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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 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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Aug 17, 2017

"Take a breath and focus on what is important right now. Don't get too far ahead and miss what you need to do now."

This advice comes from Chris Norton. You've likely "met" him through the viral video of him walking across the stage at his graduation.

Why was this so meaningful?

Chris was paralyzed while playing NCAA football. Accomplishing this walk became his biggest goal. His walk, story and determination will give you amazing insight to live more inspired today.


  • "I didn't think anything could ever happen to me. I thought: 'That's for stories in the paper.'"
  • Stop take a breath and focus on what is important right now. Don't get too far ahead and miss what you need to do now.
  • I was given 3% chance to ever regain feeling or movement below my neck. I let the odds go in one ear and out the other.
  • There were 2 ways to react: Accept it + feel sorry for myself. -OR- Decide to overcome it. I chose the latter.
    • "What can I do today to get better." The first day I nodded my head all day; it was all I could do. One day at a time. Inches of recovery add up over time.
  • Having a positive environment was so important. My Jack Buck was Georgia. When she said, "You are going to beat this." I cried. I just needed to hear that
  • My first day back at Luther College Was very intimidating because I wasn't the same person anymore. I was no longer independent or an athlete.
  • As life changes you change. Sometimes its best to just accept something different. Just because you accept something different doesn't make it worse.
  • People can see my challenges and they are willing to help, but I encourage people to approach everyone that way. Mine are physical and you so you can see them, but everyone has struggles. Meet them where they are too.
  • I set a goal to walk at my graduation. I didn't know how I'd get there, but sharing the goal with people made me accountable. Then I figured out my daily goals to get there.
  • Our outcome is a sum of our choices and responses.
  • Decide to take control of simple things that can be easier to overlook, attitude, effort, purpose.
  • Still trains 3 hours a day. His new goal is to walk Emily down the aisle on their wedding day spring 2018.
  • Watch Chris walk across the stage at graduation on his video that went viral here.
  • Get Chris's book The Power of Faith when Tragedy Strikes.


1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? The Four Hour Work Week, by Timothy Ferriss has really helped me with time management.

2. Tomorrow you discover your wealthy uncle shockingly dies at the age of 103; leaving you millions. What would you do with it? Invest it to grow it and give back and also grow his foundation and support the foster care system, Emily's passion.

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? My laptop, our photos and documents are on it.  

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? Lebron James, I am a huge fan. I'd love to know his why, his determination, and passion. I want to know what drives him. I admire his success and what he's accomplished.  

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? My dad taught me at a young age if you don't like where you are at, than do something about it. If you want the result, put in the work.

6. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at age 20? Be hopeful. be patient. I'm a better person because of this injury, when I was 20 I was restless and I wasn't sure that would happen.

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? He made a difference. I want to leave the world a better place than it was when I entered it.


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

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