Friday, February 17, 2023

RIP Dave Hollis

Dave Hollis and his daughter Noah.

 I was punched in the gut recently when I heard the news that Dave Hollis had recently and suddenly passed away.  He was an influencer and writer and father (4 kids)  whose work I have admired for the past 4 years.   I never met him personally, but I consumed enough of his content (book, podcast, social media) that I felt like I knew him. 

Dave had apparently entered the hospital for heart related concerns, and despite his exercise and fitness regimen (he was a regular runner, and had recently competed in his first physique contest), something was apparently wrong and had gone undetected.  He died suddenly.

Read Dave's Obituary Here.

It’s a funny thing about Social Media— esp. when done well— you start to have a stake in the success and failure of people you don’t know.  They are talking in your ear, they seem personal to you, you feel like they are talking directly to you, and yeah, you get invested in them. And I certainly did with Dave.

Read my review of Dave's first book back in 2020, where I list the reasons why I like him so much.

I first encountered Dave when he was a guest on someone else’s podcast- Brad Wilson’s now defunct The Process.  In this podcast, Dave talked about personal growth, and how he decided to leave his job at Disney as the president of movie distribution- something he apparently excelled in, in order to become the CEO of his wife’s company, The Hollis Company.  

Dave had recently done a lot of physical work to compete in a physique contest. 
Could this have contributed to his heart problems that led to his demise?
(Photo from his facebook page)

I had never heard of his wife (now ex-wife) Rachel, but I was so impressed with him (and so much of the conversation I resonated with- esp. his discussion about why he left his cushy job at Disney to try something hard (his son asked him what he was afraid of, and he said “not fulfilling his potential”. BULLSEYE.)

  And his story about being a parent and a foster parent was also inspiring and amazing.  (And making your kids become self-reliant and take responsible risks)  I loved this guy from the get go, and wanted to seek out the rest of his stuff.   Which I did. 

I ended up reading his books (see bottom of this post for a list)  and subscribing to his instagram and listening to his and his wife's podcasts: 

START TODAY MORNING SHOW (which is, as the jingle said, "The Morning Show That No One Is Talking About."  This podcast was a lovely little nothing of a time with Dave and Rachel when they were together, and is still available online.  They stopped producing it a little before they announced their divorce.

(which was a couples podcast, with Dave and Rachel, about how to have an exceptional relationship and live your best life.  After the divorce, Dave took it over and turned it into an interview show to try and understand other people's perspectives and walk in their shoes a little while)

Dave Hollis celebrating Christmas 2022 with his family (from his facebook page)

I also watched his YouTube series with his daughter Noah, called TeaTime with Noah, in which he tries to instill values in his 3 year old daughter while they are playing at tea.  Great fun, and a great example of parenting from the get go.  These are going to take on specific significance to Noah and the rest of their family in light of his unexpected death.  And it makes me think of the videos that I have with my kid and my family.

A sample episode of Teatime with Noah.  I recommend watching them.  They are great!  He also started writing a series of children's books based on his Teatime with Noah series. The first one had been released, and I don't know if any more are in the pipeline.

After his breakup with Rachel, Dave soon found new love with trainer/IG personality Heidi Powell.  Here’s a video done last year about their relationship which has also been tragically cut short. (And he talks a little bit about grieving his previous relationship, and talking about divorce and death .  Oddly prescient.)

I’ve gone back and listened to that initial podcast,  where I first encountered him, and it’s great, and sad to hear it again talking about their ultimately doomed marriage and Dave’s untimely death.  (At one point he talks about what will happen when he’s 80, and I am now remembering that was a favorite thing for him to say, and I’m really sad he’ll never get there.)

Dave had a surprisingly profound effect on my life-  his struggles with being a practical person versus having a “growth mindset” really resonated with me.  I remember a conversation he had with Rachel where he talked about being a naysayer to his wife about starting some new project (that ultimately went out to be very successful)  He was trying to be realistic, and practical, and in the process he ended up discouraging her instead of being her cheerleader.  That is a  struggle I know well.  (Only too well, as it turns out)

Dave also introduced me to the quote:  Ships are safe in harbor, but that’s not where they were built to be. (Which he later had tattooed on his body).   Like many other people before me, that quote speaks to me.  Risk is of course part of life, and it’s what we are built for.  But at the same time, I’m not the kind of guy that likes to run the sails higher than prudent, and lately I think I am even more conservative about things as I've gotten older.  And that runs contrary to the idea of enjoying life sensibly.

Dave’s death reminds me of how short and precious life is, and we don’t know what’s in store for us.  And I guess I need to get out of the harbor more often!

Rest In Peace, Dave.  

I’m thinking good thoughts for your family, and for your legacy, and acknowledge the effect you’ve had on my life.

Books by Dave Hollis

Built Through Courage BUY

Buy Dave's First Book


This was clearly meant to be a series of books.

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