Michelle May O’Neil is…
Michelle has been described as a “lethal combination of sweet and salty” for her Southern charm and Texas wisdom, which she attributes to Momma. Michelle developed proficiency in writing and talking at an early age, a skill she attributes Momma challenging her to the Word Power vocabulary quiz every month in Reader’s Digest while going up and down the grocery store aisles.
… is an Entrepreneur
Where Momma taught Michelle the wisdom of life, Daddy taught Michelle the wisdom of business. Daddy’s entrepreneurial spirit instilled in Michelle at an early age – he would ask her opinion on business decisions that needed to be made and consider her perspective. If her thoughts weren’t on point, he would explain why, but occasionally she would think of something he hadn’t.
In elementary school, Michelle wasn’t satisfied to run a simple lemonade stand. Instead, she collected rocks and painted them to sell as Pet Rocks in her yard-side stand. When she stayed at her grandmother’s house, she played Jewelry Store with her grandmother’s costume jewelry.
Michelle began working in her father’s businesses at age 12, counting change, running the cash register, and inventorying products. The greatest lesson Daddy taught her during that time was to see the business experience through the customer’s eyes.
In her business classes at Baylor University, Michelle loved the classes about start-ups, marketing, and business problem-solving. The intersection of business and law stirred her soul. Michelle started her first business on the day she passed the bar exam. The office was small and the computer equipment antiquated, but she took off with tenacity and bravado. Her little law practice was profitable in 3 months so she could move out of her parents’ home.
Even today, Michelle and her law partner run a very successful medium-size law firm and a legal publishing company. She and Hubby also have two media companies, a wellness company, and a burgeoning food product manufacturing company. With Daddy, Michelle also runs a real estate investment company.
… a Writer/Author
A local Texas company awarded high-schooler Michelle a top scholarship prize for an entrepreneurship poem, which she wrote about Daddy. As an author, Michelle has written 6 legal books. Her first book, unpublished, addressed practice issues in juvenile law. Her second book was commissioned by the national legal publication company American Legal Media (ALM) through their Texas Lawyer Press subsidiary entitled All About Texas Law and Kids (2009, out of print).
In 2011, Michelle found that her clients needed a resource to answer their basic questions when she was unavailable, so she wrote her first self-published Basics of Texas Divorce book. That book, now retired, went through three editions following every Texas legislative 2-year cycle. In 2017, she wrote What You Need to Know About Divorce in Texas, expanding on her prior books.
Michelle writes in her day job where she focuses on appellate family law matters. Through her law firm she maintains two blogs, the Dallas Texas Divorce Blog (www.dallastxdivorce.com) and the LGBT Texas Family Law Blog (www.LGBTTexasFamilyLaw.com).
Most recently, Michelle felt called to share the wisdom and empowerment lessons taught to her from Momma, Sandy May, in her first life book Wisdom from Momma.
She does not plan to stop there, as she has two lawyer books and two life books in the works.
… an Attorney
Many throughout Texas know Michelle as a Hell on Heels attorney litigator. She says, “a hell on heels lady embodies an attitude of toughness and an air of confidence, without losing her femininity.” Michelle has tried over 26 jury trials in her career in various practice areas and courts all over Texas. Uniquely, Texas is the only state that allows jury trials in family law matters, and Michelle has tried her share.
In her work as an appellate lawyer, Michelle has served as lead counsel in well over 100 appeals of family law cases and countless others as ghost-writer for other lead counsel. Many of those cases created new first-impression law in Texas. Called a “lawyer on the law”, she gets hired frequently to assist other lawyers on complex legal issues in their cases, both preparing for potential appeal at the trial court level, as well as on appeal.
Michelle has received many of the accolades available for her lawyer work, including being named over many years to several prestigious lists:
- Texas SuperLawyers list for family law;
- Dallas’ D Magazine Best Lawyers list;
- Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas list;
- Top 100 Lawyers in Texas list;
- Top 100 Lawyers in Dallas/Fort Worth list;
- Who’s Who in American Law;
- Who’s Who in America; and,
- Best Lawyers in America list.
Michelle developed a continuing education program for lawyers who need such programs deliverable at their desks. Called Webinar Wednesdays, she coordinates and delivers continuing education via Facebook Live broadcasts, YouTube, and podcasts. Topics have included LGBT family law issues, Dads and custody, divorcing a small business owner, and cryptocurrency assets.
… a Wellness Educator
In an effort to avoid becoming a workaholic and always being in “lawyer-mode”, Michelle chooses a project every year that has nothing to do with law. One year, when she looked for something to focus on, she wondered, “what is the most opposite thing of law practice?” Lavender essential oil, she decided, was that thing. Michelle enrolled in integrative health and wellness courses through the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS). Over time, she earned college-level certificates in Holistic Nutrition Consulting and Natural Products Manufacturing, which included advanced courses in aromatherapy and essential oils, herbal studies, alternative medicine modalities, and wellness consulting. Most recently, she received certification as an Essential Oils Coach from Dr. Josh Axe’s Essential Oils Institute.
Building on her education, she continued to research various essential oil companies for the very best quality and purity of oils available. Her research led her to Young Living Essential Oils, the oldest essential oil company in America. She fell in love with the company’s mission, commitment to quality, and products. She and Hubby now serve as Distributors for Young Living.
Michelle and Hubby regularly teach Wellness Classes to educate others about the abundance of God-given plants that can support our body’s health and immune system. She subscribes to Dr. John W. Travis’ theory of the wellness/illness continuum. The point where one turns from wellness to illness is called the “wellness line”. Living “above the wellness line” allows us to maintain our health and wellness mostly without the intervention of lab-created medicines and doctors. Below the wellness line is the territory of illness where medicine and doctors live. Supporting your natural health and immune system with herbs and oils will help your body stay naturally healthy.
… a Motivator
A few years ago, Michelle attended a women’s networking event featuring two gentlemen, Edwin Britt and Michael Ray Newman, from Zig Ziglar International, Inc. (ZZI). Momma was a big fan of Zig Ziglar back in the day.
Her life changed in an instant when she heard Edwin Britt move through the “4 S’s of success”. Starvation to stability to success are all processes you do for yourself, he said. “Once you achieve success, what comes next?” Britt asked. Michelle immediately recognized herself in that question. The challenge, Britt suggested, was to transcend from a place of success, which is focused on you, to a place of significance, giving back your hard-learned-lessons to others. Stunned, Michelle approached Michael Ray Newman after the event to discuss implementing the path to significance. She shared several future ideas, but Newman looked her square in the eyes and asked the pivotal question, “Why not now?”
Immediately, Michelle examined where she could be significant to others in her attorney-work, but also beyond that role. She worked with a friend to organize a group of women lawyer friends called “#HellonHeels” to be a circle of positivity and empowerment for young and veteran women lawyers alike. That group grew quickly, now boasting over 900 members. The group went from an electronic format to having quarterly in person gatherings. The #HellonHeels Women Lawyers Conference held annually in Cancun, Mexico features group-sourced 100% participation by attendees with feedback touting it as “the best conference ever”!
Michelle also joined Britt and Newman in their ZZI company (now renamed Edge Global, Inc.), to empower and motivate others. As one of six Thought Leaders in ZZI/Edge’s Inside Edge Leadership Forum, Michelle shared weekly live videos on empowerment topics with hundreds of members over a period of two years. She also worked with Edge Global Inc. in their Edge Elite Business Coaching program, coaching on marketing and branding.
Recently, Oola Life Coaching recruited Michelle to join their #oolaarmy to deliver life balance coaching across the country. She looks forward to training under Dr. Dave Braun and Troy Amdahl, authors of the Oola book series, to take their message of oola awesomeness to the world.
… a Business Coach
Combining her business knowledge of running a law firm and other small businesses for 27 years with her love of teaching and training, Michelle works as a business coach for young entrepreneurs and network marketing affiliates. Through Edge Global, Inc., Michelle serves as faculty for the Edge Elite Business Training Program, where she focuses on marketing and brand alignment. She also participates with Edge Global in their Edge Elite Business Mastermind groups. As a marketing and social media strategist, she has helped many businesses implement and effective and efficient strategy for acquisition of new business. She is in production for a business coaching program for other small business entrepreneurs and professionals.
… a Professional Speaker
Public speaking has never been a challenge for Michelle. As a young child, she sang to people, whether at home, in a public restaurant, or in church solos. When she thought she wanted to be a professional recording artist, Michelle was invited to sing on the acclaimed Johnny High Country Music Review. In high school, Michelle found a love of acting, performing in high school and local theater.
In her lawyer-day-job, Michelle speaks publicly all of the time in courtrooms, in front of judges and juries.
Michelle took speaker training from Britt and Newman, initially to improve her story-telling skills as a lawyer. Newman quickly recognized Michelle’s ability beyond the courtroom and encouraged her to develop a broader message as a motivational influence for others. Now Michelle is a sought-after professional speaker on legal, business, empowerment, and wellness topics. She serves as a Platinum Speaker with Edge Global Inc. (formerly ZZI) and developed a speaking course based on Britt and Newman’s corporate training module called Lawyers Speak by Design, approved by the State Bar of Texas for continuing legal education credit.
Michelle’s talks include topics such as:
- Are you couture or clearance? Raising your self-worth
- The 3 R’s: Reimagine, Reinvest, Reinvent
- 5 Circles of Gratitude
- The Thinking Bench
- Wisdom from Momma
- Monsters Under the Bed: Conquering Fear
- Kaleidoscopes: How to Shift Your Perspective
- Be the Blaze: How To Become a Power Woman
- Gutter Brain: Get your mind out of the gutter and change your life
Recently, Michelle was accepted as a Professional Speaker in the National Speakers Association, a prestigious organization for paid and professional speakers across the country.
Be the Blaze: 7 Steps to Creating your Bonfire
Michelle’s momma told her early in life not to worry about the mean girls. “Just go out there and be the blaze, the rest will work itself out,” she said. In this presentation, Michelle encourages each of us to build our own bonfire, burn bright and hot, and blaze a new trail for yourself.
The 3 R’s: Reimagine, Reinvest, Reinvent
Michelle tells her own personal story of how she reimagined herself, reinvested in her work, and reinvented who she wanted to be. This is a moving and powerful presentation.
5 Circles of Gratitude
Internal and external shows of gratitude fall in five areas – God, Country, Others, Self, and Stuff. Hear Michelle tell you how an attitude of gratitude can make you a more positive person.
Are you Couture or Clearance?
This is one of Michelle’s favorite talks. Many women discount themselves and their value, whether at work or at home. They put others first. Michelle asks us a very important questions – would we find you in the couture section or the clearance bin? Michelle guides us in ways that we can find our value and charge profit on our worth.
Hell on Heels
A hell on heels lady embodies an attitude of toughness and an air of confidence, without losing her femininity. How can you achieve the status of a hell on heels badass? Let Michelle tell you.
The Thinking Bench
The thinking bench is where Michelle sat with her momma and learned life lessons. Let her tell you those lessons.
Monsters Under the Bed
Oftentimes, the things we fear are about as real as the monsters we imagine live under the bed. Michelle says, “fear is a useless emotion.” How can we combat those monsters and overcome our fears?
Kaleidoscopes are one of Michelle’s favorite toys. When you look into one at first, you see things a certain way. Then, if you shift your perspective just a little, things change. Any problem you face is like a kaleidoscope – you can change the dynamic by shifting your perspective.