To Create Change, Know Thyself

Matt Hogan
8 min readAug 28, 2021


“To be different in the next moment — We Must Accept ourselves in this moment” — Anonymous

These words hit me like a refreshing gust of wind on a mountain top. I felt at ease. In that moment, everything felt possible. I had heard variations of these words strung together before. Yet, I never ‘got it’ like I did this time.

No, this time I knew that it was true and made sense, without any need to analyze. I felt this statement versus considering it as an idea.

And yet, as I sit here writing this, I find myself wondering what the impact has been by not ‘getting it’ over the years.

I want to chunk down this ethereal message.

The essence of this message being; change, acceptance, and presence. Each necessary for creating change in our lives while feeling at ease versus at odds with life.

I will hold off on speaking to acceptance today, and save that for another article.

Presence of the moment being the most important of the three elements to the message. Presence serves as the foundation that makes anything possible. As Eckhart Tolle talks about, being in the now. Or, mindfulness. All three being one and the same.

If I am unclear about….

  • How I am talking to myself in my head at any given moment, and how that impacts my behaviors and feelings,
  • How I am communicating with those around me because of my thoughts and feelings,
  • The meaning behind another persons’ words, tone, and body language…

…I can not be the cause of my life. I am disconnected from myself and the world around me.

I remain in a cycle of being at the reactionary effect. Unclear on how my own natural tool, my brain, is creating what I am experiencing. And further, what that experience is.

This momentary awareness is necessary first, before all else.

As we step through this conversation, you may find yourself clear on what you want to change in your life.

You may be setting down to write your first book.

You may find yourself amidst a transition into business full time.

You may be reconnecting to your innate worth as a human being.

Whatever your sights are set on right now, the following message will support you on this path. If there are any unanswered questions, let me know.

Many of us are quite clear on what we want to change. Even if we are not clear on why we want it or don’t have it, many of us are clear of what we want to come next.

More money. Love. Ease. Freedom. Impact.

I remember, about five years ago when I was planning the launch of my coaching business. This was before I had made my corporate exit. I was sitting on my couch, in my condo, located in Kansas City, Missouri.

I had my spreadsheet in front of me on my Macbook. I was writing out my plans, my goals, and all the things I wanted as I looked at the creation of my next chapter of life.

The primary output I wanted, my business operating at a high six figure amount, year over year, three years in. All the while, traveling the world. I had a goal. I had a change in mind. Yet, unknown to me, I was missing the other two fundamentals to have that become a reality. Presence and acceptance.

I was missing the fundamentals that successful strategies and structures are reliant upon.

What I knew to do was set a goal, build objectives, and design the structure around it all. Then execute.

What I didn’t know to do was create a greater understanding of how my mind worked. I didn’t know how to delve into a deeper exploration of how I used my brain.

Or, how my brain worked to construct who I believed myself to be.

Further, I was unclear how my mind was the sole reason for how I interpreted and related to the world around me.

I was able to consider this as an idea.

But, I was unable to be aware enough in a given moment to see and connect the dots. The dots being from thought ->feeling -> action -> result. This is often called the ‘cycle of human experience’.

I liken this gap of understanding to a tense conversation with my boss, or significant other. It’s like the conversation itself is a blur, and then after, I say, ‘what happened?’ Or, ‘who was I just then? That’s not like me.’

Given this, I was unaware of all the hurdles I would face in my efforts to create my ideal revenue scenario. I was blind to my mental and emotional relationship with my own existence. Blind to my own worth as a human being, separate from what I had, who loved me, or what people thought of me.

I was blind to the real reasons I wanted what I wanted. And, I was blind to the awareness of what stood in the way of creating it.

Some might call that, double blind. Eh, I will call it double blind.

What made this a greater challenge for me was I felt like I had to hurry. There was no time to waste. After all, I was in my 30’s, and I better get busy living, because I felt like I was wasting a lot of time.

‘Take massive action’ was the message coursing through my mind. And my caffeine filled veins. I was in a cycle of grit, hard work, and what felt like me forcing a boulder up a hill. When I am honest, most of life felt like a forceful push, up until this point.

Action is important. Without it, we live in a world of wishing or wanting to, and haven’t moved into willing to. Without willingness, we stand still.

Yet, you can run 100MPH down the road, but if it is the wrong direction, it doesn’t matter how fast you are going. I liken this to my experience because while I was taking actions, the lack of awareness slowed me down a lot. I looked busy, but progress was slow, to say the least.

Had I cultivated my capacity to be present to the moment then, as I am now, I would have seen a lot more possible for me. My focus would have been spot on, and my energy would not have felt like it was seeping out everywhere.

Most of my energy was being wasted in constant cycles of thoughts and emotions, that I was not even noticing.

It’s fascinating to see how studies show that our brain uses up to 20% of our energy. And most of the time, we don’t see how the current functioning of our brain is wasting most of it.

Had I greater presence, it would have been clear that my greatest obstacle was me. Not strategy, structures, and massive action.

I would have seen how I held insecurities about money and relationships.

I would have seen how hard it was for me to be perceived by another human in any other way than what I wanted.

I would have seen how afraid I was of the word ‘no’.

I would have seen how afraid I was to ask for help.

I would have seen how afraid I was to feel my feelings.

I would have seen how afraid I was to ask for what I wanted.

I would have seen how afraid I was to not be important.

I would have seen how I felt shame for wanting more for myself.

I would have seen how I felt shame for wanting to be different.

The nuance here is seeing that I was like a car driving up a hill with the emergency brake on. I was moving forward because I knew I wanted change and something different. And, due to my lack of awareness of how my brain worked at the time, I didn’t see how I was in a war with myself.

There was a war within me, between who I wanted to be, versus who I believed myself to be.

Because I was unclear on this, going on inside of me, I could not begin to see the connection to the results I was creating.

The funny thing is, if I had a friend that talked to me the way I talked to myself, they would have been out of my life in a second. And yet, day in and out, I was unaware of the tapes playing riddled with criticism, doubts and judgements.

What I see now is I was at odds with myself. I was beginning to see the fears, lack of self worth, and insecurities that had been with me for years.

What changed?

I decided to break away from the narrative of what is ‘normal’. I began to question what life meant to be and is all about. As I stepped further out into the unknown of what is ‘normal’, the more what had always been there, began to emerge.

I look back over these past few years, and I am in awe. I’m in awe with how much I’ve changed. What I have done and created is great. Yet, what stands out the most is the change of relationship within me, that has led to feeling at ease in life, versus at odds with. It’s in this change, that what I have wanted most in my life, began and continues to emerge.

If we want change, we must know thyself. I have seen this in my life over and over, and with every single one of my clients. The more we slow down and they begin to see the gap between who they are being versus want to be, that is where the greatest gifts lie.

What is possible for each of us when we focus on creating more presence with how our minds work, is astounding.

The impact this has on our relationships, our finances, and the world around us, is beyond a simple idea.

When we know ourselves, we navigate the world in a new way.

When we know ourselves, we invite others to do the same.

When we know ourselves, the feeling of being alive transforms.

Recently I met with a man that runs a media production company, focused on spiritual growth. As we talked, he shared what has been my experience, too.

‘There is always more depth to discover.’

In the depth of understanding ourselves, we begin to understand others. In understanding self and others, what we want to create becomes almost inevitable.

As we wrap up this conversation…

What questions have you been able to answer?

What questions remain on your heart and mind?

Let me know.

I’m happy to have a conversation with you about it.

You can schedule that time with me HERE.

Stay curious.



Matt Hogan

Coaching Leaders & Executives to Find Purpose, Clarity, and Alignment. | World Traveler | Soul Seeker | I help you through the hard sh*t.