The Hard Life: How Hardships Can Shape Your Success with Johnny Sirpilla

It’s a hard life. You've had your share of struggles that you thought were there to stop you from reaching success. Whether it's financial struggles, loss, or relationship problems, you've gone through your hard times. Unfortunately, life will always continue to be complicated. Fortunately, you can move forward and grow from these difficult experiences. They may be essential in helping you redefine what life is and what success entails. 

In this episode of Seek Go Create, Johnny Sirpilla joins us to share how hard life can be and how this has shaped him to be the person he is today. Johnny is an author, speaker, and leadership coach who has experienced significant loss and grief. From his experience, he learned to celebrate the good things in life and redefine what success looks like for him. Learn from his story and how he and his family overcame their hardships.

We all know it: it’s a hard life. Tune in to this episode of Seek Go Create, and you'll find out how everything will be okay.

3 Reasons to listen:

  1. Learn from Johnny and his family's stories of loss and hardship.
  2. Find out how dark times can give you a clearer, newer perspective on life and leadership.
  3. You don't have to wait for your great catalytic event to redefine your life. Discover the two kinds of catalysts for change.


About Johnny

Johnny Sirpilla is the Founder and CEO of Encourage LLC. He has ventured into various industries with his company, including leadership development, population health management, fashion and interior design, and many more. Johnny specializes in leadership development and shares his message through his work as a speaker and author. He wrote his first book titled Life is Hard, but I'll Be OK, which teaches life's crucial lessons.

Johnny has experience in the RV industry and was named National RV Dealer of the Year. He sold his family business and joined Camping World. In time, Johnny became the company president and dealt with multiple responsibilities. Now, he enjoys board leadership in public, private, and volunteer capacities.

Connect with Johnny and learn more about his work through his Instagram, website, or the Encourage LCC website.

Episode Highlights

[02:18] Johnny Today

  • Johnny is now in his 50s. He's repurposed and chosen to focus on his various passion projects and businesses.
  • He can do this with the help of his past experiences in leadership within small and large companies.
  • Offering leadership guidance through board work is one of the things he enjoys in his life.

[04:18] What It Means to Have a Hard Life

  • Life is hard. No matter your material or personal success, life can be challenging.
  • Johnny wished he knew that life would be hard and that he would be okay when he was younger.
  • Despite the seemingly charming life he led in his younger years; there were hard times. Johnny and his wife struggled to have children.
  • When they finally got pregnant with triplets, he was incredibly excited to be the father of their family. Unfortunately, they were born prematurely and passed away.
  • This experience helped him to understand and redefine how hard life can be. It also allowed them to redefine what was going to make them happy.
[04:37] “If you have material success, that doesn’t means that life can't be hard. It doesn't mean that if you have personal success, that life cannot be hard.” - Click Here to Tweet This

[08:54] Defining Their Successful Dream 

  • Despite taking steps to achieve their dream life, they faced failure. For them, success revolved around their family unit before building more layers of success around them.
  • They felt successful in their marriage and relationship. Johnny and his wife grew closer despite the struggles and losses of a hard life.
  • On the outside, they lived a seemingly successful life. However, they kept their experience of losing their children to themselves.
  • For Johnny and his wife, it was lonely only to be able to talk to each other about their struggles with infertility.
  • Losing their children led them to reassess and redefine their lives. They had reached the worst it could get, even while life was hard.
[15:07] “We can stay here and this is as bad as it could ever get, even as life continued to be hard.” - Click Here to Tweet This

[16:35] A Clearer Perspective on Life

  • After their experience, Johnny and his wife gained clarity and a new perspective on the issues of a hard life.
  • Having gratitude was a necessity for them to survive. Without it, they would continue to rest in dark thoughts and struggle to function.
  • They were grateful for the blessing of being the triplet's parents. 
  • Johnny and his wife stopped looking at their lives as a tragedy. Instead remembered how the triplets had positively impacted their energy.
  • The more they looked for it, the more they saw the beauty in the world. They acknowledged and celebrated these good things to get them to the next day.
[20:07] “There were so many good things that came out of it that we needed to start celebrating. […] And we need to embrace it and hold on to them because those are the thoughts that got us to the next day.” - Click Here to Tweet This

[21:16] How Johnny’s Journey and Hard Life Impacted His Faith

  • Johnny and his wife were both raised in homes of faith. It was critical in their lives and part of their marriage,
  • They were able to experience genuine sorrow and despair from their loss. That allowed their faith to grow stronger.
  • Both of them grew up blessed and unconditionally loved and supported. What they went through helped them empathize and understand others better.
  • It shaped Johnny as a leader. He loves to influence people and lead them in a mindful way of their lives outside of work.

[25:05] How the Journey Shaped Johnny

  • What he went through helped him realize his impact and influence on others. He realized he was responsible for his employees and their households.
  • This realization upped his sense of responsibility. It wasn't about just him anymore but all these people who relied on him.
  • It affected him negatively. There was pressure, anxiety, and the heavy weight of responsibility as a leader and business owner.
  • Looking back, Johnny wished he had been more of a whole person when he was younger and developed himself rather than focusing intensely on his career.
  • With that journey, Johnny retired and continued being financially focused. He wouldn't have been able to realize that, at 50, it was time to go.

[31:32] When Enough is Enough

  • Tim recognized that the moments of the journey were much more important than the place you were going.
  • Sometimes, when you set a goal and quickly get there, you think more is needed and continue to reach higher.
  • Johnny is working to become comfortable in the uncomfortable. There is a challenge in it. 
  • He realized that he needed to manage his thoughts and realize that it was enough. Rather than wishing for more, he takes what he can have and sees its beauty.
  • Ask for more — but only sometimes.
[34:40] “Why can't that be enough, right? […] And there was beauty in it, there was grace in it and there was wonder and amazement, what God created through us.” - Click Here to Tweet This

[37:39] The Catalyst That Changes Your Life

  • Johnny wouldn't be the man he is today without his many experiences. Everyone, like him, is shaped by their journeys.
  • He doesn't even know who his authentic self is and continues to evolve. His actions and words are from the seeds of the people who had influenced him throughout his life.
  • Catalysts can be an adverse event where you have to look in the mirror and redefine what makes you, you.
  • You can also be your catalyst. Don't wait for it to happen. Look in the mirror now to examine what's in front of you.
  • As a leadership coach, Johnny holds that mirror up for someone else. He brings out the best in them to become an authority figure rather than a person with just a title.
[40:17] “You can have that hard look in the mirror, and be your own catalyst to say, ‘let's really examine what I see in front of me.’ ” - Click Here to Tweet This

[42:54] Johnny’s Journey in the RV Industry

  • His dad was one of the pioneer dealers. Johnny grew up in the industry and ended up working there as well. 
  • Johnny might find that the RV lifestyle isn't for him. However, he loves how it impacts other families and the beautiful experience of living and traveling in the comfort of home.
  • Johnny was one of the first dealers contacted about the expansion of Camping World's dealerships. Over time, he rose to the position of president. 
  • Industries experience ups and downs. Right now, the RV industry might be going down. However, it will always bounce back.
  • Johnny was able to meet great people in the industry. Americans love the RV lifestyle, so it continues to stay and grow.

[50:34] Johnny’s Passion Projects

  • Johnny's passion projects include the spirit industry, a medical trial, online businesses, clothing, and interior design.
  • Every day is diverse and different. He goes to work and focuses on other things that he can do.
  • Johnny feels indeed repurposed. He felt called to venture out and do different things in the given time God had left him.
  • There are days when he misses what he used to do. However, there are seasons of life. You can step back into the past, but it's important not to dwell and focus on it.

[55:11] The Successful Family Life

  • Johnny and his wife now consider themselves to have had a successful life. They had a complete family with a solid marriage and three children who had all grown up.
  • Their kids struggle with medical issues that impact how they live every day. 
  • However, he remembers that life is hard, but they'll also be okay. That was a lesson he wanted his kids to learn.

[58:33] Excited to Create

  • At 56, Johnny is at the creating stage of his life.
  • It's a time when he wants to create new relationships. Johnny strives to make a meaningful impact and create change.
  • There was a time when he was seeking and going. Now, he is all about creating.

Enjoy the Podcast?

Seek Go Create is for anyone seeking excellence, moving towards success, or creating something new. We share topics, stories, and conversations that allow us to rethink how we live, work, and lead. It’s a hard life, but you can overcome it. No hardship is insurmountable.

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To growing and becoming all we are created to be,


About the Podcast

Show artwork for Seek Go Create - Christian Entrepreneurship, Faith-Based Leadership, Spiritual Growth, Purpose-Driven Success, Innovative Leadership, Kingdom Business, Entrepreneurial Mindset, Christian Business Practices, Leadership Development, Impactful Living
Seek Go Create - Christian Entrepreneurship, Faith-Based Leadership, Spiritual Growth, Purpose-Driven Success, Innovative Leadership, Kingdom Business, Entrepreneurial Mindset, Christian Business Practices, Leadership Development, Impactful Living
The Leadership Journey

About your host

Profile picture for Tim Winders

Tim Winders

Tim Winders is a faith driven executive coach and author with over 40 years of experience in leadership, business, and ministry. Through his personal journey of redefining success, he has gained valuable insights on how to align beliefs with work and lead with purpose. He is committed to helping others do the same, running a coaching business that helps leaders, leadership teams, business owners, and entrepreneurs to align their beliefs with their work and redefine success.

In addition to his coaching business, Tim is also the host of the SeekGoCreate podcast and author of the book Coach: A Story of Success Redefined, which provides guidance for those looking to redefine success and align their beliefs with their work. With his extensive background, unique perspective and strengths in strategic thinking, relationship building, and problem-solving, Tim is well-suited to help clients navigate through difficult times and achieve their goals.