Business Coach and Motivational Speaker's Charge Podcast with Gary Wilbers and John O'Leary on Live in Awe, rediscover your childlike wonder to unleash inspiration, meaning and joy

Ep: 120 John O’Leary

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John O'Leary

In 1987, John O’Leary was a curious nine-year-old boy. Playing with fire and gasoline, John created a massive explosion in his home and was burned on 100% of his body. He was given less than a 1% chance to live.
This epic story of survival was first showcased in his parents’ book, Overwhelming Odds, in 2006. Originally printing 200 copies for friends and family, his parents have sold 60,000+ copies. It was this book that first invited John to embrace his miraculous recovery and share it with the world.
John inspires 50,000+ people at 100+ events each year. He speaks to companies and organizations across industries, such as: sales, healthcare, safety, marketing, finance, faith, education and insurance.
His emotional story-telling, unexpected humor and authenticity make each of his presentations truly transformational.
John’s first book ON FIRE: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life was an instant #1 National Bestseller; 200,000+ copies have sold and it has been translated into 12 languages. John’s Live Inspired Podcast is top-rated on Apple Podcast and has more than 2,000,000 downloads.
His second book IN AWE: Rediscover Your Childlike Wonder to Unleash Inspiration, Meaning and Joy will be published by Penguin Random House in May 2020.
John considers his greatest success to be his marriage to his wife Beth, their four children and his relationships with friends and family.
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Show Notes:

  • John shared his story of being badly burned when he was a child.
  • The greatest lessons John learned from his accident are:
    1. We’re smaller than we think we are.
      • We think we’re self-made, but we aren’t.
    2. Always show up with all you have.
      • It doesn’t matter how many talents you have, it matters what you do with them.
    3. He heavily leans into his faith, even during the good times.
  • Who are the ordinary heroes in our lives?
    • There are no little people.
  • John challenges the CHARGERS to thank one person today for their impact on you.
  • John shares some of his new book with us.
    • He identifies five senses that we lose from our childhood, but we can regain them.
    • He wrote it because he was struck “In Awe” by the joy, happiness, and sense of wonder he often saw in children he talked to.
  • It’s a fault that we tell kids to stop asking “why.”
    • We seem to think that it’s unhealthy to be inquisitive.
  • Try to see life through the lens of wonder and awe.
    • It’s foundational.
  • John’s favorite senses are:
    • Freedom – Children aren’t chained to fears of what others might think or believe of them.
    • Belonging – We are not intended to do life by ourselves. We must recognize that we belong.
      • It can be hard for people to feel they really have someone they can talk to.
  • Happiness is fleeting. Joy lasts.

Fun Facts with John O’Leary

  1. What was your favorite activity as a child? He loved to play and watch baseball. Every day after school he’d play baseball outside until he had to come inside for dinner. After dinner, he would go play baseball more if it was still light outside.
  2. What’s a funny story involving your family from your childhood? He and his family were on their way to Florida in their station wagon when smoke started coming out of it in Georgia. He has a picture of his family looking sad in front of their smoking car, but he remembers that right before the picture was taken his dad told the whole family to look sad and bummed. They were actually all having a good time and were filled with joy.
  3. How do you stay so humble? He plays to an audience of one, God. John says he has to stay humble to stay close to God. Also, when he looks in the mirror John sees all of him, including the brokenness and scars, looking back.


Check out John’s new book In Awe!

Check out John’s website at!