my heart; on my sleeve, everyone can see it. I'll share everything with you. So, it's these two pieces. One still has that worry and fear, and the other one’s like open book.


Ryan Berman  33:17 

Right? And so if you can maybe bring more love into…


Matt Gilhooly  33:21



Ryan Berman  33:22

Because great stories are just…


Matt Gilhooly  33:24

Yeah, you are right.


Ryan Berman  33:27

It’s just that. No, again, it's easier said than done. I think it's also, and there's no part of me that is suggesting with this that you fear hard work, but it's also work. It's it is work. Again, this isn't about you, this is for the listener. It takes work, it takes every day. Again, I've done 100 episodes, I can't farm that out. I can't farm out being the voice that does this, like we need to have a conversation.


Matt Gilhooly  34:00

Not yet.


Ryan Berman  34:01

Yeah. AI, right?


Matt Gilhooly   34:02  

  1. Well, what's interesting to that point, though, is like before my grandmother died, I was very much the person that would get promoted every year. Would move up, would move up, move up. Do hard work, worked my tail off, and I was making really good money. And I hated every second of it. And I was miserable. I would work so much, and then, I would just go home, and go to bed because I just… I wasn't tired, I just didn't want to be awake. I didn't want to think about it. I didn't want work to be stuck in my mind all the time. And then, as soon as she died, I was like, “Work. I don't want to do that. I don't want to do what everyone else wants me to do.” And so, now that I found this, you're right. I feel like I need to find this space that feels really good but also can support me in a way that… I don't need a lot of money. I just need to pay the basics, and do the basic things. So, I feel I'm on that path, but I still have that fear. I think it's just ingrained, that societal fear.


Ryan Berman  35:04

Well, I think it's human, I think all of us have that. I think that's the ‘aha’ moment that I… Even before I took this journey as someone, I realized I wrote the book because I needed the book first, right?


Matt Gilhooly  35:21



Ryan Berman  35:22

And so, the ‘aha’ moment was that we're more alike than not. We all suffer from some version of loneliness because we're talking to ourselves in our heads, we're holding ourselves back, we're afraid to leap.


Matt Gilhooly  35:37



Ryan Berman  35:38

Will you humor me on an exercise?


Matt Gilhooly  35:40



Ryan Berman  35:41

Okay. I heard yes, but you tell me. Okay, so let's say that you are the host of The Life Shift Podcast, and you're getting ready to right now do your show, and your guest today is you. How do you kick off the show, and what is your first response back to yourself? And then… Or if it's 12 minutes in, whatever. To get to the heavy, what do you ask yourself, and then, what is your response to yourself?


Matt Gilhooly  36:13 

That's a good question. First I would ask myself to paint that picture of what my life was like before that moment, and then, investigate how that moment changed everything, and what have we learned from it, and what can we take forward from it. And I think what it makes me think about, and what my response would probably be, would be related to years into that grief journey, finally finding the right therapist. And she told me, “You realize, your entire life, you've made decisions as an eight-year-old. You've let that fear of abandonment, fear of not being liked, and not… Just feeling alone, you've used that to do all the things that you've done.” And so, this version of me would need to be reminded that I need to stop operating out of fear and protection, and lean into the things that… Like you said, we have a limited time on this earth. Who knows how much time we have left. And, in my mind, I'm on borrowed time because my mom died when she was 32. And so, yeah, you're right, I need to… You're right, Matt, the host of this podcast that we're on right now. I do need to stop operating out of fear because who knows? What's the best that could happen, right? Not what's the worst that can happen?


Ryan Berman  37:46 

All right. One more exercise and I promise I'll stop with these. But I'm just curious to see where it goes.


Matt Gilhooly  37:51  

That was impactful.


Ryan Berman  37:54 

So, let's say, instead of eight-year-old version of you, there's 80-year-old version of you. So now, you're interviewing -- by the way, not on the show -- it's grandma flipped. And you here is like, “All right, 80-year-old version of me, what do I need to know?” Like, 80-year-old version of you just came back in the ‘Back to the Future DeLorean.’ And like…


Matt Gilhooly  38:23 

I hope I have that almanac.


Ryan Berman  38:25 

You left the almanac? How could you… Like, if you were having a conversation with , or 80-year-old version is having a conversation with you today, what would 80-year-old version tell you?


Matt Gilhooly  38:39 

Do it now. Do it. Just lean into it. Find the opportunities that are lighting you up, and you clearly have the space for in your heart, and in your skill set. Yeah, I think it's, honestly, it's kind of that flip same thing I would say to the eight-year-old, like, you got to stop operating out of fear. And I feel I’m in that season, but that reminder is really important. But I think it would be the same, it would feel very much like my grandmother's final warning to us of, “Stop worrying because, when you're lying here at the end, all that matters are the people around you. Nobody cares what position you had, what salary you had, what your house looked like, nobody cares about that.” And so, I do need to remember that. I need to remember that, if I operate out of here, and what brings me joy, and doesn't hurt me, or hurt other people around me, then maybe I should do that.


Ryan Berman  39:42

So, thank you so much for just being your vulnerable usual self. It's clear when you say, “I put it all out there,” you really do, and it's noticeable. Okay, as a host, this is you not me, as a host, if you’re going to…


Matt Gilhooly  40:03 

Getting really confused at my roles here.


Ryan Berman  40:04

I know, I'm trying to clarify. As another host, since we're both hosts, if I was to come on your show, which I think I might still be asked on, maybe I'll be asked off now. So, if I'm asked on the show, what's one question that you feel that you would ask me?


Matt Gilhooly  40:27 

After finding out what your specific pivotal moment was, I would love for you to tell me if you could go back to that person right before that happened, or right before you made that moment. What would you tell them that could be useful? So, it's very similar to your question because I think the reason we do that is because of the listener. The listener can learn from you and what you did at that moment, or maybe what had triggered that and how you responded. if you would give them more advice, or if you would just let it be?


Ryan Berman  41:10 

Hmm. I know exactly what moment that's going to be, this is a great teaser for your show. And I'm not going to share it now, I'm going to save it. I'm going to save it for your show. And I completely agree. It drives me mad when people…. It's never about you, it's never about me, it's like, what can be extracted from the conversation, and do you choose to take the lesson? Do you choose to take the learning opportunity? Anytime you're in any conversation, there's a lesson or a learning opportunity that you can extract. And then, it's what do you do with that? All right. Just to close this out here, give me one takeaway, speaking of lessons, that you hope the audience takes from this conversation.


Matt Gilhooly  42:02 

I hope that your audience is listening to this. And if they're facing something that's like a grief journey, or something that is very isolating, that they take from this the benefits of sharing that, and sharing how they feel with someone. Doesn't have to be on a podcast, that might be a little too much for some people. But I think there's a lot of times where things are in our head, and they sound and feel a lot worse than, maybe, they are when we say them out loud, or say them in a full story. Sometimes we only share segments, but when you hear the full picture of your own journey, there's a lot more understanding of where you've been, and how you got here, and how you can use that to improve. So, I would say the takeaway is share your stories with each other. To your point, we're a lot more similar than we are different. And so, by sharing these stories, I think we build stronger human connections with each other and create a better community, than if we're just staying in these isolated silos trying to pretend to be something that is not fully us.


Ryan Berman  43:15 

Yeah. Great, touché. Kept up again. It's funny, I feel like my main takeaway of this conversation is just… Some of it's going to seem really layman, but it's, like, how valuable time is, and how much time is spent thinking about time in the past. And when is that working for you, or against you? Versus how much time you're thinking about the future, fictitious time that hasn't even happened, on where you want to be, and what you want to do. And as your grandma perfectly stated, all that worrying about something that's never even happened yet. And so, this power of time, and making the most of now. The time is now. And maybe, how do you put your energy into just that? And just chop wood, one step in front of the next. And if you can find the thing that you love doing, you're off and running.


Matt Gilhooly  44:20



Ryan Berman  44:21

Matt, I cannot wait to come on The Life Shift Podcast, by the way, audience, no, Matt is not paying me to say that. Again, I think a lot of podcast host guests do this, where, like, “Hey, I'll come on your show, and you'll come on mine.” I don't do that, I haven't done that. So, this will be the first time.


Matt Gilhooly  44:44

I love it.


Ryan Berman  44:45

We're doing a pod swap.


Matt Gilhooly  44:46 

Yeah, I like that. It's important to share our stories, and never know who's listening, and who needs to hear what you're going to share on The Life Shift. So, I'm excited about that. That's coming up in a few weeks.


Ryan Berman  45:00 

Matt, where can people find you?


Matt Gilhooly  45:03 

They can find me on LinkedIn. So, I'll give you the link for that. And The Life Shift is easily found on And that will take you to all the places. And we're happy to have you listen to the show. I actually share my full story on an episode, so that kind of really shows the ‘why.’ So that someplace where sometimes they… Or new audience members will listen to that one first.


Ryan Berman  45:30 

All right, Matt, see you in a few weeks. Thanks for coming on the show.


Matt Gilhooly  45:33 

All right. Appreciate you. Thank you.


Ryan Berman  45:35 

You too, man bye. Thanks for tuning in to this episode of The Courageous Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, don't forget to rate and review us on Apple podcasts so more people can find us. See you again next week.


(Outro music 45:49-46:03)



[End Of Audio]

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