Living with Passion

Be Free Today – Founder & Performance Coach

A Journey into the Unknown 


If you have ever taken a road with a destination unknown, then you would most likely have experienced an adventure full of mystery and surprise. You may not know where you are headed, but you have a general idea of the direction, and have prepared yourself for anything along the way.

These adventures can seem daunting, and you will have constant urges to turn around to safety. But when you get there, and look back to reflect on the journey, you discover just how far you have come. The experiences, friendships, knowledge gained along the way can never be taught in a school or read in a book. These experiences define us and help us grow. If you are not prepared to take some risks, then you will never know what you can truly become.

I have embarked on countless adventures, many of which have been into that unknown. I have seen the best and the worst of what humanity has to offer. I’ve traveled the world, climbed my fair share of mountains, camped under the stars in the Arctic Circle, and even slid down an active volcano on a piece of wood!

I’ve spent time with the very rich, and equally with the very poor — After all those adventures, there was one definitive observation that stood out, ‘Those who had little were usually a great deal happier than those who seemingly, had it all‘. Now this is not to say that being poor makes you happy, not at all. It was the mindset that made these people happy. They treasured life and living over materials and wealth. And boy did they have some stories to tell!

Forget about making money and focus on making a life. Besides, when you look back one day, what are you going to remember most? The piles of paper you accumulated, or experiences, stories, friendships, and adventures that you had?  If you are truly passionate about what you do, then the money will come without the sacrifice of living a life.

Becoming a life coach was never something I had set out to do. But now that I am here, it makes me complete. Every journey must start somewhere and for me, I guess it was at a very young age. I didn’t know the destination, I just knew the general direction. This is my brief tale.


Helping people to achieve all they can be has been a passion of mine since he was very young.  Raised in a house with 5 brothers and 4 sisters with anything but a silver spoon, I learned from an early age what true values bring happiness to a person’s life.

After university, I spent 5 years as a high school teacher and a short period as HOD in one of Australia’s largest Indigenous Communities. Living and working here was extremely challenging to say the least. The ‘traditional’ teaching context was thrown out the window during my first day. I noticed many kids riding horses bareback and many others entering the school ground with half a dozen dogs in tow. Shoes were optional, school bags and books were seldom brought in.

In an English speaking country, English for this school was officially a second language. The local Indigenous language and dialects were the norm in the community. Unfortunately, within the school grounds, many students preferred to use a more undesired colourful language more often than not.

Initially, I was given a two week contract. A polite, ‘we will give you the option to run away‘ card. My response, “Are you kidding me?! This place is literally unbelievable. Sign me up for as many years as you want me, it’s certainly going to be an experience.” And was it so! I learned very quickly to let go of all ALL prior judgments and expectations. The only way to become the best teacher I could be was to simply, live in the NOW and take it as it comes. To this day, I continue to live by the same philosophy.

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.” ~Babatunde Olatunji

However, it was not all roses in this strange new world. Many of the children I taught dealt with unimaginable hardships, complete with all types of abuse on a daily basis. Simply coming to school was an escape from the troubles on the home front. Most had little in the way of material possessions and their opportunities were narrow. Basic hygiene was not common practice resulting in health problems plaguing the community.

Among all those hardships they faced, I had never witness children and young adults with such a unique zest for life. They never complained about the hand they were dealt and stayed true to a life that made them feel complete and gave them purpose. They were resourceful and filled with an adventurous spirit. The children and young adults were free and… happy! They were not concerned about Mr Jones’ new car, or the size of Stephen’s house. Their values were on something a lot more valuable than what money could buy. Within the community, everyone was equal. It did not matter if you were a doctor, teacher, family man or unemployed — everyone interacted on the same level. Within the chaos and functioning despair, shined meaning and passion that the modern developed world seems to have left behind. I took with this meaning, and many more valuable lessons, and they were to shape my years to come.

Professionally in the community, I was the high school’s Health and Physical Education teacher and English teacher. I also had a part in the community health programs. For a period of time during after school hours, I co-coordinated and implemented a nationally recognised leadership certificate for young adults. This course helped young adults build the necessary skills to become future leaders for their community and beyond. The successful program built the student’s self confidence, self awareness and opened their eyes to many possibilities that previously seemed out of reach.  For me, it was overwhelmingly rewarding teaching young adults the necessary skills to build a positive future. A future that they could control and be proud of; a life of purpose.

It was during these years that my passion for helping others live the life that they truly wish, grew. And after nearly 5 years, it was time to see how other people lived. In 2009 at the age of 29, I put aside my teaching profession and set off on a 12 month journey around the world that was to re-shape me forever.

 The ‘Glory Years’   …to be continued…

If you have any questions or would like to make a comment – Write them in the Reply Section below!

About Russell O'Neill

Life Coach. Teacher. Musician. Founder of Be Free Today. My passion is to help others excel in life by focusing on their 'true' priorities. Be careful what you wish for around me, you'll find yourself making it happen. Australian born, Australian by nature. When I write, it is usually about all matters that will help individuals better themselves. Strum the odd guitar chord in my free time. Everyone has a story to tell, and I love to hear them! If you're living with passion or trying to find yours, drop me an email friend.