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How One Attitude, One Action and One Person Can Change the World.

“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.” – John Wooden

“Sir, I don’t know how this happened. We’ve looked everywhere, but we lost your minivan.”

As she spoke these words, tears of embarrassment and overwhelm began filling her eyes. In choosing to respond with compassion and humor, though, I began to improve not only her day, but mine. Let me explain.

Scheduled to speak in the afternoon at a conference in Orlando last month, we booked an early morning speaking engagement with a different client 20 minutes from the hotel.

Getting to the hotel valet stand at 6:45am, I waited a few minutes for the vehicle. Then a few minutes turned into 10. After more than 30 minutes, and with a meeting scheduled to start shortly, all the buffer time I’d built into the morning had vanished and all my patience faded with it.

The young lady managing the valet stand finally approached, sheepishly looked down and admitted the minivan was lost.

My first thoughts were centered angrily around how they could lose a car, why someone would steal a rented minivan and how in the world I would make my important meeting on time?!

Rather than yelling at her, though, I comforted her. Rather than demanding to see a manager, I told her I didn’t care for the minivan, prefer SUVs and would just call an Uber. And rather than screaming at her, I gave her a hug and told her everything would work out just fine.

I then called a car service and the morning, although delayed, was about to get back on track.

What I did not know was that a senior vice president for a large technology firm was listening to this conversation. As I waited for an Uber to pick me up, he approached and asked if my name was John O’Leary. It turns out a friend of his had shared the beautiful video created by Major League Baseball a couple years ago that shared the story of the profoundly positive influence Jack Buck had been in my life.

The gentleman said it’s one thing to see the video, it’s another thing entirely to see it lived out in person. He went onto to share that he was planning a large conference for 2022. He needed a speaker and wanted to know if I might be interested.

Because of an unfortunate issue with my car, I had a chance encounter with a new friend, Mike Hall, near a valet stand in Orlando. By the end of it, we exchanged a firm handshake, our cell phone numbers, and the commitment to make it work for his event.

Just last week, Mike and I enjoyed a call to prepare for his national meeting later this month. He chose a speech we offer called The Power of One: How One Attitude, One Action and One Person Can Change the World. And during the call he shared a poem he’ll likely be reading that day. It’s called, by chance, The Power of One.

One song can spark a moment,
One whisper can wake the dream.
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.

One smile begins a friendship,
One moment can make one fall in love.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal.

One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.

One step must start each journey.
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.

One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what’s true,
One life can make a difference,
You see, it’s up to you!

— Ashish Ram

My friends, as we step into 2022, there is one thing I am certain: the valet will lose your car this year.

Now, maybe it won’t be your minivan, but it will be something.

Life will happen, challenges will mount, headwind will blow, difficulties will arise and the year ahead will become far different than the one you currently imagine.

And yet, the power of one reminds us that although we cannot always choose the path we walk in life, we are always free to choose the manner in which we walk it. The choice we make makes a mighty difference in our lives – and the lives of those we encounter.

Today, this week and into the year ahead, choose to treat others with dignity and compassion. Soften your voice, smile more often, laugh more easily, seek to understand, unclench your fist, open your heart and recognize that this life – that indeed your life – is a profound gift.

And yes, eventually rental cars are found, current challenges will fade, and the best is yet to come.

This is your day. Live Inspired.

19 replies on “Losing My Car and Finding a Friend”

I was at this event, and it was extremely moving. A great reminder to work hard at being better, and kinder, and more loving. Thanks John. I love you. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

Continue again this year as in so many years past to be blessed by your ministry John. Love the blogs, love the podcasts and although we have only met once, I feel I know you and certainly connect with the simplicity of living inspired one day at a time. Looking forward to the adventure together in 2022!!!

This is so motivating. I try to live this each day. In my daily gratitude journal each day , my final request is that I am respectful and kind and to smile with whom ever I meet with in person , by phone or Internet that day. Thanks 🙏 John

Thank you John. Your book, your talk to Saint Gabriel’s middle school here in Austin, your piano playing, a photo of you with me and my daughter after your talk – all special. I went way off track yesterday with just about everything that is most important to me. I’m going to work on getting back on track today and for the year to come. Thanks again…….

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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.