Are you ready to meet three of the most inspiring people you will encounter all week? No matter what kind of adversity you are facing, these three stories will build you up and give you ideas to power through your own moments of doubt. We’ve outlined their stories below, but do yourself a favor and click on over to watch the video as well. We have a strict #NoSpoilers policy around here, and anyway, our words could never do these super-heroes justice.
You may know Allison Warrell as an actress from TLC’s Big & Little. What you may not know is the Los Angeles Native is currently an award-winning body-builder and trainer who stepped into a gym for the first time at age 35. Fed up with being overweight, she found a couple of trainers willing to work with her body type, and with their guidance, she went from fluff to buff. As part of our panel “Overcoming Adversity” at our Cincinnati event in 2019, Allison took us on her journey from avid gym-goer who wasn’t seeing the results she wanted, to competitive athlete who now inspires and works with other women with dwarfism. When asked who inspires her, Allison says it’s her mom.
Derek Mortland is an advocate for disabled Americans, and formerly incarcerated individuals re-entering society. Injured in a motorcycle racing accident over 20 years ago, Derek overcame a traumatic brain injury, and is now in a wheelchair. He works tirelessly to make life better for marginalized members of society, and finds his way through adversity in music. Like Allison, he also lists his mom as his main inspiration.
Bobby Sommers is a disabled Veteran, and head chef for Fit Ops, a nonprofit that “helps Veterans achieve greatness in fitness and in life”. To look at Bobby is to see a fit, strong body builder, but what you don’t see are the wounds he carries from his time in Iraq in 2002-2003. His injuries are severe enough to have earned him a disabled parking tag – one that he feels guilty using, even on days that his time at work and in the gym leaves him in excruciating pain. When asked who his inspiration is, he lists his wife, who is also a combat veteran.
While each of these stories are remarkable, it’s Bobby’s message that it’s OK to cry, that really stuck with us. (Watch the video to see how he likens a good cry to a vehicle’s exhaust system. It’s genius.)
Perhaps most importantly, Bobby prescribes this for everyone, not just someone facing adversity:
“We just need a lot more love.”
We encourage you to watch the video in its entirety for the whole story on these remarkable individuals. Most of us will never face the kind of adversity they do, but each of them has something unique to contribute to the greater conversation around obstacles and speed bumps in life. Share your thoughts in the comments, or on Social, using the hashtag #ShineOn