Episode summary: As children, we have a tendency to do as we are told. We follow the dreams our parents have for us, and sometimes even a comment from a teacher can pave a certain path.
Matt had been going through the motions of what his parents wanted for him – going to college to become an architect. The further Matt went along, he was realizing it didn’t feel right. It’s not what he wants to do. He went against the grain and started creating his own dreams and fulfilling them and he hasn’t been happier.
Guest Name & Bio: For 23 years Matt has designed, built, and creatively solved problems for GE, now, he says he is “hanging my shingle” to offer those skills to others, building two businesses of his own.
DXM Solutions is centered on classic industrial design and experiential marketing
Highland Timbers, following his passion for woodworking and marrying it with design. His goal is to reinvent game night and bring families closer together to create memories.
LEARN ABOUT THE HOST
Hello and welcome to The Mindset and Self-Mastery Show. I’m your host, Nick McGowan.
And on this show, my guests and I unpack the stories that shape us, the lives that we lead on our path to self-mastery.
So let’s not wait any longer. Let the games begin.
Hey, Matt. Welcome to the show, man. How you doing? Hey, man. I’m doing all right, Nick. How you doing? I’m great.
I’m excited to have you on. I’ve. We’ve talked for a little while about getting you on the show,
but now you’re finally here, dude. So how does it feel to be on the show? Yeah, man, it’s good.
I mean, like you said, we’ve been we’ve been talking for months about this. And, you know, I’m I’m glad to be here.
I’m glad you invited me on and happy to share any of my journey. And if it helps somebody else, great.
And if not, they can sit in point and laugh, you know? So that’s where I look at it. Yeah, that’s kind of smart.
I’m sure there are people that listen to some of the shit that I say where they’re like, Oh, that was intelligent. And there are probably other people that are like,
What the fuck is wrong with that guy? And that’s fine. You can sit there, point, laugh. That’s totally cool.
But man, I want to give a little bit context here because you and I have a little bit of an interesting story in the sense that we
I think I reached out to you about some conference like years ago, just trying to sell honestly.
You worked with a giant company. Can I name the name of the company, You cool with that? Yeah, that’s fine with me.
Totally good. So G.E. is going after G.E. and trying to figure out a way into it. You and I connected, and I.
I think we just started shooting the shit about something through LinkedIn, and I was like, This dude is cool.
Like, there are certain people I meet that are like, Fuck you, you’re a sales guy, like, but you don’t know who I am. Like, I’m a pretty good guy like you.
We should be friends. But you and I started talking and shooting the shit and, and it was interesting couple of years later when you ended up
leaving and moving on to the journey you’re in now. So that’s, I think really where our, our friendship started to really turn
into a friendship, talking through stuff and and kind of going through it. So I’m jumping in your story now, Matt, it’s your turn.
So why don’t you tell us what you do for a living? And one thing that most people don’t know about you that’s kind of odd or a little weird.
Well, I got all kinds of odd and weird stuff. Um, so what I do for a living now,
so I’ve got two businesses that I started, uh, a couple of months ago. One is DXM, which is design and experiential marketing solutions,
and that’s just based off of what I did at GE for the last 23 years. So I was a product designer and then got into the trade show
and event world and hosting those kind of things. And so now my goal with DXM is to help
smaller businesses achieve their goals and whether whether it’s a conference, whether it’s marketing, digital marketing or whatever,
just kind of be a resource for them to really grow that experience. Because for me, the experience is everything, right?
The experience is everything from, uh, how the phone is answered all the way to how you sell, what your storefront looks like, all that.
Um, and then on the flip side, the other thing that I’m doing. Is my dad was a cabinetmaker.
He was a self-employed cabinetmaker. And I grew up in a woodshop. I’ve always had a passion for furniture
and making things out of wood and making things in general. And so I started Highland Timbers,
which kind of came about through COVID, uh, at the beginning of COVID,
Uh, I’ve got two young children and I’ve got a ten, almost ten year old and a seven year old. And, you know, I used to be on the road
a lot, and suddenly we all found ourselves in the house together. And I came across this game called Crokinole.
And I was like, Yeah, that was kind of interesting, which like a challenging thing to make,
but it also looked like a fun game to play. And so I made I just went out to the woodshop one weekend and cobbled together this prototype of a Crokinole board
and Crokinole is a Canadian game. Think of curling, but on a tabletop surface, so a 30 inch diameter circle,
you got these little round pucks and you’re flicking them into the hole and you’re in order for your opponent to score their puck,
they have to touch one of your pucks that’s on the board. Then you go back and forth. And so I made this game.
And I’m like, and this is really fun. And my family loved it.
The rest of the rest of our, you know, bubble, our COVID bubble, they enjoyed it.
And I started making these games and I was talking with my wife when to ask, like, you know, I think there’s really something here.
It’s like, this game’s a lot of fun. It just has an awareness problem. And I said, you know what?
What can I do to help raise that? So that’s kind of one thing that’s in my head. But then the other part of
it was, I got to make something right and and I found it. My joy comes in making things and being in the shop and kind of exploring that.
And so as I started wrapping all this into a bundle, I started thinking about
and this is really about family and this is about making those moments that matter, right?
Because we’re only going to go through this life one time and we only have a certain period of time
in order to do that. And. You know, a lot of us are in these arenas
that we’re in these workplaces, we’re in these situations, whatever they are, and we’re not able to give our best selves.
Right. And. I’m not looking at this. This is a way for me to create a situation that I can put out my best self
for my family and what I want to do and where I want them to be.
And set an example really for what they can do as they grow in and become contributing members of society and adults.
Right. So that’s that’s kind of how I look at that. You know, along the way, I’ve
picked up some other games that I’ve made horse racing games. So I got that out for Derby and and I’ve got some other games
that are, that are coming soon. So things that you didn’t know about me
or you might not know about me. So there’s a whole, whole long list.
But I’ll just start. Since I gave you two businesses, I’ll give you two. Uh, one.
I am Santa Claus. That you are? Yes, I. I portray Santa Claus in the holiday season.
I get a big kick out of that with the kids. So that’s that’s a lot of fun for me. And then the other thing, which I think back on now
that I think probably spawned a little bit of Highland Timbers where I’m at now with with the with the woodworking and the game business
is I was a billiard mechanic. And you’re like. You’re like, what’s a billiard mechanic? So.
So a very good friend of mine. Growing up, his family had a pool table shop
that made custom billiard tables and pool tables. And after I, you know, learned about stuff from from
my dad and his cabinet shop, you know, as happens, uh,
fathers and sons have a, have a falling out of sorts or whatever. They decide that they can’t work together in whatever way.
And, you know, I took I took my tool bag and I went to my buddy and he hired me there.
His dad hired me to work in a shop. And so I spent evenings,
weekends and summers in my high school years and then on into college building pool tables and, you know, really,
you know, had a had a really good time doing that, learned a lot, learned a lot about life, you know, a couple of crazy guys that worked there,
um, and just had just had a really good time. So those are, those are probably the two, two things that are, you know, PG enough
rated that I can, I can put them on here and, and go from there. Oh, yeah. Well, you, you have family that needs to listen to this
So I guess if there are things that your second family should know about, then maybe they should
Ah naw. Clearly kidding everybody, clearly kidding. Well, we joke. We joke.
Well, that’s good stuff. So, yeah, when you said a pool table…. Yeah, basically what I heard was a pool doctor.
I fix pool tables. Yeah, no, I think I fixed pool tables. You know, we build, install pool tables and, and, uh, you know,
it was really my first customer interaction, right? So when I was with my dad.
He was the one who did all the face to face interactions with the customer. And, you know, suddenly here I am, you know, a teen guy
going out with another guy to install pool tables in somebody’s home. And, you know, it was kind of a
you know, the guy’s name was Bob that I was mostly out there with, right? Bob usually handled most of the customer interaction, but there were a lot of times
where I had to write or Bob would, you know, have to go, you know?
Engineer something out of the truck. Right. And I’d have to go go talk with with the customer and make sure that they,
you know. One didn’t walk out of the truck, but to make sure everything was all right, you know, that they were
that they were being handled all right. And so that really kind of gave me a taste for, you know, client interaction and customer interaction.
So, um, and so I think that, you know, that experience eventually kind of led me, you know, gave me some of these,
these background pieces to where I am now today. So, oh, man, it makes total sense.
The fact that you were building this stuff with your dad, starting with that, and then going to another company that was still building things,
it almost seems like it was sort of inevitable that you were going to get back to that, like you were going to build things with your hands again.
Yeah, it really is. Because, I mean, I think I even think about what I went to school for, right? I went I went to school to be an industrial designer.
Um, now I found that kind of a roundabout way. Um, I actually started out as an architect,
and I went to the University of Cincinnati to start architecture. Um, mostly because I grew up in a,
in a fairly remote, remote, rural area of Ohio. Um, and, you know, I was really one of the first ones
in my family to go to college. So my parents had not been to college. Their experience with college, college and college admissions, all of that
was pretty limited. My, my older sister went, but she, you know, she’s still in education.
I mean, she she became a dean and and the whole bit. And she’s super smart. And she really took the ball and ran with all of that on her own.
Right. Um, I. Probably didn’t run as far as much with it as what I could, right?
So, um, yeah, you know, so, but, but, you know, basically what, what it came down to is my,
my dad was a cabinetmaker and my mom was an artist. I’ve had my hands in both worlds.
And my dad just look at me, “You’re going to be an architect” and I’m like. Okay.
You know, and and, you know, so that was really my goal. And then I look at, okay, where’s the furthest point from home
that I can get and still be in-state tuition ? And so that led me to Cincinnati
and and University of Cincinnati, which happened to have an excellent architecture program and, and also a leading industrial design program.
And so once I was there for architecture, I realized pretty quickly that this was not where I was meant to be.
But I was in the right building. I just was in the wrong room. And so I started hunting around.
I found industrial design and I remember call my call my old man and tell him and
“You’re making a mistake. The biggest mistake of your life. Da-da-dadada.” You know.
Well, maybe, but said, you know what? Here’s the thing. I’m paying for this
whether I’m paying for it now or I’m paying it for it in student loans afterwards. It’s my choice. Right.
And I make I’m making this decision because I think it’s the right one. And I made the switch.
And, you know, I had a great, great career in that. And, you know, couple of years after I’d been out and I paid all my student
loans off and, you know, was living debt free. You know, I remember my dad coming back to me because, you know.
I remember telling you you made a mistake. He goes. I was wrong as you. You did well. And so.
Yeah, that meant a lot. Right. So but that’s a that’s something I think we need to get into a bit.
Without knowing who your dad is. And the audience has no idea any more than what you’ve already said.
So if that meant a lot to you, I think for the most part, we all kind of experience that like we were.
No matter how we look at our parents or the respect level or lack of respect or whatever.
I think we all at one point in time wanted them to affirm us and to be proud of us and be happy.
There are certain parents that are just awesome at that and there’s some that are too much where they’re just too fuckin much.
But then there are others that don’t say it enough and go, Well, fuck it, you know I love you. It’s like, No, you don’t unless you actually say it and you do it.
So in that moment, did you feel a kind of a fucking you, old man I fucking told you, or is it more of a I’m glad?
You know, there is probably a little bit of both. I mean, one I mean, thank you for your honesty.
Yeah. Who doesn’t like to be right? Right. I mean, we all like to be right.
But at the same point in time, it’s it’s also humbling to
to see someone you care about come back to you and admit that.
They that they didn’t know what was the best thing in that situation. And I think what’s interesting is I remember
I remember talking with somebody one time I remember talking with somebody one time and they and I’m going to try not to butcher this quote,
but basically they said. Parents. Can only.
See how far you can fly by, how far their wings have taken them.
And you know, that kind of stuck with me. I was like, that’s interesting, right? Is is if their wings only took them to here,
they they can’t see over that next horizon. Right. So as I sit here and think
through parenting and and raising adults. Right. Because I’m not as my friend says, we’re not raising children.
If we were raising children, we’d be done already. We’re raising adults. As I think through that, it’s really about.
Giving our children the proper tools so that they can make those decisions
and those those great decisions that are right for them, that allow them to soar further than what we ever could on the wings we had.
Right. And so that’s kind of how I try to think through these things as far as parenting,
which, by the way, I mean, nobody gives you a book. I mean, all the books out there are bullshit.
We’re all just making it up as we go along. I mean, I don’t I don’t care what anybody says. I think that’s just life in general.
Well, that’s true, too. But but parenting especially I mean, it’s it’s it’s an interesting, interesting road, for sure. So.
But, uh. Yeah. I yeah, I appreciate that. So I don’t have kids,
but I appreciate that perspective because there are certain times where I’ve had conversations with my own parents where I’m like, Look, Mom, sorry I was an asshole
and here’s why I was an asshole and how I’ve learned from that. There was also there was a moment
when I was younger that my dad called different milestones and he straight up told me, this is what’s going to happen at these things.
And each of those has fucking happened. I expect that at some point I’ll have kids. I hope at some point I have kids.
And I hope that same thing happens because I remember my dad telling me at 18, you’re going to think I’m a fucking idiot and I have no idea about anything.
At 21, you’re going to be like, Old man’s an idiot. He might know a couple of things. He’s still an asshole. Go fuck that guy.
And then 25, you’re going to be like, Oh man, no, some things, man. But you know, I’m in, I’m invincible.
I can do whatever the fuck I want. 30 is going to roll around and you’re like, Yo, dude, I am sorry. I don’t know all the things I could really use your help.
Every fuckin milestone hit, I was like, Yo, Pop, there I am, you know?
And I think some of that comes from just saying, Well, go out and do the things that you feel like you want to go do and go do that.
Like, I know from my perspective that he didn’t try to hold me to where he was because he was like, You can go do whatever the fuck you want.
And it sounds like your dad realized after like, Hey, you can actually do that.
So now with your kids and you’ve got young kids and understanding from that perspective that you’re like, okay,
I’ve gotten as far as I’ve gotten and your journey still going but that you don’t want to hold them back because one of your kids could be,
I don’t know, the next Michael Jordan or anything that you haven’t gotten to that level. So how do you manage that with little kids and not,
you know, like understanding their brains are still forming, you know? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s it’s it’s certainly tough, right?
I mean, we’re. My wife and I talk a lot about about tools, right?
Making sure that we give the kids the right tools so that they can succeed in what they’re doing.
Um, you know something that came up this year. My daughter has dyslexia.
My wife and I suspected it, but we weren’t sure if, you know, we finally took her and got her tests.
And, you know, COVID was COVID was kind of a weird thing.
You know, they were they were at home learning. And we actually had hired a retired teacher
to come in and work with both of our kids for that, because both my wife and I were, you know, full time employed at that time.
Right. And just banging at it. And we had done that the first three months.
You know, when COVID first hit before summer, we did that swap and back and forth and we both watch at each other at the end of that realized
we’re not teachers for a reason, we’re parents, you know, and
and so we went out and found a friend of ours who who knew some retired teachers, and he recommended one.
And she came in and she was great. And she’s been like a part of the family. And but anyhow, once we, once the kids got back into school,
um, my daughter, who’s seven now, who was six at the time,
she started hating school and, you know, just was really upset about it every day
and, and not being able to read and not being able to understand as much as what was going on.
So we took her and got her tested. And, and sure enough, she, you know, she came up being dyslexic
or having dyslexia and. You know, I remember talking with the with the gentleman about it,
and there were several things that I learned. One was that like one in five
people exhibit some level of dyslexia. So that’s 20% of the population, you know, is somewhere on this sliding scale.
And then the other thing, he’s like, well, he goes on that sliding scale. You know, there are some people who the roads there,
it just has some big potholes. There’s some other people that, you know, the road is there, but it’s a gravel road.
And some people it’s a it’s a wild trail going through the woods. He goes, Now here’s the good and the bad, because your daughter’s road
isn’t even hasn’t even been carved out of the woods yet. He goes, And that sounds overwhelming.
But she hasn’t learned any of the bad habits yet that so many people with dyslexia pick up
to try to get through some of these other things, he goes. So she’s starting with a blank slate.
Of really learning and learning how best to best ways to learn for her with dyslexia.
And so my wife and I talk and there just so happens to be a school.
That specializes in, uh, you know, educating for folks with dyslexia and other learning
or in specialties right at the end of our street. I mean, I can walk my daughter to school, I can go pick her up.
And I honestly, we didn’t even know it was there. I mean, we knew the school was there, but we didn’t know what really anything about it. Right.
We just knew it was a private school. And and so, you know, after very little deliberation, we both were
just like, yep, she’s going to she’s going to go to go to DePaul. And so we pulled her out of the public school and moved her right over there.
And and and it’s been great. It’s been a great experience for her. Um.
You know, they do a lot of things that I think. Would benefit all education personally.
Um, you know, and I’ve kind of, if you’re catching me on my, my latest soapbox,
so, you know, if you don’t like it, you can shut me down.
But, you know, one of the one of the things that I’ve I’ve been really questioning is the industrialized education process.
Right. And it and it really is geared towards,
um, I don’t want to say keeping everybody at one level,
but it’s the, unless you’re on the extremes, you’re not really getting any extra help on anything.
Right? And so she was just kind of wallowing there, you know, and it really made us think about some different things.
And then with her new school, they also do compassion projects and, and, uh, you know, some other things and, you know.
My wife, I go, you know, went to their compassion program, which happened to be right around Christmas time.
I was like, Man, it’s really amazing, you know? And each grade took something on. Hers was her class took on sea turtles, right?
So they adopted sea turtles and they raised they made ornaments and raised money to be able to to adopt sea turtles.
And I was just like, that’s pretty awesome. Um, you know, I’m also, I’m here in Kentucky, so I don’t know
if you remember last October when the tornados came through, uh, down to western Kentucky, but the , the seventh graders, um,
you know, they pivoted and I hate that word. They, they, you know, but they, they had something else in mind and.
That happened and they were like, you know what? We need to raise money for for the tornado victims.
Right. And so they changed. They changed their their whole program to do that.
And then the student council did that. And I just I just kind of looked at that whole program. I was like, man, that’s that’s pretty amazing, right?
What they what they were doing there. And I think it’s a great a great education. Each individual student gets a personalized education plan. And,
you know, it’s a lot smaller classes. And I mean, I honestly, I’d love to see I’d love to see that kind of model,
um, you know, be a lot broader. But I’d also oh, I’d love to see teachers
get paid what they’re worth because they’re probably one of the, if not the most undervalued workforce people out there.
They’re certainly in the top ranks of it. I mean, so I think, you know, it’s kind of it’s kind of where I’m at, you know.
So yeah, the education system is ah, it’s an interesting topic to get into because I think as
with COVID, that kind of started a little bit of an awakening for people with kids without kids just having conversations with themselves
or people that are fucking stuck in their house with them. Like, I have to look at you constantly now
and they have to look at themselves and have those conversations. And there’s been a lot of conversations. I’ve had an affair, you know, shooting the shit with bourbon
and talking about things and getting in where people have kids and all. So I’m glad that we’re talking about this now because I think the educational system in certain ways didn’t really do us
any good. It basically creates factory workers and says, Well, you do these things because that’s how you fucking do these things, and that’s it.
And I remember being a kid that would always ask why, and they’d be like, Because you need to shut your mouth. That’s why I’m like, Well, that doesn’t make any sense.
And that whole Prussian system, I agree with you needs to go away. We need to do something different with it.
I’m hoping that there’s some of that that’s coming out of what has happened over the past year or two years.
So even over the next five, ten, 15 years, we should hopefully see something. But what do you think it would take to actually have change happen?
Well, I mean, that’s a great question. What do I think it would take to make change in the education system?
Um. I. I do think that if there’s
if there’s one benefit. To what happened with COVID, as I think a lot of people became aware of aware of this.
Right. And I mean, you look at that just in the workforce, right? Look at all of
and I don’t want to use the word turmoil, but the upheaval, right. Of people leaving jobs, you know, myself included,
uh, other other folks who, you know, didn’t give choices to leave a job.
Um, you know, the workforce, uh, being servers and things like that where they’re, they’re not getting paid
what they’re worth to do what they’re doing. Um. You know, you look at all that and it’s like, okay.
Well, that industrial education process. That just geared people up
towards the industrialized employment process later. Right.
And so. So now I’m thinking that’s interesting, right? Because a lot of people, I think, woke up during COVID and, you know, I mean,
there’s been a huge surge in entrepreneurs and new business startups. And I’ll be interested to see, you know,
how that really translated translates in the education process as well. Right. If there if there’s that ability to change and shift.
You know, another thing that I think is is horribly missing and.
He is the a, you know, the the trade programs in school, right.
Where when I grew up in high school, the retreat programs and now there was a stigma against those kids.
They got on the bus and went to the trade programs. Looking back now, I mean, there should be no stigma on those kids ever.
Right. I mean, those are those are the people that are out there building the houses,
putting the electric in plumbing, taking care of your sewers. I mean, all of those things that happened within those trade schools
taking care of your cars. Right. All of that. Those are the things that keep society rolling and.
You know, not every kid is going to be college material, and that’s fine.
Right. I mean, my wife and I talked about all the time. I mean, we’re okay if one of our kids decides not to go to college.
I hope that they do, because I think it’s a wonderful experience. But if they decide to go do something else,
I just hope that we give them the tools that they need to be successful at whatever that is.
Right. Um, so it, you know, what is it going to take
for that education system to change? I, I really don’t know. I mean, it’s, it’s it’s all this stuff that’s like just now sitting in my head.
But I do sit there and think that it’s, that it’s broken and it needs fixing,
you know? And I think about what it costs to go to college now these days. I mean, I remember. Right.
You know, I’m a little older, but I remember write my first check for the first semester of first quarter of college and it was like $732.
For a quarter. And that was you know, that was 19 credit hours by the time I graduated.
It was a whole lot more than that. Um, and now, uh, you know, about nine years ago,
uh, a bunch of my college buddies, we all got together. The last one of us turned 40, and we got together in Cincinnati
and went to a, a Reds game and, uh, you know, got together
and we went and hit all of our old bars that we used to go drinking. And we were walking around campus, which, uh,
University of Cincinnati campus is just. Blown up. I mean, the difference between what it is now versus
what it was when we went to school there, it’s it’s unrecognizable. And we were like, Huh? For shits and giggles, I wonder what, you know, Kosovo education is.
And we looked it up and it was like $45,000 a year. And we’re like, oh, well, surely that’s out of state tuition, you know?
And then were like looking at it like, oh, no, that’s that’s in-state. I was like, how does how does anybody afford to go to school?
I mean, I went to school. I started it took me a little while longer to get through school, too. But,
you know, I started out in architecture, which was a six year program. Um, I then, you know, halfway through
the year moved over to Industrial Design, which was a five year program. I still graduated in six years,
you know, so I took that first year and kind of did whatever I want. But, um, you know, industrial design, I made it through in five years, but,
you know, I’m sitting there thinking, wait six years. You know, if you were six years now
at 45,000 a year, you know, that’s over 240000 hours.
How is that even sustainable? Uh, for you to make the kind of money.
To be able to pay that back. Right. Which then leads right back into that industrialized employment situation
where you’re you know, I remember when I started. That year, there were all these old college guys,
you know, that had been around the block. They’re all old industrial designers and they were all getting ready to retire.
And they all kept talking about, you know, the golden handcuffs and all this. And I’m like, what are the golden handcuffs? I didn’t really understand the golden age.
And it’s like, you know, well, once you’re in long enough, you understand that, you know, you’re just part of the grind.
And but they got you, you know, if you leave, you lose all these things.
And I’m like, that doesn’t make any sense to me, you know, because I was like in my head when I started, I was like, I was only going to be there, you know, a year or two.
And then I was going to move on, you know, of course, then it took 23 years for that to happen.
But, um, but you know, it’s interesting when you think through that, right? It’s like
we’re creating these automated automations, right?
In school and in employment and all of that. And it’s like, I think now, you know, with this surge of entrepreneurs,
uh, and the ability that you have as an individual to go out and start something and be passionate about it,
you know, and that’s starting at a younger and younger age. I think there’s more ability for those kind of things to happen.
And I’d like to see more of that focus, uh, happening in, in the school, in the education system.
So yeah, I, it’s interesting with the entrepreneurs that have come out of all COVID
because I think there’s a, there’s probably some people that are like, I fucking hate my job. I don’t want to be here.
I’m going to go do this thing. And a lot of those people are almost like the gym people that go to the gym in January.
They’re like, Man, I swear I’m not going to be fat no more. And they get in there and they’re in the gym for like a day
or a couple of days. I think they’re still the character type that need to be able to take shit
and you need to be able to deal with stuff that some people can’t. And I bring that up because I think there’s a certain level of running
from problems that people just always do, and the educational system doesn’t really help us with that .
The educational system is also produce the people that are educators. They were in the same system.
So to be able to step outside of that takes us actually stepping outside of that and continuing education.
And with all of the education that or the all the information that’s out there in the world,
there’s a lot and there’s a lot that can be too much for people. And I think some people get hooked on to what is like the easy thing
because they’re looking for that dopamine hit like, oh, well, covid’s here, I have to stay home. I fucking hate my job.
I’m going to go do this thing. I’m going to go sell these things or I’m going to do whatever. I hope that that was the thing that helped people get through.
But I feel like for the most part, there are people that were just running from their problems with that. I bring that up because you left.
You were there for a long time, but you left in in the middle of the pandemic.
And you now have two businesses that you’ve started. But I know you’re not one of those people. So talk to us about that process that you went through and the mindset
you had going, Oh fuck, I got a wife and kids and I got to do these things. Yeah.
So I mean, there were there were a lot of things that kind of kind of led to it. One, I traveled a lot, uh, for, for my job.
Uh, I mean, as you know, we spoke at the beginning, you know, we met through, through convention, right?
And that’s what I did. I was out in the trade shows and doing events and all that.
So I was on the road anywhere between 30 and 40%, sometimes more of the year. Um.
And as my kids got older, I was a lot more unhappy with all of that.
But I didn’t really realize that. And there were some other things that happened within the work environment as well.
But I don’t really need to go into that. I mean, it’s all everybody’s got work issues, right?
And so I just kind of looked at it. I remember sitting, you know, having dinner with with the family
because all of a sudden, you know, during COVID, we’re all home. We’re all home all the time. We’re having dinner together. Every night.
I look around, I’m like, and I actually like these these little tidbits that I that I help make, you know, like, this is this is fun.
Like, I want to, you know, I want to figure something out to be able to spend more time with them and.
You know, I think one of the other things that came out of all of this is every year, you know, I talk with I talk with my dad.
I mean, I talk with a lot more often than every year. But every year he’d be like, And I can’t believe you made it another year. Right. And I’m like, What do you mean? He goes.
So before he was a homebuilder and got into cabinet making, he had been a Sears salesperson.
And, you know, back then, that was a good, you know, good job. Right.
And he just was like, you know what? After he was there for years, he realized it’s just not the thing for you.
And I remember him telling me he was mad because. We’re not we’re not employees.
You know, we’re we’re owners. We’re we’re different kind of people. You know, we do things, we do things differently.
We do things the way we want to do them or the way we expect it to be done. And and I can telling her, like, well, that’s the reason
why I’ve been able to do the things and been happy is I was able to run my shop the way I felt it needed to be run for a long time.
And when that all kind of shifted and changed. You know, I tried to mold into the into the new system.
And then I just realized, like, this is just not working. You know, it’s just not it’s not a good it’s not a good fit.
And, you know, and so I made the decision that it was it was time to part ways and and try something else.
And I took I took time off. You know, one of the things I spoke with a lot of a lot of friends, um,
some of them retired, some of them, you know, varying ages. And they all said, hey, take some time, you know, figure out what you’re going to do.
And yes, I took time off and I worked on our house. You know, I’ve always been handy and did a bunch of remodeling on our house and
redid my son’s room and really allowed me to clear my head. And it got me back to thinking like, man, I really enjoy doing things
with my hands. And, uh, but then I also feel like I’ve got all this other stuff going on in my head too.
Like, you know, the design and the marketing and all this experiential stuff. And, you know, it’s like,
how do I make sure I blend all this stuff together to make something? Because I want to I want to be able to be a force for good out in the world.
Right. I want to be able to help people. Achieve their goals. And so.
That really is kind of where I started, you know, with the DSM solutions. You know, I had a buddy who had moved to a new company.
He reached out to me and they had some new product introductions and he needed some help with that because they were a company of engineers and manufacturing with no design sense.
Right. And so he was like, Hey, Matt, I need I need your help, right? And so I help them out with a project.
And then that kind of led to some other things. And then, you know, really I started looking at the games and I’m like, that’s just fun, you know?
I mean, like, who doesn’t like to play games, right? And so how do I get that out there? And, and so again, that’s just in its infancy
and I’m just starting all that out. I partnered up with a guy. He’s got an
industrial shop and he’s helping me run the parks. Right. So there’s I mean, a lot of seeing.
I started doing some of the stuff by hand and there’s a lot of seeing see work by hand.
It took, you know, hours what I was doing, an hours this machine can do in minutes.
And it just made it so much more efficient and effective, you know, for what we’re doing.
And so yeah, that’s that’s kind of the route I’m taking that. And then yeah, I’m also taking commission furniture pieces, right.
And so I’ve got, I’ve been lucky enough to get some connections up with people that needed, needed pieces and wanted something
that was not something that they could get at a big box store. And, you know, they really wanted a custom piece that was special to them.
And so, you know, that’s kind of where I’m taking that and, you know, helping helping people improve their home, their home life.
Right. And that way when one piece of furniture at a time. So, um, so that that’s, that’s kind of where, where it is.
I mean, my goal is I want I want to make sure that I’m helping people create moments that matter and that I’m giving them something
that, you know, they’re going to pass on to their family. Right. I mean, I look at I look at so many of these pieces that I’m making and it’s like,
hey, you’re your kid. You know, to steal a line off of another buddy of mine, like your kids are going to fight over this piece, right?
So what’s it matter to you now if it’s another, you know, hundred bucks or a thousand bucks or whatever the case may be?
Right. Your kids are going to remember this and they’re going to want it, you know, at a later date.
And so that’s that’s kind of how I, I keep thinking through things, right? So, but, uh, you know, and it allows me to be home.
That’s cool. I keep hearing the word legacy. Legacy. Yeah. Yeah. It allows you to be home and allows you
to actually build that legacy and spend that time with your kids. And honestly, man, it took you actually stepping out and saying, hold up.
I don’t know if this is right and taking those steps there. That’s that’s a big thing that a lot of people will think about, but they won’t ever actually act on it. So
is there any sort of advice you would give somebody that was going through that sort of space in time just to be able to get them over that hump?
Yeah, well, it’s a you always have to be a certain amount of self-reflective, right?
When you when you look at things and you know, it’s kind of like
I think about this with my kids and the farmers market. So there’s a farmer’s market up the street, right?
And I grew up one generation of farms. I knew where food came from. And I wanted to make sure my kids knew where food came from.
Right. And so we started going to the farmers market and befriended a farmer.
And, you know, we unfortunately never made it out to his farm before COVID hit and then he passed away.
But, you know, kind of my intent was that we were going to get out there and kind of really see see that.
And I feel the same way about work. Right. Going into COVID, our kids,
all they knew was that mommy and daddy left the house in the morning. Mommy owned her own business,
but they didn’t really understand what that was. And Daddy went to an office and would fly away on an airplane and come back.
And what kind of legacy is that leaving them about work and work ethic?
Right. And so they’ve really sort of make me think about what
all of that is and knowing that my wife, who started her law practice
ten years, almost 11 years ago. Um. How happy she is
and about what she’s able to do and build with that. And I was cynical, man.
I’m a grumpy old shit right now. Like, I want to make sure that I’m setting that same kind of example for our kids.
Right. I want to make sure I’m producing something that they can see that work ethic and that passion
and know that they can do those things, too. Right? Because we were always telling our kids, you can do hard things.
And that’s the one thing I’d say to anybody. We can do hard things. We’re only going around on this world, you know, one, one life.
That’s it. And so we need to be able to do the things that we need to do
to get through it. But we can do hard things and, you know, come out the other side. So that’s that’s that’s my that’s my little bit of advice.
I appreciate that. And I think you’ve listened to the show too much because you know that at the end of this, I’m going to ask you, what’s that
one piece of advice you’d give somebody on your path to self-mastery and you gave it before you asked that question?
So thank you. All right. Well, then the other the other bit of advice I’ll give is you drink your bourbon.
Neat. Drink your bourbon d that that’s a solid piece of advice.
Man, that is good stuff. Dude, I appreciate you being on the show. It’s always good to talk to you, and I’m glad that we’re able to actually record this thing.
Where can people connect with you? Where can they find the games? Yeah, so I’m I’m on Instagram
so you can find me there at Highland Timbers. Uh, search that and then you can also find me under Matt Jones
Z with a Z at the end that will also link up to my Instagram page.
And I’ve also got a Facebook page for Highland Timbers LLC. And, uh, and
that’s it, you know, come, come find me there. If you’re interested in the game demand, I’d love to, uh, love to get some of that out.
Share. Share those moments of matter with the rest of the world. So that’s awesome. But again, thank you so much for being on the show today.
Yeah. Hey, thanks, Nick. You take it easy.
Another great conversation on today’s episode of The Mindset and Self-mastery show.
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