Skip to content
John O’Leary shares about a cherished, irreplaceable colleague and reminds us that leaders impact most by showing others they matter.

irreplaceable
adj.
incapable of being replaced, totally unique;
impossible to replace if lost or damaged.

To positively impact more lives as a speaker, nearly a decade ago we hired a marketing director. After interviewing dozens of outstanding candidates we hired a young, brilliant and passionate individual named Abby Hughes.

Our work together began with ensuring we were able to stay connected with attendees after I spoke at an event; so we could keep doing life together. We took what had been my haphazardly sent newsletter to a few subscribers and morphed it into our Monday Morning Motivation. Abby’s research, planning and execution allowed us to better serve our current readers and grow our readership to touch more than 100,000 lives and hearts each week.

A look at the growth of John O’Leary and his colleagues’ impact through the years. 

We then recognized together that, although neither of us personally loved social media, it was an important way to connect and share hope and inspiration with our community. She instituted various strategies, identified best practices, and we expanded our following by more than 150,000 online friends.

Desiring to bring those friends and followers together for live events, I tasked Abby with helping me fill a room that would empower them to truly live inspired. The invitations, social posts, email sequencing, and landing pages were created by her. She led the execution of  the branding, collateral and event flow. The inaugural Launch Leadership conference was wildly successful and sold out. It was followed by another. And then numerous other live events, each larger and more successful than the previous.

The actual writing of a book is, in many ways, the easy part. The marketing, sales and distribution of the book is when the real work begins. The exhaustive work of determining how best to market our first book fell on Abby. She led the PR campaign, presale operations, and media blitz that led On Fire to become an instant #1 national bestseller and translated into more than a dozen languages. She also worked tirelessly to ensure the message of the book rang true and in such a way that it would connect to the hearts and minds of our future readers.

When I wanted to start a podcast five years ago, I asked Abby to help figure it out with me. Back then, there wasn’t much information about how to create one. She researched the technology and learned the ins-and-outs from booking high-impact guests to tagging episodes… all to keep growing impact. To date, the Live Inspired Podcast has been downloaded more than three million times, has inspired listeners in 75 countries and has been a top show for both relationships and business on Apple Podcasts.

I could write expansively about the work she did for our brand, website, community, virtual coaching programs, media relationships, or the release of our second book, In Awe. Or I could write about how each time the team expanded she helped hire, train, and keep our colleagues focused not only on the tactics of doing work well, but the core mission of why we do that work in the first place.

The most important aspect of any work is seeing how it serves the larger community.

But for me, the most important aspect of this work has always been watching the individuals we speak with, coach up or serve in the community flourish. We use our voice and stories to remind our audience of the power and worth within theirs. And one of the finest living embodiments of this meaningful work for me has been observing Abby personally thrive while here.

There was the day she came in (now Abby Richter) radiating joy, wearing her new sparkling ring after marrying a wonderful man. It was an honor to be invited to Dan and Abby’s wedding, but even better to witness their love deepen in the years since.

A couple years later, it was thrilling at a team meeting when she announced they were expecting their first child. And it was equally awesome a few years later when she shared her little boy was going to become a big brother.

This week my friend and team member will begin guiding and growing another organization. I have every confidence that years from now they’ll look back at the wisdom of inviting Abby to join their team.

Our friends from Webster’s Dictionary define the word irreplaceable as “being incapable of being replaced, totally unique; impossible to replace if lost or damaged.”

Abby is irreplaceable.

Highly effective leaders remind others they matter and are capable. 

But one tremendous blessing and benefit of highly effective leadership is that while she was here, Abby did a terrific job reminding every team member that they mattered, their voice was important and they were capable of doing great things. She reminded each of them that they, too, were irreplaceable. So while she will be missed, the important work they do will continue to be done extraordinarily well.

So today, I wish her the very best in the new chapter in her life. She’s been a delightful professional colleague and will always remain a dear friend.

And today, my friends, I remind you of the fact that you, too, are absolutely irreplaceable. Your work matters, your dreams matter, your prayers matter, your words matter, your actions matter. Your life most certainly matters.

You are irreplaceable. And in a marketplace that sometimes forgets it, act like it.

This is your day. Live inspired.     

10 replies on “Irreplaceable”

My Best Wishes to Abby and to the entire Live Inspired Team. Changes in careers are sometimes necessary for the growth of the individual and the organization even though it is hard to move on. Celebrating the successes and showing appreciation as you have done in this essay eases the anxiety that change brings. This was very touching and inspiring for me as I ready myself for a radical change in my career. My Best Wishes to Abby and to the entire Live Inspired Team. Changes in careers are sometimes necessary for the growth of the individual and the organization even though it is hard to move on. Celebrating the successes and showing appreciation as you have done in this essay eases the anxiety that change brings. This was very touching and inspiring for me as I ready myself for a radical change in my career. I will use your words to help navigate the complexities of how this change will affect my family, my friends, my colleagues, and the company that I have loved for the past 15 years. Very inspirational – I love that you live your mission.

I’ve known Abby since she was a little girl! Always sweet, compassionate and loving. She will be a blessing wherever she goes💞

Wow! Such a beautiful farewell to Abby! She really is a very special young lady. Abby is so full of joy and positive energy, she would be a blessing to work with! Your words are a beautiful tribute to her time spent with you.

Abby has been a genuine blessing to and for your team, and this is a beautiful tribute to a beautiful person. In times of bittersweet news like this, I think of the words of that profound philosopher, Theodor Geisel, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Warmest best wishes to Abby!

Abby is my niece and Goddaughter, so I’m blessed to know personally what a beautiful human she is! She loved working with you, John, and so passionate about the work you and your organization do. We are both blessed to have Abby as part of our lives, right? Thank you for this beautiful tribute in honor of Abby. All the best, John.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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.