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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. 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 https://doitscared.com/episode18/.
Here are my 5 favorite takeaways from her interview:
JUST LET GO
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.
TELL YOUR STORY
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.
IT’S ALL ABOUT HOW YOU CHOOSE TO REACT
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.
LOOK TO YOUR BLESSINGS
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.
LIVE EACH DAY WELL
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.