Lisa O'Neill

Lisa O'Neill

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One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to be inspired.


If you are a thought leader, I think one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to be inspired.

How do you stay inspired while running a practice, a family, and a life? How do you keep your head afloat when the world is drowning you in everyday drudgery?

For me, inspiration is a daily commitment to feed my head, to nourish my thinking. If you are selling solutions, creating content, and practicing “thought leadership”, then a daily cadence of brain inspiration is vital.

More than ever before, we have an awareness about what we put into our bodies. Aware of the evils of processed foods, high sugars, and heavy carbs but not so aware of the mental equivalents.

What are the inputs that weigh you down, cause you to worry, or send you into a spin of comparison and ‘not enough’? Media – mainstream and social will do this all day and night if you let it in.

To clean up your head diet, I suggest these three steps:

  1. Analyse
    Where do you get your inspiration?
    Who are the companies, websites, collectives, and humans that feed your mind?
    Who stretches your thinking?
    Who validates your opinions?
    What stimulates your brain?
    How do you like to receive inspiration?
    Are you an old fashioned book consumer or are you happier reading on a screen?
    What effect does music have on you?
    Use playlists to shift your state. Spend some time curating playlists of songs that inspire you.
  2. Exercise
    There are two different distinctions here.
    The first is to exercise your right to curate your world, to remove negative energy. Only have inputs that are selected for their benefits. Stuff will never get into your head if you don’t look at it! Clean up your social media feeds. Delete inbox newsletters that don’t give you what you need.
    The second distinction is just how useful physical energy is. Movement keeps your head a fertile field for inspiration to grow. No, I am no athlete but walking, swimming, and dancing always open up my head up to new possibilities. It creates new space. Exercise provides more oxygen-rich blood to your brain, giving you direct and temporarily greater mental stimulation. The next time you’re stuck on a hard problem, take a few minutes to walk around your office or yard or do some stretches without even leaving your desk.
  3. Socialise
    People who are mentally stimulated are my favourite people to be around. Talking to incidental people throughout my day always stimulates me – whether it’s their conversation, their response to me, or their general attitude – interaction with other humans always leaves me thinking. You’d be amazed at what you can learn from someone simply by talking to them. Get in the habit of talking to as many people as possible, about as many things as possible. You’ll learn new facts, new perspectives, and new ideas, and all the while, you’ll develop your abilities to focus, learn, and analyse a situation. Throughout your practice of this exercise, prioritise active listening over speaking. You’ll stand to learn and be exposed to much more new information this way. Talk to people!


“Being inspired by the company we keep” is one of the memes of Thought Leaders Business School. Socialising physically or virtually with interesting people, people with whom I have something in common is always a wonderful way to light me up.

This week is Immersion week – my quarterly dose of content and connection. I cannot wait to catch up to chat and to write screeds of notes!


Lisa O’Neill

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