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Denis Leary Of "Rescue Me" Turns Pain Into Action

Wednesday, 20 Jun 2007 | 4:23 PM ET
Denis Leary
Denis Leary

What’s driving you in your life, in your career, or towards your passions today? Do you have a reason to change the world? For Denis Leary, what drives him is obvious. From his philanthropic “Leary Firefighters Foundation” to his lead role on the hit show “Rescue Me” he’s been obsessed with firefighting. For him, it’s easy to identify his life-changing moment.

After losing his cousin in an extraordinary, yet tragic act of heroism, his life and career have been focused on telling the story of firefighters, as well as fundraising in order to avoid future tragedy since 1999. His cousin, whom he considered a brother, entered a burning building along with another heroic firefighter to save two trapped inhabitants. When they did not emerge from the structure, four more firefighters, including one of Denis’ close childhood friends, defied orders to stay out of the building and attempted to save the first two men. All six firefighters perished that evening.

Just hearing him recount the story made me realize how passionate and deeply dedicated he is to reminding the world about the bravery of firefighters like Jerry Lucey and Tommy Spencer. Everything he does seems to resonate from the loss of his loved ones.

What can you learn from Dennis Leary? Although his story is extraordinary, you must remember that you don’t have to experience tragedy to be this driven. Denis is doing what he’s doing because he’s passionate about it. He turned his personal pain into public action, and it may have been a greater tragedy if he had done nothing. You must ask yourself, “What drives me”… “What could I be doing right now?” And once you can dig down deep and figure out what truly drives you, success will be right around the corner.

Questions? Comments? donny@cnbc.com