Shawn O’Neill

I recently had an opportunity to speak with millennial model and fighter Shawn O’Neill.

By: Joshua Conner

Shawn O’Neill is a bartender, model, and fighter with Cooper MMA. O’Neill was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, but he is based in Austin, Texas. O’Neill inspires me personally and professionally. Personally, I am inspired by how O’Neill’s dedication to the craft of his martial arts, as well as his style and physique. Professionally, I am inspired by how O’Neill has branded himself and his work ethics.

What would be the title of O’Neill’s life story and who would play him in a movie?

“The title of my life story, you know I haven’t even thought about that one. I’m going to have to go with what I’m known by, like how I use my Instagram name that would be SMO, which are my initials for Shawn Michael O’Neill, so it would be SMO life. Who would play me? I would have to say, Matt Damon. I think Matt Damon, he always puts himself in some tricky situation, and I’m always putting myself in some tricky situations, but I always end up coming out and winning at the end, because I don’t quit,” said O’Neill.

O’Neill’s most memorable year would be 2015 because he started taking jiu-jitsu lessons, and that really helped set him in the modeling world.

“I would probably have to say my second year out of high school, I think I was like 20. I made some friends, that asked me would I like to come and start taking jiu-jitsu lessons, where I started doing my MMA at. Ever since then, it’s kind of taking off, and it’s brought me a lot of great opportunities. It brought me into modeling, because it put me into splendid shape, and helped me get my career started to where I am today. So, I have to say that when I look back on some days, just because I started in my garage doing jiu-jitsu. So, I guess that was 2015,” said O’Neill.

The greatest lesson that MMA has taught O’Neill, is discipline.

“Discipline, MMA and mixed martial arts have taught me the biggest thing in life is discipline. If you get too eager, aggressive, or too nice, people tend to take advantage of that. With that being said, if you learn discipline, and you learn control, then you are always going to be in the correct mindset, where you don’t let anything get out of hand or out of control,” said O’Neill.

If O’Neill’s mantra was a hashtag, it would be #blessed.

“I don’t know, if you could put a life motto into a hashtag, I could say that one would be blessed, to be honest. I would have to say being so young, I have dealt with different trials and tribulations. When I was younger, I actually ended up almost dying, and I had someone save my life. So, I respect it as sort of a blessing. I have a lot of friends and family around me, that shows me a lot of love, support and help me out. You count your small blessings in life, not everything has to be glitz, glamorous and diamonds,” said O’Neill.

What is O’Neill’s underwear preferences?

“I would probably have to say boxer briefs, but I actually wear the athletic brand of underwear. So it’s called Spyders. They are some of the most comfortable fit that I have had or the Adidas ones that I have,” said O’Neill.

If O’Neill could model for any national brand, it would be Calvin Klein.

“Any brand, I would probably have to say, Zara or Calvin Klein. I know those are probably really basic answers, but I would choose Calvin Klein if I had to pick my number one choice. I wear a lot of their clothes, I like the way they fit and they have good materials,” said O’Neill.

What does O’Neill enjoy most about being a bartender?

“What I enjoy most about being a bartender, is probably the people I meet. You know, I go to work each day, but my job is never the same. I may deal with the same job duties, but the people that I meet, and the conversations that I have with people, I mean I’ve made friends that I have known, and I’ve made friends that I have had for a lifetime because that’s the job that I do. Even though I am making drinks for people, it’s just a connection that I can make, I think that’s the most enjoyable part,” said O’Neill.

You can follow Shawn O’Neill on Instagram @smo_life.

If Shawn O’Neill could have a conversation with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why? You can find out by following me on Facebook and Instagram @MrJoshuaConner

Mo Dadkhah

I recently had an opportunity to speak with Mo Dadkhah, Chicago’s first rate attorney, ace realtor & handsome renaissance man.

By: Joshua Conner

Mo Dadkhah is the broker-owner at Main Street Real Estate Group, principal attorney-owner at Dadkhah Law Group, host-producer at Wheelhouse, co-host at WGN Radio- Market Overdrive and 2018 Chicago Association of Realtors YPN Chair. Dadkhah inspires me both personally and professionally. Professionally, I am inspired by Dadkhah’s work ethic, how he has successfully diversified his brand, entrepreneurial spirit and how he was named top producer by the Chicago Association of Realtors in 2016 and 2017. Personally, I am inspired by Dadkhah’s physique, style, and passion for racing.

What is a day in the life of Dadkhah like?

“Depends on the day of the week, but for the most part, I am not one of those early risers, that’s up at 4:30 in the morning. I typically wake up around 8 am. I also go to sleep very late. I’m usually the type of guy who’s awake working until 2 or 3 in the morning, cause late at night, fewer people bother me. I coach and train a lot of people, with the ventures I have. I end up having to deal with a lot of phone calls and emails throughout the day and emails throughout the day and very late at night, I get a lot of my best work done. So, I wake up around 8 am, and I let my dog out to play a little bit. I don’t drink coffee in the morning, so I just make myself a pre-workout smoothie, which is kind of like my coffee. Then, I just begin, starting to respond to some of the emails. I respond to everybody’s emails at midnight,  going back to the beginning of the day. Son anything going back to midnight, to about 8 am, I’ll start to answer. Depending on which office, I’m supposed to be at, either Main Street, the law firm, the podcast or tech startup, I end up starting to focus on wherever I need to go, to be for that,” said Dadkhah.

What would be the title of Dadkhah’s life story and who would play him in a movie?

“The title of my life story would be never quit. As funny as it sounds, I pick good old Tom Cruise. Everybody, says that I am a Persian Tom Cruise,”  said Dadkhah.

If Dadkhah’s mantra was a hashtag, it would also be #NeverQuit.

“I think that throughout my career so far, which has probably been 10 years now. I graduated from law school in 2009, which was probably the worst job economy to come out in. The job offers were really bad, I got two terrible offers, and it lead me to question what I was doing, and then I opened my own law firm. So, I opened it, right out of law school, which was a pretty scary thing. I had no business at all. I had law knowledge, but law school doesn’t teach you to practice law. So, I literally would go on Craigslist and cover cases for $50, I grinded and grinded.
I went on and got a real estate license, just to have a second job, really, because law wasn’t cutting it on its own, but I didn’t want to quit my law firm. So, I worked two jobs, one thing lead to another, I find myself relatively successful to them, but it’s been 10 years. Between then, I had a really bad business partnership, lost business, and just every step along the way, I just every step along the way, I just keep thinking to myself as long as I don’t quit and I always say fail forward. So, if you’re going to fail, fail ahead, you know a good friend of mine Tommy, used that one time in a coaching session. If your going to fail, fail forward, no one has ever been successful without failing. I just keep saying to myself, whatever happens never quit, if you’re still making forward movement, you’re eventually going to end up successful,” said Dadkhah.

What is Dadkhah’s underwear preferences?

“I’m going to tell you, I only wear Alfani boxer briefs. They’re comfortable, they’re relatively inexpensive, if someone went through my boxer drawer, the only thing they would see are Alfani boxer briefs,” said Dadkhah.

What is the greatest lesson that Jiu Jitsu has taught Dadkhah?  

“I think Jiu-Jitsu has taught me is that there are always levels in everything you do. To become absolutely great at something, you have to be willing to learn it practically your entire life. With Jiu-Jitsu, I have been on and off, because I have been working on different things. If you’re not learning Jiu Jitsu, and not constantly improving, I think that translates really well into business. I think that’s why a lot of jiu-jitsu practitioners are also very good business people because there is always someone better than you. Your always trying to learn new things, you’re always trying to catch up and as soon as you learn all that, and you learn what you need to learn, new things pop up. Same as business today, social media is evolving, the way you market yourself is evolving, the game of jiu-jitsu has evolved. I think it’s taught me that if you’re not constantly learning, you don’t make learning a lifelong passion of yours, you’re never going to be exceptional at it. I think that’s probably my best lesson learned from jiu-jitsu,” said Dadkhah.

What is one sentence would Dadkhah like people to use to describe his real estate business?

“I would say that every single client’s transaction, is the most important transaction that you’re working on. The reason being, for that person, that real estate transaction, is the most important thing that is likely going on in their lives. It’s the house, they are probably going to raise their kids in, probably grow older in, and they’re going to have a lot of experiences in. Definitely, the most expensive transaction, they are going to have to make in their lives.
Even though you may have 50 files your working on, you have to make sure, you’re giving that person that level of care, they need. If you can’t give that person that level of care, well then you’re going to have to create a team, within your structure, so that person doesn’t end up neglected. I think that a lot of realtors are afraid of creating a business themselves because they don’t want to give a piece of the pie, but at some point, it’s going to diminish return, when you’re not really taking care of your clients well,” said Dadkhah.  

If Dadkhah could feature any famous guest died or live on his wheelhouse podcast, who would it be and what is one question would he ask them?

“There are so many people,  I would want to feature for so many different reasons. If you did a top 3, I would do, Mark Cuban, Elon Musk and I would definitely do my favorite race car driver Michael Schumacher, that would be my top 3 for all different reasons. To be honest, I would probably have Elon Musk on, and I would just try to find out from him, what has constantly kept him evolving his mind, into different ideas and different areas of business. He goes from PayPal to Tesla to SpaceX, and he is successful in everything he does. I just would want to try to get a look into what Elon Musk thinks about when he is sitting there all by himself. He’s obviously,  a problem solver. If I had to have just one on, I would want to have Elon Musk on because, he is successful in so many different areas, not just one and he is constantly evolving. I would love to figure out, what goes on in his head,” said Dadkhah.

Extra Content: Which race car matches Mo Dadkhah’s personality, follow me on my Instagram and Facebook page @MrJoshuaConner to find out.

You can follow Mo Dadkhah on his Instagram @therealmodadkhah,, and check out his podcast by following on Instagram @aewheelhouse and

Lawrence Dunning

I recently had an opportunity to speak with Lawrence Dunning, MBA, one of Chicago’s premier real estate brokers, skillful jiu-jitsu black belt & handsome renaissance man.

By: Joshua Conner

Lawrence Dunning is: owner at Dunning Real Estate and Real Estate/Broker at Main Street Real Estate Group, from London, United Kingdom & based in Chicago, Illinois. Dunning, inspires me personally & professionally. Professionally, Dunning was named: top producer from Main Street Real Estate Group in 2017 and 2018, top producer for Chicago Association of Realtors in 2017, & Who’s Who Chicago Agent magazine in 2017. Personally, I admire Dunning’s dedication to jiu-jitsu, physique, charming accent & how he manages a successful business with his best friend.

What is a day in the life of Dunning like?

“I think everyday is a good day, if I get some kind of physical exercise or workout in and I’m productive. Whether that can mean a full day of work when I’m productive or by the same token, if I’m on vacation or some real relaxation then, being present with whatever I’m doing. So, that can change, based on where I am at. Then, just some downtime.

If you work really hard, and you get some exercise in, your exhausted, and at the end of the day, you can put your feet up for an hour. I think it feels like a great big reward, because you earned it. So a typical day: I try to get some exercise, I think that’s really important, I try to be productive with whatever I’m doing, and I try to have my downtime at the end of the day, but only when I feel like I deserve it,” said Dunning.

If Dunning’s mantra was a hashtag, what would it be?

“I think it would be #dreambig. The simple reason is, because when I was young, I was very shy & introverted. Then, I achieved things, that I am, very proud of for myself, but it wasn’t easy, it wasn’t the most natural thing. I kept dreaming bigger & dreaming bigger, and every time, I got a little something accomplished, I think about the next big step and next big step. Eventually, over years and years, that can really grow into big things, but you have to have a dream to even start. If you don’t have the dream, then nothing else matters. So, I think everything starts with a dream, so I think dream big, would probably be the answer,” said Dunning.

How does Dunning like his coffee?

“Honestly, I just like straight up coffee, with a little bit of cream and MCT oil,” said Dunning.

What is Dunning’s underwear preference?

“Let’s see, you know my wife, just brought me some Reebok trunks,” said Dunning.

What was Dunning’s most memorable year?

“I think, I would have to say last year, because I got married. I think that’s the biggest step, that you can take. So, I think last year, I moved, I adopted a puppy, and got married. That, pretty much says, it all about my memorable year,” said Dunning.

The greatest lesson jiu-jitsu has taught Dunning is that the learning never stops.

“That’s a great question; I think the greatest lesson, I have learned doing jiu-jitsu, for nearly 20 years, and I think that it can be applied to almost anything in life is that, learning never stops. So, I think I’m pretty good at jiu-jitsu & I learn something every week. I think, it can be very frustrating, because sometimes, mostly you just want to figure something out, and be done with it. On the plus side, on things in life, like relationships with: a child, or father, or wife, or husband, it’s a constant working process.

You can never, just say that I am done with this relationship, you always have to put effort in, learn & grow. I think the same goes with business. If your business isn’t growing, it’s not going to stay the same, it’s probably going to get worse, lose money & decay. I think it’s the same thing with jiu-jitsu, you always gotta keep learning, and you can never rest on your morals. That can be applied to business, relationships, and all of the important things in life. Your never done, it’s always a work in progress,” said Dunning.

What is one sentence would Dunning like to use to describe his real estate?

“Good question, there’s a lot of brokers in Chicago, and there’s a lot of brokers that don’t know really what their doing. So I would say one sentence would be exceeds because we know what we’re doing and customer service. I am all about long term relationships with clients, and just in business in general. I think that’s the key to a successful business and almost anything is building good long term relationships with people. So I would use excellence and customer service,” said Dunning.

What does Dunning enjoy most about working at Dunning Real Estate?

“I think I am very fortunate that I can work with a good friend of mine. So, I think the key thing is, it can always be challenging, but if we are working with people that, we enjoy being around it makes work a lot more pleasurable. So, I think that the best thing about working there, is that my partner is also a good friend of mine. On the flip side, when you mix friendship with business, it can be challenging, but I think it’s definitely worth the challenges, to be forced to spend more time with good friends in business, so it’s a tradeoff. I really enjoy working with a good friend of mine,” said Dunning.

Extra content, I asked Lawrence Dunning what would be the title of his life story and who would play him in a movie. He gives a very American Bond answer. Find out what he said by following me on Instagram & Facebook @MrJoshuaConner.

You can follow Lawrence Dunning on Instagram @lawrencedunning and check out his website