fbpx Skip to content

John O’Leary welcomes John Foppe on the Live Inspired Podcast to remind us that a full and vibrant life is achievable, once we overcome the barriers within ourselves..

John Foppe embodies the profound truth that our limitations are often self-imposed. Born without arms, John has learned to adapt every aspect of daily life and transform every challenge into an opportunity for growth.

Today, John shares his intimate experience of overcoming physical and internal obstacles that once seemed insurmountable and how he began to take responsibility of his disability and his identity. Plus, in recognizing the importance of lifting up others, John shares how his work as Executive Director of St. Vincent de Paul in St. Louis is providing person-to-person service to those most vulnerable.

My friends, this conversation is a reminder that a full and vibrant life is achievable, once we overcome the barriers within ourselves.

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


  • We are all co-creators of our own reality and it begins with our perception of life. In the first part of his life, John descended into having a perception of being different which led to depression, despondency and eventually dependency.
  • “I was born without arms, but I created a disability.” At age 10, John’s family began practicing tough love and gave him an opportunity to be responsible for who he was going to be.
  • Thinking about life to the smallest detail, John uses traditional Japanese tobi socks to have his feet covered but still have the ability to use his toes, wears a watch on his ankle and carries his wallet in his shoe.
  • When parents ask his advice on practicing tough love, John reminds us that if you, as a parent are working harder than the kids, something’s not right.
  • “You may be a victim. You may have been victimized, but only you can choose to remain the victim.”
  • “Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s the ability to act in the midst of it.”
  • In lifting up other people, we ultimately lift up ourselves. Believing he’s the product of the support his had around him, John returned to St. Louis University to earn a degree in social work and beginning to work at one of St. Louis’ oldest charities, Society of St. Vincent Paul.
  • We often think we have to do things for others yet John reminds us showing up, listening and empathizing can move mountains.
  • “Our only real handicaps are the thoughts that blind us, the feelings that deafen us, and the excuses that paralyze us. If you can change those things, you can change your life.”
  • “The human body and the human mind have an incredible ability to adapt.”
  • Get a copy of John Foppe’s book What’s Your Excuse? here.

John Foppe

Did you enjoy today’s episode?

Don’t miss my conversation with Lizzie Velasquez. Born with an extremely rare medical condition, Lizzie was ridiculed by her outward appearance. Today, Lizzie has learned to embrace her differences and inspires kindness around the world. Hear Lizzie Velasquez on Live Inspired Podcast ep. 71.


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?

    See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar, Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, The Impact of God by Iain Matthews, and Intimacy with God by Thomas Keating.

  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Boldness and decisiveness.
  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. My Llardó statue of Mother Teresa.
  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. Outside of Jesus Christ, mother and Elvis.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. Get out of your own way.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Chill out. Don't worry so much. Things will work out.
  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. Father, I love you to the last.