Michael O'Brien
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About Michael

Before My Last Bad Day

I was a successful sales professional and Marketing Director. But I was burdened by much of the same stress that you and your team feel every day. There were many days when I just wanted to survive. On these days I lacked the energy, enthusiasm, and inspiration to break down silos, build culture, and get things done. But I knew I could be better, but I didn’t know how to consistently find the energy to thrive and get closer to being my best.

My recovery after my cycling accident was the catalyst to the seminal shift that changed my perspective, mindset, and actions. It put me on a path to create better tomorrows at work and in life, and sparked my executive career progression, which was instrumental to finding happiness and passion for business leadership development and Peloton Coaching and Consulting.

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From chasing happiness to helping others become their best.

Before Peloton Coaching and Consulting was a seed worth planting. Before My Last Bad Day and the release of Shift. Before this website was created, I was a young sales and marketing leader who was chasing happiness. I was like many leaders you see in your office, playing in the park with their kids, working out at the gym, or behind you in-line at the store.

I was living a lifestyle of Do, Have, and Be. I was working super hard (DO) to have that title, new car, bigger salary, or whatever (HAVE), so I could eventually be happy (BE). At least that’s what I thought. Does it sound familiar?

The sad thing is that I didn’t need to be chasing back then. I already had many wonderful reasons to be happy. I was a proud, new dad of two wonderful daughters, I had a loving wife who was and still is my best friend, I was healthy, and I had a career filled with promise. But I rationalized my chase and, in hindsight, made up ego-based reasons why I had to keep living that way.

Many times, I caught happiness, but like a dog chasing its tail, I didn’t know what to do when I caught it. I was happy for a moment. It validated my pursuit, but then it floated away. So, I got back to stressfully chasing. I was exhausted but couldn’t tell anyone because I was the leader at work and the provider to my family.

I knew there was a better way, but I couldn't see it.

Facing Death

On Monday, July 11, 2001, I was at a corporate meeting in New Mexico.

At the time, I was the Marketing Director for my company’s flagship product. I was also filled with mixed emotions. 

Part of me was still on a high from “killing it” at the recent National Sales Meeting, but still stressed from chasing happiness and everything else. Another part of me thought I was a “big man on campus,” but at the same time, I was concerned about what people thought of me.

And I was still exhausted. All that chasing was wearing me out.


I decided to bring my travel bicycle to the meeting because I was trying to get back in bike-racing shape and was scheduled to race on July 15. I would never make it to that race.

That morning during my ride, an SUV crossed the center line in the road and hit me head-on. He was going close to 40 miles per hour.

As I laid waiting for the medical trauma helicopter, I told myself that life would be different if I lived.

The Seed

My first surgery lasted over eight hours just to repair my shattered left femur and femoral artery laceration.  They didn’t have enough time to fix my right femur, tibia, and shoulder fractures, as well as the multiple cuts, scrapes, and bruises covering my body. That night I was sent to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) so hospital staff could monitor my recovery.     

To say my medical team put me into a highly-medicated fog is an understatement. I said and did some crazy things to my wife during my four-day stay like interviewing her for a job and recommending that we buy Amazon stock. It was just $15 in 2001. Well, maybe that wasn’t that crazy.


The Water

I also told her to find a David, a mentor and the first person I knew as a professional executive coach. I had started working with David several months before July, and he had made such an impact on me that I told my wife to find him. He planted the seed that would later become Peloton Coaching and Consulting.

When I came out of the ICU, I started to learn about my accident, injuries, and prognosis for the future. Life was starting to look different, but not in the way I had imagined. I became angry, dark, and scared. But I had a hard time telling anyone how I was feeling because I was a leader at work and a provider for my family. Are you seeing a pattern yet?

The Shift

Luckily, several weeks into my recovery, I had my big shift. One morning during a routine physical rehabilitation session, I realized that if I was going to become the best husband, father, leader, and version of myself, then I had to change my mindset. I had to shift from the perspective of a victim to that of a victor. The drive and desire to get better had to come from within me.

I had to start living a life of Be, Do, and Have.

My Peloton

With my new inspiration, I started to show up with more awareness, acceptance, and action toward what I had and could do. I began to lose my “don’t" and "can’t” stories.

Now, my shift wasn’t a light-switch moment where one moment the lights are off, and the next, life is brightly lit. Most change doesn't happen in a flick of a switch; change happens over time.

As my new life chapter started, I had awesome days thanks to my new approach to life, but I still had days when I struggled to find my woo. On those days, I would revert back to chasing happiness. Old habits die hard.

Thankfully, I had a great team led by my wife, daughters, family, friends, colleagues, and medical professionals. They became my recovery peloton that help me chased down unhelpful thoughts and behaviors.


PEL-O-TON /ˈpe-lə-ˌtän/ n. A group of cyclists in a ride or race.

Like any tribe or team, a strong peloton is critical for success at work and in life.

In cycling, pelotons are trusting, helping, and faster together. For me, the inspiration to become my best was within me, but I needed a team to help me reach my potential.  Whether you are racing your bike, recovering from trauma or illness, or looking to have to be successful at work, you need a team of committed and caring individuals.

Pelotons, when they work together, are always faster than solo breakaways.

My New Kit

When I returned to work, I made a commitment to show up in a new kit. A kit is a cyclist's uniform of brightly colored Lycra. In my case, my kit would be my new mindset, energy, and work ethic.

At the time, I still had nine surgeries and years of recovery in front of me, but I vowed to stop chasing and just live. I wasn't perfect. I still had stressful days. And that was OK because progress beats perfection. To be clear, I didn't go all woo-woo. I still had high expectations but I was starting to trust the process.

And over time, I had fewer stressful days and could shift from them more quickly. It sparked my mantra of creating better tomorrows and helped me climb the corporate ladder from Marketing Director to Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

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The Road Ahead

Many people ask me if I wish my last bad day never happened. The answer is no. I needed it to help me stop chasing.

On July 11, 2001, I told myself life would be different.

And now it is. When I changed my perspective, new possibilities opened up for every aspect of my life.

Yes, it was painful. But I learned that nothing truly changes until we do. And that the opportunity for us to change exists—but to take it, we need perspective changes that direct our eyes to a new place.

Are you ready to stop chasing happiness?
Are you ready to become the wealthiest person you know?
Are you ready for a better tomorrow?

Then Let's GO!