There are people that are placed into your life at just the right moment, creating an instant shift. This has been my experience with Amberly.
I briefly met Amberly at an event for my daughters. school. She was the featured motivational speaker. I was so moved and touched by her story, that I immediately introduced myself. I couldn’t get over how positive and uplifting she was despite everything she had gone through and continues to endure. Amberly puts on a bright smile and she wants everyone to know that every day is a gift, and no matter how hard life is for you, someone has it harder. Her energy, her humility, and her sincerity spoke to me deeply. I felt instant gratitude and inspiration on a multitude of levels after hearing her speak.
Amberly is a professional dancer, athlete, and fitness trainer, turned author and motivational speaker. Her life was deeply altered after a horrific motorcycle accident that shattered her right leg. Despite the initial recommendation to amputate, Amberly has endured thirty four surgeries to save it. However, as a sexual abuse survivor, she was determined to save not only her leg, but her career, her dreams, and her dignity. Making a commitment to regain her active lifestyle transformed this tragedy into victory. Amberly’s passion is to inspire others and help them find their resilience in their own difficult situations. She is also a fierce advocate for others who, like her, suffer from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
Amberly grew up in a small town in Texas, in a big family with lots of tough love. If she wanted something she had to work for it, whether they were good grades, or to be the fastest runner on the track team, or the best dancer to earn a place in a company, she had to work for it. She shared that they have a sayings in Texas like “suck it up”, “get ‘er done” and “hide your crazy and be a lady.” When Amberly’s toes were bleeding from dancing on pointe or she was sick from running so hard on the track, those were her mottos.”
Her outlet for any kind of pain growing up, whether it was the divorce of her parents or the sexual abuse from her step father, was to do something productive. So dancing and running track were her remedies. The mental and physical toughness if required built the foundation for all of her challenges later in life. She learned from a young age to “cowgirl up” because at the time, there was no alternative. Dwelling on why reality wasn’t prettier wouldn’t have done a thing for her. It would have crippled her then, preventing her from achieving everything she wanted to and crippled her years later when she was actually crippled, preventing her from choosing nothing less than recovery.
Amberly has gone on to be a motivational speaker as well, and has written a booked called “True Grit and Grace, Turning Tragedy Into Triumph.” Her goal was to share the hope that was given to her with anyone who is going through any kind of adversity. Whether you live with chronic pain, or are in a dark place, it fills her heart with joy to know that her story could impact someone’s life and inspire them to reclaim their courage and resilience.
Even with all her positivity and encouragement of others, she too has to overcome daily challenges, which she does it with a whole lot of grit as well as God’s grace. That is why she decided to name her book “True Grit and Grace, Turning Tragedy Into Triumph.” As Amberly shares, “You’ve got a shovel in your hand. You can either lean on it and pray for a hole, or you can start digging.” She does a lot of both. She connects with God everyday, she writes a gratitude list to set the tone for her day, and she reads from her spiritual books. She always tries to focus on what “I CAN do and I do my best with that”. With a supportive network of amazing friends and family whom she calls “my tribe”, she will continue to make a difference in so many lives.
Pain has proven to be her biggest teacher. She listened to her doctor, but also thought outside the box and is a firm believer that you have to be your own advocate. Part of that is everything she can to be of service to others. She share that when you focus on the well-being of others, your self-pity disappears as you improve the quality of someone else’s life.
Amberly shares that instead of allowing her pain to make her bitter, she does her best to appreciate everything I have, no matter how big or small. She focuses on the good in her life and that is her medicine.
She focuses on what she can do and doesn’t get caught up in past accomplishments. She celebrate small victories. She only looks back to see how far she has come. She connects to her higher power every day and she prays. Instead of letting her chronic pain detour her from her endeavors, she uses it as a tool to connect with others going through challenges, and is reminded that she is not alone on her journey.
Amberly’s perspective began to shift when she took ownership of her story. She then viewed her scars as battles she had won. Instead of looking down at her leg in anguish, she looked at it as a blessing. She still had her leg. Once she embraced her imperfections and learned self-acceptance, she truly began to heal and be comfortable in her own skin. She shares that without the traumas and heartbreaks of life, she wouldn’t be able to serve in the way she does now. It’s not about circumstances, but about what you decide to do with them. Amberly makes her purpose bigger than my problems.”
She has learned that is life is a series of choices that we make regardless of our circumstances. We could either make the choice to give up and let our lives be determined by circumstances, or fight to create something positive out of the given situation. Her choice is to notice the gifts life offers, which are particularly plentiful when you look for them. Amberly believes in seeing the good in every situation and learning from it. “I believe we can have the life we always imagined, even if our circumstances have narrowed our possibilities.”
Her sincere wish is that her book will help each reader claim their own power and belief in themselves and their dreams. Finding their own resilience to move forward and choose a life filled with laughter and love, even when things don’t go as planned. We can’t choose what life throws our way, but we can choose to be happy and live a full life, despite our circumstances. Through our trials, we can embrace our challenges, connect to our innermost resilience, and change our perspective on life. We are strong, but together we are unstoppable.
GRIT + GRACE = RESILIENCE Amberly believes the pain and isolation she felt in those difficult times as a child were ironic blessings of sorts. When you know from an early age that you’re on your own and can rely only and entirely on yourself, it’s as liberating as it is sad. If you can take the sadness and self-pity out of it, you’re left with a sense of freedom— and, when trauma strikes you don’t waste any time looking for someone to bail you out.
Amberly realized motivational speaking was her calling when she was invited to give a talk at a networking group in Calabasas from a friend who wanted her to share her story. Amberly said she was so intimidated because it was all lawyers, realtors, and financial advisors in attendance. Here she was a fitness trainer and just barely recovered from her accident. She bought her first business suit ever and gave a 20 minute talk. To her surprise, people asked her so many questions afterwards, and shared that they had been touched by her story. People expressed that she had given them hope. In that moment, Amberly felt like all of the pain she went through had been given a purpose. “I could turn that mess into my message”. With a heart so full, it was a gift for her to be able to share her message of overcoming.
Amberly is most proud to have her daughter’s see their mom as a survivor, choosing to thrive in life. Amberly had the privilege of being a guest on the Megyn Kelly TODAY show and it was one of the most extraordinary days of her life. Amberly’s goal is to give a TEDtalk next, and her dream is to be on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday!! As Amberly says, ” if you’re not scared, your dream isn’t big enough.”
The best advice Amberly could give to anyone living with chronic pain would be to listen to your body, learn to rest not quit, easy does it, take one day at a time, and one step at a time. Don’t isolate, do call someone and practice ways to love yourself. Stick around those who feel like sunshine. Listen to your doctor and be your own health advocate. Don’t believe everything you see on the internet. Trust your gut.
Do EVERYTHING you can to be the healthiest you can be. She changed her eating and it changed her life. Everything we eat is working for us or against us.
To learn more, you can read Amberly’s latest book, True Grit & Grace that captures her unique approach to turning tragedy into triumph. You can purchase her book on Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com. She will also be taking the stage at the upcoming RSDSA Annual Conference in North Carolina. She is a speaker you will not want to miss. You can get your ticket here. Follow Amberly on her socials and website: Website: https://amberlylago.com/amberly/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amberlylagomotivation Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amberlylagospeaker/