Reboot Podcast Episode #155 – The Heart of the Matter – with Dr. Simon Maltais

The Reboot podcast showcases the heart and soul, the wins and losses, the ups and downs of startup leadership. On the show, Entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and Startup Leaders discuss with Jerry Colonna the emotional and psychological challenges they face daily as leaders.


Dr. Simon Maltais

Dr. Simon Maltais

Cardiac surgeon, author, Founder of Healthcare Anonymous LLC

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Episode Description

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to shape our lives, many of us are flat-out exhausted. While this enduring moment in time has impacted us all, the prolonged nature of this global public health crisis has left healthcare workers feeling physically and mentally exhausted. Burnout, it’s a topic that we often address on the Reboot Podcast, and a term we’ve all been hearing more and more over the course of the past few years. 

For cardiac surgeon Dr. Simon Maltais, long hours in a demanding work environment were to be expected, but slowly, over time, when he looked in the mirror, the outer Simon was becoming unrecognizable to the inner Simon. In this conversation, he shares how his quest for perfection, and his desire to “sparkle and be loved” led him down a destructive path fueled by alcohol, anger, and self-criticism. Jerry and Simon discuss the high rates of depression and burnout among healthcare professionals and the resilience they need to deal with the suffering that surrounds them. In sharing honestly about his experience, Simon hopes that his fellow colleagues in healthcare and others in high-intensity environments will feel less alone.

Show Highlights

Top Quotes:

“It was either get better, make really profound changes or just lose everything.” – Simon Maltais

“The things I wanted to do with my professional career were at odds with my values. It takes a profound intent to change that and a certain dose of humility to start making those changes.” – Simon Maltais

“The pursuit of being loved, that pursuit of being admired, that pursuit of being adored, in some ways also led you to hurt people or to produce the opposite feeling in them.” – Jerry Colonna

“I wasn’t able to really sit down and ask myself who’s Simon? I was always a projection of others.” – Simon Maltais

“There’s a liberation in saying some days I’m a mess, especially for the guy who needed to define himself by perfection.” – Jerry Colonna

“Realizing that perfectionism was the reason for which I started to drink to forget that I couldn’t cope with the failure, with the stress of the environment, the work, was a hard realization to me.” – Simon Maltais

“I would say I spend most of my adulthood in this sort of constant rat race, sort of this disconnect between my professional career and what I want to accomplish personally, with a real sort of intent.” – Simon Maltais

“When something is too much for the psyche to hold, then defense mechanisms will kick in.” – Jerry Colonna

“The rate of depression is the highest in med school and residency.” – Simon Maltais

“There’s a lineage of the way to deal with the suffering, the way to drive the perfection in the profession is to berate those who are behind you.” – Jerry Colonna

“They talk about the mortality and how the surgery’s getting harder and things, but they never talk about the impact of coming to your office after two deaths and having to go back home or get back on the hospital the next day and do the same thing over again.” – Simon Maltais

“Training in the cultivation of compassion creates resilience in people. Meaning the more I open myself to other people suffering the stronger I am.” – Jerry Colonna