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“One does not see anything until one sees its beauty.” Oscar Wilde

Do you know what the top ten headlines from 2012 have in common? These were the headlines that appeared the most amount of times, in the most publications, in the most regions of the country. They were all negative. Every one of top ten headlines was negative!

My friends, we are inundated with negative perspectives, stories, articles, and blogs. Some of us even have negative people around us in our lives (I know, shocking, huh?!). Occasionally, though, we’re blessed with a new set of eyes; a new perspective that allows us to look at challenges with a fresh viewpoint.

Recently my little boy sat on a stool near the bathroom sink watching me shave. He asked important questions like: “why don’t I need to do that, Daddy?” and “why don’t baseball players wear shorts?” Then he said, “Daddy, your skin is so ridgey, bumpy and red.” He paused for a few seconds, tracing one of the scars with his index finger, and added, “but I really like it.”

You see, as a child I was burned on 100% of my body, spent months in hospital and years in therapy. It took me 20 years to see any beauty in those scars. Even today, when I am honest about it, there are moments when I have a very difficult time seeing good in them. There are times when I host the pity parties or wish they weren’t there or feel less-than-perfect.

And this little boy “really likes it”?

Into what so many view as negative, steps an innocent, blinded to prejudice, open to beauty, kid who sees the scars – not for being marks of imperfection – but for badges of beauty and courage.

My friends, the unavoidable consequence of life is that we all get burned; we all have scars. They appear physically, internally, relationally, financially and professionally. Mistakes are made, wounds open, and scars appear. We rarely acknowledge their existence, rarely acknowledge their lessons, and rarely acknowledge the blessings of those events.

I’ve discovered that it is the scars that propel us forward in life. They lead to compassion, the growth of a network, the expansion of possibility, the awakening of humility, the desire for a stronger purpose, the reaffirmation of faith, and the foundation of resilience. These are the keys to a successful business. These are the keys to a successful life.

When you embrace the truth that mistakes, missteps, brokenness, challenges, and seeming defeat serve as the foundation for your greatest success, you’ll be able to look in your mirror each day with new eyes, acknowledging your scars, saying, “they might be ridgey, bumpy and red……but I really like them!”

My challenge: Today I celebrate (yes CELEBRATED) a fire that took place 26 years on this date. My friends, I want you to celebrate with me by sharing your story with us in our community. Let us know what your trial by fire was, what you learned from it, and how it shaped you into the leader you are. Can’t wait to read your story! www.facebook.com/SpeakerJohnOleary

It’s not all bad!

We had over 4,000 leaders enroll in the Tom Hill Institute. They enrolled from all 50 states and from 11 countries! I’ll provide additional information on their progress, how you can enroll in future classes and events open to the public. One incredible opportunity coming up is on February 13th in St. Louis. We’re inviting author and speaker Wm. Paul Young to inspire our community. He’s the international best selling author of The Shack and Cross Roads. The event will be held at Maryville University from 5-7pm. There is no charge, but there is limited space.

If interested in learning more, inviting a group, or holding your place, please email Molly@RisingAbove.com.

Share the spark

Our mission at Rising Above is to encourage others to take back their life, ignite their possibility and change their world.  We view this mission as vitally important and appreciate your help in spreading it.

If you know organizations that might benefit from inviting us to:

    • speak at one of their corporate, church, leadership events,
    • coach their teams and key leaders toward greater success and significance,
    • inspire individuals that might benefit from us motivating them,

Please pass along this newsletter.  Through our daily blogs & Facebook posts, weekly newsletters, company events or public sessions we can encourage individuals and organizations to take back the truth that the best is yet to come!

John O’Leary


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