Creating Your Own Upward Momentum with Matt Nelson

S08 | 04 – Creating Your Own Upward Momentum with Matt Nelson

Lindsay Recknell Hope, Podcast Leave a Comment

People are complicated. That’s putting it lightly, but it’s true. We don’t always make the best decisions and sometimes even work against our own best interests.

Fortunately, people are also always capable of change.

Today’s guest is Matt Nelson, and he believes that everybody has good in them. Yes, even your high school bullies. And he believes that with self-reflection and a shift in perspective, people have the capability to create upward momentum in their lives. No matter what your personal struggle is, you have the opportunity to make a difference and strive for greatness.

You may feel discouraged or lost now, but you are capable of living your purpose every day. Tune in to hear his tips on self-reflection and get some insight into how you can create positive change in your life to reach your goals.

About Matt Nelson:

As someone who always sees the best in others, Matt is on a personal mission to change the world, one person at a time. He believes everyone has good inside of them, but we often lack clarity of what that means to each of us. Everyone has a purpose in life, but many of us don’t know what that purpose is. His goal is to change that, help everyone find their purpose, and drive positive change in the world.

To learn more, visit his website and connect with Matt on Instagram and Twitter.


Mentioned In This Episode:



Lindsay Recknell  0:03  

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Hope Motivates Action podcast. I’m your host Lindsay Recknell. And it is my pleasure to have Matt Nelson on podcast today. Matt is a fellow podcaster with a show titled upward momentum, where he tells stories of others who are creating upward momentum in their lives no matter what they are faced with. As someone who always sees the best in others, Matt is on a personal mission to change the world one person at a time, he believes everyone has good inside them. And sometimes the struggle is due to a lack of clarity around what that means to each of us individually. 


Lindsay Recknell  0:35  

In this episode, Matt and I speak about career transformation, even in midlife where a big change in our personal or professional life seems extra terrifying. And he shares some things that worked for him when he landed at a professional Crossroads himself a few years ago. What to do when we reach these professional and personal Crossroads is exactly what you’ll learn in my better than today coaching program starting in January of 2022. If you found yourself feeling stressed, anxious, or just playing block, wondering if this is all there is better than today is for you. 


Lindsay Recknell  1:05  

Over six months, we’ll figure out who you are, where you’re at, and where you want to go using the science of positive psychology and the power of hope to lead you towards a future better than today. Happiness and fulfillment is the end goal, where you get to live a life of meaning and create a legacy of living today. I’d love to have you join me. So get yourself on that waitlist by going to my website at, which stands for better than today. Let’s get to taking action towards your better future. I can’t even wait. And I can’t even wait for you to hear Matt’s episode. So let’s get going. 


Lindsay Recknell  1:45  

Hello, Matt, welcome to the show.


Matt Nelson  1:47  

Thanks, Lindsay.


Lindsay Recknell  1:48  

How are you? I’m very excited to have you here and hear all about the work that you’re doing and your kind of personal missions, starting from a very quick personal place as well. So why don’t we start there? Why don’t you share with us your journey of life and how you use hope to motivate action in your life?


Matt Nelson  2:09  

Well, it actually goes back pretty far to my elementary school days. And, you know, I ran into a number of challenges with bullying. And you know, most people think, you know, that, hey, that’s probably the people around you. But I had academic teachers who were kind of took part in it not necessarily with the students themselves, but in their own sort of way they they had their perceptions of who I was, and they didn’t like that. So you know, kind of was able to get away from that through junior high school switching schools and stuff. 


Matt Nelson  2:42  

And as I get older, I ran into it once again, when I really started entering the workforce. And I was like, my gosh, this is not fair, people should not be treated that way. And you know, some people may say, take it as well, you know, it can affect them negatively, but I looked at as an opportunity. And for me that opportunity was to say that, you know, I believe everybody has good in them. And when we can change that.


Lindsay Recknell  3:07  

I absolutely believe that also, and I love that perspective of reframing what could absolutely and has often negatively impacted many, many people’s lives. I mean, we talk about bullying all the time now, which is awesome, because you and I are about the same age. And I feel like we didn’t talk about bullying when we were when we were kids, you know, you brought up, you brought up these things to to teachers or to administrators or to parents, and often they would dismiss it or, you know, wipe it under the rug or whether or not or simply not believe us, the kids, that it was a real thing that it was happening to.


Lindsay Recknell  3:44  

So it’s absolutely true. And I love that you are okay to share your story because I imagine that there’s many people listening, that have had similar experiences as kids or maybe even now in the workforce. 


Matt Nelson  3:55  

Mm hmm. 


Lindsay Recknell  3:57  

Do you like what have you done with that lesson?


Matt Nelson  4:01  

Well, it it sort of first led me down a career I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, I started sort of going initially am going to go into technology and computer science since where I want to be. But then I realize I’m too much of a people person. And it really wasn’t my thing. So initially started a career actually in human resources because I thought this a great opportunity to make a difference and impact how people were treated. 


Matt Nelson  4:27  

Now Funny enough, as I started that career, I started to realize that employers really don’t care about you. And and once again, you may end up down that sort of that same journey and what you thought was going to be the career that would make a difference. Ultimately wasn’t then it was in 2019 after actually being being unemployed for a while I went through a career transformation program and I see that 100% transformation because it was not a traditional transition program where I had the opportunity to really dig deep inside and do self reflection.


Matt Nelson  4:59  

and I really You know what, after meeting people, I have no opportunity to really make a difference. And so I actually all started with a podcast because I thought I need to tell the stories of these people. These are real life, people who’ve dealt with the same thing as me. So step one was getting the story out there.


Lindsay Recknell  5:19  

And what story? What stories have you had opportunity to share?


Matt Nelson  5:24  

Yeah, it’s been actually interesting, because through the program, I started, I met a couple people. And it actually started with a single mom who had been same job for over 15 years. And all of a sudden, the company said, Here you go see you later. And and had her give her a chance to share her story. And then another one was a gentleman in his 20s, who it led him down a very dark path of addiction. And, and he was able to overcome that, both through this program, and just that self reflection made a huge difference. And I just found his story. So impactful. 


Matt Nelson  6:00  

And then beyond that, you know, I tell stories kind of about everything, I mean, then the whole idea is, the name is I call upward momentum, because the idea is, there’s a belief that everybody can create their own upward momentum in their life. And one of my other ones is a good friend of mine was diagnosed with ALS four and a half years ago. 


Matt Nelson  6:19  

And he actually wrote a book. And one of the most the title of his book is called perspectives. So 17 things you learn, living with a terminal illness. And just in that interview, you know, he told me about where the title came, and he says, you know, it’s all just a matter of perspective in life. And it’s a matter of how we look at that perspective.


Lindsay Recknell  6:38  

So one of the perspectives that I have is to live a life, looking towards the future, what we call the science of hope, and taking action towards over those things we can control leading to a future better than today, this is a podcast all about hope. And tell me what you think of when I mentioned the words hope, and how you’ve seen that impacted the impact of that in your life, and maybe in the lives of your, of the other people around you.


Matt Nelson  7:09  

Um, you know, when I think of hope, I think for me, it’s opportunity. It’s the fact that, you know, even if we look at going back to the idea of bullying, and just negativity, and, and even just thinking about everything that’s going on, right now, you have a great divide in society, people in all different directions. I mean, social media is basically on fire with all kinds of different opinions. 


Matt Nelson  7:34  

And there’s two ways of looking at it, we can either look at it, as you know, well, there’s this, this sides, right, the sides wrong, it’s like whichever side you want to look at, we can look at as an opportunity, and I look at as an opportunity for hope to sort of say that there’s a lot of misunderstanding there. And I think from both sides, you know, people aren’t quite understanding each other. And I believe that there’s, there’s underlying challenges there, if you will. And the best way to think about it is that hope, is that opportunity to make a difference. 


Matt Nelson  8:09  

And if I mean, you can say, I also personally have hope that we will eventually see, I mean, we’re never going to fix everybody in the world. But I do hope everybody takes that opportunity to sort of, you know, self reflect, because I think that’s a huge key, looking at yourself first. And really considering what’s hurting, what’s what’s causing that grief that you have. And, and again, I look at HOPE has that positive piece to sort of say, that’s what’s going to motivate me to move out of where I’m at. And, you know, again, back to the idea of upward momentum that you’ve got to create that approval event, and it’s not going to create it by itself. You have to do that yourself.


Lindsay Recknell  8:51  

Yeah, that agency piece taking control over what you can control and taking action towards, towards that those things, whatever those steps are to create that upward momentum. I obviously could not agree with you more on this particular piece. And self reflection feels terrifying. I mean, if it was easy, I feel like we’d all do it all the time. Tell me more about, like, when you were talking to people, or when you experienced, you know, a desire for self reflection. How did you get over that fear of what you might find upon that reflection?


Matt Nelson  9:30  

Well, what’s interesting is, when I went through this program I actually worked with a certified coach, and I’ve never worked with a coach before. And that I would say, it’s not something you can necessarily do on your own. And when you see there’s a fear of self reflection, I wouldn’t necessarily see it’s a fear. I think it’s more of a misunderstanding. And that a lot of people kind of go through it. They may think it’s woowoo or something like that, where it’s all you know, it’s touchy feely. But until they experience the power of what that can offer you. People you may not realize really what it is. 


Matt Nelson  10:09  

And interestingly enough, I’ve been doing a lot of research into to leadership, it’s been something I’ve been very passionate about for a long time. And, you know, one of the biggest skills they say to being a strong leader is being good at self reflection. So, the, you know, the biggest key is, I think, if somebody is not comfortable with saying, you know, what, I’m going to just take a minute, I’m going to stop, I’m going to basically put myself in the third person and rewind the tape, if you will, thinking back to the days of VHS tapes, and imagining you’re watching your own movie, watching your own narrative and thinking about how you handle the situation, what you could have done differently. 


Matt Nelson  10:49  

And sometimes it might mean reaching out to somebody that can help you do that asking for that third party perspective, because, for me, personally, I’m very much an extrovert. So I tend to like to talk things through somebody else. And as I do that, I find that I’m able to see, I see things from a different angle, and it helps me kind of articulate things and visually visualize them in front of me. For somebody else’s, may be more of an introvert, it might need journaling, sitting down. 


Matt Nelson  11:16  

That’s another skill that I’ve personally also used in, I’ve heard of many times. And it’s so amazing, if you just let your mind go, you’re not there to be a professional writer, it’s just for you and yourself, what you might realize come out of that journaling and how different you feel. You know, there’s psychology that shows getting things out of our head and onto paper. It’s like, almost as if somebody takes it and physically pulls it out of your head and then puts it in like a journal for you.


Lindsay Recknell  11:51  

The second thing that I like to talk about is fears are louder in the dark. So when we get them out of our head, we get them either down on paper, or like you said, having a conversation with somebody it does, it comes down to that perspective. It you know, getting it out. Often, if we hear ourselves, say it out loud, a light bulb will go off, or somebody’s feeding back to us, you know, doing active listening and paraphrasing back to us what they think we heard, and then we could go Hmm, it’s not actually what I meant, I realized that’s what I said, but maybe that wasn’t actually what you meant. That kind of stuff was very powerful and very, very healing, and also less terrifying than it probably is in your head anyway. 


Matt Nelson  12:48  

Yeah, well, it’s, it’s kind of ironic. I’m actually working with Stephen Covey content right now on a project I’m working on. And, you know, the, the seven habits of highly effective people was taught, I mean, I read the teen version of it by his coffee son. You know, as a kid, I was like, oh, you know, this is really good. And you know, and I read it again, as an adult, and I was like, oh, man, this is really good. But it just, I never really kind of stuck to it, if you will. 


Lindsay Recknell  14:08  

I was just looking it up on my Goodreads because it’s where I keep all of my best book recommendations because you’re right, there are a million and anybody who follows me on Goodreads, and please feel free to because my list is well. pretty ridiculous. Let me share with you I have 547 books I’d like to read. It legit gives me anxiety to think of all the good books in the world that I will not read simply out of a capacity. 


Lindsay Recknell  15:12  

Like I could read every minute, for every day remaining in my life, and I could still not read all the best books and it legit gives me anxiety. However, I do keep track of all the good ones, that people. So there’s one more and one more I just remember, tell me.


Matt Nelson  15:27  

Um, so I’m in the middle of this one right now it’s called can’t hurt me. It’s by a guy named David Goggins. And, you know, it’s not only is that a powerful story that what the challenges he went through in life, but what I really like about it is, it’s you can take it at face value, just the way it’s written. But I have definitely found it has brought a certain level of motivation to me to say, you don’t have to be a Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates to just go on and do amazing things in your life. Anybody really can do it. 


Matt Nelson  16:02  

And you don’t need that special routine. It’s just a matter of how you go about doing it. And what are you going to let stop you and get in your way. And I’m only about halfway through it is I did the audiobook version, which is actually kind of an audiobook slash podcast. It’s quite cool. But what an inspiring story they could just really creates, in the words of Stephen Covey, a paradigm shift.


Lindsay Recknell  16:26  

Yeah, so if I as I so I’ve listened to that book also, especially because I love the podcast where he’s got the, I don’t know, moderator, I guess to go straight. Yeah, to give you the right the ghostwriter to give you the kind of context and backstory and behind the scenes kind of what, you know what he was going through during this time, which was super fascinating. 


Lindsay Recknell  16:52  

I also really like in that one he’s got, I don’t know, I can’t remember it’s at the end, but I think it’s at the end. Like action steps or intentional things you can do. And he talked about writing. I think it’s him that talks about writing those empowering words and things in the mirror.


Matt Nelson  17:09  

Yeah, yeah. The mirror of it called the mirror of truth or something like that. Yeah.


Lindsay Recknell  17:13  

Yeah. Right. So that every time you’re looking in the mirror, your image is surrounded by things you want to remember, or motivational, you know, things to keep you going or whatever, which I thought feels really like common sense, or super simple, but quite impactful. I mean, I read a lot. And the, you know, that’s something that sticks with me. So it’s definitely, yeah, he, the book was really, really great. 


Lindsay Recknell  17:38  

And for people who don’t know his story, he’s a seal, navy seal. And it talks about going through basic training, and just the experience of that and where he came from, and an abusive home being raised by, you know, ended up being a single mom and yeah, pretty, pretty incredible. That’s awesome. 


Lindsay Recknell  17:59  

Um, what? So if somebody wanted to start a journey of greatness, so you know, you just talked about how, you know, Goggins talks about how you don’t have to be super famous, or super smart or super anything to still go out and change your world? If somebody wanted to do that, what advice would you give them on where to start? 


Matt Nelson  18:28  

Well, again, I’m going to steal some more coffee stuff here. One of the things he talks was begin with the end in mind. And, and I believe what it starts with is finding your purpose, because every one of us has a purpose. But how many of us go through life? Not living our purpose, just, you know, many, many people were taught to, to wake up, go to work, come home. And that’s kind of it. That’s, that’s your life. 


Matt Nelson  18:55  

And it’s, but really, you know, and jobs that keep you in careers, when you talk to people. I mean, I’ve talked to many people, about their careers and whatnot. And a lot of people don’t they realize after they’ve been laid off, they feel lost, because they don’t know they’ve lost hope. They don’t know where they’re going, they don’t know what they want to do. 


Matt Nelson  19:15  

So I think it’s really about figuring out what your purpose is, and let that drive you. Because, you know, going on and being impactful doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have a statue or anything like that. It’s really just a matter of, like, for me, it’s impacting those around me. I mean, ultimately, I want to make a difference in the world. For others, it might be something more it might be, you know what I want my name on the front page of the newspaper. I want a statue and I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just a matter of knowing what your purpose is.


Lindsay Recknell  19:44  

How do we figure out what our purpose is? That sounds hard?


Matt Nelson  19:48  

Well, isn’t that the million dollar question? It’s, I think it’s, it’s a journey. It’s a journey of self reflection, self discovery. It’s not something that’s easy. It takes a lot of time. I’m in a lot of work. But the biggest thing I say to anybody who that I’ve worked with on this is really thinking back hard as to what drove you to where you are today in the first place. Start with that question and think about why you are, where you are? Or where, you know if it’s career related. 


Matt Nelson  20:18  

For example, why did you choose the Why did you choose your, your education, your career path you chose? And sometimes some people will say, why chose it? You know, once where I had was, well, I’ll use a Chris Hadfield story, actually, there’s a great book that he has a kid he aspired to be an astronaut, he wanted to go out into space. But you know, the darkness scared him as a kid. And he realized he had to overcome that fear to become an astronaut. And that ultimately led him on to that, what he wanted to do. 


Matt Nelson  20:50  

So, so I think that yeah, and it’s never too late. I mean, even myself, now I start to sort of question where I’m at, and sort of think, hey, maybe you know what, I want to do more of something else. And but you know, at the end of the day, the purpose that drives me is really helping others. And again, creating that upward momentum


Lindsay Recknell  21:07  

It’s very, very evident to hear you speak about it because your face lights up, your the tone of your voice gets more excitable, and, you know, it’s and I think that that’s an opportunity for people. So we talk about self reflection, the things that I kind of share with in my work with with people and in helping helping to find that personal empowerment is to think about and be cognizant of the times where you get excited, where your voice changes tone, where your face lights up, and you can’t stop smiling, when you’re talking about whatever it is, you’re talking about remote control cars, or, you know, elephants or service service to others, whatever that passion is for you. 


Lindsay Recknell  21:51  

Pay attention to those moments, recognize those joyful moments. Also, you know, where I can think back to this is gonna sound ridiculously dorky, but that’s okay. People are used to this by now. I used to read BC business magazine, on the ferry to my parents house from Vancouver. And I remember very clearly this moment where I was reading this article, and like butterflies in my stomach thinking about the opportunity that whatever this article was explaining to me and I just remember thinking, Yes, I am a business woman, this is what I want to do with my life. I’m an entrepreneur, and I want to be that guy. 


Lindsay Recknell  22:30  

Like, I still point to that when people ask me, what it is I want to do with my life, I want to keep being an entrepreneur and serving others and being creative and innovative. And, you know, it’s recognition of that joyful moment, and others along the way, that really keeps me aligned to that path. Because staying on that path is sometimes really, really hard. And I suspect that’s also something that you experience is how do you overcome the moments, the times when you might not feel as confident about the path you’re on? Or the next steps towards that goal? Seem exceptionally hard? Do you have any ways that you motivate yourself to keep going?


Matt Nelson  23:22  

Yeah, that’s a really good question. And I think, you know, it comes down to back to that purpose idea, sort of looking at your purpose, like your Northstar to sort of say, This is what I want to do, and just maintain that focus because things are gonna gonna come in the way and sometimes you know, we get distracted by other things, we might think that something else is the direction we want to go. 


Matt Nelson  23:44  

But I think the biggest key is to make sure you stop self reflect and ask yourself, Is this going to take me on that path to where I want to be? Or am I derailing and maybe your purpose has changed. And that’s 100% possible because back to the example of, of this friend of mine that was diagnosed with a terminal illness, his past was suddenly changed. She had, you know, given four and a half, five years to live. 


Matt Nelson  24:15  

And, you know, fundamentally what he wanted to do changed. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just a matter of when you when you find your purpose, holding on to it as tight as possible. And, and living your purpose every day.


Lindsay Recknell  24:31  

One of the things you mentioned was kind of waking up one day and realizing hmm, here I am in this place, career wise, life wise, whatever. Going through, this is really where I want to spend the next 4050 years of my life. But if we’re in middle age, and I fully admit I’m 42 years old, and we’re in this middle age kind of space. It also feels scary to do something different to give up that We’re we’ve spent the last 30 years climbing the corporate ladder to to get to or, you know, going to live the dream of, I don’t know, traveling the world for a year and putting a hiatus on whatever we were doing in our life at the time. 


Lindsay Recknell  25:16  

Is that something you’ve thought about with your career transformation work? And what would you say to people also contemplating a similar scenario?


Matt Nelson  25:25  

Yeah, I mean, 100%, I mean, I, those are all things that definitely crossed my mind. I mean, it was, at the time prior to doing that I was. I had convinced myself though, that I wanted to pursue this this, you know, lifelong career in HR. And that was part of the moment where I realized this is actually not where I wanted to be. And I’ve gone a different direction for that reason, because I realized that it wasn’t fulfilling number one for me, and really what I thought a career was supposed to be, it actually wasn’t. 


Matt Nelson  25:57  

So thankfully, I was able to stop that. I went too far down the journey. But even prior to being in that position, I had been working in a role that I was struggling with, there was there’s a number of challenges with it. I kind of wasn’t sure where I wanted to be in that moment. And it wasn’t an overnight sort of thing where I woke up and say, this isn’t where I want to be. It took time. And, you know, it definitely support helps with that. I would say to anybody, like, definitely seek out support, because often, you know, it’s like that the idea that mirror of truth, like you said is, is, you know, we can look in a mirror. 


Matt Nelson  26:40  

But if we can’t be honest with ourselves, and some and it can be very difficult to be honest with yourself, because we see ourselves as we want to see ourselves, maybe not necessarily, as we shouldn’t see ourselves, by working with somebody else can definitely make that difference.


Lindsay Recknell  26:54  

Yes, so true. So true, that again, with that outward perspective, right, somebody else’s perspective. So I can’t believe we’re coming to the end of our time together. But I always asked the same question at the end of the show. And that is not what gives you hope.


Matt Nelson  27:09  

Yeah, that’s a really another really good question. What does give me hope, you know, it’s people in general, give me hope, you know, we can, we can be concerned with, with what we see, but I truly believe deep down inside and align will take there was Oprah talked about this in on on this 21 day meditation challenge that she did with Deepak Chopra and SAP saying that this pastor said that really, at our core, you know, thinking back to our core, if they had a name for it, you know, that’s, that’s really who we are. 


Matt Nelson  27:45  

And the way I look at it is our core is really that pure individual, we come into this world as, and we look at, look at children, for example, look at just how innocent they often are, at the very young age up until they start, you know, attending school and stuff, they’re, they’re curious, they’re kind, they’re caring most of the time. And if they even if they do something like hit or bite, it’s not intentional, they just, they just don’t know any better. But I do find as we get older, you know, I look at it like, like an old lamp, if you were to leave it just in a house and walk away, it’s gonna get dust, sort of like an onion, you’re gonna get layers and layers and layers of dust. 


Matt Nelson  28:19  

And if you go to turn on that light, it’s gonna either be very dim, or it won’t work at all. So it gives me hope is that we can, together collectively as a society work together. You know, we can we can look past the dots and help people brush it off, working together, and make those lights shine good again. I mean, we’re seeing it already. With this idea of energy transition, we’re seeing this opportunity to really transform the way we’re doing things. And I truly believe and I have hope that we will see change and that everything that has happened, has happened for a reason for us. And it’s meant to be a lesson for us for the future to guide us towards what we pay our future society.


Lindsay Recknell  29:04  

Love it future better than leading to a future better than today. But turning on the light, love it. Yeah, that’s really, really great, man, thank you so much for being here with with us with me. Today, the conversation was very rich, and I know that people will take some inspiration and hopefully some ideas of what they can also do to, to chase that to to set hope in their own life as well. So thank you.


Matt Nelson  29:25  

Awesome. Thanks, Lindsay.


Lindsay Recknell  29:26  

Take care. I hope you enjoyed this latest episode of The Hope motivates action podcast. These episodes are a labor of love inspiring conversations with hopeful people make my heart happy. If you also love this episode, it would be amazing if you could go to Apple podcasts and leave a review five stars if you’re into it. It’s these reviews that encourage Apple to promote this podcast to their network and the more people that listen, the more hope we can spread into the world. 


Lindsay Recknell  29:54  

Don’t forget to check out the show notes of this episode to find all the links to my guests books and other resources referenced in This episode, you’ll also find the link back to my website where you will find additional support and resources for you, your team and your community. I truly believe that the future will be better than today. By taking action over the things we can control and hearing from these guests on these episodes I know that an even more hopeful future is totally possible. 


Lindsay Recknell  30:18  

I’m always looking for inspirational guests so if you or anyone you know would like to be a guest on the show, please reach out you can find me on the contact form of my website at or by email at When I was a teenager and my sisters were leaving the house to go out for the night, I always made it a point to remind them to call me if they need me. It was my way to tell them that I cared and would always be there for them. I’d love you to know the same so all of you listening out there Call me if you need me. 


Lindsay Recknell  30:48  

Again. Thank you for your love and support of this podcast, my work in hope and your intentional focus on making your future better than today. After all, hope without action is just a wish


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Lindsay Recknell | Expert in Hope | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram

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