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“A prudent question is the beginning of wisdom.”   Francis Bacon

The questions we ask ourselves guide our lives. 

How should I spend my day? How does the day ahead of me look? How can I make a difference?

These are worthy questions, but I’d like to share one that changes lives, starting with the life of the individual asking it.

It’s the question I challenge more than 100,000 people to answer at my speaking events each year. It is the question we print on the Rising Above wristbands and the new journals we’ll be offering soon. And it is the question that guides the work I do each day.

I learned it from one of my heroes. He asked himself this question every night: What More Can I Do?

In answering this question – after learning that a nine-year-old boy he’d never met had been gravely burned in a house fire – Hall of Fame announcer Jack Buck was able to give me passion at a time in my life when I wasn’t expected to live. Months later – after learning I could not use my hands – he answered it by teaching me how to write. When I was graduating college, he answered it by teaching me what friendship and love are.

The question “What More Can I Do?” changes lives when you remember to not only ask it, but to boldly answer it. [Tweet that.]

Since challenging audiences to answer this question, I’ve heard amazing stories of sales increased, marriages saved, relationships rekindled and health regained. Last week was the first time though that an entire organization chose to embrace this question together.

In August I had the honor of kicking off the year for several school districts. The leaders from one of the elementary schools came up with a concrete way to keep the message alive.

Westridge Elementary School hosted their first annual “What More Can I Do?” Day last week. Each staff member invested three hours to reflect on a specific student with needs and find special resources to help that student realize his or her potential. With a simple paper heart and the question What More Can I Do?”, these teachers put plans in place, accepted accountability partners to see them through and are changing lives.

We’re all capable of taking bold action like Westridge. That is why in 2014, I am thrilled to announce the first annual Rising Above “What More Can I Do?” Day. [Tweet that.]

This day can be as big or as small as you want; you can get all of your colleagues involved or you can simply bring dinner to a neighbor, take time to read with your 7-year-old even though you got home late and have to cook or ask that coworker to lunch who could use a friend.

More details to come! For now, mark your calendar: the first annual Rising Above What More Can I Do? Day will be January 17, 2014. This is the 27th anniversary of my childhood fire. My friends, fire can be a catalyst for devastation, but it is important to remember that it can also galvanize character.

In the midst of your adversity remember to ask yourself this special question, seek the answer, take action and hold fast to the truth that one person can change the world.

What is one thing you could do on the first annual What More can I Do? Day? Please share below in the comments.

(Like this blog? Get it in your inbox every Monday: www.RisingAbove.com/Monday-Morning)

John O’Leary

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0 replies on “Who are you?”

First of all, John, I will be saying special prayers of thanks for you as we celebrate the 27th year of your courage to live when you could so easily have chosen otherwise. What a difference you have made in so many lives – including mine.
I love your “What More Can I Do? Day”. Our staff is going to make our mural of student hearts at our staff Christmas party on Friday and will ask ourselves “What More Can I Do?”

Dear John, How I remember Jan. 17, 1987 and the days following. I will be thinking of how I will celebrate “What More Can I Do Day” but for sure I will be praying for each member of your family. I will share your story with a young person in my neighborhood and encourage her/him to let their struggles “galvanize” their character ! peace to you, and renewed strength and hope…

I am going to choose something more I can do in each of these categories: Family, Faith, Work, & Community. I think I will have some fun coming up with what exactly those things will be!

Phenomenal!! You’ve got some time to pour into what action to take in those areas leading up to the day, so keep us posted. Can’t wait to hear. And THANKS for all you do, Jody!

Look forward to celebrating with you on January 27!! “What more can I do?” – a great thought to start the day. A sure way to know you are closer than ever to your dreams and a full life.

Steven, thank you, buddy! I look forward to celebrating with you too! But make sure you mark the 17th of January not the 27th! I’ll keep you posted on details for this day as we get them on my Facebook and blog! J If you get ideas on how to best celebrate this day / answer this question: please share! J

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