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“It’s hard for me to like the person kicking me in the head when I’m on the ground. But then I realize I don’t have to like them, I just have to love them.”
~Martin Luther King

‘I am so sick of them.’

Facilitating several leadership workshops in the past few weeks, I’ve heard these words used numerous times. A group of business owners used it to describe how they feel about politicians; a mother used it to describe her children; a nurse describing doctors. Probably all of us have used this same statement to describe a singular person or a group of individuals.

My reminder to the workshop participants, and to you today, is that you don’t have to like the challenges in politics, egos in others, adversities in the world or personal limitations. Instead, we are called to embrace them, learn from them, actually begin to love them, and then take action toward changing them.

With these recent groups, I shared a poem intended for parents to accept responsibility, forgive and move forward. A poem for leaders sick of economic challenges. A poem for our two-party system that much prefers pointing out weaknesses that divide instead of celebrating strengths that unite. It’s a poem for you, my friends, as you balance the many strains in your life.

It’s a poem by JP Kinney that speaks to why we stop pouring ourselves into others and the devastating impact of our inaction.

Six humans trapped by happenstance, In dark and bitter cold,
Each possessed a stick of wood — Or so the story’s told.

Their dying fire in need of logs; But the first one held hers back,
For, of the faces around the fire; She noticed one was black.

The next one looked cross the way; Saw one not of his church,
And could not bring himself to give; The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes; He gave his coat a hitch,
Why should his log be put to use; To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought; Of wealth he had in store,
And keeping all that he had earned; From the lazy, shiftless poor.

The black man’s face bespoke revenge; As the fire passed from his sight,
For he saw in his stick of wood; A chance to spite the white.

And the last man of this forlorn group; Did nought except for gain,
Giving just to those who gave; Was how he played the game.

Their sticks held tight in death’s stilled hands; Was proof enough of sin;
They did not die from cold without; They died from cold within.

My friends, crossing arms in anger, selfishness and arrogance devastates more than most recognize. It creates destructive tension between countries, among world religions, in marriages, at schools, in businesses and in every relationship.

Today, choose to throw your log into the fire. Choose to forgive that wrong, to tell her again you’re sorry, to thank him again for his efforts, to pass along the word of gratitude, to take that unexpected, selfless step for someone else.

Yeah, throwing your log into a dying fire provides light and warmth for others. But be prepared for the unexpected warmth and light you’ll provide yourself, too.

John O’Leary

The new RisingAbove.com launch

Oh my friends, after months of effort, guided by your suggestions and feedback, and with hundreds of hours from our technology/creative team we are launching our new website today! Please visit and let us know what you think!

I’m expecting you’ll find it very navigable, beautiful, and inspiring! www.RisingAbove.com

As excited as we are about this new site, we are even more fired up to share that it is just the first step! In the months to come, we’ll be adding a highly interactive community (THE MOVEMENT) where we will share our best information – and invite our friends (read: YOU!) to share. We’ll be adding a robust video/audio library of our best content. We’ll add a vibrant area to continue your leadership journey. And finally, details of some incredibly exciting new Rising Above projects (Hint: Inspirational Event you won’t want to miss and the information on the launch of our very first book!)

Check us out and stay tuned! The best is yet to come! www.RisingAbove.com

Join the Rising Above Team!

Rising Above is hiring! We are excited to be actively seeking a Marketing and Media Manager and an Administrative Coordinator/Database Guru to join our company. If you know someone that would be a perfect for our amazing company, we’d love to meet them! To learn more, please review our online job descriptions at http://www.risingabove.com/jobs/

Thanks Partners!

Last month we were fortunate to share our message with these organizations:

Mount Carmel Health System
The Cary Company
Progressive Agriculture Day
SSM Healthcare
Gold Crown Foundation
NAIFA MDRT experience
Young Presidents Organization
Lowenstein Sandler PC
National Assoc. of PeriAnethesia Nurses
The Continued Fight Boot Camp
Missouri Department of Transportation
Entrepreneurs Organization
Boulay, Heutmaker, Zibell and Co
Jacobs Marketing
Columbus, OH
Chicago, IL
St. Louis, MO
Madison, WI
Denver, CO
Columbus, OH
Iowa City, IA
New York, NY
Halifax, Canada
Saint Louis, MO
Jefferson City, MO
Seattle, WA
Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis, MN
Follow John and stay inspired!

Don’t let time and distance keep you away from daily inspiration! Join us online and let’s continue igniting life!

John O’Leary

0 replies on “Throwing in your log”


I have been fortunate enough to hear you twice in my life (once at Seven Holy Founders and again at the Chaminade Father Son). I get your e-mails and every so often they seem like you have directed them especially to me. Today was one of those days. I was angry and ready to tear a co-worker a new one when I woke up and read your “log on the fire” story. Wow, did that hit home! Later in the day I e-mailed her and quoted your closing to the end of the story. I also passed along your name and information, I am hoping she checks you out. I just wanted to pass along a note of gratitude for talking me out of anger and resentment before I started my day.


Frank Ruzicka

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