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How to Live a Life By Design: 4 Steps for Personal Growth from Michelle O'Neil

This morning you were presented with a choice. When the clock struck midnight, you were given 86,400 seconds to use however you choose.
Michelle O’Neil
Part of the Women in Business Email Series

This morning you were presented with a choice. When the clock struck midnight, you were given 86,400 seconds to use however you choose. Dallas-Fort Worth motivational speaker Michelle May O’Neil wants to help you make the best decisions with your allotted time today and take steps toward your personal growth. 

The success coach, author, coach, entrepreneur, and  lawyer with O'Neil Wysocki Family Law recently offered four steps you can take to Live a Life by Design at Local Profile's 2020 Women in Business Summit, presented by Baylor Scott & White.

“If you have goals, dreams, and things you want to do with your life, then you need to live intentionally,” she says.

Look at Where You Have Been 

To move forward, you need to understand where you have been. O’Neil says to get the ball rolling by thinking of the last 12 months and then writing down the three best and worst things that happened to you. 

“What have you done well?” she says. “Where have you missed the mark,and what are the potholes?" 

It is short, straightforward, and difficult, but be honest with yourself, she says.  "Give yourself some praise but also really give yourself that report card on what you could do better." 

Where are you now?

To know where you are going, O'Neil says you need to know where you are at.  

At the 2020 Women in Business Summit, O’Neil suggests that you should start by thinking of the seven areas of life, a concept based on  The Wheel of Life.

Think of each category: fitness, finance, family, field, faith, friends, and fun. Then on a scale of 1 to10 rate where you are in each of those areas. 

"The most important part of this analysis is to be honest with yourself without being too critical or too lenient," she says.

Where do you want to be?

What are your dreams? What are the big, ambitious things you wish you could do? As you think about your personal growth, these are things to consider.

O’Neill says to look at the seven areas of life once again (Fitness, Finance, Family, Field, Faith, Friends, and Fun).  Only this time, write down three goals for each category. 

"Make sure your goals are specific, measured, time measured and realistic," she says.  "This is where you really get down to designing your life the way you want it to be." 

Looking at the 21 goals  laid out can  feel overwhelming, especially if you  try to tackle each goal. But O’Neil points out that it is just step one of the next exercise. The second step  is taking your list and trimming it from 21 goals to the seven goals most important to you. 

"And it doesn't have to be one in each area," she says.. "This is your world - just pick any seven goals that will be the priority." 

How do you get there?

Understanding where you have been, where you are, and where you are going, O’Neil says  builds the goal road map. But how do you turn your personal growth plan into action? 

“Make your list of the things you have to do every day, but also list three baby steps you can take toward some of your goals," she says. 

And when the day comes when life gets in the way, and you can't get to those three steps, O'Neil suggests that  you  keep pressing on in designing the life you want to lead 

"You are not letting life happen to you,” she says. “You are happening to life."

Find out more about Michelle May O'Neil at