Sam O'Sullivan has gone off the beaten track walked by many Clinical Psychologists. He saw the benefits of learning to calmly focus in his own life when stepping into his career (i.e practising mindfulness) - it helped him to work through his struggles with confidence and he started to develop into the person he always wanted to be. He went from avoiding public speaking to giving talks, teaching classes and winning prizes for presenting his work.

Sam trained at Otago University and then decided to start his career by jumping into the deep end - by working in a rehabilitation centre for people with serious psychiatric disorders. In this job he began teaching mindfulness to groups and witnessed again the powerful positive impact that learning this skill can have. He also noticed that the majority of people in the hospital were men. He suspected that the culture of being a "stoic NZ man" was playing a role, as many of the men there had not felt able to talk about their problems when they had started to develop, or had not been encouraged by others to do so.  

Sam went on to work as private practitioner and found his style resonated with New Zealand men, who sought him out for coaching and therapy. He continued to see the Kiwi male culture playing a role in the problems his clients were facing, as many of them hadn't explored what was going on with anyone else before seeing him, particularly with other men. He also discovered that many of these men had found their own ways to be mindful, through activities like fishing, hunting, swimming and running . When he helped these men to translate this skill to other areas of their life they no longer needed his support. So he thought, why not do this on a bigger scale? Tough Talk was born.