The Courage to be Abnormal

The Courage to be Abnormal

Lisa O'Neill

Lisa O'Neill

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Running a practice takes courage.


I am not normal. Never have been – hopefully never will be!

I actually like the fact that I am not normal. That doesn’t mean it has been easy. I was born with a fire in my belly. I have always known that I had a difference to make in the world and that I was not here to be average.

In a small town in New Zealand where I grew up, there were many many people who tried to keep me small. People who suggested I should not disappoint myself by expecting too much, that I could not have “it all”.

I spent most of my life looking at life’s options thinking ‘Nah – that’s not for me’.

Several years ago, I heard Oprah Winfrey speak. She told a story about helping her Grandmother do laundry for the family she was employed by. Her grandmother said, “Oprah, my greatest wish for you is that you find yourself a nice white family that you can work for.” Oprah said she thought to herself there is no way I am going to spend my life folding someone’s sheets! She did not know where that thought or energy came from but deep inside her, she knew she had a different path.

My energy was similar. I felt like the rules of life did not apply.

I wanted to be different, to do differently.
I never wanted a job, I am practically unemployable.
I didn’t want a business.
I wanted the freedom to do what I wanted and get paid well.

After years of bumping around feeling abnormal, I discovered Thought Leaders Business School. A community of people who had admitted that they wanted more. People brave enough to say that they wanted to be commercially smart, that they wanted to make money and make a difference.

This community blows my mind. It helps people to embrace their entire potential, to take their expertise and their lived experiences and to take that out to the world. It is a space where people are encouraged to capture all their weird and wonderful ideas and use them to create solutions for industries and organisations.

Running a practice takes courage.

You have to be willing to break away and follow the path less travelled.
You have to turn your back on the security of a job.
You have to stand up and admit that you know some stuff.
You have to believe that you are an expert in your area of expertise.
You have to make the decision to do this!

And then you have to recommit to that decision every day. Once you commit to yourself, you will begin to learn how amazing your individuality is. No one’s individuality is more amazing than another’s. Each person’s individuality is just as amazing as another’s.

It is easy to jump into a comparison game – to compare your practice, your experience, or your level of positioning to others.

You can build your practice courage by:

  • Doing the work. Take some action every day.
  • Selling your ideas. Talk to everyone about what you do, whom you help and how you add value.
  • Building yourself up. Surround yourself with people who know you, who see you and who support you.

Being inspired by the company that you keep will do that!

‘If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.’ – Maya Angelou



Lisa O’Neill

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