in life

When You Know, You Know (Thoughts on Feeling Alive)

Over the past week I’ve had two “aha” moments letting me know that I must be doing something right.

There’s no doubt you’ve had a moment like this yourself. You know them because they stand out beyond a shadow of a doubt. Amidst all of the days that you may feel something’s missing – that something isn’t quite right, and that you should be doing something else, those moments that “click” are blatantly obvious.

I believe the key to living a happy and fullfilled life isn’t by developing some master plan – it isn’t hiring a life coach to tell you how to put your best foot forward – it isn’t even me writing a blog post encouraging you to make things happen. At the end of the day, it’s about capturing the moments that make you feel most alive, figuring out what it is about them that have such an impact, and finding a way to pursue those things every day of your life.

Right now, you may not know what those “alive-est” moments are. But as you continue reading, think about one moment that you felt something in the pit of your stomach that felt inherently “right”. It doesn’t have to be “that one time you climbed Mt. Everest”. Most of the time, they’re little things that have a huge impact. Here are two I’ve experienced recently:

1) My wife and I spent the weekend house-hunting.

About a month ago we hadn’t even started thinking about buying a home together – but after doing the research, talking things over with friends, and looking at our finances, we started getting serious about the hunt.

At the risk of being premature, we found a house this weekend that we loved – and while we’re not becoming too attached (because of course nothing is a done-deal) as we looked through the house, we started talking about how we would decorate, which room would be our son/daughter’s (and no, we’re not expecting any little one’s any time soon) – and had mature “adult” conversations with friends about the school zones in the area…

In short, it felt right. It felt perfect. And when you know, you know. I’m not even talking about that specific house – I’m talking about the decision to start looking for a home, the decision my wife and I made over a year ago to spend the rest of our lives together, our unconditional love. It was re-affirmed in that moment. For the rest of the day, we couldn’t stop smiling (hint: smiling is a tell-tale sign that you’re doing something right).

2) I was putting together a couch from Ikea.

And I broke it. Okay, well it was a little broke before I broke it more, so it wasn’t entirely my fault.

I spent the afternoon scrubbing down my new office space, putting together furniture, and getting some things situated. No, cleaning and putting Ikea furniture together isn’t my idea of a “good time” and no, there wasn’t anything particularly glamorous about feeling like a dumb-ass as I stared blankly at the “easy” picture-only instructions Ikea gives you for putting things together…

But I couldn’t help but feel an extreme level of satisfaction as I screwed each leg onto a piece or furniture. This was my couch in my office. One that I’d sit on with clients that I earned, that had fully invested into a business that was built from the ground up through hard work.

It was a moment where it all came together. One that reminded me that I love what I do. That I never expected to be where I am a couple years ago, but that I was here, and that I was doing it.

It also reminded me that I’ve made the right decision. That I literally could not be any happier with the work I do and the people I work with.

It’s this “alive-est” feeling that drives and motivates me. It motivates you. When deciding if a potential client is someone you want to work with, when wondering if today is the day you should quit your day job, or when taking the leap and asking someone you love to spend of the rest of their life with you, think about the moments that make you feel the most alive.

If what you’re thinking about doing aligns with what you want to be doing, you should be doing it. And yes, it really is that simple.

What makes you feel most alive? Write it below, and find a way to make it a part of your daily life every day, starting today.

Add Your Voice


  1. Things that make me feel alive:nn1) Thought-provoking conversation/reflection: There’s really nothing I love more than a good conversation about the things that matter. It blows my mind how nearly everyone likes these types of conversations, but, for some reason, we only get to really connect with the people we’re closest to.u00a02) Beauty: Beautiful prose. Beautiful ideas. Beautiful art. Beautiful moments.u00a0Seeing beauty and recognizing it for what it is one way to make any day 108% better.3) Solving interesting problems: This is the best kind of work because the solution actually matters, whether it helps someone out or it allows us to reach a better understanding about what we’re doing.u00a0Those are my big 3. With them, any day is a success.

    • 1) Yes. Conversation and interacting with other people is my biggest source of learning and inspiration. The biggest piece of advice I can give to anyone is to get yourself out there and have coffee/grab a drink/network with other people.nn2) Yes again. As a designer/developer, taking in the amazing things other’s have created is yet again a huge source of inspiration and it helps me to see and understand things in way’s that my mind wouldn’t have previously.nn3) And finally. Yes. It’s when things start to get a little uncomfortable – the moments in which you’re challenged – and how you react to them – that define who you are. Stepping outside of youru00a0boundariesu00a0and embracing discomfort as something that can and should motivate you is a beautiful thing.nnGreat stuff all around, Brett. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Hmm, I don’t think I could have put my things that make me feel alive any better than Brett already did, especially his #1. u00a0I was just telling someone the other day that it’s funny how much small talk has to take place in between REAL conversations with people. u00a0My metaphor for it the other day was that small talk is the gateway drug to true connection. u00a0If we were just to leap to the real deal with people too quickly, then it might just be too much to take. u00a0Strange.u00a0nnMaybe that’s why blogs are wonderful because we can get to the heart of things that matter, and no one feels like the “relationship” is being rushed. u00a0Thank you for this post; reading it has made me feel alive already, and it’s not even 8am here yet!

    • Great point, Cate. And I agree RE: smalltalk. Like anything, a conversation and a relationship have to be established and developed over time. If you ask your date to marry you on day 1, you’ll probably get a smack in the face. But as you talk about your road rage, love for dogs, and hidden obsession with Lady Gaga (of course not referencing myself here) – you get to know someone, the walls come down, and then you tap into what you call the “real deal”.u00a0nnGlad I could help kick-start your Monday AM, Cate!

  3. Things that have been making me feel alive is)nn1. Meeting new people that have the same vision and mission as me in live. n2. Blogging and talking about the experiences that I encounter in my life.n3.Being around people that are motivated to do more in life.n4.Solving problems for people to help them enhance their internet marketing.nnThat feeling that you receive when you know something is right is just an amazing feeling to have. Their is no doubt that when you have that feeling you have to go with it.

    • Agreed all around, Justice. I shot a video post a while back about blogging and how it has literally changed my life and opened the door to so many opportunities.u00a0 short, I couldn’t agree more with all of your points. Here’s to continuing to put ourselves out there, meeting new people, taking in new ideas and taking on new challenges.nCheers!

  4. glad to see your life flowing right along. it’s a great feeling!!nnit’s funny, and most people wouldn’t know this about me, but I WAS a homeowner at the age of 22. I had co-owned with my boyfriend at the time. I don’t remember any of these feelings you describe, so it’s revalidating to me that it definitely WASN’T right at the time, if ever.. :)nnFor me, these moments that feel so good / right have more to do with travel (having a mobile instead of rooted lifestyle), and getting new clients with my business!!u00a0

  5. Thanks for a really great post, Matt – just what I needed to read today. More and more I’ve been experiencing those moments that make me smile, but been feeling a little off-track lately so this was a nice, quiet reminder. I’m with Cate, I’m already feeling more alive just after reading it!u00a0