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Expected to die, today he’s inspiring others to truly live.

World-renowned inspirational speaker + national bestselling author John O’Leary wants to help you wake up from accidental living so you can do, be, achieve and impact more through your life.

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  • Every Monday, John shares a quick burst of inspiration to help start your week on fire.
  • Every Thursday, John interviews an amazing guest on their story, successes, failures, lessons, and life to help you uncover tips to apply in yours.

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Feb 2, 2017

Discipline, toughness, enthusiasm and selflessness. If you combine these things, you have maximized what you can control in becoming a pro baseball player.

Mike Matheny, manager and head coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, husband and father, observed this truth after playing for 17 years and coaching for five.

On today's show, he shares what it's like to win a World Series, fall in love and how having a "consistent and God-honoring" father shaped him into the man he is today. 

The highlight of his career? "Making it there. That first day...and just thinking about the millions of kids playing youth sports and hoping to one day defy the odds. I was told as a teen to change my dream because making the big leagues was less likely than winning the lottery. But that encouraged me. I figured, somebody had to make it, why not me?"

Injuries resulting from concussions throughout his career as a catcher abruptly ended his career, but Mike saw it as an opportunity to spend more time with his kids and make real estate investments. When the market crashed, he nearly lost everything. His family moved in with his in laws and at that time, he observed his kids enjoying the time there as much as they had when they lived in their "palace of a place." He realized: There is more to life than stuff. 

Mike shares what it takes to make it into "the bigs" and make it as a leader, father, dad, son and husband. The takeaways from this episode are epic; don't miss them!  


  • God continues to work on the hearts of people.
  • Leadership is caught better than it's taught. If people see selflessness, they will be selfless.
  • If you want a winning culture at home or on the field, try to make people around you better.
  • Mike wasted part of his time in the big leagues fearing it would end. Now, he tells players "be grateful for those who got you here, but don't deny yourself the pleasure of enjoying being here because it is special."
  • You don't know how you will handle losing everything until you do. To have peace with that is one of the greatest gifts you can have.
  • As a new coach, he realized he was in a more volatile position then ever, but he had peace. "I was able to hold the position with a loose hand, if I'm meant to be here I'm not going to waste my time with the worry."
  • How much does the negativity people throw at you bother you? It stings but I get back to these questions: What's my job? Am I doing it the right way? Doing what I said I'd do? Treating people right?
  • What advice would you offer to better manage business / life? Faith is the foundation for everything I do. It comes down to leaving a legacy. You want to be able to look back and see you made an impact on peoples' lives and took advantage of opportunities you were given.



1. What is the best book you’ve ever read?

Good to Great by Jim collins. Main takeaway: Anytime you settle for good you cut your potential short.

2. Tomorrow you discover your wealthy uncle shockingly dies at the age of 103; leaving you millions. What would you do?

Take care of some family and I'd love to think I could give almost all of it away.

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?

A stack of 5 bibles for my kids. Over the course of 18 months, I'd read the Bible and journal -- to share what I was going through at that point in my life. When I finished one bible, I'd start the next for my next kid.

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?

Coach John Wooden; he has served as a mentor to me and we never had the pleasure of meeting.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

I'm stealing it from Wooden: How you define success, take a good honest look at yourself, the talent that you have, effort the you put in and the pursuit of perfection while realizing perfection is not attainable. 

6. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at age 20?

Stay away from real estate! To thine own self be true. Find out who you are and what you believe and don't let anybody talk you out of it.

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?

Ferocious gentleman.


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I can’t wait to see you here next Thursday! Today is your day. Live Inspired.

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