326: Ryan O’Reilly: How to Harness Your Drive to Reach Your Potential

As a professional speaker and executive coach, Ryan helps business leaders and entrepreneurs build high performing teams, break through plateaus and realize their true potential. Ryan worked for fifteen years as a senior sales leader for three Fortune 100 Tech Companies, including Apple and Dell, and has worked in California, Australia, the UK, and Ireland At time of writing, Ryan is studying for his Masters Degree (MSc.) in Personal & Business Coaching at University College Cork, Ireland.

Ryan is also an Accredited Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and in 2015 was nominated as a finalist in the ICF Ireland Coach of the Year awards. He recently authored the book Shifting Gears: How to Harness Your Drive to Reach Your Potential and Accelerate Your Success.

Favorite Success Quote

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts” ~Winston Churchill

Key Point

1. You Need to Set Ground Rules to Achieve Fulfillment

Let me set the stage for you.

It’s 9 a.m. on a Monday morning, groggy from a long weekend with family, you roll up to your office, barely slipping through the front doors on time.

When you arrive at your desk, your boss walks over a scowl lacing his face and tells you that he needs to see you in his office immediately. You begin sweating as you quietly creep through his door, hoping that you are in his good graces.

He sits you down and quickly informs you that you have been promoted two ranks above where you currently are and have earned over a 15% annual pay raise.

Sitting back in stunned silence you don’t know what to say, and you mumble out a thank you, walking back to your desk on cloud nine.

Act II.

Over a year has passed since that fateful promotion, and since then, you have been promoted 3 more times in twelve months, earning a salary you never thought possible and absolutely crushing every aspect of work.

But you are also working 80 hours a week, your marriage is on the verge of collapse, you have gained 20 lbs. from late night take-out and an over worked lifestyle.

Your friends no longer see you and your family wonders what has happened to you.

All in all, you have achieved “success” but you are absolutely miserable.

You see, before you set out to achieve anything, you need to set some ground rules and have a clear definition of what you want to achieve and who you want to be.

You need to know what will fulfill you and make you come alive, not just what will make you the most money.

There is no point in being the richest man in the world without loved ones, friends, and the good health to enjoy it.

2. Let Your Fear be Your Guide


As we all move through life, especially as men, we have heard one resounding axiom repeated to us over and over again, drilled into our heads from birth, and ingrained so deeply in our psyche that it has made an indelible mark on our thoughts and actions.

Don’t be afraid. 

But the problem with that statement is that fear is often times one of our most powerful motivators, drivers, and allies.

The man who feels no fear is the man who feels nothing, a sociopath or psychopath who lacks empathy and basic emotional capacity.

Fear is not something that is bad or wrong with you, rather it is simply a part of who we are that has been hard-wired into our brains through millions of years of evolution.

And while the fears that we once had, such as getting eaten by a saber tooth tiger or starving to death in the middle of the jungle are no longer valid, our brains still create that animalistic fear inside of us whenever there is the potential for loss or failure.

Instead of running from that fear,  however, it is essential that you learn to harness it.

Use fear as your guide, learn to master your fear and make it work for you instead of against you.

Approach your fears with a cold rationality until you realize that the worst thing that can typically happen doesn’t even shine a candle to the potential benefits.

And above all, remember that what one man can do, another man can do. If it has been done before, it can be done again.

3. Risk Leads to Growth and Excitement

Do you remember the last time that you did something scary?

I mean really scary.

Like quitting your job, starting a business, asking your significant other to marry you, jumping out of a plane, or selling everything and travelling the world.

Depending on how you answer that question, I can typically guess (with surprising accuracy) your level of excitement and fulfillment.

Because here’s the thing, whenever you walk up to your boss and hand in your notice, send in the payment for that LLC., step onto that airplane, or bend down on one knee hoping that she will say “I do”, you are injecting a dose of excitement and meaning into your life.

Most of us are so caught up in the dull monotonous drudgery of everyday life that we have become disengaged and disenchanted with our own existence.

However, if you want to step into your “level 10” life and truly achieve a sense of fulfillment and peace that you have never had before, then you need to start taking risks.

And here’s the coolest part.

Risk looks different for everyone.

For some people, simply firing an annoying client is all the risk and excitement that they need, for others, unless they put their lives on the line on a regular basis (big wave surfers anyone?) they are unsatisfied and miserable.

Gauge your own risk tolerance and then make a point to start taking intentional risks every week.

You will live a life that is filled with more excitement and fulfillment the more you take intentional risks.

Influential Books

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

2. Winning by Jack Welch

3. Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins

4. Start with Why by Simon Sinek

5. Pour Your Heart Into It by Howard Schultz


Connect with Ryan O’Reilly


The Times Have Changed. This is the Way Forward in 2024.

Here’s how I can help in my new FREE training on becoming a stronger Grounded Man:

1. The new path for men that creates a purpose driven life and doesn’t require you to lose your personal power, put women on a pedestal or sacrifice your goals.

2. Why men consistently settle and ignore the most important areas of life like the quality of their intimate relationships, social life and happiness and how to optimize all three without sacrificing professional growth.

3. The biggest mistake 97% of men make that breeds loneliness, breakups and emasculation that is absolutely reversible with this counter intuitive strategy.