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John O’Leary welcomes Brian Walsh to the Live Inspired Podcast to share about his trauma gave him resilience + how it will give you the perspective to overcome challenges during uncertain seasons.

“We have tremendous opportunity ahead to heal.”

At seventeen years old, Brian Walsh found himself clinging to life after being caught in a burning building as a volunteer firefighter.

Managing excruciating physical and mental pain for decades, today Brian is leading an inspired life as a financial planner, philanthropist, father and friend.

In our conversation, Brian shares the quote above + what it means for all of us in this season of unyielding unrest. His hard-won resilience + tenacity will shift your perspective and help you see how you, too, can overcome the obstacles in your life today.

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  • Growing in, Brian’s middle-class blue-collar town expected young people to serve the community while his parents instilled the importance of hard work. At 17 years old, Brian started as a volunteer firefighter.
  • October 24, 1981: After a freak flashover, Brian suffered such profound third-degree burns to his face that he was unidentifiable to his fellow firefighters.
  • “I was so consumed with healing, I didn’t want to look back, relive it and have it as an excuse or crutch.”
  • Three weeks after the accident, 
  • Brian credits his inner strength from fighting not to live but fighting not to die, giving him the perseverance to thrive.
  • During recovery, Brian wore a compression face mask to reduce scarring which brought unwelcomed attention yet it’s during that time he met his wife of 35 years.
  • Foxhole friends: Brian encourages his three children to have spirited generosity, loyalty + compassion for others. 
  • “What mental torture is the person next to me going through that is invisible? What scar isn’t physical?
  • “We have tremendous opportunity ahead to heal with each other.”
  • Get of a copy of Brian Walsh’s Beyond the Mask



1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? The Bible, The E-Myth by Michael Gerber and The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor.

2. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today? Exuberance.

3. 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? An ashtray from my grandfather.

4. 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? Abraham Lincoln and ask where he got the strength in so many different situations.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? My dad: Never lose your sense of humor.

6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? Be a foxhole friend.

7. 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 man who loved, generous in spirit, generous indeed and love his family very much.


My new book IN AWE is now available… and became an instant bestseller! Learn how to rediscover your childlike sense of wonder to unleash inspiration, meaning and joy. Visit ReadInAwe.com today! 


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1 reply on “Lessons in Tragedy (Brian Walsh ep. 272)”

Hi John,

I am an avid podcast listener (it is my University) and just wanted to tell you that this is the best episode I have ever listened to. The way you conducted the interview was masterful.

Thank you

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