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“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” -Desmond Tutu

Six years ago, as the book On Fire was moving from a document to a manuscript to an actual book, the publishing company designed the cover for the book. It was a big picture of John O’Leary, dressed in a suit, arms smugly crossed, wearing a confident smile, looking out at the readers almost as if saying, “Future readers: Look at ME! I am great. And if you read this, you, too, can be great!”

Immediately I requested they change the book cover!

The designer was a bit surprised and wanted to know why. He shared that most authors in this genre put their picture on the front of the book. It’s important for branding, he added.

I told him the book wasn’t about the guy on the front of it, but about a community of individuals who stepped forward for a little boy and his family, the courageous actions they took, the important lessons they taught and the ways implementing those lessons might positively change the lives of individuals reading it.

Ultimately, we landed on a simple white cover, with an explosion of colors radiating out from the center, and the words ON FIRE embossed in a shiny foil wrap treatment. The idea was for our readers to literally see themselves in the letters and to invite them into a story of community being used for good.

The community within our story was packed with heroes.

The day of the explosion heroes such as first responders, firefighters and EMS leaders arrived on the scene, fought a fire, triaged a burned child, and raced me to a nearby hospital.

They would have had no chance to rescue me, though, without the swift actions of my brother putting out the flames, the tender embrace of my older sister holding and encouraging me in the front yard, and the lifesaving, gallant actions of my courageous younger sister running repeatedly into a burning house for water.

These selfless actions were followed by loving but bold conversations with my parents in the Emergency Room, which were followed by months of exceptional work provided by the hospital staff, the steadfast outreach of our neighbors, and the prayers from strangers around the world.

A chain reaction of others willing to think beyond themselves both saved my life and sustained my family during the unimaginable.

Since then, I’ve been continually and positively impacted by the actions of others.

Family and friends showed up for me as a struggling young adult trying to heal my brokenness and find purpose beyond my scars.

Mentors, coaches, and other role models showed up again and again (and again!) to provide support and guidance to me as a husband, a dad, a son, a colleague, a writer, a speaker.

These little bits of good, done by others, combined to create a powerful force that overwhelmed the darkness and changed my life forever.

Their love inspires me to strive to do the same for others. Providing hope and inspiration is our goal in every speech delivered, coaching session offered, podcast broadcast, newsletter delivered, and hospital patient visited.

Today, the world can seem noisy, divided and dark. There most certainly are skeptics who argue the world has never been so negative, broken and bleak. And there are many who suggest the best days are behind us.

The media does a masterful job of searching for examples of evil and broadcasting it. Social media has engineered algorithms designed to steal our attention, keeping us focused on what doesn’t truly matter.

And yet know this: what we focus on, expands; what we seek, grows.

For those desiring it, evidence is everywhere of heroes, of possibility, of beauty, and of the power of a unified community being used for good.

Flourishing individually, encouraging others, and connecting in community is what we strive to foster at Live Inspired. It is likely why you listen to our podcasts, read our materials, and share our posts. And it’s why we want to give you an exciting opportunity to go even deeper via our new online community called Live Inspired Together.

It’s our own little corner of the internet absent the negativity found elsewhere. It’s our Live Inspired homebase where you and I can connect – and it’s packed with inspirational content, virtual gatherings, and curated opportunities to serve. 

It’s designed to help you embrace the power of perspective, the gifts you already possess and the truth that your best days are yet to come. 

It’s free. It’s awesome. And it is for you.

Join me at Live Inspired Together by clicking the registration link below.

My friends, what we focus on, grows. I can’t wait to focus on the good with you and positively change the world one life at a time. Starting with our own.

3 replies on “Doing Little Bits of Good…Together”


Thank you for continually reminding us to look at the support Timbers in our lives….and out of that recognition to pray to be support Timbers for one another.

John – Yes this is what i got from reading your book 6 years ago that you were courageous & bold but by the same token your parent were too! Plus you threw in the good, the bad & the ugly to show that your journey was not paved with the yellow bricks but had speed bumps & deep mud pits that were easy to fall into and the percival tall brick wall to try and figure out how to conquer it so we can move forward.

Then I got hit by the bricks ( or a really big Dope-Slap across the face ) where were my heroes from 1960-2016 I knew I had to have ~ so to get where I was back then & then you started me on remembering my story that had been suppressed so long for me. Yep like I say you started motivating me to go digging in my own backyard to find and remember how nice folks that did the extra for me. Then in 2018 for icing on the cake you would unpack a thought on your live monthly shows BUT give us an assignments to write love letter to the folks that helped us! Awe Man at first it was misery but got better as time went on and the good memories surfaced for me.

Thank you for writing your book and having the monthly meeting to motivate me to move forward even if I was at time trying to dig in.

Thanks again for all the good work that you do globally and help and promise of a better future for us.

Bill Alexander

PS: Hey I need now at least 2 truck loads of dirt to fill all of my lost memory gopher holes in my backyard. Yep you cause me to dig very deep.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” ‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5‬:‭11‬

This is one of my favorite scriptures and one you and all at Live Inspired are beautiful examples of living out to the full! God bless you John, and all who encourage others alongside you! Every little bit is indeed making a difference!

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