Maybe you’ve heard of Amy Purdy. At 19, the once active snowboarder got sick and thought it was the flu. Turns out, she had contracted Meningococcal Meningitis, and had a 2% chance of survival. She beat the odds, and at 21, doctors had to amputate both of her legs below the knee. That’s the short version of her story. I highly recommend you take a moment to read it here.
It was what Purdy did afterwards that truly shaped her life and, ultimately, her legacy. Some of us would crumble, feel sorry for ourselves, and live a shell of the life we once did. Purdy reached higher. She wanted to snowboard again, and when she couldn’t find prosthetic legs she could snowboard with, she made her own. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg with Purdy.
She’s a 2014 Paralympic bronze medalist, a motivational speaker, gave the most popular TEDx Orange Coast talk, inspired millions with her grace and class when she competed on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, and toured the country with Oprah Winfrey’s The Life You Want Tour. Purdy is truly remarkable.
I just watched an episode of Super Soul Sunday on OWN, where Oprah interviews Amy about her life and her life’s message. There are so many inspiring parts of her story, but one resonated with me. Faced with an uphill battle the likes of which most of us have ever seen, Purdy asked herself how she would like the rest of her life to look if it was, say, a book. She knew she didn’t want to be a sad, resigned, disabled person who gave up. She wanted to soar. And soar, she did. She just made the decision. Hearing her ask ‘what do you want your life to be?’ made me take stock of what I’m doing, and make me think about what I want my life to be. You only get in life what you negotiate, not what you deserve. So, it’s critical you make life happen for you, rather than letting life happen to you. If you can be mindful and visualize what you want, as Purdy did, you can achieve it. She’s living proof.
I want to inspire people. I want to dedicate my life to service and inspiration. And right now, I’m shaping how I want that to look. This was definitely an ‘aha’ moment for me. I hope you’ll take a moment to watch this snippet from the show – and maybe it will be for you too. What do you want the rest of your life to be?