fbpx Skip to content

Own Your Past, Change You Future | Dr. John Delony (ep. 456)

Dr. John Delony

Mental health expert Dr. John Delony joins the Live Inspired Podcast with John O’Leary to share tips on finding freedom in new beginnings.

Mental health challenges and broken relationships are a part of life, yet they don’t have to define us.

Dr. John Delony is a mental health expert, bestselling author of Redefining Anxiety and host of The Dr. John Delony Show, a caller-driven show that gives you real talk on relationships and mental health challenges. Armed with not one, but two PhDs and more two decades of experience in counseling and crisis response, John’s goal is to help others navigate tough decisions, improve relationships, and remind others they’re worthy of being well.

Today, John unpacks what we can learn by honestly embracing our past and the practical steps in order to take a proactive role in finding freedom in new beginnings.

If you or someone you love is navigating something challenging, this episode is for you.

Subscribe & listen on Apple Podcasts, SpotifyStitcher, Google Play, iHeartRadio, or listen here:


  • When the building is falling down, you go in. With John’s dad earning just $19,000 a year as a homicide detective, financial strains were ever-present growing up. During a tough season, his dad was going to have to leave the grocery store without dinner until a generous manager paid for the food. This was one reason why his dad taught him the importance of giving back.
  • You start over when you start over. At 42 years old, John’s mom took her first college class at the community college (alongside John!). At 57, she graduated with her PhD, teaching John that it’s never too late to pursue a dream.
  • One of the by-products of having a cop and minister as a dad is you live in a glass house inside of a glasshouse. Seeking validation in all aspects of life
  • Heading into college, John not only sought validation but meaning. After watching the award-winning movie Good Will Hunting, he was motivated to become a high school teacher and later an Associate Dean of Students in higher education.
  • During a period of chasing validation, degrees and money, John’s body was shutting down and he was slowly dragging those closest to him down.
  • “The cracks are a sign, not a conclusion. The cracks are shadows of something deeper going on in your life. Cracks are signals that the beginning might be coming toward an end. They might be a windshield. The mortar between the bricks on a decaying old house, a shattering window on an old building, or cracks can signal growth. Old skin making way for new skin. A butterfly leaving the cocoon. A bird breaking free from an egg. Cracks allow light into the darkness.”
  • “We spend so much energy blaming, screaming, hating and seeking to burn everything and everyone down that doesn’t align with our view. Yet nothing changes.”
  • “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl
  • John offers an alternative third pathway to the two we’re fed: You’re always going to be the worst thing that ever happened to you, or you’re always going to be the worst thing you did. The alternative is you have to own what happened and then seek to move past.
  • Acknowledge reality: What about your world needs to be different?
  • “The chief enemy of our time is loneliness.”
  • John believes the loneliness epidemic is rooted in a multitude of causes including the architecture of our homes, technology advances no longer calling us to do life together and the “continuous dopamine drip” of social media.
  • Life must be lived forward but it can only be understood backward.
  • Get a copy of Dr. John Delony’s book Own Your Past Change Your Future here.

Did you love this conversation? You’ll love hearing from New York Times bestselling author Patrick Lencioni. As a polished author and speaker, Patrick discusses topics he seldom shares: his childhood, his marriage, parenting. Tune in to gain new insight and understanding of leadership, having courageous conversations, and life. Listen to Patrick Lencioni on ep. 214.


About our sponsor: Keeley Companies wholeheartedly believes that if you get the people right -the results will follow. They set themselves apart with a forward-thinking culture that empowers their people and fosters loyal partnerships. Keeley Companies are a proud sponsor, partner, and super fan of the Live Inspired Podcast. Learn more about Keeley Companies.



  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. I Don’t Want to Talk About It by Terrence Real.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. I was so carefree.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. The longer I’ve sat with people who have lost everything, the less hold possessions have on me. I have one guitar that I’ve had autographed by a lot of people.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. Robin Williams.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. My high school track coach said, “You can do anything,” and then put me in a position to believe that to be true.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Chill out. Stop worrying about everything.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. There’s never a time to not be kind. There’s never a situation where you can’t find humor. Often, most of the time, almost always say less than you think you should.