the personal development diaries | Matthew Collins


I'm grateful to have had the chance to sit down (virtually) and chat with the vibrant Matthew Collins. If you've met Matthew, you'll know that he has an inspiring outlook on life, and that his positive attitude and energy is infectious. Matthew is a celebrity hairstylist - a Canadian living in LA. I got curious with Matthew and asked all about his personal development journey.  

What might people already know about who you are (the extrinsic you)?

Well the first thing that comes to mind is I am INTENSE. I hope I'm not perceived to be intense in a bad way, but I really have no middle ground. I'm never lukewarm in any situation; I'm either all in and full steam ahead, or completely uninterested. I'm a hard worker. To be honest, in the last 10 years (including weekends) I have maybe taken 5 weeks off total. But this is the nature of running your own business. You always have this fear deep down, that every job is your last and you must say YES to absolutely everything. This feeling is something I continuously work on. The book ESSENTIALISM has helped me with this biggg time, to change this mentality. I also care deeply for others, and sometimes too deeply when it is not deserved. But I would rather care deeper than I should vs not care at all. Other people's success is something I'm very passionate about, and I will consistently do whatever is in my power to uplift those around me, and to those who I feel deserve it. Some people who don't know me or have never met me have commented that I'm much nicer and kinder than expected..... I do sometimes have a RBF (resting bitch face) and my overall look and tattoos can sometimes lead people to think I'm scary. But this only happens if they don't follow me on Instagram, because I do what I can to be as vulnerable and real in a world where a lot of people hide behind “a perfected, glossy" Instagram. My goal is to make a fool of myself, be vulnerable, and to not be afraid of what others think (when in reality, fortunately andddd unfortunately I care deeply about other peoples opinions).

What is something that people might not know about you (the intrinsic you)?

I believe that most people think I'm very outgoing and extroverted, when in fact I'm often the opposite. I will never go to a new workout class by myself; I will always drag a friend for comfortability. I'm terrified to go to industry events and “schmooze” even though sometimes I have to. When I'm there I do fine, but I experience a lot of anxiety leading up to those events. Or usually I would immediately need 3 drinks to ease my nerves... which leads me to another and another. I have partied so much in my life and still love it on occasion, but generally I hardly drink at all. I don't like the way I feel, or how unmotivated I feel when I get up, or the places drinking will sometimes lead me to. I would much rather be in control of my emotions and thoughts as much as possible. Also for my work, I've always had to live in big cities (I now live in LA, and before this I lived in Toronto for 12 years). However, my dream has always been to live on a farm or surrounded by nature.

What does personal development mean to you?

Like... EVERYTHING. We work so hard on our craft or career, but so many of us forget the most important part which is US, and digging deep into our minds to realize our full potential, and deepest goals and desires. I believe there is NO greater or more important work than on your own personal self. 

What has your personal development journey looked like?

When I was younger I would never have considered myself an artist. I was a full blown JOCK, playing every sport you could imagine. In university, I played football and rugby. When I failed out of university on two different occasions, it was my mom who convinced me to finally follow my love for hair. One year into my career, I met the head of L'Oreal Professionel, who became my biggest mentor and made an early impact on my career. He told me to take this program... he didn't tell me much about it, only “this will change your life, you need to trust me." I think if he told me I would cry, and look deep into my life, I most likely would have looked at it like bullshit. I really love other peoples opinions and motivation, though, so I took his advice. I spent the 10K when I had 1K to my name. My parents thought I was crazy (I think I did too). It was an 8 day experience secluded with a small group of people, and the end result of this program was to develop our public speaking training and our ability to connect with small audiences, or audiences of thousands of people. This was done in a way I never expected. It was all about our past relationships or trauma that has shaped our fear of public speaking. We learned to love more, show our love more, and break down life barriers, that held us back from so many things. To this day, these workshops were the single greatest thing I have ever done in my life. Since then I surround myself only with people with a strong “development” philosophy, so it becomes an easy topic of conversation, and we help motivate each other. I'm not a solo kind of guy, I love nothing more then being in teams and inspiring groups of people. Living in LA, I listen to lots of podcasts and audiobooks daily in my long drives to keep my mind sharp and my drive high. I'm always looking for any alternative ways to help myself grow physically and mentally.

What are some of the most impactful tools you've found?

GOAL setting is huge for me in so many ways. I need to always have things written down or posted on my wall for me to consistently visualize my goals and dreams. When I first started my goal setting work, I would write my goal with action plans under (and most importantly end dates!) on a huge piece of bristol board in my room, so everyday when I woke up it would be the first thing I see. I consistently remind myself of the journey I'm on, and the steps I need to take to make my dreams a reality.

After college sports, I put a major hold on fitness and basically did zero activity for 7 years. Last year my ONLY goal was health and fitness. I quit smoking a pack a day, and dedicated myself to work out every single day for a year. This is when I found spin. The ROOM, the PEOPLE, and the INSTRUCTORS... the vibe and everything pushing your body and your mind further than ever before. I love spinning at 6 or 7am ideally, as it starts my day, and prevents me from drinking the night before or staying up late. Before I go to the workout, I set my daily intentions in a journal, along with the most important thing I need to do that day. I dream about this in the hardest song of the class when I want to give up. I tell myself, "you will make it through this sprint, and if you do, you must finish this task today, cause it's not nearly as hard as the sprint you're doing right now."

Transformational moments?

I've had two very toxic relationships in my life, one was a best friend and business partner, and one an ex-wife. Although both of these people hurt me in massive ways, coming out the other end, I've realized that the life lessons I learned are priceless. I have truly learned that failure is one of the greatest gifts in our lives, but only if we can sit back and reflect on what happened, why it happened, and use these learnings as tools and fire to build your future and shape it in the way you always imagined.

Experiences that have helped you along the way?

Travel and humans. My father was a pilot for Air Canada, and my parents were also missionaries, so from a super young age, we would fly around the world, and help our communities in various third world countries. It made me very thankful of what we have in North America, but also I learned so much culturally, which shaped my deep care for all people in all situations. I have to say that people and culture are now my biggest inspirations in my day to day life.

Favourite rituals?

I'm the biggest procrastinator, so it's vital for me to set a plan daily and stick to it. I use 'The Five Minute Journal' every morning when I wake up to plan some intentions for the day. What I find is best about this is that even if it's a small task, normally we would not write it down. We would finish a small task and feel no pride. But even if it's so small, if written down and then accomplished, I feel a much greater sense of achievement, which keeps pushing me through my day. A morning workout is vital, but if not morning then anytime. I prefer and spin as it gets every last negative thought out my body, into my sweat, and I leave it on the floor, for others to mop up :) Lastly, I stretch at least 10 minutes a day, followed by a 10 minute meditation. My mind is always racing and all over the place (diagnosed ADHD) so I need that time to calm my mind and to be able to focus more directly on other things throughout the day.

Life lesson?

Never ever make $$ your motivation for anything. Follow your truest passion, no matter how silly it feels, and BE GOOD TO PEOPLE.

Words to live by?

“Be prepared to sacrifice who you ARE, to become the person you really want to BE.”

This quote is from the Youtube video "WHY DO WE FALL", which I've watched thousands of times. It pushes and inspires me every single time I watch it.

You can connect with Matthew on Instagram at @matthewstylist, or it's likely you'll find him at a spin class in Toronto or LA!