Date posted: 28/03/2018 5 min read

Work-life balance is a myth

Author, motivational speaker and mentor Lisa O’Neill reveals her secrets of how women can have it all

In brief

  • Self-belief is women’s greatest hurdle to success
  • Personal power puts you in the driver’s seat
  • In order to perform at your best you need energy, excellence and enthusiasm

Lisa O'Neill, motivational speaker

It’s surprising to hear that someone like Lisa O’Neill, who leads women to greatness and is renowned for her boundless enthusiasm say she’s “often disappointed by women”. Motivational speaker, author and mentor, O’Neill says that’s because “women don’t ask for what they want and they fail to step into their magnificence.”

New Zealand born O’Neill lives her life by design and teaches people how to do the same, by harnessing the qualities of energy, excellence and enthusiasm. She will share insights at the Women in Business Conference in New Zealand about how to increase your personal power, develop a personal brand and lead the life and career of your dreams.

“It’s time to stop playing small, to be good enough and take charge," she says.

The power of self-belief

Self-belief is vital to your success and, O’Neil says, is the missing link to most women’s success. She never doubted her own ability because this was instilled in her naturally from a young age by her father. But, setting up her mentoring business 15 years ago happened by accident and it took a while to find her feet and her tribe.

“It was life changing to find people who believe in me. You need to find someone who is a cheerleader for you, whether that’s a paid mentor or colleague.”

Women are phenomenally capable, O’Neill says, but the problem is they tend to be such big self-critics and are programmed to listen to the bad stuff. As a result, they don’t realise their own value, so she urges “believe people and listen to those who say you’re amazing,” but warns to only take advice from people you trust with your best interests at heart.

What are the hurdles to success?

O'Neill believes there are two main sticking points in people’s lives, which are:

  1. People don’t know what they want
  2. People who know what they want but don’t know how to get it – action is the problem. You need a purpose and a plan.

Make self-care your priority

Self-care should be the biggest priority in personal and professional development, says O’Neill, who teaches her daughters first and foremost to ask for their needs to be met. “We are conditioned to be of service”, which is a mentality inherited from previous generations who didn’t ask or expect for their needs to be met.

Her advice is to “raise your expectations and speak up. Don’t play the victim who reverts to being a 12-year old who doesn’t know.”

She says many women suffer from exhaustion and resentment, which are the two biggest enemies. By not speaking up they try to do everything and stretch themselves too thin. As Ariana Huffington says in her book Thrive, “women will never reach their potential because we’re too exhausted.”

Honouring yourself by taking care of your physical and mental health will give you the energy and empowerment to fulfil your goals. O’Neill observes that we look after our bodies but don’t often consider the toxic material we consume mentally, for example by watching violent crime thrillers. So how does she achieve success in her career and balance that with a happy and magnificent life?

Is work-life balance a myth?

You can’t possibly do everything in your daily or weekly schedule, she says. Women set themselves unrealistic goals; maintaining fitness, eating healthily, smashing it at work and having a great social life, and relationship with partner and organise kids all in one day. The feeling of failure to balance all these impossible spinning plates is perpetuated by people who pretend they’re pulling it off successfully on social media.

O’Neill lives her life by a 90 day schedule. Her philosophy is somewhat mindful, in that she focuses on one thing at once and gives it her whole attention. This is scientifically proven to gain mental clarity. For example, in her 90 day schedule she’s away for two weeks working where she focuses solely on work and takes no responsibility for her kids or household duties. When she returns home she spends a week’s quality time with her family, then takes herself off on a meditation retreat to restore.

She developed this successful formula by ensuring she has each of these foundations in place.

6 things you need to reach your full potential

  1. Money – having enough cash flow gives you freedom and independence.
  2. Support – whether that’s at work or home, a support network provides trust (of yourself and others).
  3. Beliefs – consider your belief systems, it gives you strength to know what you stand for and creates motivation to act.
  4. Time – by allocating your priorities you take control of what’s important, without trying to control too much. O’Neill wants to control her mind, her mood and her money.
  5. Health –being in optimum health gives you the energy to take action.
  6. Passion – if you’re passionate about what you do your tank is filled with emotional energy. O’Neill advises to do the things that bring you joy and believes “more managers need to move people into areas they’re passionate about.”

Women in Business Conference New Zealand

Hear Lisa O’Neill and other female trailblazers, aspiring leaders and thought provoking speakers at this one-day powerhouse event. Collaborate, grow your network and pioneer your future.

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