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John After the FireYour Greatest Adventure Yet

“The greatest adventure is found in discovering who you are and the freedom that comes with it.”

When I was 24, I became a hospital chaplain.

My aim was to support kids who, like me only 15 years prior, were learning firsthand the power of real courage, resiliency and fight.

As I trained, I had check-ins with my supervisor at the end of each day. We discussed how the day went and he critiqued how I could better serve our patients moving forward.

In one of my very first check-ins he taught me a valuable lesson that not only changed my mentorship, but also the entire trajectory of my life and thus my ability to impact the lives of others.

I had just shared with my preceptor, Dr. Davis, about an awkward visit I’d had with a patient that day. He sat patiently and listened.

He then asked a few clarifying questions, finishing with, “John, do you know what your story is?”

“Sure. I am married, we want to have kids, and…”

“No, John. Do you know what your story is?”

“Of course! I am one of six kids. My parents are still married…”

“John, you can’t possibly help others identify what matters most to them if you don’t first know your story, what you’ve been through and what matters most to you.”

The story he was referring to was the experience I had as a child being burned on 100% of my body, the resulting time I spent in the hospital and the physical challenges I still experience today.

You see, at that point in my life I’d never told anyone outside of my family how I was burned. Dr. Davis was imploring me to take time to both understand what happened to me years earlier, and more importantly: Be bold enough to actually embrace the scars and see how it had shaped me into the man I am today.

I took his advice and it made me a better chaplain, yes, but also a better husband, father, friend, son and person.

My friend, this experience showed me the truth that the greatest adventure is found in discovering who you are and the freedom that comes with it. [Tweet this] | [Share on Facebook]

(I was reminded of this truth when interviewing Greg Matthews on my Live Inspired Podcast. Greg is the author of the new book Wild Awakening, in which he shares how he was unable find joy and contentment in great adventures – defending our nation overseas and hunting when back home – until he owned his story of being abandoned by his father as a boy. It’s a truly moving story discovered in the wake of Greg’s nearly fatal encounter with a grizzly bear. Yes, this is a true story, and yes, it is going to help you live inspired. Don’t miss it.)

My friend, have you found your greatest adventure?

What’s your story?

Today is your day. Live Inspired.

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.