Facing Life’s Biggest Challenges Head On: 5 things I Learned from Allison Toepperwein


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What do you do when you’re faced with overwhelming obstacles? Allison Toepperwein chose to face her challenges head-on. Now a fearless American Ninja Warrior, Allison is truly an inspiration. Learn how she encounters incredibly hard challenges daily and continues to defy the odds in this post. #livingwellspendingless #doitscaredpodcast #americanninjawarrior #allisontoepperwein #ruthsoukup #inspiration #motivation

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What do you do when you’re faced with overwhelming obstacles?

Allison Toepperwein chose to face her challenges head-on.

Allison Toepperwein chose to face her challenges head-on as a real life American Ninja Warrior.

Now a fearless American Ninja Warrior, Allison, is truly an inspiration. She is also my guest for Episode 18 of the Do It Scared™ Podcast.

Allison is one of the bravest people I know. She encounters incredibly hard challenges daily and continues to defy the odds. On December 31st, 2014, just a few months after escaping a toxic marriage, Allison was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s, a currently incurable disease. Understandably, she was devastated. But on New Year’s Day, she woke with the determination to directly face her diagnosis.

Allison discovered that exercise is the only known way to slow Parkinson’s progression- she not only started working out, she became an American Ninja Warrior!

In Episode 18 of the Do It Scared™ podcast, Allison talks about how she finds the courage to face her biggest challenges! Her story is incredibly inspiring, and her attitude will blow you away.

Get the synopsis below or listen to the whole podcast on iTunes or on Google Play. (Or just search for “Do It Scared” on your favorite iPod app!)  Never miss a new episode by subscribing on iTunes. You can also find the full show notes at

Here are my 5 favorite takeaways from her interview:


For Allison, her challenges are a new beginning. Getting diagnosed with Parkinson’s was the start of a new and entirely different life for her. She learned that exercise is the only way to slow the progression of the disease, so she decided to give it a try. She began working out slowly. From walking to jogging to running. Then she found herself in an American Ninja Warrior gym. She told the owner that she couldn’t do many of the exercises because of her disease. His response, “Just let go.” So, Allison let go of her excuses and started crushing it at the gym! She gained control of the side-effects of Parkinson’s and is now defying the odds.

In so many aspects of our life, we try and hold on and control the situation. We think we know best. But, what we really need is to let go and realize that “we can fly.” It is only when we let go of our excuses that we can start achieving our goals.

Learning to tell your store is key to a happy life.


Training for the American Ninja Warrior became Allison’s medicine. It was not just slowing the progression of her disease, it was also replenishing the dopamine that she was missing. Allison started writing about her experience with Ninja on her website, Lit Within. She states that “It was amazing the amount of power that I was able to give just by telling my story. “ And, we all have incredible stories to share. Don’t be afraid to go out and tell the world! You never know who you’ll inspire.


You can’t choose what happens to you-you can only choose your response. Allison is the perfect example of somebody, who despite difficult challenges, chooses to react in a way that positively defines her character, her health, and her ability. Many people would take her diagnosis, especially on top of a divorce, and being a single mom, and say, “That’s it. I’m giving up. There’s nothing left for me.” Allison let herself feel that pain but then she turned it around. She refused to give up because she wanted to stay healthy as long as possible for her young daughter. Life is always going to throw hard things your way, but if you choose to turn those obstacles into opportunities, those challenges will be easier to tackle.

Be grateful for your blessings every single day.


After her diagnosis on the tail-end of her divorce, Allison remembers telling her stepmom and brother that life couldn’t get any worse. They both looked at her and said that yes, life could actually be much worse. That really stuck. Counting her blessings each day helps her feel like she can overcome anything. She says that despite everything, she really appreciates all she has. Tomorrow is not promised for any of us, be grateful for what you do have today.


Allison lives each day to the fullest. She doesn’t have room for regrets and excuses anymore. “ I’m doing things that no one with Parkinson’s ever did before.” She remains hopeful that she’s going to be cured one day. And, she believes that “if you put it out there if that’s how you live your life, you’re going to be much better off, both mentally and then also physically through that kind of thinking.” So she chooses to live each day with positivity and hopefulness, even when the weight of her diagnosis is overwhelming. So make each day purposeful and live it with your goals and dreams in mind. Even when challenges sneak up on you, realize that they are only serving to push you closer to living a life you love.

Facing life's biggest challenges head on.


  1. August 13 at 08:45PM

    Wow! That is so inspiring! It really makes you wonder ‘what can I achieve if I don’t hold back?’ I think it is often the people we surround ourselves with that can give us the motivation or the really impactful nuggets of wisdom to dig deep and become better. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Shirly Klasen
    August 15 at 07:28AM

    The love of my life for the last 17 years was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease nearly 4 years ago, at age 52. He had a stooped posture, tremors, muscle stiffness, horrible driving skills, and slow movement. He was placed on Sinemet 50/200 at night for 7 months and then Sifrol and rotigotine were introduced which replaced the Sinemet but he had to stop due to side effects. He started having hallucinations, lost touch with reality. Suspecting it was the medications I took him off the Siferol (with the doctor’s knowledge) In March this year his primary physician suggested we started him on Natural Herbal Gardens Parkinson’s Herbal formula which eased his anxiety a bit, i’m happy to report this PD herbal treatment worked very effectively. His Parkinson’s is totally under control, he had a total decline in symptoms, the tremors, shaking, stiffness, slow movement and speech problems stopped. Visit Natural Herbal Gardens official web page ww w. naturalherbalgardens. c om. My family are amazed at the change and rapid improvement. PD is not a death Sentence, DON’T GIVE UP HOPE!!!

  3. Mary
    August 15 at 09:56AM

    Strong words of a strong woman. I always lacked courage for my actions. I always regretted about the opportunities I missed. And only thanks to the words that gave me confidence I was able to start my small business which I wanted for a very long time! I ordered an app, rented the apartment and slowly calculated the income. I am very happy!

  4. August 15 at 01:24PM

    What an inspiring story. Anytime I feel down and out, I remind myself that it could be worse and to be thankful for what I do have. Your mindset is beyond powerful.
    Here’s a great example. My mother-in-law got ran over by a snowmobile as she was doing ski patrol. She was in her late 50’s. One of her legs got completely shattered and the other severely broken. The doctors told her she would never walk again. She didn’t believe that for one second and didn’t want to hear it from the doctors or anyone. She’ll be turning 75 next month and just got back from a grueling 5 day hike that would run most people in their 20’s into the dirt.
    A positive mindset is the best medicine.

  5. August 15 at 05:52PM

    Wow, what an amazing story! Yes, we may not be able to control what happens in this world, but we sure can control how we react to it! Life is short. You can do some great things if you just want them bad enough and really go for it!

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