Former Disney Exec Turned Self-Help Author: My Job Wasn't "That Hard"

Dave Hollis, who writes about his former job in 'Get Out of Your Own Way,' says he sought advice from his wife, who wrote the best-selling self-helper, 'Girl, Wash Your Face': "Her help was encouragement."
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

In summer 2017, Dave Hollis — then president of domestic distribution for Walt Disney’s powerhouse film studio — found himself on a Hawaiian family vacation feeling morose, disengaged, resentful and drinking too much vodka.

He was in the midst of reading a galley of his wife’s new book, Girl, Wash Your Face, which would go on to become a runaway hit and solidify Rachel Hollis’ standing as a best-selling self-help author, motivational speaker and social influencer. The words were like a mirror — including how they were struggling in their sex life.

Within months, Hollis informed his bosses at Disney — enjoying another record year at the box office, and would only get bigger in 2019 — that he was leaving to move with his wife and four kids to Texas and become CEO of the newly formed Hollis company (now home of podcasts, conferences, a new show on Quibi and more).

Hollis’ exit announcement in May 2018 stunned Hollywood. Who does that? Hollis answers those questions in his own upcoming self-help book, Get Out of Your Own Way. “In turns out that selling The Avengers and Star Wars to movie theaters isn’t that hard. It was like getting straight-As without having to study,” he writes.

Hollis tells THR that putting pen to paper “was definitely difficult, but almost two years into the journey, there is something unbelievably liberating about owning the truth of my experience. A man talking honestly about his struggles is something that most men don’t do.”

His book hits stands March 10 via HarperCollins Leadership

A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.