Every now and then I uncork a story that simply inspires the hell out of me—and this is one of those stories.
Meet Johnny Spirilla
As Founder and CEO of Encourage LLC, Johnny Sirpilla specializes in leadership development. Every year he addresses organizations with his message of the importance of managing and reframing thoughts, modeling healthy thinking, and searching for positive meaning. Developing meaningful professional and personal relationships that genuinely reflect the personal brand of the individual and organization create synergies that drive growth for all stakeholders.
I didn’t know it going into my interview with Johnny, but he and I have a lot in common. We are both Italian (well, I’m only half, but that’s the half I identify with), we both have written books, and we both have fathered triplets. He and his wife, however, lost Nicholas, Mary, and Peter not long after they were born. More tragedies would follow Johnny and his wife as they attempted to start their family and you might assume that so much loss would lead to a dark place and maybe even the dissolution of their marriage, but the opposite was true.
Yes, Johnny and his wife grieved hard together, but they were also able to reframe their experiences into something positive. The loss of their babies led to a ripple effect of positivity in the lives they have touched. Johnny decided to document his experiences and beliefs in a memoir entitled, Life is Hard but I’ll Be OK: The Power of Hope Emerging through Pain and Learning to Live with Gratitude and joined me on Uncorking a Story to talk about it. During our conversation we touch on:
- How he and his wife dealt with so much loss and the importance of grieving together.
- How he was able to hang onto his faith and not hate God in the face of so much tragedy.
- How he and his family celebrate and honor Nicholas, Mary, and Peter every year.
- How an empty nest can lead to a rediscovery of one’s relationship with their partner.
Quote from Johnny:
A young man asked me, what do you wish you knew when you were sitting in our seats that would prepare you for the life you’re going to live? The answer came to me quickly. I said, I wish I knew that life will be hard, but I’ll be okay. And that’s where the title of my book came from. As a young guy I think you set goals, you reach them, you set the next goal, and life just keeps going in that great trajectory. And you almost don’t prepare yourself for those unexplained situations that happen. A child passing, an illness, adoption nightmares. So you know, I wish I knew that life will be hard, but I’ll be okay.
Buy Life is Hard but I’ll Be Ok.
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